Domestication of International Human Rights Law

Frans Viljoen

in International Human Rights Law in Africa

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780199218585
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191696107 | DOI:
Domestication of International Human Rights Law

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The ultimate test of international human rights law is the extent to which it takes root at the national level, and its ability to flourish in the soil of states and to bear fruit in the lives of people. Throughout this work it has been acknowledged that the national sphere is the pre-eminent domain of concern. This chapter maps, in general terms, the process of bringing home international law by looking at the constitutional framework of African states, and specifically at the domestic application of the African Charter. It argues that international human rights law does not form an effective part of domestic law in Africa. It is rarely used on its own as the source of an enforceable right. Courts much more frequently invoke international human rights standards as interpretative guides, alongside constitutional provisions, to underscore or support a particular interpretation.

Keywords: African states; human rights; constitutional framework; African Charter

Chapter.  20436 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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