Report of the Sixth Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs
Source: African Union Commission
Sixth Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs (Experts Meeting)
23-27 November 2020
Draft Protocol to The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Specific Aspects on the Right to a Nationality and the Eradication of Statelessness in Africa
22. An overview of the Draft Protocol was presented by a Consultant hired by the Department of Political Affairs. He explained the validation process for the Draft Protocol outlining the various sessions undertaken in this respect, namely: one (1) introductory meeting for Member States; two (2) experts’ meetings and one (1) meeting of the STC on Migration, Refugees and IDPs in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in November 2018 whereby the Draft Protocol was adopted. He also highlighted several pending issues that were deferred to the STC-JLA.
23. The legal basis for submission of the Draft Protocol to the STC-JLA was cited as Executive Council Decision (EX.CL/Dec.922 (XXIX) wherein the Executive Council:
welcomed the development by the ACHPR of …, the Draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Specific Aspects on the Right to a Nationality and the Eradication of Statelessness in Africa and REQUESTS the Commission to take the required steps to ensure the processing of these draft instruments in line with the procedures for the development of AU legal instrument.
24. The meeting extensively deliberated on whether or not to defer the consideration of the Draft Protocol. In this respect, it was noted that the Draft Protocol contained provisions that may conflict with several national laws and thus require further consultations at the national level, especially from relevant governmental departments. Secondly, it was noted that the potential for conflicting obligations necessitated a holistic and multifaceted examination of the Draft Protocol beyond its legal aspects. It was further noted that the Draft Protocol had omitted technical inputs from Government Experts from some Member States. Lastly, the Experts noted the challenges associated with considering such a complex legal instrument through a virtual meeting.
25. A Representative of the OLC advised against deferring consideration of the Draft Protocol by reminding the meeting that there were other equally important legal instruments on the agenda of the STC-JLA hence deferring the Draft Protocol, on the basis that it required a physical meeting, would also mean deferral of the other draft legal instruments. He further noted that currently, AU meetings, including those of the Policy Organs, are held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that the STC-JLA would ably deliberate on the Draft Protocol Virtually. Finally, he noted that the Sectorial STC had validated the Draft Protocol and thus it was not advisable for the STC-JLA to defer it back to the Sectorial Committee.
26. The Chairperson acknowledged the above intervention but contended that the STC-JLA comprises of Member States, with the prerogative to make proposals for deliberation. Accordingly, he opened the floor for discussion on the proposal for deferral.
27. Due to the reasons stated in paragraph 24, the meeting agreed to defer consideration of the draft protocol and to refer it back to the Member States for further consultations with their relevant departments.
English:STC-JLA 2020 – Experts Report_E
French: STC-JLA 2020 – Experts Report_F
The report was ‘noted’ by the Executive Council meeting in February 2021 (2nd resolution): https://au.int/en/decisions/decisions-thirty-eighth-ordinary-session-executive-council