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Centre News & Events: 2017
African Disability Rights Yearbook 2018: Call for Papers

15 December 2017- The African Disability Rights Yearbook (ADRY) is calling for papers for consideration for publication in Section A of the ADRY in 2018. The ADRY publishes once a year with a focus on disability rights issues and developments of contemporary concern to persons with disabilities on the African continent. It comprises three sections – Section A containing doctrinal articles and for which we are calling for papers; Section B containing country-focused overviews of developments in disability rights in selected African countries; and Section C containing brief overviews of developments at the African regional and sub-regional levels. 

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Call for Abstracts: 2nd International Conference on the Right to Development

7 December 2017- For over 35 years since the right to development gained formal recognition as a human right, it has remained the subject of a highly politicised debate. Unfortunately, as former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay noted on the occasion of the commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development in 2011, the politicised debate ‘has done little to free the right to development from the conceptual mud and political quicksand in which it has been mired all these years’. Conceptually, the right to development entails concrete action to ensure its realisation. Following the universal recognition of the right to development in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action in 1993 and the undertakings under other international instruments to make its realisation a reality, it is crucial to determine to what extend these commitments have been actualised.

Participants at the 1st Conference on the Right to Development, which was held in 2017

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More than 50 Master’s and seven doctoral students graduate at the Centre for Human Rights

15 December 2017

More than 50 Master’s graduates
At the University of Pretoria's graduation ceremony on 8 December more than 50 students graduated with a Master's degree from the following Master's programmes organised by the Centre for Human Rights:

  • LLM International Trade and Investment Law in Africa (TILA) (23 students graduating; two with distinction)
  • LLM/MPhil Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) (organised in collaboration with 13 partner universities across the African continent; 27 students graduating, a record number of eight students with distinction)
  • LLM/MPhil Multidisciplinary Human Rights (two students graduating)
  • LLM/ MPhil Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa (one student graduating)
  • Master’s by research (one student graduating)

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TuksLaw commemorates the legacy and life of Oliver R. Tambo

14 December 2017 - On Friday, 8 December 2017, the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria commemorated the legacy and life of Oliver R. Tambo (1917 – 2017) with the unveiling of a bust of the late leader and the launch of a book written by retired Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs titled Oliver Tambo's dream in the OR Tambo Law Library. 

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Participants from around the globe discuss threats to democracy at Centre for Human Rights

11 December 2017- Democracies are fragile. Now, more than ever, fake news, populist politicians and disenchanted voters are putting this fragility to the test. Against this backdrop, the Centre for Human Rights (Centre), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, on 7 December hosted a one-day international conference on the theme ‘Democracy Under Threat’. 

Professor Manfred Nowak, a previous UN Special Rapporteur on torture and currently Secretary General of the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC), introduced the topic. From ‘state capture’ in South Africa to the immigration crisis troubling Europe, Nowak sketched an intricate image of the varied — and global — threats challenging liberal democracy. 
 

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The body that takes pride: Celebrating universal human rights

7 December 2017- To set the scene for the forth-coming International Human Rights Day slated for 10 December 2017, the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the Embassy of the Netherlands and Village Verbals hosted ‘The body that takes pride’ a panel discussion with visual and performance art which narrowed in on the themes of the rights of women and LGBTIQ persons. The star-studded panel was comprised of the Natalia Molebatsi, Nondumiso Msimanga, Beverly Ditsie and Prof Tiffany Willoughby-Herard.

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Seminar on African cinema and human rights kicks off the Global Campus Human Rights Week

7 December 2017- The Global Campus Human Rights Week is held from 4 to 9 December 2017 in Pretoria. The event is organised by the Global Campus of Human Rights / European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EUIC) in partnership with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. The first even on the agenda was a seminar on African cinema and human rights. Before the seminar, the Global Camp made several presentations, introducing all the regional programmes. These presentations comprised of sub-presentations made by delegates from the 7 branches of the Global Campus of Human Rights: Arab World, Europe, South East Europe, Latin America Caribbean, Caucasus, the Asia Pacific and Africa.

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Call for Applications: Project Coordinator, African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) Business and Human Rights

5 December 2017 - The following vacancy is available:

Terms of Reference

Job Title: Project Coordinator, African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) Business and Human Rights
Reports to: ACCA Steering Committee; Programme Manager on Business and Human Rights
Date of commencement: ASAP
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
 
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Invitation: Global Campus of Human Rights international conference ‘Democracy under threat’

29 November- The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Global Campus of Human Rights cordially invite you to a multi-disciplinary international conference on the theme ‘Democarcy under threat’.

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Invitation to a seminar: African cinema and human rights

29 November- The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Global Campus of Human Rights, Cinema Human Rights and Advocacy, Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway and the Kingdom of the Netherlands cordially invite you to film screenings, presentations and discussions on African cinema and human rights.

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Invitation: Centre for Human Rights Master’s degree graduation ceremony

29 November- The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to its Master’s degree graduation ceremony. This graduation ceremony is hosted annually on or around 10 December to celebrate International Human Rights Day.

