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Payam Akhavan_feat

Making Human Rights Sexy: Authenticity in Glamorous Times

Payam Akhavan[1] (Harvard LLM ’90 SJD ’01) is Professor of International Law at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He was previously Senior Fellow at Yale Law School and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto. Professor Akhavan was the first Legal Advisor to the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda at The Hague (1994-2000) and has served with the United Nations in Cambodia, East Timor, and Guatemala. He has appeared as counsel in leading cases before the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, and the European Court of Human Rights.

Joseph Kony and George Clooney, seemingly disparate, occupy a common space in our imagination: wanted criminal and vaunted celebrity, both are human rights spectacles of our times.  Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army messianic cult, is wanted by the International Criminal Court.  He stands accused of crimes against humanity for the horrific abuse of child soldiers and terrorization of civilians in northern Uganda.  He became globally infamous by the efforts of Invisible Children, a hitherto obscure organization that made the appealing but simplistic Kony 2012 short film calling for his arrest.  They succeeded in spreading the film virally on an unprecedented scale: within a few days of its release, it registered 100 million views on the YouTube video-sharing website and raised millions of dollars.  Clooney, a Hollywood actor of great renown and wealth, has starred in numerous best-selling films and is the subject of much idle gossip in the tabloids.  Among his many accomplishments, he has received the Academy Award – the so-called “Oscar” – the pinnacle of success in the film industry.  He is also famous for his human rights activism and celebrity diplomacy concerning mass-atrocities in the Darfur and South Sudan.  There is an obvious contrast between Kony and Clooney.  But there is also an intriguing similarity: they are both personalities that the average person “on the street” can probably identify with global human rights issues.  Both public figures owe this distinction to successful engagement with the hyper-culture of cyber-compassion: amidst myriad distractions just a click away, worthy causes must assume an air of glamour to compete for our fleeting attention.  In short, in affluent consumer societies that privilege superficial sentimentality over profound commitment, mass-mobilization and public awareness usually depends on making human rights sexy.  What should we make of this reality?

Whether it is the Kony 2012 video or the star power of Clooney, the contemporary discourse surrounding human rights activism is seemingly a struggle between utilitarianism and authenticity.  Consider Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole decrying the “White Saviour Industrial Complex” and disparaging Kony 2012 as “a big emotional experience that validates privilege” rather than justice:  “The banality of evil transmutes into the banality of sentimentality.”  By contrast, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof praised the video “for galvanizing young Americans to look up from their iPhones and seek to make a difference”, retorting that “if I were a Congolese villager, I would welcome these uncertain efforts over the sneering scorn of do-nothing armchair cynics.”[2]  Amidst public apathy, the question seems to be whether “slacktivism” – substituting “feel good” activism for meaningful engagement – is better than doing nothing at all.  This meagre utilitarian discourse and its contrary polemics are hardly sufficient to address the enormity of the moral challenges facing us in the struggle for justice.  What then is the appropriate context for addressing the glamourization of human rights and its implications on our self-definition?  Exploring this query requires a brief deviation from the topic at hand into the historical journey that has resulted in the fusion of the superficial with the sacred.

The etymology of “glamour” is itself an instructive illustration and starting point.  The Oxford Dictionary traces the word to the early 18th century – originally a variant of the Scottish gramarye – meaning “enchantment” or “magic”.  It was an alteration of the English word grammar with a medieval meaning of “scholarship” or “learning”.  Grammar was about the proper form of words and sentences as it is today.  But since only a few religious clerics could read and write in the European Dark Ages, and much of scholarship related to knowledge of occult practices, the learned grammarian’s craft was perceived as mysterious and magical.  Use of the word “glamour” was popularized in English by Sir Walter Scott’s Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, published in 1830.  It referred to a magic spell likened to a “delusive or alluring charm”.  With the decline of religious thought, “glamour” assumed a non-magical meaning, referring to the impression of attraction or fascination; an impression that is better than reality, but ultimately deceptive.  In its archaic use, glamour is still defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “enchantment” or “magic”.  Its contemporary meaning however is “an attractive or exciting quality that makes certain people or things seem appealing”.  Its usage in American English – in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary – is also variously “a magic spell” or “an exciting and often illusory and romantic attractiveness” (the example offered is “the glamour of Hollywood”).  The American cultural critic Virginia Postrel defines glamour in contemporary usage as a “calculated, carefully polished image designed to impress and persuade.”  In other words, glamour invites us to transcend the mediocrity of everyday life to enter into an idealized world; a world of glitter that is ultimately an illusion.

