Vol. 6 No.2, December 2012
SADC Southern African Development Community
EACJ East African Court of Justice
Economic Community of West African States
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women
African states have established Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to
achieve increased trade and improved economic links.
RECs serve as the
building blocks for the economic integration of Africa.
While pursuing these
goals, they recognise the enhanced role of human rights, inter alia, as a means
to their economic development.
In the Algiers Declaration, African leaders
identified a political environment in which human rights are observed as a
precondition to economic growth.
They also recognised that conflict, one of the
obstacles to economic growth, may arise from the violation of human rights.
For these reasons and others, RECs are involved in human rights matters.
Treaties establishing the RECs recognise the promotion and protection of
human rights among their principles and different organs have been established
to achieve these objectives.
Some of these organs contribute to human rights
1 Frans Viljoen (2007), International Human Rights Law in Africa (Oxford: Oxford
University Press), p.495.
2 Art 88(1), Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community, adopted in 1991 in
Abuja, Nigeria and entered into force in 1994.
3 See Magdalena Sepúlveda et. al. (2004), Human Rights Reference Handbook (San
Jose: University for Peace), p.403; Oliver Christian Ruppel ‘Regional economic
communities and human rights in East and southern Africa’ in Anton Bösl & Joseph
Diescho (eds) (2009),Human Rights in Africa: Legal Perspectives on their Protection
and Promotion (Windhoek: Macmillan Education), p. 279. Respect for human rights
immensely contributes to economic development. See also Nneoma Nwogu (2007),
‘Regional integration as an instrument of human rights: Reconceptualizing ECOWAS,
Journal of Human Rights 345.
4 Declaration on the Political and Socio-economic Situation in Africa and the
Fundamental Changes Taking Place in the World (the Algiers Declaration), OAU Doc
AHG/Decl.1(XXVI), para 10 - 11.
5 Rachel Murray (2004), Human Rights in Africa: from the OAU to the African Union
(Cambridge: Cambridge university Press), p.126.
6 See Consolidated Text of the Treaty of the Southern African Development
Community (as Amended), art 4(c); Treaty Establishing the East African Community,
art 6(d); Treaty of ECOWAS, art 4(g); COMESA Treaty, art 6(e). These treaties were
reproduced in Solomon Ebobrah & Armand Tanoh (eds) (2010), Compendium of