The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights was drafted in Banjul, The Gambia, from June 1980 to January 1981. During the 18th General Assembly meeting the Organization for African Unity (OAU), Heads of States approved the Charter in Nairobi, Kenya, and it entered into force in October 21st 1986.
The purpose of enacting the Charter was to create an instrument that sets human rights standards all the while recognizing African values and traditions.
The Charter has become the reference instrument for all other documents related to the promotion and protection of human rights on the African continent.
Article 30 of the Charter establishes the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, which was created on November 2nd 1987 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Commission’s Secretariat was relocated to The Gambia in November 1989.
Article 56 of the Charter states the admissibility requirements that need to be satisfied by litigants before their cases can be heard by the Commission or the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Article 56(5) of ACHPR notably requires litigants to exhaust all local remedies before their cases can be heard before the Commission and the Court. The essence of this provision is to ensure respect for States’ sovereignty and also to give States the opportunity to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights within their countries.
The Court requires States to accede to its jurisdiction by first making a declaration pursuant to Article 34(6) of its Protocol.