The linguistic evolution of “glamour” is thus situated in the broader historical context of the European Enlightenment which the 19th century German sociologist Max Weber described as a process of “rationalization and intellectualization and … the disenchantment of the world.”  In his worldview, modernity, progress, and secularization were synonymous.  Belief in the mystical world was gradually extinguished as the rationalism of scientific inquiry and separation of state from church triumphed.  In brief, the magic was gone.  In its stead, materialistic ideologies emerged to offer new utopias, not unlike substitute religions.  Hitler and Stalin appropriated modern-day prophets like Nietzsche and Marx, in pursuit of modern visions of glory and transcendence. Others worshipped the creed of racial superiority and colonial domination in the name of civilization.  Millions of lives were sacrificed at the altar of these modern ideologies, each with an illusory better world.  The unprecedented magnitude of this violence shattered modernity’s promise of progress. 

The monstrous atrocities of the 20th century were scarcely imaginable during the Dark Ages.  The incantations and rituals of modern ideologies had cast a magic spell of such destructive force that it rendered medieval ignorance and superstition comparatively benign.  In 1948, in the shadow of the Holocaust, in a ceremonial exorcism of Nazi excesses, the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Redolent with the promise of a better future, its preamble proclaimed “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” as “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”.  Bemoaning the horrors of the war, it recognized that “disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind”.  In a testament to its universality, the Declaration was enshrined as “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”.  Conceived as a transcendent and unimpeachable axiom at the core of a new global ethos, human rights discourse assumed the role of the sacred.  Even if it was clothed in secular terminology, it defined an inviolable space from which all things good flowed.  As Émile Durkheim maintained [in The Elementary Forms of Religious Life], “the distinctive trait of religious thought” was the division of the world between the domain of the sacred and the profane; not between the sacred and the secular.  Thus, amidst a disenchanted Western civilization in desperate search of a moral compass, enchantment with inalienable human rights fell manifestly within the socially constructed domain of the sacred.  Beyond reproach, these fundamental norms became the magic incantation of both state and society; a cosmopolitan faith complete with its own deity, temples, and rituals.

With decolonization, globalization, and the collapse of communism, Western liberalism and human rights ideals spread.  But the market economy’s consumerist culture spread even more rapidly.  In place of spent totalitarian ideologies, hedonism and self-indulgence increasingly define the pursuit of happiness.  The seduction of the American dream, the relentless propaganda of mass-culture, has cast a magic spell on people from all corners of the world.  Consumption and greed have become a pervasive belief system, the seeming purpose of existence, the true opiate of the masses.  This materialistic ideology is not without its competitors.  This is captured in Benjamin Barber’s juxtaposition of Jihad vs. McWorld, symbolizing the struggle between economic globalization and religious fundamentalism.  But it seems both that McWorld is winning the contest, and that Jihad manifestly fails to provide an appealing alternative.

It is telling that in American English, the archetypal image of the “glamour of Hollywood” is so integral to cultural self-definition.  In the virtual pantheon of consumerism, star power and entertainment are the pillars of escapism and instant gratification. As Neil Gabler puts it, “Hollywood has always been an irresistible, prefabricated metaphor for the crass, the materialistic, the shallow, and the craven.”  In this realm of kitsch, authenticity is worthless.  Why pay a steep price for the original when the imitation is readily available?  Why fill in the emptiness with depth and sacrifice when escape is but a click away?  And why heartfelt empathy when exaggerated sentimentality can provide effortless meaning?  It is here that glamour intersects with human rights, to cast a magic spell likened to a “delusive or alluring charm”; an “exciting” and “romantic attractiveness” that appropriates the discourse and imagery of the secular sacred to create the illusion of authenticity.  In this exercise, the reality of the victims is lost as people marvel at the beautiful spectacle of the saviour.  Adventures, adrenaline, and awards become tantamount to action.  The suffering of others becomes a platform for demonstrating virtue.  Vanity and justice embrace.

