29 October 2019

The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) grants ZELA Observer Status

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) is pleased to inform you that its application for Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) has been granted at the 65th Ordinary Session in Banjul, the Gambia. The ACHPR is a quasi-judicial body set up in terms of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights whose mandate is to promote and protect the rights as set out in the African Charter.

The observer status allows ZELA as a civil society organisation to make oral statements before the ACHPR during an Ordinary Session, propose additions to the session agenda, early access to documentation on ACHPR sessions and to participate on invitation, in closed meetings with the ACHPR.

Over the years, ZELA as an organisation has been making strides to promote the respect of human rights in the natural resources and environmental sector. It has advocated for the participation of local communities in decision making process, respect of community rights and regulation together with access to remedy in cases of violation. This work resonates with Articles 21 & 24 of the African Charter which provide for the right of all peoples to freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources; and the right of all peoples to a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development. The cites Articles specifically concern the extractive industries. ZELA is working with the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights on the State Reporting Guidelines on Articles 21 and 24.

The Observer Status thus enhances ZELA engagement opportunities with the ACHPRs and provides more platforms to fight for the equitable, just and sustainable exploitation of minerals in a manner which respects the rights of local host communities.

Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association

“Environmental justice through sustainable and equitable utilisation of natural resources and environmental protection”

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