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The right to peace and the fight against terrorism. The role of African regional Human Rights instruments and mechanisms

Research Paper (postgraduate) 2016 17 Pages

Politics - International Politics - Topic: Public International Law and Human Rights

Excerpt

SUMMARY

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION

I- The role of the African regional instruments in promoting the right to peace and the fight against terrorism
A- The Regional instruments centered(dedicated)on the fight against terrorism in Africa .
B- The promotion and protection of specific human rights by some African regional instruments in order to fight against terrorism
C- The Role of the African Union Continental Early Warning System in maintaining peace in Africa through Early Warning and Conflict Prevention

II- The role of the African Union Organs in maintaining peace by fighting against the crime of terrorism
A- The role of the Peace and Security Council in preventing, managing and resolving conflicts caused by terrorism
B- The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and the fight against terrorism in Africa

CONCLUSION

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ABSTRACT

The need to fight against terrorism in African in order to maintain peace and security became one of the most important objectives of the African Union. This desire to fight led to the organization of many extraordinary and ordinary sessions of the Head of States and government of the African Union were during these sessions many human rights instruments were adopted. Amongst these instruments we have: OAU Convention on the prevention and fight against terrorism and its Protocol adopted in 2004, the 1994 Declaration on a Code of Conduct for Inter-African Relation, the Dakar Declaration against terrorism and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. The adoption of these instruments therefore marked the beginning of a new era in Africa, were all the efforts and means converged to the fight the organization and outbreak of terrorist attacks. All the African States were as from this moment suppose to ratify and adopt all these regional instruments in order to continue locally and internally the fight against terrorism. This also called to a more effective and efficient collaboration between the African States and African Union Organs engaged in the fight against terrorism. This worked also tried to examine the role of the African Union Organs who are responsible for the protection ofHuman Rights and responsible for maintaining peace and security in Africa. Amongst these African Union Organs we have the Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. The Peace and Security Council which was created by the Protocol of 2002 and entered into force in 2003, came in to stop all the terrorist attacks and stop the outbreak of internal and international conflict, in order to maintain peace, security and stability in Africa. The action of this Council was completed and accompanied by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, as it is stipulated in article 19 of the 2002 Protocol. This Commission through its resolutions and rules of procedures greatly fights against terrorism in order to protect all the Human Rights contained in the African Charter of 1981. The action of these two organs shows to us the important role they play in fighting against terrorism.

Key Words: Human rights, terrorism, the right to peace, security, stability, Charters, right to life, Resolutions, Ordinary Sessions, African Union, regional instruments and institutions.

INTRODUCTION

The source of insecurity in most countries have to do with unsolvable or unsolved internal ethnic conflicts, power sharing disputes, greater deal of injustice , lack of rule of law, undemocratic and weak institutions, border disputes between countries, religious and cultural differences, poor agricultural reforms, etc. Most terrorist groups that immerged in Africa were more or less based on revolutionary agenda, religious antagonism leading to extremism, appeal to institutional change, claiming recognition from oppressed minority[1]. Duffy defines terrorism as all criminal acts directed against a state and intended to create a state of terror in the minds of a particular group of people or the whole nation[2]. The world has known terrorism for years and in various forms and degrees[3] and some terrorist group’s networks have emerged in West and East Africa such as the Boko Haram and Al-shebaab.[4]

Continental efforts in preventing and combating terrorism have a long history. In 1992, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), met at its 28th Ordinary Session, held in Dakar, Senegal were they adopted a Resolution on the Strengthening of Cooperation and Coordination among African States in which the Union pledged to fight the phenomena of extremism and terrorism. At its 30th Ordinary Session held in Tunis, Tunisia, in June 1994, the OAU adopted the Declaration on the Code of Conduct for Inter-African Relations, in which it rejected all forms of extremism and terrorism, whether under the pretext of sectarianism, tribalism, ethnicity or religion.[5] The fight against terrorism can help Africa in implementing the right to peace, and this can be seen in the saying of Mr. Mugabe in reference to Mr. Mayor’s Declaration on the Human Right to Peace published on the 21th of February2016, where he said: “We have never thought ofpeace as afundamental human right yet without the right to peace there cannot be any opportunity created to enhance all other human rights such as the right to education and health,”[6]

As from the above, one can ask himself if the African Union through its organs will be able to fight against terrorism in order to implement the right to national and international peace and security in Africa. The problem here is the role of the African Union in the fight against terrorism in order to implement the right to peace. This problem gives rise to 2 questions that are:to what extend does the African regional instruments promote the right to peace and the fight against terrorism (I) and how effective and efficient is the role of the African Union Organs in maintaining peace by fighting against terrorism (II).

