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Centre News & Events: 2017
Faculty of Law enters into MoU with Pan-African Parliament to advance the agenda of good governance in Africa

18 October 2017- The Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (UP) on 17 October 2017 entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). The foreseen collaboration will be spear-headed by the Centre for Human Rights, but may involve other departments, centres, institutes and units in the Faculty of Law.



Prof Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Honourable Roger Nkodo Dang, President of the Pan-African Parliament

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Invitation: Seminar on South Sudan and issues arising from narratives on human rights and armed rebellion

17 October 2017- The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a seminar on South Sudan and issues arising from narratives on human rights and armed rebellion.

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Press Statement: Centre for Human Rights calls for expediting of sexual harassment cases at the University of Pretoria

17 October 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, deplores any form of sexual harassment and is steadfastly committed to supporting the University community in any way possible to ensure that it is a safe environment – free from sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination – and to foster the values of equality, integrity, human dignity, privacy and mutual respect.

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African Forum for Doctoral Research in Human Rights (AfriDoors)

17 October 2017- The first African Forum for Doctoral Research in Human Rights (AfriDoors) was held at the University of Pretoria from 9 to 13 October. AfriDoors brought together close to 50 doctoral students, post-docs and faculty from the member institutions of Strengthening Human Rights Research and Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (SHUREA). SHUREA is a project funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland through the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) and is aimed at strengthening policy relevant human rights research.

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Centre for Human Rights presents training workshop on strategic advocacy and litigation for LGBTI human rights defenders and activists in Africa

16 October 2017- The Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Unit, Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy in Pretoria is currently hosting the 2018 Training Workshop on Strategic Advocacy and Litigation for LGBTI Human Rights Defenders and Activists. This workshop, now ongoing, shall run from 16 October 2017 to 19 October 2017. In attendance are LGBTI human rights defenders from the legal, health, civil society and other sectors across the African continent. The participants are trained on using several advocacy stragies, including faith-based, disruptive and prison advocacy, as well as strategic litigation at national level, and how to use the UN and African regional human rights system for the advancement of LGBTI human rights.

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Call for Abstracts: Colloquium on 'Reading the LGBTI category at the locale - Indigenising stigmatised non-heteronormative African sexualities and genders'

16 October 2017- The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is convening a colloquium on 2 - 3 August 2018. The colloquium has the following main themes:

a) reading the LGBTI category at the African locale; and
b) indigenising stigmatised non-heteronormative African sexualities and genders.

It is anticipated that papers presented at the colloquium will be reworked by authors with a view to their consideration for publication as chapters in an edited volume.

© Corinna Kern / Getty Images Reportage

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Press Statement: African Court rejects Centre for Human Rights and CAL request, leaving political tension within AU unresolved

6 October 2017- SUMMARY: In 2015, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission), based in Banjul, The Gambia, and the AU body supervising state compliance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, granted observer status to the NGO Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL). When the Executive Council of the African Union (AU), with its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, subsequently considered the Commission’s activity report, it directed the African Commission to retract the observer status granted to CAL. A potential deadlock was avoided when two NGOs (the Centre for Human Rights and CAL) submitted a request for an advisory opinion to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, soliciting the Court’s view on how the matter could be resolved. However, the Court has now declined to give its view, on the basis that the two NGOs were not competent to bring the request. This decision puts the Commission and the Executive Council on a potential collision course. The circumstances of the case revealed that the system of NGO obtaining observer status with the AU is illusory, as no NGO has as yet obtained this status. 

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Centre acknowledges and thanks staff, students, graduates, partners, donors and supporters for contributing to make University of Pretoria the top Law Faculty in Africa

6 October 2017-The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (UP), takes note of the 2018 raking of law faculties or schools by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THEWUR), in which the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Law is placed at position 92

According to the THEWUR, using a fixed set of criteria, UP’s Faculty of Law is the top law faculty not only in South Africa, but in Africa. As one of six departments within the Faculty of Law, the Centre for Human Rights acknowledges and thanks our staff, current students, our many graduates, partners, donors and other supporters, for their contributions in making the Centre – and the Faculty – a centre of excellence in Africa. 

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Invitation to a panel discussion on 'Working as a UN expert'

6 October 2017- Students and other interested parties are invited to attend a panel discussion on: ‘Working as a UN expert’. The Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria is currently in the unique position where three of its professors serve as expert members of United Nations bodies involved in the development of international law. They will discuss their work and how the appointment procedure works. This should be of special interest to students who consider a career with an international dimension.

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AU Human Rights Commissioner encourages acceptance of political diversity in Ethiopia at annual Julius Osega Lecture

3 October 2017- ‘The Constitution as a whole should guide governance in Ethiopia, not selected parts chosen for particular purposes.’ Dr Solomon Dersso, a member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, expressed this view when he delivered the 2017 Julius Osega Memorial Lecture in Addis Ababa on Friday 29 September. The African Commission is the African Union’s longest-serving human rights body. 

Dr Solomon Negussie (Dean, College of Law and Governance Studies, Addis Ababa University), Prof Frans Viljoen (Director, Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria), Dr Solomon Ayele Dersso (Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Executive Director, Amani Africa Media and Research), Dr Yonas Birmeta (Head, School of Law, Addis Ababa University) and Dr Mizane Abate (Associate Dean, Graduate Programmes, College of Law and Governance Studies, Addis Ababa University)

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Conference on Regional Perspectives on the Right to Development

3 October 2017- A two-days Conference on the theme ‘Regional Perspectives on the Right to Development’ was jointly organised by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, University of South Africa. The Conference took place on 28 and 29 September 2017 at the University of Pretoria. 

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Capacity Building for Senior Government Officials of the African Union on Disability Mainstreaming, Coordination and Financing

29 September 2017- The Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, conducted a training course on disability mainstreaming, coordination, financing and implementation for senior government officials of the Africa Union member states and focal persons from the African Union Commission (AUC). Senior government officials from Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Somalia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria and Zimbabwe attended the one-week training which took place from 18-22 September 2017 at Capital Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Centre for Human Rights presents Advanced Human Rights Short Course on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Africa (25 - 29 September 2017)

29 September 2017- The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) hosted its Advanced Human Rights Short Course on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Africa from 25-29 September, 2017. The course brought together 32 participants; from different countries across Africa and Europe, with backgrounds that include: NGO managers, delegates of indigenous communities, academia, government policy makers, civil society, independent community consultants and legal practitioners. 

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Ratification of the Maputo Protocol by Mauritius: Reflections, Expectations and Next Steps

28 September 2017- Mauritius ratified (with reservations) the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) in June 2017. This makes 39, the countries that have ratified the Maputo Protocol. The presence of the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Mauritius provided an opportunity for the Women’s Rights Unit to host an all stakeholder meeting not only to celebrate this momentous step towards full realisation of women’s rights but to also reflect on the challenges that delayed ratification since signing in 2005 and lessons apparent. In addition the meeting discussed the impact of ratification of the Maputo Protocol on the lives of women and girls in Mauritius and the critical next steps post the ratification.

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African Human Rights Moot Court Competition 2017: University of Mauritius (18 – 23 September 2017)

27 September 2017 - The African Human Rights Moot Court Competition is the largest gathering of students, academics and judges around the theme of human rights in Africa. This annual event brings together all law faculties in Africa, whose top students argue a hypothetical human rights case as if they were before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Competition aims to prepare a new generation of lawyers to argue cases of alleged human rights violations before the African Court.

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26th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition Conference: The Maputo Protocol and Poverty Alleviation

27 September 2017 - The African Human Rights Moot Court Competition Conference took place at the University of Mauritius on 22 September 2017. Every year, the conference is one of the major highlights of the Moot Court competition. The conference utilises the platform of the Moot Court, which brings together students and faculty representatives from over 54 different universities around Africa, to raise, discuss and advance important issues of human rights in the continent. The 2017 conference theme was “The Maputo Protocol and poverty alleviation: Towards the realisation of women's rights in Africa”. 

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Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone visits Centre for Human Rights to explore potential collaboration

22 September 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights received a delegation from the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone on 22 September to explore potential collaboration. The Human Rights Commission expressed interest in support in capacity building of commissioners and staff in particular in relation to disability rights, LGBTI rights, business and human rights, women's rights and complaints handling. 

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Kingdom of Lesotho senior government officials visit the Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights

22 September 2017 - The Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights (the Centre) on 21 September 2017 had a privilege of hosting a delegation of senior government officials from the Kingdom of Lesotho (Lesotho).

The delegation comprised of Ms Nthabiseng Sekokotoana (Senior Assistant Parliamentary Counsel), Ms Linkeng Khubetsoana (Chief Legal Officer – Ministry of Social Development) and Ms Mahlapane Makakole – Bodiba (Director Disability Services – Ministry of Social Development) and from South Africa Mr Benny Palime (Director of Policy Legislation for Disability – Department of Social Development).  
 
 
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Press statement: Centre for Human Rights and Pan Africa ILGA express grave concern about threats to the right to freedom of association and right to information as twenty are arrested at training workshop in Zanzibar, Tanzania for alleged homosexuality

20 September 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, and Pan Africa International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Association (Pan Africa ILGA) strongly condemn the recent arrest of parents and NGO personnel at a training workshop on HIV prevention. 

On Friday 15 September 2017, Zanzibari police, acting on the orders of the District Commissioner, arrested a group of twenty parents, local partners and staff of an implementing NGO for organising and attending a workshop on peer-to-peer parent HIV and AIDS prevention. The workshop was aimed at addressing stigma and discrimination in the family with regards to HIV and AIDS. According to a local NGO leader, the group was accused of “training people on homosexuality”, which is not a crime in any known law in operation in Tanzania. 
 

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Centre for Human Rights presents 26th edition of the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Réduit, Mauritius

19 September 2017 -The African Human Rights Moot Court Competition is the largest gathering of students, academics and judges around the theme of human rights in Africa. This annual event brings together all law faculties in Africa, whose top students argue a hypothetical human rights case as if they were before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Competition aims to prepare a new generation of lawyers to argue cases of alleged human rights violations before the African Court.

 
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Immunity granted to Grace Mugabe challenged in debate between Professor Dire Tladi and Dr Thompson Chengeta

18 September 2017 - On 11 September 2017, the Institute of International and Comparative Law in Africa at the University of Pretoria hosted a debate between Professor Dire Tladi and Dr Thompson Chengeta on whether the Government of South Africa’s decision to grant Grace Mugabe immunity is within the confines of the law. The debate was chaired by the Director of Centre for Human Rights, Professor Frans Viljoen. 

 
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