PRESS RELEASE

COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE

Year 2013 Selected
En Français
N°: 117/2013
30 April 2013 [ABUJA-NIGERIA]

HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGNERS SEEK PROSECUTION OF VIOLATORS AT ECOWAS COURT OF JUSTICE

							
	West Africa’s human rights institutions have called for the prosecution of 
human rights violations at the Community Court of Justice while Member States 
should establish a mechanism for ensuring compliance with the decisions of the 
Court.



In the absence of a state institution to perform such a role, members of the 
Network of National Human rights Institutions in West Africa should be saddled 
with the responsibility, the Network said after a two-day meeting and annual 
general assembly which ended in Abuja on Friday, 26th April 2013.



The meeting and assembly were called to agree ways of increasing the capacity 
of members to respond to emerging human rights challenges in the region and 
reinforce the capacities of senior officials of its members in investigating, 
monitoring, documenting and reporting human rights violations.



It was also intended to help reposition the NNHRI and its Secretariat for more 
effectiveness in the protection and promotion of human rights in West Africa.



Participants agreed to activate regional judicial and financial structures to 
allow for an effective tackling of human rights-related atrocities, as well as 
accept an ECOWAS proposal to implement and support human rights programmes in 
collaboration with NNHRIs at the national level across the region.



In addition, they tasked the ECOWAS Commission to ensure that country reports 
of all human rights institutions be presented to the ECOWAS Parliament and 
Court of Justice, popularized and shared in Member States. 



While reflecting on the various crises confronting the region, particularly 
terrorism, the participants called on Community citizens to properly document 
evidence of human rights violations by both terrorist groups and national 
security forces, and report same to the NNHRI secretariat.  



Furthermore, they agreed on the adoption of a common vision to deal with human 
rights violations and related challenges in relation to electoral, democratic, 
economic and social instability and leadership crises in the region.



To ensure an effective service delivery, they agreed to work more closely with 
the West African Civil Society forum (WACSOF) and other national civil society 
organizations in advocacy and sensitization.



In addition, they called for the strengthening of measures aimed at enforcing 
the free movement of persons.



In a four-point resolution released after the annual general assembly, 
participants specifically stated that the right to freedom of expression and 
the press be protected, and the security of journalists be assured in all 
Member States. In addition, they urged Member States to respect the rights of 
citizens to demonstrate or engage in strikes in line with the extant laws in 
their respective countries.



In addition, they called on ECOWAS to ensure accountability for human rights 
violations arising from terrorism, whether perpetrated by terrorists or state 
security agents.



Moreover, they called for an end to the long transition in Guinea Bissau 
through the conduct of a presidential election. Similarly, they urged ECOWAS to 
ensure regular but free, fair, credible and inclusive presidential and 
legislative elections in Member States. 



They also recommended that the Network endorse their proposal to collaborate 
with relevant UN agencies to organize a regional conference to deliberate on 
the issue of the protection of human rights in the course of preventing 
terrorism. 


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