The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) was developed under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the development framework of the African Union (AU) which replaced the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 2002. Through the APRM, the AU has established a system for assessment of governance in participating countries and for the development of programmes of action to address identified shortcomings. The APRM is a voluntary, ‘soft’ mechanism of supervision which combines self-assessment with regional monitoring. The APRM takes a holistic approach to governance with a mandate covering democracy and political governance, economic governance, corporate governance and socio-economic development. This study considers the role that the APRM plays in the realisation of human rights. It examines the manner in which human rights are reflected in the APRM framework documents as well as the manner in which rights-based principles such as participation, accountability and transparency are reflected in the process. The strengths and weaknesses of various methods of international monitoring to ensure compliance with human rights are examined. The APRM country review reports and implementation reports of Ghana, Rwanda and Kenya are studied in conjunction with reports from domestic and international human rights monitoring bodies and national development plans. The aim of the study is to ascertain whether the APRM adds value to mechanisms established with the purport of assisting in the realisation of human rights. This study illustrates that the APRM plays a complementary role in human rights monitoring. It is clear, however, that it is only able to play a meaningful role if the state under review is motivated to undertake reform. Human rights have a role to play with regard to the APRM process itself and in identifying and addressing governance shortcomings. The specific and time-bound commitments in the Programme of Action are unique to the APRM. If these commitments are developed through a rights-based approach and their implementation adequately monitored the APRM could play an important role in inducing compliance with human rights.