Addis Ababa, 27 June 2019 – With support from a joint project by the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which aims to accelerate ratification and domestication of AU treaties, Sao Tome & Principe came to deposit seven African Union (AU) Treaties at the AU Commission. The treaties are the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG); the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of women in Africa (Maputo Protocol); the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; the African Youth Charter and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat received the delegation from Sao Tome & Principe and welcomed the deposition of the seven AU Treaties. He termed this as a great milestone reflecting on Sao Tome & Principe’s commitment towards the attainment of the aspirations stated in Agenda 2063 and the SDGs. He exhorted Sao Tome & Principe and called on the other participating countries to redouble their efforts in domesticating and implementing all the ratified treaties. These countries are: Burkina Faso & Senegal (West Africa), Kenya (East/Horn of Africa), Mozambique (Southern Africa) and Tunisia (North Africa).
H.E. Homero Jerónimo Salvaterra, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs who led the delegation, congratulated the Chairperson on the excellent AUC work in the continent. He also stated that the treaties reflect several areas such as the strengthening of democracy and governance, human rights, the empowerment of women, and the fight against corruption. He further added that this is the beginning of a process, adding that the next phase for his country is the domestication so that these instruments target the public to understand its meaning and its benefits.
On behalf of UNDP, Lamin Momodou Manneh, the Director of the Regional Service Centre for Africa (RSCA) congratulated the Government and the people of Sao Tome and Principe on this great attainment. He further stated that the “Africa We Want” agenda can be achieved even faster if the normative frameworks of the AU are domesticated, owned and fully implemented. Improving the welfare of the youth, women and children as envisioned in the treaties and accelerating broad-based good governance and democracy will set the continent closer to these aspirations. He ended by commending the African Union Commission for it’s hard work towards ensuring the ratification processes of AU treaties.
The deposition of the seven AU treaties comes at a moment when the African Union Commission has taken actions to overcome the low rate and slow pace of ratification by its Member States of the treaties. The AU Executive Council has on numerous occasions reiterated and urged the Member States to fully take part in the continental integration process, ratifying and implementing all AU treaties.
The treaties constitute important elements of the normative frameworks that govern the policies designed for Africa’s transformative Agenda. To address the bottlenecks and challenges impeding expeditious ratification and domestication of treaties, the AU Office of the Legal Counsel (OLC) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) developed a joint project targeting six inclusive treaties in six countries.
Sao Tome & Principe is one of the six countries supported by the AU-UNDP project to accelerate ratification and domestication of AU treaties. It was one of the countries that has the least ratified treaties, with only one out of the six treaties ratified and deposited as at the launch of the project in October 2018. The project has offered both technical and financial support to facilitate the ratification and deposition of the remaining five treaties. The project also enabled the ratification and deposition of two more treaties: the African continental free trade area (AfCFTA) and the African economic community on free movement of persons, rights of residence and establishment.