African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights 29 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981/1986) Also sometimes called the ‘Banjul Charter’, the African Charter was adopted by the OAU in Nairobi, Kenya, on 27 June 1981 and entered into force on 21 October 1986. The Charter is the pivotal human rights instrument of the OAU/AU. It recognises individual rights as well as peoples’ rights, rights and duties, and some socio-economic rights, in addition to civil and political rights. The supervisory mechanism created by the Charter is the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which had its first meeting in 1987. The Commission is now being supplemented with an African Human Rights Court. The Commission’s mandate includes the review of periodic state reports on the implementation of the Charter by state parties (see the Guidelines for National Periodical Reports, reprinted below). The Commission also has the power to review individual and inter-state complaints. Selected decisions on complaints concerning Charter violations committed by state parties are reprinted below. Preamble The African states member of the Organization of African Unity, parties to the present Convention entitled ‘African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights’, Recalling Decision 115(XVI) of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government at its sixteenth ordinary session held in Monrovia, Liberia, from 17 to 20 July 1979 on the preparation of ‘a preliminary draft on an African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights providing inter alia for the establishment of bodies to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights’; Considering the Charter of the Organization of African Unity, which stipulates that ‘freedom, equality, justice and dignity are essential objectives for the achievement of the legitimate aspirations of the African peoples’; Reaffirming the pledge they solemnly made in article 2 of the said Charter to eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa, to co-ordinate and intensify their co-operation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa and to promote international co-operation, having due regard to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Taking into consideration the virtues of their historical tradition and the values of African civilisation which should inspire and characterise their reflection on the concept of human and peoples’ rights; Recognising on the one hand, that fundamental human rights stem from the attributes of human beings, which justifies their international protection and on the other hand, that the reality and respect of peoples’ rights should necessarily guarantee human rights; Considering that the enjoyment of rights and freedom also implies the performance of duties on the part of everyone; Convinced that it is henceforth essential to pay particular attention to the right to development and that civil and political rights cannot be dissociated from economic, social and cultural rights in their conception as well as universality and that the satisfaction of economic, social and cultural rights is a guarantee for the enjoyment of civil and political rights; Conscious of their duty to achieve the total liberation of Africa, the peoples of which are still struggling for their dignity and genuine independence, and undertaking to eliminate colonialism, neo-colonialism, apartheid, zionism, and to dismantle aggressive foreign military bases and all forms of discrimination, particularly those based on race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion or political opinion;

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