CHAIRPERSON: Kamel Rezag-Bara
VICE CHAIRPERSON: Jainaba Johm
COMMISSIONERS: A. Badawi El Sheikh, Andrew R. Chigovera, Vera M.
Chirwa, Emmanuel V. O. Dankwa, Yasser Sid Ahmed El-Hassan, Angela
Melo, N. Barney Pityana, Hatem Ben Salem, Salimata Sawadogo
|Mouvement des Réfugiés Mauritaniens
in Senegal v. Senegal, Decision, Comm. 254/02 (ACmHPR, May. 29,
32nd Session: Commissioner Sawadogo
33rd Session: Commissioner Sawadogo
SUMMARY OF FACTS
1. The Complainant alleges that on the eve of the demonstration by the
refugees of Podor in commemoration of the International Refugee Day, the
Prefect of the town of Podor banned the said demonstration.
2. The Complainant does not show whether he had complied with the necessary
procedures to obtain authorisation for the demonstration. He however points
out that he had sent the programme of the demonstration to the following
institutions and persons:
3. African Commission on Human and People's Rights; United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees; Commission for Assistance to Returnees and
Displaced Persons; Governor of Saint-Louis; Prefect of Podor; Deputy Prefect
of Thille Boubacar and the Press.
4. The text of the decision of the Prefect of Podor banning the
demonstration which was scheduled to take place on Thursday 20th and Friday
21st June 2002 in the towns of Madina Moussa, Diolly, Podor and Ngaolé was
dated 19th June 2002, citing the need to keep law and order as the reason
for this action.
5. The submission of the Complainant includes the programme of the
demonstration sent to the above mentioned institutions and persons, the
decision of the Prefect of Podor dated 19th June 2002 banning the
demonstration scheduled to take place on Thursday 20th and Friday 21st June
2002 in towns of Madina Moussa, Diolly, Podor and Ngaolé.
6. The Complainant alleges that Senegal violated Articles 5, 9 and 11 of the
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
7. The communication was received at the Secretariat of the African
Commission on 6th August 2002.
8. On 12th August 2002, the Secretariat of the African Commission
acknowledged receipt of the communication and informed the Complainant that
the complaint was registered and would be considered at the 32nd Ordinary
Session scheduled to take place in Banjul, The Gambia, from 17th to 31st
9. At the 32nd Ordinary Session held from 17th to 23rd October 2002 in
Banjul, The Gambia, after considering the communication, the African
Commission decided to be seized with the said communication.
10. On 30th October 2002, the Secretariat of the African Commission informed
the parties of the above-mentioned decision and asked them to provide it
with more information on the admissibility of the communication, in
accordance with Article 56 of the African Charter. It also sent a copy of
the communication to the respondent State. It requested the parties to send
their written observations to the Secretariat within two months after
notification of the decision.
11. At its 33rd Ordinary Session held from 15th to 29th May 2003 in Niamey,
Niger, the African Commission considered this communication and declared it
12. The admissibility of the communications submitted under Article 56 of
the African Charter is governed by the conditions set out in Article 56 of
the African Charter. The applicable provision in this particular case is
that of Article 56(5) which stipulates that: "communications....shall be
considered if they: "are sent after exhausting local remedies, if any,
unless it is obvious that this procedure is unduly prolonged..."
13. In the case under consideration, the Complainant alleges that on the eve
of the demonstration for the commemoration of the International Refugee Day,
the Prefect of the town of Podor issued a ban of the demonstration by
14. The Complainant filed the decision of the Prefect of Podor banning the
demonstration scheduled to take place on 20th and 21st June 2002 in the
towns of Madina Moussa, Diolly, Podor and Ngaolé.
15. In the Complainant's written observations, it is alleged that according
to the information received, the procedure applied in such a case by Conseil
d'Etat would be unduly prolonged, but without elaborating how.
16. In its response, the Respondent State refers to the provisions of
Article 56 of the African Charter and Rule 116 of its Rules of Procedure
which provides for the exhaustion of local remedies as a requirement for the
African Commission to rule on the admissibility of communications.
17. The Respondent State also recalls that the guidelines for submission of
communications provide that each communication should particularly indicate
that local remedies have been exhausted.
18. The representative of the Respondent State stated during the 33rd
Ordinary Session that the Complainant had not undertaken any efforts to
challenge the decision banning the demonstration.
19. She pointed out the decision complained of was an administrative measure
against which the Complainant could have taken legal action and obtained
redress in the following 2 ways:
a. Appeal to a higher administrative authority which consists of seizing the
hierarchical authority for abuse of authority, including the Governor, the
Minister of Interior, the Prime Minister and, finally, the President of the
Republic in accordance with the Institutional Act No. 92-24 of 30th May 1992
relating to Conseil d'Etat as amended and Article 729 of the Code of Civil
b. Administrative-law action, through seizure of Conseil d'Etat cancelling
the administrative decision complained of for abuse of authority.
20. The representative of the Respondent State demonstrated that these local
remedies existed but that the Complainant had not utilised any of them. She
further pointed out that in emergency cases, the procedure of hour by hour
interim order in an urgent case was also available to those seeking justice.
She therefore concluded that the Complainant had not exhausted local
21. In light of the above submissions, the African Commission notes that the
Complainant did not provide proof of attempting to exhaust the local
remedies that were available to him.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE AFRICAN COMMISSION declares the communication
inadmissible for non-exhaustion of local remedies.
Done at the 33rd Ordinary Session held in Niamey, Niger, from 15th to 29th