National Human Rights Institutions and Sustainable Development with Specific Reference to Selected African Examples

Author John C Mubangizi

ISSN: 2522-3062
Affiliations: Professor and Dean, Faculty of Law, University of the Free State
Source: Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa, The, Volume 53 Issue 1, p. 90 – 115


That National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) play an important role in the protection and promotion of human rights is a well-known fact. This has been widely acknowledged by the United Nations (UN). Also well-known is the fact that several African countries have enacted new constitutions during the last two to three decades. One of the most salient features of those new constitutions is that they establish NHRIs, among other things. Given their unique role and mandate, these NHRIs can and do play an important role in the realisation of the sustainable development goals contained in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Adopting a case study approach, this article explores the role NHRIs have played in the promotion and protection of human rights in selected African countries and implications for sustainable development in those countries. The main argument is that there are several lessons African countries can learn from each other on how their NHRIs can more meaningfully play that role. Accordingly, best practice and comparative lessons are identified and it is recommended that NHRIs can contribute to sustainable development more meaningfully if they can make themselves more relevant, credible, legitimate, efficient and effective.