DEFINATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS:
Human rights are the rights possessed by all persons, by virtue of their common humanity, to live a life of freedom and dignity. They give all people moral claims on the behavior of individuals and on the design of social arrangements—and are universal, inalienable and indivisible. Human rights express our deepest commitments to ensuring that all persons are secure in their enjoyment of the goods and freedoms that are necessary for dignified living. International human rights law is a set of international rules, established by treaty or custom, on the basis of which individuals and groups can expect and/or claim certain behavior or benefits from governments .
Human rights are inherent entitlements which belong to every person as a consequence of being human. Numerous non-treaty based principles and guidelines also belong to the body of international human rights standards. International human rights law main treaty sources include: oThe universal declaration of Human Rights (1948)
oThe International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) oConventions on Genocide (1948)
oInternational Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (1965) oDiscrimination against Women (1979)
oConvention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984). oConvention on the Rights of the Child (1989).
The main regional instrument in Africa is the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (1981). The United Nations charter also recognizes and protects the human rights examples being spelled out in articles 1, 55, 56,62,68,76. International human rights law binds all actors to an armed conflict: in international conflicts it must be observed by the states involved, whereas in internal conflict it binds the government, as well the groups fighting against it or amongst them. Thus, International human rights law lays down rules that are applicable to both state and non-state actors. The international human rights were a creation of the naturalist school of international law which attempts to give ethical and moral basis to international law and emphasizes on the dignity of the human beings and rationality. This school has strongly influenced the development of international law especially certain fundamental principles including that of non-aggression, fundamental human rights and social justice.
HOW AFRICAN STATES ARE BOUND BY INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW:
African states being sovereign are recognized as subjects of international law to the exemption of a few states such as Somalia, and are thus actors in the international stage and thus their involvement in this international stage require rules and regulations of engagement. African states are also part of the United Nations which is widely considered to be an international government that oversees the international community by the use of its bodies and organizations such as the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, UNCHR, being the main body that deals with human rights, there is also the establishment of human rights commissions on the regional level and national level example in Africa being the African commission on human and peoples rights which came into force in 1986,an example at the national level is the Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission (Kenya) .
International treaties form part of the laws of a country if the country is a signatory to the treaty and has ratified the treaty. States that have ratified or ascended to a convention are bound to observe its provisions those that have signed but not yet ratified have expressed their intention to become a party at some future date; meanwhile they are obliged to refrain from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the treaty.
ENFORCEMENT OR APPPLICABILITY OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW IN AFRICA: