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The African Union and Human Protection: Towards a Regional Protection Regime

Crossley, N; (2020) The African Union and Human Protection: Towards a Regional Protection Regime. African Security , 13 (2) pp. 147-170. 10.1080/19392206.2020.1779528. Green open access

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Abstract

A global discourse of protection and responsibility suggests that human protection norms have gained traction. Empirically, this coincides with an observed global reduction in violence. How does this relate to regional protection practices in Africa; is there a regional protection regime? If so, how is this regime constituted, and what does it comprise? Does it shape regional protection practices, and if so, in what ways? This article describes the origins of human protection norms in Africa and assesses the role of the protection regime in shaping regional practices. An analytical framework based on regime theory, that assumes that the emergence of institutions and consistent practice indicates the emergence of a regime, is employed. An empirical survey of institutions and practices suggests the development of a regional protection regime. However, the regional structures differ from, and compete with, preexisting international structures. While the structural prerequisites for a regional protection regime are now in place, several factors interfere with the development of the regional protection regime. The article concludes with several observations. First, the incoherence of global and regional structures results in contradictions and duplication among institutions. Second, a lack of agency of local actors, owing to limited resources and understaffing, inhibits consistent protective responses. Third, resistance by some regional agents to the norms underpinning the protection regime. However, incoherence, inconsistency, and hypocrisy are common features of regimes. Consequently, the fact that the African human protection regime is characterized by incoherence, inconsistency, and hypocrisy undermines neither its significance, nor its ability to shape practice and promote human protection.

Type: Article
Title: The African Union and Human Protection: Towards a Regional Protection Regime
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/19392206.2020.1779528
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/19392206.2020.1779528
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Human protection, conflict management, mediation, peacekeeping, international criminal justice, norms, consistency, subsidiarity, African Union
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100360
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