The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights: overview

Applies to/Se aplica a

State practice
State law
Individual cases
For Urgent Action
Only under 18-s
A

The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) from 1981, which entered into force in 1986, is Africa's oldest human rights instrument, and established the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.
Article 8 of the ACHPR states: “Freedom of conscience, the profession and free practice of religion shall be guaranteed. No one may, subject to law and order, be submitted to measures restricting the exercise of these freedoms.” The right to conscientious objection to military service could be derived from this article, similar to article 18 of the ICCPR and article 9 of the ECHR.

Other potentially relevant provisions of the ACHPR are article 2 (non-discrimination), article 5 (freedom from torture), article 7 (right to fair trial), article 10 (right of association), and article 16 (right to education), among others. The full text of the ACHPR is available at http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/.

The African Commission is officially charged with three major functions:

  • the protection of human and peoples' rights
  • the promotion of human and peoples' rights
  • the interpretation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights

It consists of 11 members elected by the AU Assembly from experts nominated by the state parties to the Charter.

Similar to the Treaty bodies of the United Nations and the Human Rights Council, the African Commission has established several procedures to monitor and protect human rights, such as:

The Special Mechanisms also undertake country visits to explore and discuss the human rights situation in a specific country.

Relevant Special Mechanisms might be:

An overview of the Special Mechanisms is available at http://www.achpr.org/mechanisms/.

The present Commissioner is Catherine Dupe Atoki (since 2007).

Contact Details: 
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights 31 Bijilo Annex Layout, Kombo North District Western Region P.O. Box 673 Banjul The Gambia Tel: +220-441 05 05, 441 05 06 Fax: +220-441 05 04 E-mail: au-banjul@africa-union.org Website: http://www.achpr.org/

None