Patrick Thornberry
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The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; African perspectives on indigenous peoples
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Africa has suffered incommensurately from natural and human disasters and has been riven by ethnic and tribal hatreds. The flowering of political life has been inhibited by authoritarian governments showing scant respect for human rights. Despite and because of the travails, a positive and distinctive African human rights ‘fingerprint’ or accent has emerged. This chapter considers the cadences of the African language of human rights mainly in relation to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. The Charter is a singular and complex amalgam of categories or generations of human rights, of ‘domains of discourse’, acclimatising basic principles to the African context. The Charter extends the reach of peoples' rights beyond the self-determination of the Covenants to issues highly pertinent to indigenous concerns, including environment and development.

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