By Omar Bah
The executive director of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) Hannah Forster said Saturday that it is only when human rights are taken seriously that people can begin to speak and live the language of human rights – justice, peace, equality and freedom for both men and women, young and old.
Addressing a forum on human rights mechanisms at the Paradise Suites hotel Forster said this responsibility should not be seen as an exclusively women’s affair. It is everyone’s business and we should not wait for anyone to do. ”We all have vested interests in ensuring the realisation of human rights. Let us learn more about the various human rights institutions, systems and mechanisms and the opportunities they provide for the realisation of human rights,” she said
She said to build and maintain a just and better world for everyone and for posterity, all must, individually and collectively take up the responsibility of promoting and protecting all human rights for all, beginning from homes, nations and the world, saying we must acknowledge that every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.
“I must however, confess that the ACHPR, ISHR and OHCHR have been our partners in this endeavor of building the capacity of human rights workers to engage more effectively with the regional and international frameworks, from the very beginning,” she noted.
She said it is for that reason that the workshop brings with it nostalgia, reminiscent of past partnerships and a hope that this revival not be ad hoc in the bid to enhance the effective engagement with human rights treaty bodies at the regional and international level.
Commenting further she noted that the workshop is being held on the margins of the Forum of NGOs to the 59th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR) and the 33rd African Human Rights Book Fair with the principle objective to familiarize and or consolidate participant’s knowledge and skills on the relevant instruments for effective monitoring of human rights at the continental and international levels.
She added that the workshop will equip the participants with the knowledge and skills to lobby their governments to domesticate and implement their commitments and assist participants to frame a strategy as they seek redress for violations of human rights.
Rumbidzai Masango, African Human Rights Consultant and Ambassador Bari-Bari Fellow, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) said supporting the training illustrates ISHR’s dedication to supporting, promoting and protecting human rights, saying we achieve this by supporting human rights defenders, strengthening human rights systems, and leading and partnering in coalitions for human rights change.
While thanking all their partner institutions, she reminded the participants that the regional and international human rights work cannot be done in isolation, saying this is ”why we encourage you to learn from each other’s experience, build networks and see this as a springboard for future collaboration.”