GUIDELINES FOR NATIONAL PERIODIC REPORTS
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1. It is directed by article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981) that States Parties shall undertake to submit every two years reports on the legislative and other measures they have taken with a view to giving effect to the rights and freedoms recognised and guaranteed by the Charter. This direction was found necessary because, as we know, elaboration and acceptance of human rights legal instruments like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, important as they are, are by themselves a mere beginning in the essential exercise of promotion, protection and restoration of human and peoples’ rights; implementation of those instruments, by word and deed, is of parallel significance and is equally needed. One recalls the words of His Excellency Sir Dauda Jawara, referring to the African Charter, that the instrument should not be allowed merely to collect dust on our shelves while we sat back and did nothing about it. This message of His Excellency the President of the Gambia should establish the spirit in which these reports are to be compiled. In that the reports should show not only the achievements made on the statute book but should also lucidly reveal the extent of implementation in terms of how far the rights and fundamental freedoms of the Charter are being fulfilled and how far the duties are being successfully carried out.
. The urgent desire of the Commission is that this system of periodic reports would create a channel for constructive dialogue between the states and itself on human and peoples’ rights. The states being invited to report on the measures they have adopted and the progress made in achieving the objectives of the Charter, as well as indicating any factors and difficulties affecting the degree of fulfilment. The Commission, on the other hand, furnishing suggestions, advice and other assistance on satisfying the requirements of the Charter. 3. As a basic approach to the subject of reporting, it is suggested that the states begin with an initial general report, which would subsequently be followed by detailed periodic reports on the previous initial general report. Of course, a country with adequate resources and extensive satisfaction of all the requirements of the Charter might decide to make a voluminous, initial report showing comprehensive treatment of all the matters. The benefit from this approach is that subsequent reports may be thereby reduced in volume