We civil society organisations and National Human Rights Institutions working on all aspects of human and peoples’rights in Africa having met in Banjul, The Gambia under the theme “Defend the ACHPR” on the 23rd of October 2018 to dialogue on our response to the attacks on the independence of the ACHPR do adopt the following declaration:

Aware that the ACHPR has been subject to gradual and escalating threats and attempts to undermine its credibility and independence by individual State parties. These threats have culminated into full blown attacks which are led by autocratic and populist governments African Union member states who do not want to be held accountable for human rights violations that they commit at national level and seek to create a culture of impunity by weakening our accountability mechanisms.

Taking note of Para. 5 of Decision EX.CL/Dec.1008-1030(XXXIII) of the AU Executive Council (Decision 1015) which is a distortion of core principles of international human rights law and an attempt to rewrite the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter). The paragraph misstates the independence enjoyed by the ACHPR as “functional in nature and not independent from the organs that created it. It purports to limit the independence enjoyed by the ACHPR to ‘functional” independence and to remove its institutional and the commissioners’ personal independence, which are key to an all effective quasi-judicial bodies.

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