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African Human Rights Law Journal

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


KILLANDER, Magnus  and  NYARKO, Michael Gyan. Human rights developments in the African Union (January 2017-September 2018). Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2018, vol.18, n.2, pp.732-757. ISSN 1996-2096.

The African Human Rights Decade (2017-2027) did not get off to a good start. The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights has been facing a backlash from the African Union Executive Council since granting observer status to the Coalition for African Lesbians in 2015, which has escalated to a level where the independence of the Commission is at stake. While the number of cases decided by the Commission has dropped steadily, its other monitoring roles and its role as a norm setter remain important. Many cases are pending before the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights. However, almost all the contentious cases are against the few states that have made a declaration allowing direct access to the Court. The limited access to the Court is also as a result of its own jurisprudence. Thus, the opportunity of NGOs to submit requests for advisory opinions was severely limited by the Court in the SERAP case. The increased hostility of states towards the African human rights system demonstrates that many states are sensitive to human rights criticism. The future will tell whether states will take further steps to weaken the system, for example through their choice of appointments to the monitoring bodies, or disengagement, or whether they will finally take action to meet their rhetoric and strengthen the system they started to build more than three decades ago.

Keywords : African Union; African Commission; African Court; backlash; case law.

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