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.
Criteria For Granting Observer Status To NGOs
National Human Rights Institutions
NHRIs are statutory bodies established by governments in Africa and charged with the responsibility of promoting and protecting human rights institutions in their respective countries. The establishment and operations of this institution must conform to the UN Principles relating to the Status and Functioning of National Institution for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights (Paris Principles).
Although the rights and obligations of affiliated NHRIs are similar in some respects to those of NGOs granted observer status, NHRIs are also required to assist the Commission in the promotion of the human rights at the country level. For instance, NHRIs have encouraged their countries to ratify human rights treaties. They have also played and continue to play a significant role in enhancing the protective and promotional activities of the Commission. Their contributions include raising awareness of the Commission’s activities.
NHRIs affiliated to the Commission are entitled to attend and participate in the Commission’s public sessions. Like NGOs, they are required to submit report on their activities to the Commission every two years.