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From Below and to the Left?: Human Rights and Liberation Politics in Africa’s Postcolonial Age

From Below and to the Left?: Human Rights and Liberation Politics in Africa’s Postcolonial Age During the 1950s, the African United Nations Trust Territories became pivotal sites where the human rights principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights played a complementary role to anticolonial nationalism. A transregional human rights network provided international support to African nationalists and rights activists, and the Trusteeship Agreements and the UN Charter that administering authorities had signed set the conditions for legally implementable human rights norms. But as the trusteeship system came to a close circa 1960, the UN no longer had the jurisdictional means to enforce rights principles, and the transatlantic network that activists throughout Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States had put in place began to disintegrate. In the 1960s, the human rights movement in the global North parted ways with liberation politics as it narrowly redefined human rights as negative protections for individuals. Yet, as this comparative analysis of human rights in Tanzania and Cameroon reveals, in some parts of (post)colonial Africa, particularly in the former UN trust territories where a 1950s-era conception of rights had become prevalent, human rights remained the expression of a political solidarity rooted in the liberatory practices of anticolonial struggle. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of World History University of Hawai'I Press

From Below and to the Left?: Human Rights and Liberation Politics in Africa’s Postcolonial Age

Journal of World History , Volume 24 (2) – Aug 12, 2013

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-8050

Abstract

During the 1950s, the African United Nations Trust Territories became pivotal sites where the human rights principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights played a complementary role to anticolonial nationalism. A transregional human rights network provided international support to African nationalists and rights activists, and the Trusteeship Agreements and the UN Charter that administering authorities had signed set the conditions for legally implementable human rights norms. But as the trusteeship system came to a close circa 1960, the UN no longer had the jurisdictional means to enforce rights principles, and the transatlantic network that activists throughout Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States had put in place began to disintegrate. In the 1960s, the human rights movement in the global North parted ways with liberation politics as it narrowly redefined human rights as negative protections for individuals. Yet, as this comparative analysis of human rights in Tanzania and Cameroon reveals, in some parts of (post)colonial Africa, particularly in the former UN trust territories where a 1950s-era conception of rights had become prevalent, human rights remained the expression of a political solidarity rooted in the liberatory practices of anticolonial struggle.

Journal

Journal of World HistoryUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Aug 12, 2013

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