Theological Perspectives on Human Rights in the Context of the African Situation
This chapter focuses on human rights in the context of the African situation from a Biblical perspective. It begins by examining the Biblical perception of the individual which identifies his or her relation to God and responsibility to Him and notes that human rights derive from human responsibility to God. A catalogue of such rights are encapsulated in the concept of righteousness/justice. Both rights and responsibilities are held within a vertical dimension with horizontal implications. Human rights are formulated in the context of peoples' experiences and self-understanding which, in the African context, is characterized by religiosity, vulnerability, and underdevelopment. The chapter identifies some of the constraints on human rights promotion in Africa and suggests some ways of remedying the situation.
The chapter concludes that the neglect of the religious factor produces distortions in human rights promotion and that a recovery of the awareness of our common humanity as the divine image offers us fresh insights into the human rights realization.
The world today is facing a crisis in its understanding of what it means to be "human." The human community, which was once a