African Commission to Hold Panel Deliberation on FGM

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By: Kebba AF Touray

The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) has unveiled that as part of its upcoming ordinary session,it will be holding panel deliberations and discussions on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The Commission revealed this planned discussion in a communiqué on its coming Ordinary Session slated for Tuesday, 14 May 2024.

The session, which will mark the 79th Ordinary Session of the Commission, will feature panel deliberations as well as presentation of country reports of the member states, with the objective of proffering remedies to notably human right violations in the member states, in collaboration with relevant authorities in these member states.

“On Friday 17th May, 2024, the Panel on Female Genital Mutilation in West Africa will sit and launch the 2nd edition of the Maputo@20 Newsletter of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa,” the Commission indicated.

According to the Commission, in commemoration of the UN convention against torture and 20 years of the Committee for Prevention of Torture in Africa (CPTA), it will host a panel on CPTA on Wednesday, 15th of May 2024.

The Commission in the said communiqué explained that it is the premier human rights body of the African Union, established under Article 30 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter), the founding treaty of the African Human Rights system for the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa.

“The ACHPR is an autonomous body of the African Union, and is composed of eleven (11) Commissioners pursuant to Article 31 of the African Charter, who are elected by the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments of the African Union. The eleven Commissioners sit in their personal capacities and in an independent and impartial manner,” it indicated.

The Commission also highlighted that its mandate is defined in Article 45 of the African Charter, which includes the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights on the continent; the interpretation of any provision of the African Charter at the request of a State Party, an AU institution or an African Organization recognized by the African Union.

The Commission added that its mandate also includes the formulation of principles and rules on fundamental freedoms on which African governments can base their legislation.

The regional human rights institution also stated that the ACHPR meets four times a year in Ordinary Sessions and may hold Extra-Ordinary Sessions.

“Since its inception, the ACHPR has held seventy-six (78) Ordinary Sessions and thirty-five (37) Extraordinary Sessions,” the ACHPR communiqué said.

According to ACHPR, the 79th Ordinary Session will be conducted in a hybrid format, with the Bureau, Commissioners and members of the Secretariat on ground in the Gambia, together with participants joining online via Zoom from 14th May 2024- 3rd June 2024.

The Commission outlined that the session will deliberate in depth on human rights issues in Africa and will review activity reports of members of the Commission; that featuring also on the agenda, is the rapport and cooperation with national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the consideration of applications for observer and affiliate status

In accordance with Article 62 of the African Charter which requires States parties to submit periodic reports to the ACHPR every two years, the Commission will also examine a State Periodic Report of the Republic of Mozambique.

“Thereafter, the ACHPR will retreat into private  sittings where it will deliberate on and take decisions on various reports, and on registered complaints of human rights violations [communications],” ACHPR said.