Democracy, Governance and Elections Unit

The overall political and institutional framework for the promotion of democracy, governance and human rights in Africa is the African Governance Architecture (AGA), established during the 16th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2011. The AGA is composed of three principal pillars: 

(i) norms; 

(ii) organs and institutions and 

(iii) oversight mechanisms. This Unit focuses on the AU organs with a human rights mandate.

Working with other parts of the organization, the Unit campaigns for good governance, democratic principles, the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as the participation of civil society organizations in the development of Africa. Its day-today work includes popularizing the African governance architecture and its platform; AU shared values; AU instruments on governance, elections, democracy and humanitarian affairs. It also sends monitoring missions to observe elections and providing technical support to the electoral bodies.

The program endorses a rights-based approach encompassing all human rights in line with the vision and mission of AU Watch. The roadmap to the Joint Africa-EU Strategy approved in April 2014 by African and European Heads of State and Government identifies democracy, good governance, and the defence and protection of human rights on both continents is a priority (priority no. 2). The Unit pays particular attention to the full operationalization of the AGA. Any actions under this strategic will be undertaken with reference to Strategic Area 1 – Peace and Security – where there is potential overlap/complementarity (e.g. mediation, and human right violations in a conflict context). This shall be the case between the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the AGA.

The Directors Unit in collaboration with the media and human rights directorates raises awareness about, and provide technical assistance to the AU governance and human rights program under its Pan-African Program including:

(a) Supporting Election Observations;
(b) Support to the African Governance Architecture (“AGA”) through the AGA secretariat;
(c) Supporting Civil Society Organizations;
(d) Supporting Public administration and anti-corruption activities of the AU;
(e) Supporting Pan-African Gender interventions