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African Human Rights Law Journal

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

Abstract

YESHANEW, Sisay Alemahu. Approaches to the justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights in the jurisprudence of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights: Progress and perspectives. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2011, vol.11, n.2, pp.317-340. ISSN 1996-2096.

Various approaches to the adjudication of economic, social and cultural rights have developed out of jurisprudential and doctrinal debates around the justiciability of these rights. This article advocates for the application of both direct and indirect approaches to the justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights in the African human rights system. Under the direct approach, it argues for a model that combines the analysis of relevant provisions to identify normative standards and the evaluation of the conduct of states based on those standards. Under the indirect approach, it makes a case for the interdependent interpretation of substantive rights falling in different commonly-used categories to bridge gaps in the protection of specific economic, social and cultural rights and to ensure the coherent application of human rights norms. There is evidence in the jurisprudence of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights that it applies both approaches. Its reasoning in many of the relevant decisions has, however, been lacking in the level of rigour, soberness, detail and consistency that is needed for a principled disposition of cases. The further development of its jurisprudence based on the evaluation of competing approaches to the justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights could increase the legal value of its decisions and the likelihood of their implementation.

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