African Commission

Rules of Procedure of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 2020

The 2020 Rules of Procedure (2020 RoPs) were adopted at the African Commission’s 27th Extra-Ordinary Session, held from 19 February to 04 March 2020, pursuant to Article 42(2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and came into force on 02 June, 2020, in terms of Rule 145 thereof. Amongst the changes introduced …

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publication on African Commission Bowing to political Pressure to withdraw CAL’s observer status

On August 8, 2018, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) stripped the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL) of its observer status following decisions by the African Union Executive Council that called on the ACHPR to consider “African values” when reviewing applications for observer status. The ACHPR’s decision to withdraw CAL’s observer status comes after years of advocacy efforts by CAL to obtain that status, and follows a drawn-out process before the ACHPR that has been marred by discriminatory statements on the part of both the continent’s human rights oversight body and the political organs of the African Union

The Centre for Human Rights calls on AU member states to recommit to independence of African Commission

Decision 1015 aims to pull the carpet from under the African Charter system. The reason why these very states in 1981 created the African Charter was to establish a system of independent oversight over the human rights enjoyed by the people of Africa. The African Commission as autonomous interpreter of the African Charter was placed at the core of this system. The principle of the rule of law – both at national and at AU level — requires that executives respect judiciaries’ interpretative function. By insisting that its own interpretation of the Charter overrides that of the Commission, the Executive Council has not only undermined the Commission’s autonomy, but also subverted the AU’s internal rule of law.

Statement of IHRDA at the 63rd Ordinary Session of the ACHPR, October 2018

However, we are concerned about Decision 1015 of the Africa Union Executive Council reached in June 2018 for the impact it has on the work of the Commission.

This decision outlines that the “independence enjoyed by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights is only of a functional nature and not independence from the same organs that created the body.” We submit that this is a misunderstanding of international law, as the Commission was not created by AU organs but by a treaty: the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Moreover, the Charter guarantees the institutional, functional and personal independence of the Commission and its Commissioners. To be able to carry out its duties effectively, the Commission must work free of all external interference from Africa Union political and policy organs.