News from the ESC rights platform in Benin, Togo, Mali and Senegal

Friday 12 March 2010 by Assoal

After the African regional workshop on ESC rights enforceability approaches that was held from January 18th to 22nd in Yaounde (Cameroon), the foreign participants talk about their platform, the local actions on site, their 2010 prospects, etc.

“Increasing awareness towards governments”

Emmanuel GAHOU, ACFB, Bénin Emmanuel Gahou, Association of grassroots financing funds (Association des caisses de financement à la base - ACFB), Benin

“Benin’s platform for ESC rights is a member of the Aoudaghost network that has enabled the International Programme on ESC rights in Africa to be launched. Since the beginning of the year, our actions have been focused on raising awareness on ESC rights among civil society organizations and some ministerial departments and running advocacy/lobbying towards decision-makers for the protection and the enjoyment of ESC rights. To make our platform credible, selection criteria to access to our network have been established. Those criteria are based on the extensive regional coverage of Benin, the experience in human rights and the legitimacy of the organization. During the Constitutive General Assembly, on 14h of January, 50 civil society organizations have been declared eligible. Our 2010 challenges are aimed at the completion of the platform’s fundamental texts, the working out of a strategic plan for the next 3 years and the signature of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”.

“A meeting that was very enriching”

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Georges Kwawu Aidam, Togo Unit of the Aoudaghost network

“Since September 2008, when the ESC rights Platform was created in Togo, our country has been involved in the process of ESC rights’ protection. Since then, the drafting process of an shadow report on ESC rights is underway. Our main actions consist in lobbying to have the Togolese State ratifying the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. This African meeting has allowed us to strengthen our knowledge on the useful methods for implementing promotion campaigns for the respect of the ESC rights. The fruitful exchanges on experiences carried out in the other countries have also helped us drawing up prospects to carry on with our commitment in favour of the ESC rights”.

“The State can take huge advantages from it”

Mohamed El Moctar Mahamar, Plate forme DESC, Mali Mohamed El Moctar Mahamar, ESC rights platform, Mali.

“It is a great initiative. Since each continent has its own specificities, it has become necessary that the African platforms gather to share their knowledge in terms of experience, challenges and prospects. For Mali, during the meeting, we have developed tools, refined our methodology, re-worked our strategy and set up new alliances. At the moment, our platform works on the drawing up of an alternative report and on the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Unfortunately, these activities come up against the difficulty to make understand clearly the assets that the State can get back from the report drafting. Yet, while winning authorities’ trust, the alternative report will serve as a guiding light for the protection of the rights. And the ratification of the Protocol by the State will allow the populations to enjoy their fundamental rights.”

“Meeting in June 2010 in Dakar”

Nafy Diagne, Plate forme DESC, Sénégal Nafy Diagne, ESC rights platform, Senegal.

“The exchanges on the approaches and practices on ESC rights have been rewarding. Following the experiences in Yaounde, we commit ourselves to fine-tuning a lot of things in our intervention strategy in Senegal. From now to June 2010, when the next African meeting will be held, significant progress will be fulfilled. Although it has been the last African platform to be created, the Cameroon ESC rights platform is really dynamic and involved. We hope it will integrate the Aoudaghost network which works on promoting the socioeconomic activities of young people and women and the ESC rights in our States. It is through this network that the international ESC rights programme has started its activities in Africa. We would like to extend the network with every national committee at each African country level”.

Comments collected by Eric. O. LEMBEMBE (ASSOAL)
Translated from French by Cecile Bongibault
Proofreading by Julie Chen

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ESC Rights: African regional workshop in Yaounde

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