Abstract

During the 1950s, the African United Nations Trust Territories became pivotal sites where the human rights principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights played a complementary role to anticolonial nationalism. A transregional human rights network provided international support to African nationalists and rights activists, and the Trusteeship Agreements and the UN Charter that administering authorities had signed set the conditions for legally implementable human rights norms. But as the trusteeship system came to a close circa 1960, the UN no longer had the jurisdictional means to enforce rights principles, and the transatlantic network that activists throughout Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States had put in place began to disintegrate. In the 1960s, the human rights movement in the global North parted ways with liberation politics as it narrowly redefined human rights as negative protections for individuals. Yet, as this comparative analysis of human rights in Tanzania and Cameroon reveals, in some parts of (post)colonial Africa, particularly in the former UN trust territories where a 1950s-era conception of rights had become prevalent, human rights remained the expression of a political solidarity rooted in the liberatory practices of anticolonial struggle.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-8050
Print ISSN
1045-6007
Pages
pp. 389-416
Launched on MUSE
2013-08-12
Open Access
No
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