But why should authenticity matter?  If glamour can persuade young Americans to momentarily look up from their iPhones and learn that there is a place called Africa where people suffer, is that not praiseworthy?  The utilitarian argument it seems accepts this superficial culture far too casually, especially when it implicates the human rights industry itself.  It abruptly dismisses deeper contemplation in the name of sensational activism, without consideration to how the voices of the dispossessed constantly fail to penetrate the self-contained world of the saviours.  The scale of injustice and despair, the nobility of the human spirit, our capacity for profound compassion, the extraordinary means at our disposal, these demand something far greater than fame-seeking and righteous platitudes. Authenticity matters because only true seeking and genuine empathy allows us to penetrate the veils that delude us into believing that we are doing good when we are not doing nearly enough.  By being true to our self, by connecting with others in a communion of oneness, we begin to conceive the world in a different perspective, to imagine other possibilities.  The greatest acts of heroism, the daily struggles of those that suffer, are not headline news; they do not entail prestigious awards or chasing the latest mass-atrocity.  They are not entertaining.  The tortured prisoner of conscience whose youth wastes away in prison; the mother mourning her activist daughter’s execution; a child struggling to survive in the streets amidst crushing poverty; a father’s despair for his starving family in a corrupt world of plenty; these images call for humble contemplation so the depth of reality and the moral challenge in its wake can fully sink into our conscience.  These are felt experiences that cannot be reduced to “feel-good” sound bites and tweets in a consumer culture that has emptied itself of all depth and meaning.  Without being touched in this profound way, we are not wont to make any profound changes.

Sentimentality is not spirituality.  Self-indulgence is not sacrifice.  The learned grammarians of the Dark Ages dabbled in occult practices.  They confused magical incantations with mystical experience.  In seeking the divine, they mistook the illusion of rituals for the reality of love that is at the essence of our humanity.  The learned grammarian – magical and enchanting – the glamorous activist – superficial spectacle – both represent our capacity for self-deception, our propensity to avoid the hard work by portraying hypocrisy as righteousness.

I left Iran for Canada as a child because my family belonged to the persecuted Báhá’í religious minority.   After the establishment of the Islamic Republic following the 1979 revolution, life in exile gave way to unbearable anguish.  On 14 June 1981, my uncle Dr. Firouz Naimi – a physician of great renown and friend of the poor – was executed in the city of Hamadan after enduring horrific torture.  His sole crime was that his religious belief was deemed a “heresy” by fanatical clerics.  Two years later, on 18 June 1983, my contemporary, Mona Mahmudnizhad, was hanged in the city of Shiraz at the age of 17, also because of her religious belief.  The infinite courage and dignity of these souls in the face of the unthinkable, and the many others whose suffering is beyond words, profoundly shaped my understanding of human rights.  Suspended somewhere between Jihad and McWorld, between the violence of religious fanaticism and the vulgarity of fanatic consumerism, I have since grappled with the human condition in our world of extremes.  As a young lawyer, I spent my early career as a UN war crimes prosecutor in The Hague, served in Bosnia during the war, and subsequently in Rwanda, Cambodia, Guatemala, and other battered, bleeding countries torn apart by hatred and cruelty.  In 2003, I advised the Ugandan Government to refer the Lord’s Resistance Army case to the International Criminal Court.  By 2006, this strategy to isolate Joseph Kony succeeded in bringing an end to nearly two decades of terror in Acholiland.  I watched with interest Kony 2012’s rendition of events and the critical reactions of my Ugandan friends.  I watched Hotel Rwanda and In the Land of Blood and Honey (about the Bosnian war) and other films depicting events that transpired many years ago, but which seemingly never transpired until Hollywood took notice of it.  Yes, it is good that people who are oblivious to the world become somewhat less oblivious.  But it is grossly inadequate.

I have had no shortage of exposure to grim realities.  Nor am I unaware of the urgency with which we must come to the help of those in distress.  But I am of the view that the knowledge we fundamentally lack is not how to find practical solutions, or to achieve mass-mobilization through attractive awareness campaigns.  Making human rights sexy may be better than nothing.  But it will bring meagre results.  It will rationalize our sentimental self-delusion and justify our manifest lack of sustained and profound commitment.  The knowledge that we lack in a culture of crass materialism is the magic of painful struggle, the enchantment of genuine empathy, and the transforming power of mystical experience that awakens us to our extraordinary potential for good.  If we are to move beyond the narrow confines of glamour to the vast expanse of authenticity, then we must first learn to distinguish between illusion and reality:

“The story is told of a mystic knower, who went on a journey with a learned grammarian as his companion.  They came to the shore of the Sea of Grandeur.  The knower straightway flung himself into the waves, but the grammarian stood lost in his reasonings, which were as words that are written on water.”[3]



[1] Payam Akhavan LLB (Osgoode) LLM, SJD (Harvard) is Professor of International Law at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, and former Legal Advisor to the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda at The Hague.

