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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights



Ordinary sessions

The Commission holds two ordinary sessions each year. The duration of the session varies in each case from 10 to 15 days depending on needs and finance. The date for an ordinary session is fixed by the Commission upon a proposal by the Chairperson of the Commission in consultation with the Chairperson of the AU Commission. The Secretary of the African Commission must communicate to the members the date and venue of the ordinary session at least 60 days ahead of the session.

Extraordinary sessions

The Commission may hold extraordinary sessions. Extraordinary sessions are convened by the Chairperson of the Commission upon a request by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission or majority of the members of the Commission. Notice of an extraordinary session must be sent to members as soon as possible before the session.


The agenda of an ordinary session is usually first drawn by the Commission’s Secretary in consultation with the Bureau of the Commission. Apart from the items proposed at the previous session, the Chairperson, members of the Commission, state parties, AU organs, NHRIs, NGOs and any specialized institution of the UN may suggest additional items for inclusion in the agenda. However, the Bureau of the Commission has the final say on which items finally make it to the provisional agenda. In the case of extraordinary sessions, the provisional agenda includes only the items contained in the notification of the extraordinary session issued by the Chairperson. The provisional agenda must be circulated to members of the Commission not later than 60 days before the session, and in the case of other stakeholders, 45 days. Certain items of the provisional agenda and documents relating to those items may however be distributed 30 days prior to the session.

Activity reports

The Commission submits to every Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly a report of its activities during sessions and inter-sessions. The Executive Council considers the report on behalf of the Assembly. The Report is presented by the Chairperson of the Commission or his/ her representative. The Commission may publish information about its protective activities (communications and protective missions) only after the report has been adopted by the Executive Council and Assembly. The Executive Council has witheld its authorisation for the publication of the Commission’s two last Activity Reports. The basis for this decision is not clear. Prior to the adoption of the Activity Report by the AU Assembly, the Commission usually issues a communiqué immediately after the session.