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Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is an internationally recognised university-based institution combining academic excellence and effective activism to advance human rights, particularly in Africa. It aims to contribute to advancing human rights, through education, research and advocacy.

Latest News

Centre deeply concerned over situation in Zimbabwe
Centre deeply concerned over situation in Zimbabwe
Violations include excessive use of force and restrictions on the free flow of information
International Conference of Information Commissioners
International Conference of Information Commissioners
Conference Theme: "International cooperation to strengthen public access to information"
Joojo Cobbinah receives Vera Chirwa Award
Joojo Cobbinah receives Vera Chirwa Award
for his impactful and courageous journalism
CHR’s new Master’s in Disability Rights in Africa programme kicks off
CHR’s new Master’s in Disability Rights in Africa programme kicks off
Honouring Justice Dikang Moseneke
Honouring Justice Dikang Moseneke
University of Pretoria honours Justice Moseneke at last Graduation Ceremony presided over by Rector and Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey
Debut of the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress
Debut of the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress
The Amsterdam Rainbow dress is made from the flags of all countries in the world where homosexuality is illegal.
African approaches to International Human Rights Law
African approaches to International Human Rights Law
‘Pride and Plight’ Exhibition
‘Pride and Plight’ Exhibition
hosted by the CHR in collaboration with Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Latest Press Statements

Centre expresses concern about human rights violations in Zimbabwe, urges South African brokering role
16 January 2019
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (the Centre) is deeply concerned by the reported ongoing human rights violations in our immediate northern neighbor, taking the form of excessive use of force and restrictions on the free flow of information.
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Press Statement (16 January 2019)
Centre welcomes Constitutional Court’s judgment on the invalidity of the disbandment of the SADC tribunal
17 December 2018
On 11 December 2018, the Constitutional Court of South Africa in the matter between Law Society of South Africa and Others v. The President of the Republic of South Africa and Others, upheld the 1 March 2018 decision of the Northern Gauteng High Court that the President’s decision and signing of the 2014 Protocol which disbanded the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal was unconstitutional, unlawful and irrational. The Court thereby ordered the President to withdraw his signature from the 2014 Protocol to the SADC Tribunal.
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Press Statement (17 December 2018)
As UDHR turns 70, the Centre expresses concern about the situation in Togo and South Sudan
12 December 2018
On 10 December 2018, the world celebrated International Human Rights Day and commemorated the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Indeed the UDHR and subsequent human rights instruments have had an enduring impact on the lives of many across the world and has arguably contributed to a more equitable world. The adoption of the UDHR coincided with the institution of formalised apartheid in 1948. As the struggle against apartheid intensified over the subsequent period, the world-wide resistance was increasingly framed along the underlying values and provisions of the UDHR.
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Press Statement (12 December 2018)
Prof Christof Heyns to head drafting of UN guidelines on management of demonstrations
27 November 2018
Christof Heyns, professor in the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, of which he is a member, to lead a two-year process to draft guidelines on the proper management of demonstrations. This will be the leading UN text setting out the international legal and other standards determining how States must approach mass protest and other forms of assembly.
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Press Statement (27 November 2018)
Centre calls on the ACERWC to devote time to discuss genital normalisation surgeries
14 November 2018
Children all over the world, but especially in Africa, are subjected to unnecessary and highly consequential genital mutilations in a bid to normalise their genitalia. Such surgical procedures are undertaken at a time when the affected children are unable to consent to the procedures, and are often likely to result in lifelong and irreversible consequences such as permanent sterilisation, pain, incontinence, and lifelong psychological trauma.
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Press Statement (14 November 2018)
Centre  welcomes African Commission visit as opportunity to clarify SA's position on interference with Commission’s independence
5 September 2018
This visit, which takes place from 3 to 8 September 2018, aims to raise awareness about the African human rights system, established under the African Union(AU), and to provide a forum for dialogue about the state of human rights in South Africa.
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Press Statement (5 September 2018)
  • Centre expresses concern about human rights violations in Zimbabwe, urges South African brokering role Press Statement (16 January 2019)
  • Centre welcomes Constitutional Court’s judgment on the invalidity of the disbandment of the SADC tribunal Press Statement (17 December 2018)
  • As UDHR turns 70, the Centre expresses concern about the situation in Togo and South Sudan Press Statement (12 December 2018)
  • Prof Christof Heyns to head drafting of UN guidelines on management of demonstrations Press Statement (27 November 2018)
  • Centre calls on the ACERWC to devote time to discuss genital normalisation surgeries Press Statement (14 November 2018)
  • Centre  welcomes African Commission visit as opportunity to clarify SA's position on interference with Commission’s independence Press Statement (5 September 2018)

