The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is advocating the involvement of vulnerable persons in the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA).
Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Joseph Whittal noted that, it was the only way through which the impact of AFCFTA on livelihoods would be realised.
He said, currently, vulnerable and minority groups were likely to be disproportionately impacted by the liberalisation of trade if no human rights safeguards were executed.
He was speaking at a two-day meeting of Human Rights Experts and other key stakeholders at Banjul in the Gambia to discuss issues relating to trade and human rights in the AFCFTA.
The meeting, the 5th National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) forum was focused on “Inclusive Implementation of the AfCFTA with Participation of Vulnerable Populations.”
It was organised by the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) in collaboration with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) at the core of the ACHPR public ordinary sessions.
The objective of the forum was to provide a platform for the African NHRIs, the ACHPR, the OHCHR, as well as the international human rights mechanisms it supports, and other key stakeholders to deliberate on issues with respect to human rights and a right to development approach in the implementation of the AfCFTA.
Participants at the forum included representatives of the NHRIs, the ACHPR, the AfCFTA Secretariat, State Representatives, Representatives of African Regional Treaty Bodies, relevant United Nations (UN) Agencies, Civil Society Organisations, Academic Institutions, and Development Partners.
Mr Whittal noted that the meeting created a platform to exchange experiences on efforts in supporting the work of the ACHPR in promoting and protecting human rights and people’s rights in Africa.
The stakeholders, he said, had resolved to integrate human rights and the right to development in protecting vulnerable and marginalised groups in the implementation of the AfCFTA to be presented to the ACHPR for consideration at the 73rd Ordinary Session.
Additionally, the stakeholders recommended the equipping of NHRIs with technical expertise on integrating human rights and the right to development in protecting vulnerable and marginalised groups in the implementation of the AfCFTA frame.
BY TIMES REPORTER