Home > Features > 2015·Beijing Forum on Human Rights > Papers(Abstract) > Sub Topic 2 >

Nomthandazo NTLAMA The Foundations of ‘Peace’ as a Value for the Promotion of Human Rights in Africa
September 23,2015   By:chinahumanrights.org
The Foundations of ‘Peace’ as a Value for the Promotion of Human Rights in Africa
Nomthandazo NTLAMA
South Africa
The promotion of human rights in Africa is seen against their development within the framework of international human rights.1 This evolution is owed to the struggles within the African states in the colonial and post-independence eras. As a consequence of the struggle, ‘human rights have been elevated as a matter that deserves the attention of African governments and seen as a value that inform and inspire grass-roots approaches to them’. The inspiration is deduced from the quest to uphold the inherent values in human rights norms and standards that should represent a qualitatively higher form of unity and integration for the African continent. It paves the way for the integration of ‘peace’ as a central value in the general system of the rights framework in Africa. The integration further offers an opportunity for the advancement of a regional perspective towards the establishment of a value-based approach for human rights in Africa. In essence, the integration seeks to ensure effective and responsible leadership and the empowerment of people to participate and bring inputs in the decision-making process through the system of human rights which infuses ‘peace’ as a value.  This approach is likely to create an environment that is conducive for the consolidation of the state’s responsibilities by requiring legislative and other policy related programmes to provide a framework within which ‘peace’ may be consolidated as a foundational value in the realization of human rights.
However, Africa is thwarted by various challenges and atrocities that have an impact on the development of ‘peace’ as a value in the promotion and protection of human rights. These challenges are related to violence, ethnicity, corruption, disrespect for traditional value systems and other related factors.  These factors threaten the stability of the African continent and the centrality of ‘peace’ as a value in the promotion human rights in Africa.
Furthermore, the concept of ‘peace’ in developing a value-based approach in promoting human rights is also unclear. The uncertainty is derived from the extent to which it can be used to ensure its substantive translation into specific human rights. The lack of clarity about the effect of ‘peace’ as a value is derived from its ‘indirect’ application in the constitutional and legislative instruments which seek to protect human rights. This means that the concept of ‘peace’ is unearthed from the interpretation of the various provisions in order to conceptualise the meaningful and effective promotion of human rights.
Against this background, this paper identifies ‘peace’ as a strategic value in promoting human rights in Africa. The objective is to juxtapose the theoretical and practical foundations of ‘peace’ as a conceptual basis for the promotion of human rights into substantive reality. It is assumed that ‘peace’ provides a foundation that is likely to ensure the creation of an environment that is conducive for the greater respect of all human rights. The likelihood is traced from its potential to develop a value-based approach for the promotion of human rights. In essence, the paper argues that ‘peace’ may be used as a strategic value in the promotion of human rights. Also, the paper does not intend to delve into Africa’s political context but to concretise the argument for the use of ‘peace’ as a value in the advancement of human rights.
(The author is Associate Professor of Public Law attached to the School of Law, KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.)