Africa's Human Rights Architecture / Adrien Ratsimbaharison

The African Book Publishing Record, Vol. XXXV, 2009, no.4, p.325

Human Rights

Africa's Human Rights Architecture, John Akokpari and Daniel Shea Zimbler, eds., Auckland Park, South Africa: Fanele (an imprint of Jacana Media), 2008, 300 pp. R145 pap. ISBN 9781920196073, [Global Book Marketing]

Edited by John Akokpari and Daniel Shea Zimbler, Africa's Human Rights Architecture came out of a policy seminar on human rights protection in Africa, organized by the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CCR) in Cape Town, South Africa, in June 2007. The main objective of the seminar was to "explore the development of continental and regional human rights institutions in Africa" (p. 11). As John Akokpari explains it in the introduction:

The seminar brought together about 30 participants, among whom were policymakers, practitioners, academics, and representatives of civil society. About half of these participants presented papers which were subsequently reviewed and edited. This book has a multi-disciplinary approach spanning the social sciences and the legal field. The authors come from Africa: Cameroon, Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia. Many of the authors are practitioners who have worked in the UN and in key human rights institutions; others are established academics in their respective fields. (p. 12)

In addition to the editors, John Akokpari and Daniel Shea Zimbler, the contributors to this volume include: Mireille Affa'a Mindzie, Mwesigu Baregu, Yaliwe Clarke, Cameron Jacobs, John O.C. Jonah, Abdul Rahman Lamin, Nobuntu Mbelle, Manu Ndulo, Jeremy Sarkin, Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, and Siphamandla Zondi. The book is divided in four parts: Part I: Conceptual Issues and Africa's Human Rights Framework; Part II: National Institutions, Civil Society Actors and Human Rights; Part III: Continental and Sub-Regional Human and People's Rights; Part IV: External Actors and Human Rights in Africa.

This book is a welcome addition to the literature on African human rights. It is probably the first work to present a comprehensive state of the knowledge on human rights legal instruments and institutions in Africa. In this sense, the book makes a significant contribution to our knowledge and understanding of human rights in Africa and constitutes a serious reference for anyone working in the field of human rights on the continent.

Africa's Human Rights Architecture is strongly recommended as a reference for libraries specializing in African politics in general and in human rights in particular, as well as for scholars, researchers, human rights practitioners and activists involved in African human rights.

Adrien Ratsimbaharison
Allen University

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