Helpful Web sites
The Know Your Rights! Project
The official website of the Know Your Rights! project.
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)
Established by the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, Oct. 21, 1986; charged with ensuring the promotion and protection of human and peoples' rights throughout the African Continent.
West African Research Association (WARA)
Founded in 1989 to enhance collaborative research and scholarly exchange between U.S. and West African scholars, educators, and institutions, and to increase knowledge about and interest in Africa in the United States.
West African Research Center (WARC)
WARA's overseas office in Dakar, Senegal; administered in conjunction with the Dakar-based Association de Recherche Ouest Africaine (AROA).
African Language Materials Archive (ALMA)
A collaborative project initiated by WARA, WARC, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), Columbia University and the Digital Library of International Research (DLIR).
Know Your Rights! is a collaborative project of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, the West African Research Center/Association, and the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. It aims to create and disseminate critical information on human and peoples' rights in selected African languages, thereby making this critical information available to those who otherwise would not have access to it. This category includes people who have had limited access to formal education, women, rural populations, and other marginalized groups. The principal sources to be used are the legal instruments of the African Commission.
Know Your Rights! has the potential to make a significant contribution to preparing countless numbers of people for participation in the democratic processes of their countries, the African continent, and the global community. While the discourse on human rights and the elaboration of instruments has progressed apace in the higher echelons of leadership, its dissemination to larger populations has been hindered by the lack of materials describing these rights in the everyday languages spoken by most people. As long as critical human rights documents are available only in official (i.e., European) languages in which few are literate, widespread knowledge of human rights cannot be achieved.
This project will be carried out over several years and has five principal activities:
- To identify strategic target languages on the African continent, focusing on those with a large speaker base or trans-border status, that will serve as the languages of translation for human rights documents.
- To make an inventory of existing materials pertaining to rights, democracy, and citizenship (e.g. national constitutions and human rights declarations) in each of these languages, noting also documents in other African languages. These materials will be catalogued and will serve as a reference to be used in the proposed terminology and translation work.
- To develop a template for the terminology issues relevant to the project on the basis of the above inventory. The template will include a lexicon of key human rights concepts in the original language versions of the legal instruments (French and English).
- To translate the five legal instruments of the African Commission into the target languages, to digitize them, and post them on the website of the African Language Materials Archive, with cross references to other relevant websites like that of the African Commission.
- To disseminate the translated documents across the continent, by carrying out a publicity campaign in each country among educators, print and oral media journalists, and civil society organizations. Dissemination of human rights concepts through the spoken word will be especially important in reaching target audiences.