LEAVING THE WOODS TO SEE THE TREES: LOCATING AND REFOCUSING THE ACTIVITIES OF NON-STATE ACTORS TOWARDS THE EFFECTIVE PROMOTION OF ACCESS TO JUSTICE OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

Authors

  • Azubike Onuora-Oguno

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.29053/2413-7138/2018/v6a6

Keywords:

non-state actors, international law, human rights, international human rights, national laws, Nigerian universities, law clinics, justice of persons with disabilities, article 13(2), Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, CRPD, International Monetary Fund (IMF), f non-governmental organisations, United Nations (UN), UAC v Macfoy, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Right to a Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa

Abstract

The article conceptualises the place of non-state actors in international law and the important roles they ought to play if functioning well. It argues that most non-state actors remain underutilised in the realisation of their mandates or objectives that they are created to achieve. It has been argued that this possibly is premised on the paucity of human rights education, knowledge of international human rights instruments and their application in national laws. Considering the wide range of perceptions of non-state actors the article examines the emergence of law clinics in several Nigerian universities as non-state actors. It argues that the lack of engagement and adequate training of law clinics in enhancing access to justice of persons with disabilities as envisaged in article 13(2) of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is responsible for the underutilisation of law clinics as non-state actors. In addition, the article advances the argument that the continued poor engagement is also linked to a lack of appreciation and understanding of the relevant human rights instruments, especially with respect to the CRPD. Consequently, the article construes non-state actors as effectively being in the woods (human rights discourse) but unable to effectively see the trees (enhancement of access to justice of persons with disability). The article adopts a restricted quantitative methodological approach to collect and analyse data (knowledge and perception) by engaging in informal unstructured interviews with law clinic coordinators and students in Nigeria as it pertains to the question of access to justice of persons with disabilities. The article proposes that law clinics should be effectively positioned to make a greater impact on access to justice of persons with disabilities. To achieve this the article proposes the development of quality human rights education to enhance, among other things, the understanding and perception of the disability concept, access to justice, and an appreciation of relevant human rights instruments.

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Published

2021-04-19

Issue

Section

SECTION A: Articles