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Countries pledge to promote human rights

Justice ministers and Supreme Court presidents from the Economic Community of Central African States adopted on Friday the "Yaounde Declaration" in which they pledged to promote human rights in their respective countries. Signed at the end of a two-day meeting in Yaounde, Cameroon, the declaration calls on each country to prioritise the promotion and respect for human rights. The countries are also required to operationalise ratified international treaties and endorse those they have not yet ratified. The meeting recommended that each country in the 11-member community publish reports on its state of human rights. Member states acknowledged that, for various reasons, they had failed to inform their citizens and the international community on their human rights situation. The Chadian justice minister told the conference that years of instability, ignorance of ratified treaties, and lack of personnel and technical material had hindered the publication of the reports. Jeannette Dethoua, high commissioner for human rights in the Central African Republic, said political upheavals had placed the country in an "exceptional situation where respect of human rights has been lukewarm." Burundi's minister of institutional reforms, Alphonse Barancira, said: "In a situation of war it is difficult to promote and truly guarantee human rights. War, and its political, economic and social consequences, has thus been the major obstacle Burundi's ability to abide by its international engagements." Member states appealed to Robinson's office and the international community for financial and technical support to advance human rights. They also requested assistance to train human rights specialists and personnel who could draft national human rights reports. The regional meeting was held during a two-day official visit by Mary Robinson, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who inaugurated a sub-regional center on human rights and democracy. She promised that UNHCHR would assist the countries to achieve the objectives of the declaration.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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