During the intersession the following activities have been carried out in relation to the Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities.
1. A paper to be published by the University of London on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa and People with disabilities has been reviewed and sent to the publishers;
2. The draft Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons which came up for discussion at the 48th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) has been reviewed in both the English and French versions. This revised edition will now serve as working document before finalization at the level of the Working Group and at the level of the ACHPR before dispatch to the African Union.
The Working Group has so far focused on the elaboration of a Draft Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons since it was the initial mandate of the focal point which eventually was transformed into a Working Group.
Focus will henceforth be placed on the other segment of the Working Group’s mandate in relation to the Rights of People With Disabilities in Africa, and the African Commission resolved at its 48th Ordinary Session that the membership of the Working Group be enhanced by three (3) additional members.
A call for candidates has accordingly been published in the website of the African Commission and a selection exercise is scheduled to be carried out during this very session.
Apart from my mandate as chairperson of the Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities, I have been engaged with the programme of the UNODC to curtail piracy in the Indian Ocean and to bring pirates operating in that region to stand trial.
Colleagues may be aware that pirates operating in that region adversely affect the economy of small island states like the Seychelles, the Comoros and Mauritius which depend on tourism activities relating to ocean cruises and pleasure crafts. These have greatly diminished in the recent years because of piracy activities in the region. Under the aegis of the United Nations, Seychelles and Kenya have agreed to set up special Courts to try piracy cases committed on the high seas. Mauritius will soon follow suit towards the end of this year. Piracy in the African region is unfortunately the result of lawlessness in one particular State. Whilst there may have been some glamoured picture of poor seamen eking out a living in the style of Robin Hood, this perception has now dramatically moved to another much more serious stage of organized crime, hostage taking, and culpable conduct leading to serious violations of human rights. One thing is clear: Piracy gives Africa a bad name and I would request that the African Commission may well consider in its agenda ways and means at its disposal to help remove that scourge from the African shores.