The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS) is independent, non-profit regional human rights NGO based in Banjul, The Gambia. It was set up in 1989 by an Act of Parliament of the Republic of The Gambia. However, 1995, the African Centre was re-launched, thereby repealing the Act, and thus making the Centre a truly independent, autonomous and pan-African NGO.

The Centre is committed to the promotion of the aims and principles of the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights and to the respect for the universality of human rights as enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights. Article 25 of the African Charter states that ” States Parties to the 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 that these freedoms and rights as well as corresponding obligations and duties are understood.”

Since its establishment as a regional non-governmental organisation in 1989, the main objective of the African Centre has been the promotion and protection as well as the observance of all human and people’s rights and democratic principles throughout Africa. Now as an independent Pan-African non-governmental organisation The African is deeply committed to pursue the aims of Article 25. In this regard, the Centre shall focus on and reinforce its programme of research, education, training, documentation and information.

The continued collaboration and support of the work of the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights is essential for the success of the Centre’s efforts. The Centre has the privilege of being headquartered in the same city as the African Commission. As a consequence, it will aim to contribute to the strengthening of the Commission in its work in the field of promotion and protection of human rights.


The African Centre promotes human rights and democracy through training, action-oriented research, publications and documentation. Its protection function is one which embraces the promotion of international standard setting but is not limited to this one aspect. When deemed necessary, the Centre shall provide assistance to organisations and individuals.

The African Centre builds bridges between inter-governmental organisations (IGOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as well as amongst NGOs. It maintains networks of communication, training and research amongst NGOs.

Objectives of the Centre:

1. To undertake action-oriented research and publication on human rights and democracy issues in Africa;

2. To undertake education and training for promotional activities;

3. To maintain a documentation Centre for research and training and to collect documentation relating to democracy and human rights;

4. To build the capacity of other African organisations to monitor and protect human rights in Africa;

5. To provide assistance to the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights in the form of training, research reports and collaboration of its documentation Centre;

6. To strengthen its relationship with various United Nations organisations and other regional IGOs.