The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights will launch the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which was adopted in Nairobi, Kenya on 27 June 1981 by the Assembly of Heads of State of the then Organization of African Unity (OAU).
Themed, “Realities of 40 years of implementation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the journey towards the Africa We Want”, the commemoration will draw attention to the values and principles enshrined in the African Charter and its various Protocols and facilitate renewal of stakeholders’ commitment to the realization of Aspiration 3 of the Agenda 2063, which calls for “An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law”.
The African Charter is the backbone of the African human rights system and it is built on the vision of inspiring and characterizing the thinking of African States on the concept of promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights on the continent.
ACHPR while announcing the launch, described the African Charter as being “iconic in its contribution to the corpus of international human rights in its recognition of the universality, interdependence and indivisibility of human rights, on one hand, and the juxtaposition of individual and collective rights, and duties, on the other hand.
“The African Charter is also an instrument that has adapted itself to its environment, by inclusion of the rights of varied categories of individuals and peoples, such as women, family, the elderly, people living with disabilities, and indigenous communities.
“It enables cooperation between its premier mechanism for human rights promotion and protection, that is, the African Commission, and other African and international institutions concerned with the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights. In addition, the African Charter gives room for the creation and adoption of special protocols to supplement its provisions, such as the Protocol on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights which established the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Court) to complement the protection mandate of the African Commission.
“Since its entry into force, the African Charter has enabled individuals and communities to exercise their fundamental rights at both national and continental levels. It has also helped to balance the concept of state sovereignty vis-a-vis accountability, by emphasizing that human rights violations can no longer be swept under the carpet of ‘internal affairs’.”
It was also noted that, “the African Charter has proven to be an indispensable human rights instrument. By so doing, it has earned the admiration and collaboration of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and international organizations working in the area of human rights.
“The celebration of the 40th anniversary therefore aims at encouraging States Parties to the African Charter, to renew their commitments to the implementation of the African Charter.”
This celebration which will take place throughout the rest of 2021 will be marked by a series of events, beginning with keynote addresses and a high-level panel discussion on Monday, June 28th, 2021 by various stakeholders and key actors working in the promotion and protection of human rights. Interested members of the public can register to attend the virtual launch.