The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (the Centre) at a meeting on 24 May 2022, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Office for Public Defender and Citizens’ Rights Commission in Kogi State, Nigeria (PDCRC). The PDCRC is a hybrid institution that provides legal aid for indigent individuals in Kogi State and also serves as a Human Rights Commission that tries to advance human rights in Kogi State.

The MOU is a springboard for an institutional partnership between the Centre and the PDCRC to among other things strengthen the staff of the PDCRC through the Centre’s short course and related programmes to facilitate the promotion of access to justice for the indigent people and improve the protection of the rights of vulnerable groups in Kogi state Nigeria.

The Centre for Human Rights was represented by the Director of the Centre, Prof Frans Viljoen; the Assistant Director of Programmes, Dr Nkatha Murungi; and the Assistant Director of Operations, Mr Lloyd Kuveya. The PDCRC was represented by the Director General; Abdullahi W. Zakar, the Chairman of the Governing Council of the PDCRC; Abdullahi Muizudeen Yoonus and a Legal Officer; Shaibu Isaac Adeiza. The MOU was executed in the presence of the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Elsabe Schoeman.

During the execution of the MOU, the Director General of the PDCRC stated that the key objective of the partnership is to provide capacity development for lawyers in the PDCRC through human rights education to enable the PDCRC to effectively discharge its institutional mandate as envisaged under its enabling law. He thanked the Centre for its cooperation and emphasized that the importance of the institutional partnership is underscored by the executive support that the partnership receives from the Governor of Kogi State.

The Director of the Centre, Prof Frans Viljoen stated that the Centre as an institution is delighted to provide capacity support for the PDCRC to advance human rights in Kogi state through sensitization and education of the personnel of the PDCRC around the rights of the most marginalized including women, children, persons with disabilities and other applicable groups.

During the concluding remarks, the Dean of the Faculty of Law thanked the representatives of the PDCRC for their visit to the Centre and the Law Faculty. She also expressed her gratitude to the Centre for embarking on a unique collaboration to promote human rights and expressed her desire for a replica of this model of institutional partnership across Africa.

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