Since 1981, when the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights was adopted on the platform of the Organisation of African Unity, one of the main challenges for players in the field of human rights in Africa has been to find effective fora in which the rights of the most vulnerable can be vindicated. The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, together with other African human rights instruments, the global human rights instruments to which African states are parties and national bills of rights entrenched in the national constitutions of most African states make up the body of human rights norms that exist for the benefit of victims of human rights violation in the continent. This body of normative standards are expected to be given effect at the national level. However, given that the expectation has not always been met, international supervisory bodies have played an increasingly important role in the African human rights landscape. At the continental level, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights which was established under the African Charter was the original forum for the vindication of human rights for a number of years. Over the years, other continental human rights supervisory bodies have been established under the defunct OAU and the AU. National human rights institutions and these continental bodies have gained recognition as the structures of the African human rights architecture. However, since the early part of the new millennium, new institutional actors have begun to appear in the African human rights landscape. Originally established as vehicles for subregional economic integration, regional economic communities (RECs) in Africa have expressly or implicitly authorised their organs and institutions to engage actively in the field of human rights. This trend has been most evident in the operations of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The entry of African RECs in the continental landscape has raised several questions. From the perspective of international law, against the background of the principle of attributed competence that guides the existence and operations of international organisations, the question of legality and legitimacy is triggered. From the perspective of protecting the unity and continued existence of the African human rights system, questions relating to the feasibility and desirability of REC involvement in the African human rights landscape emerge for determination. Using ECOWAS as the main case study but also touching on the budding human rights activities of the East African Community and the Southern Africa Development Community, this study has sought to demonstrate that REC involvement in the field of human rights is legitimate and feasible. Combining descriptive, prescriptive and comparative analytical approaches, this study argues that African RECs, in particular ECOWAS, can be effective vehicles for human rights realisation in Africa without compromising their original stated objectives or upsetting the work of the structures in the traditional African human rights architecture. Extracting the challenges that can be associated with REC involvement in the field of human rights, this study sets up the criteria for a non-disruptive model for subregional realisation of human rights under the platform of RECs in Africa.