Compendium of Key Human Rights Documents of the African Union (Seventh Edition)
Edited by Christof Heyns and Magnus Killander
ISSN: 978-1-7764116-1-0
Pages: 494
Print version: Available
Electronic version: Free PDF available


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About the publication

This is the seventh edition of the Compendium of key human rights documents of the African Union updated to June 2022. It is the first edition published since the untimely passing of Prof Christof Heyns who approached me many years ago with the idea for this Compendium. The Compendium was first published in 2005 and thereafter regularly updated.

This compendium contains documents on human rights adopted under the auspices of the African Union (AU) and its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), including documents adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Since the sixth edition of this Compendium was published in 2016 there has been several normative developments but due to space reasons only a small number of the key new documents have been included in this edition.

Due to space constraints only extracts are reprinted of many of the documents. This compendium is by no means comprehensive but includes some key documents of relevance for students of the African human rights system and others interested in its functioning. Extracts from documents related to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) reprinted in previous editions of this compendium have been left out of this edition.

For comprehensive coverage of human rights law in Africa, see and the web sites listed at the end of this compendium. The assistance of Frans Viljoen, Trésor Makunya, Clement Agyemang, Omotunde Enigbokan and Lizette Hermann in preparing this edition of the compendium and the financial support of the Norwegian government for its printing is gratefully acknowledged.

June 2022
Magnus Killander
Professor of human rights law
Centre for Human Rights,
Faculty of Law,
University of Pretoria,

Table of Contents



Charter of the Organization of African Unity (1963/1963)  
Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community (1991/1994)  
Constitutive Act of the African Union (2000/2001)  
Protocol on Amendments to the Constitutive Act (2003/)  
Protocol on the Pan African Parliament (2001/2003)  
Protocol on the Peace and Security Council (2002/2003)  
Statutes of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (2004)  
African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (1981/1986)  
Protocol on the African Human Rights Court (1998/2004)  
Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (2008/)
Protocol on Amendments to the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (2014/)
Protocol on the Rights of Women (2003/2005)  
Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa (2016)
Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (2018)
Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Citizens to Social Protection and Social Security (2022)
OAU Refugee Convention (1969/1974)  
African Children’s Charter (1990/1999)  
Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (1999/2002)
Protocol on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism (2004/)  
African Convention on the Conservation of Nature (Revised) (2003/)
Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (2003/2006)
Non-Aggression and Common Defence Pact (2005/2009) African Youth Charter (2006/2009) 151
African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007/2012)
AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (2009/2012)
Grand Bay (Mauritius) Declaration (1999)  
Kigali Declaration (2003)  
Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (2004)  
Guidelines for Electoral Observation Missions (2004)  
Banjul Declaration (2006) 
Declaration by the Assembly on the theme of year 2016  


Rules of Procedure of the African Commission (2020) 
Guidelines for National Periodic Reports (1998)  
Guidelines for state reporting on Women’s Protocol (2010)  
Concluding Observations and Recommendations on the Initial Periodic Report of the Republic of Botswana (2009)
List of reprinted decisions by article of the African Charter 

