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.
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