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The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to theThe Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to theopening of its academic programmes. 

On Thursday 22 February 2024, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, the Embassy of France in South Africa, Lesotho, and Malawi (Embassy of France), and the Delegation of Flanders, successfully hosted a compelling film and panel discussion celebrating two decades of the legal recognition of Same-Sex Marriages in Belgium, France and South Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre) is deeply concerned about the political situation currently unfolding in Senegal. Following President Macky Sall’s announcement on 3 February 2024 annulling the presidential elections earlier set for 25 February 2024, the actions of the Senegalese Government have continued to threaten digital rights in Senegal. The annulment is one of the most recent developments in a series of actions taken by the government leading up to the presidential elections over the past year. These actions include internet shutdowns, attacks on media practitioners and violent crackdowns on public protests. These actions violate various human rights including the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, and political participation as guaranteed in domestic national laws and under international treaties ratified by Senegal.

Civil society organisations and National Human Rights Institutions engaging with the African Union (AU) human rights mechanisms call for greater transparency in the nominations and selection of its members, and a more inclusive and participatory process. This call is especially applicable to the July 2024 elections to fill three vacancies at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria in coalition with Civil Society Organisations and the Pan-African Parliament Civil Society Forum, address the Assembly on the crisis at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP).

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The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (the Centre) stands in solidarity with the global community in observance of World Radio Day, celebrated on 13 February annually. World Radio Day emerged from a proclamation in 2011 by UNESCO member states before being endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2013. The day is commemorated in recognition of the significance of radio as a medium for accessible communication across the globe.

On Monday 5 February 2024, the Centre for Human Rights, Law Faculty, University of Pretoria held a seminar with the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel which is part of its ongoing mission to South Africa. The purpose of the seminar was to discuss the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory with the chair of the Commission Navanethem Pillay and Commissioner Chris Sidoti, and staff from the Secretariat of the Commission at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Mr Giuseppe Calandruccio and Ms Sun Kim. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (the Centre), invites interested candidates to apply for the  Communications and Advocacy Internship. As a Communications and Advocacy Intern at the Centre for Human Rights, you will play a crucial role in advancing our mission by assisting in the development and execution of strategic communication and advocacy initiatives. This internship offers an exciting opportunity for individuals interested in gaining hands-on experience in non-profit communication, advocacy, and social impact.

We invite submissions for fully developed articles and case discussions proposing to make ground-breaking academic-style contributions to the human rights discourse in Africa. Although the contributions are expected to take a continental (African) approach to the issues they cover, country-specific or sub-regional level case studies that relate to the African regional human rights system will also be considered. In so far as methodology is concerned, contributions adopting multidisciplinary and empirical approaches are highly encouraged.

The Centre for Human Rights,Faculty of Law,  University of Pretoria welcomes and applauds the recent adoption of the Resolution on mass surveillance and unlawful targeted surveillance by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission).  Resolution 573 was adopted during the 77th Ordinary Session of the African Commission held from 20 October to 9 November 2023 in Arusha, Tanzania. The landmark Resolution on the deployment of mass and unlawful targeted communication surveillance and its impact on human rights in Africa, is a significant step by the African Commission in recognising the importance of human rights protection in an increasingly interconnected world, particularly the need to safeguard privacy rights in the face of evolving technological advancements. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre) joins the global community in commemorating Data Protection Day 2024. Launched by the Council of Europe (CoE) in 2006, Data Protection Day was set for January 28 of every year in recognition of the day that the CoE opened its data protection convention (Convention 108) for signature. The day is now celebrated across the globe, known sometimes as International Data Privacy Day to raise awareness about data protection and privacy. In celebrating the day, the Centre notes the commitments by the African Union (AU) and its member States to ensure the protection of personal information through data protection frameworks in Africa. However, given the ever-evolving nature of data use, there is a need to increase these efforts.

Social media and artificial intelligence (AI) have become integral parts of modern society, influencing communication, information dissemination, and social interactions. However, the impact of these technologies on people with disabilities has received limited attention. This book aims to explore the intersection of social media, artificial intelligence (AI), and disability in the context of the Global South, with a focus on opportunities, challenges, and strategies for promoting inclusivity and empowerment. The rapid advancement of technology, particularly in the fields of social media and artificial intelligence (AI), has the potential to significantly impact the lives of people with disabilities in the Global South. This intersection presents both opportunities and challenges in terms of accessibility, inclusion, and empowerment. Understanding the dynamics between social media, AI, and disability in the Global South is crucial for harnessing the potential benefits and addressing the potential risks.

By Prof Magnus Killander

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will be holding public hearings on 11-12 January at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the court, in a case brought by South Africa against Israel. South Africa has accused Israel of violating the 1948 Genocide Convention in its military bombardment and siege of Gaza, which started after the deadly 7 October Hamas attack on Israel. Both Israel and South Africa have ratified the genocide convention. We [The Conversation] asked human rights and international law expert Magnus Killander for his insights.

The African Disability Rights Yearbook (ADRY) is calling for papers for consideration for publication in Section A of the ADRY in 2024. 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.

On 8 December 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Law Faculty, at the University of Pretoria (the Centre), celebrated the graduation of a number of students from its masters and doctoral programs. On this occasion, 42 students graduated with Masters degrees from 4 programmes (HRDA, SRRA, MDHR, TILA), while 8 candidates graduated with doctoral degrees. Six of the eight doctoral graduates at the Ceremony, that is: Landilani Banda, Crystal Mokoena,  Lindlyn Moma, Dumisani Gandhi, Josephat Kilonzo, and Beryl Orao, were registered at the Centre. 

On  30 November 2023 the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria(UP), hosted a regional engagement on rights-based approaches to addressing disinformation in Southern Africa. The engagement  had members of academia, media and civil society from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

2023 marks 75 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and 25 years of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, OHCHR Regional Office for Southern Africa (OHCHR ROSA) and the European Union Delegation in South Africa, in partnership with Ford Foundation, hosted a commemoration of this milestone on 4 December 2023.

On 23rd November 2023, the Centre hosted a conference on sexual and gender minority rights in Africa, under the theme of decriminalising anti-sodomy laws in a hostile environment. This Conference falls within the broader work of the Centre to advance sexual and reproductive rights in Africa, including those of sexual and gender minorities. The Conference was held in a hybrid format and brought together academics, researchers, legal practitioners, activists, religious leaders and students from across the continent.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the second edition of the Advanced Human Rights Course on  Data Protection in Africa (Course). The five-day intensive online Course was organized by the Expression, Information and Digital Rights (EIDR) Unit of the Centre from 6 to 10 November 2023. This marks the second consecutive year that the Centre has organized the Course. The first edition of the Course was held from 19 to 23 September 2022. Building on the success of the first edition, this year's Course featured 19 sessions, each led by expert facilitators in the field of data protection addressing a wide range of issues in the African context.

On 24 November 2023, the Centre held a training workshop for officials from National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) focusing on the implementation of the Resolutions 275 on Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations against Persons on the basis of their real or imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity (2014) and Resolution 552 on Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Intersex Persons in Africa (2023). The training falls within the broader work of the Centre to advance sexual and reproductive rights in Africa, including those of sexual and gender minorities. The objectives of the training were to increase the understanding of the contents and significance of Resolutions 275 and 552, to strengthen the capacity of NHRIs in the implementation of the 2 Resolutions, and to enhance the ability of NHRIs to protect and promote the rights of sexual and gender minorities in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a webinar on the International Law Analysis of the Conflict between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories by Professor John Dugard.

Register on Zoom

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria are proud to announce the publication of the sixth paper in the African Human Rights Policy Papers series. 

On 4 October 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), the Information Regulator (IR), the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) held an engagement with political parties and candidates in Johannesburg to discuss the role of political parties and candidates in promoting access to information ahead of the 2024 elections.

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On 16 and 17 November 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, in collaboration with the Open Society Foundation, Amnesty International and the University of California, Berkeley, organised a workshop on Strategic litigation and state obligations to secure platform accountability in respect of the effects of technology on children. The workshop aimed to devise a litigation strategy holding states accountable for protecting children from the adverse effects of technology and the internet, with a focus on creating a test case for this strategy.

From 13 – 14 November 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria conducted a workshop on utilising General Comments on Article 14 of the of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) as tools for Advocacy on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to the webinar organised to promote the African Guiding Principles on the Rights of All Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers (Guiding Principles).

Join Webinar

Climate change is a global problem of epic proportions, which many countries around the world, including Africa, are grappling to address through a variety of measures and interventions. In order to be effective, these measures must be informed by and aim to fulfil all human rights and fundamental freedoms, leaving no one behind.

“A man who believes that to influence social change, one must invest in the individual mind.” Words of admiration spoken by Professor Frans Viljoen as a tribute to Professor Charles Ngwena at the Conference on Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Africa in honour of Professor Ngwena. On 13 and 14 November 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre) brought together over 50 scholars, researchers and activists from all over the world to commemorate Professor Ngwena’s exceptional contributions to human rights and to highlight his pioneering work in advancing SRHR in Africa.

Emerging voices of young academics represent a dynamic and promising cohort of scholars and researchers who are poised to make significant contributions to their fields. They bring a fresh perspective, innovation, and a commitment to advancing knowledge and scholarship within their areas of expertise.Emerging voices of young academics represent a dynamic and promising cohort of scholars and researchers who are poised to make significant contributions to their fields. They bring a fresh perspective, innovation, and a commitment to advancing knowledge and scholarship within their areas of expertise.

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The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (the Centre) participated in the 42nd session of the African Children’s Committee during which the Centre presented its partner statement and hosted a side event to raise awareness on the plight of intersex children in Africa on 9 November 2023.

The Centre for Human Rights, Sexual and Reproductive Rights Unit, seeks a proficient Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) consultant to conduct an in-depth assessment of its Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa programme. The programme is a postgraduate academic project, consisting of a Masters, doctoral and post-doctoral studies.

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Breaking the Binary: Intersex Remembrance Day highlights human diversity

8 November 2023 - The Centre for Human Rights (Centre), University of Pretoria joins the global community in commemorating Intersex Remembrance Day 2023. Intersex Remembrance Day, also referred to as Intersex Solidarity Day is meant to raise awareness on the issues faced by intersex persons globally. It serves as a time to reflect on the past and inspire a more inclusive future. The day was first observed in 2005, with the date having particular meaning, as it is the birthday of French Intersex activist Herculine Barbin who contributed significantly in raising awareness on intersex rights.

Pretoria, 25 - 26 April 2024

The Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) of the Faculty of Law,The Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA) of the Faculty of Law,University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), RegionalProgramme Political Dialogue for Sub-Sahara Africa based in Johannesburg, South Africa, arepleased to announce this call for papers on the theme, “Party constitutionalisation andconstitutionalism in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Download call for papers

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a Conference on Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Africa in honour of Professor Charles Ngwena which will take place on 13 and 14 November 2023 in hybrid format (Future Africa, University of Pretoria, Hillcrest Campus, Pretoria; and on Zoom).

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The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to the launch of Choice and Conscience: Lessons from South Africa for a Global Debate, which offers a fresh and insightful perspective on the intersection between politics, mobilisation of discretionary power and the exercise of conscientious objection to abortion care.

RSVP HERE 

7-8 September 2024

The mood of exuberant optimism in Africa that the so-called wind of change in the 1990s and the new era of constitutions that it appeared to have ushered in, will provide much needed political stability, economic growth and development is fast fading. After a few years of what looked like progress, there is now an eerie feeling of a return to the dark pre-1990 era. The recent spate of military coups is clearly a sign that changes to constitutionalism, have not provided a solid foundation for political stability nor facilitated the economic growth that was supposed to improve the lives of the ordinary Africans. Whilst a few elites have grown richer, most Africans have remained poor, and the quality of social services such as schools, hospitals and other basic infrastructure have instead of improving deteriorated. A combination of poor governance, corruption and a weak legal framework have contributed to this situation.

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The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, has released volume 3 of the photobook series titled Looking through the prism: Narratives of queer dignity in South Africa. This series features photographs and narratives of the lives of LGBTIQ+ persons living in South Africa. Volume 3 of the series focuses on lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) cisgender and transgender persons.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to the virtual launch of a research report on the Impact of Race and Colour on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism in South Africa.

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The Centre for Human Rights (Centre) Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Pan African International, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (PAN ILGA), held a side event on the practical steps to realising the Resolution on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Intersex Persons in Africa (Resolution 552) , on 19 October 2023 at the 79th session of the African Commission on Humana Peoples’(African Commission) Rights in Arusha. The side event was hosted under the umbrella of the African Civil Society Engagement (ACSE), a group of African Civil Society organisations working towards effective engagement with the African Commission.

