Using Human Rights to Require African States to Implement Abortion Laws

Congratulations to Prof. Charles Ngwena, whose new article has just been published in the Journal of African Law.

Charles G. Ngwena, “Taking Women’s Rights Seriously: Using Human Rights to Require State Implementation of Domestic Abortion Laws in African Countries with Reference to Uganda,” Journal of African Law 60.1 (Feb 2016): 110-140. 

Abstract:  This article is constructed around the premise that women’s rights to safe abortion give rise to obligations that the state has a positive duty to implement. Using Uganda as a case study, it frames failure by a state to implement its abortion laws in ways that render the rights tangible and accessible to women as a violation of human rights. The article develops a normative human rights framework for imposing on a state the obligation to take positive steps to implement abortion laws that the state, itself, has adopted. The framework does not depend on requiring the state first to reform its substantive laws or broaden the grounds for abortion. Rather, it focuses on the implementation of existing domestic laws. The article draws its remedial juridical responses partly from conceptions of women-centred rights to procedural justice, equality and health, and partly from jurisprudence developed in recent years by United Nations treaty-monitoring bodies and the European Court of Human Rights.

The full text of this article is available from the printed journal, or online here through subscribing libraries.

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