The African Human Rights System, Activist Forces and International Institutions

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This book draws from and builds upon many of the existing approaches to the study of international human rights institutions (IHIs), especially quasi-constructivism. The author reveals some of the ways in which many domestic deployments of the African system have been brokered or facilitated by local activist forces, such as human rights NGOs, labour unions, women's groups, independent journalists, dissident politicians, and activist judges. In the end, the book exposes and reflects upon the inherent inability of the dominant compliance-focused model to capture adequately the range of other ways-apart from via state compliance - in which the domestic invocation of IHIS like the African system can contribute - albeit to a modest extent-to the pro-human rights alterations that can sometimes occur in the self-understandings, conceptions of interest or senses of appropriateness held within key domestic institutions within states.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Review of the hardback: 'Okafor's style and ease of analysis of technically academic issues efficiently bring to light possibilities that would enhance pre-existing approaches to the study of IHIs. … For those interested in the analysis of the African Human Rights System and a fresh voice in the IHI discourse, this book serves as useful background information as well as an excellent example of unconventional thinking.' Verfassung und Recht in Übersee
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521184038
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/16/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Professor Okafor joined Osgoode Hall Law School after holding faculty positions at the University of Nigeria and Carleton University. He has served as an SSRC-MacArthur Foundation Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School's human rights program; as a Canada-US Fulbright Scholar at the MIT program on human rights and justice; and as an expert panellist for the then United Nations Commission on Human Rights' Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent. His doctoral dissertation at the University of British Columbia received the Governor General's Gold Medal (the prize for best doctoral dissertation university-wide). He also received Osgoode's Teaching Excellence Award in 2002. He is currently working on a funded study relating to human rights activism by the labor movement in Nigeria, as well as on a major project examining the character of refugee law/refugeehood post 9/11. Professor Okafor has published extensively in the fields of international human rights law and refugee law, as well as general public international law. Aside from this volume, he has also written or co-edited 5 other books and over 40 articles and papers.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     x
List of abbreviations     xiii
The African human rights system, activist forces, and international institutions: an introduction     1
Conventional conceptions of international human rights institutions     12
Introduction     12
Conventional conceptions of international institutions in general     14
Conventional conceptions of international human rights institutions     40
Summary of the arguments     61
Conventional conceptions of the African system for the promotion and protection of human and peoples' rights     63
Introduction     63
A brief overview of the African system     65
Conceptions of the African system as weak and ineffectual     67
Conceptions of the ideal African system as a panacea     74
Conceptions of the textual or organizational reform of the African system as the key to its success     75
Enforcement-centrism in the conventional conceptions of the African system     78
Voluntary compliance-centrism in the conventional conceptions of the African system     80
How does the African system fare overall under the conventional evaluative models?     82
Are conventional conceptions of the African system adequate?     88
Summary of the arguments     90
The impact of the African system within Nigeria     91
Introduction     91
Impact on judicial decision-making and action     96
Impact on executive action     116
Impact on legislative action     127
Impact on civil society actors and struggles     134
Assessing the overall impact of the African system within Nigeria     141
Factors that have facilitated or militated against the African system's impact within Nigeria     148
Summary of the arguments     153
The utilization of the African system within South Africa     155
Introduction     155
Impact on judicial decision-making and action     156
Impact on executive deliberation and action     177
Impact on legislative debate and action     186
Impact on the work of civil society actors     191
Assessing the overall impact of the African system within South Africa     200
Factors that have facilitated or militated against the African system's impact within South Africa     208
Summary of the arguments     218
Limited deployment of the African system within African states: further evidence and a general evaluation     220
Introduction     220
Impact on executive thought and action     224
Impact on judicial decision-making and action     236
Impact on legislative action     245
Impact on the activities of civil society actors     250
Specifying the conditions for the optimization of the domestic impact of the African system     253
Summary of the arguments     272
Toward an extended measure of IHI effectiveness: a quasi-constructivist perspective     273
Introduction     273
Reducing the emphasis on the domestic analogy     276
Reducing the emphasis on the textual appropriateness and/or institutional capacity of IHIs     280
Reaching beyond (while retaining) the state compliance measure     284
Constitutive role of activist forces in IHI effectiveness     285
Quasi-constructivism as broadly explanatory of the ACHPR phenomenon     287
Hypothesizing the measure of IHI effectiveness     293
Conclusion     296
Select Bibliography     302
Index     323
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