Mali is one of the eight (8) countries that allow individuals and NGOs to bring cases to the Court. Thanks to that, in 2018, the African Court ordered the amendment of a 2011 law that allowed early and forced marriages in Mali. Two NGOs had filed a case against the law as this was the only way to fight it legally. It would have not been possible in any of the 25 countries that have not deposited the declaration allowing individuals and NGOs to directly access the Court, and even less so in the other 22 countries that have not even ratified the African Court’s protocol. Take action today to demand to these 22 countries to at the very least ratify the Protocol establishing the African Court, and even better, also give you direct access to the Court!
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is the judicial arm of the African Union and has been a symbol of justice for many people since its creation. It aims to strengthen the human rights protection system in Africa. It is representing for many their last hope for justice.
For you to directly bring a complaint before the African Court, your country must have taken two steps: (1) ratify the Protocol establishing the Court and (2) deposit a declaration allowing individuals and NGOs to directly access the Court. 33 States on the continent have already taken step 1 by ratifying the Protocol, recognizing the importance of the Court’s mission. However, 22 States have not, among which is your own country.
Where the African Court was competent to receive cases, it has lived up to its promises. It has helped correct many injustices and urged States to change laws that were against human rights, like in Mali with regards to the law on marriages of women and girls.
In Tanzania, it helped a Congolese man and his family to obtain judgment granting them financial reparation for the psychological suffering they endured because of the unfair and degrading treatment they received from the authorities when the man lost his passport and was accused of residing illegally in the country – even though he presented the certificate of loss of his passport, which contained a valid visa to stay in the country. The man and his family, including his two children, were held in prison for five days and the man was subjected to an anal search in front of his children. His children and wife were ordered to leave the country while he remained in Tanzania during judicial proceedings. Seven (7) years later, the Tanzanian courts ordered him to leave Tanzania too. His only recourse for justice and to remedy the degrading treatment he received was with the African Court. The Court ordered Tanzania to never allow an anal search to be conducted again in front of one’s family and to treat all people with dignity and humanity as a result of this case.
Join us! Demand to your Head of State to ratify the African Court’s Protocol without further delay, and to also give individuals and NGOs direct access to the Court.
Angola, Botswana, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guinea, Liberia, Namibia, Morocco, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have yet to ratify the protocol creating the African Court.
The non-ratification of the Court Protocol and reluctance of States to deposit the Declaration impede the protection of human rights in Africa.