, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 21- A section of continental human rights organisations have decried alleged frustration by the African Union members states, who are desperately trying to undermine their independence and autonomy.
This is according to a new report by Amnesty International titled “The State of African Regional Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms” which reveals that the continent’s rights bodies are working under tough conditions.
The lobby groups are calling on the African Union’s Executive Council to monitor and enforce compliance with the decisions of the human rights mechanisms.
Amnesty International’s Director for Research and Advocacy Netsanet Belay on Monday said the current trend where Africa’s human rights bodies are being willfully subverted should be reversed.
“The African Union’s Executive Council must resist these efforts and take its responsibility to monitor and enforce compliance with the decisions of the human rights mechanisms seriously,” Belay said.
The report offers an assessment of the performance of three of Africa’s regional human rights institutions between January 2018 and June 2019: the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission); the African Child Rights Committee; and the African Court.
According to the report, out of the continent’s 54 countries, five among them Comoros, Equatorial Guinea and Somalia have not submitted a single report on the human rights situation in their countries since they ratified the Africa Charter for Human and People’s Rights.
Many countries that submitted their human rights reports to the African Union Commission during the reporting period did so after delays of more than a decade.
Gambia and Eritrea set records by submitting their reports 21 and 19 years late, respectively.
In the timeframe in review, the African Union Commission sent 83 urgent appeals to states over concerns of human rights violations. Of these only 26 written responses were filed.
“Attacks on human rights defenders are an attack on the rights of all the people whose freedoms they are fighting for,” Belay said.
The report also highlights an onslaught on human rights defenders (HRD’s) in Africa.
Between January 2018 and June 2019, appeals for the protection of HRDs accounted for 71 percent of all appeals issued to state parties by the African Union Commission.
HRDs in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Egypt were the worst hit, the Africa Commission issuing 11 and 10 urgent appeals respectively to their governments.
These were closely followed by Burundi with seven urgent appeals, Cameroon and Algeria each with six, and Uganda and Sudan, each with five appeals.
“It is extremely alarming that governments across Africa have singled out human rights defenders to try to silence them and bring an end to their activism through brutal attacks, harassment, unlawful arrest, and detention. Attacks on human rights defenders are an attack on the rights of all the people whose freedoms they are fighting for,” the report states.