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Decolonising human rights protection in Africa: impunity rhetorically repackaged?

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Pointing out the need to decolonise human rights protection in Africa, authorities at the level of the African Union (AU) and its member states have initiated a number of institutional reforms. Purportedly aimed at enhancing accountability for human rights violations, in reality these continental mechanisms offer very little prospect to victims. In terms of the individual criminal responsibility of perpetrators, the 2014 Malabo Protocol is no more than an empty shell. In the area of state responsibility, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is facing an existential threat because of AU member states withdrawing their declarations to allow individual victims and NGOs to directly access the Court. Ultimately, the rhetorical hijacking and political misuse of the decolonisation paradigm is leaving African victims of human rights violations worse off.

(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)