Africa's engagement with the Universal Periodic Review: commitment or capitulation?

Takele Bulto

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The UPR presents a striking similarity to the state reporting procedure that has been established under African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). Not only are both procedures based on constructive dialogue as a tool, and seeking to enhance introspection and inspection of state’s human rights performances, they also aspire to gauge the degree of compliance with the whole gamut of rights and freedoms. Both procedures are invariably incumbent on all African states, now that the ACHPR has been unanimously ratified by all states of the Continent. The first twenty years of state reporting under the ACHPR saw a myriad of problems, hence dubbed a procedure that has faced implementation crises of dangerous proportions: non-reporting, poor quality reports, poor quality of state delegates, diplomatic rather than honest dialogue, lack of concluding observations and other problems plagued the system. Overall, as one author notes, the reporting procedure under the ACHPR has “tend[ed] to be descriptive, formalistic, legalistic and self-congratulatory, rather than reflective and focused on substance and practical realities, and problems encountered." It is instructive therefore to ask the reasons underlying all African states’ almost uniform timely reporting under the UPR and the quality thereof. This paper set out to address the question of whether African states’ regular submission of reports under the UPR, which report they failed to submit under the regional instrument, was inspired by capitulation or compliance. It seeks to compare the efficacy of the state reporting procedure under the ACHPR during its first twenty years and the first round of reports under the UPR in the light of the roles of the triple actors involved in the processes - the reporting states, the UN Human Rights Council and NGOs – and the resultant progresses that might have been made in the domestic implementation of the human rights norms being monitored.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHuman Rights And The Universal Periodic Review: Rituals and Ritualism
    Editors Emma Larking and Hilary Charlesworth
    Place of PublicationCambridge, United Kingdom
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    ISBN (Print)9781107086302
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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