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Volume 18 - Issue 2

Article

International Lawyers as Disrupters of Corruption: Business and Human Rights in Africa’s Most Populous Country—Nigeria

Krishnan, Jayanth K. | June 8, 2020

Be it bribery, embezzlement, or the abuse of public trust, corruption poses a major challenge to global security and democratic governance, along with undermining the rule of law, especially within the Global South. Key to this phenomenon is understanding how lawyers are enabling but also disrupting this epidemic. Unfortunately, the literature on this subject is lacking. This study, therefore, offers a nuanced story of globalization and the complicated role that lawyers play in corruption, by relying on the case study of Nigeria—a crucial Global South market that has the largest population on the African continent. While Nigeria has been able to remain a democracy since 1999 (albeit fragilely), private sector and government officials, including the current Nigerian president, concede that corruption is the country’s biggest problem. At the same time, as this study demonstrates, in Nigeria today there is a small but growing group of globally experienced lawyers who are aggressively resisting the entrenched corruption that besieges this environment. By virtue of the opportunities provided by globalization, this cohort is not bound to the parochial interests that have long harmed Nigeria. Yet, these lawyers also work within a larger profession that is conservative, complicated, and at times itself corrupt. Thus, to what extent do these factors affect the ability of these globally focused lawyers to enact change? The answer to this question is critical because it helps to unlock an enduring puzzle as to which agents are best situated to lead a country out of its mired, corrupt history and onto the global stage as a respected power. For other nations, particularly in the Global South, that are also seeking to strengthen their rule of law regimes, the lessons from this study will be instructive in determining whether lawyers who value—and are part of—global networks are capable of curbing corruption within their own domestic contexts.

Empowering Persons with Disabilities: Socio-Economic Rights as a Pathway to Personal Autonomy and Independence

Seatzu, Francesco | June 8, 2020

Recent years have witnessed a growing awareness of the importance of the status of persons with disabilities as right-holders, and increasing linkages being made between human rights and persons with disabilities’ vulnerabilities in the development context. Stimulated by mounting concerns about the impact of the financial crisis of 2007–2008 on persons with disabilities, these changes have unsurprisingly catalyzed attention on those rights of persons with disabilities that are most closely connected to ensuring persons with disabilities’ development needs—namely their social and economic rights. Focusing on the content of, and duties imposed by, persons with disabilities’ socio-economic rights, this article starts by describing the notions of “disability” and “disabled persons.” It then discusses the emergence of persons with disabilities as socioeconomic rights holders, focusing on the question of whether persons with disabilities are or should be considered a “special case” vis-à-vis such rights when compared with other vulnerable groups. The article concludes with a discussion of the role domestic courts can and should play in the enforcement of the socio-economic rights contained in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities.