Nord Sud XXI is an NGO in special consultative status with the UN that was formed by senior statesman and women. The current President is Mr. Ahmed Ben Bella, the founding President of a free Algeria.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

People's Economic Summit May 31st, 2009

The Bail Out the People Movement
invites you to a People's Economic Summit

In conjunction with the June UN Summit on the World Economic Crisis and organizing for protests at the G20

New York City
Sunday, May 31

Starting Time 11 a.m.
Main Session 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Dag Hammerskjold Plaza,47th & 1st Avenue

Proposed Agenda:
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
47th St. & 1st Ave.
Special focus panels & breakouts, including:

-Defending Immigrant/Worker Rights
Why do migrants leave their homelands? What is behind the anit-immigrant climate? How can we build a workers’ rights movement that includes legalization, EFCA, etc?
This and more will be discussed in a panel by members of May 1st Coalition, Bayan-USA, La Pena del Bronx, Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum, Million Worker March and others.

-Building a Struggle of Youth & Students
Hear youth from member organizations – Anakbayan, FiRE, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and FIST, along with students from Hunter College, BMCC, and others – join forces to deliver a perspective on combating not only the crisis of the capitalist system, but also the struggles against national, women and LGBT oppression, imperialism, etc.

-Communities of Faith for Peace with Justice
As people of faith and conscience, we will discuss the failed economic system and its impact on our poor and oppressed communities, and how we can change it by denouncing the social sins of male supremacy, hetero-sexism/homophobia, classism, racism, ethnocentrism and xenophobia (to just mention a few). Participation of San Romero Church and others.

-Capitalist Crisis, Racism, Political Repression & the Prisons
The lack of jobs or a future has resulted in the U.S. having the largest prison population in the world with majority Black, Latino/a and Native prisoners, and growing repression against youth, immigrant workers, and Arab and Muslim peoples. With participation of: NY Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition, Millions for Mumia, Lynne Stewart, N.Y. Committee to Free the Cuba Five, N.Y. Friends of MOVE (9).

-People’s Speakout in Two Parts:
A discussion of strategy and tactics from those who have lost jobs, homes, healthcare, and their future.
Workers’ Struggles in the U.S. – The fight for jobs; the EFCA and against layoffs; growing unemployment; foreclosures; evictions – with Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Million Worker March Movement, NYC Labor Against the War, Picture the Homeless, Take Back Our Union.
Struggles Against U.S. Corporate Power Around the World – The impact of the capitalist crisis, militarism, environmental destruction and imperialist policies in Africa, Asia, Middle East, Caribbean and Latin America.

-Full Plenary Sessions
Starts at 1 p.m.
Invited Speakers to Include: UN Delegates, Cynthia McKinney, Ramsey Clark, Howard Zinn, Nawa El Saadawi, Medea Benjamin, Ajamu Sankofa, Vinie Burrows, Nellie Bailey, City Councilperson Charles Barron, Chris Silvera, Brenda Stokely, Larry Hamm, Lynne Stewart, Rev. Lucius Walker, Sonny Africa, Paul Quintos, Dulphing Ogan, Curtis Doebbler

First Plenary – 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Panelists examine the roots of the economic meltdown and present the case for alternatives to capitalism and imperialism.

Second Plenary – 2:30 to 4 p.m.
But We Must Fight for it!
Panelists discuss building the mass movement; formulating programs and strategies to force a struggle for jobs, an end to foreclosures and evictions, and new rights and powers for working and poor people.

Third Plenary – 4 to 6 p.m.
Special session on preparing for the G20 Summit in September in NYC and plans for the Detroit People’s Summit and Tent City.


(partial listing)Action Center for Justice, NCAl Awda, NY PalestineRight to Return Coalition, NYCAnakbayanArab Muslim American FederationArab Women’s Solidarity Assoc.Artists & Activists United for Peace;Asia Pacific AllianceBayan USA– National Alliancefor Filipino ConcernsCode PinkFiRE– Filipinas for Rights& EmpowermentFIST– Fight ImperialismStand TogetherGuyanese American Workers UnitedHaiti-LibertéHarlem Tenants CouncilInt’l Action CenterInt’l League of Peoples StruggleInt’l Migrants AllianceJersey City Peace MovementKatrina-Rita Diaspora Solidarity, NYCLa Peña del BronxLeague of Filipino Students–SFSUMalcolm X Grassroots MovementMay 1st Coalition for Worker& Immigrant RightsMichigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice-MECAWIMillion Worker MarchMillions for MumiaMoratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures & EvictionsMovement in Motion, Bronx NYNetwork to Stop Foreclosures& EvictionsNew Abolitionist Movement, NYCNYC Labor Against the WarNodutdol for Korean Community DevelopmentNord Sud XXIPakistan USA Freedom ForumPeoples Organization for ProgressPhil Berrigan Inst. for Non-ViolencePicture the HomelessResist!San Romero de Las Américas ChurchTake Back Our Union MovementU.S./Cuba Labor ExchangeWomens Fightback Network

Endorse the call Become a local organizer/volunteer

Bail Out the People Movement
Solidarity Center
55 W. 17th St. #5C
New York, NY 10011

Special Session on the Situation in Sri Lanka

President HE Mr. Martin Uhomoibhi 0pened by informing the plenary of the request received for the convening of the special session on the situation in Sri Lanka.

With the conflict ended the task of rehabilitation and reconciliation needed to begin. HRC expressed its willingness to work with the government of Sri Lanka, reminding that dialogue was the way to move forward.

A video message by Mrs. Pillay was played. Human rights and humanitarian consequences needed to be addressed. Media and humanitarian aid should be given access. IDPs needs were to be addressed. She spoke of the severe overcrowding. She said that unrestricted humanitarian aid was necessary. She pointed out that it was crucial to correct flaws to discern between civilian and LTTE members. LITTE had prevented civilians from leaving war zones, that this needed to be investigated. She spoke of the suicide attacks, the use of heavy artillery by the government and shelling on hospitals is grave. Victims right to remedies was reaffirmed. Pillay said, granting amnesties to those who had committed war crimes, hindered law from being implemented. It was important to heed the advise of the Secretary General, in his appeal to the government of Sri Lanka to address the root causes of this long lasted conflict.

Ms. Magdelaena Sepuldeva Carmona Independent expert on HR and Extreme Poverty, addressed the lack of transparency. Evoked the problem of IDPs. She reiterated the need to distinguish between combatants and civilians. She said that LTTE having used civilians as human shield had violated humanitarian law. Arbitrary detention was a persisting problem according to Sepuldeva. She informed that on the 18th of May, most vulnerable had been released from the camp but that there was a critical humanitarian situation, access to food, health care etc, that UN personnel were denied access to conflict zones. She listed the violations of HR, arbitrary detention incommunicado, persecution, Impunity, torture, extra judicial killings and forced disappearances. She said that HR defenders were held imprisoned without charge. That it was important to take measures for victims of HR abuses. She said it was necessary to establish the Rule of law and non discrimination with the right of minority, in society, constructive dialogue, assessment of what had happened.

Mr. HE Mr Haahina Samarasinghe, Minister of disaster and HR in Sri Lanka stated that there ws access to conflict zones, confirming that the conflict was over, challenge for sustainable peace and solution. He pointed out that the High Commissioner had failed to refer to this in her speech. He shared that the terrrorist organization had been eradicated after thirty years of conflict, that hostages been rescued. He corrected the information given earlier, denying malnutrition, starvation, and the like as untrue, also informing the access to 52 organizations to aid government in the urgent humanitarian work, adding that 250 000 are being taken care of currently. He said that the objective was to resettle all in their homes if they wished to do so. 9 000 surrenderees will be put through rehabilitation programme to reintegrate into the Sri Lankan society, there was collaboration with the UNDP, ILO and IOM towards this objective. Taht they were prepared for a post conflict era in rehabilitation. There was much work to do in demining, restoration of facilities, to provide basic services, infrastructure, sustainability...Military solution as a final solution was never the goal, socio- economic solution was the way forward seeking political solution through dialogue. He said they would continue to work with regional and cross regional groups. He hoped for support for the implementable resolution. Institutional structure and Independent judiciary was also necessary according to the Minister. He stated that there was consistent basis with 13 core HR legislation, that the mechanisms were there in place to protect children. He ended on an optimistic note upholding the diversity and multi-cultural aspect of Sri Lanka.

Czech Republic took the floor to firstly confirm the importance of convening the special session. It continued on to point out the problem of the IDPs, child soldiers recruited by the LTTE, the missing rule of law, problem of discrimination on the part of the Sri Lankan Government, that there was a need for due process, freedom of movement, IDPs needed to return to their homes the earliest possible, that the rights of victims needed to be respected, and that perpetrators of crimes needed to be brought to justice.

Cuba spoke on behalf of NAM and welcomed the Sri Lankan minister and said it was testimony of the government of Sri Lanka to the HR Council. Cuba saw the calling for the special session as lack of understanding on the part of those who had initiated it and hoped that such behaviour ought not to be repeated in the future. It recognized the post conflict work that would now be needed. Egypt on behalf of the African group also expressed its disappointment of the holding of the special sessions. It called for all to aid Sri Lanka in the reconstruction and rehabilitation process in the post conflict era. Pakistan for the OIC also against the convening of the sessions reiterated the need to aid Sri Lanka, naming the IDPs, child soldiers, as two of the most important problems to address at this time. It said that Sri Lanka was not a state with a record of HR violations, a functioning democracy and that the government of Sri Lanka was justified in its war against terrorism. Finally it called for support for Sri Lanka in the rebuilding that needed to happen. Qatar, China, India, Egypt, Cuba, Brazil, Malasia, Argentina Nicaragua, S. Arabia, Bolivia, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Zambia, Algeria, Bhutan, Thailand, Iran, Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea and Sudan were other who strongly supported the government of Sri Lanka. All expressing similar concerns for IDPs, and child soldiers. S. Africa evoked double standards in regard to convening of the sessions, giving the example of the situation in Iraq without naming it as such to illustrate that no such measure had been taken at the time. Syria reminded of the Israeli aggressions going unaddressed. It was also explained by these states that there had been a lack of transparency in calling for the special sessions but all showed their good will in calling for support in aiding Sri Lanka towards progress.

Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Chile, UK, Italy, Israel, Austria, Australia, Ireland, Denmark and the US were amongst the “others” who perceived the calling of the special sessions as justified. They too evoked the problem of tens of thousands of IDPs and the recruitment of child soldiers by the LTTE, but added freedom of press, freedom of expression, arbitrary detentions, calling for the government of Sri Lanka to allow for humanitarian aid. Also requesting justice in prosecuting for human rights and humanitarian violations.

The NGO spoke out defending the rights of Tamil victims. None seem to have the slightest sympathy for the Government of Sri Lanka. Nord Sud XXI stood alone in presenting their view that the calling of special sessions by states not of the region was in itself incorrect and that there was risk of not abiding by the Charter of the UN in calling such sessions on a selective basis, hence giving the impression of not treating all states on equal basis. It upheld the need for human rights and humanitarian law to be respected by the government of Sri Lanka, called for the International community to aid Sir Lanka in demining the affected zones for displaced persons to be able to return to their homes in safety. Nord Sud XXI encouraged a political solution to be sought by the government of Sri Lanka through constructive dialogue with minority groups especially the Tamils. It finally called for the international community to aid Sri Lanka in the rebuilding process towards achieving lasting peace in the 29 para document, the L1 Rev 2. With the joint statement of the Secretary general and Government of Sri Lanka fully endorsed in the resolution. There was a package of amendments proposed by Germany, rule 117, evoked by Cuba calling for the closure of the debate. There was a vote on the motion. This concluded with a yes majority. There was a vote on the adoption of the L1 Rev2 which concluded with the adoption of resolution in question. Several states explained their position. Canada voiced particularly strong thoughts in a clearly arrogant tone making further demands of the Government of Sri Lanka, one wondered what gave Canada the right to express such superiority.

May 2009 NGO Forum in Banjul, The Gambia

  • NGO Forum 9-11 May, 2009

  • 45th Session of the African Commission of Human and People’s Rights, Banjul, The Gambia.

An intensive three day NGO Forum preceded the 45th session of the African Commission with an opening speech by the Commissioner Sanji Monageng. The NGO Forum which takes place twice a year with the aim to promote and protect human rights in Africa is a platform which civil society uses through NGOs to bring to the table the concerns they wish to raise in the African Commission sessions which follow. There are discussions, presentation and sharing of information which is educative in raising awareness of human rights situation to better address violations of human rights.
The NGO Forum is significant in that it gives access to civil society to directly reach the African Commission, allowing for collaboration between the African Commission and the civil society. The discussion and sharing during the Forum is a healthy tool to exploring new ways to promote and protect human rights or to finding solutions to human rights issues which have become chronic. This platform also becomes a place where much networking takes place, expanding and enlarging the work in the field of human rights.
The NGO Forum includes plenary meetings with presentations by speakers and there are special interest groups that meet to discuss specific human rights situations in different regions in Africa which then report to the plenary. The NGO Forum comes up with draft declarations and resolutions drafted by a drafting committee on thematic issues of human rights. They are presented during the plenary meetings for adoption by the Forum and submitted to the African Commission to be considered for possible adoption or incorporation into the work of the African Commission.
The possibility to hold side events is a further enhancement of the NGO Forum’s work on special situations of human rights violations in African states, or on relevant themes.
With possibilities to make statements on given items, the intensive work of the forum, the concrete resolutions which they present to the Commission and the eventual advocacy and lobbying that they may choose to do gives the civil society a significant opportunity to add its valuable contributions to the ongoing work of the African Commission.
The special group meetings were particularly intense at the May 2009 Forum, with the objective of drafting resolutions, they covered themes such as, Prevention of Torture, an in-depth discussion on the situation of African prisons, focusing on Rwanda and Sudan. There was unanimity on the subject of abolishing the death penalty amongst the NGOs gathered at the Forum. Human Rights Defenders discussed the freedom of expression, association, movement which are being denied to many human rights defenders in numerous African states. The presentation on sexual orientation by NGOs became an educative session, and fellow participants showed much openness to this rather difficult area. Right of women was very important and all joined forces to combat for the violations thereof. The indigenous community and their rights proved to be an area deserving more efforts. The NGOs gathered in Banjul for this Forum demonstrated enthusiasm and a will to end human rights violations.
The unanimous conclusion was that the problems lay clearly in the implementation of the instruments which were already in place. With some twenty resolutions adopted at the plenary and passed on to the African Commission the NGO Forum ended to be resumed in November 2009 before the next African Commission’s Sessions.
The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
This session was attended by some 15 to 20 African States (?) chaired by Commissioner Sanji Manageng, Vice-chaired by Commissioner Mukirya Nyanduga; with Commissioners and Special Rapporteur on Prison and Detention, Mr. Muba Mallila; Commissioner and Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, Mrs. Soyata, Miaga; Commissioner and Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, IDPs and Migrants in Africa, Mr. Bahame Tom Mukirya Nyanduga; Commissioner and Special Rapportuer on Human Rights Defenders, Mme Reine Alapini-Gansou; Commissioner and Chairperson of the Working Group on the Situation of Indigenous People’s/Communities in Africa; Commissioner and Chairperson of the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Africa and Chairperson of the Working Group on the Special Issues Relevant to the Work of the African Commission, Dr. Angela Melo; Commissioner and Chairperson of the Working Group on Death Penalty, Mrs. Zaainabo Sylvie Kayitesi; Commissioner Yeung Kam John Yeung Sik Yuen; Commissioner and Chairperson of the Follow up Committee on the implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines, Mrs. Catherine Dupe Atoki.
The 45th Session commenced with an opening speech by the Chairperson of the African Commission, Mrs. Sanji Monageng, ‘Strengthening the Rule of Law in Pursuit of Justice and Democracy’ was a most fitting theme for the session to follow. She reminded of the gains thus far in the combat for human rights and justice, namely the recognition of rape as a crime against humanity and tool of war and the accountability attributed to such crime. Mrs. Monageng continued to remind all those gathered at the session of the lack of justice, peace and security in the African communities across the continent. She spoke of the situation of war and conflict, the resulting destruction and millions of African people’s suffering which needed to be addressed, reiterating the most vulnerable, women and children in all situations especially that of internal displacement. In her speech Mrs. Monageng reminded that African countries were severely affected by situations of war and conflicts and also reflected high levels of human rights violations, impunity, injustice and lack of democracy. She said that it was a collective responsibility to hold the governments of the African states directly responsible for the situation of the suffering of the millions of African people across the continent, that it was the governments duty and obligation and the people’s right to have peace, justice, security and a society in which they could prosper. Her speech ended with a quotation by Nehru which rendered high responsibility on behalf of all suffering of injustice in all nations, a note of inspiration and obligation to combat injustice…
According to the Agenda, the session progressed covering the agenda items as adopted. There were statements on the Human Rights situation in Africa by States, the African Union groups, intergovernmental groups, international organizations, and NGOs.
Nigeria took the floor bringing to the table the issue of poverty, the importance of criminal justice, due process, and also the necessity of a close collaboration with civil society and for a national action plan as key to improving the human rights situation.
