PRESS RELEASE

COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE

Year 2013 Selected
En Français
N°: 116/2013
29 April 2013 [Abuja - Nigeria]

COMMISSIONER DEFENDS ECOWAS’ ROLE IN MALI, TASKS HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGNERS

							
	ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Gender, Dr. Adrienne Diop, has 
affirmed ECOWAS’ total involvement in the crisis in Mali and attributed the 
current global interest in the country to the untiring efforts of West African 
leaders.

The Commissioner was addressing the opening of a two-day workshop and annual 
general assembly of the Network of National Human Rights Institutions in West 
Africa on Thursday, 25th April 2013 in Abuja. 

The Commissioner debunked suggestions that ECOWAS did not show sufficient 
interest in the Malian crisis, insisting that from the onset, the organization 
declared zero tolerance over the March 2012 coup d’état that toppled former 
President Amadou Toumani Toure and attempts by insurgents to split the country.

She said that never in the history of the organization have regional leaders – 
both at the ministerial and heads of state level – held over 10 extra-ordinary 
meetings within such a short space of time, trying to resolve the crisis in 
any Member State.

“We have been at the fore-front and at the centre of the crisis in Mali, even 
to the deployment of AFISMA. We will be there even after the United Nations 
has fully taken over, because we want to see the return of normality to that 
country”, she stated.

Dr. Diop who represented the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace 
and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini-Suleiman at the meeting, expressed 
optimism about the prospect of the restoration of peace to the country, 
adding: “We hope that what has happened in Mali does not happen in any of our 
Member States”.

Describing the timing of the meeting as apt, she said it coincided with a 
period “when ECOWAS finds itself addressing alleged impunity and other forms 
of human rights violations perpetrated by terrorists and extremist groups in 
Mali.”

She disclosed that ECOWAS has appropriately responded by empanelling a group 
of human rights observers drawn from the members of the Network of National 
Human Rights Institutions in West Africa “to contribute to putting an end to 
these despicable and denigrating acts”.

The commissioner noted that the Mali mission had reinforced the relevance of 
the network in the practical protection and promotion of human rights in the 
region.

While acknowledging certain challenges faced by the Network, she urged the in-
coming leadership to reposition itself so as to accomplish its objectives by 
leveraging on capacity building initiatives facilitated by ECOWAS to enhance 
institutional efficiency at the national level.

According to her, areas of activities should include monitoring, reporting and 
documentation of atrocities and other forms of human rights violations, 
enhancement of cross-border cooperation and collaboration through the 
institutionalization of functional medium-term exchange programme.

Dr. Diop called on members of the Network to work more closely with the civil 
society through the West Africa Civil Society Forum (WACSOF)’s thematic group 
on human rights and other relevant regional mechanisms aimed at mainstreaming 
the civil society in the protection and promotion of human rights.

In addition, she challenged members of the Network to respond to the human 
rights abuses in their various countries as “West Africa must no longer be 
singled out for its human rights abuses. Your task is indeed a tough one”. 

She thanked the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for 
its “fidelity” to the Network, and pledged ECOWAS continued support for the 
implementation of the Network’s work plan.

Nigeria’s Secretary to the Government of the Federation, represented by the 
Permanent Secretary in charge of Special Duties, Dr. Jamilia Shuara, addressed 
the meeting.

Representatives of the OHCHR and the European Union, as well as the Network’s 
out-going chairperson, Mr. Alioune Tine and the ECOWAS Director of Political 
Affairs who was represented by the organization’s Head of Electoral Assistance 
Unit, Mr. Francis Oke, also sent goodwill messages. 

The workshop is to create a more effective approach for the NNHRI to prevent 
and tackle emerging human rights challenges in the region.

More specifically, it is expected to increase the capacity of members to 
respond to emerging human rights challenges in the region; reinforce the 
capacities of senior officials of Member States of the NNHRI in investigation, 
monitoring, documentation and reporting of human rights violations; as well as 
reposition the NNHRI and its Secretariat for more effectiveness in the 
protection and promotion of human rights in West Africa.


 Send comments to: webmaster@ecowas.int
Created and maintained by the Community Computer Centre (CCC) in collaboration with the Department of Information

Copyright © ECOWAS 2003