This book is an in-depth study of the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights, written with the insight of an insider. It assesses the effectiveness of the Charter and of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in its formative years. It also compares the Charter with other major human rights instruments. The author asserts that respect for human rights made the existence of African societies possible despite the eras of gross violation. The survival of African societies, indeed their continued development, depends on respect for human rights. While conceding the universality of human rights, the author underscores African specificities and pecularities. He discusses the proper limits of `exclusively internal matters’, as often claimed by African spokesmen, and puts forward the legitimate concerns of the international community as an effective check to arbitrariness and other violations. The book will be of special interest to international lawyers, law students, the judiciary and foreign office officials. The human rights activist will find it particularly useful in dealing with the African situation.