Since its establishment, the Commission has undertaken two categories of missions: protective mission and promotional missions. Special Rapporteurs also undertake
missions focusing on human rights violations within their mandates.
Protective missions (on-site and fact-finding)
Promotional visits or missions are undertaken by the Commission or its Special Mechanisms to sensitise states about the role of the African Charter, encourage states which have not ratified the Charter or any other human rights instrument to ratify them or to persuade nonreporting states to comply with their reporting obligations. For the purpose of promotional visits, the 53 state parties of the African Charter
are distributed among the Commissioners.
Obligations of states during a protection mission
State parties must:
- Refrain from taking reprisal action against persons or entities that furnished the mission with information, testimony or evidence
- Guarantee free movement of members of the mission including any necessary internal authorisation
- Provide the mission with any information or document which the mission considers necessary in order to prepare its report
- Take steps to protect members of the mission.
Role of civil society
Civil society facilitates the Commission’s decision to undertake missions by raising concerns on gross human rights violations. They usually accompany the Commission/Commissioners during visits and are known for playing the role of interlocutors.