The Transnational Human Rights Review

Document Type


English Abstract

South Africa’s now defunct, autocratic apartheid government was based on minority rule, racially discriminatory laws, and disregard for the fundamental human rights of almost all black people. At that time, Parliament was supreme and could do anything that it wished, including enacting laws that denied the vast majority of the population from the right to vote. This regime lasted until the 1990s when parliamentary supremacy was replaced by constitutional supremacy. The adoption of the Interim Constitution of South Africa in 1993 eventually paved way for, among other things, respect for the fundamental human rights of all peoples without any distinctions as to race. Importantly, the 1993 Constitution contained an enforceable Bill of Rights and proclaimed the supremacy of the Constitution. These provisions found their way in the 1996 Constitution. This Constitution was “developed using the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms as a template” inspiration from its provisions. This paper seeks to study the human rights engagements between the Canadian government and Canadian NGOs with both government and civil society in South Africa from the early 1990s to date.