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Centre News & Events: 2017
Southern Africa Consultation on the Draft Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections for Africa

28 March 2017 - On 14 and 15 March 2017, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Centre for Human Rights, Eduardo Mondlane University in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (Special Rapporteur), Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, organised a consultation on the draft ‘Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections for Africa’ (Draft Guidelines).

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Short Course on Disability Rights highlights need to advance disability rights and to address implementation gap in Africa

24 March 2017 - Reflections by a participant of the Disability Rights in an African Context short course hosted by the Centre for Human Rights from the 13-17 March 2017

As I skimmed through the programme for the short course “Disability Rights in an African context” last week, the varied themes on the agenda conjured up the prospect of five days of enlightening discussions and profound reflection. On Monday, as I made my way to the classroom, several thoughts flashed through my mind: that of my late grandmother’s dread for the wheelchair after she underwent a partial foot amputation, that of the bullying of my autistic friend in primary school and the account of my parent’s agony on learning of my diagnosis of severe clubfoot at birth. During the introductory session, whilst the participants shared their interest in and expectations from the course and invoked disturbing details about disability abuse in their respective countries, the enduring obstacles to furthering disability rights across Africa dawned on me. The dearth of visibility of disability – disability being somewhat shunned in my home country Mauritius - had probably clouded my appreciation of the magnitude of the challenges lying ahead. Professor Ngwena’s words echoed, setting the tone for the week: we should look beyond the letter of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and seek to address the implementation gap in the continent. 

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Invitation: Master's Programmes Welcoming Ceremony and Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture Series | Justice Dikgang Moseneke (30 March 2017)

23 March 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation cordially invites you the Centre for Human Rights Master's Programmes Welcoming Ceremony and Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture Series. The second edition of this series of lectures will be delivered by Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Retired Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa.

On this occasion, the eighty students on the following Master’s programmes of the Centre for Human Rights will be individually introduced:

  • LLM/MPhil (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)
  • LLM (International Trade and Investment Law in Africa)
  • LLM/MPhil (Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa)
  • LLM/MPhil (Multidisciplinary Human Rights)

Event details

Date: 30 March 2017
Time: 15:30 – 20:00
Venue: Tuks Monate, 243 Lunnon Road, Hillcrest, Pretoria
RSVP: PLEASE CLICK HERE TO RSVP ONLINE
RSVP deadline: 24 March 2017
Enquiries: Eric Lwanga ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it / 012 420 5214)
Limited seating is available and guests are encouraged to RSVP well in advance.

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Speak Out for Inclusive Education: Human rights commemoration chill session

17 March 2017 - On March 21 1960, the residents of Sharpeville took to the streets in protest of the oppressive laws the Apartheid government imposed on black people. In terms of these laws black people had to carry passes in order to move around the country.

These laws reinforced the notion that being black was bad and that black people were subhuman. The Government of the time retaliated by opening fire on the crowd leading to the deaths of many people that day, all because they stood  for their human  rights to social inclusion and  freedom of movement. It is their courage that we celebrate on March 21st (Human Rights Day).

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University of Pretoria students speak out on Xenophobia

14 March 2017 - As part of its advocacy efforts against Xenophobia, the Centre for Human Rights randomly approached students at the Hatfield campus of the University of Pretoria to share their thoughts on the recent xenophobic attacks targeted at African foreigners in South Africa. In this video, the students speak about the beauty in diversity and the need for tolerance.

The Centre for Human Rights believes that in addition to educating communities on issues of human diginity and respect for human life, the South African government must also ensure that perpetrators of xenophobic attacks are investigated and prosecuted. This is how we shall put an end to such inhumane acts.
 

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Government should pause to reconsider ICC withdrawal, and Parliament should suspend consideration of ICC Repeal Bill

8 March 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, takes note, with satisfaction, of the South African government’s revocation of its ‘Instrument of Withdrawal’ in line with the decision of the North Gauteng High Court of 22 February 2017. In its decision, the High Court found that the deposit of South Africa’s ‘Instrument of Withdrawal’ was unconstitutional because Parliament’s approval for withdrawal from the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC Statute) was not sought or obtained. The Court ordered the government to revoke its withdrawal notice, which it has now done.

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Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, calls on South African Government to do more to ensure gender equality in the judiciary

8 March 2017 - In commemorating International Women’s Day with the UN theme focusing on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030,” the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, the University of Pretoria, welcomes the nomination of Justice Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya as the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal. She has extensive experience having served in the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, the Labour and the High Court. If Justice Maya’s nomination gets confirmed, she would become South Africa’s first woman President of the Supreme Court of Appeal. This would be ground breaking and a major step in ensuring that women are represented equally in the judiciary and in achieving gender equality.

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Invitation to Tender: Evaluation of grant agreement beteween the Norwegian Government and the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

8 March 2017 - Invitation to Tender: Evaluation of grant agreement beteween the Norwegian Government and the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, invites tenders for an Evaluation of a Grant by the Norwegian Government to the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. In this process, it will target at least three specific potential tenderers, and will further widely disseminate this `Invitation to Tender’.

