Africa’s Contribution to the Development of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

  • Frans ViljoenEmail author
Part of the Contemporary African Political Economy book series (CONTAPE)


This chapter identifies Africa’s contribution to international human rights law by juxtaposing human rights treaties adopted under the auspices of the African Union (and its predecessor the Organization of African Unity) with treaties adopted at the global level, under the United Nations. Departing from numerous dichotomies contained in the International Bill of Rights, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights embraces the principle of indivisibility, contains collective rights, and makes the right to development justiciable. Other African treaties dealing with the rights of children, refugees and in respect of the environment, provide for the regional articulation of the universal norms in corresponding UN treaties. Africa also steered advances in international humanitarian law, for example when the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) held that rape constitute genocide, and through the drafting and adoption of a treaty dealing with mercenarism.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of LawUniversity of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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