International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights

Book Review Symposium: ‘The Right to Research in Africa: Exploring the Copyright and Human Rights Interface’

In many African countries, the protection and promotion of human rights is enshrined in national laws including domestic constitutions, policies, and guidelines. Many African countries are signatories to a plethora of conventions on human rights including the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. However, in several African countries, ordinarily, socio-economic rights are not enforceable because socio-economic rights are not explicitly provided in many national constitutions. Furthermore, right to research as an evolutive and burgeoning framework in the African copyright system adds to this mix. Scholars including Okorie have advocated for the development of the right to research as a complete or explicit defence to copyright infractions or as user rights. However, the development of an explicit right to research in the African copyright context is afflicted with a plethora of obstacles. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has further restricted access to information and academic materials especially in digital formats and furthermore, many African libraries and institutions are ill-equipped to perform their role of enabling access to information. Hence, this recent book – The Right to Research in Africa: Exploring the Copyright and Human Rights Interface by Desmond Oriakhogba is an important and innovative addition to this debate. Oriakhogba argues for a reconceptualization of the African copyright system from explicit human rights law perspectives as means of localising the right to research in the African context.