The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights is the African Union body in charge of the implementation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Composed of 11 members elected by the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, the Commission’s mandate is to promote, protect and interpret the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights is officially charged with three major functions:
1. the protection of human and peoples’ rights;
2. the promotion of human and peoples’ rights;
3. the interpretation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
1. Within the framework of its promotional role, the functions of the Commission are inter alia:
To collect documents, undertake studies and researches on African problems in the field of human and peoples’ rights, organize seminars, symposia and conferences, disseminate information, encourage national and local institutions concerned with human and peoples’ rights and should the case arise, give its views or make recommendations to Governments;
To formulate and lay down principles and rules aimed at solving legal problems relating to human and peoples’ rights and fundamental freedoms upon which African Governments may base their legislation.
To cooperate with other African or, International institutions concerned with the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights.
To consider the periodic reports of States on the legislative or other measures adopted to give effect to the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the African Charter.
2. Within the framework of its protective role, the Commission is charged with ensuring the protection of human and peoples’ rights under the conditions laid down by the Charter and according to the rules provided for in the Rules of Procedure of the Commission.
3. Within the framework of its role of interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Commission is charged with interpreting all provisions of the present Charter at the request of a State Party, an institution of the Organization of African Unity or an African Organization recognized by the Organization of African Unity now the African Union.
The Commission is composed of eleven members elected by secret ballot by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government for a six year renewable term.
It elects among its members, its own bureau; the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson for a two year renewable period; the Secretary to the Commission, appointed by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
The members, who serve in their personal and individual capacity, enjoy full independence in the discharge of their duties, having been chosen from amongst African personalities reputed for their high morality, intergrity and impartiality. In discharging their duties they will also enjoy the diplomatic privileges and immunities provided for in the General Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the African Union.