On 24 October 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria in collaboration with the Coalition for Effective African Court held a stakeholders’ dialogue on the ratification of the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and increased direct access to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The event was held as one of the Centre for Human Rights side events during the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights 77 Ordinary session in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria will have a side event during the 42nd Ordinary Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights of the Child, focusing on the essential topic of Intersex Children's Rights.

Downlaod Invitation

On Monday, 2 October 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria co-hosted a public forum on Mothering, Albinism and Human Rights in South Africa: The Resilience of Mothers Affected by Albinism at the Protea Hotel, Loftus Park, in Pretoria. The public forum was hosted as a collaborative effort between the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria; the Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria; Trinity Western University, Canada; McMaster University, Canada; University of Ottawa, Canada; and University of Toronto, Canada.

On 23 October 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (the Centre) hosted a side event on the margins of the ongoing 77th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) taking place in Arusha, Tanzania. The side event was aimed at highlighting issues emerging from the apparent concurrence and overlap of reporting processes related to the implementation of the Maputo Protocol.  The processes of concern are the State Periodic Reporting to the African Commission as outlined under the Guidelines on State Reporting under the Maputo Protocol, and the reporting under the Maputo Protocol Score Card Index which was recently adopted by the African Union.

On October 6, 2024, the Centre for Human Rights ( Centre), University of Pretoria held a training for members of the LGBTIQ+ community on accessing Equality Courts in South Africa. The event was held in collaboration with Nelson Mandela University (NMU) Transformation Office in Gqeberha. 

The training is part of a larger project on Equality Courts in South Africa, aiming to raise awareness about the South African Equality Courts for the purposes of building capacity, confidence and knowledge in seeking redress for discrimination. The training began on 5 October, led by Adelaide Karomo from the NMU Transformation Office, with a short session on implicit bias and explored how bias can quickly turn into unfair discrimination.

From 12 – 13 October 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria conducted the 2nd edition of its capacity building workshop for African civil society organisations on engagement with the African human rights system.  The event took place at Murray Guest House Brooklyn, Pretoria.

The workshop brought together civil society organisations from various African countries. Its primary aim was to acquaint participants with the foundational frameworks of the African human rights system and the institutions overseeing these norms. Additionally, attendees gained insights into the practical aspects of interfacing with African human rights bodies, for purposes of promoting and protecting human rights in Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria , International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) and ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa will be hosting a side event on “the Surveillance and human rights in Africa,” to promote human rights based approaches to the practice of surveillance and raise awareness on its human rights implications. Principle 41 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (the Declaration), calls on States to undertake lawful targeted surveillance instead of indiscriminate and untargeted collection, storage, analysis or sharing of a person’s communications.

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The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to its 11th Annual Disability Rights Conference on 20 and 21 November 2023 which will take place in a hybrid format (Southern Sun Hotel, OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg; and on zoom). The theme of this year’s conference is “Climate change and disability in Africa: A human rights’ response”.

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The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria South Africa invites you to an event on the side-lines of the 77th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights titled: ‘Dissemination of the findings of the Study on Review of Discriminatory Laws related to Violence against Women in Africa’

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The Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) is proud to announce the winner of the Christof Heyns Memorial Thesis Award 2023. The award for the best thesis by an African doctoral candidate completed in 2022, goes to Dr Alphonce Paul Mbuya.

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The Centre for Human Rights (CHR), University of Pretoria (UP), the University of Antwerp and the government of Flanders hosted their annual advanced human rights course on the right to development.

This year, about 34 participants attended in person while 40 others followed online via Zoom. Participants were drawn from a variety of sectors including legal practitioners, human rights advocates, government officials, members of the judiciary, academics, and members of civil society organisations.

The Centre for Human Rights (Centre) , Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes the two judgements of the Supreme Court of Mauritius in Ah Seek A.R.F. v The State of Mauritius and Fokeerbux N. A. & Others v The State of Mauritius which decriminalised consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults.

This publication commemorates 23 years of the Master’s programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA). It gives a snapshot of the HRDA programme; the Centre for Human Rights where it is based, and the partner universities in collaboration with which it is presented.

