ICJ launches three-year Africa-wide project

The programme, launched today in Niamey, Niger, aims to enhance the capacity of civil society organizations to use AU mechanisms for human rights protection and promotion.

The three-year Africa-wide project on Consolidating Civil Society’s Role in the Transition from African Human Rights Standards to Practice is run by the ICJ, together with the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the ICJ-Kenya Section.

The programme increases awareness of people in Africa about the AU human rights mechanisms for human rights implementation and compliance. It is directed at both national and community levels.

A further objective of the project is to strengthen national and regional responses to displaced persons and other groups at risk, including women and children.

The project will also provide an opportunity to human rights defenders, CSOs and journalists, who ordinarily have no means to access and attend the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to do so in order to increase their involvement in the AU human rights system and will provide advocacy and litigation support to them.

Arnold Tsunga, Director of the ICJ Africa Regional Programme, noted that the African Union (AU) has developed an impressive body human rights law and standards.

He observed, however, that “one of the missing links is that of implementation and that unless human rights are effectively implemented, they may just remain standards on paper.”

The launch took place in the plenary of the NGO Forum preceding the 60th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR).

Participants in the Forum strongly welcomed the opportunities that the project will create and many indicated that they would take advantage of the opportunity to broaden participation in the African human rights mechanisms.

The programme is supported by the European Union, which was represented at the launch by Mr. Basile Sallustio, Attaché to the Délégation in Niger.

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