AU Watch

Project Keep Your Word’ – ‘AU Watch Strategy To Lobby African Union Member States To Ratify, Implement and Domesticate Human Rights Related Instruments’.

Introduction

In this project, we use the power of the media and communication to lobby, AUMS to ratify, implement and domesticate AU human rights instruments. Add your voice! Together we are stronger. In the process, we seek to advance a wider understanding of what the AU is about, what it does and how it does it.

The project provides a platform for understanding the human rights landscape of the AU. It offers the AU a space to engage in public and private dialogue with African CSOs and journalists and some of Africa’s most vulnerable communities – people who are often excluded from the decision-making process.

 

Why Media and Outreach Services Promote and Protect Human Rights?

The importance and role of the media to inform citizens and correct injustices have been well documented. In this project, we use the power of the media and communication to lobby, AUMS to ratify, implement and domesticate AU human rights instruments. This is an effective method to monitor and report on the human rights programs and activities of the AU organs with a human rights mandate and AUMS. In the process, we seek to advance the wider understanding of what the AU is about, what it does and how it does it. A broader objective is to raise awareness, expand and disseminate information and understanding of AU affairs.

 Sector Context

  1. As with other regional human rights systems, the African human rights system is composed of four pillars:
  1. (a) Norms: Thereare treaties that enshrine particular human rights. The most important is the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted in 1981. Other important treaties are the Protocol to the African Charter on Human And Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (and its 2014 amendment creating the African Criminal Chamber, which has not come into force yet); the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; and the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance (ACDEG).
  1. (b) State Parties: to the different instruments.
  1. (c) Supervisory bodieswhich monitor, interpret, decide, and offer recommendations regarding human rights violations. The main African Union (AU) human rights supervisory bodies are the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (the Child Committee).
  1. (d) Non-governmental Organizations, that bring complaints, provide information, and make recommendations to the system.
  1. The overall political and institutional framework for the promotion of democracy, governance and human rights in Africa is the African Governance Architecture, established during the16thOrdinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2011. The AGA is composed of three principal pillars: (i) norms; (ii) organs and institutions and (iii)oversight mechanisms.
  1. The Roadmap to the Joint Africa-EU Strategy approved in April 2014by African and European Heads of State and Government identifies democracy, good governance and the defence and protection of human rights on both continents as a priority.
  1. This Media Strategy will mainly focus on the AU organs with a human rights mandate

Problem Analysis – Proposition Statement

  1. Lack of Political Will
  1. Lack of Universality
  1. Lack of Universality
  1. Lack of Knowledge About the AU and the Human Rights Organs
  1. Lack of Human Resource Capacity
  1. Lack of Financial Resources


Objectives of the Strategy

  1. To use radio, TV, films, social media, newspapers, advertisements, blogs, news and academic journals, web features, op-eds, conferences, workshops, research reports, speaking engagements, and books to lobby AUMS, to ratify, implement and domesticate human rights instrument.
  1. To work with the supervisory bodies which monitor, interpret, decide, and offer recommendations regarding human rights violations (i.e., the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court); the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (the Child Committee) to lobby African Union Member States to ratify, implement and domesticate human rights related instruments
  1. To work with the in-country CSOs and journalists and their professional unions to raise awareness of the issues of ratification, implementation and domestication of human rights instruments.
  1. To work in partnerships with national, regional and international news and media organizations to raise awareness of the issues of ratification, implementation and domestication of human rights instruments.
  1. To work in partnerships with the AU organs with a human rights mandate to raise awareness of the issues of ratification, implementation and domestication of human rights instruments.
  1. To work with students and the ordinary African citizen to understand rights protected by the AU organs and why it’s important for AUMS to ratify, implement and domesticate human rights instruments.

 

Target Audiences and Participant Communities

Target Audience

  • AU Member States;
  • The AU;
  • CSOs;
  • Ordinary African citizens;

Participant communities

  • Journalists Unions;
  • Radio and TV outlets;
  • Media Professionals;
  • AU Organs and Institutions;
  • International organizations;
  • Ordinary African Citizens.

 

A Special Role for AU Watch Young Persons Media Unit

AU Watch is developing in each Chapter a ‘Young Persons Media Unit’, to convey (as anchors, correspondents and analysts) information and news about AU Watch and its activities. The Special Role of Children’s Radio and TV (Teen Media) should not be underestimated. AU Watch Chapters shall have a program called AU watch ‘Teen Media’ for children aged between 12 – 17 years of age. Children have a way of conveying information that adults do not have. In this project, for example, we will take schools to Sessions of the Commission, and Court. Working with the host local and national radio and TV, AU Radio and TV, they will report about their experiences in the meeting and wire their analysis back home, mainly tailored for the teen audiences. Each Chapter / Section will organize with their own local, national or Public Broadcaster a (bi) weekly slot for AU Watch Teen Programs on the AU – called ‘Know the AU’. For this particular project, AU Watch will have teens discussing, critiquing, analyzing the relationship their country has with the AU, and of course encouraging their government to sign, ratify and domesticate all the AU’s human rights instruments.  It will be live streamed, including using Cloud streaming services.

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