African leaders mark 25th anniversary of rights charter

Banjul- The Gambia (PANA) -- African leaders meeting in Banjul Saturday organised a special session to mark the 25th anniversary of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
The observance came a day after the AU Commission and the African Centre on Human and Peoples Rights organised a colloquium on the Charter, which was adopted in 1981 and has now been ratified by all member states.
The AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Julia Dolly Joyner, told the session that the adoption of the Charter was a symbol of the full commitment of African leaders to give "our children dignity".
While hailing the ratification of the Charter by all member states, Joyner said that was not an end in itself, adding that respect for human rights in Africa must become a reality.
"We must be happy at the significant progress we have made since the adoption of the Charter," she said.
"But we need to step up the implementation so we can have the culture of human rights on the continent," the Commissioner added.
Speaking on the colloquium, Joyner said it offered an opportunity to critically examine the Charter, and disclosed that its report would be submitted to the 7th summit in Banjul.
In a message to mark the anniversary, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour called the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights "a landmark achievement in the region for the region.
" "We celebrate the accomplishments of this important regional human rights instrument and recommit ourselves to assisting in strengthening its mechanisms and procedures," Arbour said.
Under the charter, African states pledged to "coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa," through support to ideals influenced by the UN Charter and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

01 july 2006 20:20:00

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