Strengthening Civil Society: Ensuring Compliance with African and International Standards on Rights
The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, in collaboration with the Open Society Justice Initiative, AfriMAP, and Partnership Africa Canada, will be holding a civil society event entitled Strengthening Civil Society: Ensuring Compliance with African and International Standards on Human Rights and Good Governance, prior to the African Union Summit in Banjul, Gambia from June 26 – 28, 2006. Strengthening Civil Society will focus on civil society participation in monitoring compliance with African standards on human rights and good governance, in particular civil society participation in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Panelists from different countries that have undergone peer review will present their experiences, from both the official and civil society perspective. The workshop will also examine reports generated by AfriMAP, the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project, which has looked in-depth at the compliance of five African governments that have signed up for peer review with African and international standards in relation to the justice sector and rule of law, political participation and democracy, and effective delivery of public services. Finally, the workshop will discuss barriers to political participation in the form of discrimination in access to citizenship and documentation, bringing in case studies identified through a recent comparative study on discrimination and citizenship carried out by the Open Society Justice Initiative.
Strengthening Civil Society: Ensuring Compliance with African and International Standards on Human Rights and Good Governance
Banjul, Gambia 26-28 June 2006
– Day 1: Monday 26 June –
– Focus on the APRM –
8:00 – Registration: tea, coffee
8:30 – Introduction, Welcoming remarks
Program overview, objectives and purpose of the workshop.
9:00 – 10:30: Panel 1– The African Union, APRM and civil society engagement
Speakers have been invited from the AU Commission, APRM secretariat and UNECA to present an overview of the interaction of African continental institutions engagement with civil society on human rights and governance issues.
10:30 – 11:00 Pause
11:00 – 11:45: Panel 2 – From Addis Ababa to Banjul: Civil society interaction with the APRM process. This panel will give a background to and a brief summary of the workshop held in Addis Ababa in January at which the Partnership Africa Canada report on the APRM and civil society participation was presented. Civil society representatives from different countries will present experiences in following up on the workshop’s recommendations and engaging with the APRM process.
11:45 – 13:15: Panel 3 – Assessing compliance with the Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance. This panel will hear lessons from the APRM processes in Kenya and Ghana, with presentations expected from the national APRM governing councils or secretariats and from civil society representatives. The panel will consider the extent to which the APRM process has helped assess the compliance of the country with the Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance and other African standards.
13:15 – 14:30: Lunch
14:30 – 16:00: Panel 4 – Civil society participation in the APRM process. Researchers conducting assessments of the APRM processes in Rwanda and Mauritius will present the main conclusions of their review in these two countries. They will discuss most particularly the challenges of the institutional capacity of civil society in these countries to effectively monitor and participate in the APRM process. This panel will also feature a presentation on the South African process and the role of the civil society
16:00 – 16:30: Pause
16:30 – 18:00: Final discussion – Strengthening civil society participation with the APRM at national and continental level. General discussion, lessons learned, conclusions, recommendations.
– Day 2: Tuesday 27 June –
Morning: AfriMAP: Do African Civil Society Organizations have the Skills and Capacity to Monitor Compliance with commitments made under African Union treaties?
09:00: Introductory and welcoming remarks – including objectives and purpose of session
09:15: AfriMAP – A presentation of the work of the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP) and its national partners in researching and reporting on compliance with African and international standards in relation to three subject areas: justice sector and the rule of law; political participation and democracy; and effective delivery of public services. The discussion will also identify challenges related to development and application of assessment tools in relation to human rights, democracy and good governance.
10:00: Panel Discussions – Three panels will discuss emerging issues from the AfriMAP research in order to precipitate a discussion about the capacities of civil society to monitor compliance with African standards, highlight some of the major constraints to compliance and flag issues that African civil society groups need to engage with. In each case, presentations will be made by AfriMAP’s national country partners based on their experience of carrying out research to complete the AfriMAP questionnaires.
Panel 1 – Availability of and access to public information
Panel 2 – Domestic law and compliance with international treaties
Panel 3 – Weak institutions and how to strengthen them
Afternoon: OSJI Citizenship Audit: Protecting political participation through equal rights to nationality
1400 Welcome and introduction
Objectives, purpose, and overview of session
1405 Keynote speaker - The right to nationality and statelessness: A critical issue in today’s Africa
1435 The Africa Discrimination and Citizenship Audit
A presentation that will outline the findings of the recently concluded Africa Discrimination and Citizenship Audit and puts forward its recommendations.
15:00 – 17:55 Panel – Classes of citizenship based on ethnicity, gender, and region
Speakers on this panel will show how classes of citizenship are created with different rights assigned to different classes depending on ethnicity, gender, and region of origin. Speakers will discuss the impact on political participation and the enjoyment of other rights. Countries which may be focused on include Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The panel will be followed by a group discussion which will identify additional countries in which citizenship classes exist and explore solutions to these violations.
– Day 3: Wednesday 28 June –
0830 Opening and review
Summary of previous days’ discussion
8:40 – 11:30 Panel - Denationalization and Access to Documentation
Speakers on this panel will discuss forms of denationalization and including that where denial of proof of citizenship creates communities that are so politically and economically marginalized that they might be considered stateless. Countries that may be included in this examination are Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mauritania, and Niger. The presentations will be followed by a broader discussion which will explore ways in which equal access to citizenship can be guaranteed including how impartiality and transparency can be infused into document issuance and how decisions to deny identification can be appealed.
11:30 – 12:15 Presentation: Limiting freedom of expression
This presentation will discuss how governments limit non-nationals right to freedom of expression by using opaque security clauses in immigration laws. It will discuss challenges made to these actions at the national levels, looking specifically at Botswana and Zambia. It will be followed by a discussion that examines existing moves towards limiting fundamental rights for non-nationals and explores how these can be addressed.
12:15 – 13:00 Moving forward on citizenship rights: Broad strategies and next steps
Proposals raised from the previous discussions will be summarized to draft a plan for regional norm development and to explore existing legal remedies. In addition, mentioned advocacy opportunities (national and regional) will be highlighted and links between national, sub-regional, and regional actions planned.
1300 Closing speaker
Afternoon: Press conference
The workshop will present its combined findings and recommendations to media representatives in Banjul. After the formal presentation, civil society representatives at the workshop will be encouraged to speak to national media from their countries represented in Banjul, and to make contact with continental media on the issues they are interested in.
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