Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities in Africa - 45OS


Activity as Member of the Commission

1. During the inter-Session, November 2008 to May 2009, Commissioner Yeung Sik Yuen participated in a Conference organised by the World Jurist in Kiev, Ukraine, from 23 to 26 March 2009. The theme of the Conference was; “The Independence of the Judiciary and the Role of the Judiciary to uphold and protect Human Rights.

2. During the Conference, Commissioner Yeung Sik Yuen sat on an all African Panel composed of the Chief Justice of Mozambique and a former Judge from South Africa in a Mock Trial. The Mock Trial was based on the legality of the possession and threat of the use of nuclear weapons, with special emphasis on the violation of basic human rights and humanitarian law.

3. Commissioner Yeung Sik Yuen also took part in the Meeting between members of the inter-American Commission and its Secretariat and the African Commission and its Secretariat, which took place on 12 May 2009. The aim of the Meeting was to enhance understanding of the mandate and operation of the Inter-American Commission to members of the African Commission and its Secretariat.

Activities as Chairperson of the Focal Point on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa

4. Persons with disabilities are entitled to exercise their civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights on an equal basis with others. It is a fact, however, that disabled persons suffer from discrimination based on society's prejudice and ignorance, and they often do not enjoy the same opportunities as other persons. 

5. Article 18(4) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights provides for the rights of older persons and persons with disabilities. It states that, “The aged and the disabled shall also have the right to special measures of protection in keeping with their physical or moral needs.”

6. Following the establishment of a Focal Point on the Rights of Older Persons during the 42nd Ordinary Session of the African Commission from 15 to 28 November 2007, in Brazzaville, in the Republic of Congo, a Consultative Meeting took place in Mauritius from 2-3 October 2008. It was recommended during this Meeting that, the African Commission should establish a Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons, and Persons with Disabilities. And since the rights of disabled persons is still a grey area, the African Commission decided to establish a Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities during its 44th Ordinary Session, which took place in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

7. The establishment of the Working Group was however deferred to the 45th Session of the Commission, so as to give time to the Commission to identify individual experts that will serve as members of the Working Group. These Experts are meant to work together with the Chairperson of the Focal Point, and Member of the Focal Point, Commissioner Reine Alapine-Gansou, to design strategies that will advance the rights of older persons and persons with disabilities in Africa, and also to advocate and lobby for treaties and legislations relevant to persons
with disabilities, and older persons.

8. During the inter-session, Commissioner Yeung Sik Yuen, together with Commissioner Reine Alapine Gansou, forwarded an advert on the website of the Commission, calling for applications from experts to become members of the proposed Working Group. 

9. The Secretariat of the African Commission received a number of applications which will be tabled before the