n Law, Democracy & Development - Application of the African Charter by African Sub-Regional Organisations : gains, pains and the future




It is now generally accepted that the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Charter or the Charter) is the overarching normative instrument in the African human rights system. In almost all discourse relating to human rights at the continental stage, the African Charter receives some mention or attention. Increasingly, the African Charter is also seeping into the national legal systems of the member states of the African Union (AU). In addition to direct application of the Charter by way of domestication (or incorporation) by some states, there are claims that Charter provisions have been duplicated in national bills of rights by other states.

Against the background that post-colonial African regimes were reluctant adopters of the African Charter, the entrenchment of the Charter within continental structures and national legal systems is already a huge achievement. It is an achievement that the agitators and drafters of the Charter may well not have envisaged.


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