National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs in West Africa, have resolved to engage the media and other stakeholders to popularise their activities and encourage victims of human rights abuses to seek redress.
The institutions, drawn from Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Nigeria, made the commitment at the end of a three-day workshop in Abuja, organised by the African Union.
The workshop was designed for the institutions to deliberate on the implementation of the Action Plan of the Human Rights Strategy for Africa.
The human rights institutions agreed that “ a joint communication strategy be developed to help in sharing information and nurturing media relations as key stakeholders in human rights protection and promotion in Africa.”
They also agreed to partner with the African Union Commission (AUC), to engage African leaders on the ratification of Human Rights instruments, in order to reinforce peoples and human rights system in the continent.
The human rights institutions noted that such engagement was also vital towards deepening the culture of democracy and human rights in line with the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
Similarly, the NHRIs in the sub region pledged to carry out joint activities to raise awareness on the forthcoming Africa’s Year of Human Rights, slated for 2016.
They also agreed to collaborate in designing a 10-year Action Plan towards the attainment of the African Agenda 2063, with specific focus on the promotion and protection of human rights in the continent.
The partcipants resolved to sign a Memorundum of Understanding with the AUC to enhance existing cooperation, collaboration and partnership, to allow for collective action in promotion and protection of human and people’s rights.
“The meeting identified lack of important skills and knowledge in investigation, documentation and reporting of human rights violations.
“The meeting therefore agreed that joint capacity building activities between the Network of African Nations Human Rights Institutions (NANHRIs) and the AUC, be designed to strengthen the capacity of the African NHRIs, to promote and protect human rights for all Africans.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that key presentations were made at the workshop by the AUC Commissioner, Political Affairs, Dr Aisha-Laraba Abdullahi, a human rights expert at the AUC, Dr Salah Hammad, Malam Abdullahi Faskari, former Deputy governor, Katsina State.
Other presentations were made by Mr Saka Azimazi, Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Institutions in west Africa and Mr Gilbert Sebihogo, Executive Director, NANHRIs.(