The African regional workshop on ESC Rights Enforceability Approaches was held in Yaounde (Cameroon) from January 18th to 22nd, 2010.
“The populations don’t often know their rights. The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have an obligation to inform them, to train them for actions of promotion and defence of these rights. Therefore, the issue is to make the CSOs accountable for promotion and protection of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESC Rights).”
Comments from Madani Koumaré, African coordinator of the ESC Rights Program during the African regional workshop on ESC Rights, held from January 18th to 22nd, in Tou’ngou Hotel in Yaounde.
The representatives of the ESC Rights platforms coming from Senegal, Benin, Togo, Mali and Cameroon were present right next to him.
Taking the floor on the 1st day of work, Madani Koumaré stated one of the objectives of the African regional workshop in Yaounde, which to him, aims at sharing and extending the methods learned during the international seminar last June in Bangalore (India). Immediately after, each referent explained the Proceedings of the Bangalore International Conference.
A particular emphasis was retained on the following themes:
- the organization of civil society into a broad social movement
- the methods for monitoring the Committee on ESC Rights’ recommendations
- monitoring of administrative and judicial practices, and
- mobilisation towards the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Exchanges of experiences between countries followed, called there "capitalization and sharing of best practices."
Then, each country introduced its activities implemented after Bangalore accentuating on the methods, strategies, tools and alliances used. Some observations came out from the different presentations. Among others: "Each country has a platform, remarkable advances have been noted in Mali, Senegal and Cameroon regarding the implementation of the Proceedings of the Bangalore International Conference. The tools used are virtually identical from one country to another and the methods concern informing, training, producing tools and formal and informal meetings", said Hippolyte Falade, representative of the ESC Rights platform in Benin.
On January 20th, the team conducted a field visit of some of the NGOs ASSOAL and ALVF ’s achievements. Among other things, the improved latrines in Nkolo’s public school, the Center for supervision and social inclusion of young people in difficulty in Nkomkana and the women’s life Center of ALVF welcoming women victims of violence of all kinds.
On the next day, the main activity of the group focused on reviewing the national plans. Each country provided the main outlines of its platform’s plan of action.
On the last day of the workshop, the participants were being trained on the way to publish an article on the international program’s website (www.escrights-action.org); the aim is to allow platforms to update it themselves with informations related to ESC Rights. During the perspectives, we learned on the spot that new partners in Asia joined the international program: Jeevika, Human Rights Federation of Dalit Liberation-Karnataka (HRFDL-K), IRDS and People’s Education and Economic Development Society (PEEDS) in India, Human Development Organization (HDO) of Sri Lanka and the Asian Human Rights Commission based in Hong Kong.
3rd of its kind, this regional workshop which aims at strenghtening the skills of CSOs working in the field of ESC Rights, followed the meetings held in Bamako in April 2008 and Bangalore in June 2009.
The International Training Programme on ESC Rights Enforceability Approaches is a three-year project launched by Terre des Hommes France and Juristes-Solidarités, in technical collaboration with their partners across the globe. Until the next meeting in Senegal, the platforms still have some way to go.
Eric. O. LEMBEMBE (ASSOAL)
Translated from French by Géraldine Solignac
Proofreading by Frédérique Cloiseau