By DAVID IORJA, Abuja –
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on Monday that for Africa to reach the desired level, issues such as poverty, socio-economic rights, environmental and sustainable development, as well as concerns about democracy and unconstitutional changes of government, must be addressed.
Professor Osinbajo gave the charge as a special guest of honor in his address at the opening of the 2022 judicial year of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in Arusha, Tanzania. He spoke on the theme: “The African Court and the Africa we want”.
“The Africa We Want is an Africa that addresses, among other things, humanity’s most pressing concerns about eradicating poverty, hunger and disease; maintaining democracy and the rule of law; sustainable development, in particular in the face of the challenges of climate change and the use of limited resources for economic growth and diversification; human security and peace,” Professor Osinbajo said in a statement released by his spokesperson, Laolu Akande.
He also commended the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights for the Afrocentric development of human rights jurisprudence, noting that the African Court was already playing its own role.
For example, he mentioned that the Court has required states to respect the rights and principles of fairness, transparency and inclusion in elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also noting his statement according to that States should not use the postponement of elections to “unduly” extend the mandate of elected officials.
The Vice President, who addressed the judges of the African Court, other sister regional human rights institutions, groups of lawyers and experts and international human rights bodies Human Rights, among other stakeholders, identified the challenges and burdens “that we have to meet to get to the kind of continent we want” and then posed the following question: “what does the Court do through its mandate and its practice to lighten these burdens?
He then called on African nations to, while pursuing the implementation of Agenda 2063, resolve to improve the continent’s human rights record in the immediate future, because “the purpose of life is here and now, not in the distant future”.
He was optimistic that “Africa will overcome its current governance and human rights challenges”, but denounced “the absence of a proper enforcement mechanism, whether at national or continental level, notwithstanding the Ouagadougou Protocol mandate on the AU Executive Council,” describing it. as one of the challenges that Africa must strive to resolve.
Professor Osinbajo went on to identify other challenges as “the reluctance of some states to comply with the Court’s Interim Measures Orders, not to mention funding issues in the face of competing financial needs within the AU system”.
The Vice President suggested that “we need to find common ground moving forward. There may be a need for further interaction between the Court and Member States and civil society on how to address these issues. The general reluctance of states to concede sovereignty is not unique to African states. But it is possible for us to be more creative about complementarity, for example.
“I make these observations recognizing very clearly, based on the current constitutive documents of the tribunals and the AU Charter, that we are not in a position to implement what I am proposing, but I believe that by means of of amendments, we will at least be able to experiment with an original reflection on complementarity.
“But the point is that it should be possible to change tactics from time to time while keeping the strategy and vision constant,” he added.
During the event which was also attended by the Prime Minister of Tanzania, Mr. Kassim Majaliwa Majaliwa, who represented President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the President of the Court, Justice Imani Aboud, declared the judicial year 2022 open, explaining the reason for the very first official opening. of the Court’s annual session, including the need to enhance the Court’s visibility and engage its stakeholders.
The Vice-President of the Court, Judge Blaise Tchikaya, also congratulated Professor Osinbajo “for the constant support he always gives to the Court”.