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Spirit Day is an annual LGBTQ awareness day which was started in 2010 by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan. Spirit Day was initially created in response to many widely publicised bullying-related suicides of gay school students in 2010. The Centre for Human Rights stands with LGBTQ youth this Spirit Day, and every day. We sat down with young people who have both experienced and witnessed bullying in schools to share their perspectives with us and explain why #IHaveSpirit.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, hosted a week-long capacity building workshop on strategic litigation and advocacy for LGBTI+ human rights defenders in Africa. The workshop is an annual event organised by the Centre’s Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Unit and is aimed at empowering LGBTI+ human rights defenders in Africa, with a specific focus on how to conduct strategic advocacy and litigation. This year’s edition was held from 7 to 11 October 2019.

The Women’s Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, a non-profit organisation in Africa, conducted a state reporting workshop on 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 meeting took place at Aqua Safari Resort, Ghana from 9 to 11 October 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights on 15 October hosted a seminar at which Ambassador Maria Teresa Infante, who is a candidate for a seat on the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, provided some reflections on the contribution of Latin America to international law.

You are cordially invited by the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in collaboration with the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, the Centre for Human Rights (University of Pretoria) and the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN in Geneva to the launch of the United Nations Human Rights Guidance on Less Lethal Weapons and Related Equipment in Law Enforcement.

On 8 October 2019, the Centre for Human Rights’ Disability Rights Unit was invited by the BOLD student society to participate in an awareness event. BOLD which is an acronym for Beyond Our Limiting Disabilities is a student society for students with disabilities which aims to raise awareness on disability issues at the University.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria,  in collaboration with the Chilean Embassy, invite you  to a seminar on  Latin America and international law: Tradition and innovation delivered by  Ambassador Maria Teresa Infante (currently a candidate for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea) 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria hosted a dialogue on xenophobia, nationality, and equality in South Africa. The dialogue was warranted by the recent upsurge in xenophobic incidents in South Africa and other African countries.  The event was part of the University of Pretoria’s various initiatives to foster a culture of diversity. The dialogue explored the economic and historical perspectives of xenophobia. It further elaborated on intergenerational conversations and cultural and political identity.  The aim of the dialogue was to critique and analyse the National Action Plan (NAP) and the extent to which it pledges to tackles issues of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance. The NAP also considers the roles of both state and non-state actors and their proposed countermeasures in cases involving xenophobia, and how such interventions can be conducted in a more pragmatic manner within South African borders.

On 19 and 20 September 2019 the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, attended the sub-regional consultation to revise the draft Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa in Windhoek, Namibia. The consultation was at the invitation of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa Mr Lawrence Mute and was hosted and facilitated by the Namibia Media Trust in collaboration with ACTION Namibia Coalition.

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Civil Society Law in Africa is currently being held at the University of Pretoria. The course is presented by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a conference on fulfilling the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community by promoting choice, inclusion and participation. The conference will be held from 11 to 12 November 2019. 

After an intense but rewarding three-day meeting  (9 to 11 September 2019), the Kingdom of Eswatini finalised the drafting of their state party report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission). This after over a decade of non-compliance with the state party obligation under article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and article 26(1) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).

On 27 September 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), collaborated with the South African Information Regulator, South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), UNESCO, Media Monitoring Africa, African Centre of Excellence for Information Ethics (ACEIE), UP and other stakeholders in commemorating International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI). IDUAI is celebrated on annually on 28 September and the commemorations focused on the right of access to information in relation to digital equality and universal access to the internet.

At a memorable advocacy meeting organised by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and HelpAge International, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ms Pholile P. Shakantu, speaking on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Themba Masuku, committed to the ratification of both the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa (Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons) and Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (Protocol on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Indigenous People’s Rights in Africa was held at the University of Pretoria from 23 to 27 September 2019. The course was presented by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) and the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa (WGIP) of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

UN Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Rights of Persons with Albinism visits the University of Pretoria

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) is a powerful human rights response to violations and occurrences across the continent. Such human rights violations include the outbreaks of conflicts and civil wars in countries such as Liberia. The Republic of Liberia ratified the African Charter in 1982  and its supplement instrument – The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) in 2007.

ICLA and the Centre for Human Rights are delighted to announce the launch of their new global online repository of laws on the right of peaceful assembly.

On 17 and 18 September 2019, the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Namibian Office of the Ombudsman, hosted a training in Namibia on the right to participation in political and public life for persons with disabilities. The training, which was held at the Windhoek Country Club Resort, was aimed at civil society organisations (CSOs) working to advance the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), cordially invite you to a Civil Society Forum, to be held on the sidelines of the upcoming PAP October Ordinary Session in Midrand, South Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), cordially invites you to an anti-discrimination week dialogue. The theme of the event is on xenophobia, nationality and equality in South Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a two-day training on access to justice for persons with disabilities in Okahanja, Namibia from 18 to 19 September 2019. This training is the third of four trainings that the Centre is conducting in Southern Africa. The first training took place in Lusaka, Zambia from 22 to 23 July 2019, and the second in Pretoria, South Africa from 10 to 11 September 2019.

The seventh African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG 2019) took place on 3-9 September 2019. With a track record of producing unique cohorts of internet governance specialists for the continent and beyond, it sets itself apart by building synergies and interpersonal professional relationships that transcend beyond borders and limitations.

As the World Commemorated World Democracy Day on 15 September 2019, the Centre for Human Rights reflects on the wobbly democracy trajectory on the African continent and reiterate on the observation by the late Kofi Annan that: “no one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime.”

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Post-doctoral Fellow in the International Development Law Unit. The deadline for applications is 15 October 2019.

Former members of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission), meeting in Pretoria, initiated the setting-up of a platform to strengthen the independence of the African Commission.

A recent round table seminar brought together by the South Africa Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, with the support of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, discussed South Africa’s attitude towards global and regional accountability mechanisms. Discussions focused on international criminal accountability, and on the ease of access to regional justice for human rights violations. Reasons for South Africa’s position were provided and interrogated.

On 2 and 3 September 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights (DTDR) Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a workshop on access to information and election preparedness in Botswana. The workshop was held ahead of the Botswana general elections scheduled for 23 October 2019. The workshop was organised in collaboration with the Electoral Commissions Forum of Southern African Development Community (ECF-SADC) and the Law Department of the University of Botswana. In attendance were a diverse group of stakeholders including representatives from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the Attorney General Chambers, the Botswana Communications Authority (BOCRA), members of the media, representatives of political parties and civil society organisations (CSOs).

