November 5, 2015
The representative of Mosaiko | Institute for Citizenship , Hermenegildo Teotónio da Silva e Sousa , presented the communication of the Association Mãos Livres and MOSAIKO at the 57th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights taking place in Banjul , capital of Gambia , 30 October to 18 November 2015. Here is the text in full:
Madam Chairperson of the African Commission, to whom I congratulate on her well-deserved election to the honorable leadership post of this important agency;
Ladies and gentlemen, all reserved protocols,
The Association Mãos Livres and Mosaiko have a long working experience in the dissemination and promotion of human rights in Angola in order to protect and strengthen the rights enshrined in the African Charter.
So , then we state a few facts that may contribute to the understanding of the real situation of human rights and that reflect the need to join synergies to continue to work on the recognition , promotion and defense of human rights in Angola , namely:
1. The lack of knowledge of human rights , especially the rights enshrined in the African Charter , within communities in the interior of the country, due to difficulties in accessing media and few opportunities for capacity building training;
2. The difficult access to justice organs outside major urban centers, preventing citizens from effectively enjoying their guaranteed rights provided for in article 7 of the Charter.
In this context, many good initiatives have been undertaken by civil society organizations to create a culture of respect for human rights in Angola.
We recognize that, at the level of state institutions and the various sectors of the Angolan civil society, the work done by NGOs (Association Maos Livres and Mosaiko) in the Disclosure of the Charter of Human Rights will increase knowledge of human rights and thus respect for the rule of Law and democratic ideals defended by the Angolan Constitution in its Article 2 and recommended by the African Commission on several occasions.
It is a modest contribution to the realization of freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of assembly and association and the right to participate in public life, all rights enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in articles 10 and 11 .
The Association Maos Livres and Mosaiko believe that it is only possible to give effect to these rights and freedoms through the dissemination of information and training in Human Rights , promoting training and access to information through the means of public and private media across the country , that allow citizens to be informed about the reality of the country and, thus, able to express their views on issues related to the social, economic , cultural and political of the country , participating more consciously and actively in public life.
This reality has made significant advances in some parts of the country. However, access to information and the consequent participation of citizens in public life, rights enshrined in the Charter, do not benefit the vast majority of Angolans, in so far as outside the big cities, citizens are deprived of this important right by virtue of lack of access to diverse information so as to exercise freedom of expression consciously and effectively.
Regarding the difficult access to justice organs outside major urban centers, it was with a high level of satisfaction that civil society took note of the approval and subsequent entry into force of, Law No. 2/15 of February 2 – Organic Law on the Organization and Functioning of the Courts of Common Jurisdiction, as part of the Justice and Law reform process in Angola. This legislation proposes to expand the courts to make justice geographically closer to the citizens. Therefore, the Association Maos Livres and Mosaiko encourage the State to continue to pursue actions aimed at the urgent operationalization of the new justice system.
In conclusion, we recommend the Commission to urge the Angolan State to:
ï¶ Take measures to ensure the recent regulation of NGO activity conforms with the African Charter , the United Nations Recommendations and the Committee on the Right of Association in order to encourage the continuity and sustainability of the work of organizations in order to ensure citizens can enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the African Charter;
ï¶ Continue with the training of civil servants to effectively operationalize the justice system and the humanization of public services in general, which is only possible , we believe , through training and knowledge on human rights , not forgetting the other area namely, as is obvious.
Thank you for your attention and wishing you continued good work.