Saturday, February 22, 2014

New Book--Transformative Constitutionalism: Comparing the Apex Courts of Brazil, India and South Africa

This from Contectas--Human Rights:

Supreme Courts of the Global South--Study analyzes the role of the highest courts of Brazil, India and South Africa (02/19/2014) (key words: ibsa justice supreme court)

The Pretoria University Law Press (Pulp) has published a new 28-chapter study on the workings of the highest courts of Brazil, India and South Africa, the three members of the IBSA Dialogue Forum.

The publication is the result of the collaborative research project “Justiciability of Human Rights – a comparative analysis: South Africa, Brazil and India”, which was coordinated by Conectas and involved a judge, academics and human rights defenders from these three countries. The team was coordinated in South Africa by Professor Frans Viljoen, in Brazil by Professor Oscar Vilhena Vieira and in India by Professor Upendra Baxi.

In addition to descriptions of the workings of these courts and analyses of civil society strategies to propose cases for them to hear, the publication also carries thematic articles on: women’s rights and heteronormativity, religious freedom, the right to health, social movements and organized civil society, among others.

“This book represents an effort by human rights academics and activists to consider the constitutions of Brazil, India and South Africa as fundamental instruments in the promotion of rights and the consolidation of democracy in these countries. This transformational ideal makes this publication essential reading,” said Juana Kweitel, program director at Conectas.

“All three countries chose to depart from the past – a past of colonialism, apartheid or military regimes – through a constitutional process. These processes resulted in bold constitutional documents that not only aim at regulating the distribution of power, the organization of a system of representation, and the definition of individual rights, but which also aspire to establish a new political and moral foundation for each society,” reads the introduction to the study, which also provides a summary of each of the 28 chapters.

Full publication in PDF follows:

Transformative constitutionalism: 
Comparing the apex courts of Brazil, India and South Africa 

Oscar Vilhena Vieira


Chapter 1: Preliminary Notes on Transformative Constitutionalism
Upendra Baxi

Chapter 2: A Brief Response to Professor Baxi
Theunis Roux

Chapter 3: A Global Constitution on Rights: The Ethics, the Mechanisms and the Geopolitics of Comparative Constitutional Law
Conrado Hübner Mendes

Chapter 4: Of Selves and Others: A Reply to Conrado Hübner Mendes
Henk Botha

Chapter 5: Descriptive Overview of the Brazilian Constitution and Supreme Court
Oscar Vilhena Vieira

Chapter 6: Descriptive Overview of the Indian Constitution and the Supreme Court of India
Shylashri Shankar

Chapter 7: Descriptive Overview of the South African Constitution and Constitutional Court
Wessel le Roux

Chapter 8: The Role and Impact of International and Foreign Law on Adjudication in the Apex Courts of Brazil, India and South Africa
Juana Kweitel, Ranbir Singh and Frans Viljoen

Chapter 9: The Role of the Brazilian Supreme Court in the Implementation of Women’s Rights: Bridging Constitutional Norms and Reality
Daniela Ikawa

Chapter 10: Gender Justice and the Indian Supreme Court: The Post-Colonial Project
Indira Jaising

Chapter 11: Gender and Transformation in the South African Constitutional Court
Sandra Fredman

Chapter 12: On Pluralism and its Limits: The Constitutional Approach to Sexual Freedom in Brazil and the Way Ahead
Samuel Friedman and Thiago Amparo

Chapter 13: A New Language of Morality: From the Trial of Nowshirwan to the Judgment in Naz Foundation
Arvind Narrain

Chapter 14: Sexual Minority Freedom and the Heteronormative Hegemony in South Africa
Jaco Barnard-Naudé

Chapter 15: Commentary on the Constitutional Aspects of Religious Freedom in Brazil
Eloísa Machado de Almeida

Chapter 16: Right to Religious Recognition in India: A Comment
Shylashri Shankar

Chapter 17: Right to Recognition and Protection of Religion in South Africa
Mtende Mhango

Chapter 18: Between Usurpation and Abdication? The Right to Health in the Courts of Brazil and South Africa
Octavio LM Ferraz

Chapter 19: Realising the Right to Health Through Co-operative Judicial Review: An Analysis of the Role of the Indian Supreme Court
Amita Dhanda

Chapter 20: The South African Constitutional Court and Livelihood Rights
Danie Brand

Chapter 21: Finding Common Ground: Rights Arising From Land Reform in South Africa, India and Brazil
Vinodh Jaichand

Chapter 22: Remarks on the Role of Social Movements and Civil Society Organizations in the Brazilian Supreme Court
Marcela Fogaça Vieira and Flavia Annenberg

Chapter 23: Swallowing a Bitter PIL? Reflections on Progressive Strategies for Public Interest Litigation in India
Arun K Thiruvengadan

Chapter 24: Social Movements and the Constitutional Court of South Africa
Tshepo Madlingozi

Chapter 25: Sovereignty, Citizenship and the Universality of Socio-Economic Rights
Sam Adelman

Chapter 26: Human Rights Beyond the State: Exploring the Challenges
David Bilchitz

Chapter 27: Reflections of a Retired Judge
Justice ZM Yacoob



Conectas is a non-governmental and not-for-profit organization founded in São Paulo/Brazil in September 2001.


Conectas´ mission is to promote the realization of human rights and consolidation of the Rule of Law in the Global South - Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Conectas was accorded consultative status with the ECOSOC-UN in 2006, and observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 2009.


A more just world, with a truly global, diverse and effective human rights movement, where national institutions and the international order are more transparent, effective and democratic.


Conectas Human Rights believes in working collaboratively and maintains a number of partnerships with other national, regional and international organizations. It currently participates in the following networks:
  • Brazilian Human Rights and Foreign Policy Committee
  • Brazilian Network for the Integration of Peoples (REBRIP)/Working Group on Intellectual Property (GTPI)
  • Criminal Justice Network
  • DHESCA Brazil Platform
  • Forum of National Human Rights Organizations (FENDH)
  • International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net) 
  • Justice and Human Rights Forum (JusDH) 
  • Latin American Coalition of NGOs
  • Plataform for a New  Civil Society Organizations Framework
  • UN Human Rights Council Network (HRC Net)
  • Study Group about Imprisoned Women - GETME (Brasil)
  • Justice and Human Rights Articulation - JusDH (Brasil)

The organization is also member of the Civil Society Watch´s board (Civicus, South Africa).

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