UNESCO Launches the Portuguese version of its Toolkit for the Judiciary in Africa



UNESCO Launches the Portuguese version of its Toolkit for the Judiciary in Africa

One of the main goals of this toolkit is to underline the importance of regional and international legal standards on freedom of expression

PARIS, France, September 18, 2021/APO Group/ —

As part of its on-going project of strengthening the role of judicial actors in Africa on international and regional standards on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists, UNESCO has launched the Portuguese version of its Legal Standards on Freedom of Expression: Toolkit for the Judiciary in Africa.

The Toolkit provides a theoretical and practical understanding of the key issues pertaining to the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, and the safety of journalists. Addressed to judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and other legal actors, as well as civil society representatives and the media, the Toolkit provides an overview of the international standards and regional jurisprudence on these fundamental rights, as well as their contemporary legal challenges, particularly in the digital age.

“One of the main goals of this toolkit is to underline the importance of regional and international legal standards on freedom of expression. It is of utmost importance that legal professionals be adequately informed with regard to the relevant core legal texts of international law and decisions of supranational courts such as those of the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights,” Justice Sylvain Oré, former President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Through six comprehensive modules, the Toolkit focuses on (1) The International and Regional Legal Frameworks; (2) The Legitimate Restrictions on Freedom of Expression; (3) The Right to Access Information; (4) The Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity; (5) Protecting Freedom of Expression in the Digital Age; and (6) A Gendered Perspective on Freedom of Expression.

Already available in English and French, the Portuguese version of Toolkit will particularly be aimed at judicial actors and judicial training institutes from lusophone countries in Africa, in order to strengthen their knowledge and capacities on these fundamental issues.

This resource contributes to the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, adopted by the UN Chief Executives Board in 2012 and further recognized by the UN General Assembly in 2013, and which aims to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers. The publication was supported by the Multi-Donor Programme on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists, Open Society Foundations, the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Since 2013, UNESCO’s Judges’ Initiative has raised the capacities of judicial actors on international and regional standards on freedom of expression, access to information and the safety of journalists in regions across the world. Over 23,000 judicial actors, including judges, prosecutors, and lawyers, have been trained on these issues, notably through a series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), on-the-ground training and workshops, and the publications of a number of toolkits and guidelines.

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