[2] Nicholas D. Kristof, “Viral Video, Vicious Warlord”, New York Times, 14 March 2012.

[3] Bahá’u’lláh, The Four Valleys, p. 51.

Tinenenji Banda feat

In Search Of Kony: Activism And The North/South Divide

Muna Ndulo is a Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School, and Director of Cornell University’s Institute for African Development. Muna Ndulo is an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of constitution making, governance and institution building, human rights and Foreign Direct Investments.

Tinenenji Banda is a Lecturer of Law, University of Zambia.

(a)   Introduction

 Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 drew both praise and criticism in its efforts to call attention to one of the most brutal war criminals the world has seen. Many critics assailed the documentary for things it did not claim to do.  It did not claim to offer a panacea for the problems of Northern Uganda. Neither did it assert that the arrest of Kony would decisively end the violence and upheaval.  The documentary’s main import was to advocate for the capture of Kony so that he be held accountable for the numerous abuses and atrocities he has inflicted on the people of Northern Uganda.  This is a noble objective on which there should be no disagreement.

There should also be no disagreement that the Kony-led atrocities are a scar on our collective conscience and that it is partly through international activism and awareness efforts (of which the Kony 2012 video is but one example) that these atrocities have been unearthed and publicized. There is thus inherent value in investigative documentaries that seek to expose the mammoth suffering created by perpetrators of gross human rights violations.

The locus of debate following the release of the video centered not on whether Joseph Kony is an unconscionable criminal—of that there can be no serious debate, but on whether the paradigm offered by the documentary is an appropriate lens through which this tragedy of vast proportions should be viewed. The video reignited an old debate on the savage/savior mentality that has, for centuries, bedeviled North/South discussion on human rights and democracy.  Those who criticized the video perceived it as a sensational bid to “stir up” western outrage so as to rally the archetypical “savior” to convene on this savage space in some kind of messianic intervention.

In this paper we do not comment on the intent of the documentary, but rather on its effect on the broader humanitarian discourse surrounding Kony and the Lord Resistance Army (LRA).  We argue that the North/South relationship will always be problematic because of the historical context in which it developed, and that the stereotypes that are prevalent in Northern societies about Southern societies have often led western researchers to extrapolate anecdotal acts as evidence of general practice.

So for example, despite the fact that Idi Amin is an odd figure even to Africans themselves, he continues to be a continuing reference point as to African presidential behavior.  The caricature of African leadership is immortalized in the figures of the excessive leadership of the Mobuto Seseseko’s and Bokassa’s of a bygone era.  Far too little has been made of the exceptional statesmanship of the Massire’s, Chissano’s and the Mogae’s, and while unconstitutional changes of government have become the touchstone of African politics, too little is made of the many successful constitutional changes of government that characterize many African democracies today. These successes are very real, and are often overlooked in favor of sensationalist stories that reinforce the quintessential stereotype of an Africa “run amok”.

It should be accepted that neither the North nor the South have clean hands when it comes to the protection of human rights—they all have a chequered past. Following its own atrocities of slave trading, colonialism, environmental degradation, the North has not really earned the moral right to lecture countries of the South on human rights.  Indeed, many protracted humanitarian crisis in Africa have been inflamed and prolonged by outside interests and influences. External interests continue to play a large and sometimes decisive role in suppressing and sustaining conflicts in the competition for oil, diamonds and other natural resources[1].

There is a however a grave danger in letting these uncomfortable realities  undermine the promotion of human rights and the campaign to end impunity for human rights violations. That there is a crisis of governance in several African states is undeniable. And the gross abuses, violations and excesses of the Bashir and Mugabe regimes, among others, can certainly not be condoned. Despite the compelling evidence of human rights violations in their respective countries, these African leaders make the preposterous claim that the vehement criticism levelled against their regimes are western projects.  To this there is clearly no merit.