Sudan evoked the spirit of African solidarity in the fight for HR. The importance of democratic elections was brought up especially at a time when many African states are preparing for elections. Proportional balloting was key, and women needed to run for seats stated the representative of Sudan as some of the key issues for change. In response of NGOs’ request for a ceasefire, it promised immediate ceasefire and reminded of the ongoing peace talks, the Addis Ababa meeting on the peace process and the Doha peace talks. It acknowledged the plight of the IDPs’ and Refugees’ suffering and reported that it was allowing for certain NGOs and humanitarian organizations to enter the country. It showed its good will by extending invitations to special rapporteurs to come to examine the situation on women, IDPs and the disappeared.
Secretary General of the Representative of Africa to the UN evoked the Coup d’Etat which has brought a serious security threat to West Africa. He spoke of the food and financial crisis, the aggravated drug trafficking, climate change and its impact on land and property related conflicts, the link between human rights and peace and security, role of women in the peace process and urgent need to address impunity.
Cote D’Ivoire had the question of death penalty and impunity at the top of their list of agenda.
Zimbabwe addressed the migrant issues, sharing its own progress of regularization of those living in the country. Gender was a topic of discussion and it informed of the policies and framework that it uses to bring about gender equality.
The Inter-American Commission of HR shared its good will to collaborate with the African Commission.
The ICRC made statement stressing the situation of the IDPs in Africa, the danger of cluster bomb usage, forced disappearances and the need of for the recognition of human rights law.
The National HR Institution of Burkina Faso, South African Human Rights Commission and the Rwandan HR Commission were amongst the organizations to take the floor voicing their support to uphold human rights by fulfilling the obligations under the African Charter.
Nord Sud XXI made noticeable contribution to the Human Rights concerns, with strong and substantial statements composed by Professor Doebbler on various themes. Professor Doebbler reminded the participants of the 45th session of the Durban Review Conference and its discriminating policies, namely the treatment and lack of support in the organization for the NGOs of the African states. He explained the manner in which the outcome document had been prepared with the forced restraint and demanded sacrifices from the Southern countries. His statement brought clarity and understanding for many African people who had not received adequate information to truly understand the workings of the DRC. Other Nord Sud statements were on rights women; Condition of Detention, especially that in Uganda, prisoners on death row for more than three years due to problems of backlog and inhumane treatment amongst others; Working Group on the Economic and Social Rights, emphasizing the exacerbated situations of inequality at a time of global financial crisis and recession and its impact on the African countries. It invited the commission to be present at the UNGA meeting of June 2009 in New York. The Refugees, Asylum Seekers, IDPs and the Migrant group too received Nord Sud’s address, here the timeliness of the Commission’s response was called for the on behalf of the victims of groups. The death penalty was challenged as violation to the most basic rights of all human rights, the right to life, by Nord Sud. It defended the rights of the Indigenous communities and populations calling for their respect and protection. The human rights defenders protection was also an issue of importance to Nord Sud and it suggested the creation of a database system towards the protection of this targeted group. Cooperation between the ACHPR and NGOs was an important one as it considered a revision of the Rules of Procedures draft to be adopted in the upcoming weeks. Nord Sud XXI had some important suggestions to make for improving the cooperation between NGOs and the Commission. Professor Doebbler had come up with some key issues to be addressed under this item, such as requesting more transparency from the commission especially in regard to the adoption of the new Rules to be adopted. He requested for more transparency and inclusiveness of the NGOs in this process. He also asked for amendments on the reporting period, that of every two years to be prolonged to every five years, for the reasons that the Commission did not actually have the time to consider two yearly reports and the two yearly reports were a administrative burden for many NGOs. This would also help the Commission to better involve the NGOs in the reports of the Commission. Nord Sud XXI became an inspiration for many and while the Commission thanked Professor Doebbler for his participation at the 45th session many NGOs looked for possibilities to seek its support in their own work of human rights.
There were periodic State reports presented by Republic of Mauritius, Republic of Uganda and the Republic of Benin. These showed good will on the part of the states and each in their turn gave an account of all the instruments, regional, national, or international to which they were parties, they assured of their sincere efforts in all areas of concern. Yet their reports left the issues to be answered unaddressed and the commissioners followed with elaborate lists of questions and recommendations after each reports especially in the case of Uganda. Although it took the time to prepare its replies it seemed to have worked hard mostly to attempt to avoid the important concerns.
The work of the Commission is a challenging one especially in the follow up of these reports but even more so in the work to ensure the implementations of the obligations to which most African States are bound by their ratifications. The capacity of the African Commission, due to lack of budgeting and personnel, seems almost disproportionate when compared to the large African continent and the uncountable human rights violations or the ongoing wars and conflicts, and the extreme situations of poverty, not to mention the climate change which continues exacerbated the already existing conflicts, also adding hundreds of thousands to the list of the internally displaced.
It is the demonstration of the collective will of the African people at the 45thsession which impressed as being the key, a solidarity between the Commission and civil society, a link which along with the strong aspiration for democratic values and rule of justice and law can empower and accelerate any process in the promotion and protection for human rights. The commission will need to improve and expand become more transparent and augment its collaboration with the Civil Society, taking into account advise and suggestions from the civil society/NGOs in order to continue to progress to better fulfill its duties as an important mechanism, for the protection and promotion of justice and human Rights on the African continent.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Participation in the Durban Review Conference II

