IMLU at The 73rd Africa Commission Session-Banjul The Gambia

By Isabella Obara

On October 17th and 18th 2022, IMLU was represented at the NGO Forum hosted and organized by The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS). ACDHRS is an independent, non-profit regional human rights NGO based in Banjul, The Gambia. 

The sessions were centered around democracy and the social practice of Human Rights in Africa, the 20th Anniversary of the World Day against the Death Penalty, the State’s adherence to rule of law and human rights as well as the challenges posed to human rights during and post Covid-19.

On the challenges posed to human rights during and post Covid-19., IMLU shared the various manifestations of torture and related violations during Covid-19. especially the underlying ills in Kenya’s policing practices. Further to this, IMLU shared its statistics and data as well as the various strategic interventions it undertook to ensure continuity of direct service provision such as working in shifts as opposed to total office closure.

Overall, IMLU engaged in the sessions to;

  1. Share insights on general trends of Torture, Extra Judicial Killings, Enforced Disappearance, and related Violations in Kenya; during Covid-19. and elections period; and 
  2. Network and build partnerships with key NGOs in the Human Rights and Police reforms sector.

The sessions were geared towards influencing the recommendations and resolutions to be adopted and shared with the Commission for prioritization during the 73rd Africa Commission’s Ordinary session.

IMLU Acting Programme Officer Isabella Obara participating in one of the sessions during a panel discussion on October 20, 2022 in the Gambia

Side Events and Panels 

On October 19th, 20th and 21st, 2022, IMLU was represented in various panel discussions and bilateral meetings to discuss its advocacy work, research and direct service provision of Torture and related violations.

Office of the High Commissioner Human Rights -United Nations Voluntary Fund for Torture Panel discussions and Peer meeting  

During this panel session, IMLU as a beneficiary of the United Nations Voluntary Fund (UNVFVT) shared its focal points of service delivery, sustainability measures and success stories.

IMLU shared how service provision is undertaken by both full-time employees and the networks of; Advocates, Human Rights Monitors, Journalists, Pathologists, Counsellors and Psychologists.

During the discussions, the  Benard Orwa success story was shared to provide proof of the concept of the support as received by IMLU from UNVFVT. Benard was a boda boda rider who was Tortured in 2021 and the medical support he received ensured that he recuperated and resumed his daily activities.

The challenges encountered by grantees were also part of the discussion, especially because the Government often surveils non-governmental organizations that provide legal and medical assistance of State perpetrated Torture.

IMLU’s client Benard Orwa’s story highlighted on the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims Of Torture flyer

Article19 and Centre for Human Rights (CHR)

Theme; Access to Information and Elections: A Glimpse of the African Experience

At this forum, IMLU  was tasked with sharing their interventions to ensure access to information during the just concluded general elections in Kenya. More on the IMLUs interim elections monitoring report was shared including the trends in information sharing from law enforcement agencies to civil society.

Africa Commission 73rd Ordinary Sessions

Theme; Human Rights and Governance in Africa; A multi-Dimensional Approach in addressing conflict, crisis and inequality

On October  21st 2022, IMLU joined the Commission in the officiating of the 73rd session and celebrating 35 years of the Commission. During the session,  IMLU leveraged its observer status with African Commission to prepare towards presenting its statement on Torture and Related Violations in Kenya.

During the officiating of the session, Kenyan Commissioner Litha Musimi was sworn in to serve at the Commission.

Further, during the session, The Chairman of the Commission Hon. Remy Ngoy Lumbu officially launched the Compendium of African Human and People’s Rights Law. The commemorative edition brings together all useful treaties applicable to the State parties.

Other core documents launched during the Commission’s Ordinary Sessions include the ACHPR Guidelines on the Protection of all persons from  Enforced disappearances in Africa and Guidelines on Shadow Reports of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.

The session also commemorated the 40 years of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. During the commemoration, party states were urged to collaborate with Civil Societies to ensure that Victims of Torture receive requisite service provisions and guarantees of non-repetition. 

IMLU continues to commit to engaging with the Commission to draw the attention of the Commission to violations of the Charter, bring communications on behalf of individuals, monitor states’ compliance with the Charter, and help to increase awareness of the Commission’s activities by knowledge sharing and other capacity building activities.