same sex conference

Venue: Southern Sun Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Date: 24 – 25 November 2022

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is convening a conference to bring together activists and scholars working on the protection and promotion of LGBTIQ+ rights in Africa for a dialogue and exchange of ideas on the goal of decriminalising sexual rights offences and eradicating conversion practices in African countries.

The Centre hopes to build a body of academically sound literature harmonizing context and strategy on these topics. Panelists will present papers on the themes of the conference. In particular, they will discuss:

Decriminalisation of same-sex relations

In May 2019, a Kenyan High Court refused to repeal colonial era laws criminalising same-sex relationships. Yet, in June 2019 the High Court in Botswana overturned similar laws and in 2021 the Court of Appeal confirmed this decision. Additionally, while movements in Kenya and Botswana have pursued decriminalisation through the Judiciary, in some States, such as Mozambique, Angola and Gabon, decriminalisation has come about through legislative change. The widely differing outcomes and strategies apparent across the continent point to the necessity of an international scholars and activists’ dialogue to reflect on both the positive and negative outcomes of advocacy and litigation and to identify States in which decriminalisation campaigns may enjoy success in the near future. Panellists will discuss, analyse and build on successful decriminalisation attempts and dissect unsuccessful decriminalisation attempts. Panellists will discuss the importance of decriminalisation, challenges, obstacles and opportunities across the continent.

Conversion practices

Conversion practices are harmful practices in which various techniques are employed in an attempt to alter the gender identity or sexual orientation of LGBTIQ+ persons. In the African context, there is a dearth of knowledge on the nature, extent and impact of these practices in different countries. Several reports indicate that these practices manifest in varying forms and in some cases include violence and coercion, which has been likened to torture and other forms of harm. Furthermore, perpetrators of these practices vary and include traditional and religious actors, healthcare practitioners as well as family members and government institutions. Evidence indicates that little has been done to eradicate the practice in many African countries. Panellists will provide crucial context, highlighting the nature, extent, and impact of conversion practices across Africa as well as the harms implicit in these practices. Panellists will explore and propose existing or potential strategies to end conversion practices across the continent.

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RSVP Sohela Surajpal (sohela.surajpal@up.ac.za) to attend and copy Dr Ayodele Sogunro (ayodele.sogunro@up.ac.za)

Upcoming Conference 

african moot conference 2023

The Africa We Want: Sexual and Gender Minority rights in Africa, Climate Change and Corruption

As part of the Christof Heyns African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, which takes place from 3 - 9 September 2023, at the Faculty of Law, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, a one-day International Human Rights Conference will also be held on 4 September 2023 under the theme “The Africa We Want: Sexual and Gender minority rghts in Africa, Climate Change and Corruption”. 

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Past Conferences 

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The 6th Annual African Disability Rights Conference will be held from 6 to 7 November 2018 at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in South Africa. This year’s conference will focus on addressing the barriers to implementation of inclusive education in the African region.  

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, will be hosting a regional conference titled ‘Fulfilling the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community: Promoting choice, inclusion and participation’. The 7th Annual Disability Rights Conference will be held on 11 and 12 November 2019 in Johannesburg. 

In 2020, the conference will focus on developing responses for overcoming barriers faced by persons with disabilities in the respect, protection and fulfilment of the right to health in the African region.

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Date: 17 - 18 November 2020  
Session 1: 08:00 – 11:00 GMT | 09:00 – 12:00 WAT | 10:00 – 13:00 SAST | 11:00 – 14:00 EAT  
Session 2: 12:00 – 15:00 GMT | 13:00 – 16:00 WAT | 14:00 – 17:00 SAST | 15:00 – 18:00 EAT  
Venue: Online (Zoom)


In its preamble and substantive provisions, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) underscores the imperative of securing equality and human dignity for persons with disabilities in all socio-economic sectors, including in the provision of health care and related services.

