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African Human Rights Judgment Database

Funded by the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Themes

For the past two years, the Law School has engaged in a Globalisation, Human Rights and the Judiciary in Africa: A Comprehensive Identification, Location and Comparative Law Analysis of the Judgments relating to Human Rights in Sixteen African States, funded by the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) designed to make the judgments of African courts on the protection of human rights more easily available to users of the Internet in a thematically coherent way, backed by comparative law analysis.  Over coming weeks, the results of this Project will be made available.  The task has been greatly eased by a number of trailblazing sites, notably the Southern African Legal Information Institute (SAFLII) and the Centre for Human Rights (University of Pretoria).  The materials which these two sites make available, free of charge, to all who can access the Internet, is truly inspiring.  Increasingly, the courts of African states are making their judgments accessible on the Internet.  What formerly was a virtually inaccessible jurisprudence is now becoming available to a world audience.  There are still, however, very many judgments which are not widely accessible and one of the principal goals of the Project is to render them available for the first time on the Internet.

The study of human rights protection in Africa can best be understood in a broader global and regional context.  Such global human rights instruments include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of the Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW).

Crucial regional instruments are the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.  The jurisprudence of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights is also of great relevance.

The Constitutions of Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa are key documents as the decisions of the courts of these states necessarily involve the interpretation of their own constitution, though assistance is often derived from decisions of courts in other states.

By way of introduction, presented below are short select lists of judgments, gathered under ten themes.

  1. Human Dignity
  2. The Right to Life
  3. Freedom from Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment
  4. Gender Equality
  5. Other Equality Issues
  6. Freedom of Expression
  7. Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights
  8. Liberty
  9. The Rights and Welfare of Children
  10. Fair Trial Rights

Last modified by Catherine Finnegan


Last updated 1 July 2010 School of Law (Email).