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01.02.2016 Africa

AU Commissioner for political affairs met with the United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights

By African Union Commission (AUC)
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H.E. Dr. Aisha Laraba Abdullahi, Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union Commission met with H.E. Ivan Simonovic, UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights. The UN Assistant Secretary General was accompanied by the Director of Africa Branch of the OHCHR and other human rights experts.

The Commissioner for Political Affairs welcomed H.E. Mr. Simonovic and thanked him and his delegation for continuously visiting the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) of the African Union Commission (AUC). Dr. Abdullahi briefed the Delegationon the human rights situation in Africa as well as Project 2016. 2016 has been declared as the Year of Human Rights in Africa with Special focus on the Rights of Women.

Dr. Abdullahi added that the year 2016 marks a veritable watershed in the continental human rights trajectory. It marks the 35thAnniversary of the adoption of the African Charter in 1981; the 30thAnniversary of the entry into force of the African Charter in 1986; the 29thAnniversary of the operationalization of the Commission in 1987 (in 2016 the Commission will be just one year shy of its 30th anniversary) and also the 10thAnniversary of the operationalization of the Court. The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol) will be 13 years old in 2016.

The Commissioner for Political Affairs also mentioned that Africa continues to experience persistent violence in some parts of the continent which result in destruction of life and property which reverses human rights gains. The AU Commission under the leadership of H.E. Dr NkosazanaDlaminiZuma, has emphasized on the need to silence the guns by 2020.

The Commissioner also made reference to the situation in Burundi and the positive role played by the Human Rights Observers deployed in 2014. The Human Rights Observers monitor the human rights situation on the ground and contribute to the protection of civilians' population and property.

The Commissioner for Political Affairs also added that the Department of Political will focus on the following areas in 2016:

Implement the declaration of the year of human rights with special focus on the rights of women Develop the ten-year action plan on human rights in Africa linked to the first ten-year plan of Agenda 2063. Organize the High Level Dialogue on human rights with special focus on the rights of women in Africa.

Dr. Abdullahi also briefed the Delegation on theAfrican Governance Architecture (AGA) and the activities of the five clusters of the African Governance Platform. She also highlighted the efforts of the DPA to expedite the full ratification of all human rights instruments. The Commissioner concluded by reiterating the need to support the human resource capacity of the Department of Political in order for the Department to fully implement its mandate.

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