n African Human Rights Law Journal - Towards a new approach to the classification of human rights with specific reference to the African context

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



Departing from the premise that human rights are those rights possessed by virtue of being human, this contribution revisits the traditional classification of human rights into three 'generations' of rights. The author criticises aspects of this division from an African perspective, such as the prioritisation of civil and political ('first generation') rights above other 'generations', as well as the inappropriate classification of the right to culture with other socio-economic ('second generation') rights and the right to development as a 'third generation' right. A proposal is then made for the reconfiguration of rights into the following four categories: civil and political rights, social and survival rights, economic, developmental and environmental rights and cultural and spiritual rights.

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