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Minority Rights, Democracy and Development: The African Experience

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The article contends that in spite of recent attempts to marry human rights to development, the marriage remains one of convenience, and to the inconvenience of disadvantaged groups, particularly indigenous peoples who are the focus of discussion. The author further contends that contrary to the claim that the relationship between rights and development were non-existent to begin with, there was such recognition. In the context of promoting effective minority rights which lies at the heart of peace and stability in Africa, a re-visioning of the relationship between rights, democracy and development in Africa is suggested which challenges the current notions of “market democracy,” “good governance” and “liberal international orthodoxy”. The analysis tackles ways in which effective promotion of minority rights can be realised, based on a cultural relativist perspective. The paper finally proposes the creation of a distinct Protocol or Charter on Minority Peoples in Africa to better serve their peculiar needs and interests.

Affiliations: 1: Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana


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