Human Rights in the Context of Deepening Integration of East African Community (EAC) | Richard MUKO OCHANDA, Paul KISOLO WAKINYA & William OMONDI ODIPO
Abstract: This study contributes to the discourse on the process of political integration by studying East African Community (EAC)’s integration efforts in the light of Human Rights Based Approach (HBRA). Data used has been assembled from various sources such as media reports, EAC documents and country statistical reports from various institutions such as bureaus of statistics, UNDP, UNAIDS, World Bank, Freedom House and Transparency International. This study has been on-going from 2008 to 2012. The study found that various structures have been created to aid the deepening integration efforts in East Africa. With the exception of human rights, the EAC treaty stipulates eleven areas of collaboration. It was also found that Tanzania scores better than other countries on political and civil liberties, while Human Welfare Indicators were a challenge in the entire EAC. The Gini index scores were high and worsening in some countries over time, indicating the presence of distributive injustices. Other areas of concern comprised media control, gender based challenges, harassment of opposition and poor protection of minorities and vulnerable populations. Four countries of the region are part of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) process. The APRM as a process is meant to promote good governance and presents an opportunity for bettering human rights in the region. The study ends by recommending the mainstreaming of Human Rights Based Approach (HBRA) through the formation of East African Human Rights Commission (EAHRC) within EAC structures.
Keywords: East African Community, Political Union, Integration, Human Rights, EAHRC.
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