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An appraisal of the mutual impact between globalization and human rights in Africa

Authors
Publication Date
Keywords
  • K Law (General)
  • Hf Commerce
  • Jc Political Theory
Disciplines
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Political Science

Abstract

Globalization has become one of the defining features of the contemporary world, and is, no doubt, having some impact on human rights. In examining the nature of the impact with particular reference to Africa, this Thesis challenges the conventional scholarship which has so far concentrated on the impact of globalization on human rights, ignoring the possible impact of human rights on processes of globalization, and argues that in order to obtain a holistic view of the relationship between globalization and human rights, sufficient attention must equally be given to the corresponding impact of human rights norms on processes of globalization. In support of this formulation, three levels of analysis are adopted in the Thesis, namely; international, regional and national systems. It is argued that at the international level, the impact of human rights norms on processes of globalization is evidenced by the fact that international economic institutions such as International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Trade Organization (WTO), which initially ignored human rights norms in their policies, programmes and operations, have now embraced such norms. At the regional level, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, embodying human rights norms attentive to the African condition, has been used to constrain processes of globalization. Finally, using three African countries, namely, South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya as case studies, it is demonstrated that at the national levels, human rights norms are also impacting on processes of globalization, as the activities of transnational corporations, and those of governments based on the dictates of economic globalization, are being challenged by human rights NGOs and other social movements. It is on this score that the ‘Mutual Impact thesis’ is formulated, the contention being that for a proper understanding of whether the impact of globalization on human rights is positive or negative, a debate that has engaged the attention of some writers, the preliminary issue of the corresponding impact of human rights on globalization must also be taken into account.

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