Please click to take a look at our participation in the Durban Review Conference II held in Geneva, Switzerland between April 20-24, 2009.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Oral Statement to the African Commission: Cooperation between the Commission and NGOs

Oral Statement by Nord Sud XXI to the 45th Ordinary Session
of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
13 to 27 May 2009, Banjul, Gambia
Item 5(b)(i): Cooperation between the Commission and NGOs

Nord Sud XXI wishes to express its appreciation to the Commissioners who participated in the NGO Forum and other NGO events that proceeded the this 45th Ordinary Session of the Commission. The participation of Commissioners in these events that are organized by nongovernmental organizations send an important message concerning the valuable relationship that exists between the Commission and NGOs.

Nord Sud XXI also welcomes the Commissions decisions, abet after so many years of virtually secret negotiations, to make its Interim (Draft) Rules available for comment by NGOs. We have submitted more than six pages of comments on these Interim Rules that we trust the ommission
will take into account in its future deliberations about these Rules. We must, however, express our significant concern that even at this Ordinary Session the Commission has found it fit to consider the Rules in private session once again and not in a public session. The legitimacy of these Rules, which will govern, among other relationships, that between NGOs and the commission, depends on all partners having a vested interest in the Rules that are finally adopted and all partners feeling that they have been involved in the adoption of the these important Rules. This is not currently the case, and the continued consideration of the Rules behind closed doors only heightens the suspicions that the Rules might not enhance the relationships between the Commission and NGOs. We therefore urge the Commission to increase the transparency and inclusiveness of the process by which it finalizes it new Rules of Procedures.

Nord Sud XXI also wishes to draw the Commission's attention to new Rule 73, sub-paragraph 7, which requires NGOs with observer status to submit activity reports every two years. We urge the Commission to consider a five year reporting cycle for several reasons. First, the Commission does not have the capacity to consider the activity reports of all the NGOs with observer status every two years. Second, for many NGOs with observer status, submitting a report every two years would create an additional significant administrative burden. And third, we believe that a more realistic reporting cycle would allow the Commission to better engage NGOs in relation to the subject matter of their activity reports, when this would be of value to the Commission.

Thank you.

17, rue Ferdinand-Hodler, CH-1207 Genève, Suisse Tél. +41-22-736-9266 - Fax +41-22-736 -9193 E-mail:
IAC, 55 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011 USA Tél. +1-212-798-3992 - Fax +1-206-984-4734 E-mail:

Oral Statement to the African Commission: Refugees, Asylum Seekers, IDPs, Migrants

Oral Statement by Nord Sud XXI to the 45th Ordinary Session
of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
13 to 27 May 2009, Banjul, Gambia
Item 7(b)(iii): Refugees, Asylum Seekers, IDPs, and Migrants

Nord Sud XXI recognizes the important role of both the Commission and the Special Rapporteur on Refugees and Displaced Persons in Africa in protecting these persons who often lack the protection of their state of habitual residence or nationality.

