Leaders at the African Union summit in Ethiopia have admitted that the human rights violations in the continent are on the rise. The United Nations says it trusts that South Africa, as the chair for 2020, has the ability to encourage the continent to implement human rights.

According to the Africa Human Rights Commission, violent conflicts have increased since 2019. The results report of mass murder, mutilations, sexual violence particularly against women, destruction of property and livelihoods and displacement of millions of people in which children are most affected; have been on the increase.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says South Africa must assist African States to turn this around.

“South Africa is a country in which human rights are extremely important and that for us is vital, especially in the south to have a southern felt human rights commitment which is also a lesson sometimes to the developed world. People sometimes talk a lot about human rights, but don’t necessarily practice them in many aspects.”

WATCH VIDEOS OF GUTERRES ADDRESSING THE MEDIA AT THE AU SUMMIT: 

Instruments of justice in the continent are decrying a lack of enough support. President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Hon Justice Sylvain Oré, says the court does not have full support from the whole continent.

“There are only 30 countries out of the 55 of the African Union that have protocol. We want universal ratification; all the member states of the African Union should ratify the protocol. Our people need to be protected by this mechanism. So we hope that on the theme of the subjects in the agenda to encourage the state to ratify the protocol of the court, but also to make the declaration. You know there is also the declaration to allow citizens and NGOs to have direct access to the court.”

The Arusha based African court says it is unfortunate that some states are refusing to honour the court. Hon Justice Oré says such instances make it ineffective.

“It is very unfortunate because they are the same who have created the court. Now the court is doing its job effectively using the treaties, the protocol, the international law and now when we decide to condemn them and sanction them, they refuse to implement and even some want to withdraw the declaration. It is their right, but in Africa, we should have some discussion.”

The court plans have regular meetings with member states to explain its work and how valuable it is in reducing human rights violations.