The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) has elected Commissioner Soyata Maiga (Mali) as its new Chairperson to take over from Advocate Pansy Tlakula (South Africa) who stepped down as Chair and member of the Commission at its 61st Ordinary Session held in Banjul, The Gambia, from November 1 to 15, 2017.
Commissioner Lawrence Murugu Mute (Kenya) was also elected as the Vice-Chairperson, a position occupied by Commissioner Maiga until her election as the new Chairperson. The Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson form the Bureau of the Commission and will serve for a period of two years.
During the session which also witnessed the reallocation of mandates for Special Mechanisms and “Countries of Responsibility”, the Commission was joined by three new Commissioners, namely Commissioner Hatem Essaiem, Commissioner Maria Teresa Manuela and Commissioner Rémy Ngoy Lumbu, who were sworn in on November 1, 2017. Commissioner Maya Sahli Fadel was also sworn in for a second term.
Under the reallocation of mandates for Special Mechanisms and Countries of Responsibility, which took place during the Private Session, a new structure was put in place. A reallocation of mandates in terms of Special Mechanisms and Countries of responsibility took place as follows:
Commissioner Maiga is now the Chairperson of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of People Living with HIV and those at Risk, Vulnerable to and Affected by HIV; Chairperson of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa; and will oversee Angola, Congo–Brazzaville, Niger, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as her Countries of Responsibility.
Commissioner Mute becomes the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa; and will oversee Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Zambia, and Botswana.
Commissioner Kayitesi Zainabo Sylvie is the Chairperson of the Working Group on the Death Penalty, Extra-judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa; and will oversee Algeria, Chad, Senegal, Benin, and the Central African Republic.
Commissioner Lucy Asuagbor is the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa and will oversee Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and Sierra Leone.
Commissioner Yeung Kam John Yeung Sik Yuen is the Chairperson of the Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities in Africa; and will oversee the Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles, Burundi, and Lesotho.
Commissioner Maya Sahli Fadel is the Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants in Africa; and will oversee Burkina Faso, Egypt, Mauritania, Tunisia, and Mali.