1. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) through its Working Group on Death Penalty and Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings and Enforced Disappearances in Africa (the Working Group), organized a Validation Workshop of the Guidelines on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances in Africa (Validation Workshop), from 5th to 6th November 2021, in Banjul, the Republic of The Gambia.
2. The Validation Workshop was organised within the framework of the Commission’s promotion mandate pursuant to Article 45 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and in accordance with its Resolution ACHPR/Res. 448 (LXVI) 2020 adopted by the Commission during its 66th Ordinary Session held virtually from 13 July to 7 August 2020, which mandated the Working Group to draft Guidelines on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances in Africa (the Guidelines).
3. The Validation Workshop was attended by 26 participants in person and a dozen of participants joining virtually representing:
- The Working Group, represented by its Chairperson Commissioner Maya Sahli-Fadel and its members Mr. Clément Isidore Capo-Chichi, Dr. Carole Valerie Nouazi Kemkeng, Mr. Kevin Gitau Mwangi, assisted by the Staff of the Secretariat of the Commission;
- Experts and Members from UN institutions and other international and regional bodies specialized on the crime of enforced disappearances;
- Representatives of National Human Rights Institutions;
- Partners from the technical drafting team;
- Civil society organizations with experience working with victims of enforced disappearance; and
- Academic scholars.
4. The Validation Workshop considered and discussed the draft Guidelines before they are presented to the Commission for their adoption, ensuring that the Guidelines reflect the issue of enforced disappearances across the continent and constitute a key step to tackling and eradicating this practice in Africa.
5. The following parts of the Guidelines were considered and followed by extensive and constructive discussions:
- The Context of Enforced Disappearances in Africa
- The General Principles and Definitions;
- The Rights commonly infringed upon by an Enforced Disappearance;
- Legal Obligations of States and other Stakeholders to prevent and protect populations against the Enforced Disappearances; and
- The Implementation of the Guidelines.
6. The Validation Workshop also discussed and made recommendations on the ways and means for dissemination and sustained advocacy for implementation of the Guidelines once adopted.
7. At the close of the meeting, the Chairperson paid tribute to the drafting Committee for its partnership in carrying out the development of the Guidelines, to participants for their active contribution in the review of the draft as well as to the interpreters, who made communication between the participants in this workshop possible.
8. The Commission, through the Working Group on Death Penalty and Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings and Enforced Disappearances in Africa, expresses its sincere and profound gratitude to the European Union, for the financial support provided under the EU/AGA Support Project 2021-2023 towards the Validation Workshop.
Done in Banjul, The Gambia, 6 November 2021