THE EVOLUTION OF THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS: FROM ITS INCEPTION TO THE CREATION OF A PERMANENT COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS by ED BATES: THE AFRICAN REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM: 30 YEARS AFTER THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE'S RIGHTS edited by MANISULI SSENYONJO

Publication Date01 Sep 2012
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2012.00593.x
AuthorURFAN KHALIQ
Book Reviews
THE EVOLUTION OF THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN
RIGHTS: FROM ITS INCEPTION TO THE CREATION OF A
PERMANENT COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS by ED BATES
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010, 608 pp., £100.00)
THE AFRICAN REGIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS SYSTEM: 30 YEARS AFTER
THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLE'S RIGHTS edited
by MANISULI SSENYONJO
(Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2011, 583 pp., ¨195.00)
Rarely a day passes when widespread indignation at the latest `human rights
outrage' is not reported. Here I am not referring to a massacre of civilians in,
for example, Sudan which rarely concerns many but the fact that some
`terrorist' or other cannot be extradited or deported because it would `breach
his human rights'. Human rights are a be
Ãte noire for many and subject to
attack from most parts of the political spectrum, a manifestation for some of
all that is wrong with modern liberal societies. There is currently a dangerous
trivialization of rights which is endemic. The two books under review,
however, highlight the challenges that have had to be faced or are still to be
overcome in seeking to ensure the adequate protection of human dignity at
the regional level. Although the books are different in perspective and style,
a common theme is that both, in their own way, take a historic perspective as
to how the regional systems in Europe and Africa have evolved. The Council
of Europe system was adopted just over sixty years ago, the African Charter
about thirty years ago. Before discussing the books, however, it is worth
making a few comments about the protection of human rights at the regional
level.
A fundamental issue which is often unaddressed in the literature but is
relevant to regional human rights systems is whether there is indeed an
`African', `Asian' or `European' conception of rights. It is undisputable that
many commentators and state representatives talk of an African perspective,
for example, with regard to development or the colonial experience; there are
certainly shared perspectives on some matters. But what links a region,
beyond geographical proximity or being part of the same land mass, for the
protection of rights? What culturally, politically, and philosophically links
Egypt, a totalitarian regime for the best part of forty years, with Botswana, a
model of African democracy, peace, and stability for that same period of
time? In a similar vein, does Russia, notwithstanding the fact that it joined
the Council of Europe in 1992, share a perspective of rights with Sweden or
472
ß2012 The Author. Journal of Law and Society ß2012 Cardiff University Law School. Published by Blackwell Publishing
Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT