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Useful Information

OHCHR Human Rights Programme for Africa
2008-2009

Latest activities

Establishment of the Human Rights Resource Centre at the Oliver Tambo Law Library, University of Pretoria, South Africa

18 August 2011: Publication: 'la justice transitionnelle: une voie vers la reconciliation et la construction d'une paix durable', Conference paper 1/2011, Dealing with the past.

Bi-monthly publication on human rights and democracy in the sub region:
September 2011
July 2011

10 years at the service of Central Africa

Country Mandates Established
by the CHR/HRC

Open invitation to Special Procedures

Regional Members of the Human Rights Council:

Benin 2014
Botswana 2014
Burkina Faso 2014
Congo 2014
Côte d'Ivoire 2015
Ethiopia 2015
Gabon 2015
Kenya 2015
Namibia 2016
Sierra Leone 2015
South Africa 2016
South Sudan 2016

Voluntary Pledges and Commitments

Publications

OHCHR report 2013 OHCHR Report 2013
OHCHR Management Plan 2014-2017 OHCHR Management Plan 2014-2017
Brochure: Human Rights in action Human Rights in Action (PDF)
Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society A Handbook for Civil Society (PDF)

OHCHR – Central Africa Regional Office (2008-2009)


Human rights context

 
The UN Subregional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa was established in 2001 pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 54/55 A of 1 December 1999, at the request of Member States of the Economic Community of Central African States to strengthen security, stability and development in Central Africa by promoting respect for human rights and democracy. The Centre covers Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe. Covering the four countries where OHCHR does not have a presence (the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe) has proved to be one of the Centre’s greatest challenges.

The Centre’s priorities include strengthening the rule of law and democracy, increasing awareness on human rights issues through human rights training and education programmes, disseminating human rights materials, building the capacity of governments, parliamentarians, the police and civil society organizations, supporting the establishment of national human rights institutions, and advocating for a human rights-based approach to UN programming in the subregion.

Most countries in Central Africa have ratified the key human rights treaties and made public pledges to implement them domestically, although much remains to be done in terms of transforming international obligations into domestic law. While human rights and democracy challenges persist, some countries enjoy a relatively high degree of political freedom and fundamental liberties and governments broadly tolerate activities aimed at sensitizing the population about their rights. However, such liberties are restricted in several countries. Internal and external conflicts have been used as a pretext to restrict human rights. Many minorities face discrimination in accessing social, economic and cultural rights, particularly in terms of education, health and housing. Exploitation of resources is a major issue, especially as communities are being displaced. Torture, child trafficking, slavery and sexual exploitation continue to be reported from some parts of the subregion.

Most countries of the subregion have established national human rights institutions based on the Paris Principles, while others have created institutions within government departments or ministries to improve human rights promotion and protection. Some of these institutions have addressed specific human rights cases and trends and have been instrumental in the promotion of human rights, but generally appear to shy away from dealing with sensitive or high profile cases. Elections have been taking place periodically in most countries and the democratic space generally seems to be expanding, but more progress needs to take place. Some parts of the subregion have a vibrant civil society,which has helped open up the political space and encouraged a constructive human rights dialogue. Nonetheless, in some countries, journalists and human rights defenders have been restricted in their work, and there have been arrests of leading human rights figures.

 

Achievements

 
Throughout 2007 in particular, the work undertaken in the field of democracy and human rights,mainly on the fight against impunity, prevention of torture, discrimination, human rights training programmes on gender issues and transitional justice, raised the Centre’s profile throughout Central Africa, enabling it to expand its network of partners. The adoption of the High Commissioner’s Strategic Management Plan for 2006-2007 led to the development of a three-year strategy for the Centre (2007-2009) aimed at strengthening collaboration with the UN Country Teams and ECCAS Member States, and building fruitful partnerships with national human rights institutions, civil society organizations, the media and the diplomatic community to promote and protect human rights and democracy in Central Africa.

 

Priorities

 
During 2008-2009, the Centre will engage more actively in Chad in addition to Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo. Chad will be included in all regional capacity-building initiatives related specifically to conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peace and security.

In the Central African Republic, the Centre will provide support to the human rights component of the United Nations Peace-building Office (BONUCA) in informationgathering initiatives and public reporting, and will facilitate contacts with international organizations based in Central Africa,mainly in Cameroon.

The Centre will continue its activities in Cameroon, aimed at strengthening the capacity of parliamentarians to develop broad participation of the population in democratic processes. The Centre will also address the issues of impunity, discrimination, torture and administration of justice. As part of its efforts to help alleviate poverty, the Centre will foster cooperation with the UN Country Team to address gender-based violence and promote women’s rights and the right to education, particularly for young girls in northern Cameroon.

The Centre will pursue its efforts in Gabon toward strengthening the capacity and knowledge of Government officials and the growing number of civil society organizations to monitor and respond to human rights violations. The Centre will deliver human rights training programmes for the police, judiciary, security forces and prison officials to strengthen their knowledge in applying human rights standards, particularly the provisions of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Centre will also develop sensitization programmes, in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication, to increase awareness about human rights issues and knowledge of international and regional human rights mechanisms.

The Centre will also conduct an assessment mission to Equatorial Guinea to collect data on the human rights situation and explore ways of addressing the more pressing human rights abuses, with particular focus on migrants’ rights, gender-based violence, women’s education, prevention of torture, and detention conditions.

As a follow-up to the mission conducted in the Republic of the Congo in October 2007, the Centre will continue to support the establishment of a national human rights commission in compliance with the Paris Principles, and intensify its efforts to integrate a rights-based approach in UN Country Team programmes. 


Contact Information

Headquarters

Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division
Geneva, Switzerland

Africa Section 
Tel. +41 22 928 9694
Geneva, Switzerland

Regional Offices/Centres

Central Africa
2010-2011
2008-2009
2006-2007
(Yaounde, Cameroon)
Nouvelle route Bastos
Rue 1705, Numéro 606
B.P. 836
Yaoundé, Cameroon
Tel.: +237 2221 2474 +23 74 83 03 56 ;
74 83 01 78
+8821 637 220 464 (satellite)
Fax: (237) 221 2475
Website: http://www.cnudhd.org/

East Africa
2010-2011
2008-2009
2006-2007
(Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)
New ECA Building
Room 1N16
P.O.Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia
Tel.: (251 11) 544 3105
Fax: (251 11) 551 6078

Southern Africa
2012-2013
Regional Office for Southern Africa
UN House, Metropark Building
351 Francis Baard Street
P.O. Box 6541
Pretoria 0001
South Africa
Tel.: +27 12 354 8686
Fax: +27 12 354 8681
E-mail: rosa@ohchr.org


West Africa

2010-2011
2008-2009
United Nations Office for West Africa Almadies Ouest Lot N°14 B.P. 23851
Tel.: + 221 869 85 85
Fax: +221 569 1881

Other OHCHR Offices

Burundi
Cote d'Ivoire
Democratic Republic of Congo
Ethiopia/Eritrea
Liberia
Sierra Leone
Sudan
Togo
Uganda

Feature stories

Links

United Nations Country Teams in Africa region

Other UN links

Security Council resolutions

Secretary-General reports to the Security Council

External links

International Criminal Court

Geneva Conventions

ILO Conventions

Refugee Conventions

African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

African Court of Justice

African Union

Economic Community of Central African States

Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa

National Institutions

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