Engagement with ACHPR through its Special Mechanisms
The African Commission establishes special, subsidiary mechanisms, such as special rapporteurs, committees, and working groups. These mechanisms have specific mandates and terms of reference to carry out their human rights monitoring work. Each is required to present a report on its activities to the African Commission during Ordinary Sessions. The African Commission relies on the information gathered by the special mechanisms in its formulations of recommendations to States parties.
The special mechanisms consist of the following working groups and committes with their scope of action.
The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information
The mandate calls for the Special Rapporteur to : analyse national media legislation, policies and practice within Member States; monitor their compliance with freedom of expression standards and advise Member States accordingly; undertake investigative missions to Member States and produce reports to submit to the African Commission.
The Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention, and Policing in Africa
The Special Rapporteur is empowered to examine the situation of persons deprived of their liberty within the territories of the States Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and submit report to the Commission.
The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Focal Point on Reprisals in Africa
The mandate calls for the Special Rapporteur to: seek, receive, examine and act upon information on the situation of human rights defenders in Africa; develop and recommend effective strategies to better protect human rights defenders and follow up on his/her recommendations; raise awareness and promote the implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in Africa and submit reports at every ordinary session of the African Commission.
The Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons
The mandate of the Special Rapporteur calls for him or her to : seek , receive, examine, and act upon the situation of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons in Africa; undertake studies, research, investigations, and visits to refugee camps and other related activities to examine appropriate ways to enhance the protection of refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons; assist Member States of the African Union to develop appropriate policies, regulations and laws for the effective protection of refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons.
The Special Rapporteur on Rights of Women
The mandate is to work on isues related to the rights of women on the continent and provide with framework to enhance these rights.
The Committee for the Prevention of Torture in Africa
Its mandate provides that the Committee: Organizes, with the support of other interested partners, seminars to disseminate the Robben Island Guidelines to national and international actors; Develops and proposes to the African Commission strategies to promote and implement the Guidelines at national and regional level, promotes and facilitates the implementation of the Robben Island Guidelines within the Member States.
The Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The mandate calls for the Working Group to : develop and propose to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights a draft Principles and Guidelines on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; elaborate a draft revised guidelines for State reporting; undertake studies and research on specific economic, social and cultural rights; and make a progress report to the African Commission at each Ordinary Session.
The Working Group on the Death Penalty and Extra-judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa
The latter was mandated among other things to carry out a study on the question of the death penalty in Africa, develop a Strategic Plan including a practical and legal framework on the abolition of the Death Penalty, collect information and continue to monitor the situation of the application of the Death Penalty in African States and submit progress reports to the African Commission at each Ordinary Session. The Working Group is also mandated to collaborate with other partners, including international, national, governmental and non-governmental institutions for the successful fulfilment of its mandate.
The Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa
The working group has been mandated to: Examine the concept of indigenous populations / communities in Africa; Study the implications of the African Charter on the well-being of indigenous communities especially with regard to the right to equality (articles 2 and 3), the right to dignity (article 5), the right to protection of all peoples’ against domination (article 19), the right to self-determination (article 20), the right to cultural development and identity (article 22); Consider appropriate recommendations for the monitoring and protection of the rights of indigenous communities.
The Working Group on Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities
It have the mandate to: hold comprehensive brainstorming sessions to articulate the rights of older persons and people with disabilities ; facilitate and expedite comparative research on the various aspects of human rights of older persons and people with disabilities on the continent, including their socio-economic rights; collect data on older persons and people with disabilities to ensure proper mainstreaming of their rights in the policies and development programmes of Member States; and identify good practices to be replicated in Member States;
The Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations
This working group focus on continental framework for monitoring, reporting on and availing redress for human rights abuses in the extractive industries, and the importance of workers rights in Afria.
The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and Those at Risk, Vulnerable to and Affected by HIV
The Committee was established with the mandate to: Seek, request, receive, analyse and respond to reliable information from credible sources including individuals, community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, specialised agencies, inter-governmental organisations, and State Parties, on the situation and rights of PLHIV and those at risk; Engage State Parties and non-state actors on their responsibilities to respect the rights of people living with HIV and those proven to be vulnerable to these infections ; Recommend concrete and effective strategies to better protect the rights of people living with HIV and those at risk; Integrate a gender perspective and give special attention to persons belonging to vulnerable groups, including women, children, sex workers, migrants, men having sex with men, intravenous drugs users and prisoners.
There are other internal special mechanism such as : the Working Group on Specific Issues Related to the Work of the African Commission, The Advisory Committee on Budgetary and Staff Matters, The Working Group on Communications, and the Committee on Resolutions which works focus on internal affais of the Commission.
Engagement with these mechanisms is possible through submission of communications to the Commisison. The communications can be submitted during the ordinary sessions of the Commission by NGOs with the observer status. This structure allows every thematic to access detailed information about human rights violations on the continent and provide with adequate response. We urge States to take steps to improve engagement with the special mechanisms and dialogue on core human rights issues through it.