Looking back, Looking ahead: African Philanthropy for Socio-Economic and Political Justice in the 21st Century
As we mark TrustAfrica’s 10 years anniversary we are also unveiling the organization’s new strategy for 2016 – 2020. Our goal under the new strategy is to advance political economic and social justice in Africa by tackling a number of priority thematic issues.
A lot has changed in the African political, economic and social context since 10 years ago. While the continent has made signifcant progress in reducing the overall level of violent conflict, the resurgence of violence in countries like Burundi, Central Africa Republic and South Sudan point to continuing fragility and the need to invest in building enduring peace. Terrorism and violent extremism have also emerged as a major challenge across the Sahel region, and especially in places like Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, and Libya. To address this challenge, TrustAfrica works to advance local accountabilty mechanisms to combat the culture of impunity which is at the root of cyclical violence. We are encouraged by the progress made at the continental level to advance post-conflict accountability mechanisms through the African Transitiional Justice Policy Framework and expanded mandate of the African Court on Humans and Peoples’ Rights. While tremendous progress has been made in reversing the scourge of HIV/AIDS across the continent, the devastation from the recent Ebola epidemic exposed the weakness of health systems and the continent’s poor capacity to respond to such emergencies.
On the economic development front, the “hopeless continent” narrative has been replaced with a focus on “Africa rising”. While significantly more optimistic, this narrative at times over simplifies Africa’s trajectory and overlooks the deep contradictions hidden beneath rising GDP. The fruits of economic growth have largely been concentrated in the hands of a few local and international corporate and political elites resulting in growing inequality. Tax dodging and illicit financial flows by multinational corporations have also limited benefits accruing to African economies. In many instances growth, especially from the extractive sector, has come at the expense of the environment with serious consequences for local communities.
These fundamental issues which found expression in the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the African Mining Vision, the African Union’s Transitional Justice Policy Framework as well as the Sustainable Development Goals will be a major focus for the next phase of TrustAfrica’s programming.
On Monday, May 30, 2016, the Extraordinary African Chambers in charge of the trial of former Chadian President, Hissène Habré delivered its verdict after 4 months of hearings and over 3 months deliberations.
On behalf of the Court, Presiding Judge Gustave Kam Gberdao found the former strongman of Ndjamena guilty of crimes against humanity and torture. In the verdict, the Court also convicted Hissène Habré of acts of sexual violence and rape. These charges were absent from the initial indictment. However, they were brought to light by civil parties and their lawyers during the hearings.
Hissène Habré was sentenced to life imprisonment. Subsequently, the Court granted 15 days to the accused counsels to appeal the decision.
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The reports summarizes the proceedings of a multinational convening organized under Trust Africa’s “Building an Advocacy Movement for Equitable and Sustainable Agriculture in Africa” project held on 24 to 26 November 2014 under the theme “Strengthening smallholder agriculture in Africa: Prospects for mobilization and advocacy”. The convening brought together stakeholders, partners, and researchers, program staff from TrustAfrica and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The convening provided a timely platform to reinvigorate discussions on how to sustain the agenda for a more inclusive and sustainable agriculture amongst a broad base of non-state actors with government actors. The convening was also used to launch the discussion on the second phase of TrustAfrica’s advocacy actions and movement building for sustainable agriculture project. The convening took the approach of setting the broader context and understanding the characteristic challenges and gaps of smallholder agriculture.
Children who start school late in Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties now have a chance to catch up with their agemates.
This has been due to a new curriculum which uses learning techniques that enable them to be moved to a class commensurate with their ages.
20th July, 2015, Dakar, Senegal: The trial of former Chadian President Hissène Habré, accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture, began before the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal. The alleged crimes were committed during Habré’s regime from 1982 to 1990, when an estimated 40,000 people are reported to have died or disappeared.
SRT grantee, TrustAfrica have enhanced independent coverage of the Habré trial through their International Criminal Justice (ICJ) Fund who worked closely with a consortium of civil society organizations and Senegalese law graduates. The ICJ Fund trained a group of law graduates from the Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD) in Dakar, to monitor, document and provide daily reports on the proceedings in both French and English across various platforms. The work of these students provides an invaluable resource to ensure there is an independent platform of informed actors who can provide accurate and timely analysis of the proceedings, and share this information in Africa and beyond.
TrustAfrica works with African and international partners to develop the capacity and networks of groups working on the documentation of atrocity crime. A key technical resource in this work is the Global Justice and Research Project, led by Liberian journalist Hassan Bility. More information available here.
La tenue du procès de Hissein Habré devant les Chambres africaines extraordinaires fut l’aboutissement d’une lutte acharnée menée par les victimes du régime de l’ancien président tchadien et par la société civile tchadienne et internationale.
Ouvert le 20 juillet 2015 à Dakar, le procès a connu une interruption de 45 jours avant de reprendre le 7 septembre avec les auditions des témoins qui se sont poursuivies jusqu’au 15 décembre. Le premier chapitre de ce procès historique s’est clos le 11 février 2016 avec les plaidoiries de la défense et des parties civiles et le réquisitoire final du parquet.
TrustAfrica, en collaboration avec le groupe de recherche Thinking Africa, s’est approchée des différentes parties prenantes à ce procès afin de recueillir leur avis sur la signification et la portée de cette péripétie judiciaire inédite en Afrique.
Veuillez trouverez ci-dessous l’ensemble des entretiens qui ont été réalisées en ce sens.
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« Améliorer les mécanismes de la Cour africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples pour faire avancer la justice et les droits des victimes », telle est la question centrale qui réunira des participants venus de divers horizons. L’initiative est du Fonds de justice pénale internationale de TrustAfrica en partenariat avec la Coalition pour une Cour africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples effective. Le premier œuvre au renforcement et au soutien de la société civile dans ses efforts pour améliorer les mécanismes nationaux et régionaux de reddition de comptes en Afrique.
Arusha, March 9th, 2016 - TrustAfrica and the Coalition for an Effective African Court (CEAC) convened African civil society from across the continent in Arusha from March 8th to 9th 2016, to promote their engagement with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AcHPR).
Africa has indeed played a pioneering role in the establishment of courts with international criminal jurisdiction, spearheaded by civil society advocacy and the independent contributions of a number of governments. While AU initiatives place decision and policy makers at the center of discussions on ICJ, they also recognize the role played by African civil society in the development of ICJ practice in Africa. The meeting sought to distill best practices in terms of victims’ participation in Africa in order to advance victims’ rights and access to justice through the African Charter establishing the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights.