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Centre News & Events: 2017
Justice Albie Sachs remembers OR Tambo’s crucial role in SA’s constitutional democracy

24 February 2017 - Through his activism over the decades, lawyer, revolutionary and politician – Oliver Reginald Tambo – left a lasting impression on South Africa and its Constitution. In celebration of his legacy, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation, hosted the first in a series of Oliver Tambo Centenary Lectures on Wednesday 22 February 2017.

The event brought together students, academics and members of civil society to pay homage to Tambo’s life. Attendees were welcomed by the University’s Chancellor, Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu. Former Mayor of Ekhuruleni, Duma Nkosi – who played an instrumental role in the official renaming Johannesburg International Airport in Tambo’s honour – was also present.

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Joint Statement by the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Resources Centre: Court judgment on ICC withdrawal should be followed by broad consultative process

22 February 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights (CHR), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes today’s judgment of the Full Bench of Gauteng Division, Pretoria, in the matter of Democratic Alliance v Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and Others (case no. 83145/16). The CHR, represented by the Legal Resources Centre, was joined as a party to the proceedings by the applicant for its interest in the matter.

Before the High Court, the CHR argued that the South African Government’s decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is unconstitutional and invalid for four reasons:

First, it violates the separation of powers as the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces have not, by resolution, approved the entering of the Instrument.

Second, the decision to withdraw was taken without any public participation.

Third, it is substantively irrational because the means – withdrawing from the Rome Statute – are not rationally connected to ends – “to promote peace and security on the African continent”.

Fourth, it is inconsistent with the South African Government’s obligations under sections 1(d) and 7(2) of the Constitution, read in the light of its obligations under the African Charter, the Constitutive Act of the African Union, and decisions, resolutions and reports of the African Commission to respect the sanctity of human life and to reject and condemn impunity.

 

 

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Livestreaming of the Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture by Justice Albie Sachs

22 February 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation is hosting the Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture Series. The first edition of this series of lectures is by Justice Albie Sachs, Retired Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, at 16:00 SAST on Wednesday 22 February 2017.

The lecture will be livestreamed on the Centre for Human Rights YouTube Channel and on its Facebook page.

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Centre for Human Rights expresses serious concern over human rights situation in Cameroon and calls on government to end human rights violations

17 February 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon (English-speaking Cameroon), including reported arbitrary arrests, abductions, extra-judicial killings, involuntary disappearances, rape, torture and inhumane treatment of detainees, trial of civilians by military tribunals, shut down of internet services and the shutdown of schools (since November 2016).

By its actions and omissions, the government of Cameroon has failed to protect its citizens and as such stands in violation of the obligations imposed upon it by the Preamble to the Constitution of Cameroon which among others guarantees the right to life; freedom from torture; cruel and inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment; right to liberty and security of person; right to fair hearing; freedom of expression; and freedom of association and assembly. As a member of the African Union, Cameroon is also obliged to give effect to these rights as enshrined in article 4 (the right to life), article 5 (the guarantee against torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment), article 6 (the right to liberty and security of the person), article 7 (the right to a fair trial), article 9 (freedom of expression), article 10 (freedom of association) and article 11 (freedom of assembly) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
 

 

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SOGIE Unit celebrates outstanding LGBTI icons in South Africa

17 February 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights works for the improvement of the human rights of minorities - including sexual minorities - and other disadvantaged or marginalised persons or groups across the continent.

Funded by the the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Pretoria, the Centre's SOGIE Unit focuses on education, capacity-building, advocacy and legal aid in the area of LGBTI rights and anti-discrimination. This poster highlights great South Africans who identify as LGBTI persons, who are leaders in their field, and whose work contributes to the realisation of sexual minority rights in South Africa.

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Invitation: Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture Series | Justice Albie Sachs (22 February 2017)

10 February 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation cordially invites you the Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture Series. The first edition of this series of lectures will be delivered by Justice Albie Sachs, Retired Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

Event details

Date: 22 February 2017
Time: 16:00 – 18:30
Venue: Auditorium, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Hatfield Campus)
RSVP: PLEASE CLICK HERE TO RSVP ONLINE
RSVP deadline: 20 February 2017
Enquiries: Natasha Allie ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it / 011 880 2680)
Limited seating is available and guests are encouraged to RSVP well in advance.