Academic Programmes

Academic programmes presented by the Centre for Human Rights:
HRDA

HRDA

LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa
The LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa is a prestigious one-year intensive course where 25-30 exceptional individuals spend 6 months in Pretoria and 6 months at one of the 13 partner universities all over Africa.

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TILA

TILA

LLM (International Trade and Investment Law in Africa)
The LLM degree in International Trade and Investment Law in Africa is a higher education and training programme based in, and focused on, Africa with full exposure to the international world of trade and investment.

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SRRA

SRRA

LLM/MPhil (Sexual & Reproductive Rights in Africa)
The Master's degree (LLM/MPhil) in Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa is a two-year programme that is offered as a blended learning course comprising of online interaction and residential block-weeks in Pretoria.

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MDHR

MHR

LLM/MPhil (Multidisciplinary Human Rights)
The LLM/MPhil degree in Multidisciplinary Human Rights gives students from various disciplines the opportunity to engage with human rights issues from a number of perspectives. This programme is for lawyers and non-lawyers.

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DRIA

DRIA

LLM/MPhil (Disability Rights in Africa)
The two-year programme is offered as a hybrid teaching approach comprising online interaction and residential face-to-face weeks in Pretoria. Two face-to-face sessions will be scheduled every year. The first face-to-face session is in December 2018.

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Education Projects

The Centre presents annually a number of short courses, two moot court competitions and a conference:
AHRC

AHRC

Advanced Human Rights Courses
The Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC) programme consists of annual advanced short courses dealing with issues pertinent to human rights, development and good governance in Africa.

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AHRMCC

AHRMCC

African Human Rights Moot Court Competition
The annual African Human Rights Moot Court Competition is the largest gathering of students, academics and judges around the theme of human rights in Africa.

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NMWMCC

NMWMCC

Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition
The Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition is an annual event and is open to both undergraduate and master's degree law students.

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Annual Conference

Conferences

Annual Conference
The Disability Rights Unit at Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosts an annual conference on disability rights in an African context during the first week of November.

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Research Units

Research Units

Overview of our Units

The Centre for Human Rights hosts a number of Research Units whose main objectives are to do research in their prospective fields.

Most Units have a short course, a clinical group and a resource database linked to the Unit. Focus areas include freedom of expression and access to information, business and human rights, children's rights, disability rights, women's rights, litigation, race and common citizenship, sexual orientation and gender and identity expression and unlawful killings.

Overview of our Units

Associated Institutes / Units

IDLU

IDLU

International Development Law Unit
The International Development Law Unit (IDLU) presents the LLM (International Trade and Investment Law in Africa) and its mission is to conduct and promote policy-oriented legal research on international development law topics.

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ICLA

ICLA

Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa
The Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) aims to become a first port of call for those who wish to engage in legal research and legal reform in Africa involving comparative or international law at the advanced level.

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Publications

AHRLJ

AHRLJ

African Human Rights Law Journal

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ADRY

ADRY

African Disability Rights Yearbook

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Awards & Prizes

UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education
In 2006, the Centre for Human Rights was awarded the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education, with particular recognition for the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition and the LLM in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa
2006
2006
UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education
African Union Human Rights Prize
In 2012, the Centre for Human Rights was awarded the 2012 African Union Human Rights Prize, in recognition of the Centre's contribution to the work of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in the promotion and protection of human rights in Africa.
2012
2012
African Union Human Rights Prize