Resolutions by the African Commission

Article 45 of the Charter empowers the Commission to ‘formulate and lay down principles and rules aimed at solving legal problems relating to human and peoples’ rights.’ Pursuant to this provision, the Commission adopts resolutions to address diverse human rights issues. These resolutions could generally be classified into three:
  • thematic;
  • administrative;
  • country specific resolutions.

Thematic resolution

A thematic resolution elaborates in greater detail specific human right themes or a particular substantive right covered in the Charter. It defines the states’ obligations in respect of such right and describes the standard set by the Charter. A thematic resolution is similar to the general comments of the UN treaty bodies. The Commission has passed a number of thematic resolutions covering a wide range of themes including death penalty, indigenous peoples, situation of women and children, socio-cultural rights, HIV/AIDS, electoral process and good governance, prisons, freedom of association, and fair trial.

Administrative resolution

Administrative resolutions deal with the Commission’s procedures, internal mechanisms and relationship between the Commission and other organs of the AU, intergovernmental organisations, NHRIs and NGOs. Some of the Commission’s administrative resolutions include resolutions on the appointment and mandate of special rapporteurs and working groups, resolutions on the criteria for grant of observer status to NGOs and affiliate status to NHRIs, and the resolution on the protection of the name, acronym and logo of the Commission.

Country-specific resolution

Country resolutions address pertinent human rights concerns in member states. This genre of resolution has proven very useful whenever there are widespread violations in a member state but no individual has submitted any communications to the Commission in respect of those violations. The Commission has passed specific resolutions to address the human rights situation in Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, DRC, Côte d’Ivoire, Comoros, Libya, Tunisia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Burundi, Rwanda and many other countries.