About the Conference 

For the past seven years, the Centre for Human Rights has hosted the Annual Disability Rights Conference in November of each year. The conference acts as a platform for convening dialogue amongst key stakeholders on disability rights, and to spotlight the pertinent and emerging disability rights concerns in the African region. More information on previous editions of the conference  can be found at www.chr.up.ac.za/disability-rights-projects/dru-annual-conference 

In 2020, the conference will focus on developing responses for overcoming barriers faced by persons with disabilities in the respect, protection and fulfilment of the right to health in the  African region.
The conference has two main complementary objectives:

  1. to critically appraise laws, policies, practices, programmes, polities and ideologies that impede the respect, protection and fulfilment of the right to health of persons with disabilities; and
  2. to suggest how to overcome the impediments. Discussions during the conference will contribute towards the realisation of the right to health of persons with disabilities as set out in Article 25 of the Convention on the  Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Article 15 of the Protocol to the African Charter on  Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (African Disability  Rights Protocol).  

The conference seeks to bring together scholars, practitioners, care and service providers,  researchers and other pertinent actors from the African region and beyond who are working on various aspects of the right to health of persons with disabilities.

Submission specifications

A committee will review abstracts that are in English, are 400-450 words in length, without footnotes or endnotes, and in MS Word format (not PDF). Abstracts must include in a single document: title of abstract, author’s name, affiliation, qualifications, email address and body of abstract.

Important dates

  • Abstracts must be sent by email to tariro.rufetu@up.ac.za by 14 September 2020.
  • Authors wishing to discuss ideas before submitting an abstract can contact the convenors at charles.ngwena@up.ac.za /nkatha.murungi@up.ac.za.
  • Authors will be notified by 17 September 2020 whether their abstract has been accepted.
  • Authors of accepted abstracts are required to submit full papers by 30 October 2020.


Authors whose conference paper is accepted for presentation at the conference may be considered for reimbursement or modest compensation for data costs related to their participation in the conference.

For more information, please contact: 

Innocentia Mgijima-Konopi
Manager: Disability Rights and Law Schools Programme

Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 6398
Fax: +27 (0) 86 580 5743

Tariro Rufetu
Programme Officer: Disability Rights Unit

Tel: +27 (0)12 420 6398
Fax: +27 (0) 86 580 5743

The Freedom of Expression and Access to Information Unit participated in the Ghana Data Protection Conference which took place from 20 to 21 April 2017 in Accra, Ghana. 

The Conference, which was organised by the Ghana Data Protection Commission, brought together a broad range of stakeholders to amongst other things share knowledge on data protection issues and developments around the world.

In line with the theme of the conference of ‘Safeguarding Fundamental Human Rights through Data Protection’, the Unit presented findings of its on-going research on the adoption of a human rights based approach to data protection in Africa.

This conference is part of the Unit’s on-going project with Google, which involves collaboration on advancing data protection/privacy in Africa through research, training and advocacy.

On 4 and 5 November 2014, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted an academic conference on disability rights with a focus on the effective implementation of the rights of women with disabilities in Africa. Fifteen papers were presented at the conference, on a diverse range of issues including political participation, access to education, sexual and reproductive rights, building an inclusive environment, resource allocation, access to justice and violence against women with disabilities. The conference drew participants from more than 15 countries and approximately 50 people attended the conference. Participants included persons with disabilities, their families, civil society groups as well as advocates for disability law reform, lawyers, policy makers, academics and practitioners from around the world.

The Centre for Human Rights at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a conference on the effective implementation of the rights of women with disabilities in Africa.

The Conference is on the theme ‘Overcoming obstacles: Towards the effective implementation of the rights of women with disabilities in Africa’ and will be presented by scholars, practitioners and disability activists from all over the world, but particularly from Africa.

Date: 4 and 5 November 2014
Time: 09:00 to 17:00
Venue: Auditorium,Plant Sciences Building, Hatfield Campus, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
RSVP:  Kindly confirm your attendance by Friday 31 October 2014 by sending an email to carole.viljoen@up.ac.za
Enquiries: Ms Carole Viljoen (012 420 3810 / carole.viljoen@up.ac.za)
GPS: 25°45’16.5”S 28°14’01.5”E

No registration fee is charged but pre-registration is compulsory.



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