The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today has joined its African regional group the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) to call on the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) to address the rampant impunity enjoyed by culprits of crimes against journalists and African citizens on the continent.
The two organisations say that the situation of journalists’ safety in Africa remains critical. There is lack of accountability for Violations of their fundamental rights and freedoms, attacks and crime targeting media professionals.
This culture of impunity still prevailing in Africa led to 21 killings of journalists in the course of their work last year on the continent, including 18 in Somalia. 15 journalists have been killed in Africa since the start of this year.
“The killings of journalists and other media workers are not only crimes against the victims but also a direct threat to the free flow of information necessary for a democratic society,” said FAJ President, Mohamed Garba. ”We call on the Prosecutor of the African Court to engage public actions against the perpetrators of these heinous crimes by investigating and bringing them to face the full force of the law.”
The IFJ and FAJ are concerned by the lack of awareness about the African Court among large sways of African populations and bodies that are entitled to bring cases before it. Only 26 States out of the 54 have ratified the Protocol establishing the Court, and only seven have so far authorized individuals and NGOs to institute cases directly before the African Court.
“The role of the African Court is essential in the fight against impunity in Africa. This should be distinguished from the mandate of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)”, added Gabriel Baglo IFJ Africa Director.
"We commend the engagement of the Court for more publicity and urge the media to sensitize the general public on the ways, means and procedures of the Court in order to guide African citizens and bodies who seek judicial redress through the Court.”
This October the IFJ and its affiliates have launched the campaign named End Impunity Against Journalists and are organising events to mark the International Day against Impunity tomorrow on 23 November.
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The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries
FAJ represents more than 50.000 journalists in 40 countries in Africa