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ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
1.` Enforcement of provisions of African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights.
Text of African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights
An Act to enable effect to be given in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights made in Banjul on the 19th day of January, 1981 and for purposes connected therewith.
[Commencement.] [17th March, 1983]
Rights and duties
Human and Peoples’ Rights
The Member States of the Organisation of African Unity parties to the present Charter shall recognise the rights, duties and freedom enshrined in this Charter and shall undertake to adopt legislative or other measures to give effect to them.
Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedom recognised and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.
Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of this right.
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 particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be prohibited.
Every individual shall have the right to liberty and to the security of his person. No one may be deprived of his Freedom except for reasons and conditions previously laid down by law. In particular, no one may be arbitrarily arrested or detained.
(a) The right to an appeal to competent national organs against acts of violating his Fundamental rights as recognised and guaranteed by conventions, laws, regulations and customs in Force;
(b) The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty by a competent court or tribunal;
(c) The right to defence, including the right to be defended by counsel of his choice;
(d) The right to be tried within a reasonable time by an impartial court or tribunal.
Freedom of conscience, the profession and free practice of religion shall be guaranteed. No one may, subject to law and order, be submitted to measures restricting the exercise of these freedoms.
Every individual shall have the right to assemble freely with others. The exercise of this right shall be subject only to necessary restriction provided for by law in particular those enacted in the interest of national security, the safety, health, ethnics and rights and freedoms of others.
The right to property shall be guaranteed. It may only be encroached upon in the interest of public need or in the general interest of the community and in accordance with the provisions of appropriate laws.
Every individual shall have the right to work under equitable and satisfactory conditions and shall receive equal pay for equal work.
All peoples shall be equal. They shall enjoy the same respect and shall have the same rights. Nothing shall justify the domination of a people by another.
(a) Any individual enjoying the right of asylum under Article 12 of the present Charter shall not engage in subversive activities against his country of origin or any other State Party to the present Charter;
(b) Their territories shall not be used as bases for subversive or terrorist activities against the people of any other State Party to the present Charter.
All peoples shall have the right to a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development.
States Parties to the present Charter shall have the duty to promote and ensure through teaching, education and publication, the respect of the rights and freedom contained in the present Charter and to see to it that these freedom and rights as well as corresponding obligations and duties are understood.
States Parties to the present Charter shall have the duty to guarantee the independence of the Courts and shall allow the establishment and improvement of appropriate national institutions entrusted with the promotion and protection of the rights and freedom guaranteed by the present Charter.
Every individual shall have the duty to respect and consider his fellow beings without discrimination, and to maintain relations aimed at promoting, safeguarding and reinforcing mutual respect and tolerance.
The individual shall also have the duty:
Measures of Safeguard
Establishment and Organisation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
An African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, hereinafter called “the Commission “, shall be established with the Organisation of African Unity to promote human and peoples’ rights and ensure their protection in Africa.
The Commission shall not include more than one national of the same State.
The members of the Commission shall be elected by secret ballot by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, from a list of persons nominated by the States Parties to the present Charter.
Each State Party to the present Charter may not nominate more than two candidates. The candidates must have the nationality of one of the States Parties to the present Charter. When two candidates are nominated by a State, one of them may not be a national of that State.
The members of the Commission shall be elected for a six year period and shall be eligible for re-election. However, the term of office of four of the members elected at the first election shall terminate after two years and the term of office of three others, at the end of four years.
Immediately after the first election, the Chairman of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African Unity shall draw lots to decide the names of those members referred to in Article 36.
After their election, the members of the Commission shall make a solemn declaration to discharge their duties impartially and faithfully.
Every member of the Commission shall be in office until the date his successor assumes office.
The Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity shall appoint the Secretary of the Commission. He shall also provide the staff and services.
He shall neither participate in deliberations nor shall he be entitled to vote. The Chairman of the Commission may, however, invite him to speak.
In discharging their duties, members of the Commission shall enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities provided for in the General Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the Organisation of African Unity.
Provision shall be made for the emoluments and allowances of the members of the Commission in the Regular Budget of the Organisation of African Unity.
Mandate of the Commission
The functions of the Commission shall be-
(a) To collect documents, undertake studies and researches on African problems in the field of human and peoples’ rights, organise seminars, symposia and conferences, disseminate information, encourage national and local institutions concerned with human and peoples’ rights, and should the case arise, give more its views or make recommendations to Governments;
(b) To formulate and lay down, principles and rules aimed at solving legal problems relating to human and peoples’ rights and fundamental freedom upon which African Governments may base their legislations;
(c) Co-operate with other African and International institutions concerned with promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights;
Procedure of the Commission
The Commission may resort to any appropriate method of investigation; it may hear from the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity or any other person capable of enlightening it.
Communications from States
If a State Party to the present Charter has good reasons to believe that another State Party to this Charter has violated the provisions of the Charter, it may draw, by written communication, the attention of that State to the matter. This communication shall also be addressed to the Secretary-General of the OAU and to the Chairman of the Commission. Within three months of the receipt of the communication, the State to which the communication is addressed shall give the enquiring State, written explanation or statement elucidating the matter. This should include as much as possible relevant information relating to the laws and rules of procedure applied and applicable and the redress already given or course of action available.
If within three months from the date on which the original communication is received by the State to which it is addressed, the issue is not settled to the satisfaction of the two States involved through bilateral negotiation or by any other peaceful procedure, either State shall have the right to submit the matter to the Commission through the Chairman and shall notify the other State involved.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 47, if a State Party to the present Charter considers that another State Party has violated the provisions of the Charter, it may refer the matter directly to the Commission by addressing a communication to the Chairman, to the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity and the State concerned.
The Commission can only deal with a matter submitted to it after making sure that all local remedies, if they exist, have been exhausted, unless it is obvious to the Commission that the procedure of achieving these remedies would be unduly prolonged.
After having obtained, from the States concerned and from other sources all the information it deems necessary and after having tried all appropriate means to reach an amicable solution based on the respect of Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Commission shall prepare, within a reasonable period of time from the notification referred to in Article 48, a report stating the facts and its findings. This report shall be sent to the States concerned and communicated to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
While transmitting its report, the Commission may make to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government such recommendations as it deems useful.
The Commission shall submit to each Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government a report on its activities.
Communications relating to human and peoples’ rights referred to in Article 55 received by the Commission shall be considered if they:
Prior to any substantive consideration, all communications shall be brought to the knowledge of the State concerned by the Chairman of the Commission.
The Commission shall draw inspiration from international law on human and peoples’ rights, particularly from the provisions of various African instruments on human and peoples’ rights, the Charter of the United Nations, the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, other instruments adopted by the United Nations and by African countries in the field of human and peoples’ rights as well as from the provisions of various instruments adopted within the Specialised Agencies of the United Nations of which the parties to the present Charter are members.
The Commission shall also take into consideration, as subsidiary measures to determine the principles of law, other general or special international conventions, laying down rules expressly recognised by member States of the Organisation of African Unity, African practices consistent with international norms on human and peoples’ rights, customs generally accepted as law, general principles of law recognised by African States as well as legal precedents and doctrine.
Each State Party shall undertake to submit every two years, from the date the present Charter comes into force, a report on the legislative or other measures taken with a view to giving effect to the rights and freedoms recognised and guaranteed by the present Charter.
For each of the States that will ratify or adhere to the present Charter after its coming into force, the Charter shall take effect three months after the date of the deposit by that State of its instrument of ratification or adherence.
Special protocols or agreements may, if necessary, supplement the provisions of the present Charter.
The Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity shall inform member states of the Organisation of the deposit of each instrument of ratification or adherence.
The present Charter may be amended if a State Party makes a written request to that effect to the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government may only consider the draft amendment after all the States Parties have been duly informed of it and the Commission has given its opinion on it at the request of the sponsoring State. The amendment shall be approved by a simple majority of the States Parties. It shall come into force for each State which has accepted it in accordance with its constitutional procedure three months after the Secretary-General has received notice of the acceptance.