Human Rights under African Constitutions: Realizing the Promise for Ourselves

Human Rights under African Constitutions: Realizing the Promise for Ourselves

Human Rights under African Constitutions: Realizing the Promise for Ourselves

Human Rights under African Constitutions: Realizing the Promise for Ourselves

Synopsis

Some of the most massive and persistent violations of human rights occur in African nations. In Human Rights Under African Constitutions: Realizing the Promise for Ourselves, scholars from a wide range of fields present a sober, systematic assessment of the prospects for legal protection of human rights in Africa. In a series of detailed and highly contextual studies of Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, and Uganda, experts seek to balance the socioeconomic and political diversity of these nations while using the same theoretical framework of legal analysis for each case study.

Standards for human rights protection can be realized only through direct and strong support from a nation's legal and political institutions. The contributors to this volume uniformly conclude that a well-informed and motivated citizenry is the most powerful force for creating the political will necessary to effect change at the national level. In addition to a critical evaluation of the current state of human rights protection in each of these African nations, the contributors outline existing national resources available for protecting human rights and provide recommendations for more effective and practical use of these resources.

Excerpt

All the country studies in this book were prepared for a major project on the legal protection of human rights in African countries co-organized by the International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights (Interights), based in London, and the Inter-African Network for Human Rights and Development (Afronet), based in Lusaka, Zambia. the project was generously supported by grants from the British Council, the Ford Foundation, gtz (Germany), Norwegian Church Aid, and the Swedish ngo Foundation for Human Rights.

As emphasized at all stages of the project, the mechanisms and processes of legal protection of human rights should be neither pursued in isolation from the social, economic, and political context of African societies, nor assumed to be sufficient by themselves for the effective implementation of human rights standards. By focusing on the legal protection of human rights in specific countries, the project sought to take a realistic yet visionary view of the practical possibilities and limitations of these mechanisms and institutions as part of a broader range of strategies for the implementation of human rights in African societies. a planning meeting, held in Lusaka, Zambia, in July 1995, sought to clarify the conception and rationale of the project and identified a representative sample of countries in terms of geopolitical location, legal culture and system, regime of government, and role of the state and of customary or religious law. the countries selected at that meeting were Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Zaire (as it was known then), and Zambia. Draft studies of the selected countries were presented and discussed at a conference in Dakar, Senegal, in December 1997, in collaboration with Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO).

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