Udogu, E. Ike. Examining Human Rights Issues and the Democracy Project in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Author:Magnarella, Paul J.
Position:Book review

Udogu, E. Ike. Examining Human Rights Issues and the Democracy Project in Sub-Saharan Africa. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014.

E. Ike Udogu, a faculty member at Appalachian State University, examines human rights practices and democratic issues in six sub-Saharan states: South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Liberia, and Nigeria. Along with an introduction and conclusion, Udogu devotes a separate chapter to each of the six countries. Each of these chapters contains a discussion of the country's history, its independence from colonial rule (except for Ethiopia), its political development, its constitutional character, and its human rights practices. At the end of each chapter, the author searches for positive human rights developments to report. Sadly, the few that he can list pale in comparison to the vast list of abuses.

In each case, the author uses the actual human rights declarations and conventions that each country has formally accepted as the standards against which government practice can be measured. These include, but are not limited to, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights. He employs the 2010 U.S. Department of State human rights reports for each country as evidence for actual behavior. Unfortunately, in no case study does actual behavior come close to resembling a country's human rights legal obligations as affirmed in its own constitution.

The following summary of human rights abuses in Liberia could be repeated almost verbatim for each of the six countries. Human rights violations in Liberia include: police abuse; harassment and intimidation of detainees and others; harsh prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; judicial inefficiency and corruption; denial of due process; official corruption and impunity; violence against women, including rape and domestic violence; child abuse; human trafficking; racial and ethnic discrimination; and...

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