The Construction of the African Human Rights System: Prospects and Pitfalls
REALIZING HUMAN RIGHTS: MOVING FROM INSPIRATION TO IMPACT, Samantha Power, Graham Allison, eds., pp. 143-166, St. Martin's Press, 2000
27 Pages Posted: 25 Dec 2009
Date Written: 2000
The regional African human rights system is based on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (The African or Banjul Charter), which entered into force on October 21, 1986, upon ratification by a simple majority of member states of the organization of African Unity (OAU). In 1998, the OAU adopted a protocol for the establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ rights. The Protocol suggests that the African Human Rights Court will make the promotion and the protection of human rights within the regional system more effective. But the mere addition of a court, although a significant development, is unlikely by itself to address sufficiently the normative and structural weaknesses that have plagued the African human rights system since its inception. This chapter critically evaluates the African human rights system and assesses its potential impact on human rights conditions on the continent. It examines the normative aspects and institutional arrangements created under the African Charter and the Protocol for the African Human Rights Court. It asks whether a clear and mutually reinforcing division of labor between the African Commission and the African Human Rights Court could be developed to promote and protect human rights on the continent more effectively.
Keywords: Human rights, Africa, African Charter, Banjul Charter, OAU, Protocol, African Commission
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