Namibian-born legal officer at the African Court in Tanzania, Fillemon Shikomba says there is no future for any society that does not care for children and as such, a society that does not respect and protect mothers cannot claim to love children.
Shikomba said this in respect of today, which is the International Day of the African Child to remind all and sundry to work towards an Africa that works for everyone.
The theme for the Day of the African Child (DAC) 2021 is ‘30 years after the adoption of the Charter: Accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children’.
“In this respect, our continent is showing progress by enacting human rights treaties aimed at protecting children and mothers, and established the Human Rights Commission, the African Court and the Committee for Children,” Shikomba told Youth Corner from his base in Arusha, Tanzania.
He, however, said these instruments and institutions mean nothing unless signed, ratified and complied with by African states, and urged all African states to do so.
Shikomba was recently appointed as a legal officer at the African Court, which is the judicial arm of the African Union in Tanzania, with the main task of doing legal research on human rights laws (regional and international), and dealing with various issues related to case management. This court was established by African countries to ensure the protection of human and people’s rights in Africa.
Shikomba has a Bachelor Degree in Law from Tambov State University, Russia and a Master’s Degree in law from the Hofstra University, United States of America. He has several certifications from various institutions focusing on Politics (Yale University), Law (University of Pennsylvania) and Public Management (Howard University), and on Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression in Africa (Wits University, South Africa).
His experience involves work with the United Nations, attending The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, and the African Union’s Youth Programme.
The 28-year-old Ethindi born said being raised in a deep-rooted cultural setup made him fall in love with the law, something he urged parents and those in power to accord children.
“Culture is a reflection of the society’s life, including their legal relationship. In this connection, I had the privilege of witnessing the elders of our village peacefully and wisely resolving disputes. In this sense, I can rightly say that I was raised in a cultural setup to become the person I am today. As the first person in my family to study law, I had to believe in my dream more, and the voice inside had to be louder than that of the outside world,” highlighted Shikomba.
Moving from New York to Tanzania was a bold step for which so many friends criticised him, but he believes in giving back to his continent, stressing: “What is important is the progress of African institutions; there is value in returning to the continent and bringing the experience back home.”
“I always believed in standing up for people and this role allows me to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. It allows me to give back to our continent.”
He said this also presents an excellent opportunity for Namibia to ratify the Courts Protocol and make a declaration for Namibian nationals and organisations to bring cases directly before the African Court.
“Our African human rights system is very rich. Now more than ever, we must seize the opportunity for Namibia to show commitment to human rights issues in Africa by ratifying key African human rights instruments.”