From Horizontal and Vertical to Lateral: Extending the Effect of Human Rights in Post Colonial Legal Systems of the South Pacific
J. Corrin, FROM HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL TO LATERAL: EXTENDING THE EFFECT OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN POST COLONIAL LEGAL SYSTEMS OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, p1-39, January 2009
40 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2008
Date Written: July 7, 2007
A key issue in countries where human rights charters have been constitutionally enshrined is the extent to which those rights apply. Intertwined with this is the question, crucial to the rational evolution of the interrelationship of public international and private law, of what role should be played by human rights law in governing the relationships between private individuals or groups. In the South-West Pacific, where human rights charters were embodied in constitutions at independence, there has been little discussion of this issue, despite its particular relevance to the wider debate on the suitability of human rights agendas developed in the West to newly emerging nations. This article considers the vertical versus horizontal debate in the context of small island countries of the South Pacific, and particularly those countries where there has been friction between human rights and other laws and/or where there has been recent conflict between the State and individuals or sections of civil society. The purpose of this inquiry is not only to establish where those countries now stand with regard to this aspect of applicability, but also to illustrate the necessity of accounting for locally and or culturally specific factors when establishing a human rights regime in any part of the world. The article identifies distinguishing factors in the legal and social systems of South-West Pacific States and puts forward suggestions for the development of South Pacific jurisprudence on human rights.
Keywords: human rights, South Pacific, horizontal and vertical, custom and culture
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation