Protests and demonstrations

Author
Mary Falconer
Judgment date
Court name
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
Flynote local
Resolution
Flynote
Human Rights
Peace
Security of the person
Coup d'état
Excessive use of force
Protests and demonstrations
Express and disseminate opinion
Movement and residence
Life

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), meeting at its 70th Ordinary Session held virtually from 23 February to 9 March 2022

Recalling its mandate of promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in Africa, pursuant to Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter);

Recalling the relevant provisions of Decisions AHG/Dec.141 (XXXV) and AHG/Dec.142 (XXXV) on Unconstitutional Changes of Government, adopted by the 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held in Algiers, Algeria, from 12 to 14 July 1999, and Declaration AHG/Decl.5 (XXXVI) on the Framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government, adopted by the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, held in Lomé, Togo, from 10 to 12 July 2000;

Bearing in mind the obligations of the Republic of the Sudan as a Member State of the African Union (AU), and as a State Party to the African Charter and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (African Charter on Democracy);

Also bearing in mind Article 23 of the African Charter, which guarantees the right of all peoples to national and international peace and security;

Recalling its previous Resolutions on the human rights situation in the Republic of Sudan, notably Resolutions ACHPR / Res. 444 (LXVI) 2020 and ACHPR / Res. 510 (LXIX) 2021;

Recalling its Press Release of 27 October 2021 on the coup d’état which took place on 25 October 2021 in the Republic of Sudan and its Press Release of 26 November 2021 on the deterioration of the human rights situation in the Republic of Sudan following the coup d’état of 25 October 2021;

Further recalling Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.1041(2021) of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union adopted at its 1041st meeting held on 26 October 2021, in which the Council suspends the participation of Sudan in all activities of the African Union, following the take-over of power by the Military;

Taking note of the United Nations Security Council Press Statement (SC/14678) of 28 October 2021 on the situation in Sudan, and Resolution (A/HRC/S-32/L.1) of 5 November 2021 adopted by the 32nd Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on the situation in Sudan;

Deploring the failure of the Agreement signed on 21 November 2021 between the Prime Minister previously deposed by the coup d’état and the Army, reinstating him in office; and further noting that this failure culminated in the resignation on 2 January 2022 of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok as he was unable to form a civilian Government and as a result of the serious disagreements which exist between the parties on the remainder of the transitional process;

Concerned about the lack of a clear framework for the transition launched in August 2019 and the absence of a basic agreement between the stakeholders, notably between the Army and political actors as well as civil society;

Noting that almost daily demonstrations are held in Sudan challenging the coup d’état of 25 October 2021 and any resulting militarised power;

Concerned about reports of the continued and excessive use of force by the security services, including the military, which has so far resulted in at least 82 deaths and several serious injuries among protesters;

Also concerned about credible reports of numerous cases of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of at least 400 political and other detainees languishing in detention facilities in Sudan;

Noting that arbitrary arrests, repression and an atmosphere of terror seem to be taking place unbeknown to the relevant observers, as there are restrictions on the use of information and communication means;

Concerned that this situation results in the continued and serious violation of virtually all human rights protected by the Charter and all other fundamental human rights instruments to which Sudan is a party; in particular, violations of the right to life, respect for the inherent dignity of the person, the right to liberty and security, the right to freedom of movement, the right to information including the right to express and disseminate one’s opinions, freedom of assembly, the right to property, the right to education, the right to health and others;

Noting the various initiatives of the International Community to help resolve this major socio-political crisis with disastrous consequences on the human rights of the Sudanese people, in particular that of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission who paid a working visit to Sudan on 12 February 2022;

Reaffirming its commitment to the promotion of democracy in Africa and recognising that good governance, transparency and respect for human rights constitute essential principles which contribute to peace and development in Africa; and in conformity with the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance;

Also reaffirming all human rights guaranteed by the Charter, including in particular those protected under Articles 4, 5, 6, 9 and 11 of the African Charter, which guarantee the right to life, respect for the dignity inherent in a human being, the right to freedom and security, the right to freedom of movement, the right to information including the right to express and disseminate one’s opinions, and the right to the freedom of assembly;

