Scholarships to attend the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights 

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Scholarships to attend the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights: The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies in southern Africa through its various thematic and country programmes.

A key part of OSISA’s work involves providing grants to support civil society advocacy activities intended to promote open societies in the region.

The Human Rights Programme (HRP) uses nationally and internationally accepted standards and principles to advocate for the protection and promotion of human rights in southern Africa.

HRP employs advocacy, capacity building, action-oriented research and litigation as tools to help build open societies in the region.

It aims to empower people to claim their rights, to foster accountability for human rights violations, to combat discrimination, to support policy and legislative reforms, and to ensure that victims get legal redress at national or international fora.

The African Commission was established by the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, which came into force on the 21st October 1986.

The African Commission is the prime continental human rights oversight body and it is charged with ensuring the promotion and protection of Human and Peoples' Rights.

The African Commission has its headquarters in Banjul, The Gambia, where the 51st session will be held.

By providing this financial assistance, the Human Rights Programme seeks to reverse the current trend whereby – despite the consistently high number of human rights violations perpetrated by state agents throughout the region, the existence of ineffective national judicial and oversight bodies, and the absence of local remedies – the African Commission has been under-utilised by human rights activists from southern Africa to address this scourge.

The African Commission’s mandate represents a powerful advocacy tool, which human rights activists from the region must exploit.

Furthermore, despite the requirement that countries that are party to the African Charter must submit reports to the African Commission every two years stating the legislative or other measures they have taken to give effect to the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter, few of them have complied.

For example, Malawi has not presented a single report since adhering to the Charter in 1990.

With this scholarship initiative, the Human Rights programme hopes to increase the utilisation of this critical continental human rights institution in order to reduce human rights violations in the region and start to reform bad policies and legislation, which undermine people’s full enjoyment of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the African Charter.

In this regard, the Human Rights programme calls for civil society organizations to attend the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in ordeer to:

  • Present a statement before the African Commission;
  • File a shadow report and attend a country state report review process;
  • File a communication before the African Commission or make a follow up to any pending communication before the African Commission (provide details and evidence); or
  • Submit an application for observer status before the African Commission (provide details and evidence);

    Eligibility Criteria

    To be eligible, you must:

  • Represent an NGO, network, alliance, academic institution or forum that is legally registered in one of the 10 southern African countries in which OSISA has a mandate to operate; and,
  • The organisation must enjoy observer status with the African Commission or be in the process of applying for such status.

    How to Apply

    Applications should consist of the following:

  • A motivation letter; and,
  • Evidence of nationality (e.g. copy of ID, NGO registration document)

    The sponsorship will be comprised of airfares and allowances for accommodation, meals and other related expenses.

    Deadline for applications is 30th March. Only successful applicants receive a response from the Human Rights programme.

    Follow the links below for more details and application contacts.

    For more information and scholarship application, see: Scholarships to attend the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

    More: Human Rights Programme » Travel Grants » International Grants

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