NGOs play a prominent role in the activities of the Commission. Primarily, they draw the attention of the Commission to violations of the Charter, bring communications on behalf of individuals, monitor states' compliance with the Charter, and help to increase awareness about the Commission's activities by organizing conferences and other activities.
NGOs participate in the Commission's public sessions and engage with the reporting procedure by submitting shadow reports and popularising concluding observations.
Since 1988, the Commission has been granting observer status to NGOs. NGOs having observer status with the Commission are required to submit a report of their activities every two years.