COMPENDIUM OF AFRICAN HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS LAW - Commemorative edition of African human rights instruments of the 35th anniversary of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights 21 October 1987-2022
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Historically, records show that Africa experienced two years in which the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ (African Commission) activities had been on hold
because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The year 2022 thus marks a turning point in the long march of human and peoples’ rights development in Africa. As this year also marks the 35th anniversary of the Commission, it seemed important to mark this event with a symbol. There is nothing better than to make this Compendium of African Human and Peoples’ Rights Law.
The idea is to bring together, in a single volume and in a commemorative edition, all the treaties in force and not yet in force, while at the Commission level, the entry into force of the 2010 and 2020 Rules of Procedure. It will not, however, include the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Abolition of the Death Penalty, which has already been adopted by the Commission but is currently being analysed by the Permanent Representatives Committee of the African Union before being forwarded to the Executive Council and the Assembly of Heads of State and Government for final approval.
Thus, the Code is divided into two main parts.
In the first part, we present the texts that are part of the primary (generating or fundamental) law at the level of the Commission. They consist chronologically of the following
Conventions: the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights; the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa; the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons; the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa; and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Citizens to Social Protection and Social Security.
In the second part, we present the texts that are part of the secondary law (generated or subsidiary law) within the Commission. The reader will find the Rules of Procedure of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 2010 and the Rules of Procedure of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 2020.
These texts thus form the standard-setting architecture around which another category of soft law has been adopted, consisting of principles and guidelines, general comments and resolutions, which would also be prioritized and made available to the general public at a later date. In this connection, work has already been carried out, but from our point of view, it remains an unfinished business and needs to be completed.
I thank the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, especially Professor Frans Viljoen (Director), Dr. Trésor Makunya (Publications Coordinator)
and Lizette Hermann (Manager of the Pretoria University Law Press) for their significant and invaluable contributions to the work. I am also grateful to Lindiwe Nesila-Khumalo, Executive Secretary to the Commission, and Anita Bagona, Senior Legal Officer at the Secretariat, for their respective involvement.
The reader will notice that each text is preceded by an explanatory note by one or two Commissioners to introduce the corresponding treaty or regulation.
We trust that Governments, international organisations and institutions, National Human Rights Institutions, Civil Society Organizations, academics, individuals and communities will appreciate having the bulk of the Commission’s working documents captured in a single volume.
Rémy Ngoy Lumbu
Chairperson, African Human and Peoples’ Rights
Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and
Focal Point on Reprisals in Africa