The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders was established by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights with the adoption of Resolution 69 at the 35th Ordinary Session held in Banjul, The Gambia from 21st May to 4th June 2004. The mandate calls for the Special Rapporteur to:
- seek, receive, examine and act upon information on the situation of human rights defenders in Africa;
- submit reports at every ordinary session of the African Commission;
- cooperate and engage in dialogue with Member States, National Human Rights Institutions, relevant intergovernmental bodies, international and regional mechanisms of protection of human rights defenders and other stake holders;
- develop and recommend effective strategies to better protect human rights defenders and follow up on his/her recommendations; and
- raise awareness and promote the implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in Africa.
The mandate was renewed through Resolutions adopted at the 38th Ordinary Session in 2005, the 42nd Ordinary Session in 2007, the 46th Ordinary Session in 2009 and the 49th session in 2011.