On 10 and 11 September 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted a two-day training workshop on access to justice for persons with disabilities. The training workshop was convened under the title ‘Ensuring access to justice for persons with disabilities: Training for justice personnel on providing accommodations in the criminal justice system’. The workshop forms part of a wider project on access to justice, which the Centre will be implementing in South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana. Facilitators included experts on access to justice from the Centre and the Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication at the University of Pretoria. In attendance were police officers, prosecutors, magistrates, officials from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, as well as the Department of Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities.

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Police Oversight and Vulnerable Groups in Africa was held at the University of Pretoria from 9 to 13 September 2019. The course was presented by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) and the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR).

WE, PARTICIPANTS of the International Conference on the Protection of Forced Migrants in Africa, gathered on 6 and 7 September 2019 at the Future Africa campus of the University of Pretoria, South Africa;

INVOKING the notion of Ubuntu; RECOGNIZING the development of progressive laws and policies governing forced displacement and migration adopted by several countries in Africa; and CALLING for a movement away from rhetoric towards the effective implementation of existing laws and policies;

An international conference on forced migration in Africa organised by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria drew attention to the plight of forced migrants – internally displaced person (IDPs) and refugees – on the continent. It was held against the background of declaration by the African Union of 2019 as the “Year of Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Returnees: Towards Durable Solution to Forced Displacement in Africa”.  

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is hosting a two-day conference, on 6 and 7 September 2019 on the theme: “Beyond 50 and 10, beyond the rhetoric: The protection of forced migrants in Africa”. 

Professor Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, on August 2019 delivered a public lecture in Kigali, Rwanda, on the contemporary challenges that the African Union human rights system faces.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, strongly condemns the recent xenophobic violence and attacks against foreign nationals in South Africa. The Centre calls on the government to develop a targeted intervention strategy. The cycle of outrage, followed by commitment to take action, but then inevitably fading into inaction, should be broken.

(By Bonolo Makgale and Lydia Chibwe)

The month of August marked women's month in South Africa, it is important to check the progress that the country has made in terms of women’s representation in politics and governance.

Almost two decades into the 21st century, women are still not accorded a place of prominence in politics and governance, particularly in Africa. This article briefly reflects on women’s political representation at the regional level, within the African Union, and then looks critically at South Africa’s implementation of women’s rights, in particular examining whether there have been tangible and sustainable gains for women’s representation during the 2019 national and provincial elections.

Dawda K Jawara, who played a considerable role in laying the foundations of the African regional human rights system, passed away on 27 August 2019.  He was 95 years old. For those following and committed to human rights in Africa, the name of Dawda Jawara takes pride of place.

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The Advanced Human Rights Course on The Right to Development in Africa, hosted by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the University of Antwerp was held at the University of Pretoria (UP).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in collaboration with the School of Law, University of Kigali  invite you to a lecture on  Contemporary challenges to the  African Union human rights system  delivered by  Prof Frans Viljoen. 

On 7 August 2019 the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ms. Ikponwosa Ero, briefed members of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Committee on Gender, Family, Youths and Persons with Disabilities of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on the annotated outline for the Draft guidelines on ending harmful practices related to manifestations of certain beliefs in witchcraft. In May 2019, the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Rules Committee of PAP adopted a resolution authorizing the drafting of the guidelines. The purpose of the briefing was therefore to elicit the input from the committee members on areas of concern or issues from specific countries or regions to be taken into consideration in the drafting of the guidelines.

On 6 August, 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Open Society Foundations - Africa Regional Office (OSF-AFRO) attended a seating at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Committee on Justice and Human Rights to appraise the parliamentarians of the  Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa. Further, the Centre sought to discuss the possibility of developing a Model Law on Access to Information and Elections under the auspices of the PAP, based on those Guidelines that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted in 2017.

On 30 and 31 July, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit and the Disability Rights Unit attended a workshop organised by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) on advancing the inclusion and participation of persons with disability in Mozambique. The workshop was attended by officials from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action (MGCSA) and Office of the Ombudsman; the Deputy President of the National Assembly. In attendence were also representatives from civil society organisations, most of them working on disability issues including the Centre for Human Rights (University of Pretoria) Light of the World, Associação dos Deficientes Moçambicanos (ADEMO), Forum das Organizações Moçambicanas de Deficientes (FAMOD), UNICEF, academia and the media.

The conference is about developing responses for realising the human right of persons with disabilities to live in the community in the African region. The focus is two-fold: 1) critically appraising laws, policies, practices, programmes, polities and ideologies that serve to impede the human right of persons with disabilities to live in the community with choices and appropriate support on an equal basis with others; and 2) suggesting reforms to overcome the impediments. The conference will be held at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa, on 11 and 12 November 2019. 

Authors of abstracts and papers should seek to propose ideas and remedial approaches which can serve as resources for assisting lawmakers, courts and tribunals, policymakers, caregivers, residential and other community support service providers, education providers, health-care providers, employers, and other pertinent actors in fulfilling the right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community. It is anticipated that papers presented at this conference will be reworked by authors and submitted for consideration for publication in the 2020 volume of the African Disability Rights Yearbook.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, cordially invites you to apply for the Capacity Building Workshop on Strategic Advocacy and Litigation targeted at the promotion and protection of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Post-doctoral Fellow in Children's Rights in Africa, and will be hosted within the Children’s Rights Unit of the Centre. The deadline for applications is 23 August 2019.

On 11 and 12 July 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, participated in the first regional consultation of the revision of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa. The regional consultation meeting, covering only Lusophone countries in Africa, was held in Maputo and was organised by the Mozambique chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).

In June 2017, Mauritius ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). In accordance with Article 26 (1) of the Maputo Protocol, the country has to submit its initial report at the 65th Session of the African Commission in October 2019.

The Disability Rights Unit (DRU) at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Zambia’s Ministry of Justice, hosted a two-day training workshop for criminal justice officials. The training workshop focused on ensuring access to justice for persons with disabilities through the provision of accommodations in the criminal justice system and was held in Lusaka from 22 to 23 July 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is pleased to announce that Prof Michelo Hansungule has been re-elected as Commissioner under the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). This will be the third term Prof Hansungule will serve as a ICJ Commissioner. Election is done by jurists and leading academics around the globe and Prof Hansungule will serve for four years. 

#HRDA20Years: The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, from 7 to 10 December 2019, celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa programme (HRDA). 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, will host a colloquium on safe abortion and realising women's human rights from 16 to 17 January 2020. We invite abstracts on overcoming barriers to safe abortion in the African region.

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Children’s Rights in Africa, hosted by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the Centre for Child Law, and the Dullah Omar Institute at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), was held from 22 to 26 July 2019 at the University of Pretoria (UP).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria recently hosted the very successful celebrations of Nelson Mandela International Day in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), aims to foster closer collaboration between and among civil society organisations (CSOs) on PAP with a view to advancing and promoting the mandate of the continental Parliament. This partnership further aims to sensitise CSOs on the workings of the PAP and promote active and constructive citizen and civil society engagement with the PAP.

The team from the University of Oxford has claimed the title as winners of the  11th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition, on 19 July 2019. Gayathree Devi KT and Ayushi Agarwal who represented the University of Oxford went up against co-finalists Nathan Ricardo and Nessa Salvador of Macquarie University from Australia. The Moot Court Competition, which focused on the UN human rights treaties, takes place annually at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

El 19 de julio de 2019, el equipo de la Universidad de Oxford se adjudicó el título de ganador de la 11va Competencia Mundial de Derechos Humanos Nelson Mandela. Gayathree Devi KT y Ayushi Agarwal, quienes representaron a la University of Oxford, se enfrentaron a los co-finalistas Nathan Ricardo y Nessa Salvador de la Macquarie University de Australia. La Competencia, que se centró en los tratados de derechos humanos de la ONU, se celebra anualmente en el Palacio de las Naciones en Ginebra, Suiza.

L’équipe du University of Oxford a remporté le titre du 11ème Concours mondial de procès simulé des droits de l’homme Nelson Mandela, le 19 juillet 2019. Gayathree Devi KT et Ayushi Agarwal, qui représentaient l’University of Oxford, ont affronté les co-finalistes, Nathan Ricardo et Nessa Salvador du Macquarie University en Australie. Le concours de procès simulé, qui s'est concentré sur les traités des droits de l'homme de l'ONU, a lieu chaque année au Palais des Nations à Genève, en Suisse.

The University of Pretoria wishes to invite applications for the following vacancy at the Centre for Human Rights (an academic department and a non-governmental organisation at the University):

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS:
Project Co-ordinator, African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) - (One post) (12 month contract appointment) - Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria

On 17 July 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), in conjunction with the Simon Nkoli Collective, the Faculty of Humanities (UP), the Department of Sociology (UP) and the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (UP), launched an exhibition showcasing the political activism of the late anti-apartheid, AIDS and LGBT struggle icon and activist Simon Nkoli.

The 11th  Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition is underway at the human rights capital of the world – Geneva, Switzerland.

(By Prof Daniel Bradlow )

Many central banks are rethinking their approach to the environmental and social impact of their operations. This is because their decisions can affect access to housing, healthcare, education, work, to adequate food and water and the security of their pensions.

The Centre for Human Rights hosted the Advanced Human Rights Course on Business and Human Rights in Africa from 1 to 5 July 2019. The course was organised by the International Development Law Unit (IDLU), in collaboration with the Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC). 

The course was attended by students on the Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HDRA) and International Trade and investment Law in Africa (TILA) programme. Other participants included PhD candidates, human rights activists and academics.

The Simon Nkoli Collective is a partnership with the Dean’s Office - Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G), Centre for Human Rights (CHR), and the Sociology Department. The Collective’s aim is to use this exhibition to open debates on transformation, social justice and ideas of memory 25 years into democracy. Moreover, the exhibition is also a celebration of the Faculty of Humanities Centenary through which Simon Nkoli’s memory is evoked as a site for reflecting on Black queer resilience. The desire to inhabit the past through Simon’s journey is to map this existence within the contradictions of (in)equality. 

(By Prof Daniel Bradlow)

African Union (AU) leaders will gather in Niger on 7 July for an Extraordinary Summit to discuss the African Continental Free Trade Area. They will be meeting at a critical moment for the continent. Many African countries are experiencing uneven growth and rising debt. All face an uncertain global environment and need the boost that closer and more dynamic continental trade relations could deliver.

The final round of the 28th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, which took place on 06 July 2019 at the Law Hight Court of Botswana, Gaborone, was won by the combined team comprising the University of  Nairobi (Nairobi), University Namibia  (Namibia) and Université Félix Houphouët (Côte d'Ivoire).

The runner up team consisted of Zambeze University (Mozambique), Makerere University (Uganda), and  University of Pretoria (South Africa). 

On 5 July 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in conjunction with the Faculty of Law, University of Botswana organised an International Conference on the Protection of Persons Forcibly Displaced in Africa in Africa. The Conference was held as part of the #AfricanMoot2019 in Gaborone, Botswana. Presenters were drawn from a wide range of backgrounds focusing on a plethora of issues relating to the issue of forced displacement in Africa.

The preliminary rounds were held on 02 and 03 July at the Faculty of Law, University of Botswana, the preliminary rounds involve all participating teams arguing the hypothetical case four times: twice as Applicants and twice as Respondents. The rounds are held separately in English, French and Portuguese and panels of judges made up of law lecturers (faculty representatives) and other human rights law experts.

The first day of the preliminary rounds of the 28th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition has kicked off at the University of Botswana.

The 28th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition was officially opened by the guest of honour Honorable Dr Unity Dow, the Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation in Botswana on 1 July 2019.

Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, and its economy is extremely underdeveloped, largely due to the First Liberian Civil War in 1989-96.  The World Bank’s recent information on the poverty rate in Liberia indicates that around 63% of the country lives on less than $1.90 per day. The alarming poverty rate in Liberia cripples growth and exacerbates other issues such as poor infrastructure, inadequate human and financial resources which are ubiquitous in the country.  These challenges affect the delivery of essential services such as health, education, and other developmental programmes. In addition, the lack of both financial and human resources has hampered the country’s ability to meet its reporting obligations to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (African Commission).

The United Nations General Assembly decided that 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day in Resolution 55/76. The significance of this day is to highlight the situation refugees across the world are facing and urge the global community to stand in solidarity with them. To mark this day, the Advocacy Unit of the Centre developed a documentary as part of the #AfricanMigrantsMatter campaign.

On 13 June 2019 the Disability Rights Unit and the Advocacy Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), celebrated International Albinism Awareness Day.

On 6 June 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held an advocacy meeting on the ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa (Older Persons Protocol) in Liberia. The event was held in collaboration with HelpAge International, the Global Alliance, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Gender to sensitise Liberia on the Older Persons Protocol and urge them to ratify it. The meeting was held at the Golden Key Hotel, Monrovia. This forms part of the Centre’s ongoing #AgeWithRights campaign to enhance the protection of older persons, focusing specifically on the rights of older women.

The Women's Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, coordinated a 4-day state reporting workshop from 26 to 30 May 2019 in the Kingdom of Eswatini. The aim of the workshop was to draft the State Party Report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (African Commission). The report is in two parts, with part A focusing on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and part B on the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Justice in Mambane, Eswatini in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights.

(By Prof Frans Viljoen)

Botswana’s High Court has ruled that private consensual sex between adults of the same sex is no longer criminal. The decision gives hope to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in African countries that still have similar laws in place. Most share a common history, with criminalisation finding its way into local law through British colonial penal codes inspired by Victorian-age morality. In total, 32 African states still criminalise same-sex acts.

Sixteen years ago, Botswana’s courts took a different view. Responding to a similar challenge, the High Court in 2003 invoked public morality to justify keeping these provisions of the Penal Code. This decision was confirmed by the Court of Appeal, which found that there was no evidence that the “approach and attitude” of the society “required a decriminalisation of those practices”. The Court did observe that the “time has not yet arrived to decriminalise homosexual practices even between consenting adult males in private”.

The High Court of Botswana has, in a landmark ruling and a unanimous decision by the bench declared Section 164 and 165 of the Botswana Penal Code that previously criminalised same-sex sexual acts, as unconstitutional. Botswana joins Angola, Mozambique, Seychelles, and South Africa as members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to have decriminalised same-sex sexual acts, a progressive outlook for this region. The Botswana decision comes not so long after Kenyan judges upheld similar provisions in the Kenyan Penal Code criminalising same-sex sexual acts, a sad contrast.

The Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, is recruiting for the position of Student Project Associate for a six month contract beginning on 1 July 2019 and ending on 31 December 2019, renewable based on performance and continued funding. Currently registered UP students are encouraged to apply.

Join the Centre for Human Rights at RightsCon Tunis 2019 to discuss the feasibility of developing a digital rights model law for Africa. The conversation looks to focus on the challenges and the likely success of developing region-specific legislation on digital rights. It looks to work on having member states work towards rights-respecting legal policy solutions for new and emerging technologies in Africa from a regional perspective. 

The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, invite you to a Brown Bag Seminar and Photo Exhibition on International Albinism Awareness Day (13 June).

The theme for International Albinism Awareness Day 2019 is #StillStandingStrong

The Pretoria Student Law Review (PSLR) is now accepting original research articles, and the traditional reviews published in the past, for the 2019 (Volume 13) edition on any topic in law and its related disciplines.

The Centre for Human Rights (the Centre), University of Pretoria, calls on the South African government to enhance the protection for older persons; and to ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa (Protocol on Older Persons).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF), hosted the annual advanced human rights short course on Effective and Accountable Policing in Africa from 27 to 31 May 2019. The course is designed for practitioners working in the field of police accountability and oversight in Africa and it chiefly seeks to examine the international human rights standards, comparative best practices and emerging continental trends around effective and accountable policing.

(By Yolanda Booyzen)

On the 28th day of the fifth month, Menstrual Hygiene (MH) Day is observed worldwide. This date echoes the menstrual cycle, which usually occurs every 28 days, while menstruation is approximately five days long. MH Day was first observed in 2014, to raise awareness of good menstrual hygiene management and how it can help girls and women reach their full potential. According to German-based NGO WASH United, which initiated the global commemoration, the silence around menstruation and the lack of access to menstruation management products directly impacts the self-esteem, health and education of girls and women, especially in developing countries.

The University of Pretoria wishes to invite applications for the following vacancy at the Centre for Human Rights (an academic department and a non-governmental organisation at the University):

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Assistant Director 
(One post) (temporary full-time, initially for a one-year contract) - Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law

(By Charles Ngwena)

Let us take a moment to reflect on the question of African identity. This is important for several reasons, not least in order to pay homage to the diversities that make up Africa against the backdrop of a colonial history which has sought to nativise Africans and treat them as if they are made from the same clay whether racially, culturally, sexually or otherwise.

The Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights (the Centre), University of Pretoria, hosted an African Day Celebration on 23 May 2019. The aim of the event was to celebrate the diversity of Africa and what it means to be African. The event further aimed to facilitate a conversation on Pan-Africanism and how South Africans as a people, can stand in solidarity with African migrants on the injustices and inhuman experiences of xenophobia in South Africa.

Le Centre for Human Rights, Faculté de Droit, Université de Pretoria et l’Université Catholique d’Afrique Centrale, Yaoundé, Cameroun, vous invite à la conférence annuelle en l’honneur de Julius Osega. 

On Monday 27 May 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with Living Stories & Memories hosted a seminar on Tibet: Culture nationalism, human rights, and self-immolation.

Students from all countries in Africa are invited to participate in the 2019 edition of FACES: African Student Cellphone Film Competition. The competition, which is now in its third year, has since 2017 awarded winners with incredible prizes (which included cash prizes and all expenses paid trip to Mauritius).

The advanced course on Effective and Accountable Policing in Africa is currently being hosted by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF).

In 2018, the Centre – together with the rest of South Africa and the world – celebrated a number of human rights landmarks. We marked 100 years since the birth of one of the greatest sons of our soil and one of the greatest human rights icons, Nelson Mandela. It was 70 years since the adoption – on 10 December 1948 – of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To commemorate those milestones, an honorary degree was awarded to former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, and a multimedia competition calling for creative portrayals of the Universal Declaration provisions. The tenth edition of the Nelson Mandela World Moot Court Competition also took place in 2018.

The Centre continued its manifold activities towards fostering a human rights culture in Africa, with academic programmes, research, contributing to the human rights discourse in Africa, advocacy and capacity building.
The dedication and professionalism of the Centre staff made this possible.

Africa Day commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963. The OAU was the precursor to the current African Union, which remains focussed on creating pan-African solutions that promote prosperity for all Africa’s citizens; a prosperity based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hosted its annual Advanced Human Rights Course (AHRC) on Judicial Enforcement of Socio-Economic Rights in Africa from 13 to 17 May 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is deeply concerned about the reported blocking of social media by the government of Eritrea to curb an impending demonstration ahead of the country’s Independence Day commemorations. Eritrea is due to celebrate its 26th Independence Day on 24 May 2019. 

On Monday 13 May 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted participants on the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Approximately fifty youth leaders and two YALI facilitators attended the programme, representing a number of countries in Southern Africa, including Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Mozambique, Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Centre was represented by the Women’s Rights Unit (Ade Johnson and Lydia Chibwe), the SOGIESC Unit (Geoffrey Ogwaro), the Disability Rights Unit (Dianah Msipa) and the Communications and Marketing team (David Ikpo).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with Living Stories & Memories, cordially invites you to a Seminar on Tibet: Culture nationalism, human rights and self-immolation. 

(By Satang Nabaneh)

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a widespread and pervasive human rights violation experienced by women and girls.  FGM refers to all procedures “involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female organs for non-medical reasons.”[1] It is estimated that more than 200 million women and girls have been cut in thirty countries across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia where FGM is concentrated. Another estimated 3 million girls are at risk of FGM annually.[2] The World Health Organization (WHO) has also estimated that 100 to 140 million women and girls worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM. It is mostly carried out on young girls at some point between infancy and the age of fifteen years old. In Africa, an estimated 92 million girls from ten years of age and above have undergone FGM.[3] 

The Women's Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mauritius, organised and facilitated a national meeting on state reporting on 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) for Mauritius. The workshop took place at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Port Louis, Mauritius from 6 to 9 May 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to an Africa Day Celebration. The theme of the event is on protecting the rights of African migrants in the context of xenophobia. The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to an Africa Day Celebration. The theme of the event is on protecting the rights of African migrants in the context of xenophobia

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Spirit Day is an annual LGBTQ awareness day which was started in 2010 by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan. Spirit Day was initially created in response to many widely publicised bullying-related suicides of gay school students in 2010. The Centre for Human Rights stands with LGBTQ youth this Spirit Day, and every day. We sat down with young people who have both experienced and witnessed bullying in schools to share their perspectives with us and explain why #IHaveSpirit.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, hosted a week-long capacity building workshop on strategic litigation and advocacy for LGBTI+ human rights defenders in Africa. The workshop is an annual event organised by the Centre’s Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Unit and is aimed at empowering LGBTI+ human rights defenders in Africa, with a specific focus on how to conduct strategic advocacy and litigation. This year’s edition was held from 7 to 11 October 2019.

The Women’s Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, a non-profit organisation in Africa, conducted a state reporting workshop on 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 meeting took place at Aqua Safari Resort, Ghana from 9 to 11 October 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights on 15 October hosted a seminar at which Ambassador Maria Teresa Infante, who is a candidate for a seat on the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, provided some reflections on the contribution of Latin America to international law.

You are cordially invited by the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in collaboration with the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, the Centre for Human Rights (University of Pretoria) and the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN in Geneva to the launch of the United Nations Human Rights Guidance on Less Lethal Weapons and Related Equipment in Law Enforcement.

On 8 October 2019, the Centre for Human Rights’ Disability Rights Unit was invited by the BOLD student society to participate in an awareness event. BOLD which is an acronym for Beyond Our Limiting Disabilities is a student society for students with disabilities which aims to raise awareness on disability issues at the University.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria,  in collaboration with the Chilean Embassy, invite you  to a seminar on  Latin America and international law: Tradition and innovation delivered by  Ambassador Maria Teresa Infante (currently a candidate for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea) 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria hosted a dialogue on xenophobia, nationality, and equality in South Africa. The dialogue was warranted by the recent upsurge in xenophobic incidents in South Africa and other African countries.  The event was part of the University of Pretoria’s various initiatives to foster a culture of diversity. The dialogue explored the economic and historical perspectives of xenophobia. It further elaborated on intergenerational conversations and cultural and political identity.  The aim of the dialogue was to critique and analyse the National Action Plan (NAP) and the extent to which it pledges to tackles issues of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance. The NAP also considers the roles of both state and non-state actors and their proposed countermeasures in cases involving xenophobia, and how such interventions can be conducted in a more pragmatic manner within South African borders.

On 19 and 20 September 2019 the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, attended the sub-regional consultation to revise the draft Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa in Windhoek, Namibia. The consultation was at the invitation of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa Mr Lawrence Mute and was hosted and facilitated by the Namibia Media Trust in collaboration with ACTION Namibia Coalition.

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Civil Society Law in Africa is currently being held at the University of Pretoria. The course is presented by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a conference on fulfilling the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community by promoting choice, inclusion and participation. The conference will be held from 11 to 12 November 2019. 

After an intense but rewarding three-day meeting  (9 to 11 September 2019), the Kingdom of Eswatini finalised the drafting of their state party report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission). This after over a decade of non-compliance with the state party obligation under article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and article 26(1) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).

On 27 September 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), collaborated with the South African Information Regulator, South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), UNESCO, Media Monitoring Africa, African Centre of Excellence for Information Ethics (ACEIE), UP and other stakeholders in commemorating International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI). IDUAI is celebrated on annually on 28 September and the commemorations focused on the right of access to information in relation to digital equality and universal access to the internet.

At a memorable advocacy meeting organised by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and HelpAge International, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ms Pholile P. Shakantu, speaking on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Themba Masuku, committed to the ratification of both the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa (Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons) and Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (Protocol on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Indigenous People’s Rights in Africa was held at the University of Pretoria from 23 to 27 September 2019. The course was presented by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) and the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa (WGIP) of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

UN Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Rights of Persons with Albinism visits the University of Pretoria

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) is a powerful human rights response to violations and occurrences across the continent. Such human rights violations include the outbreaks of conflicts and civil wars in countries such as Liberia. The Republic of Liberia ratified the African Charter in 1982  and its supplement instrument – The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) in 2007.

ICLA and the Centre for Human Rights are delighted to announce the launch of their new global online repository of laws on the right of peaceful assembly.

On 17 and 18 September 2019, the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Namibian Office of the Ombudsman, hosted a training in Namibia on the right to participation in political and public life for persons with disabilities. The training, which was held at the Windhoek Country Club Resort, was aimed at civil society organisations (CSOs) working to advance the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), cordially invite you to a Civil Society Forum, to be held on the sidelines of the upcoming PAP October Ordinary Session in Midrand, South Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), cordially invites you to an anti-discrimination week dialogue. The theme of the event is on xenophobia, nationality and equality in South Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a two-day training on access to justice for persons with disabilities in Okahanja, Namibia from 18 to 19 September 2019. This training is the third of four trainings that the Centre is conducting in Southern Africa. The first training took place in Lusaka, Zambia from 22 to 23 July 2019, and the second in Pretoria, South Africa from 10 to 11 September 2019.

The seventh African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG 2019) took place on 3-9 September 2019. With a track record of producing unique cohorts of internet governance specialists for the continent and beyond, it sets itself apart by building synergies and interpersonal professional relationships that transcend beyond borders and limitations.

As the World Commemorated World Democracy Day on 15 September 2019, the Centre for Human Rights reflects on the wobbly democracy trajectory on the African continent and reiterate on the observation by the late Kofi Annan that: “no one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime.”

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Post-doctoral Fellow in the International Development Law Unit. The deadline for applications is 15 October 2019.

Former members of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission), meeting in Pretoria, initiated the setting-up of a platform to strengthen the independence of the African Commission.

A recent round table seminar brought together by the South Africa Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, with the support of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, discussed South Africa’s attitude towards global and regional accountability mechanisms. Discussions focused on international criminal accountability, and on the ease of access to regional justice for human rights violations. Reasons for South Africa’s position were provided and interrogated.

On 2 and 3 September 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights (DTDR) Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a workshop on access to information and election preparedness in Botswana. The workshop was held ahead of the Botswana general elections scheduled for 23 October 2019. The workshop was organised in collaboration with the Electoral Commissions Forum of Southern African Development Community (ECF-SADC) and the Law Department of the University of Botswana. In attendance were a diverse group of stakeholders including representatives from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the Attorney General Chambers, the Botswana Communications Authority (BOCRA), members of the media, representatives of political parties and civil society organisations (CSOs).

On 10 and 11 September 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted a two-day training workshop on access to justice for persons with disabilities. The training workshop was convened under the title ‘Ensuring access to justice for persons with disabilities: Training for justice personnel on providing accommodations in the criminal justice system’. The workshop forms part of a wider project on access to justice, which the Centre will be implementing in South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana. Facilitators included experts on access to justice from the Centre and the Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication at the University of Pretoria. In attendance were police officers, prosecutors, magistrates, officials from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, as well as the Department of Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities.

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Police Oversight and Vulnerable Groups in Africa was held at the University of Pretoria from 9 to 13 September 2019. The course was presented by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) and the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR).

WE, PARTICIPANTS of the International Conference on the Protection of Forced Migrants in Africa, gathered on 6 and 7 September 2019 at the Future Africa campus of the University of Pretoria, South Africa;

INVOKING the notion of Ubuntu; RECOGNIZING the development of progressive laws and policies governing forced displacement and migration adopted by several countries in Africa; and CALLING for a movement away from rhetoric towards the effective implementation of existing laws and policies;

An international conference on forced migration in Africa organised by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria drew attention to the plight of forced migrants – internally displaced person (IDPs) and refugees – on the continent. It was held against the background of declaration by the African Union of 2019 as the “Year of Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Returnees: Towards Durable Solution to Forced Displacement in Africa”.  

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is hosting a two-day conference, on 6 and 7 September 2019 on the theme: “Beyond 50 and 10, beyond the rhetoric: The protection of forced migrants in Africa”. 

Professor Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, on August 2019 delivered a public lecture in Kigali, Rwanda, on the contemporary challenges that the African Union human rights system faces.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, strongly condemns the recent xenophobic violence and attacks against foreign nationals in South Africa. The Centre calls on the government to develop a targeted intervention strategy. The cycle of outrage, followed by commitment to take action, but then inevitably fading into inaction, should be broken.

(By Bonolo Makgale and Lydia Chibwe)

The month of August marked women's month in South Africa, it is important to check the progress that the country has made in terms of women’s representation in politics and governance.

Almost two decades into the 21st century, women are still not accorded a place of prominence in politics and governance, particularly in Africa. This article briefly reflects on women’s political representation at the regional level, within the African Union, and then looks critically at South Africa’s implementation of women’s rights, in particular examining whether there have been tangible and sustainable gains for women’s representation during the 2019 national and provincial elections.

Dawda K Jawara, who played a considerable role in laying the foundations of the African regional human rights system, passed away on 27 August 2019.  He was 95 years old. For those following and committed to human rights in Africa, the name of Dawda Jawara takes pride of place.

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The Advanced Human Rights Course on The Right to Development in Africa, hosted by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the University of Antwerp was held at the University of Pretoria (UP).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in collaboration with the School of Law, University of Kigali  invite you to a lecture on  Contemporary challenges to the  African Union human rights system  delivered by  Prof Frans Viljoen. 

On 7 August 2019 the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ms. Ikponwosa Ero, briefed members of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Committee on Gender, Family, Youths and Persons with Disabilities of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on the annotated outline for the Draft guidelines on ending harmful practices related to manifestations of certain beliefs in witchcraft. In May 2019, the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Rules Committee of PAP adopted a resolution authorizing the drafting of the guidelines. The purpose of the briefing was therefore to elicit the input from the committee members on areas of concern or issues from specific countries or regions to be taken into consideration in the drafting of the guidelines.

On 6 August, 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Open Society Foundations - Africa Regional Office (OSF-AFRO) attended a seating at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Committee on Justice and Human Rights to appraise the parliamentarians of the  Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa. Further, the Centre sought to discuss the possibility of developing a Model Law on Access to Information and Elections under the auspices of the PAP, based on those Guidelines that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted in 2017.

On 30 and 31 July, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit and the Disability Rights Unit attended a workshop organised by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) on advancing the inclusion and participation of persons with disability in Mozambique. The workshop was attended by officials from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action (MGCSA) and Office of the Ombudsman; the Deputy President of the National Assembly. In attendence were also representatives from civil society organisations, most of them working on disability issues including the Centre for Human Rights (University of Pretoria) Light of the World, Associação dos Deficientes Moçambicanos (ADEMO), Forum das Organizações Moçambicanas de Deficientes (FAMOD), UNICEF, academia and the media.

The conference is about developing responses for realising the human right of persons with disabilities to live in the community in the African region. The focus is two-fold: 1) critically appraising laws, policies, practices, programmes, polities and ideologies that serve to impede the human right of persons with disabilities to live in the community with choices and appropriate support on an equal basis with others; and 2) suggesting reforms to overcome the impediments. The conference will be held at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa, on 11 and 12 November 2019. 

Authors of abstracts and papers should seek to propose ideas and remedial approaches which can serve as resources for assisting lawmakers, courts and tribunals, policymakers, caregivers, residential and other community support service providers, education providers, health-care providers, employers, and other pertinent actors in fulfilling the right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community. It is anticipated that papers presented at this conference will be reworked by authors and submitted for consideration for publication in the 2020 volume of the African Disability Rights Yearbook.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, cordially invites you to apply for the Capacity Building Workshop on Strategic Advocacy and Litigation targeted at the promotion and protection of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Post-doctoral Fellow in Children's Rights in Africa, and will be hosted within the Children’s Rights Unit of the Centre. The deadline for applications is 23 August 2019.

On 11 and 12 July 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, participated in the first regional consultation of the revision of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa. The regional consultation meeting, covering only Lusophone countries in Africa, was held in Maputo and was organised by the Mozambique chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).

In June 2017, Mauritius ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). In accordance with Article 26 (1) of the Maputo Protocol, the country has to submit its initial report at the 65th Session of the African Commission in October 2019.

The Disability Rights Unit (DRU) at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Zambia’s Ministry of Justice, hosted a two-day training workshop for criminal justice officials. The training workshop focused on ensuring access to justice for persons with disabilities through the provision of accommodations in the criminal justice system and was held in Lusaka from 22 to 23 July 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is pleased to announce that Prof Michelo Hansungule has been re-elected as Commissioner under the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). This will be the third term Prof Hansungule will serve as a ICJ Commissioner. Election is done by jurists and leading academics around the globe and Prof Hansungule will serve for four years. 

#HRDA20Years: The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, from 7 to 10 December 2019, celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa programme (HRDA). 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, will host a colloquium on safe abortion and realising women's human rights from 16 to 17 January 2020. We invite abstracts on overcoming barriers to safe abortion in the African region.

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Children’s Rights in Africa, hosted by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the Centre for Child Law, and the Dullah Omar Institute at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), was held from 22 to 26 July 2019 at the University of Pretoria (UP).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria recently hosted the very successful celebrations of Nelson Mandela International Day in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), aims to foster closer collaboration between and among civil society organisations (CSOs) on PAP with a view to advancing and promoting the mandate of the continental Parliament. This partnership further aims to sensitise CSOs on the workings of the PAP and promote active and constructive citizen and civil society engagement with the PAP.

The team from the University of Oxford has claimed the title as winners of the  11th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition, on 19 July 2019. Gayathree Devi KT and Ayushi Agarwal who represented the University of Oxford went up against co-finalists Nathan Ricardo and Nessa Salvador of Macquarie University from Australia. The Moot Court Competition, which focused on the UN human rights treaties, takes place annually at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

El 19 de julio de 2019, el equipo de la Universidad de Oxford se adjudicó el título de ganador de la 11va Competencia Mundial de Derechos Humanos Nelson Mandela. Gayathree Devi KT y Ayushi Agarwal, quienes representaron a la University of Oxford, se enfrentaron a los co-finalistas Nathan Ricardo y Nessa Salvador de la Macquarie University de Australia. La Competencia, que se centró en los tratados de derechos humanos de la ONU, se celebra anualmente en el Palacio de las Naciones en Ginebra, Suiza.

L’équipe du University of Oxford a remporté le titre du 11ème Concours mondial de procès simulé des droits de l’homme Nelson Mandela, le 19 juillet 2019. Gayathree Devi KT et Ayushi Agarwal, qui représentaient l’University of Oxford, ont affronté les co-finalistes, Nathan Ricardo et Nessa Salvador du Macquarie University en Australie. Le concours de procès simulé, qui s'est concentré sur les traités des droits de l'homme de l'ONU, a lieu chaque année au Palais des Nations à Genève, en Suisse.

The University of Pretoria wishes to invite applications for the following vacancy at the Centre for Human Rights (an academic department and a non-governmental organisation at the University):

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS:
Project Co-ordinator, African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) - (One post) (12 month contract appointment) - Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria

On 17 July 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), in conjunction with the Simon Nkoli Collective, the Faculty of Humanities (UP), the Department of Sociology (UP) and the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (UP), launched an exhibition showcasing the political activism of the late anti-apartheid, AIDS and LGBT struggle icon and activist Simon Nkoli.

The 11th  Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition is underway at the human rights capital of the world – Geneva, Switzerland.

(By Prof Daniel Bradlow )

Many central banks are rethinking their approach to the environmental and social impact of their operations. This is because their decisions can affect access to housing, healthcare, education, work, to adequate food and water and the security of their pensions.

The Centre for Human Rights hosted the Advanced Human Rights Course on Business and Human Rights in Africa from 1 to 5 July 2019. The course was organised by the International Development Law Unit (IDLU), in collaboration with the Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC). 

The course was attended by students on the Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HDRA) and International Trade and investment Law in Africa (TILA) programme. Other participants included PhD candidates, human rights activists and academics.

The Simon Nkoli Collective is a partnership with the Dean’s Office - Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G), Centre for Human Rights (CHR), and the Sociology Department. The Collective’s aim is to use this exhibition to open debates on transformation, social justice and ideas of memory 25 years into democracy. Moreover, the exhibition is also a celebration of the Faculty of Humanities Centenary through which Simon Nkoli’s memory is evoked as a site for reflecting on Black queer resilience. The desire to inhabit the past through Simon’s journey is to map this existence within the contradictions of (in)equality. 

(By Prof Daniel Bradlow)

African Union (AU) leaders will gather in Niger on 7 July for an Extraordinary Summit to discuss the African Continental Free Trade Area. They will be meeting at a critical moment for the continent. Many African countries are experiencing uneven growth and rising debt. All face an uncertain global environment and need the boost that closer and more dynamic continental trade relations could deliver.

