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OACPS SG states that there can be no sustainable and inclusive development without respect for human rights

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STATEMENT BY THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE ORGANISATION OF AFRICAN, CARIBBEAN AND PACIFIC STATES ON THE OCCASION OF AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

Brussels, 21 October 2020/OACPS: In the context of the annual observance of African Human Rights Day on 21 October, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), H.E. Mr. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, reiterates the significance of this day, which marks the anniversary of the implementation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. He stresses that human rights are universal, indivisible, and interdependent, and must be respected under all circumstances. Indeed, for the Secretary-General, there can be no sustainable and inclusive development without respect for human rights.

The Secretary-General applauds African leaders for their efforts and determination to defend the rights of Africa’s peoples by declaring the period 2017-2027, the Decade of African Human Rights. This decision provides an opportunity to take stock of the state of human rights on the entire continent, and make provisions to enhance the protection and promotion of rights. He commends, in particular, the nations that contribute to the African Union’s human rights observer missions, which aim to mitigate human rights violations across the continent.  

Cognisant of the particularly difficult circumstances under which these missions are conducted, the Secretary-General recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has effectively highlighted the fact that the most fundamental human rights are the right to life and those associated with human dignity, as well as the equality of all human beings. He therefore calls on all nations to ensure that responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are premised on human rights and that all persons have equal access to treatment. 

Acknowledging that much remains to be done to address human rights violations in Africa, Secretary-General Chikoti calls on the Members of the OACPS to enact and implement national legislation that enables the protection, promotion and fulfilment of civil, political, economic, social or cultural human rights. 

The Secretary-General also reaffirms his commitment to support the Members of the OACPS in the implementation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, with a view to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, which calls for the promotion and enforcement of non-discriminatory laws and policies, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


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