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Pritzker Legal Research Center

International Human Rights Law Research


The African Union consists of 55 member states located on the African continent. The AU, officially launched in July 2002, is the successor to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) (1963 - 1999). 

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Banjul Charter) promotes and protects human rights and basic freedoms on the African continent. This charter was adopted on 1 June 1981 and entered into force on 21 October 1986. 

Other AU Treaties


Commentaries provide article-by-article analysis of treaties and include citations to relevant jurisprudence, preparatory works, and other documents. The following commentary is available electronically through Oxford Scholarly Authorities on International Law. The complete list of titles included in this collection is available here

You can find additional commentaries by searching on NUsearch, our library catalog, for keywords such as [name of treaty] + commentary (example: African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights commentary). 


The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights interpret and apply the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other African regional human rights instruments. 

To find jurisprudence from the African human rights system:

Step 1: Consult a commentary or other secondary sources to identify citations to relevant cases and decisions. See above for suggestions on how to find commentaries and the Secondary Sources page of this guide for guidance on how to find additional secondary sources. 

Step 2: Use the subscription and/or free resources suggested below to search for or retrieve cases. Note that resources differ in scope of coverage, when they were last updated, and search capabilities. 

Special Mechanisms

The African Commission has created subsidiary mechanisms, including special rapporteurs, committees, and working groups, to carry out specific mandates and report on its work to the Commission. Examples of some of the special mechanisms include the Special Rapporteur on Rights of Women, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, and Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa.