PAYNCoP Gabon Pleads for Youth Involvement in the National Commission for Human Rights


An article by Jerry Bibang

The National Coordination of the Panafrican Youth Network for Peace Culture (PAYNCoP Gabon) took part, from 26 to 27 November 2019, in a sensitization workshop on National Human Rights Institutions.

Organized by the Ministry of Human Rights and the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH) with the support of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) and the United Nations Regional Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Central Africa, this meeting brought together several experts including those of the United Nations System, the Government, the National Commission for Human Rights as well as those of the Organizations of Civil society.

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“The goal is to operationalize the CNDH through the sharing of good practices and contributions from each other,” said the Representative of UNOCA at the beginning of the workshop.

During the work, PAYNCoP Gabon advocated for a greater involvement of civil society organizations, especially those representing young people. In this sense, the National Coordinator suggested changing the age criterion which sets the minimum age of 40 to be a commissioner at the CNDH.

“If it is possible to be a deputy or Minister at 35 in Gabon, why set the age of commissioners of the CNDH at 40 ?” questioned Jerry Bibang. “This provision constitutes a factor of exclusion and a violation of the right to participation of young people in the management of public affairs,” he explained. It is opposed to regional and international legal instruments that encourage the participation of young people including the African Youth Charter and resolution 2250 (youth, peace and security) of the United Nations Security Council, he added. before insisting that the youth component should be taken into account in the current reform of the National Commission on Human Rights.

The various proposals of the workshop aim at modifying the text creating and organizing the CNDH of Gabon in order to bring it up to international standards, in particular the principles of Paris. The draft text to be amended will be submitted to the competent authorities.