Selected developments in human rights and democratisation in sub-Saharan Africa during 2019

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Nyawa, Joshua
Nyemba, Chisomo
Nyokabi, Deborah
Mathenge, Ian
White, Thomas Kagiso
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Global Campus of Human Rights
This article reviews selected developments in human rights and democratisation in sub-Saharan Africa during 2019. It contextualises the withdrawal of Tanzania from the optional declaration under article 34(6) of the African Court allowing individuals and non-governmental organisations to submit cases directly to the African Court. It notes that while the withdrawal is a painful blow, it is not fatal as the African Commission remains a viable access channel. The authors further commend developments in women’s rights in the areas of child marriage, the protection of pregnant school girls, sexual and reproductive health rights and democratisation, but notes that they are piecemeal in nature and more still needs to be done. The article discusses the monumental judgment nullifying presidential elections in Malawi and its implications for democracy, particularly in asserting the independence of the judiciary in Africa. The article also analyses the killings and persecutions of persons with albinism in Malawi and the need for urgent redress. The authors evaluate the mixed developments in LGBTIQ rights juxtaposing the parliamentary successes in Angola, the judicial victory in Botswana, on the one hand, with the judicial setback in Kenya, on the other. The article highlights the fall of Al Bashir’s regime in Sudan as a remarkable step towards democratisation in Africa. Finally, the authors screen the drawbacks of violence on human rights and democratisation through the case studies of xenophobia in South Africa, the Anglophone Cameroon crisis, violent extremism in West Africa, and civil strife in Ethiopia, urging for an end to bloodshed in line with the African Union’s vision of silencing the guns by 2020. Key words: courts; African Court; Tanzania; democratisation; elections; human rights; same-sex relationships; sub-Saharan Africa; violence; women’s rights
sub-Saharan region, Tanzania, democratisation, courts, African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Union, human rights, elections, same-sex marriage, women rights, homosexuality, children, forced marriage, reproductive health, Africa
J Nyawa, C Nyemba, D Nyokabi, I Mathenge & T White ‘Selected developments in human rights and democratisation in sub-Saharan Africa during 2019’ (2020) 4 Global Campus Human Rights Journal 201-229