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African Human Rights Law Journal

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


MURRAY, Rachel  and  LONG, Debra. Monitoring the implementation of its own decisions: What role for the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights?. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2021, vol.21, n.2, pp.836-852. ISSN 1996-2096.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in recent years has put in place various measures to monitor the implementation of its decisions on individual communications. These include a series of panels and seminars, amendments to its Rules of Procedure, extending the mandate of its Working Group on Communications, clarifying more expressly roles for national human rights institutions and civil society organisations, and calling on states to establish focal points and other procedures at the national level. This article considers the effectiveness of these measures and critically evaluates the role of the African Commission in monitoring the implementation of its decisions. The article draws on the findings of a four-year research project conducted by the University of Bristol's Human Rights Implementation Centre, in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria; the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex; and the Middlesex University. This project tracked the implementation of selected decisions on individual communications, from the regional and UN human rights bodies, against nine countries from Africa, the Americas and Europe. These decisions were used as case studies to identify and examine the processes in place at the national, regional and international levels, to monitor and facilitate implementation. Among the themes explored was an examination of the extent to which there may be a difference in the discourse and behaviour of various domestic actors depending on which body issued the decision. In relation to decisions of the African Commission, this research identified that while there has been increased attention paid by the Commission to the issue of monitoring the implementation of its decisions, it nevertheless lacks strategic direction and there is a risk that the momentum and opportunities created by these initiatives will be lost without further strategic and institutional development by the Commission to clarify its role.

Keywords : African Commission; implementation; decisions; monitor.

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