Constitutionalism and Human Rights

This channel aggregates information on constitutionalism, constitution-making, constitutional reform, human rights and democracy issues in Africa. We curate and feature legal developments, caselaw and legislation, scholarly commentary, blogs, and columns.

Current contributors

Carmel Rickard

Legal Columnist.
Editor in Chief of the Newsletter of the Judicial Institute for Africa at UCT

Since she began working as a journalist in 1981, Carmel Rickard has specialised in writing about legal affairs. She has won widespread recognition (local and international) as well as a number of awards for her work, and in 1992/3 was awarded a Nieman Fellowship to Harvard.

Resources

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No more child brides says Tanzania's highest court

Read judgment on TanzLII

When the high court delivered its 2016 judgment finding that children could not marry before the age of 18, child and women’s rights’ activists rejoiced. Sections of Tanzania’s Law of Marriage Act that allowed girls to be married while still under age were declared unconstitutional, and the legislature was put on terms to change the law so that it conformed with the constitution.

You only have Rights if you are a Person: How Zambia is Legislating Away the Rights of Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities

“I cannot accept people to treat me like an animal. It hurts. It pains me. How can I survive if I cannot work?
To deny people their rights is to challenge their humanity.”

                                                                                                                     -               Golden Mwewa, 2018

Botswana: Criminalisation of Consensual Gay Sex is Unconstitutional

IN THE HIGH COURT OF BOTSWANA HELD AT GABORONE

MAHGB-000591 16

In the matter between:

LETSWELETSE MOTSHIDIEMANG                                                        Applicant

And

ATTORNEY GENERAL                                                                              Respondent
LESBIANS, GAYS AND BISEXUALS OF                                                Amicus Curiae
BOTSWANA (LEGABIBO)

 

We’ll protect you, Brazil’s supreme court tells gays; we won’t, say Kenya’s judges

 

Read the judgment on KenyaLaw

The judgment of the constitutional and human rights division of Kenya’s high court must have been a great disappointment to the gay community there. In the decision, the three judges give no sense that they understand the very real dangers that this community experiences, with the bench merely observing that no evidence of any such danger, threats or discrimination had been provided to the court.

Long delays in Ugandan justice system “no speculation” says Supreme Court judge – and grants bail

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Jean Louis Sumbu did not gloss over the facts. When he asked Uganda’s Supreme Court to order that he be allowed out on bail pending his last-ditch appeal before that same court he had to explain the whole story.

Sumbu, “a male adult, Congolese, of sound mind”, is 64 and has had a stroke.

Challenging culture of impunity in Kenya

Read judgment

The solemn opening remarks by Judges John Mativo and Pauline Nyamweya signaled the gravity of the decision they were about to give and the horrors the case would disclose: torture, unlawful abduction, years in illicit detention, lives wrecked, bodies broken.

Law is the “bloodline of every nation”, the judges said. “The end of law is justice. It gives justice meaning.” It was a shield or refuge from misery, oppression and injustice.

Don’t use “constitution” as a “mantra”, Malawi’s supreme court warns

Read the judgment on MalawiLII

When Malawi was gripped by a maize shortage scare a few years ago the government arranged to buy more from Zambia. But allegations of corruption soon followed against George Chaponda, then minister responsible for agriculture, as well as other officials in Malawi and in Zambia.

So great was the public outcry that a presidential commission of inquiry was established to investigate.  

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