Protectors or Pretenders

Government Human Rights Commissions in Africa

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State-sponsored national human rights commissions represent a new vogue among governments, and particularly in Africa. The number of state human rights commissions has multiplied across the continent in the past decade, spreading from one country in 1989 to two dozen by 2000. The trend has been nurtured by financial and technical support from donor governments and the United Nations (U.N.), who appear to view the phenomenon as a manifest contribution to human rights protection.