Protecting Human Rights in Africa: Roles and Strategies of Non-Governmental Organizations

Protecting Human Rights in Africa: Roles and Strategies of Non-Governmental Organizations

Protecting Human Rights in Africa: Roles and Strategies of Non-Governmental Organizations

Protecting Human Rights in Africa: Roles and Strategies of Non-Governmental Organizations

Synopsis

"Protecting Human Rights in Africa is the first major comparative study of how human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have brought revolutionary change south of the Sahara. Governments are both the most important protectors and abusers of human rights, while NGOs have become the most effective detectives in discovering abuses and the most active advocates in seeking solutions. Claude E. Welch, Jr. has differentiated this book from most publications in this field by concentrating on a grassroots-up approach rather than a state-centered one, by including vignettes of organizations exemplifying the major strategies, and by providing lively, detailed analyses of crucial human rights issues in tropical Africa. Among the major topics examined are female genital mutilation, systematic discrimination against ethnic groups, authoritarian rule, widespread impoverishment, and absence of legal aid. Through close attention to NGOs based in Ethiopia, Namibia, Nigeria, and Senegal, Protecting Human Rights in Africa charts the reasons for their successes, and failures, in protecting human rights." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Many of the pages that follow are written in dry academic prose, but the concerns that led to them are deeply emotional. Any author brings to his or her subjects a series of personal interests and attitudes. It is best to be "up front," revealing in advance how these concerns have developed, and how they in turn may have affected the analysis.

Protecting Human Rights in Africa continues my personal involvement in seeking to understand, and to present to others, informed, sympathetic analysis of political change south of the Sahara. My quest has lasted well over three decades. It started in the heady years of rapid decolonization and ascendant nationalism. A profound transformation of the map of Africa came in 1960, when the pink of the British Empire, the green of the French Empire, and the varied colors of Belgian and Portuguese possessions shifted to the multiple hues of independent Africa. New names sprouted inside borders drawn long before. These events seemed to promise a new beginning. The process was fascinating. I first started to follow it as an undergraduate; thoughts of a possible State Department or international organization career heightened my interest in the newborn nations. For my baccalaureate thesis, I delved into the fate of Namibia (then called Southwest Africa) under United Nations supervision; one benefit was a nodding acquaintance with international reporting systems. Several of my college classmates chose the nascent Peace Corps as their first post-BA experience of Africa; others of us decided that further study was our forte; my doctoral work in England included close to a year's field research in West Africa, my first chance to experience directly the charms and challenges of the region. The State University of New York at Buffalo, where I started to teach in 1964, encouraged my continued learning and writing about Africa, her people, and her politics.

The subject of this book is human rights, specifically human rights non- governmental organizations that focus on contemporary Africa. It is not a new area of analysis for me, for, like Molière's famous character, I have been speaking this sort of prose all my adult life without fully realizing it. My earlier research (be it my undergraduate analysis of Southwest Africa under the Mandates and Trusteeship systems; my doctoral work on tensions between Pan-Africanism and nationalism in West Africa; my subsequent analyses of causes and consequences of military involvement in . . .

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