14 April 2023, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa – In furtherance of the joint declaration made by the two principal regional human rights bodies on 27 March 2018, to strengthen and institutionalize their strategic cooperation, including by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and developing a roadmap of joint activities, delegations of the Inter-American and African Commissions met from 12 to 14 April 2023, in Pretoria, South Africa, for an inter-mechanism dialogue, which was focused on mutual exchanges on best practices to strengthen the working methods and capacities of both institutions in promoting and protecting human rights, in accordance with the mandates and objectives laid down by their respective founding instruments.
The Dialogue, which also served as a platform for both institutions to engage with some civil society organizations that work in the African and Inter-American human rights systems, presented a platform for these two Commissions to have diverse exchanges on the human rights developments in the respective regions, including the challenges and opportunities. This meeting concluded with recommendations on improving the efficacy of both systems in the discharge of their mandates, as well as on the harmonization of their efforts towards greater effectiveness, as far as possible, having due regard to their respective mandates and functions, including through the adoption of a plan of action for their collaborations.
Both Commissions – which are the only existing ones of their type, stressed the importance of maintaining their autonomy, independence, and transparency.
The delegations were composed of:
The African Commission on Human and people’s rights:
Hon. Rémy Ngoy Lumbu, Chairperson, Hon. Maya Sahli Fadel, Vice Chairperson, Hon. Ourveena Geereesha Topsy-Sonoo, Commissioner, Ms. Lindiwe Khumalo, Acting Executive Secretary, and Ms. Abiola Idowu-Ojo, Senior legal Officer;
The Inter American Commission on Human Rights:
Hon. Margarette May Macaulay, President, Hon. Roberta Clarke, Vice President, Hon. Joel Hernandez, Commissioner, Hon. Pedro Vaca, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Dr. Tania Reneaum, Executive Secretary and Marisol Blanchard Vera, Senior Advisor .
The Dialogue was facilitated and hosted by the Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria, the Robert. F. Kennedy Human Rights and the National Endowment for Democracy.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a principal autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The IACHR has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. It is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, an autonomous treaty body, derives its mandate from the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter) and has a mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights on the continent, and to interpret the African Charter. The African Commission is composed of eleven independent members, elected by the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union