A senior official of the ECOWAS Court, Mr. Tony Anene-Maidoh has blamed the unequal application of international and regional instruments that confer civil and political rights on citizens for the resort to opposition, litigations and social unrest by citizens in ECOWAS Member States.

‘When civil and political rights are not guaranteed to all as part of equal protection of laws, or when such guarantees exist on paper but are not respected in practice, opposition, legal action and even social unrest may ensue,’ he said during a UN organized panel discussion on the Adjudication of Civil and Political Rights held in Dakar on Thursday, 22nd March 2018.

Mr. Anene-Maidoh, who is the Chief Registrar of the Court, characterized Civil and Political Rights as a fundamental part of international human rights and considered as first generation rights that guarantee equal protection under the law for citizens.

The Chief Registrar, who spoke on JURISPRUDENCE OF THE ECOWAS COURT OF JUSTICE ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS said that ECOWAS has through a plethora of regional and international instruments, mainstreamed the respect and protection of human rights in the sub region and provided the necessary legal framework for the promotion, protection and respect of human rights.

Among them are the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance which guarantees the political rights of Community citizens particularly in the context of full participation in their government, free, fair and transparent elections as well as the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which guarantees Political Rights.

Additionally, he said during the one day discussion which was organized by the UN Office in West Africa that the Court has relied on the provision of the regional Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance the African Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in enforcing political rights

In demonstration of this disposition, he said that the Court has held that human rights protection constitutes a cardinal and fundamental value for the Community thereby contributing to an emerging human rights regime in West Africa exemplified by the rigour of its pronouncements  that has attracted international acclaim, citing various cases decided by the Court.

Through these pronouncements, he said there is an increasing consciousness among Community citizens and other persons within the jurisdiction of Member States that they have access to a regional court to seek redress for human rights violation without exhausting local remedies while Member States are aware that they can be held accountable for their treaty obligations.