I- The role of the African regional instruments in promoting the right to peace and the fight against terrorism

Accordingly in 1992, for the first time the OAU called for stronger cooperation and coordination among African states to counter extremism and terrorism in Africa.[7] This shows the need for the AU (replaced the OAU) to fight against terrorism and protect the right to peace. This fight started with the adoption of some regional instruments promoting and protecting human Rights, were we have the regional instruments centered on the fight against terrorism in Africa (A), other Human Rights instruments (B) and the African Union Continental Early Warning System (C).

A- The Regional instruments centered (dedicated)on the fight against terrorism in Africa

The African Union Commission together with its 54 member States deemed it necessary to adopt some regional legal instruments which will help to promote the fight against terrorism in Africa. To implement this African initiative, the first specialized regional instrument on the fight against terrorism was adopted in 1999 as the OAU Convention on the prevention and fight against terrorism and its Protocol adopted in 2004. This Conventionwas drafted by a sub-committee of the OAU Central Organ of the Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, comprising five states (Algeria as chair, Burundi, Namibia, Senegal and Tanzania), in collaboration with the OAU legal division.[8] At the time, few African states had already enacted specific criminal laws against terrorism. Algeria, chairing the drafting committee, had criminalized subversive or terrorist acts in September 1992.[9]

The preamble to this OAU Convention describes terrorism as a ‘serious violation of human rights’, particularly the rights to physical integrity, life, freedom and security, and notes that it impedes socio-economic development by destabilizing states. It also notes the dangers to state stability and security. Article l(3)(a) defines a terrorist act‘os any domestic criminal act which may endanger the life, physical integrity or freedom of, or cause serious injury or death to, any person, any number or group of persons and damage the public or privateproperty, natural resources, environmental or cultural heritage in an area’.

States are therefore required by the OAU Convention to criminalize terrorist acts (article 2); eliminate political or other motives as a defense (article 3); establish extensive jurisdiction over the offences (article 6); investigate (article 7) and prosecute or extradite (article 8) suspects (thus addressing the problem of impunity). States must also cooperate in a range of ways (article 4), including exchange of information (article 5) and mutual legal assistance. In its Protocol on the prevention and combating terrorism adopted in 2004, the AU continued in the same direction in reaffirming the right to peace and security and the necessity by all the African States to work hand in hand in order to fight against terrorism.

The other regional instrument specialized on the fight against terrorism was the 1994 Declaration on a Code of Conduct for Inter-African Relations, adopted by the OAU’s Assembly of Heads of State and Government[10]. This Declaration, for the first time in Africa, condemned as criminal acts, “all terrorist acts, methods and practices” and resolved to increase cooperation in order to erase this blot on security, stability and development. This declaration fther recognized the threat posed by movements based on religious, political and tribal extremism, in considering that extremism and terrorism under the pretext of sectarianism, tribalism, ethnicity or religion undermine the moral and human values of peoples.[11] In its Conclusions N° 2, the Head of States and Governments of the African Union reaffirmed that “they want Africa to be a source of peace, open to dialogue, co-operation and exchange with the rest of the world, and they are committed to the search for common responses to attain these challenges”. This shows all the efforts put in place by this regional instrument in order to fight against terrorism.

To add, the Dakar Declaration against terrorism adopted on the 17th of October 2001 came as a catapult and catalyzes motivating and encouraging African Sates to continue the fight against terrorism, thereby condemning any terrorist acts and sanctioning the authors accused of organizing and implementing terrorist activities. These African Head of States who met in Dakar were convinced about the necessity to make Africa a continent where every act of terrorism and abetment of terrorism must be banned without any restriction based on political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or other considerations[12]. This is because these African Heads of States together with other African Leaders and Human Rights activist noticed the multiplication and increase of terrorist attacks in Africa (the development of terrorism) which constitutes a threat to world peace and security.

Then finally, the definition of terrorism as a crime against humanity was confirmed by the 2014 draft protocol on amendments to the protocol on the statute of the African court of justice and human rights. This protocol in its article 28Greaffirmed the qualification of terrorist attacks as a crime of terrorism and a crime against humanity[13], given the fact that every crime committed most go through investigations and prosecutions and the authors of these crimes should be arrested and punished. This Protocol’s crime of terrorism is closely modeled on the OAU Convention, which reflects certain historical experiences and understandings of terrorism in Africa. The inclusion of a crime of terrorism in the Malabo Protocol was the culmination of over two decades of African regional efforts to fight against terrorism since 1992.