Download the Alumni Diaries: 2000 -  2022

The Centre for Human Rights (Centre), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria stands in solidarity with the Chief Justice of Zambia, Dr Mumba Malila SC, who has come under attack following his remarks about the need to respect the human rights of sexual minorities in Zambia. During a public lecture commemorating the Silver Jubilee of the Supreme Court of Zambia, on 22 September 2023, held at the University of Zambia, Justice Malila was asked a question on the rights of sexual minorities in Zambia, particularly of gay persons. In his response, Justice Malila stated:

I think there is something absolutely wrong in discriminating people that are different because of their sexuality. If they are people you know who are gay, I think it is absolutely wrong in allowing them less right than you would give to anyone else. Whether people are gay or not, they are human beings at the end of the day, and human rights must be accorded to all human beings.

To commemorate this anniversary, the Centre forHuman Rights, in collaboration with Government of Flanders calls to the general public for the participationof individuals or couples who are or have been marriedunder the same-sex marriage legal system applicablein South Africa, Belgium and France to be part of theco-creation and curation process of documenting thelived realities of same-sex married couples in thesecountries through photos and videos that reflct theirjourney. Prospective participants are encouraged toindicate their interest on or before 17 October 2023.

Click here to Particapate

On 27 and 28 September 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, organised a two-day virtual seminar in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights’ Model Law on Access to Information for Africa. The Model Law was adopted on 13 February 2013, to provide legislative guidance for developing new and reviewing existing access to information laws in line with international best practices. It contains best practices and represents a harmonised approach to access to information throughout the continent and also serves as a basis for advocating for an enhanced access to information environment. The seminar provided a platform for ​​ exploring the status of access to information in Africa, including milestones and challenges.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and its partners ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa, and ARTICLE 19 Senegal and West Africa launched four reports on Proactive Disclosure of Information and Elections in Africa, during a webinar that was held on 26 September 2023. The reports assessed state compliance with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights 2017 Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa (the Guidelines). The studies focused on the recent elections in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and The Gambia. The initiative was undertaken with the support of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, currently led by Hon Commissioner Ourveena Geeresha Topsy-Sonoo.

On September 18-19 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria hosted a hybrid Human Rights Strategic Litigation and Advocacy Training Workshop to curb the adverse effects of Climate Change and environmental shocks in Africa, at the Plant Sciences Complex in the University of the Pretoria. The event brought together legal professionals, judges, and scholars from Southern Africa to explore the critical intersections of climate change, human rights, and climate justice in Africa, with a specific focus on the SADC region. The event was opened by the convener of the event, Dr Elvis Fokala and soon after, the Assistant Director of the Centre for Human Rights, Mr Lloyd Kuveya and the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Elsabe Schoeman welcomed the participants to the University and wished them a very productive stay in Pretoria. 

As the world commemorates the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) that was proclaimed by the 74th UN General Assembly in  October 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria recalls the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa which affirms the importance of the right of access to information in the “development of the human person, the creation and nurturing of democratic societies and for enabling the exercise of other rights”. It is a fundamental right that is protected under international human rights laws and standards.

The recent developments in Nagorno-Karabakh, a month-long blockade followed by a large-scale offensive on the region by Azerbaijani forces, the protracted conflict and the ensuing humanitarian tragedy have brought great sorrow to the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society, children. Many children faced the harsh realities of malnutrition and limited access to food due to severe shortages caused by the blockade and critical infrastructure damage. Since last week, many children in Nagorno-Karabakh have been brutally killed or injured in their homes or in the streets, or went missing. In the last days, after the cease-fire, hundreds of children along with their families have been deprived of food, sanitation, and shelter, and under difficult circumstances have been forced to seek refuge in Armenia.

On 15 September 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, held its 5th edition of the African human rights bodies case discussion series at Southern Sun Hotel, Pretoria. The African human rights bodies case discussion series is part of the Centre for Human Rights efforts to improve the implementation and impact of the jurisprudence of African human rights bodies by providing a platform for stakeholders to discuss and engage with critical aspects of decisions of African human rights bodies. The 5th edition focused on the decisions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) in the cases of Justice Thomas S. Masuku v The Kingdom of Swaziland and Equality Now and Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA) v the Federal Republic of Ethiopia.

From 13-15 September 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights convened a 3-day conference on implementation and domestic impact of the decisions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) at Southern Sun Hotel, Pretoria, South Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights and its partners ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa, and ARTICLE 19 Western Africa invite stakeholders to the launch of the reports on Proactive Disclosure of Information and Elections in Africa. The reports assessed state compliance with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights 2017 Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa (the Guidelines).

