n African Human Rights Law Journal - Arbitration and human rights in Africa
|Article Title||Arbitration and human rights in Africa|
|© Publisher:||Pretoria University Law Press (PULP)|
|Journal||African Human Rights Law Journal|
|Author||Andrew I. Chukwuemerie|
|Publication Date||Jan 2007|
|Pages||103 - 141|
With a colonial background and, in many cases, years of military and other forms of dictatorship, most African countries have elaborate constitutional provisions for the protection of human rights. Colonialism and those dictatorships involved the extensive denial and abuse of citizens' rights. Independence and cessation of dictatorships therefore invariably involved keen resolves to ensure the protection of citizens' rights in all practicable ways. African constitutions are therefore quite elaborate, for instance, with provisions that confer on every citizen or resident of the country in question such rights as those of unfettered access to courts for the determination of causes and matters as well as a requirement of public hearing of cases and pronouncement of judgments or findings. Most African countries are also now embracing commercial arbitration for the resolution of disputes. They are equally making serious efforts to transform themselves into preferred venues for international arbitrations by business people and business entities. Since arbitration is fundamentally a private and confidential process and an election to go to arbitration is in one way or the other a decision not to go to court, whether or not arbitration breaches citizens' human rights, is becoming an important issue on the continent. This article examines the question and finds that, unlike the situation in some other parts of the world, arbitration and human rights are not in any form of conflict on the continent. Therefore, arbitration does not breach human rights in Africa. African countries have rather worked out a synergy between the two streams of law. The article also finds that the situation is the same in the customary law and that, in working out this synergy, the continent has shown a worthy example to the world just as it did with the idea of an international customary law arbitration.
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