In recent years, it has been recognized that a formidable gap exists between the decisions and judgments adopted by the African Commission and Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the efforts made by States at the national level to implement them. There is evidence that this gap can nonetheless be reduced if actors, specifically in this context, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) play a role in coordinating and strengthening national efforts to implement findings. Therefore, the collective efforts of the African Commission on Human and Peoples´ Rights (African Commission) and African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court) with independent NHRIs can assist in building a culture of human rights in Africa.
The African Charter on Human and Peoples´ Rights established the African Commission whose protection mandate includes the consideration of communications against States party to the Charter. Since its inception, the African Commission has adopted many decisions but the extent to which these have been complied with and implemented is not at all clear.
The AU’s Human Rights Strategy for Africa has identified among its strategic objectives the importance of ‘ensuring effective implementation of human rights instruments and decisions’. Likewise, the Strategy’s 2012-2016 Action Plan calls for strengthening the collaboration on the implementation of findings of African human rights bodies. It states clearly in Objective 4 that it intends to do this through strengthening the enforcement and monitoring mechanism for compliance with decisions of AU human rights mandated organs such as the African Commission and African Court. The African Commission, in carrying out its functions, should develop relationships with other key actors in the protection of human and people’s rights in Africa.