Synergía and the Center for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria hosted on May 17th, 2021 the webinar “Participation of African Portuguese-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries within the African system of protection of human rights: the role of civil society – A conversation with Commissioner Maria Teresa Manuela.”

Commissioner Maria Teresa Manuela (Angola), Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa, Special Rapporteur on Rights of Women and country Rapporteur for Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Principe highlighted the importance of a more robust participation of civil society from the six African Portuguese-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries and the opportunities for civil society organizations to engage with the African Commission, also to ensure a more proactive participation of member states.

As highlighted during the conversation, three out of six countries (Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and São Tomé) are among the few member states that never submitted periodic reports to the African Commission ex art. 62 of the Charter, while Cape Verde only submitted its initial report for the period 1987-1991.

Almost 30 human rights defenders from the six countries attended the meeting and discussed with the Commissioner the challenges they experience at country level.