Emerging Human Rights: The African Political Economy Context

By George W. Shepherd Jr.; Mark O. C. Anikpo | Go to book overview

Introduction: The Political Economy of Universal Human Rights: The African Context

George W. Shepherd Jr.

The African contribution to our understanding of emerging human rights has been enormous. They have helped to take us another stage beyond the eighteenth-century natural rights philosophers and the nineteenth and twentieth century neoclassical economists and lawyers to a new level of consciousness that is more completely universal. This has been a product of both intellectual thought and political struggle as in other parts of the world, from the French, American and British to the Russian and Chinese revolutions. In Africa, this globalization of human rights began with the self-determination movements against colonialism under activist leaders who, by 1989, established 53 new states. Today the process has continued with the African contribution to the formulation of International Political Economy (IPE) critique of the existing world system. This new paradigm of thought has many contributors from all over the world but this book is concerned with the particular African contribution. In the field of human rights IPE's central concept is people's rights, though there are other terms applied to it such as solidarity rights or emerging rights. The most prominent of these new rights is the right to development.1 Neither international political economy nor people's rights has as yet won much favor in the Western world, where the right to development is regarded as an unjustified political

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