Skip to main content

The Nation Newspaper, 16th May, 2017

By Lucky Mkandawire

Commission has granted an observer status to Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (Chreaa), a development that has increased the number of local civil society organisations (CSOs) at the continental body.

Chreaa executive director Victor Mhango confirmed the news yesterday, saying the status will enable his organisation to advance its areas of interest to the commission’s agenda.

He said: “This is good news because we are now bona fide members of the commission. We will now be allowed to fully participate in every activity like making statements at the commission, asking questions in case Malawi or any other country is presenting statements.”

Mhango: We are now bona fide members

CSOs are granted the status upon certifying the Commission’s Resolution 33, which defines the criteria for granting and enjoying the status for human and peoples’ rights organisations in Africa.

Mhango said Chreaa applied for the status in 2016 and their application went through a panel of commissioners before being granted the status.

Among others, CSOs are required to submit their annual reports, activity reports, audited accounts and be registered under their respective countries’ laws to be considered.

Malawi has few other CSOs with the observer status such as Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Centre for the Development of People (Cedep) and Malawi Carer. The Malawi Human Rights Commission also has that status.

Mhango is one of the 600 delegates from member States and organisations from Africa and other continents currently attending the 60th session of the AU Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), which started last week in Niger.

For two weeks, the delegates will be discussing all aspects of human and peoples’ rights in various African countries, including Malawi.

The ACHPR is a quasi-judicial body tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collective peoples’ rights throughout Africa as well as interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and considering individual complaints of the charter’s violations.