A teleological approach to the interpretation of socio-economic rights in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Amin, Anneth (2017-12)

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : Realising socio-economic rights is significant for improving the socio-economic conditions of Africa’s people and ensuring that people have access to socio-economic services and a dignified life. The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights both explicitly and implicitly protects a wide range of socio-economic rights. Interpreting these socio-economic rights in a manner that guarantees their efficacy and improves peoples’ socio-economic conditions is essential on the African Continent. Supervisory organs have, however, been inconsistent in their interpretive approaches to the socio-economic rights in the African Charter. This dissertation investigates the extent to which the teleological approach to interpretation can assist supervisory organs in interpreting socio-economic rights in a manner that ensures their efficacy. The study identifies the need to advance a coherent methodology for the application of the teleological approach. Thereafter, it develops a methodology that engages a wide range of interpretative tools both within and beyond the African Charter. This methodology can assist supervisory organs to coherently elaborate on the African Charter’s object and purpose to generate the meaning, scope, and content of socio-economic rights and their related obligations. Advancing socio-economic rights in Africa necessitates a model of review grounded in the teleological approach to interpretation. Supervisory organs, in particular the African Commission, have applied various models of review to assess States’ compliance with their socio-economic rights obligations. This dissertation develops the reasonableness model of review, which incorporates minimum core standards and proportionality. It is argued that this model can assist supervisory organs in assessing States’ compliance with their progressive and immediate socio-economic rights obligations. Furthermore, it can provide a basis for evaluating the justification for limitations imposed by States’ on socio-economic rights. Advancing the teleological approach to interpreting the socio-economic rights in the African Charter can therefore assist supervisory organs to make a meaningful contribution to protecting socio-economic rights on the African Continent.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die verwesenliking van sosio-ekonomiese regte is belangrik om die sosioekonomiese welstand van Afrika se mense te verbeter en persone se toegang tot sosioekonomiese dienste en ‘n waardige lewe te verseker. Die Afrika Handves vir Menseregte en die Regte van Volkere verleen aan ʼn verskeidenheid sosio-ekonomiese regte beide eksplisiete en implisiete beskerming. Dit is noodsaaklik om sosioekonomiese regte op ʼn wyse te interpreteer wat hul doeltreffenheid waarborg en volkere op die Afrika Vasteland se sosio-ekonomiese omstandighede verbeter. Toesighoudende organe se uitlegsbenaderings ten opsigte van die sosio-ekonomiese regte in die Afrika Handves is egter inkonsekwent. Hierdie proefskrif ondersoek die mate waartoe die teleologiese uitlegsbenadering toesighoudende organe kan bystaan om sosio-ekonomiese regte, op ʼn wyse wat hul doeltreffendheid verseker, te interpreteer. Die studie identifiseer die behoefte om ʼn samehangende metodologie vir die toepassing van die teleologiese uitlegsbenadering te bevorder. Vervolgens ontwikkel dit ʼn metodologie wat ʼn verskeidenheid uitlegsmeganismes binne en verder as die Afrika Handves in beslag neem. Hierdie metodologie kan toesighoudende organe help om die oogmerk en doelwit van die Afrika Handves samehangend uit te brei om sodoende die betekenis, omvang, en inhoud van sosio-ekonomiese regte en hul verwante verpligtinge te ontwikkel. Die vooruitgang van sosio-ekonomiese regte in Afrika noodsaak ʼn hersieningsmodel wat op die teleologiese uitlegsbenadering gegrond is. Toesighoudende organe, veral die Afrika Kommissie, pas verskeie hersieningsmodelle vir die assessering van State se nakoming van hul sosio-ekonomiese regte verpligtinge toe. Hierdie proefskrif ontwikkel die model van redelikheidshersiening, wat minimumkernstandaarde en proporsionaliteit inkorporeer. Dit voer aan dat hierdie model toesighoudende organe in hul assessering van State se nakoming van hul toenemende en onmiddellike sosio-ekonomiese regte verpligtinge kan bystaan. Dit kan ook as ʼn evalueringsbasis vir die beperkings wat State op sosio-ekonomiese regte oplê dien. Die bevordering van die teleologiese uitlegsbenadering ten opsigte van die sosioekonomiese regte in die Afrika Handves kan dus toesighoudende organe bystaan om ʼn betekenisvolle bydrae tot die beskerming van sosio-ekonomiese regte op die Afrika Vasteland te maak.

Thesis (LLD)--Stellenbosch University, 2017

Thesis

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