How to work with the African Commission on human and peoples' rights

The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty developed this training manual in partnership with the International Federation of Christians Against Torture (FIACAT). They were inspired to create it after observing that civil society organizations did not understand on how to work within the structure of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). In context of the second phase of a project on “Contributing to the abolition of the Death Penalty in sub-Saharan Africa”, this how-to guide aims to provide information not only on the ACHPR itself and its functioning, but also on the opportunities that civil society can have within this human rights body to advocate for the abolition of the death penalty.

The authors used initial versions of this guide for training sessions during the 64th and 65th Ordinary Sessions of the ACHPR in 2019. The purpose of these training sessions was to help participants in the ordinary sessions better understand the context of the mechanism and how they can interact with it. The authors used and built on these versions to create a clear and comprehensive manual. This training manual is inspired in part by a guide produced by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), NGOs and the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights (2010), and completed with first-hand experience in working with the ACHPR from active members of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. In partnership with FIACAT and FIDH, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty continues to work closely together within the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights with the aim to abolish the death penalty on the African continent.

This how-to guide is divided into three main sections. The first section provides context about the ACHPR and its mandate as a human rights mechanism on the African continent. The second and third sections delve into the structure and tools available to civil society organizations in order to make the most of working within the ACHPR. Annexes provide templates for civil society.