Introduction: Civil society actors are key agents for change at international, regional, national and local levels as they contribute to monitor the application of international human rights standards, follow-up of the implementation of judgments, decisions and recommendations of African regional human rights mechanisms, contribute to the strengthening of States’ capacity to ensure implementation of human rights standards amongst others.

Most of the NGOs have limited knowledge about the international Human Rights System as well as the regional, especially the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and its Mechanisms. This has no doubt limited their engagement and impact, in many instances.

The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) based in Banjul, The Gambia will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in October this year having been established in 1987 with a mandate to protect and promote human and peoples’ rights as well as interpret the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. However, the level of engagement with this premier human rights institution in Africa has been low due to a number of factors, amongst others, the lack of awareness, lack of information of its existence and indeed the relevant institutes; lack of resources to participate regularly in its ordinary sessions thereby limiting their commitment with the system and its mechanisms.

Spearheading initiatives by African civil society partners to implement activities during the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the African Commission which will be held in Banjul, The Gambia, the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), in collaboration with CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation, the International Service for Human Rights and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR)will organize a 3 training on the use of international human rights procedures for the promotion and protection of human rights for civil society actors and human rights defenders  in Africa.


The general objective of the training workshop is to build the capacity of representatives of human rights NGOs from Africa to familiarize them with regional and international human rights mechanisms, to enhance their ability to engage effectively with these mechanisms.

The training will take place before the NGOs Forum. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage and participate in the NGO Forum and in the public sessions of the 61st Ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other celebrations of the 30th anniversary.

Date and Venue:  25-27 October, 2017 – Banjul, The Gambia

The NGOs Forum will be held from 28-30 October, 2017 and the Ordinary Session of the African Commission will commence on 1st November, 2017.

Language: The training course will be conducted in English and French with simultaneous interpretation services.

Course Content and Methodology: Comprising of general lectures, discussions, debates, case studies, etc, the training course will cover a broad range of topics such as:

  • an introduction to the African Human Rights System and Mechanisms (African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and its Protocol, Maputo Protocol, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; The Refugee Convention; etc),The Role of NGOs and National Human Rights Institutions in the African Human Rights System, Networking, Advocacy and Lobbying Strategies, human rights monitoring and reporting, an introduction to the United Nations  Human Rights System, Civil Society engagement with UN mechanisms (Universal Periodic Review, Human Rights Council, Special Procedures/Rapporteurs, Treaty Body mechanisms, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), National Budgeting for human rights promotion and protection, amongst others.

Expected Outcomes:

  • Introduced to and become familiar with the various African and international human rights instruments, knowledge and skills in relation to both theoretical and practical aspects of the instruments
  • Equipped with skills to engage with the African human rights system (African Commission, African Court, Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child) – apply for observer status, file complaints/cases, make statements at Commission’s sessions etc),
  • Opportunity to physically meet with the Commissioners and Special Rapporteurs/Mechanisms of the Commission
  • Opportunity to network with a wide range of civil society organizations on issues of common interest from all over the continent;
  • Equipped with increased knowledge in advocacy, lobbying strategies for engagement with the African Commission/UN Human Rights Council
  • Equipped with budgeting, human rights monitoring and reporting skills
  • Level of implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Participants: Participants numbering about 25 will be drawn from African countries on a ‘first come, first served’ basis due the high number of expected applications. Priority will be given to participants whose country reports will be examined during the 61st Ordinary session as well as those that have never participated in the ACHPR sessions, or that are new to the mechanism and are yet to engage with it. All interest participants’ must complete and submit the registration form online which can be found at:

Resource Persons: will be drawn from the Organizers and Partners pool of Resource Persons.

Certificate: A Certificate of Participation will be awarded to participants at the end of the training.

Monitoring and Evaluation: An immediate evaluation will be carried out following the end of the training.  A follow-up evaluation will be done six months thereafter.


African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS): based in Banjul, The Gambia, the African Centre is an autonomous regional human rights organization established in 1989 in Banjul, The Gambia.  Since its inception, it has been at the forefront in the promotion and protection of human rights on the continent through training, capacity building, research, advocacy, networking amongst others. Such activities have enabled civil society actors and human rights defenders to engage with the sub-regional, regional and international human rights system, with special emphasis on the African human rights system. It collaborates with sub-regional focal points in Africa as well as in the Diaspora. Furthermore, the ACDHRS is a member of several networks and coalitions at different levels. It also provides technical support and expertise to governments and NGOs geared to support the implementation of international human rights standards.

CIVICUS World for Citizen Participation (CIVICUS): is an international alliance of members and partners which constitutes an influential network of organisations at the local, national, regional and international levels, and spans the spectrum of civil society. CIVICUS has worked for nearly two decades to strengthen citizen action and civil society throughout the world, especially in areas where participatory democracy and citizens’ freedom of association are threatened. CIVICUS has a vision of a global community of active, engaged citizens committed to the creation of a more just and equitable world. This is based on the belief that the health of societies exists in direct proportion to the degree of balance between the state, the private sector and civil society.                  

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR): with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland the ISHR is an international non-governmental organization, at the heart of the United Nations human rights system, with a small branch office in New York.  It works towards supporting and facilitating the work of human rights defenders with the United Nations system and regional human rights systems at national, regional and international levels.

United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR): based in Geneva, Switzerland and with an office in New York, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is the leading UN entity on human rights. It has a unique mandate, provided by the General Assembly, to promote and protect all human rights for all people. The human rights programme aims to make the protection of human rights a reality in the lives of people everywhere. As the entity in charge of implementing the programme, the Office plays a crucial role in safeguarding the integrity of the three pillars of the United Nations – peace and security, human rights and development. OHCHR provides assistance, such as technical expertise and capacity development, to support the implementation of international human rights standards on the ground. It assists governments, which bear the primary responsibility for the protection of human rights, to fulfil their obligations, supports individuals to claim their rights and speaks out objectively on human rights violations.