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African Human Rights Law Journal

On-line version ISSN 1996-2096
Print version ISSN 1609-073X


KILLANDER, Magnus. Human rights developments in the African Union during 2015. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2016, vol.16, n.2, pp.532-553. ISSN 1996-2096.

There were few significant normative developments in the African human rights system during 2015. Draft protocols on the death penalty and the right to nationality were adopted by the African Commission, but whether these will be adopted eventually by the African Union remains to be seen. The Commission also adopted soft law instruments, such as a General Comment on the right to life. The Commission made a small dent in the backlog of communications by adopting a number of merits decisions, including one decision in which it found that hanging as a method of executing the death penalty violated the African Charter. Other merits decisions dealt with the right to nationality and gender-based violence. Despite an increasing docket, the African Court handed down only one merits judgment in 2015. The African Children's Committee made some progress in examining state reports, while some attempts were made to revive the African Peer Review Mechanism, which has not in recent years made much progress in its mandate. The dominant challenge facing the African human rights system in 2015 was the reaction of the AU Executive Council to the granting by the African Commission of observer status to the Coalition of African Lesbians. The directives by the Executive Council clearly challenged the independence of the African Commission as an autonomous organ of the African Union.

Keywords : African Union; African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights; African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights; African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; African Peer Review Mechanism.

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