On 7 September in Accra, Ghana, The Centre for Human Rights (the Centre) and Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) in partnership with Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica) and the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) held the launch of “A Guide to Your Rights: Fundamental Human Rights and Freedomsin Ghana” booklet. The launch was attended by various members of civil society, academia, representatives from the government, students and members of the media.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre), invites qualified individuals to apply for the position of Case Study Researcher--Angola/Namibia. This is a consultancy position within a collaborative research project on the application of the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (OAU Refugee Convention) to refugee displacements in the context of the effects of climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters in Africa.

This research project is a joint effort between the Centre and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Southern Africa Bureau, bringing together expertise and resources to advance our understanding of the impact of climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters on ‘public order’ within the framework of article I(2) of the OAU Refugee Convention.

The 32nd edition of the Christof Heyns African Human Rights Moot Court Competition brought together 47 teams from 14 African countries in Kumasi, Ghana. The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology from 3 – 9 September 2023 hosted the biggest gathering since before covid.

The competition started with preliminary rounds, during which 36 anglophone, 9 francophone, and 2 lusophone teams argued both sides of the hypothetical case. After rigorous arguments, ultimately 3 anglophone teams and 1 francophone team made it through to the finals.

On 8 September 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica), hosted a high-level discussion regarding civil society entry points into the African Union (AU). The discussion took place in Accra, Ghana with participants from various civil society organisations (CSOs) across Africa. 

The Danish Institute for Human Rights, iCourts Center of Excellence for International Courts, and the PhD School of the Faculty of Law of the University of Copenhagen invite PhD students working on human rights related topics to submit an application to participate in our PhD course on human rights research methods.

November 15-17, 2023
Danish Institute for Human Rights, Copenhagen

On 29 August 2023, the Centre hosted a dialogue with community leaders, leaders of faith-based organisations, hospital staff, and representatives of grassroots organisations working on the protection of refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants (migrants) in Cape Town. The dialogue is an initiative of the Centre’s which seeks to promote social cohesion, and which is necessitated by, among other factors, the need to counter anti-African migrant sentiments that have contributed to the recurrence of xenophobic violence in South Africa, mainly targeting Black African migrants.

 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is organising a two day Conference on the Implications of Illicit Financial Flows on the Right to Development in Africa. The Conference will bring together participants from a wide range of stakeholders including African governments, policymakers, representatives from AU institutions, international organisations, civil society organisations, academics, researchers and private sector representatives to raise awareness, examine causes, explore the human rights dimension, share research findings, and foster cooperation in combating IFFs. These objectives collectively aim to drive action and generate sustainable solutions to curtail IFFs and redirect resources towards inclusive and sustainable development in Africa.

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Register on Zoom

The Centre for Human Rights wishes to inform its friends, collaborating partners and all other stakeholders, of the appointment of Professor Nkatha Murungi, as Acting Director. This appointment follows the end of the term of the long-time Director, Professor Frans Viljoen, who has been the Director of the Centre since 2007. The 16 years of Prof. Viljoen’s leadership included several terms as Director, as well as interim extensions. He is now on a sabbatical, but will return and take up his position as teacher and researcher in the Centre at the start of 2024.  

On 18 August 2023, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities marked the one-year anniversary of adoption of its Guidelines on Deinstitutionalization, including in Emergencies (CRPD/C/5). Watch the official recording on UN Web TV here.

The Global Coalition on Deinstitutionalization (‘GC-DI’) is a collection of seven leading international organizations of persons with disabilities and civil society organizations. It was formed around the collective goal of promoting deinstitutionalization of persons with disabilities, under Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (‘CRPD’).

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, cordially invites you to a hybrid human rights based strategic litigation and advocacy training Workshop to curb the adverse effects of climate change and environmental shocks in Africa.

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Decriminalisation of anti-sodomy laws in an increasingly hostile environment in Africa

23 November 2023

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is convening a conference on sexual and gender minority rights in Africa under the theme decriminalisation of anti-sodomy laws in an increasingly hostile environment on sexual and gender minority rights in Africa. The aim of the conference is to critically analyse how anti-sodomy laws can be decriminalised under the prevailing hostile legal and political environment against sexual and gender minority rights in Africa.  The conference will be held in hybrid format on 23 November 2023 in South Africa and online. It is anticipated that papers presented at this conference will be reworked by authors and submitted to be part of an edited book on decriminalisation of Anti-sodomy laws in  Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria seeks the consultancy services of an experienced consultant with research expertise to conduct a study to document the impact of digital violence on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of women in Africa and measures taken by states to protect women from and respond to violence in the digital sphere.

