n Law, Democracy & Development - The approaches of the African Commission to the right to health under the African Charter

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



In 2012 the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights celebrated its 25 years of existence. The Commission was established pursuant to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, which came into force in 1986. Since its establishment the Commission has played significant roles in the advancement of human rights in the region. While it can be argued that the formative stage of the Commission was characterised by administrative inefficiency and lacklustre performance, the Commission would seem to have improved at the latter stage of its existence. Indeed, the Commission has handed down a number of important and landmark decisions relating to the socio-economic rights guaranteed in the Charter. The African Charter remains one of the few regional human rights instruments that guarantee both civil and political rights and socio-economic rights as enforceable rights. In addition, the African Charter remarkably contains provisions safeguarding people's rights, which is a rare feat when compared with other regional human rights instruments. The coming into force on 25 November 2005 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (African Women's Protocol) marks a momentous occasion in the annals of the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa. The African Women's Protocol contains a number of radical and progressive provisions relating to the rights of women, thereby providing an opportunity for the African Commission to redress human rights violations experienced by women.

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