African People's Rights: The Third Generation in a Global Perspective
George W. Shepherd Jr.
Human rights are first conceived in the hearts and minds of people. Only later are they recognized in political-economic covenants. They then promote the fulfillment of the physical, intellectual, and spiritual nature of humanity, which change and evolve in history. One major recent historical change has been the decolonization of Africa. Out of this change has come the realization of a new dimension or generation of human rights called people's rights.1 The recognition and implementation of these third-generation rights are crucial to the advancement of human rights in Africa.
The struggle for self-determination and liberation of the African people has been a long one. From the outbreak of the decolonization and liberation struggle in the early part of this century, and the formation of the United Nations after World War II, to the intervention of numerous transnational nongovernmental organizations to assist in this major movement for freedom of Third World people in the latter part of the twentieth century, the issue has risen.
The recognition of global rights today has emerged from the earlier movements of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries which es