International Human Rights in Post-Colonial Africa

Universality in Perspective

Author(s) Santino Ayuel Longar Dau

Language: English

Genre(s): Social Policy and Law

Series: International Law

  • January 2024 · 288 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Hardback - 9781837720668
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781837720675
  • · eBook - epub - 9781837720682

About The Book

This study advances three interrelated claims for international human rights standards (IHRS). First, that post-colonial African societies are bureaucratic modern states and capitalist societies to which IHRS are suitable for application, pursuant to the Modified Modernisation Theory. The sweeping vicissitudes that have taken place in post-colonial Africa since colonial eras necessitate a paradigm shift: we must change our assumptions about the structural and socio-politico-economic systems of post-colonial Africa and their impact on individual and group rights. Second, that extant pleadings for cultural relativism in post-colonial Africa are fixated on reified assumptions about the minimal role of the individual. Today, however, every state relies on its individual subjects for its institutional and socio-politico-economic development, just as every individual relies on the state for a more secure, fulfilling and dignified human existence. Finally, the book advances legal and moral justifications for the universality of human rights standards, notwithstanding global cultural heterogeneity.


‘This book, written by a young scholar from South Sudan, a country that has been deeply embroiled in this debate because it is new and at war, is timely and as provocative as it is educative. International Human Rights in Post-Colonial Africa both educates and is enjoyable to read as it not only records all corners of highly contested perspectives, but also provides a picture of its author’s agile legal and philosophical mind.’

Jok Madut Jok, Professor of Anthropology, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University


List of Illustrations/Figures
List of Abbreviations
Chapter One: Universalism Versus Cultural Relativism in the African Debate on IHRs
Chapter Two: Between Universalism and Cultural Relativism: Unpacking the Key Concepts
Chapter Three: Application of the Modified Modernisation Theory to Explain the Relevance of Human Rights to Africa
Chapter Four: IHRs as Sui Generis Moral and Legal Rights: A Justification for Universality
Chapter Five: Conclusion
The Universalism versus Relativism Debate: Strengths and Limitations
Practical and Theoretical Justifications for Universality of Human Rights Standards

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Santino Ayuel Longar Dau

Santino Ayuel Longar Dau is an Assistant Professor and Director of Law Development Center at the School of Law, University of Juba, in South Sudan.

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