The Commission reiterates:

i. Its condemnation of the coup d’état of 25 October 2021, that overthrew the transitional Government headed by Prime Minister Dr Abdallah Hamdok, the suspension of the transitional institutions and the imposition of a state of emergency in violation of the 2019 Constitutional Declaration of Sudan and the 2020 Juba Peace Accords;

ii. Its condemnation of the deterioration of the socio-political situation in Sudan;

iii. Its condemnation of  the persistent human and fundamental rights violations perpetrated by the Army since the coup d’état of 25 October 2021, in particular the use of violence to muzzle public protests, which led to the death and injury of dozens of demonstrators, the torture and cruel and inhuman treatment of political detainees, sexual violence, the removal from office of public servants for political reasons, the blocking of the internet and the closure of newspapers and television stations;

iv. Its condemnation of the arbitrary arrest and secret detention by the Sudanese Army of hundreds of politicians and pro-democracy activists, including members of the Cabinet, senior national and regional public servants appointed by the transitional Government and leaders of resistance Committees, and calls on the Sudanese Army to immediately and unconditionally release all individuals arbitrarily detained since 25 October 2021;

v. Its call for Sudanese Authorities to respect the right to life, to freedom of expression, of association and peaceful assembly of the populations, and to guarantee the individual safety and security of journalists while fully removing all restrictions on access to the internet and information platforms, thereby enabling the Sudanese population to freely receive and circulate information;

vi. Its call for investigations into all cases of human rights violations that have occurred or are ongoing since the coup d’état of 25 October 2021 and guarantee the payment of compensation to the victims, while ensuring that there is no impunity for these acts;

vii. Its call for the Sudanese Parties to restore constitutional order and, in particular, protect the rights of the Sudanese people pursuant to Sudan’s national and international human rights obligations;

viii. Its call for the International Community, in particular the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and the United Nations, to pursue their efforts for a return to stability in Sudan so as to guard against plunging the Horn of Africa into a situation of high insecurity

Done virtually on 9 March 2022

Author
Mary Falconer
Judgment date
Court name
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
Flynote local
Resolution
Flynote
Human Rights
Imprisoned/detained people
Security of the person
Excessive use of force
Protests and demonstrations
Police action
Assembly
Death penalty
Extrajudicial killings

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the Commission), meeting at its 69th Ordinary Session, held virtually from 15 November to 5 December 2021;

Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights in Africa under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter);

Taking into consideration Article 45(1) (a) of the African Charter, which mandates the Commission ʺto collect documents, undertake studies and research on African problems in the field of human and peoples' rightsʺ;

Taking into consideration Article 4 of the African Charter which enshrines the right to life and prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of such right;

Reaffirming Article 6 of the African Charter which enshrines the right of an individual to liberty and to the security of his person;

Further reaffirming Article 11 of the African Charter which guarantees the right to freedom of assembly;

Recalling General Comment nº 3 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights: The Right to Life (Article 4), adopted by the Commission during  its 57th Ordinary Session held from 4 to 18 November 2015, whereby every State shall take reasonable provisional measures aimed at protecting life and preventing the excessive use of force by their agents;

Further recalling the Guidelines for the Policing of Assemblies by Law Enforcement Officials in Africa, adopted during the 21st Extraordinary Session held from 23 February to 04 March 2017, which provide that State Parties shall respect the right of everyone to peaceful demonstration within the legal limitations and in concurrence with regional and international human rights instruments;

Bearing in mind the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials adopted at the 8th United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders held in Cuba from 27 August to 07 September 1990;

Recalling its ACHPR/Res.79(XXXVIII)05 Resolution on the Composition and the Operationalisation of the Working Group on Death Penalty, and ACHPR/Res.227 (LII) 2012 Resolution on the Expansion of the Working Group on Death Penalty in Africa to include Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa; 

Further recalling its decision to appoint a Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa during its 20th Ordinary Session held from 21 to 31 October 1996, as well as ACHPR/Res.306 (EXT.OS/ XVIII) 2015 Resolution on the Expansion of the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention in Africa to include issues relating to policing and human rights;

Recalling ACHPR/Res. 437 (EXT.OS/ XXVI1) 2020 Resolution on the Need to Prepare a Study on the Use of Force by Law Enforcement Officials in Africa;

Taking into account the need to supplement the above mentioned study with a practical training manual to facilitate its implementation at stakeholder level;

The Commission:

i. Decides to develop a Training Manual on the Use of Force by Law Enforcement Officials and Prison/Correctional Guards;

ii. Calls on Member States and interested civil society organizations to contribute towards the development of the Training Manual.

 Done virtually, on 5 December 2021

Author
admin
Judgment date
Court name
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights
Flynote local
Resolution
Flynote
Democracy
Participate in government
Rule of law
Express and disseminate opinion
Movement and residence
Assembly
Property
Protests and demonstrations

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Commission), meeting at its 62nd Ordinary Session held in Nouakchott, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, from 25 April to 9 May 2018;

Recalling its mandate to promote and protect human and peoples' rights in Africa under Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Charter);

Bearing in mind the obligations of the Togolese Republic as a Member State of the African Union and a State Party to the African Charter, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, and other regional human rights instruments;

Considering Principles (m) and (n) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union on respect for democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance, and promotion of social justice to ensure balanced economic development;

Considering the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, in particular Articles 3(1), 13 and 32(8) on respect for human rights and democratic principles, the obligation of States Parties to take measures to ensure and maintain political and social dialogue, as well as public trust and transparency between political leaders and the people, in order to consolidate democracy and peace, and entrenching and respecting the principle of the rule of law;

Recalling further Articles 4, 6, 9, 11, 13 and 23 of the African Charter which guarantee the right to life and physical integrity, to liberty and security of the person, the right to freedom of expression, the right to peaceful assembly and demonstration, to participate in the management of public affairs, as well as the right to peace and security;

Deeply concerned about the situation prevailing in Togo since 19 August 2017 following the various demonstrations calling for constitutional and institutional reforms,  including the vote of the Togolese Diaspora as well as the limitation of presidential terms, marked by violations of freedom of expression, opinion and demonstration, endangering lives, the integrity of the human person, private and public property, freedom of movement, the disproportionate use of force against demonstrators and other forms of violence that led to the massive internal displacements of populations;

Taking note of the meeting of 19 February 2018 between the government and the various parties that organized the demonstrations aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the current crisis; 

Welcoming the designation by ECOWAS Heads of State at their extraordinary meeting held in Lomé, Togo, on 14 April 2018 of the Ghanaian and Guinean Presidents, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and H.E. Professor Alpha Condé, as facilitators in the Togolese crisis; 

Cognizant of the importance of the protection and promotion of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the consolidation of peace on the continent;

Emphasising the primary responsibility of the State to guarantee the respect and effective protection of rights, in accordance with the African Charter and other relevant human rights instruments ratified by Togo;

Stressing also the responsibility of leaders of opposition political parties to ensure that their party members abide by the law and refrain from taking any action that may undermine public order and national security;    

The Commission:

1. Strongly condemns all human rights violations that have been committed and urges the Togolese Government to put an end to them, in particular arrest, torture, arbitrary detention and other violations;

2. Calls for impartial and independent investigations in order to identify the presumed perpetrators of these violations and ensure that they are prosecuted in accordance with the law; 

3. Urges the Togolese authorities to continue dialogue with all stakeholders towards the preservation of peace and security in Togo;

4. Urges opposition political parties to prioritise dialogue and refrain from acts of violence; 

5. Calls upon the various parties to prioritise national harmony and unity, and to refrain from any action that may undermine the main pillars of the Togolese society;

6. Decides to undertake a general human rights promotion mission to Togo, in collaboration with the government authorities.

 

Adopted at the 62nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held in Nouakchott, Islamic Republic of Mauritania, from 25 April to 9 May 2018