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African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights
The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (also known as the Banjul Charter) is an international human rights instrument that seeks to promote and protect human rights and basic freedoms in the African continent.
It emerged under the aegis of the Organisation of African Unity (since replaced by the African Union) which, at its 1979 Assembly of Heads of State and Government, adopted a resolution calling for the creation of a committee of experts to draft a continent-wide human rights instrument, similar to those that already existed in Europe (European Convention on Human Rights) and America (American Convention on Human Rights). This committee was duly set up, and it produced a draft that was unanimously approved at the OAU's 1981 Assembly. Pursuant to its Article 63 (whereby it was to "come into force three months after the reception by the Secretary General of the instruments of ratification or adherence of a simple majority" of the OAU's member states), the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights came into effect on 21 October 1986 – in honour of which 21 October was declared "African Human Rights Day".
Oversight and interpretation of the Charter is the task of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, which was set up in 1987 and is now headquartered in Banjul, Gambia. A protocol to the Charter was subsequently adopted in 1998 whereby an African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights was to be created, but the protocol has not yet been ratified by enough AU member states to come into effect.
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