Pretoria University Law Press (PULP)

PULP is an open-access publisher based at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria

General Comment No. 3 on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights: The Right to Life (Article 4)
Adopted during the 57th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held from 4 to 18 November 2015 in Banjul, The Gambia
ISBN: 978-1-920538-45-3
Pages: 17
Print version: Available
Electronic version: Free PDF available

Download this book

About the publication

The jurisprudence of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights has widely recognised the right to life as a foundational right. Without the right to life, other rights cannot be implemented. The Commission adopted General Comment No.3 on the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the right to life (Article 4) during its 57th Ordinary Session, held in Banjul, The Gambia, in November 2015. It is designed to guide the interpretation and application of the right to life under the Charter and to ensure its coherent application to a range of situations, including its implementation at the domestic level. The General Comment does not put in place new standards or highlight best practices but rather sets out the Commission’s perspective on dimensions of this universally recognised right.

The text is also available, in the four official languages of the African Union, on the African Commission’s website:

Table of Contents

A. The nature of the right and of the obligations of the State in respect of the right to life
B. The scope of the prohibition on the ‘arbitrary’ deprivation of life
C. The requirement of accountability
D. The abolition of the death penalty
E. The use of force in law enforcement
F. The use of force in armed conflict
G. State obligations with respect to persons held in custody
H. Responsibility for violations by non-State actors
I. Interpreting the right to life broadly

Download this book



ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognised. If you do not have such an ID, please register at the website