UN and African Union Special Mechanisms on human rights adopt a roadmap for greater cooperation


ADDIS ABABA – The UN Human Rights office, in cooperation with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights convened a two day-meeting of the Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Special Mechanisms of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to explore ways of improving cooperation and coordination in promoting and
protecting human rights in Africa. The meeting took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 18 to 19 January 2012.
This meeting, bringing together mandate-holders, civil society organizations, UN and AU agencies as well as individual experts, was the first of its kind. “It is a historic opportunity to join hands and work together in discharging the important mandates entrusted to us for the benefit of rights-holders in Africa,” said Ms. Farida Shaheed, chairperson of the Coordinating Committee of the Special Procedures. “Peer-to-peer learning is an invaluable tool in the framework of enhanced collaboration and building synergies that the two systems are seeking to establish,” added Ms. Reine Alapini Gansou, former Chairperson of the Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The experts discussed ways to undertake joint actions, including joint public statements, joint awareness raising events and joint visits to African countries. Particular emphasis was put on the need for better information sharing through the existing tools.

At the end of this important gathering, AU Special Mechanisms and UN Special Procedures mandate-holders pledged to strive to achieve greater coordination in the discharge of their mandates, through the development of common working methods, including with regard to country missions, communications and public statements.

To learn more about United Nations Special Procedures, please visit: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/chr/special/index.htm

For more information or media inquiries, please contact the OHCHR Regional Office for East Africa on +251 11 544 3105.


Human Rights Defender of the month: Alex Njenga John

Alex Njenga has always believed in egalitarianism both as a principle and as a tool for justice. As a result, he has always been suspicious of, and at times hostile to social prejudices that treat some people as “more equal than others,” – to use a line from George Orwell’s famed political fable, Animal Farm.

Some of the experiences that have shaped his social and political outlook have been personal. As an adolescent in Kenya’s Uasin Gishu County, Alex was stigmatised and denied healthcare after he identified himself as belonging to Kenya’s sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) community.