The 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the world's most widely ratified international human rights treaty. It thus provides an ideal context in which to examine the relationship between different cultural values and the interntional community's oft-stated aspiration to achieve universal human rights standards. This volume focuses upon a widely accepted family law principle according to which "the best interests of the child" shall be "a primary consideration...in all actions concerning children." Through a combination of broad theoretical analyses and country-specific case studies the distinguished contributors demonstrate that cultural values are inevitably a major factor in the interpretation and application of many human rights norms.
This study begins with an overview of the unique set of factors which paved the way towards Africa's economic, social and political crisis of unprecedented and paralysing proportions. A review of the programmes implemented - with little or no success - during the 1980s, mostly with International Moonetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank assistance, to lift Africa out of the stranglehold of poverty points to the urgent need for an alternative development strategy. The last part of this publication examines the components of such a strategy.