We take the view that the promotion of human rights calls for the broadening of global consensus supporting democratic ideals and respect for human dignity. We argue that despite the tensions that have arisen between the North and the South due to the sullied historical context, collaboration –if properly structured– is possible and has happened successfully in the past.  Indeed, in view of the numerous grave human rights violations that are occurring virtually unchecked around the world, there is little alternative to continued cooperation in the promotion of human rights between the North and the South.  However the real focus should be on the victims of these atrocities and not on ideological battles that serve only to benefit the perpetrators of human rights violations.

In the section that follows, we discuss the need for meaningful North/South collaboration in the promotion of human rights. Before we do that however we first examine the historical context in which North/South relations are embedded and affect the way in which criticism from the north is contextualized.

(b) The Historical Context of North/ South Relations

A recurring diatribe against western human rights activists is that they adhere to a double standard.  Colonial rule, support for dictators during the cold war by both blocks, failure to condemn violations in countries of strategic important to the West (South Arabia and Equatorial Guinea for instance) are but some examples. The failure to lead by example on detentions and torture during the war on terror[2] is another. And although there have been vigorous debates about the legality of the extraordinary rendition and secrete detention program, there has not been an equally, vigorous and sustained campaign against the governments involved in the program.  Keyan Tomaseli observed for example that: “my seminar students, many of them mature activists, astonished me by directing their activism towards Palestine, Nicaragua, anti-apartheid movement, and so on.  None was engaged in challenging repression at home[3]”.

Another source of conflict is the perception that cultural differences are not respected.  Northern NGOs are often accused of lacking an appropriate understanding of cultural contexts.  Take the discourse on genital mutilation as an example. The fact that African governments have passed legislation prohibiting the practice, and the fact that many of these governments are grappling with the issue of how to change societal attitudes on the practice is all too often ignored. Instead, the debate focuses on emphasizing the primitiveness and inhumanity of the custom, thereby unnecessarily driving African societies into defensive postures about the legitimacy of African culture.

We believe that it is possible to criticize a society without dehumanizing it. Constructive criticism is one which recognizes and understands the economic and social conditions that underpin societal ills, instead of invariably resorting to simplistic backend condemnation of, for example, African customary law as the root of all evils with respect to women’s rights[4].

Similarly in the particular discourse at hand, a humanitarian discourse which begins and ends with the capture of Kony and ignores the causes of the proliferation of rebel movements is inchoate. After Kony is captured (which indeed he should be), then what? The more pertinent issue is why a movement like Kony’s was able to flourish and multiply. What fuels extremism and how can it be contained and suppressed? And while it can credibly be argued that these broader, normative questions are beyond the scope of Kony 2012, we advocate that the humanitarian discourse on Kony should shift from a fixation with his capture, to a deeper and more meaningful conversation on what it is that allows offenders like Kony to thrive.

(c)   The context for a successful international collaboration on the Promotion of Human Rights

Many view Global human rights campaigns as emanating from the North without proper engagement with local NGOs in the South. The thematic schemes of such campaigns are defined in the North and Southern NGOs are enlisted after the fact. What is in fact needed is meaningful collaboration between Northern and Southern NGOs.  Northern Ngo’s can help promote human rights and ensure that human rights standards are being articulated, provide requisite expertise and resources for the promotion of human rights and help in capacity building,  knowledge networking and the sharing of best practices.  This includes developing ways and means to contribute to the shaping of a policy framework for democracy assistance and promotion of human rights at the inter-governmental level.[5]  As Phil Harris observes: NGOs have five major roles to play: (a) they are organizations working directly in the field with the problems of “grassroots” communities and their development prospects; (b) they can act as go-betweens, transforming official government policies into concrete action at the local levels; (c) they can often act as surrogates for government in areas where either the government is inert or the local community is reluctant to recognize the authority of government; (d) they are catalysts for action, putting new issues on the public agenda and pressuring governments to take action; they can be instruments for identifying common issues and strategies that cut across South-North divisions, and creating mechanisms for joint action[6].  But what they do and how they do it is crucial as to how their action will be perceived and subsequently received.

The international community should however, remain mindful of the need for inter-regional cultural dialogues that provides an ethical underpinning for an ever more inter-dependent, and increasingly vulnerable world community.  In its support for the promotion of human rights, the North should refrain from being solely prescriptive, and imposing solutions without due regard to local conditions.  International NGO discourse in the south has for far too long  been characterized by the simplistic “savior/savage” dichotomy which ignores many of the complex realities that pervade North/South relations and all too often presents African countries as failed states, with the latest upheaval constituting yet another round in the ever continuing series of the “rumble in the jungle”. The portrayal of Africa as a monolithic unit in which there are no divergences or nuances is inaccurate and out of touch with prevailing realities.

