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Faculty of Law, Business & Economics

Chair of African Legal Studies – Prof. Dr. Thoko Kaime

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Intractable Human Rights Issues

We invite you to join us in the exploration of intractable human rights issues. Our distinctive focus in this project is delving into the critical questions of why despite decades of resourcing and the establishment of extensive legal frameworks across Africa, some human rights violations persist with little or no change. Why is there such a huge disparity between the legal framework and the incidence of human rights violations? What can be done to close the gap between formal protections or the absence thereof and the lived reality of citizens? This project examines these questions by focusing on three intractable problems of human rights, because of the seeming impossibility to resolve them. These include child labour, human trafficking, and the protection of LGBTIQ rights. Centring lived experience and the nuances of context we explore multi-disciplinary methods of understanding these complex issues. We additionally, reach into cultures, religion, familial relations, art, music, poetry and social spaces to enrich our understanding and enable space for reflexive and relational discourse.

About usHide

Our project is a space for academic curiosity, exploration, and discovery. We conduct research nuanced by a feminist lens and decolonial praxis using grounded tools from multiple disciplines.

Advanced Methods LabHide

The Advanced Methods Lab aims to stimulate debate, inspire imagination and probe ideas as part of setting up a diversity of methodological approaches to intractable rights research. The Lab seeks out ways that meaningfully respond to the lives of those most impacted by LGBTQI rights violations, human trafficking and child labour beyond what legal frames and polices can enable.

The methods lab presents an opportunity to question and develop ideas and methods of exploring intractable rights issues in ways that open possibilities to multidisciplinary ways of imagining and theorising transformation. Through the advanced methods lab we attempt to create an experimental space for theorising and practising alternative approaches to the intractable child labour, human trafficking and LGBTQI rights issues. Through experimentation with the poetics of methodology – the lab includes dialogues, trainings, seminars & thinking out loud sessions. For the reflections on methods resulting from the first session of the Advanced Methods Lab, please click here.

Child LabourHide

While the harms of child labour are undisputed and human rights discourse has for decades tried to find solutions, the complexity of the subject remains. It has not been enough to identify the effects of child labour on the lives these children. Rather, it has proven equally important to understand the causes of child labour, the enablers as well as the gaps in protections. This project seeks a multidisciplinary approach to child labour, its drivers and the barriers to protection of children by exploring the enabling social, cultural attitudes and traditions as well as economic and political drivers.

LGBTQI+ RightsHide

If the aim of LGBTIQ+ rights discourse is to promote and protect the interests and lives of all LGBTQI+ identifying peoples, what does it mean to think about improving lives in ways that are responsive to lived realities? Given the centrality of the state in human rights discourse, we ask what a rights discourse has enabled over the decades and what does it miss out? What might a multidisciplinary approach allow us to see and how might it enable more nuanced and contextualised responses to the lives and realities of LGBTQI+ persons. It is through this lens that this project seeks to go beyond legal frameworks in the attempt to better understand and improve the lives of LGBTQI+ persons.


Research  within this project focuses on an examination of three comparative case studies namely child labour, human trafficking and LGBTIQ rights in six selected countries. The programme of work and the project’s key structures and activities are built around these three case studies as follows:

  • Child labour - Ghana & Malawi
  • Human trafficking - Nigeria & South Africa
  • LGBTIQ rights - Ethiopia & Zimbabwe

The project relies on methodological tools that reflect the multiplicity of the determinants of the intractable problems in their fullest scope. It ensures interdisciplinary analysis that provides a grounded understanding of the problems alongside multifocal solutions. This allows a nuanced exploration of the problems not only as legal artefacts but also in their social, cultural, political and economic context. 


The monthly blog series is a platform for anyone interested in the three intractable rights issues of this project, individually as well as at their intersections.  With a focus on human rights discourse as well as social, cultural, political and economic nuance the blog combines researched and opinion pieces to spark conversation and debate on child labour, human trafficking and LGBTQI+ rights and offers space for diverse perspectives and insights.   

News & EventsHide

Read the latest news and upcoming events about the project here.

  • Prof. Dr. Thoko Kaime, University of Bayreuth
  • Prof. Dr. Uchenna Okeja, University of Rhodes
  • Dr. Mitterand Okorie, University of Rhodes
  • Dr. Serawit Debele, University of Bayreuth
  • Dr. Raymond Frempong, University of Bayreuth
  • Ms. Isabelle Zundel, University of Bayreuth
  • Mr. Gift Mauluka, University of Bayreuth
  • Ms. Lina Aduda, University of Rhodes

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