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SAHRC presented to Parliament on implications of ratifying the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance

The South African Human Rights Commission today made a presentation to the Parliamentary Committee on International Relations and Cooperation. The purpose of the presentation was to assist the Committee to clearly understand the implications of ratifying the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.  

The Charter may be used to complement the African Peer Review Mechanism and the current reporting which exists in respect to this peer review mechanism as they both speak to the African continent specifically. It will also serve as a tool or measure of ensuring democracy across the African continent and may be used to evaluate the degree to which South Africa is meeting its constitutional democratic values.

To date, South Africa has ratified the following African regional human rights instruments, which is being administered by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights:
„X  African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), 1981, ratified to in July 1996
„X  African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) 1990, ratified in January 2000
„X  Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, ratified by South Africa on 17 December 2004.

There are currently 6 African countries that have ratified the Charter and 29 countries that have signed. Fifteen ratifications are necessary in order for the Charter to come into effect. The Charter promotes human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It also encourages the strengthening of the AU organs, encourages civil society participation in democratic processes and strongly condemns undemocratic changes of government. The Charter has a strong gender focus by recognising the important role of women in development and democracy.

Subsequent to this presentation and further deliberations, the committee voted in favour of South Africa ratifying the charter and will submit such ratification before the National Assembly.

ENDS
 
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