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Constitutional Innovation, Human Rights, and Public Interest Litigation in the Global South

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May 7, 2013 4:00pm - 8:00pm

Room 280A

What is the role of Courts in the ongoing constitutional and political transformation of the Global South?

The current wave of constitution-making in the aftermath of the Arab Spring is the latest episode of a two-decade global constitutional transformation that has brought expansive bills of rights and judicial activism to different regions of the Global South, from Latin America, Africa, to Southeast Asia.

 Most of these institutional transitions and social movements—as reflected in the current debates in the Middle East and Northern Africa—have been centrally concerned with economic redistribution in contexts of stark deprivation and inequality. Thus, a variety of constitutionalism has developed in the Global South that expands the conception of human rights to include social, economic and cultural rights alongside civil rights as enforceable legal provisions.  This leads to an emerging phenomenon in which some of the key political and social issues today are decided through litigation as well as the political mobilization around such court cases.

This Symposium brings together two panels of experts to reflect on the role of courts in this transnational process.