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;

Select target paragraph3