Mama Fatima Singhateh said that with collective action and common purpose, the continent would emerge the winner in the fight for improved human rights and development.
“While there has been marked progress in terms of improving democracy and human rights situation in some areas in the continent with particular reference to the recent successful elections held in Nigeria, I must admit that a lot more remains to be done in some parts of the continent,” she said.
“Africa therefore, has long way to go in relation to its development and human rights record. Nevertheless, I am optimistic that we shall overcome the hurdles if we inject more spirit and commitment as well as belief in our dreams. You would no doubt agree with me that forum of this nature are very crucial in this day and age.”
The justice minister made these remarks at the forum on the participation of NGOs in the 56th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 30thAfrican Human Rights Fair which concluded yesterday, 19 April, at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
Madam Singhateh also praised the Non-Governmental Organisations on the continent for what she described as their “unprecedented roles in our societies today”.
She also enjoined NGOs and governments on the continent to work together, saying more progress can only be registered if the two establishments work to tackle the common problems facing Africa.
“I wish to, at this point, acknowledge the crucial nature of this forum, bearing in mind the calibre of participants, gathered here today. We can all bear witness that NGOs have played and continue to play unprecedented roles in our societies today… NGOs are increasingly becoming indispensable. It is pertinent that we, governments and NGOs, work together and bear in mind the responsibility attached to this relationship for there is strength in unity. It is only through concerted efforts that we all can overcome the challenges facing our countries, regions and our continent at large,” she said.
“This forum is a very strategic meeting point because it is a gathering of not only NGOs working in the area of human rights and related issues, it is also a platform where both government representatives and intergovernmental institutions converge. It therefore creates the possibility of engaging all pertinent stakeholders on issues affecting their constituents, thereby encouraging greater understanding and support among stakeholders and within the community. My government recognises the efforts made by the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, in facilitating this forum to enable NGOs to fully participate in the work of the African Commission, which is mandated to oversee the implementation and interpretation of the rights and responsibilities enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”
The forum brought together various human rights defenders, dignitaries and civil society leaders across the continent to discuss the future of Africa in relation human rights, development and democracy.]]>