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Human rights as a legal concept is a relatively recent notion in Africa. The United Nations System, international law and the African Union have certainly all contributed to the establishment of a human rights system in Africa, which has positively and indispensably influenced the advancement of human rights and of justice. However, some of the promises made about such rights being guaranteed under global, continental, regional and national legal instruments have remained unfulfilled.[1]

The situation of human rights in Africa is generally reported to be poor, and it is seen as an area of concern according to the UN, governmental, and non-governmental observers.

Democratic governments seem to be spreading, though are not yet the majority (National Geographic claims 13 African nations can be considered truly democratic[citation needed]). As well, many nations have at least nominally recognized basic human rights for all citizens, though in practice these are not always recognized, and have created reasonably independent judiciaries.

Extensive human rights abuses still occur in several parts of Africa, often under the oversight of the state. Most of such violations can be attributed to political instability, often as a 'side effect' of civil war. Notable countries with reported major violations include, but are not limited to, the Sudan, and Côte d'Ivoire. Reported violations include extrajudicial execution, mutilation, and rape.

Reproductive rights are limited in many countries by unavailability of family planning resources and restricted access to birth control in Africa.[2][3]

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights is an international body which seeks to provide supranational monitoring and rights to citizens of Africa.

By country/entity[edit]

North Africa[edit]

Sub-Saharan Africa[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bösl, Anton & Diescho, Joseph (Eds), Human Rights in Africa. Legal Perspectives on their Protection and Promotion, Macmillan Education Namibia 2009
  2. ^ "Family planning". World Health Organization. 2012.
  3. ^ Cleland, J. G.; Ndugwa, R. P.; Zulu, E. M. (2011). "Family planning in sub-Saharan Africa: Progress or stagnation?". Bulletin of the World Health Organization 89 (2): 137–143. doi:10.2471/BLT.10.077925. PMC 3040375. PMID 21346925.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Bösl, A and Diescho, J. (eds), Human Rights in Africa. Legal Perspectives on their protection and promotion, Macmillan Education Namibia, 2009 [1]
  • U.S. State Department - Human Rights Annual Reports

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Africa — Please support Wikipedia.
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33 news items

The Guardian

The Guardian
Mon, 04 Aug 2014 18:30:00 -0700

Uhuru Kenyatta, the Kenyan president, who has been indicted by international prosecutors over election violence, will not have to address human rights at the African leaders' conference in Washington. Photograph: Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images.
National Secular Society (blog)
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 01:58:32 -0700

Political religion, particularly that exported from the US, is impeding the struggle for universal human rights in Africa and the two must be kept separate, argues Achieng Maureen Akena. Earlier on open Global Rights, Indian journalist Parsa Rao argued ...


Tue, 05 Aug 2014 13:20:26 -0700

Today, I am in Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit "Investing in the Next Generation" with a message: Invest in human rights in Africa. It's hard to believe that African leaders and some development experts still debate whether human rights ...
The Nonprofit Quarterly
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 08:11:15 -0700

In fact, just about entirely missing from the summit discussion were issues such as human rights in Africa, the criminalization of gay people in Uganda, and much more. Corporate interests are now predominant in the U.S. government's approach to Africa.
Mon, 04 Aug 2014 12:07:30 -0700

“[I]f the dignity of the individual is upheld across Africa, then I believe Americans will be more free as well, because I believe that none of us are fully free when others in the human family remain shackled by poverty or disease or oppression ...
Human Rights Watch
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:07:30 -0700

Surely one of the most important lessons learned from the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa is that tradeoffs at the expense of human rights and the rule of law are untenable and they do not necessarily yield greater security and stability.
National Review Online (blog)
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 00:52:30 -0700

Ndong Ella's presence at the helm of the council is no favor to the cause of human rights in Africa, or anywhere else. Gabon is an oil-rich despotism, ranked by Washington-based Freedom House as “Not Free,” with harsh prison conditions, no independent ...
The White House
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 14:56:15 -0700

"[I]f the dignity of the individual is upheld across Africa, then I believe Americans will be more free as well, because I believe that none of us are fully free when others in the human family remain shackled by poverty or disease or oppression ...

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