Northern Activists must make every effort to acquire local knowledge and demonstrate the capacity to operate with cross-cultural awareness in order to manage the dynamics of difference and adapt to diversity and the cultural context of the communities they serve. It should not be forgotten that local communities have the best understanding of the culture, history and conditions of their communities and as such they are in the best position to create solutions to address the root cause of injustice and inequality in their own communities.

Cooperation between the North/South should be based on constructive dialogue and mutual respect, not on acrimonious confrontation.  When violations are identified, they must be presented in a dispassionate, objective, principled manner that is more likely to win support from the local community.

To aid legitimacy, the North must be mindful that they must lead this fight by example.  Condemnation of the excesses of the war on terror must be as loud as the condemnations of Kony and Bashir. Only to the extent that the northern countries set a positive example for the construction of human rights within the framework of a world community united in the promotion of human rights regardless of the identity of the violator, will human rights campaigns garner universal appeal. And although it is important that the promotion of human rights should essentially be driven by local stakeholders, international actors can and do play an important role in the process.[7]  Often, local stakeholders lack capacity and space to operate in highly authoritarian regimes. In such cases, international collaboration empowers local NGOs by  offering protection from harassment.

In their work, international activists should also be mindful of the work of local experts.  The value of the expert’s comparative experience is widely acknowledged in other contexts.[8]  Access to comparative experience is particularly useful as it provides a wide range of information on possible options and lessons on what works and what does not work in terms of strategies for the promotion of human rights.


To have meaningful collaboration, both the north and the South while vigorously promoting human rights and fighting to end impunity, must understand, engage and critique the assumptions on culture, conditions and programs of movements in the South. The engagement should address the stereotypes each has of the other that tend to undermine collaboration.  The North should set aside patronizing attitudes of the South, and the South must seek to urgently address their complete financial dependency on the North for funding as this external dependency is often used by authoritarian regimes to delegitimize their work.  There is a need to develop global solidarity in which sympathetic western activists take more seriously the ideas and arguments of progressive South activists.

It is evident that North/South interactions have been dysfunctional, and if any lessons have been learned from this dysfunctional interface, it is that Africa cannot be “saved” by the west; indeed this idea of a “savior” is self-defeating and immobilizing. Africa must create its own culture of accountability, and the idea that Africa needs to be jolted into self-awareness by the better educated conscience of its western counterpart is flawed and discredited.


* Muna Ndulo, LLB (Zambia), LLM (Harvard) D.Phil. (Oxford), Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School, and Director, Cornell University’s Institute for African Development

** Tinenenji Banda, LLB (Cape Town), LLM (Cornell), JSD Candidate (Cornell), Lecturer of Law, University of Zambia

[1] U.N.GAOR, GA. Res.175, 55th session, at U.N. Doc. A/RES/55/56 (2001)

[2] See Margaret L. Satherthwaite, The Story of I-Masri v. Tenet: Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in the War on Terror in DEENA.R. HARWITZ, MARGARET L. SATHERTHWAITE and DOUGLAS FOUD, HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCACY STORIES, (2009).

[3] The Internationalization of Struggle and the Need for Global Solidarity, WACC Communications, http:www.waccglobal.oeg/en/19963-alternative-communications-networks/968(last visited September 3, 2012)

[4] For an attempt to explain this further see: Muna Ndulo, African Customary Law, Customs, and Women’s Rights, INDIANA JOURNAL OF GLOBAL LEGAL STUDIES, Winter 2011, Vol. 18, p.87.

[5]See United Nations Center for Human rights and Elections, A Handbook on the legal, Technical and Human Rights Aspects of Elections, New York, 1992.  See also Report of the secretary-General to the General assembly at its 46 Session (A/46/609/corr/.1 and Add. 1-2.

[6] Phil Harris, Globalization, Civil Society and Communication,  WACC, (last visited, 9/3/2012)


[8] G. Chidyausiku, speaking in the context of constitution making, stated:  “A home grown constitution can and needs to be enriched by drawing on the experiences of other countries.  Indeed there is no country in the modern world including Zimbabwe that can escape the imperative of a global society.”  See G. Chidyauskiu, Welcome Remarks, International Democratic Constitution, Nov. 17, 1999.