African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
The Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU) was adopted on 11 July 2000 and came into force on 26 May 2001. The document has been described as 'the turning of a page in the history of the African continent' as it represented the beginning of a new era for the 'political, judicial, and economic organisation for Africa.' The Constitutive Act recognises gender equality as one of its principles.
This short piece explores the role of norm generation at the continental level in Africa and its impact on the integration effort. It examines notable developments in Africa that impact the normative and legal developments, including colonisation, Pan-Africanism, the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the African Union (AU). Particular attention is paid to the AU Constitutive Act and its significance.
What is particularly fascinating is that the contributors have used different theoretical perspectives and methodologies to assess this evolving body of regional legal regime. No doubt, this pioneering 24-chapter book on the novel concept of AU Law is worth the effort and invaluable to academicians and policymakers alike. This view derives from the fact that the edited volume investigates the domestication of AU Law by African States, particularly in the areas of constitutional law, human rights, democratic governance, and economic law.
Using the question of justice in the digital space to assess current liability regimes, we interrogate the conventional liability regime based on liberal political theory, identify its shortcomings for dealing with the questions of justice raised by the digital space, and propose an alternative to address the identified shortcomings through an alternate perspective of responsibility inspired by the African ethics of duty. This perspective can contribute to the improvement of access to justice and re-center the African ethics of duty in the conversation around quest for justice.
August 20, 2021
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is inviting applications for a new Director
In an essay published in 2002, the late Kenyan scholar, Ali Mazrui, asked the critical question of who killed democracy in Africa. In his archetypal incisive take on African issues, Ali Mazrui delved into history to identify both internal and external forces that have conspired to commit the crime of “democra-cide”. Suffice to say that although the political dynamics of the continent has evolved, many of the culprits mentioned by Ali Mazrui are still busy at the slaughter slab, shredding democracy into bits.
From a human rights perspective, ‘a new normal’ like COVID-19 should generate tremendous change. It is important that, in the midst of this crisis, we keep an eye on the future and begin to forge a better Nigeria that works for our vulnerable and marginalised citizens. Although we are uncertain of how the post- COVID-19 world will look like, our aim is to come out of it stronger and united.
All in all, what should be kept in mind is that, as the wise Canadian thinker and diplomat Ivan Leigh Head once noted, an element of law (and of accountability), some measure of it, will be needed in the effort to realize the right to development. It is for this reason that the African example of establishing meaningful regional-level accountability mechanisms in the development field, undergirded by hard law, ought to be replicated at the UN level.
Local communities, for their part, consider investor responsibility a necessary part of the fabric of international law and politics. While the AU works towards framing business and human rights in Africa along with global developments regarding a treaty on business and human rights and treaties such as the Morocco/Nigeria BIT, African peoples and communities continue to adopt available mechanisms as avenues for communicating their positions on these important issues and exercising agency on a subject that is of utmost importance to their wellbeing.
This symposium includes contributions that analyze state and investor responsibility for wrongful acts, and responsibility for the development of sustainable extractive regimes, in African countries. The contributions are timely interventions at a time when Africa’s regional institutions and states are developing mechanisms for responding to challenges presented by the extractive industries.