Experts discuss Protection of Human Rights in ECOWAS

Legal and Human Rights Experts will discuss the Protection of Human Rights of ECOWAS Citizens at a Biennial Conference, which opens on Wednesday in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.

The experts who are from within and outside West Africa will examine the role of the ECOWAS Community Court in the protection of the human rights of community citizens as a fundamental value of the community.

A statement copied to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday by Elohor Ovadje, the Information Officer, ECOWAS Community Court of Justice said, participants at the three-day conference would examine the subject under seven sub themes focusing on the human rights mandate of the court, access to justice, human rights protection and community law and the exhaustion of local remedies for human rights cases.

“One of the distinctive features of the Court is that its instrument allows it to entertain cases of human rights violations even when applicants have not exhausted local remedies in their Member States,” it said.

The statement noted that participants would also include judges of the court, staff of the registry and relevant staff of the relevant divisions of the Court, at the conference, which would bring together some 70 experts and to be opened by Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira of Guinea Bissau.

It said they would also discuss the sources of law, remedies for human rights violations and the enforcement of the judgments, mainly the issues, dilemma and options.

“While examining the human rights mandate of the Court, participants will undertake an overview of the mechanisms for human rights protection by regional human rights courts including the host, the ECOWAS Court,” it stated.

The statement said comparisons would also be made with other courts with human rights jurisdiction such as the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) tribunal, the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter American Court and the Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA).

It said the Chairman of the Governing Council of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission, Professor Chidi Odinkalu would deliver the keynote address on Human Rights as a fundamental value of ECOWAS, adding that the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission Dr Toga McIntosh would represent the President of the Commission at the conference, which would be closed by President Jose Mario Vaz on Friday, March 20, 2015. GNA

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