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Where is democracy?: Reflections on the ascendancy of Mnangagwa as president of Zimbabwe

27 November 2017 - (By Charles Ngwena) What seemed unimaginable has happened. After an uninterrupted ‘reign’ of 37 years, Robert Mugabe, the de facto emperor of Zimbabwe, has ‘resigned’ from office. There has been genuine jubilation not least among those who have been at the receiving end of Mugabe’s increasingly despotic, corrupt and dysfunctional governance – the majority of Zimbabweans. Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken office as Mugabe’s successor. It is a historic moment. Since attaining independence in 1980, Zimbabweans have only known Mugabe as their political supremo – initially as prime minister and latterly as president. The fact of Mugabe’s departure from office, alone, has raised hopes that we might be at the cusp of a compassionate, fairer, humane and democratic Second Republic. At the same time, the clouds are pregnant with contradictions, counselling us not to throw caution aside even as we pine for change. Why is this? 

Emmerson Mnangagwa (left), then–Vice President of Zimbabwe, chats with President Robert Mugabe in Harare in 2014. (AP Photo / Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
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Press Statement: Civil Society group (Coalition for an Effective SADC Tribunal) mourns the demise of the SADC Tribunal

21 November 2017 - On 18 November 2005, the Southern Africa Development Community Tribunal (SADC Tribunal) was inaugurated as a judicial body established to resolve disputes between Southern African states and between states and their citizens. At that time, there were many celebrations around the inauguration of the Tribunal because a regional court with the power to hear human rights cases is a critical mechanism in the pathway to justice after exhaustion of local remedies. However, the celebrations were short-lived. In 2009, Zimbabwe challenged the legitimacy of the Tribunal stating that it had not been established according to international law norms. This led to suspension of the Tribunal by decision of SADC leaders, in 2010.

 
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Announcement: Global Campus Human Rights Week, Pretoria, South Africa

16 November 2017- The Global Campus Human Rights Week will be held during the week from 4 to 9 December 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa. The events will feature a film screening and discussion on African cinema and human rights, meetings of institutional and governance structures of the Global Campus, a visual / performance art and panel discussion on the rights of women and LGBTIQ persons, a multi-disciplinary conference on contemporary and future challenges to democracy worldwide and the graduation of the 18th cohort of students on the Master’s degree programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa. The event is organised by the Global Campus of Human Rights in partnership with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. The conference is realised thanks to the European Union. 

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27th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition to be held in Ghana

15 November 2017- It has been confirmed! The 2018 African Human Rights Moot Competition will take place in Ghana, and will be co-organised by the School of Law, University of Ghana and the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria.

On 14 November 2017, the University of Ghana joined a small group of African Universities that have twice hosted the African Human Rights Moot Competition, when its Vice Chancellor and the Centre’s Director signed a Memorandum of Understanding, providing that  the Moot will be hosted in Accra, from 6 to 11 August 2018.

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Disability Rights Scholarship Programme Alumni meet to discuss prospects for academic advancement and regional and country progress on disability rights

14 November 2017- On 9 November 2017, twenty three (23) alumni of the Disability Rights Scholarship Programme met at Saint George Hotel in Pretoria following the culmination of the 5th Annual African Disability Rights Conference. The purpose of the alumni meeting was to establish and form a platform for the alumni to network, share information about the scholarship programme, prospects for academic advancement and collaborate on issues pertaining to regional and country progress on disability rights. 

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Partner universities reflect on the status of disability inclusive policies and practices at their universities

10 November 2017- The importance of inclusive education has been recognised globally as critically important for the advancement of the right to education. The retention and successful throughput of students with disabilities in higher education institutions is at a critical juncture. In Africa, the transformation of higher education systems so that they provide quality inclusive education for all students is in its infancy.Students with disabilities are for the greater part still not able to equally participate in higher education institutions as their abled bodied counterparts. The Disability Rights and Law Schools Project in Africa partner universities met in Pretoria to discuss the current state of inclusion in higher education with regards to students with disabilities. 

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Opening the 5th Annual African Disability Rights Conference with a keynote address from Dr Samuel Kabue

8 November 2017- Dr Samuel Kabue, a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee), welcomed the Conference’s thematic focus, which is on legal capacity. He noted that the Committee has been grappling with the concept of ‘legal capacity’, and its practical application, especially in Africa. He lamented the fact that even for states that have ratified, the implementation of the CRPD is impeded by a lack of state reporting, a failure to accept individual complaints and failure to designate national monitoring mechanisms for the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities.

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Centre for Human Rights hosts a regional planning meeting with the UN Independent Expert on the rights of persons with albinism

8 November 2017- A group of representatives of organizations working on the protection of persons with albinism in Africa convened in Pretoria on Monday 6 November 2017 at the call of the United Nations Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism, Ms. Ikpwonosa Ero. Ms. Ero’s mandate as the Independent Expert was created in 2015 by the UN Human Rights Council, to address discrimination and stop the killings of people living with albinism.

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Centre for Human Rights, Iranti-org and SIPD-Uganda host panel discussion on intersex human rights in Africa

7 November 2017- On Saturday 4 November 2017, the Centre for Human Rights (Centre) in partnership with Iranti-org and SIPD -Uganda convened a panel discussion on intersex human rights in Banjul, The Gambia. The event came on the side-lines of the 61st ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) which is taking place from 1-15 November. This was monumental considering that the African Commission is celebrating its 30 years anniversary and achievements ever-since it became operational 30 years ago.

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Call for Enrollments: MOOC on the International and African Legal Framework on Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and the Safety of Journalists

3 November 2017- The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and UNESCO developed a massive open online course (MOOC) on the International and African Legal Framework on Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and the Safety of Journalists. The MOOC, which runs from 13 November to 18 December 2017, is hosted on the Canvas Network platform. Enrollment is free of charge and after the successful completion of all the modules, participants will receive a certificate.

 

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