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Title:Giving Africa voice within global governance: oral history, human rights and the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council
Author:Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Sabelo J.ISNI
Series:ASC working paper
City of publisher:Leiden
Publisher:African Studies Centre
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:human rights
oral history
External link:https://hdl.handle.net/1887/12895
Abstract:The African continent and its people occupy a 'subaltern' position in global politics where voices from the African continent remain on the peripheries of global governance. Since the United Nations Human Rights Council, set up in 1996, is envisaged to be a forum for dialogue on thematic issues on all human rights, Africans need to seize the opportunity to be heard, rather than remaining as a problem to be solved. This paper presents three key arguments that need to be taken into account during the process of the remaking of the world order and re-creation of a new global governance architecture. Firstly, it raises the key issue of the African continent and the African people being perceived as a problem to be solved rather than a voice to be heard within global politics. Secondly, it makes a case for the use of oral history as an ideal medium to bring the voices of the subaltern to the notice of the Human Rights Council and as a key methodology in the current endeavour to understand different situations of human rights violations. In particular, it examines three cases where oral history was utilized to highlight human rights issues, including one instance where oral testimonies led to the crafting of a democratic freedom charter (in South Africa). Thirdly, the paper grapples with the question of whose values and whose voice should underpin the universal human rights discourse and global governance. [ASC Leiden abstract]