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Launch of new Global Campus Human Rights Journal

8 March 2017 -  The Global Campus of Human Rights is proud to announce the launch of the Global Campus Human Rights Journal (GCHRJ) , a peer-reviewed online publication serving as a forum for rigorous scholarly analysis, critical commentaries, and reports on recent developments pertaining
to human rights and democratisation globally.

GCHRJ is edited by a team of three, led by Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, who is assisted by two co-editors: Vahan Bournazian, Professor at Yerevan State University in Armenia, and Matthew Mullen, Lecturer at Mahidol University of Bangkok in Thailand. They are supported by an International Editorial Advisory Board.

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FACES 2017: African Student Cellphone Film Competition

8 March 2017 -  Students from all countries in Africa are invited to participate in the FACES 2017: African student cellphone film competition. The Competition is part of  the 26th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, due to be held in Mauritius from 18 - 23 September 2017. The winning entries will be screened at the Moot Court Competition.

The closing date for FACES 2017 is 30 June 2017.

The purpose of the Competition is to encourage students from Africa to express themselves and to engage with issues of relevance to Africa, using available cellphone technology, and the enhance the Moot Court experience.

One student from the University of Pretoria, and one student from another university in Africa, will win a trip to screen their video at the Moot Court Competition in Mauritius.

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Disability Rights Law Schools Project: Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique

7 March 2017 -  The Eduardo Mondlane University is one of several leading African Universities that partner with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in the execution of the Disability Rights Law Schools Project sponsored by the Open Society Foundation.

At Eduardo Mondlane University, disability rights teaching has been incorporated into the human rights module for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. There is also an active clinic group that takes up cases of discrimination against persons with disability as well as carry out vigorous sensitization visits in communities.

Following a support visit held in 2016 by the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, a video was produced to highlight some of the incredible work being done by students and their lecturers/supervisors in advancing the rights of persons with disability in Mozambique. Watch below:

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Centre for Human Rights calls for extension of due date for submissions on ICC withdrawal

3 March 2017 - Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria calls for extension of due date for submissions on ICC withdrawal.

(On 22 February  2017 the Centre for Human Rights welcomed the 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. Read the joint statement with the LRC here.)

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Centre for Human Rights calls on African Union human rights body to take action against grave violations of freedom of expression in Cameroon

3 March 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is gravely concerned about the on-going human rights violations, particularly of the right to freedom of expression in the North West and South West regions of the Republic of Cameroon (English-speaking Cameroon).

Since 17 January 2017, internet connections have been completely shut down in English-speaking Cameroon, reportedly on the orders of the Ministry of Communications. This action is an apparent attempt to suppress the use of social media to mobilise the mass protests that have taken place in English-speaking Cameroon since November 2016. The Centre for Human Rights had on 17 February, expressed concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in English-speaking Cameroon, sighting ‘reports of 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’.

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Centre for Human Rights hosts panel discussion on the obstruction of self-determination of the Sahrawi people (Western Sahara), whose post-colonial future remains undecided

2 March 2017 - With Morocco’s re-entry into the African Union (AU) earlier in 2017, important questions around the self-determination of the people of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) have taken centre stage again. To answer some of these questions, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, together with the Embassy of the SADR in South Africa, hosted a panel discussion on Monday 27 February 2017.

The event brought together ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, students, academics and representatives of state authorities, under the theme ‘Self-determination delayed: The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic’. The panel consisted of Ambassador Radhi Bachir (Ambassador to South Africa from the SADR), Ambassador Ghulam Asmal (Director: NEPAD and Partnerships in the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)) and Mr José Nascimento (Practitioner and international law expert).



Ambassador Radhi Bachir (Ambassador to South Africa from the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic)

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South Africa: Concerned civil society groups call on government to address xenophobia

24 February 2017 - Recognising that South Africa has experienced xenophobic violence on numerous occasions on a scale which has been unprecedented in its democratic history, South Africa needs to recognise and strengthen those policies and laws which will promote tolerance and cater for appropriate sanctions for perpetrators of xenophobia. The last years have seen frequent attacks against refugees and migrants living in South Africa. We are reminded that between 2000 and 2008 close to 67 people died due to what became identified as xenophobic attacks in South Africa.[1] In May 2008, 62 people were killed and 600 sustained injuries as a result of xenophobic attacks.[2] Twenty-five of those killed were South Africans who were mistakenly believed to be non-nationals. Since 2009, the number of attacks against refugees and migrants in South Africa escalated reaching an average of between two and three attacks annually. In April 2015 at least 5 people died and about 5000 others were displaced when there was an outbreak of xenophobic attacks in the KwaZulu Natal province. During the 2015 attacks, at least 5 people were killed. Last week foreign nationals in Pretoria faced another wave of violent attacks. As in the past, these attacks caused loss of lives, injury, loss of livelihood and irreparable damage to property.

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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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