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The Centre for Human Rights condemns the arrests of gay rights activists in Tanzania and calls upon the government of Tanzania to desist from intimidating LGBTI human rights defenders

10 February 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, notes with regret that the Tanzanian government has ordered the arrest of three men accused of ‘promoting’ homosexuality through social media. This action by the Assistant Minister of Health Hamisi Kigwangalla is a violation of human principles contained in the constitution of Tanzania international human rights treaties which Tanzania is party to.

Article 12 of the Constitution of Tanzania guarantees the right to equality for all persons and respect of their dignity. Article 13 further guarantees the right to personal freedom which abhors arrest and detention of people without proper procedure of the laws in Tanzania. The actions of Mr. Kigwangalla are a violation of the Tanzanian Constitution which he swore to uphold. Furthermore, the laws of Tanzania do not provide for the offence of ‘promoting’ homosexuality. The Centre for Human Rights is therefore particularly concerned that the Deputy Minister ordered the arrest of individuals for an offence that is not provided by the penal code of Tanzania.

As a member of the African Union(AU), The United Republic of Tanzania is obligated to give effect to rights contained in the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. As a state part to the African Charter the United Republic Tanzania is obligated to ensure that it protects and promotes human and people’s rights of all people within their borders including members of minority groups who have a long history of being discriminated against.

 

 

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Invitation: Discussion Forum: Self-determination delayed: The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

6 February 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, together with the Embassy of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, cordially invites you to a brown bag lunch-hour panel discussion on the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people.

Event details

Date: 27 February 2017 (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic National Day)
Time: 12:30 – 13:30
Venue: Exhibition Space, Engineering I, University of Pretoria (Hatfield Campus)
RSVP: PLEASE CLICK HERE TO RSVP ONLINE
RSVP deadline: 23 February 2017
Enquiries: Ms Thuto Hlalele (012 420 3587 / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Panelists

The following panelists will introduce in discussion:

  • Ambassador Radhi Bachir
    Ambassador of the Sahrawi Republic to South Africa
  • Ambassador Ebrahim Saley
    Deputy Director General: Global, Governance and Continental Agenda, Department of International Relations and Coorporation (DIRCO)
  • Mr Jose Nacimento
    Lawyer and International Law Expert
 

 

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Deputy Public Protector welcomes students from all over Africa to the Centre for Human Rights

6 February 2017 - ‘One world; one people’. This is how Advocate Kevin Malunga, South Africa’s Deputy Public Protector, described those who inhabit Africa, as he welcomed Master’s students from all over the continent to the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria on Friday 3 February 2017.

Presenting the keynote address under the theme ‘Thoughts on the African lawyer’s role in globalising the rule of law, integrity and economic advancement and justice’, Advocate Malunga challenged students to become ‘rebels with a cause’. This cause, he proposed, should be to make a difference to a world where the forces of racism, xenophobia and the ‘othering’ of minorities are gaining increasing prominence. In making this challenge, he referred to developments in the Gambia and praised the long-awaited end to President Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year presidency.

During the question and answer session, Advocate Malunga observed with concern that a common theme in African leadership is the refusal to give up power. He gave the example of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 31 years. President Museveni in 1986 said ‘the problem of Africa in general and Uganda in particular is not the people, but leaders who want to overstay in power.’ However, in 2016, Museveni departed from this view, saying he is not the servant of the people, and that they cannot ask him to step down.

 

Advocate Kevin Malunga,
South Africa’s Deputy Public Protector

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The Centre for Human Rights is shocked and horrified at the death of 94 mental health patients in Gauteng and calls for immediate action to protect persons with mental disabilities under South African and international law

3 February 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria is shocked and horrified at the findings of the Health Ombudsman, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, following an investigation into the circumstances in which more than 94 persons with mental disabilities died between 23 March and 19 December 2016 in Gauteng Province.

