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Johannesburg – The President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AFCHPR) has urged all African countries to ratify the court’s protocol and to give their citizens and NGOs direct access to the court.

Justice Augustino Ramadhani told the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand this week that only seven countries had made the necessary declarations which would allow their people and NGOs to seek redress from the court.

This meant that 47 states have not made this declaration while 25 states had not ratified the court’s protocol, out of the African Union’s 54 member states.

South Africa has ratified the court’s protocol but it has not made the declaration permitting individuals and NGOs to access the court.

The seven states which have made the declaration are Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Ramadhani urged the members of the PAP to ask their governments to ratify the protocol and to make the declarations “which will allow individuals to come directly to the highest Court of Human Rights on the continent”.

The number of African governments which have made the declaration has stood at seven for several years.

Analysts have remarked on the irony of this apparent reluctance by governments to give their people access to African adjudication on human rights, at a time when they are growing increasingly critical of the International Criminal Court and demanding African justice for African people.

African News Agency