n African Human Rights Law Journal - In search of philosophical justifications and suitable models for the horizontal application of human rights

Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



This article critiques the dominant view that human rights do not bind non-state actors. It ties the dominant discourse to the natural rights theory and, to a lesser extent, the positivist school of thought. A critique of these traditions reveals that there are no insurmountable philosophical barriers to recognising the application of human rights to non-state actors and the private sphere. Drawing on Marxist and feminist philosophical schools, as well as African conceptions of human rights, it argues that the view that non-state actors should be bound by human rights can be defended philosophically. The article ends with an analysis of the various options through which human rights obligations of non-state actors may be enforced within a domestic constitutional framework.

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