Following on from a two-day Round Table on ‘African Approaches to International Law’, held at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, on 3 and 4 May 2017, a two-day Conference is scheduled for 5 and 6 December 2018, in Pretoria: the ‘Kéba Mbaye Conference on African approaches to international law, with a focus on international human rights law’.

pdfDownload this call for abstracts in English
pdfDownload this call for abstracts in French 

Aim of the Kéba M’baye Conference

The aim of this Conference is to continue a process of discussing “African approaches to international (human rights) law”, building on the Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) approach, but rethinking and “vernacularising” it.

Questions to be addressed include:

  • What is unique about Africa’s approach to international law?
  • What would be the features of such an approach?
  • Potential contributors are invited to consider concrete examples or case studies that reflect issues related to African approaches to international law, through the lenses of state practice, academic writing, and teaching.

Contributors are invited to reflect specifically on international human rights law.

Other questions to be posed may include:

  • To what extent have “African approaches” to international law already emerged?
  • What are pertinent examples; and what are their features; and their contributions/ shortcomings?
  • What would be the constituent parts of “African approaches to international law”?
  • Is it possible or even desirable or talk of “African approaches to international law”?
  • Is TWAIL sufficient to describe what could be considered as African approaches to international law?

Contributors may also draw inspiration from the ‘Report of the Round Table’ and brief list of sources at the end of this document.

Papers are also encouraged on the history of international (human rights) law, focusing on Africa’s exclusions, biases and distortions in existing narratives and in the writing of history itself. The representation of “Africa” in the teaching sources and methodologies of international law could also be canvassed.

Call for Abstracts

The organisers invite abstracts by anyone interested in presenting a paper at the Conference. It is anticiapted that an equal number of papers will eventually be presented focusing on international law, generally, and on international human rights law, specifically.

  • Abstracts should be between 200 and 300 words, and should
    (a) indicate the main question(s) to be addressed;
    (b) identify the proposed methodology; and
    (c) set out the anticipated findings (and their implications).
  • The papers will subsequently be reworked with a view to bringing out a publication (either a special issue of a journal or an edited volume of essays).
  • A limited number of authors of selected abstracts will be supported to attend the Conference.
  • Abstracts should be sent by email to foluso.adegalu@up.ac.za copying frans.viljoen@up.ac.za
  • Contributors should please indicate if financial support for travel and accommodation is required.

Important dates

  • Abstracts should reach the organisers by 15 July 2018.
  • Abstracts selected for development of a full paper and presentation will be made known by 31 July 2018.
  • Fully developed papers should be submitted, for distribution among Conference participants, by 5 November 2018 (one month in advance of the Conference).


The Conference will also be open to attendees who are not presenting papers. There will be no registration fee and tea and lunches will be free for all participants. (In-coming participants will have to cover and arrange their own transport and accommodation.)


(Please note: There is no registration fee but particpants who are not presenting papers will be responsible for their own transport and accommodation.)



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