African Human Rights System in Practice: Theoretical and Practical Challenges

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Temesgen Thomas Halabo, Ajay Prakash Pasupulla


The study examined the structural challenges encountered by the African Human Rights Commission in discharging its mandates of protecting and promoting charter guaranteed human rights in the continent. This study is based on document analysis and analytical review of secondary sources.  The African Human Rights charter was entered into force in 1986 as the key normative instrument for the protection of human rights. The charter established the African Commission as a principal Continental Human Rights System under the OAU.  Unlike the OAU, the AU provides stronger normative human rights framework for the African Commission. The study revealed that the Commission is encountering multifaceted structural and institutional challenges that continue to beleaguer its efforts at actualizing the provisions of the charter. The criticism of the Commission as being a simple appendage of African governments is basically linked to its limited mandate and autonomy. As study results indicate that competing sub-regionalism and state interest driven politics is not only hampering effective functioning of the Commission but also undermining efforts of making the charter as common standards of achievement and practice in Africa. The study suggest that Africa should continue to undertake the most robust measure to provide  broader  autonomy to the Commission and    should also undertake reform process within the AU framework that is not so state-centric and compromise the breach of human rights by the member states in Africa.


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