“Universal” Concept of Human Rights and “African Specifics”
I consider it necessary to formulate the problems in a way that avoids applying a narrow political science approach, which comes down to calculating the number of parties in a country, counting of votes in elections, and so on. A different formulation of the same set of problems allows a much more serious context for analysis. I think that this analysis should start with the answer to the question of what actually a modern African state is, where human rights are or aren’t respected, the concept of human rights does or does not exist, so on and so forth. Although since the end of the 1980s, when the Cold War came to an end and a wave of democratization started in Africa, from a formal point of view, the vast majority of the countries on the continent have established themselves as multi-party democracies, including legal recognition of human rights in their Western interpretation, in many of these countries democracy is in varying degrees of ephemerality up to now. As before, there are problems with human rights, in particular, with the ability to effectively defend them in court. Nevertheless, Africa’s actual achievements in this regard should not be underestimated: nowadays there are, in fact, fewer and fewer odious regimes, which were so typical for the continent until the end of the 1980s. Today, most of Africa’s regimes can be described as more or less “soft” authoritarian.