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OBSERVER STATUS WITH THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE'S RIGHTS

Posted On: 08 Jan 2014

What is Observer Status?

Simply put, Observer status is a privilege granted by some organizations to non-members to give them an ability to participate in the organization's activities. Observer status is often granted by intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) to non-member organizations and international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) that have an interest in the IGO's activities. Observers generally have a limited ability to participate in the IGO, lacking the ability to vote or propose resolutions.

The African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) is one such entity that may grant observer status to certain organizations.  The Commission is a mechanism established in October 1987 with Headquarters in Banjul, the Gambia and tasked with promoting and protecting the rights guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. It also interprets the Charter as it applies to particular cases and can advance further legal principles to guide African governments in ensuring their legislation and practices adhere to the Charter.

During the 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights held in Banjul from 22nd October to 5th November, 2013, the Human Rights Centre Uganda (HRCU) was among the 11 (eleven) organizations that were granted observer status. This was done in accordance with the Resolution on the Criteria for Granting and Enjoying Observer Status to Non-Governmental Organisations Working in the Field of Human and Peoples' Rights.

Benefits of being granted observer status

By being granted observer status, HRCU shall;

i.    Be present in the public galleries for the open sessions of African Union meetings relevant to its field;

ii.    Have access to African Commission documents provided that they are

a)   Not of a confidential nature;

b)   Dealing with matters of interest to the Centre.

iii.  Be invited to attend closed meetings during discussion of a subject in which it is concerned.

iv.  With the authorisation of the Chairperson of a meeting, the Centre may participate in the proceedings of meetings to which it is invited, without the right to vote.

v.   Be authorised by the Chairperson of the meeting to make a statement on a matter with which the Centre is concerned,   subject to the text of the statement being communicated before, through the Chairperson of the Commission.

vi.  Be given the floor by the Chairperson of the meeting in order to enable the Centre to reply to questions, which might be addressed to it by any organisation.


 
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