B- The promotion and protection of specific human rights by some African regional instruments in order to fight against terrorism

The rights to life and Physical Integrity

The promotion and the protection of the right to life by some African Regional Instruments on Human Rights is a good arm to fight against terrorism in Africa. This can be explained by the fact that in most cases, terrorist attacks aims at killing many innocents’ people thereby ignoring their dignity, because most terrorists believe that by killing some citizens, the political authorities will accept their demands. Amongst these regional instruments which promote the Right to life, we have the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights in its article 4.[14] To add, this African Charter includes a right to integrity of person within the same provision protecting the right to life. The authors of terrorist attacks should stop seizing the life of innocent people.

The right to national and international peace and security

The outbreak of terrorist activities and attacks in an area brings a lot of fear, instability and insecurity. This therefore violates the right to peace and security as it is stipulated in the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of 1981 and the Protocol establishing the Peace and Security Council in Africa of 2002.Article 23 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights states that: “Allpeoples shall have the right to national and international peace and security”. This right is guided and implemented by the Peace and security Council which was created by the above Protocol adopted in 2002, were its article 12 proposes the creation of a Continental Early warning system in order to facilitate the anticipation and prevention of conflicts.

The right to be free from torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment

According to many African Regional instruments on Human Rights, every African citizen has the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. But it appears today that many terrorist organize and realize terrorist attacks in order to torture the citizens of a Country. The kidnap of young people especially girls in order to submit these young girls to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is the modis operendi of many terrorists.

[...]


[1] Wilkinson., Terrorism and LiberalState, MacMillan, London, 1977, p 95

[2] Southern Africa Trust., Regional Integration: Challenges of Regional Integration for Poverty Reduction: Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2011, p 34

[3] Rosand E, McliarA, Josar P., Implementing the Global counter-terrorism Strategy in EastAfrica. Centre on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation, Washington, USA, 2008, p 45

[4] War on Terrorism in Africa: A Challenge for Regional Integration and Cooperation Organizations in Eastern and Western Africa. Available Online at: http://www.esciencecentral.org/iournals/war-on-terrorism-in-africa-a- challenge-for-regional-integration-and-cooperation-organizations-in-eastern-and-western-africa-2332-0761- 1000Sl-007.php?aid=60680(accessed on the 18th of September 2016)

[5] The African Union Counter Terrorism Framework, Last Updated on Monday 23 November 2015. Online at: http://www.peaceau.org/en/page/64-counter-terrorism-ct (accessed on the 18th of September 2016)

[6] Zimbabwe president backs declaration on the right to peace, calls for follow-up to world solar summit http://www.unesco.org/bpi/eng/unescopress/97-35e.htm(accessed on the 19th of September 2016)

[7] See OAU Assembly of Heads ofState and Government, Resolution 213 (XXVIII), 29 June - 1 July 1992, para.10.

[8] H. Boukrif, Quelques commentaires et observations sur la Convention de l'Organisation de l'Unité africaine sur la Preventionet la Lutte Contre le Terrorism,African Journal of International and Comparative Law, 1999, p 80

[9] Art. 1 ofthe Legislative Decree No 92-03 of 30 September 1992 on Combating Subversion and Terrorism in Algeria; amended and supplemented by Legislative Decree No 93-05 of9th ofApril 1993.

[10] The Declaration on a Code ofConductfor Inter-African Relations was adopted during the Thirtieth Ordinary Session ofthe AU Assembly of Heads ofState and Government in Tunis from the 13th to 15th ofJune 1994

[11] The preamble ofthe 1994 Declaration on a Code ofConduct for Inter-African Relations

[12] The preamble of the Declaration of Dakar against Terrorism, adopted on the 17th of October 2001, in Dakar (Senegal)

[13] Article 28G ofthe draft protocol on amendments to the protocol on the statute ofthe African court ofjustice and human rights, adopted after the holding ofthe first meeting ofthe specialized technical committee on justice and legal affairs, from the 15th to 16th of May 2014, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

[14] Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights states that: "Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily deprived ofthis right".

Details

Pages
17
Year
2016
ISBN (eBook)
9783668377943
ISBN (Book)
9783668377950
File size
635 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v350854
Institution / College
Catholic University of Central Africa – Academy for Peace and Human Rights in Central Africa
Grade
Tags
african human rights

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Title: The right to peace and the fight against terrorism. The role of African regional Human Rights instruments and mechanisms