66th Ordinary Session of the African Commission Successfully Held Virtually Amidst the COVID19 Pandemic

The African Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights held a 66th Ordinary Session from 13 July to 7 August 2020. Due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic the session was held virtually and as expected focused on the pandemic. Even though marred by a few glitches that hindered effective participation, the session was successful given the current context of operation.

The 66th Ordinary Session accentuated the need for a human rights based approach in response to the COVID19 pandemic. Members of the African Commission made reflections on various actions that have been taken in their various capacities to address human rights challenges arising in the context of pandemic. Representatives from States, civil society organizations and national human rights institutions emphasized the importance of ensuring that responses to the pandemic do not further aggravate vulnerabilities and inequalities caused by structural violence within Member States. 

Nine State Parties, six NHRIs and 29 NGOs with observer status are amongst the delegates that made statements on the human rights situation in Africa with special focus on human and peoples’ rights in the context of COVID-19.

The Commission granted Observer Status to two NGOs, in accordance with the Resolution on the Criteria for Granting and Maintaining Observer Status to Non-Governmental Organizations working on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Africa, bringing the total number of NGOs with Observer Status with the Commission to 525.

In accordance with Article 62 of the African Charter, the Commission considered the Combined 9th and 10th Periodic Report under the African Charter of the Republic of Mauritius (2016 to 2019).

The Right of States to Reply was observed by three State Parties: The Republic of Angola; the Arab Republic of Egypt; and the United Republic of Tanzania.

During the private session, amongst other agenda items, following the coming into effect of its 2020 Rules of Procedure in June 2020, the Commission discussed the practical implementation of administrative Seizure of Communications under the new Rules. In this regard, the Commission considered and adopted:

  1. A Draft Guidance Note and Template for Seizures;
  2. Secretariat’s Report on Administrative Seizures.

The Commission also considered 15 Communications as follows:

  1. Adopted two Communications on the Merits;
  2. Six Communications on Admissibility, of which two were declared inadmissible; two admissible; one deferred; and one Report back from a previously deferred Communication;
  3. Seven Communications on Seizure, of which one was seized and six deferred to the Working Group on Communications.

The Commission adopted Resolutions on Special Mechanisms; Country Resolutions; and Thematic Resolutions, which will be finalised and published on their website.

The 67th Ordinary Session will be held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 13th November to 3rd December 2020.

Download the Final Communiqué of the 66th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (English) (French)

Link to the source – https://www.achpr.org/sessions/info?id=335

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