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African Human Rights Law Journal

On-line version ISSN 1996-2096
Print version ISSN 1609-073X


CHIRWA, Danwood Mzikenge. In search of philosophical justifications and suitable models for the horizontal application of human rights. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2008, vol.8, n.2, pp.294-311. ISSN 1996-2096.

This article critiques the dominant view that human rights do not bind non-state actors. It ties the dominant discourse to the natural rights theory and, to a lesser extent, the positivist school of thought. A critique of these traditions reveals that there are no insurmountable philosophical barriers to recognising the application of human rights to non-state actors and the private sphere. Drawing on Marxist and feminist philosophical schools, as well as African conceptions of human rights, it argues that the view that non-state actors should be bound by human rights can be defended philosophically. The article ends with an analysis of the various options through which human rights obligations of non-state actors may be enforced within a domestic constitutional framework.

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