We welcome the efforts that the Commission has made through its promotional
activities, in considering state reports, and through the handling of communications.

Often refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, and migrants are so vulnerable that time is of the essence in the handling of their claims. In some cases, delays in protecting the rights of the these vulnerable people completely extinguishes any chance of protecting these right for the victims. Despite this undisputed understanding of the vulnerability of refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, and migrants, even the Commission
itself has often been slow to act leaving petitioners without redress or even a decision on their claim for redress for close to a decade.

It is hoped that the Special Rapporteur will make an effort to examine the timeliness of the handling of communications related to refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, and migrants with a view to taking action to protect victims from ongoing or imminent violations of their human rights.

In cases involving victims who cannot even rely upon their 'State of attachment' to protect their human rights, time is of the essence.

We also note that the Special Rapporteur has been frequently engaged in cooperation with UNHCR during his mandate. We hope that the substantive aspects of this cooperation will be included in the mandate holders report to the Commission.

Finally, Madame Chair, we would like to extend our most sincere appreciation to Commissioner Bahame Tom Mukirya Nyanduga for his significant efforts as the Special Rapporteur on Refugees and Displaced Persons in Africa and as a Commissioner.

17, rue Ferdinand-Hodler, CH-1207 Genève, Suisse Tél. +41-22-736-9266 - Fax +41-22-736 -9193 E-mail:
IAC, 55 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011 USA Tél. +1-212-798-3992 - Fax +1-206-984-4734 E-mail:

Oral Statement to the African Commission: Human Rights

Oral Statement by Nord Sud XXI to the 45th Ordinary Session
of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
13 to 27 May 2009, Banjul, Gambia
Item 4: The Human Rights Situation in Africa

Nord Sud XXI, in appreciation of the significant influence that the African Commission's efforts to
ensure human rights in Africa have all over the world, welcomes the opportunity to address the
Our representations specifically concern issues of human rights in Africa that have been dealt with in
the United Nations in particular.
In this regards, we take this opportunity to draw the Commission's attention to the Durban Review
Conference that was recently held in Geneva, Switzerland, under the auspices of the United Nations.
This Review Conference was intended to to deal with issues of racial and other similar forms of
discrimination—a human rights concern in Africa and as concerns Africans abroad. Unfortunately, the
Review Conference itself was an illustration of how Africans are often treated in a discriminatory
manner in Northern-based institutions. This occurred, as several African-based NGOs pointed out,
through the marginalization of the participation and contribution of African NGOs and members of
civil society as well as through the manner by which some states ignored the substantive concerns of
African states.
As a result the Review Conference took place with much less participation from African NGOs than
had the 2001 Durban Conference. In part this was due to the fact that the bodies that are based in
Geneva and tasked with organizing this event specifically refused to support a NGO Forum, which in
Durban has been so instrumental in ensuring attention for the important issues of slavery and other
forms of exploitation. And led by the Western European and Others Group of states—a few of whose
members did not even attend the Review Conference—the Review Conference adopted a text that had
not been transparently negotiated, in which African concerns had been largely ignored, and before a
single NGO had even had a chance to comment on it.
African states, despite accepting the text by consensus, expressed significant concern as to how their
interests had been pushed aside through a process that lacked transparency and which was
characterized more by bullying then by cooperation. One African diplomat speaking on condition of
anonymity called the result an “insult to African values.”
In light of these events and in light of the importance of the issue of non-discrimination to Africa, Nord
Sud XXI calls upon the African Commission to express in a public statement, as the President of the
United Nations General Assembly has done, its regret at the fact that the Durban Review Conference
did not address important concerns that were of essential importance to Africa and its hope that a more
valuable Review Conference will be organized as soon as possible to move the international agenda for
combating racial and other similar forms of discrimination forward in a meaningful way with due
respect for the important voices of Africans in this process.