The Centre strongly condemns the high-level decision, to rapidly and hurriedly implement and execute a poorly planned deinstitutionalisation programme with disastrous consequences, taken by the Gauteng MEC for Health, Qedani Mahlangu, Head of Department, Dr Tiego Selebano and Director Dr Makgabo Manamela.  The decision to remove persons with mental disabilities from government health institutions to reduce spending on their healthcare and the manner it was conducted was cruel and inhumane and occasioned the deaths of 94 persons with mental disabilities. Not only was the decision grossly negligent, unwise and rushed, it also contravened the National Health Act (Act 61 of 2003), the Mental Health Care Act (Act 17 of 2002) and infringed on the rights of the persons with mental disabilities and their family’s human rights contained in the Constitution of South Africa.

 

 

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Invitation: Seminar - The European Union and human rights in Africa

01 February 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a seminar on the EU in Africa.

Human rights, democracy and rule of law are high on the agenda in the relations between the European Union (EU) and Africa. However, despite slogans like ‘2 unions, 1 vision’ there are many deeply contested issues between the two regional blocs. This seminar that is held in the framework of the project ‘Fostering for Human Rights among European Policies’ (Frame) explores visions, practice and scenarios for the future of the EU’s relationship with Africa.

Date: Thursday 9 February 2017
Venue: Farm Inn, Silverlakes Road, Pretoria, South Africa
RSVP: PLEASE CLICK HERE TO RSVP ONLINE
RSVP deadline: 6 February 2017
Enquiries: Prof Magnus Killander ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

 

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The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, expresses deep concern over the political situation in The Gambia, and calls for stronger South African engagement

19 January 2017 - With the inauguration of the President-elect of The Gambia scheduled for 19 January 2017, the situation in that country is of grave concern to us, as it is to many fellow Africans.

The Centre for Human Rights makes the following calls:

  • President Jammeh must accept the outcome of the results of the presidential election of 1 December 2016, and peacefully transfer power to the President-elect. Any form of power sharing should be avoided, as it is our position that this would be seen as rewarding a clear abuse of power and process.
  • ECOWAS should take all measures possible to ensure the safe inauguration of the President-elect. In the event that military intervention is part of the ECOWAS approach, maximum care should be taken to comply with human rights and humanitarian obligations, and to avoid loss of civilian life, in particular.
     
  • The government of South Africa should add its weight and voice to those of the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). South Africa has an added responsibility, as a current member of the AU Peace and Security Council. All efforts should be taken to prevent the situation from escalating into loss of human life. It should be taken into account that this may easily become a situation in which the AU may invoke article 4(h) of its Constitutive Act, which allows it to intervene in a member state which is unable and unwilling to protect its own citizens, and where serious human rights violations in the form of crimes against humanity or war crimes occur. Raising this possibility, which is something enshrined firmly within the AU legal framework, should be part of engaging Jammeh.
 

 

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The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a new Director

11 January 2017 - The University of Pretoria wishes to invite applications for the following vacancy at the Centre for Human Rights (an academic department and a non-governmental organisation at the University).

FACULTY OF LAW
CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
PROFESSOR / ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AND DIRECTOR / HEAD OF DEPARTMENT (ONE POST)


The University of Pretoria's commitment to quality makes it one of the top research Universities in the country.
 
This vacancy and the procedure to apply is available online: https://goo.gl/BILvxi

RESPONSIBILITIES:
The successful applicant will be responsible for:

  • Handling the strategic, academic and operational management of the Centre for Human Rights, which is a department in the Faculty of Law;
  • Promoting, planning, organising and managing academic and research programmes and the Centre’s research profile;
  • Recruiting and managing personnel;
  • Overseeing externally funded projects, including reporting under various contracts;
  • Fundraising for the Centre’s externally funded projects and programmes;
  • Playing an active role as academic leader of the discipline at a national and international level;
  • Representing the Centre in international fora and with donors;
  • Marketing and growing the Centre on all levels;
  • Aligning the Centre with the strategic plans, goals and policies of the University and the Faculty;
  • Teaching on the Centre’s postgraduate programmes;
  • Supervision of master’s and doctoral candidates;
  • Conducting and publishing research outputs in line with Faculty policy.
 

 

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