2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ (African Commission) adoption of the Model Law on Access to Information for Africa (the Model Law). Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria will be organising a commemorative seminar on 27 and 28 September 2023, which aims to explore the status of access to information in Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria in collaboration with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) recently hosted the opening ceremony of the 32nd Christof Heyns Moot Court Competition. With its theme, "The Africa We Want: Sexual and Gender Minority Rights in Africa, Climate Change, and Corruption," this year's competition promised to be a platform for exploring critical legal issues in the African context. The opening ceremony was a star-studded event, featuring speeches from esteemed legal personalities who set the stage for what promises to be an intellectually stimulating competition.

On 22 - 24 August 2023, the Centre co-hosted a workshop with the Chair of African Legal Studies, University of Bayreuth. The workshop brought together scholars human rights in Africa and Europe, as part of a project that interrogates the reasons why some human rights violations persist with little or no change despite the establishment of extensive legal frameworks and aims to provide solutions to them. The project aims to answer three major questions: why do human rights violations persist on a large scale? Why is there such a huge disparity between the legal frameworks and incidences of violations? And what can be done to close the gap between formal protection and the lived realities of citizens? In opening the workshop, Prof Thoko Kaime, the seating Chair of African Legal Studies, Bayreuth University, expounded on the three questions as the basis for the project on intractable problems of human rights.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (the Centre), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) held a two-day Validation Workshop on the State Report of the Republic of Sierra Leone as required under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). The Workshop was held from 1 to 2 August 2023 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone ratified the African Charter in September 1983 and the Maputo Protocol in July 2015, and as of January 2023, had three outstanding reports on the African Charter. Sierra Leone is also yet to report on the Maputo Protocol since ratification.

To celebrate 20 years of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Office of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa) calls for newsletter article contributions.

In pursuit of the ideals of excellence and diversity, the University of Pretoria wishes to invite applications for the following vacancy.

The University of Pretoria's commitment to quality makes us one of the top research Universities in the country and gives us a competitive advantage in international science and technology development.

This is a present but vacant full-time permanent position. The successful candidate should be able to start on 1 January 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

On 3 - 4 August 2023, the Centre for Human Rights (the Centre), University of Pretoria, hosted a training on litigation of SRHR claims before national and regional mechanisms in Africa, at the Southern Sun Hotel in Pretoria, South Africa. The training was attended by over 40 practitioners of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The participants were drawn from several African countries, including South Africa, Mauritius, Botswana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, DRC, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Uganda.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre), invites qualified individuals to apply for the position of Case Study Researcher--Angola/Namibia. This is a consultancy position within a collaborative research project on the application of the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (OAU Refugee Convention) to refugee displacements in the context of the effects of climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters in Africa. This research project seeks to explore the impact of climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters on ‘public order’ within the framework of Article I(2) of the OAU Refugee Convention.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria is offering an internship opportunity within its Migrants’ Rights Unit. The intern will gain practical experience in the field of the rights of migrants.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre), invites qualified individuals to apply for the position of Case Study Researcher. This is a consultancy position within a collaborative research project on the application of the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (OAU Refugee Convention) to refugee displacements in the context of the effects of climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters in Africa.  This research project seeks to explore the impact of climate change, environmental degradation, and disasters on ‘public order’ within the framework of Article I(2) of the OAU Refugee Convention.

From 24 to 25 July 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria collaborated with the office of the Ombudsperson for Children in Mauritius to host a capacity building on the ‘Rights of Children with Disabilities in the African Human Rights System’.

2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights' (African Commission) adoption of the Model Law on Access to Information for Africa (the Model Law). The Model Law was adopted on February 13, 2013 and provides guidance on Member States' legislative obligations in promoting and protecting the right to access information as outlined under article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Charter) and other relevant instruments such as the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa and the Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre for Human Rights), cordially invites community leaders, school principals and teachers, leaders of faith-based organisations, representatives of grassroots organisations working in the area of refugees, asylum seekers, and other migrants, and hospital staff, to participate in a community dialogue in Cape Town, South Africa.

On 2 August 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria co-hosted Dr Serge Brammertz, Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. The theme of Dr Brammertz’s lecture was on the development and transformation of international criminal law as a branch of international law, and he also spoke about contemporary issues in the field.

On 2 August 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, hosted a child-led conference on children’s mental health in Schools in Africa, on its Hatfield Campus. The conference was attended by children nationals from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

The Centre for Human Rights, Law Faculty, University of Pretoria (Centre) held a two-day Alumni Networking Roundtable at the University of Pretoria from 27 to 28 July 2023. The Roundtable was organized as both an academic conference and networking event to reconnect the alumni of the Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation (HRDA) with each other, with the Centre, and with the current students, during this 24th year of the HRDA.

On Friday 28 July 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, at the University of Pretoria (Centre), held its inaugural Christof Heyns Human Rights Memorial Lecture, at the Aula, University of Pretoria. The event was attended by about 150 participants in person, including Christof’s wife Fearika, and two daughters, Willemien and Renée, and around 50 participants online.  The three panellists presenting the Lecture emphasised that the history and future of human rights remain based on struggle, and that the strategy against the current push back against human rights should be grounded in greater solidarity and more nuanced and sophisticated articulation of human rights language.

Bringing together over 18 activists and lawyers, the Centre for Human Rights (Centre) held a capacity building workshop on strategic litigation and advocacy for LGBTIQ+ Advocates in Africa from 24 to 28 July, 2023. The capacity building workshop which has been held annually for the last 4 years aims at enhancing the skills of experienced activists in Africa in strategic litigation and advocacy towards the protection of sexual and gender minorities on the continent.

EVENT INFORMATION

Date: Wednesday 2 August
Time: 17h00 – 18h30
Venue: Centre for Human Rights lecture hall, Faculty of Law
RSVP: mispa.roux@up.ac.za

Zoom Link

On 26 July 2023, a momentous event took place at the University of Pretoria's Faculty of Law, as the Centre for Human Rights launched its groundbreaking #RacialJustice campaign. This campaign is poised to be a catalyst for transformative change, promoting equality, understanding, and social justice in a world that continues to grapple with racial disparities. With a deep commitment to fostering inclusivity, the campaign seeks to address racial discrimination head-on and pave the way for a more equitable future.

On 20-21 July 2023, the Centre for Human Rights and the Pan-African Parliament Civil Society Forum (PAP CSO Forum), in partnership with the Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica) convened a meeting in Cote d’Ivoire with some of the West African key actors to establish a formal mechanism of engagement between the PAP and civil society.

The Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition reached a milestone, with the 15th edition of this Competition being held at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. As in 2022, the winning team emerged from the Asian region. This team, the National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi, India, was composed of Akhila Vijayan and Aishwarya Sridhar. The winning team won two Peter Coenen Scholarships for a Summer International Human Rights Implementation Programme at the University of Lucerne in Switzerland. The runner up team was St Thomas University, Canada.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, and the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), hosted a multi-stakeholder engagement on 27 and 28 June 2023 in Harare, Zimbabwe. The engagement sought to promote a healthy information ecosystem throughout the Zimbabwean election process by enhancing access to information and promoting rights-based approaches to addressing the disinformation challenge.

On a momentous day in Geneva, Switzerland, the world witnessed the fourth annual Nelson Mandela Human Rights Lecture, an event that has become a beacon of inspiration and intellectual discourse. This year's lecture focused on a critical topic that continues to shape our global landscape: the intersection of refugees and climate change. In a world grappling with both environmental and humanitarian challenges, the lecture served as a platform to address the urgent need for collective action and empathetic response.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is pleased to invite applications for the Master's degree (LLM/MPhil) in Multidisciplinary Human Rights (MDHR) for the academic year 2024. This prestigious program offers an unparalleled opportunity for students to engage in advanced studies and research in the field of human rights, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to make a lasting impact on human rights issues globally.

On 15 July 2023, the Faculty of Law and Political Science, Université Gaston Berger, in partnership with the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, hosted the annual Julius Osega Memorial Lecture, in Saint Louis, Senegal. The theme for this year’s lecture was ‘The challenges of democratisation and the protection of human rights in Africa’ (‘Les défis de la démocratisation et de la protection des droits humains en Afrique’). 

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