Hon Justice Harold Nsekela, former Judge President of the East African Court of Justice, makes a point at the RWI symposium on the importance of strengthening compliance with regional human rights decisions.

Note from the Senior Programme Officers

Chris Muthuri

Senior Programme Officer

Our Regional Africa Programme is currently in an Inception Phase, the main purpose of which is to develop, together with key programme partners, a detailed framework for the full Programme Implementation Phase for the period 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2023.

Managed by the RWI Regional Office in Nairobi and with funding from Swedish Development Cooperation (Sida), RWI is now further expanding and developing its cooperation regionally in Africa. The overall objective of the Regional Africa Programme is to realise a demonstrable improvement in access to justice for all and implementation of human rights commitments in Africa. This objective is framed by the premise that the key challenge for increased respect for human rights regionally is not primarily a lack of standards and institutions, but making existing standards and institutions work.

To achieve this objective, the Programme pursues two inter-related streams of work:

  • Cooperation with key regional actors able to follow up and influence the implementation of human rights commitments in the region; and
  • Direct cooperation with bodies of the African Union (AU), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and related duty-bearers in the region, in the area of human rights.

During the Programme Inception Phase, implementing partners within the first stream are working primarily as follows:

  • African Court Coalition – monitoring and strengthening implementation of decisions by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights
  • Africa Legal Aid – understanding emerging trends on complementarity and strengthening international criminal justice cooperation and responses
  • African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum – developing and applying an assessment tool for the Common Standards on Policing in the East African Community (EAC)
  • East Africa Law Society – increasing understanding of the East African Court of Justice and strengthening implementation of its decisions
  • Network of African National Human Rights Institutions – enhancing the ability of NHRIs to influence human rights developments and follow-up on human rights commitments
  • Pan African Lawyers Union – strengthening implementation of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court of Justice decisions and supporting implementation of the 10-Year Human Rights Action Plan
  • Academic Network – generating research and resources, building capacity, and developing spaces for inter-sectoral dialogue

The second stream includes direct cooperation with the AU, regional and sub-regional courts, and other organs of EAC and ECOWAS.

Baseline studies and consultations conducted during the Inception Phase are informing the development of evidence-based initiatives aimed at strengthening the human rights capacity of key regional institutions and related duty-bearers as well as the abilities of other key regional actors to influence and follow-up on the work of such institutions. Gender equality and inclusion are also an integral part of the Programme.

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