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International Journal of Human Rights. Volume 8, Number 4 (2004), p. 1-38.


This article examines the influence that IHIs (such as the African System on Human and Peoples' Rights) can exert within states, with the facilitative work of local popular forces, and relates that to the possibility of valuable IHI contributions to peacebuilding within deeply fragmented African states. Of all the existing approaches to the study of IHIs, constructivism comes the closest to accounting for the highly significant incidences of IHIjostered (and popular forces-facilitated) 'correspondence' that occurs outside the 'compliance radar'. In this sense the article is a contribution to the growing constructivist human rights and institutional literature sets. In particular the article explores the brighter possibilities for peacebuilding thinking and practice that are revealed by a broader and less conventional analysis of the African system's continuing engagement with elements of the local popular forces that operate within Nigeria.

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