17, rue Ferdinand-Hodler, CH-1207 Genève, Suisse Tél. +41-22-736-9266 - Fax +41-22-736 -9193 E-mail:
IAC, 55 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011 USA Tél. +1-212-798-3992 - Fax +1-206-984-4734 E-mail:

Oral Statement to the African Commission: Rights of Women

Oral Statement by Nord Sud XXI to the 45th Ordinary Session
of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
13 to 27 May 2009, Banjul, Gambia
Item 7(b)(ii): the Rights of Women

African women are the foundation of the African continent. They give birth to its children, care for the future of Africa, and they are an invaluable human resource that contributes to the development of the continent.
Nord Sud XXI is encouraged by some of the gains African women have made. Rwanda is now the
only country in the world where women make up the majority of the members of parliament. We
are also encouraged by the important role women have played in this august Commission.
Unfortunately, there are still circumstances in which women are not treated with respect for all their human rights, and it is still true that women suffer disproportionately from the violation of their human rights.
Nord Sud XXI seeks to bring two such situation to the attention of the Commission. The first
situation relates to the right to health of women and we bring it to your attention with assistance of IBFAN Africa, an NGO with Observer Status before the Commission that is working for women's health in Africa. The second issue we raise concerns the Commission's and the Special Rapporteur's followup on a specific case relating to the human rights of women in a State Party.
Madame Chair, Article 16(2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, requires that
States protect the health of all people under their jurisdiction, including, of course, women. The
human right to health provides a framework under which state polices, including any form of social or economic development or economic cooperation such as public-private partnerships. We are particularly concerned that such partnerships may sometimes distract from the ability of the State to provide adequate health services, especially to women. Private-public partnerships concerning the marketing practices surrounding breast-milk substitutes and complementary foods are among those that have sometimes caused concern to those of us trying to improve access to, and the quality of, health care services for women and their children. In light of these concerns, we urge the Special Rapporteur to consider the integrity of the decision-making process and the transparency of public-private partnerships in her work. We also call upon the Special Rapporteur to encourage States to enact and implement the World Health Organization's International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes and relevant World Health Assembly resolutions that call upon States to ensure that best-practices related to women's health are followed in all public-private partnerships.
In relation to the specific issue of implementation of the Commission's decision relating to women, I will be very brief in merely pointing out that despite the fact that the Commission held corporal punishment to be in cruel, inhumane, or degrading punishment for women in Communication 236/00 concerning Sudan's use of this punishment for public order offences committed by women, namely, there associating with men and wearing trousers. We hope that the Commission, and especially the Special Rapporteur, will follow up the implementation of its decision by discussing with the government of Sudan how it will implement this decision that is now 6 years old.

17, rue Ferdinand-Hodler, CH-1207 Genève, Suisse Tél. +41-22-736-9266 - Fax +41-22-736 -9193 E-mail:
IAC, 55 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011 USA Tél. +1-212-798-3992 - Fax +1-206-984-4734 E-mail:

Oral Statement to the African Commission: Human Rights Defenders

Oral Statement by Nord Sud XXI to the 45th Ordinary Session
of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
13 to 27 May 2009, Banjul, Gambia
Item 7(b)(iv): Human Rights Defenders

Human rights defenders are the backbone of the protection of human rights in Africa. Whether they
are in government, members of this august Commission, or individuals and NGOs working to
ensure that governments respect human rights, human rights defenders everywhere deserve respect
and protection.
The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders is the focal point for the Commission's
activities in favour of the protection of the human rights defenders who operate as members of civil
society. The individuals who fall under this mandate are often critics of their government's actions
and unfortunately require the protection of outside bodies, including regional international human
rights bodies like this Commission. For this reason, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
Defenders has sometimes found it necessary to intervene with governments to ensure that the
human rights of human rights defenders are respected.
To facilitate the protective functions of the Special Rapporteur, including for the purpose of
providing her information that may led to quicker more effective action and for providing a
collective memory for her mandate that can be passed on to future mandate holders, we propose the
establishment of a database of human rights defenders. We fully realize that the establishment and
maintenance of such a database requires the utmost concern for the privacy of the individuals whose
data is therein included. We believe that this is a concern that with the establishment of proper
confidentiality procedure and rules can be satisfactorily dealt with.
We have provided a short summary of the project to the Special Rapporteur. We hope that with the
Special Rapporteur, the Commission will consider this proposal and make an in principle decision
on it so that, should the Commission wish to proceed, we can do our best to provide or secure any
support that might be necessary.

17, rue Ferdinand-Hodler, CH-1207 Genève, Suisse Tél. +41-22-736-9266 - Fax +41-22-736 -9193 E-mail:
IAC, 55 West 17th Street, New York, NY 10011 USA Tél. +1-212-798-3992 - Fax +1-206-984-4734 E-mail: