Title

Group Rights Under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights: Concept, Praxis and Prospects

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2012

Source Publication

The African Regional Human Rights System: 30 Years after the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. Leiden, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2012.

Abstract

It is particularly meet, on the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to re-examine the ways in which its group rights provisions has been interpreted and applied. What is the concept of group rights that animates the “peoples’ rights” provisions in the African Charter? How have these group rights been actually interpreted and applied in the jurisprudential praxis of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which (despite the establishment of the as yet young, and in any case, soon to be replaced African Court of Human Rights) remains to date its main interpretive body? And what are the future prospects of these provisions in that jurisprudence? These are the main questions that this chapter tackles through analytical examinations of the African Charter itself, the relevant primary and secondary literature, and the jurisprudence of the African Commission. To this end, section 2 examines the general debate regarding the concept of group rights and its place in international human rights praxis. Section 3 briefly considers the conception of group rights that animated the “peoples’ rights” provisions in the African Charter. In section 4, a fairly detailed examination of the jurisprudence of the African Commission with respect to each one of the major group rights provisions of the Charter is conducted. Following that tour d’ horizon, some brief more general closing thoughts on the future of group rights in the African Human Rights System are offered in section 5.

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