Back to Index
Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights and Duties
June 21, 1986
27 June 1981, OAU Doc. CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58 (1982), entered
into force 21 October 1986)
1: Rights and Duties
Chapter 1: Human and Peoples' Rights
Member States of the Organization of African Unity parties to the present
Charter shall recognize the rights, duties and freedoms enshrined in this
Chapter and shall undertake to adopt legislative or other measures to
give effect to them.
individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms
recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of
any kind such as race, ethnic group, color, sex, language, religion, political
or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other
Every individual shall be equal before the law.
2. Every individual shall be entitled to equal protection of the law.
beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect
for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily
deprived of this right.
individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent
in a human being and to the recognition of his legal status. All forms
of exploitation and degradation of man particularly slavery, slave trade,
torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be
individual shall have the right to liberty and to the security of his
person. No one may be deprived of his freedom except for reasons and conditions
previously laid down by law. In particular, no one may be arbitrarily
arrested or detained.
Every individual shall have the right to have his cause heard. This comprises:
the right to an appeal to competent national organs against acts of
violating his fundamental rights as recognized and guaranteed by conventions,
laws, regulations and customs in force;
(b) the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty by a competent
court or tribunal;
(c) the right to defense, including the right to be defended by counsel
of his choice;
(d) the right to be tried within a reasonable time by an impartial court
No one may be condemned for an act or omission which did not constitute
a legally punishable offence at the time it was committed. No penalty
may be inflicted for an offence for which no provision was made at the
time it was committed. Punishment is personal and can be imposed only
on the offender.
of conscience, the profession and free practice of religion shall be guaranteed.
No one may, subject to law and order, be submitted to measures restricting
the exercise of these freedoms.
Every individual shall have the right to receive information.
2. Every individual shall have the right to express and disseminate his
opinions within the law.
Every individual shall have the right to free association provided that
he abides by the law.
2. Subject to the obligation of solidarity provided for in 29 no one may
be compelled to join an association.
individual shall have the right to assemble freely with others. The exercise
of this right shall be subject only to necessary restrictions provided
for by law in particular those enacted in the interest of national security,
the safety, health, ethics and rights and freedoms of others.
Every individual shall have the right to freedom of movement and residence
within the borders of a State provided he abides by the law.
2. Every individual shall have the right to leave any country including
his own, and to return to his country. This right may only be subject
to restrictions, provided for by law for the protection of national security,
law and order, public health or morality.
3. Every individual shall have the right, when persecuted, to seek and
obtain asylum in other countries in accordance with laws of those countries
and international conventions.
4. A non-national legally admitted in a territory of a State Party to
the present Charter, may only be expelled from it by virtue of a decision
taken in accordance with the law.
5. The mass expulsion of non-nationals shall be prohibited. Mass expulsion
shall be that which is aimed at national, racial, ethnic or religious
Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in the government
of his country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives
in accordance with the provisions of the law.
2. Every citizen shall have the right of equal access to the public service
of his country.
3. Every individual shall have the right of access to public property
and services in strict equality of all persons before the law.
right to property shall be guaranteed. It may only be encroached upon
in the interest of public need or in the general interest of the community
and in accordance with the provisions of appropriate laws.
individual shall have the right to work under equitable and satisfactory
conditions, and shall receive equal pay for equal work.
Every individual shall have the right to enjoy the best attainable state
of physical and mental health.
2. States parties to the present Charter shall take the necessary measures
to protect the health of their people and to ensure that they receive
medical attention when they are sick.
Every individual shall have the right to education.
2. Every individual may freely, take part in the cultural life of his
3. The promotion and protection of morals and traditional values recognized
by the community shall be the duty of the State.
The family shall be the natural unit and basis of society. It shall be
protected by the State which shall take care of its physical health and
2. The State shall have the duty to assist the family which is the custodian
or morals and traditional values recognized by the community.
3. The State shall ensure the elimination of every discrimination against
women and also ensure the protection of the rights of the woman and the
child as stipulated ininternational declarations and conventions.
4. The aged and the disabled shall also have the right to special measures
of protection in keeping with their physical or moral needs.
peoples shall be equal; they shall enjoy the same respect and shall have
the same rights. Nothing shall justify the domination of a people by another.
All peoples shall have the right to existence. They shall have the unquestionable
and inalienable right to self- determination. They shall freely determine
their political status and shall pursue their economic and social development
according to the policy they have freely chosen.
2. Colonized or oppressed peoples shall have the right to free themselves
from the bonds of domination by resorting to any means recognized by the
3. All peoples shall have the right to the assistance of the States parties
to the present Charter in their liberation struggle against foreign domination,
be it political, economic or cultural.
All peoples shall freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources.
This right shall be exercised in the exclusive interest of the people.
In no case shall a people be deprived of it.
2. In case of spoliation the dispossessed people shall have the right
to the lawful recovery of its property as well as to an adequate compensation.
3. The free disposal of wealth and natural resources shall be exercised
without prejudice to the obligation of promoting international economic
cooperation based on mutual respect, equitable exchange and the principles
of international law.
4. States parties to the present Charter shall individually and collectively
exercise the right to free disposal of their wealth and natural resources
with a view to strengthening African unity and solidarity.
5. States parties to the present Charter shall undertake to eliminate
all forms of foreign economic exploitation particularly that practiced
by international monopolies so as to enable their peoples to fully benefit
from the advantages derived from their national resources.
All peoples shall have the right to their economic, social and cultural
development with due regard to their freedom and identity and in the equal
enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind.
States shall have the duty, individually or collectively, to ensure the
exercise of the right to development.
All peoples shall have the right to national and international peace and
security. The principles of solidarity and friendly relations implicitly
affirmed by the Charter of the United Nations and reaffirmed by that of
the Organization of African Unity shall govern relations between States.
2. For the purpose of strengthening peace, solidarity and friendly relations,
States parties to the present Charter shall ensure that:
any individual enjoying the right of asylum under 12 of the present
Charter shall not engage in subversive activities against his country
of origin or any other State party to the present Charter;
(b) their territories shall not be used as bases for subversive or terrorist
activities against the people of any other State party to the present
peoples shall have the right to a general satisfactory environment favorable
to their development.
parties to the present Charter shall have the duty to promote and ensure
through teaching, education and publication, the respect of the rights
and freedoms contained in the present Charter and to see to it that these
freedoms and rights as well as corresponding obligations and duties are
parties to the present Charter shall have the duty to guarantee the independence
of the Courts and shall allow the establishment and improvement of appropriate
national institutions entrusted with the promotion and protection of the
rights and freedoms guaranteed by the present Charter.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.