From October 25 to 27, 2007, Professor Obiora Chinedu Okafor of Osgoode Hall Law School and PhD in Law candidate, Opeoluwa Ogundokun, organized a SSHRC-funded workshop entitled “Realizing Economic and Social Rights in Africa: Innovations, Challenges and Prospects.” The Nathanson Centre was co-funder and sponsor.
The workshop brought together a group of 30 or so selected experts and experienced doctoral students (from academia, NGOs, judiciaries, and so on) to brainstorm the workshop topic. Issues included: Is the judicial adjudication of ESC rights a challenge to liberal democratic theory, and if so, is a democratic deficit entailed? Is the South African model of constitutionalizing and adjudicating ESC rights replicable in the rest of Africa? Is rights language a facilitator or a barrier to the realization of desirable ESC values and material conditions in Africa? Are the Washington Consensus and Global Free Trade impediments to or facilitators of the realization of ESC rights in Africa? How has the realization or non-realization of ESC rights tended to affect women, minorities, and children in Africa? How may we understand the ESC rights record of the African Human Rights System (Charter, Commission and the newly established Court)? Is NEPAD a boon for ESC rights? How might the African Charter be utilized within domestic institutions to further ESC rights struggles? What local advances if any have occurred within specific African countries in the implementation of ESC rights? How might ESC rights be better secured in time of war or in times of conflict in Africa?
Selected papers arising from the workshop were published in a special issue of the African Yearbook of International Law.
Apart from SSHRC’s Workshop Grants Program and the Nathanson Centre, oOther sponsors were Osgoode Hall Law School, the Office of the Associate Vice-President for Research (Social Sciences), Stong College, and the Division of Social Sciences and the Law and Society Program of the Faculty of Arts.