Violent conflicts continue to blight the lives of millions of people across Africa, including in the Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Libya, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, and Somalia. In addition, countless people across the continent continue to live in a state of fear and insecurity as a direct result of increased violence by radical armed groups, including al-Shabab and Boko Haram. This is specifically the case in Kenya, Somalia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Mali, and countries in the Sahel region. The ongoing protests in Burundi, government’s crackdown of these protests, and the failed coup attempt are yet another grim reminder of not only the fragile security situation of many countries on the continent, but also of the associated human rights violations.
Despite the recognition of the linkage between human rights and conflict, a structured and consistent practice of responding to human rights violations in the context of conflicts, either towards addressing the persistent violations that lead to conflicts or preventing or ensuring accountability for gross violations being committed during conflicts, is yet to be developed at the regional level. The discussion will interrogate the following:
- What has the performance of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), other structures of Africa Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), sub-regional mechanisms and the regional human rights treaty bodies been like in dealing with conflict-related human rights violations in Africa;
- What are the strengths and/or notable achievements of the human rights treaty bodies and how can these be replicated/up-scaled or leveraged in situations of conflict?
- What are the normative and institutional challenges or gaps hindering regional responses to conflict-related human rights violations; and
- What are the possible ways of strengthening the capacity of the PSC, APSA, structures, sub-regional mechanisms and the regional human rights treaty bodies in responding to conflict-related human rights violations?
It is hoped that this meeting will serve as an initial inquiry that yield subsequent stakeholder dialogues on strengthening the normative and institutional framework for addressing human rights violations committed in the context of conflicts in Africa.
Date: 10 June 2015
Time: 13:30 – 16:30
Venue: Holiday Inn Sandton – Rivonia Road, Johannesburg, South Africa