ARUSHA 21 May 2002 (Internews) A three-day human rights conference, organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in collaboration with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), opens in Arusha this Friday.

Approximately 100 human rights specialists, academicians, policy makers, parliamentarians and civil society representatives are expected to attend the conference on reconciliation and justice in Africa.

Among those expected at the conference, whose theme is ‘Promoting Justice and Reconciliation in Africa: Challenges for Human Rights and Development’, are Justice Ministers Jean-Dieu Mucho (Rwanda) and Bakari Mwapachu (Tanzania).

Former Liberian president Amos Sawyer, ICTR Registrar Adama Dieng, ICTR President Navanethem Pillay, former Organization of African Unity secretary-general Salim Ahmed Salim and Solomy Bossa, a judge at the East African Court of Justice, are among those who will address the conference.

Others are: Hansini Donli, President of Economic Organization of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice; Amos Wako, Kenya’s Attorney-General, and Bacre Ndiaye, OHCHR Director.

According to Tokunbo Ige, Africa Team Coordinator of OHCHR in Geneva, the conference is a follow up of one held in Geneva, Switzerland, in November last year. “Justice and human rights are important segments for development in Africa,” Ige says, adding that the meeting will mainly focus on the issues of conflicts and underdevelopment.

The conference is about “what we in Africa can do to end, for example, the culture of impunity…impunity breeds impunity,” Ige stresses, adding that at the root of every African conflict is injustice. “We want to address these problems and others that hamper development and breed injustice in the continent.”


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