African Commission on Human Rights

The African Commission was established by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which was adopted in 1981 and entered into force in 1986. The Commission consists of 11 members elected by the AU Assembly, from experts nominated by the state parties to the Charter. Its Secretariat is based in Banjul, The Gambia.

The African Commission has the mandate to promote the observance of the Charter, ensure the protection of the rights and freedoms set out in the Charter, interpret the Charter and advise on its implementation.

Article 5 of the African Charter provides that “every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition of his legal status. All forms of exploitation and degradation of man and particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited”.

In October 2002 the African Commission took a significant step in addressing the problem of torture on the continent by adopting the Measures and Guidelines for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Africa, commonly known as the Robben Island Guidelines (RIG), and establishing a follow up committee (the CPTA).