The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), during its 57th Ordinary Session held from 4-18 November, 2015, in Banjul, The Gambia, considered and granted Observer Status to The West African Institute for Legal Aid (WAILA) in accordance withthe Resolution on the criteria for granting Observer Status to NGOsworking in the area of human rights.
The Board and the entire staff of (WAILA), express sincere appreciation and profound gratitude to the Commissioners and the entire staff of the Secretariat of (the Commission) for having granted Observer Status to (WAILA).
WAILA aligns itself with the four hundred and ninety-three (493)NGOs,the Commission has gran ted observerstatus .We are committed to being a capable Institution, characterized by the rule of law that supports and protects all West African citizens without discrimination and to the protection of human rights in particular as one of the key prerequisites for good governance.
WAILA acknowledges that development is impossible in the absence of true democracy, respect for human rights, peace and good governance. WAILA plays a significant role in keeping democratic processes alive and reinforce good governance especially by its involvement in issues such as legal aid and human rights advocacy.
Across Africa, vibrant CSOs have continued to emerge, a signal that a wind of change is blowing from state-centric big government to people-centered governance. Different African countries have reacted with different strategies to the growing number of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). Some have acknowledged their roles and granted them a wide autonomy to pursue their objectives within the confines of national laws while others adopted stringent laws aimed at impeding their functions.
CSOs are a vital part of the overall human rights regime. They contribute significantly to standard setting as well as to the promotion, implementation and enforcement of human right norms. They alert duty bearers to live up to agreed standards and empower right holders to demand the same. CSOs all over the world have achieved a lot in their endeavor to promote and protect human right norms and values.
As we near the end of 2015, we at (WAILA) are extremely grateful for the contributions, expertise and dedication of our allies around the globe, as we work to fulfill our mission to promote the well-being of humanity throughout West Africa.
BY: Thomas Fuad TourayExecutive Director: The West African Institute for Legal Aid (WAILA)