Elvis Mukumu Fokala
Department of Law, Institute for Human Rights
Central to this study is the general accepted opinion that the lack of personal participation in decision-making processes affecting the wellbeing of a particular individual in any given community is a deep-seated threat to that individual’s human rights. Participation largely can refer to several aspects of contributing (opinion) or playing (action) a part in something. In most cases though, it involves taking part in an activity, and/or specifically to taking part in decision-making process concerning a particular activity. Generally, key to the philosophy of what exactly constitutes the right to participation of every human being, is arguably the fact that this right “lies in the core of democratic government based on the conduct of people and in conformity with the Principles” of international human rights law. Surely, this is a point all African governments agree on. In fact, the principles guiding this particular right are expressly worded in the oldest and most accepted human rights instruments. For instance, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) have both unambiguously, protected and promoted the right of “every citizen” to participate in all affairs within their communities.