African NHRIs first gathered in Yaoundé (Cameroon) in February 1996 and adopted the Yaoundé Declaration. This established a Coordinating Committee of African National Institutions for the promotion and protection of Human Rights tasked with assisting in the coordination of African NHRIs’ activities and enhancing their visibility.
Five years later (at the third conference of African NHRIs in Lomé, Togo) a permanent Secretariat of African NHRIs was established, with the South African Human Rights Commission mandated to host the secretariat for an initial three- year period.
In 2005, it was decided that the secretariat be moved to Kenya, to be hosted by the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights. A constitution was developed and signed during the sixth conference of African NHRIs in Kigali, Rwanda in October 2007. This resulted in the formal creation of the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) to replace the Coordinating Committee and the establishment of a permanent Secretariat in Nairobi, Kenya where NANHRI was registered on 30th October 2007 as a legal entity under Kenyan law.