Worlds of Human Rights

The Ambiguities of Rights Claiming in Africa


This book engages with contemporary African human rights struggles including land, property, gender equality and legal identity. Through ethnographic field studies it situates claims-making by groups and individuals that have been subject to injustices and abuses, often due to different forms of displacement, in specific geographical, historical and political contexts. Exploring local communities’ complexities and divided interests it addresses the ambiguities and tensions surrounding the processes whereby human rights have been incorporated into legislation, social and economic programs, legal advocacy, land reform, and humanitarian assistance. It shows how existing relations of inequality, domination and control are affected by the opportunities offered by emerging law and governance structures as a plurality of non-state actors enter what previously was considered the sole regulatory domain of the nation state.

Prices from (excl. VAT):

Add to Cart
Bill Derman, Ph.D. (1969), University of Michigan, is Professor of International and Environment Development Studies, Norwegian University of the Life Sciences. He has published many articles on contestations over land and water and human rights in southern Africa.

Anne Hellum, Dr.juris 1998, University of Oslo, Professor, Department of Public and International Law and Director of the Institute of Women's Law, Child Law, Discrimination and Equality Law. She has published widely on women's human rights and legal pluralism in Africa with the focus on reproduction, land and water.

Kristin Bergtora Sandvik,S.J.D Harvard Law School 2008, is a senior researcher at PRIO, and the head of the Norwegian Center for Humanitarian Studies. Her widely published work on Uganda and Colombia takes a socio-legal approach to the study of international law and the humanitarian enterprise.

Chapter I Introduction: Ethnographic and Historical Perspectives on Rights Claiming on the African continent

Part I Land, Property and Human Rights
Chapter 2 Introduction by Bill Derman
Chapter 3 Land Rights, Human Rights and Development: Contestations in Land Restitution, Limpopo Province, South Africa by Bill Derman, Anne Hellum and Tshililo Manenzhe
Chapter 4 ‘Property’ and ‘rights’ in a South African land claim case by Knut G Nustad
Chapter 5 'We agreed to move, but we did not do so freely'. Resettlement from the Limpopo National Park, Mozambique by Marja Spierenburg

Part II Human rights in a gendered, relational and plural legal landscape
Chapter 6 Introduction: by Anne Hellum
Chapter 7 Engendering the South African land restitution process: balancing group rights and individual rights by Anne Hellum and Bill Derman
Chapter 8 Multiple threats, manifold strategies: Women, the state and secure tenure at the interface of human rights and local practices in Dar es Salaam by Ingunn Ikdahl
Chapter 9 Coercive Harmony?: Realizing Women’s Rights Through Alternative Dispute Resolution in Dar es Salaam’s Legal Aid Clinics by Natalie J. Bourdon
Chapter 10 Translating Women’s Rights in Niger: What Happened to the “Radical Challenge to Patriarchy?”by Kari Bergstrom Henquinet

Part III The Multiple Tracks of Human Rights and Humanitarianism
Chapter 11 Introduction by Kristin Sandvik
Chapter 12 Rights-Based Humanitarianism as Emancipation or Stratification? Rumors and Procedures of Verification in Urban Refugee Management in Kampala, Uganda by Kristin Bergtora Sandvik
Chapter 13 Emergent Eritrean Human Rights Movements: Politics, Law, and Culture in Transnational Perspective by Tricia Redeker Hepner
Chapter 14 Malawi’s Orphans: Children’s Rights in Relation to Humanitarianism, Compassion, and Childcare by Andrea Freidus

About the Authors
All interested in contemporary African human rights struggles and those concerned with how international human rights are re-interpreted and acted upon in different social and cultural contexts.