Road Map for South Asian Human Rights Initiative: Lessons from the African Mechanism
Journal of Public and Private Law, Vol. 6, July 2014, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria, pp 168-178
15 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2015
Date Written: 2014
There are several factors responsible for the emergence of regional mechanisms for human rights monitoring. One of the reasons, according to several scholars, was that of territorial proximity of the States. The territorial closeness was thought to be more suitable to keep a vigil over the human rights conditions at the regional level which is not possible under international mechanism, as it would require more time and funds. Also, in case of international accountability, political issues like sovereignty become a big hurdle. As another political reason, it was also considered wiser to keep control of one’s own region to avoid any foreign interference in the name of ideology etc. In addition to the above mentioned reasons, later, there grew a wave of new ideas in favour of regional human rights mechanisms, for example, cultural relativism, which emphasized that human rights can be adopted as per cultural values and may vary in nature and scope. Then there was an argument differentiating between first and the second generation human rights which projected that civil and political rights are the foremost focus of human rights as they are individual in nature, whereas the second generation human rights are of economic, social and cultural nature and are second priority as they are dependent on the first generation human rights. However, a debate emerged over this convenient divide which said that the nature of a given society would decide the priority of one kind of human rights over the other. Hence, respective societies of region may adopt their own set of human rights with the scope defined as per their culture. Also there were several criticisms towards the international regime of human rights under the UN for being too weak etc. All these ideas supported the establishment of regional human rights systems.
Keywords: South Asia, Human Rights, Africa
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