The African Court on the Humanitarian Rights of the people
TThe concept of human rights has now found a permanent place in our society. These rights are inalienable, intrinsic, intransgressible and applicable to all individuals without discriminations based on race, sex, religion, ethnicity etc. Texts throughout history have repeatedly noted the importance of fundamental rights. The protection of human rights has now become a factor that is used to assess the progress of societies or democracy.
For a long time despite the affirmation of the concept of protection, fundamental rights have been violated by totalitarian regimes which were not subject to any penalties. The trench between theory and practice has never ceased to deepen.
In France, for example, the Declaration of Human Rights and Citizen of 1789 was considered to be the fundamental principles granted to each person, without providing (at the time) an effective mechanism to punish any violations.
It was not until 1948 that human rights were protected internationally by the United Nations (UN). When faced with the atrocities committed by the Nazis, the UN established the universality of human rights through treaties and monitoring bodies. But, this idea of universality has been the subject of many disputes and debates. Some authors believe that the ideas that originated in Europe would be difficult to be applied to other nations where similar conditions do not exist.
Today, there are two major systems of protection in place: The American Court of Human Rights (which was established in 1978) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which was established in 1959. Both systems provide and guarantee fundamental human rights.
However, Africa showed some delay in setting up such a protective system and the African people had no mechanism that could enforce their rights.
This delay was due to the fact that after decolonization, the newly independent states were not ready to take on the multitude of obligations that came with the mechanism a conventional instrument that protects the rights of citizens. The multiplication of political events and the large number of political refugees, brought an awakening of conscience.
It, therefore, proved necessary to construct a system in which a unit that is political, legal and economic would be assured. The Organization of African Unity established the institutional framework.
The Organization of African Unity (OAU) was established in May of 1963 in a place called Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. 32 African states signed the Charter of the Organization. This charter was drafted by the President of Mali - Modibo Keita and the President of Togo - Sylvanus Olympio. It came into force on September 13, 1963.
There were differing opinions on the creation of this Union at this time as some feared the federalist nature of the Union. The OAU was established with two main bodies: the Assembly and the Secretariat General. The Assembly met once a year and consisted of the heads of its States and governments. The Secretariat was the executive authority and bore responsibility for the operations conducted by the OAU.
The powers of the OAU were limited and it could not adequately protect the rights and liberties of the African citizens from their own political leaders.
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