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The African Union and human rights : drawing from the European experience of human rights supervision, what impact might the African Union, and the consequent creation of an African court, have on Africa with regard to human rights, African unity, and the issue of state sovereignty?

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The formation of the African Union (AU) holds great promise for Africa with regard to development. It also brings a new dimension to human rights in Africa, with the creation of the African Court. However, the OAUs legacy of human rights supervision and the development of democracy lacks in many areas. Europe, however, has manifested itself into an entity capable of trans-border cooperation and has been able to sustain this over a long period of time. What the OAU has accomplished in this regard is not compatible with the current status of international law theory and practise. There is a need then for change in these areas, and what better opportunity is there, than for a new dispensation in regional governance to apply to relevant policies and programmes to effect this change? This dissertation will endeavour to present a study of how the European legacy in Africa worked to the latter's detriment over the past five or six decades since decolonisation. Yet, there are lessons that may be learnt from Europe's unification that can be successfully implemented in Africa. Further, by analysing the weaknesses of Africa's current system of human rights supervision, and rectifying or reforming them, much may be accomplished in the advancement of the system. Therefore reformation of the system will be discussed at length. However, the success of the system will be evidenced by the commitment of its component members. Thus far the status quo in Africa reflects unwillingness on the part of the state to surrender its sovereignty. This was one of the reasons for the impotence of the OAU. Will the AU be able to overcome this condition? The onus remains on the state to shore up their commitments to the treaties which they have ratified, and to deliver on the promises they have made, because there are solutions, and whether or not they are implemented ultimately depends on the AU.


Thesis (LL.M.)-University of Natal, 2003.


Organization of African Unity., African Union., Human rights--Africa., Theses--Law.