Call for contributions on the "Principles for training on Use of Force by law enforcement officials and Human Rights" from the Study on the Use of Force by Law Enforcement Officials in Africa


The African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights (the Commission) adopted ACHPR/RES. 437 (EXT. SO/XXV1I), Resolution on the Need to Prepare a Study on the Use of Force by Law Enforcement Officials in Africa at its 27th Extraordinary Session held from February 19 to March 4, 2019, in Banjul, The Gambia.

This mandate is in line with Article 45(1)(a) of the African Charter which empowers the Commission to "collect documentation, conduct studies and research on African problems in the field of human and peoples' rights, organize information, encourage national and local bodies dealing with human rights and, where necessary, give advice or make recommendations to governments." 

In this regard, the Commission appointed three of its special mechanisms, namely the Working Group on the Death Penalty, Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions and Enforced Disappearances in Africa, the Mechanism on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa, and the Mechanism on Human Rights Defenders and the Focal Point on Retaliation in Africa.

In doing so, the Commission considered Article 4 of the African Charter which enshrines the right to life and prohibits arbitrary deprivation of life, Article 6 which enshrines the right to liberty and security of the person and Article 11 of the African Charter which guarantees the right to freedom of assembly from the perspective of human rights defenders.

The cooperation of these mechanisms will enable the Commission to address the issue of excessive use of force by law enforcement and security forces from a variety of perspectives, drawing on instruments already adopted.

With efforts now focused on the implementation of these standards, the Commission's Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Police Action in Africa wishes to develop a model training tool for law enforcement officials across the board to promote a human rights-based approach that is sensitive to African contexts where the use of force to enforce the law is still a reality, and which incorporates the principles and rules set out by the Commission in adopting the above-mentioned interpretative instruments.

To this end, the Commission adopted at its 69th Regular Session held virtually from November 15 to December 5, 2021, Resolution ACHPR/Res.508 (LXIX), on the Development of a Training Tool on the Use of Force by Law Enforcement Officials, Prison/Corrections Guards in Africa.

The Commission, with its partners, APCOF and the Centre for Human Rights at the Pretoria Law School, met several times with a multi-sectoral group of 28 professionals. The meeting was attended by ACHPR Commissioners, representatives of States, NHRIs, NGOs, international organizations and staff of the ACHPR Secretariat.

The purpose of this instrument, which will accompany the Study, will be a practical and professional training that will ultimately have a positive influence on instinctive decisions of law enforcement officers to avoid the unnecessary and disproportionate use of force. In this regard, the training process should reflect the application of the principles highlighted in the study.

The training instrument will respond to the recommendation of the study on the use of force, will be subject to territorial suitability and ongoing review, and will serve as a reference for assessing the conduct of training at the national level, based on a human rights-based approach. 

In this regard, States will be encouraged to articulate the training curricula for their law enforcement officials to bring them in line with the Training Instrument, as it better responds to the respect for and protection of human rights.

As part of the consultative process and in line with the applicable best practices of the Commission, the Focal Point hereby publishes the Study on the Use of Force by Law Enforcement Officials in Africa (available on the link below) and invites all stakeholders to provide their inputs solely on the "Training on Use of Force by law enforcement officials and Human Rights" segment including the title of the document.

Study on the Use of Force by Law Enforcement Officials in Africa

Contributions should be sent to the Secretariat of the Commission by email to: au-banjul@africa-union.orgno later than March 16, 2023.