Africa has developed various instruments and bodies to establish and protect human rights on the continent. The African Human Rights System (AHRS) are the laws and structures created to work towards human rights protection in Africa. This legal system of African Union human rights treaty law and their corresponding monitoring bodies comprises of six (6) human rights treaties which are:
- 1969 OAU Charter Governing Specific Aspects of the Refugee Problem in Africa (entered into force in 1974) ;
- 1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (entered into force in 1986);
- 1990 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (entered into force in 1999) ;
- 1998 Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (entered into force in 2004);
- 2003 Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (entered into force Nov 2005).
- 2008 Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (yet to enter into force).
AU human rights treaty bodies
Of these six treaties, the African Charter, the African Children’s Charter and the African Court Protocol created the three (3) primary treaty monitoring and enforcement bodies of the Africa. These are the:
- African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
- African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child
- African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights
To read more about these treaty bodies, please follow the links above.
African Regional Economic Community (REC) Courts
In addition to the AU treaties, the following 3 sub-regions of Africa have vibrant legal systems and human rights mandated courts to adjudicate cases from their respective sub-regions. These are:
- Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal
- East African Community (EAC) Court of Justice
- Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court