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Human rights: southern voices - Francis Deng, Abdullahi An-Na’im, Yash Ghai and Upendra Baxi

Twining, W.; (2006) Human rights: southern voices - Francis Deng, Abdullahi An-Na’im, Yash Ghai and Upendra Baxi. Review of Constitutional Studies , 11 (2) pp. 203-279.

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Abstract

In the context of “globalization,” Western jurisprudence has largely ignored non-Western viewpoints, interests, and traditions. This article takes a modest step towards de-parochializing our juristic canon by introducing writings about human rights of four “Southern” jurists: Francis Deng (Southern Sudan), Abdullahi An-Na’im (Sudan), Yash Ghai (Kenya), and Upendra Baxi (India). All were trained in the common law and have published extensively in English, so their work is readily accessible, but their perspectives show some striking differences. Deng argues that traditional values of the Dinka of the Southern Sudan are basically compatible with the values underlying the international human rights regime. For An-Na’im, a “modernist” interpretation of Islam is mostly reconcilable with international human rights, but acceptance of such ideas depends far more on conversations within Islam than on cross-cultural dialogue or external efforts. Ghai questions claims to universal human rights; however, from his materialist stance and his experience of postcolonial constitution-making, human rights discourse can provide a framework for negotiating settlements in multi-ethnic societies. Baxi argues that as human rights discourse is professionalized or hijacked by powerful groups, it risks losing touch with the suffering and needs of the poor and the oppressed, who are the main authors of human rights.

Type:Article
Title:Human rights: southern voices - Francis Deng, Abdullahi An-Na’im, Yash Ghai and Upendra Baxi
Publisher version:http://www.law.ualberta.ca/centres/ccs/publications/journals/reviewconstitutionalstudies/volume11contentoverview.php
Language:English
Additional information:Abstract published in French and English. The French version can be found at http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/13891
Keywords:An-Na’im, Baxi, Deng, Ghai, human rights, pluralism, Southern jurisprudence, universalism
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Laws

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