Working Group on Communications - 79OS




(8 November 2023 to 14 May 2024)

Presented by Honourable Commissioner Marie Louise Abomo
Chairperson of the Working Group on Communications

14 May – 2 June 2024


1.    The Working Group on Communications (WGC or Working Group) was established by Resolution ACHPR/Res.194 (L) 11, pursuant to Rule 23 (1) and Rule 97 (2) of the Rules of Procedure of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) 2010.

2.    At its 11th Extraordinary Session, held in Banjul, The Gambia from 21 February to 1 March 2012, the Commission adopted Resolution ACHPR/Res.212 (EXT.OS/XI)12 defining the mandate of the Working Group. Its various tasks have been extensively outlined in the previous reports of the Working Group.

3.    This report, presented in accordance with Rules 25(3) and 64 of the Rules of Procedure of 2020, is structured as follows: A. Activities of the WGC; B. Communications considered during the reporting period; C. Communications pending before the Commission; D. Challenges, Recommendations and Way forward.

A.    Activities of the Communications Working Group

Meetings of the Communications Working Group

4.    On the side lines of the 78th Ordinary Session of the Commission, the Working Group held two meetings during which it discussed (i) the status of complementarity between the Commission and the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (Court); (ii) the Report on the status of the three (3) communications transferred to the Court; and (iii) the document on the simultaneous application of the 2010 and 2020 Regulations.

5.    By consultation, the Working Group analysed requests for interim measures.

B.    Communications examined during the reporting period
6.    The Working Group recalls that at the 77th Ordinary Session, there were one hundred and eighty-five (185) communications, of which:
a.    Forty-two (42) on the merits;
b.    One hundred and forty (140) on the admissibility;
c.    Two (2) communications for seizure.
d.    One (1) request for review.

7.    During the 77th Ordinary Session, the Commission considered five (5) communications, of which:
•    Three (3) communications on the merits;
•    One (1) communication was declared inadmissible;
•    One (1) was postponed until the next meeting.

8.    The Working Group notes that, at the beginning of the 78th Ordinary Session, one hundred and ninety-two (192) communications were pending, of which:
a.    Forty (40) on the merits;
b.    One hundred and thirty-nine (139) on admissibility;
c.    Twelve (12) for seizure;
d.    One (1) communication for review.

9.    During the 78th Ordinary Session, the Commission finalised eight (8) communications, of which six (6) were on the merits and two (2) were declared inadmissible. The Commission also declared four (4) communications admissible and postponed the consideration of one (1) communication to the present session. Thus, at the end of the 78th ordinary session, one hundred and eighty-four (184) communications were pending, including:
a.    Thirty-Six (36) at the merit stage; 
b.    One hundred and thirty-five (135) at the admissibility stage;
c.    Twelve (12) at the seizure stage;
d.    One (1) communication at the examination stage.

10.    After the 78th Ordinary Session, the Secretariat administratively seized ten (10) communications out of the twelve (12) that were pending for seizure. Between the 78th and 79th ordinary sessions (this session), four (4) new complaints were received, of which one (1) was admitted; two (2) are awaiting information and one (1) is being processed by the Communications Coordination Team (CCT) for administrative seizure. It should be noted that the two (2) complaints that were awaiting additional information during the previous session are still in the same situation.

C.    Communications Pending before the Commission

11.    At the beginning of this Session, one hundred and eighty-eight (188) communications were pending, of which:
a.    Thirty-six (36) on the merits;
b.    One hundred and forty-six (146) on the admissibility;
c.    Five (5) communications for seizure;
d.    one (1) application for review.

12.    Regarding communications submitted by States Parties, the situation has not changed since the previous intersessional report. Consequently, no inter-State communications are pending before the Commission.

D.    Challenges, recommendations, and perspectives 

a)    Challenges 

13.    The Working Group notes that notwithstanding the improvements, the challenges related to the limited funds allocated for the translation of communications and submissions by Parties, particularly to/from Arabic where most communications are in English and must be translated into Arabic, will still persist in the medium term because of the backlog of documents to be translated. The Parties' failure to meet the deadlines stipulated in the Commission's Rules of Procedure and the low rate of implementation of the Commission's decisions also persist.

14.    The failure of the parties to comply with the time limits laid down in the Commission's rules of procedure and the low rate of implementation of the Commission's decisions also persist.

b)    Recommendations

15.    The Working Group 

i.    Urges States Parties to implement Commission decisions and inform the Commission of all measures taken or in the process of being taken to implement decisions concerning them within the 180-day period provided for in Rule 112(2) of the Rules of Procedure (2010) and Rule 125(1) of the Rules of Procedure (2020);

ii.    Reiterates its request that all Parties to the Communications apply the relevant provisions of the Rules of Procedure, particularly with regard to the deadlines for submitting arguments and evidence at the different stages of the procedure;

iii.    Encourages parties to use the Standardised Complaint Forms available on the following Commission websites: – English – French – Portuguese

iv.    Refers Litigants to the Practice Directives on the temporal scope of the Rules of Procedure (2020), as long as they are not yet changed. The Practice Directives can be accessed on the Commission’s web pages: – English – French – Portuguese

c)    Perspectives

16.    The WGC believes that its establishment was essential to ensuring streamlined and more efficient handling of Communications. However, the achievement of this objective still depends on the collaboration of all relevant stakeholders at the regional and national levels.

17.    The Working Group encourages the Secretariat to continue working towards completing the establishment of the transitional legal aid scheme of the Commission.

18.    The Working Group is ready to cooperate with the high courts of the States Parties, national bar associations, research institutions and universities in the dissemination and popularisation of the Commission's jurisprudence and the procedure for the protection of the human and peoples’ rights.

19.    The WGC, therefore, continues to gather diverse perspectives and suggestions from all stakeholders with a view to strengthening the fulfilment of its mandate and, by extension, to enhance the Commission’s mandate entrusted to it by the States Parties.

Thank you for your kind attention!