Selected decisions of the African Commission

Achuthan and Another v Malawi (2000) AHRLR 144 (ACHPR 1995)  
African Institute for Human Rights and Development v Guinea (2004) AHRLR 57 (ACHPR 2004)
Amnesty International v Sudan (2000) AHRLR 297 (ACHPR 1999)
Article 19 v Eritrea (2007) AHRLR 73 (ACHPR 2007) 
Avocats Sans Frontières v Burundi (2000) AHRLR 48 (ACHPR 2000)
Bissangou v Republic of Congo (2006) AHRLR 80 (ACHPR 2006)  
Centre for Minority Rights Development (Kenya) and Minority Rights Group International on behalf of Endorois Welfare
Council v Kenya (2009) AHRLR 75 (ACHPR 2009)
Civil Liberties Organisation v Nigeria (2000) AHRLR 186 (ACHPR 1995)
Commission Nationale des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés v Chad (2000) AHRLR 66 (ACHPR 1995)
Constitutional Rights Project and Another v Nigeria (2000) AHRLR 191 (ACHPR 1998)
Constitutional Rights Project and Another v Nigeria (2000) AHRLR 235 (ACHPR 1999)
Constitutional Rights Project and Others v Nigeria (2000) AHRLR 180 (ACHPR 1995)
Constitutional Rights Project and Others v Nigeria (2000) AHRLR 227 (ACHPR 1999)
Democratic Republic of the Congo v Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda (2004) AHRLR 19 (ACHPR 2003)
Doebbler v Sudan (2003) AHRLR 153 (ACHPR 2003)  
Egyptian Initiative for Personal rights and Interights v Egypt (2011) AHRLR 90 (ACHPR 2011)
Forum of Conscience v Sierra Leone (2000) AHRLR 293 (ACHPR 2000)
Gunme and Others v Cameroon (2009) AHRLR 9 (ACHPR 2009)  
Human Rights Council and Others v Ethiopia [Communication 445/13 (2015)]
Huri-Laws v Nigeria (2000) AHRLR 273 (ACHPR 2000)  
Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa v Angola (2008) AHRLR 43 (ACHPR 2008)
Interights & Ditshwanelo v Botswana [Communication 319/06 (2015)]
Interights and Others v Mauritania (2004) AHRLR 87 (ACHPR 2004)  
International Pen and Others v Nigeria (2000) AHRLR 212 (ACHPR 1998)
Jawara v The Gambia (2000) AHRLR 107 (ACHPR 2000)  
Katangese Peoples’ Congress v Zaire (2000) AHRLR 72 (ACHPR 1995)
Law Office of Ghazi Suleiman v Sudan (I) (2003) AHRLR 134 (ACHPR 2003)
Law Office of Ghazi Suleiman v Sudan (II) (2003) AHRLR 144 (ACHPR 2003)
Lawyers for Human Rights v Swaziland (2005) AHRLR 66 (ACHPR 2005)
Legal Resources Foundation v Zambia (2001) AHRLR 84 (ACHPR 2001)
Ligue Camerounaise des Droits de l’Homme v Cameroon (2000) AHRLR 61 (ACHPR 1997)
Majuru v Zimbabwe (2008) AHRLR 146 (ACHPR 2008)  
Malawi African Association and Others v Mauritania (2000) AHRLR 149 (ACHPR 2000)
Media Rights Agenda and Others v Nigeria (2000) AHRLR 200 (ACHPR 1998)
The Nubian Community in Kenya v Kenya [Communication 317/06 (2015)]
Ouko v Kenya (2000) AHRLR 135 (ACHPR 2000)  
Pagnoulle v Cameroon (2000) AHRLR 57 (ACHPR 1997)  
Prince v South Africa (2004) AHRLR 105 (ACHPR 2004)  
Purohit and Others v The Gambia (2003) AHRLR 96 (ACHPR 2003)  
Shumba v Zimbabwe communication 288/2004 
Social and Economic Rights Action Centre (SERAC) and Another v Nigeria (2001) AHRLR 60 (ACHPR 2001)
Sudan Human Rights Organisation and Another v Sudan (2009) AHRLR 153 (ACHPR 2009)
Tembani and Freeth v Angola and Thirteen Others [Communication 409/12 (2013)]
Zegveld and Another v Eritrea (2003) AHRLR 84 (ACHPR 2003)  
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum v Zimbabwe (2005) AHRLR 128 (ACHPR 2005)
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Another (on behalf of Medrum) v Zimbabwe (2009) AHRLR 268 (ACHPR 2009)

Resolutions, guidelines and general comments of the African Commission

Observer Status for National Human Rights Institutions (1998)  
Criteria for Observer Status for NGOs (1999)  
Principles on Freedom of Expression (2002)  
Robben Island Guidelines on Torture (2002)  
Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Fair Trial (2003)  
Access to Health and Needed Medicines in Africa (2008)  
Resolution on protection against violence and other human rights violations against persons on the basis of their real or imputed sexual orientation or gender identity (2015)
General Comment No. 3 on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights: The Right to Life (Article 4)


Recommendations and observations sent to the government of the Republic of Uganda on the Initial Implementation Report of the African Charter of the Rights and Welfare of the Child (2010)

Selected decisions of the African Committee

IHRDA and OSJI v Kenya (2011) AHRLR 181 (ACERWC 2011)  
The Centre for Human Rights (University of Pretoria) and Another v Senegal [Communication 1/2012 (2014)]


Rules of Court (2020)  

Selected decisions of the African Court

Konaté v Burkina Faso, order of provisional measures [Application 004/2013 (2013)]
Konaté v Burkina Faso, judgment on merits [Application 004/2013 (2014)]
Mtikila v Tanzania applications 9/2011 & 11/2011 (2013)  
Zongo v Burkina Faso, judgment on reparations [Application 013/2011 (2015)]




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