The main difference between human beings and animals is that animals are ruled by the law of the jungle where only the strong survive while human beings are governed by laws that strive to achieve justice and equality. The laws that govern human beings are aimed at ensuring all the interests of the weak and the strong are put into consideration and common ground is achieved. Every community or country has a set of rules and regulations that govern its codes of conduct. This essay aims at outlining the issues that make the African System of Human Rights Protection inefficient and what can be done to ensure they are fully functional.
A right is a claim to a title or anything inherent in nature and without which a person will not live as a human being (Elgar 12). These rights are fundamental freedoms that enable individuals to deserve and use their qualities, talents, and intelligence to meet their social, economic, and political needs. Denial of human rights and fundamental freedoms can lead to political and social unrest resulting in conflicts and violence in communities. In most African states the System of Human Rights Protection is very theoretical and does not meet the needs of the society due to reasons that are motivated by human beings.
Illiteracy is one of the major reasons that make the African System of Human Rights Protection inefficient due to the inability to read and write by the majority of the communities (Donnelly 36). Most of these rights are usually documented and made available to the citizens to read them or sometimes they are aired through the televisions and radios. This means that the language used is mostly the official language of such countries that most people do not understand.
The majority of the population uses their local dialects to communicate and those who have gone to school have difficulties in translating such rules to bring the intended meaning to the target audience. Most people are ignorant of their rights and freedoms and do not understand what to do or where to go in case they have an issue to be settled (Elgar 67). This makes the few individuals who understand the court processes and their rights take advantage of it and oppress those who are ignorant.
On other occasions, there is great hostility between the government and civil organizations that advocate for the implementation of policies that protect human rights. Most governments perceive these civil associations like human rights groups as radicals that demand the rights and freedoms of citizens without following the appropriate channels. On the other hand, these civil associations perceive the political class as capitalists who abuse innocent civilians for their interests.
However, most politicians who oppose these civil associations derived their fame through these associations that propelled them to gain elective positions on grounds of change and demand for respect of human rights (Orend 78). The international community has also contributed to the exploitation of most African rights through their intervention and influence on the decisions of a country. They give strict intentional conditions before they advance their assistance on these countries like demanding retrenchment of workers to be given financial assistance.
In addition, there are very many litigation issues that make the majority of the African Systems of Human Rights Protection not effective. For instance, most institutions and associations that advocate for human rights protection do not have a reliable filing system and issues of court files missing are very common. This makes it very hard for a ruling to be made since there is no reference to the previous court proceedings. On other occasions, these cases take too long to be completed as the process of tracking these files becomes too elaborate and twisted and leads to delays in passing judgments and any justice delayed is justice denied.
The process of making complaints is also cumbersome as most centers are located very far from where the people live (Elgar 89). Most police stations and courts are in urban areas while the rural population is left to walk long distances to seek justice which is very expensive in terms of bus fare and accommodation. The fact that most judicial officers come from the same region they are assigned to work in does not make things better as subjective and selective justice influences them.
It becomes very difficult to make fair rulings as the people concerned are either close relatives or childhood friends. There are some aspects of African cultures that still exist though they are prohibited by law. For instance, in some communities wife inheritance, dowry and female genital mutilation are common and making a ruling against them results in a conflict of interest between the law and culture.
There are so many beneficial policies and laws that governments put in place to ensure the needs of all citizens are provided. However, the enforcement of these regulations becomes difficult to achieve as there are very few law enforcement officers to oversee it (Orend 133). On other occasions, the associations mandated to promote and advocate respect for human rights do not have absolute power to do this. They are governed by strict boundaries within which their agitation is allowed.
There are limits as to what extent they can go in the process of advocating for the full implementation of human rights. For instance, activist groups do not have an autonomous right to march to any public office to demand the rights of the people since the police department is usually on high alert to use the necessary force to keep the demonstrators away. This scenario usually ends with the destruction of property, injury and detainment of protesters on grounds of unlawful demonstration and incitement.
The suggestions and recommendations of these human rights groups are usually swept under the carpet while their endless agreements with the state officials end in the briefcases (Orend 78). Their recommendations are usually faced with assurances from the government that are formal theoretical acts to please the public and give them hope of a better future. The state usually demands that its position be well stated and followed before it can sit with any association to negotiate for the implementation of any human rights.
In most cases, very many people do not know the existence of human rights groups that advocate for the attainment and fulfillment of justice in society. In case of any unjust ruling by the courts, most people usually retreat to their sorry states and do not make any forward step to seek appeal or redress from any other institution. The provision for appeals is thus not used as the individuals are ignorant of its existence. There are very few people who know the existence of human rights groups and associations and only a handful are aware of the role they play in enhancing the attainment of justice.
There are very many people in prisons serving sentences for crimes they did not commit. Some family members are left in agony when their members are convicted to serve sentences without having undergone a thorough court hearing process. There are many unjust sentences passed on criminals that do not correspond to the crimes they committed. In addition, while in prison many people suffer very much and become weak to the point of dying or they harden and become hardcore prisoners. Instead of correction and rehabilitation of criminals, the prisons departments contribute greatly to their death or maladjustment.
However, despite the many weaknesses that portray most African Systems of Human Rights Protection as weak there are various ways through which they can change to offer the best of their services according to their vision, mission, objectives and goals set to be achieved (Fagan 126).
When citizens and civil groups follow the rule of law the courts will have no option but to follow the same path. This is done through extensive public awareness, crusades and seminars sponsored by the government and non-governmental organizations. All government institutions should be forced to account for their performance by submitting regular reports that will be published in the local dailies to promote transparency in handling public offices. There should be very strict punishments for those found violating human rights to deter would be offenders. The international community should ensure that no foreign assistance is given to a country that does not respect the rule of law through the judicial system.
Human rights form the foundation of the existence of human beings in any society and it does not matter how long it will take to be achieved. Every person has a responsibility of ensuring that human rights are respected to promote a peaceful interaction between individuals, societies, and countries. Human rights groups should ensure that they are non-partisan in their agitation for the rule of law to prevail.
Donnelly, Jack. Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. New York: Cornell University Press, 2002. Print.
Fagan, Andrew. Human Rights: Confronting Myths and Misunderstandings. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishers, 2009. Print.
Orend, Brian. Human Rights: Concept and Context. Ottawa: Broadview Press, 2002. Print.