The African Charter on Human and People’s Right was adopted by African governments as far back as 1986. Yet the incidence of human rights violations remains a cause for concern on the continent. The deregulation and privatisation of African economies in response to global economic pressures and interests has led to growing social and economic inequalities, and increasing human rights abuses. Rising crime rates tend to harden public attitudes towards criminals, breeding acceptance for intolerance, ill-treatment, torture and the death penalty. Shoot-to-kill policies are now common. Millions of civilians have lost their lives in wars fuelled by unregulated international arms trade and the presence of foreign troops and mercenaries.
Occurring simultaneously with all these developments is the presence of an increasing number of African human rights defenders. These men and women document and denounce human rights abuses, challenge repressive, discriminatory and dictatorial regimes, and seek redress and justice for many victims and families. They provide services where the state has withdrawn or given up, and take on advocacy or educational roles. They testify to the changing nature, growing strength and importance of African civil society.
Ukweli combines the experiences of African human right defenders to present a step-by-step guide for monitoring and investigating human rights abuses in Africa. This practical problem-solving Handbook and the accompanying booklets have been written with and for African human rights defenders to strengthen and professionalise human rights work on the continent. Accurate and consistent research is an essential element to human rights campaigning, advocacy and lobbying. It is crucial to building and sustaining the legitimacy and reputation of human rights organisations and activists, locally, nationally and internationally. Ukweli is a Swahili word that can refer to both truth and fact. In Customary Law, Ukweli signifies the findings of impartial investigation that are irrefutable. Using this philosophy, the Handbook provides indispensable guidelines for tackling obstacles, ensuring accuracy, eliminating partiality and seeking redress for human rights violations.
CODESRIA, 2000, 88 p.,