Africa’s continental response to COVID-19 is guided by the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 Outbreak, which is led by the African Union (AU) and the Africa Center for Disease Control (CDC). The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACmHPR) took an early lead in the human rights response to COVID-19. The main guidance is found in its August 2020 Resolution. This guidance is supported by several further resolutions and statements that focus on the impact of COVID-19 on various human rights. Currently, the ACmHPR is developing guidance on upholding human and peoples’ rights during states of emergency or disaster.
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACtHPR) also issued an Advisory Opinion in July 2021 on the right to participation in the context of elections held during a public health emergency or pandemic.
Lastly, in August 2020, following a virtual meeting between the African Union Commission (AUC) and civil society organizations (CSOs), a declaration was issued regarding addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender-specific concerns. The AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Amira El-Fadil, also called for enhanced collaboration between the AU and its Member States, development partners and CSOs to reduce the social and economic risks faced by women. Before COVID-19, the AU had made a commitment to recruit, train, and deploy two million community health workers in Africa and called on stakeholders to effectively engage with government partners.