The Organisation of African Unity (OAU)
The OAU was established between 22 and 25 May 1963 when delegates from 32 African countries convened in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. The intention of the Union was to form a continental base for pan-Africanism based on a consensus of structural, military and political institutions. The many different competing ideological positions led to the OAU agreeing that the organisation would proceed incrementally with unification until the eventual goal of a Union of African States was realised.
Discussion leading ultimately to the formulation of the Charter began as early as 1961, when the International Commission of Jurists convened the African Conference on the Rule of Law in Lagos, Nigeria. The Conference consisted of 194 judges, practising lawyers and teachers of law from 23 African nations as well as 9 countries of other continents. The resulting resolution of the Conference, the ‘Law of Lagos’, makes clear the responsibility of the world legal order to devise a regime for the protection of individuals. Of equal concern to many Africans was the view that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights did not necessarily reflect African values or problems embodied in peculiarly African solutions.