The African Union and the Application of Human Rights Norms in Africa

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Friday, March 1, 2002
Konstantinos Magliveras & Gino J. Naldi
In March 2001 the Assembly of the Organization of African an Unity (OAU), meeting in extraordinary session in Sirte, Libya, declared the establishment of a new pan-African political and economic institution, the African Union (Union). The Constitutive Act (Act) of the Union entered into force on 26 May 2001 and in the course of 2002 it is expected to replace the OAU. The Union, the brainchild of Libya’s President Gaddafi, is modeled on the European Union and constitutes the culmination of the OAU’s piecemeal process, on the one hand, of political cooperation and, on the other hand, of economic integration through the African Economic Community established in 1991. The founding of the Union is hugely significant, representing the most concrete manifestation towards the realization of a process of political cooperation and economic integration of the States of Africa begun by the OAU. Human rights and democratic values can only be enhanced if the Union takes its pertinent plages seriously. The union would appear to have the democratic legitimacy that the discredited OAU has always lacked.