The final round of the 28th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, which took place on 06 July 2019 at the Law Hight Court of Botswana, Gaborone, was won by the combined team comprising the University of  Nairobi (Nairobi), University Namibia  (Namibia) and Université Félix Houphouët (Côte d'Ivoire).

The runner up team consisted of Zambeze University (Mozambique), Makerere University (Uganda), and  University of Pretoria (South Africa). 

On 5 July 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in conjunction with the Faculty of Law, University of Botswana organised an International Conference on the Protection of Persons Forcibly Displaced in Africa in Africa. The Conference was held as part of the #AfricanMoot2019 in Gaborone, Botswana. Presenters were drawn from a wide range of backgrounds focusing on a plethora of issues relating to the issue of forced displacement in Africa.

The preliminary rounds were held on 02 and 03 July at the Faculty of Law, University of Botswana, the preliminary rounds involve all participating teams arguing the hypothetical case four times: twice as Applicants and twice as Respondents. The rounds are held separately in English, French and Portuguese and panels of judges made up of law lecturers (faculty representatives) and other human rights law experts.

The first day of the preliminary rounds of the 28th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition has kicked off at the University of Botswana.

The 28th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition was officially opened by the guest of honour Honorable Dr Unity Dow, the Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation in Botswana on 1 July 2019.

Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world, and its economy is extremely underdeveloped, largely due to the First Liberian Civil War in 1989-96.  The World Bank’s recent information on the poverty rate in Liberia indicates that around 63% of the country lives on less than $1.90 per day. The alarming poverty rate in Liberia cripples growth and exacerbates other issues such as poor infrastructure, inadequate human and financial resources which are ubiquitous in the country.  These challenges affect the delivery of essential services such as health, education, and other developmental programmes. In addition, the lack of both financial and human resources has hampered the country’s ability to meet its reporting obligations to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (African Commission).

The United Nations General Assembly decided that 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day in Resolution 55/76. The significance of this day is to highlight the situation refugees across the world are facing and urge the global community to stand in solidarity with them. To mark this day, the Advocacy Unit of the Centre developed a documentary as part of the #AfricanMigrantsMatter campaign.

On 13 June 2019 the Disability Rights Unit and the Advocacy Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), celebrated International Albinism Awareness Day.

On 6 June 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held an advocacy meeting on the ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa (Older Persons Protocol) in Liberia. The event was held in collaboration with HelpAge International, the Global Alliance, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Gender to sensitise Liberia on the Older Persons Protocol and urge them to ratify it. The meeting was held at the Golden Key Hotel, Monrovia. This forms part of the Centre’s ongoing #AgeWithRights campaign to enhance the protection of older persons, focusing specifically on the rights of older women.

The Women's Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, coordinated a 4-day state reporting workshop from 26 to 30 May 2019 in the Kingdom of Eswatini. The aim of the workshop was to draft the State Party Report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (African Commission). The report is in two parts, with part A focusing on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and part B on the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Justice in Mambane, Eswatini in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights.

(By Prof Frans Viljoen)

Botswana’s High Court has ruled that private consensual sex between adults of the same sex is no longer criminal. The decision gives hope to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in African countries that still have similar laws in place. Most share a common history, with criminalisation finding its way into local law through British colonial penal codes inspired by Victorian-age morality. In total, 32 African states still criminalise same-sex acts.

Sixteen years ago, Botswana’s courts took a different view. Responding to a similar challenge, the High Court in 2003 invoked public morality to justify keeping these provisions of the Penal Code. This decision was confirmed by the Court of Appeal, which found that there was no evidence that the “approach and attitude” of the society “required a decriminalisation of those practices”. The Court did observe that the “time has not yet arrived to decriminalise homosexual practices even between consenting adult males in private”.

The High Court of Botswana has, in a landmark ruling and a unanimous decision by the bench declared Section 164 and 165 of the Botswana Penal Code that previously criminalised same-sex sexual acts, as unconstitutional. Botswana joins Angola, Mozambique, Seychelles, and South Africa as members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to have decriminalised same-sex sexual acts, a progressive outlook for this region. The Botswana decision comes not so long after Kenyan judges upheld similar provisions in the Kenyan Penal Code criminalising same-sex sexual acts, a sad contrast.

The Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, is recruiting for the position of Student Project Associate for a six month contract beginning on 1 July 2019 and ending on 31 December 2019, renewable based on performance and continued funding. Currently registered UP students are encouraged to apply.

Join the Centre for Human Rights at RightsCon Tunis 2019 to discuss the feasibility of developing a digital rights model law for Africa. The conversation looks to focus on the challenges and the likely success of developing region-specific legislation on digital rights. It looks to work on having member states work towards rights-respecting legal policy solutions for new and emerging technologies in Africa from a regional perspective. 

The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, invite you to a Brown Bag Seminar and Photo Exhibition on International Albinism Awareness Day (13 June).

The theme for International Albinism Awareness Day 2019 is #StillStandingStrong

The Pretoria Student Law Review (PSLR) is now accepting original research articles, and the traditional reviews published in the past, for the 2019 (Volume 13) edition on any topic in law and its related disciplines.

The Centre for Human Rights (the Centre), University of Pretoria, calls on the South African government to enhance the protection for older persons; and to ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa (Protocol on Older Persons).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF), hosted the annual advanced human rights short course on Effective and Accountable Policing in Africa from 27 to 31 May 2019. The course is designed for practitioners working in the field of police accountability and oversight in Africa and it chiefly seeks to examine the international human rights standards, comparative best practices and emerging continental trends around effective and accountable policing.

(By Yolanda Booyzen)

On the 28th day of the fifth month, Menstrual Hygiene (MH) Day is observed worldwide. This date echoes the menstrual cycle, which usually occurs every 28 days, while menstruation is approximately five days long. MH Day was first observed in 2014, to raise awareness of good menstrual hygiene management and how it can help girls and women reach their full potential. According to German-based NGO WASH United, which initiated the global commemoration, the silence around menstruation and the lack of access to menstruation management products directly impacts the self-esteem, health and education of girls and women, especially in developing countries.

The University of Pretoria wishes to invite applications for the following vacancy at the Centre for Human Rights (an academic department and a non-governmental organisation at the University):

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Assistant Director 
(One post) (temporary full-time, initially for a one-year contract) - Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law

(By Charles Ngwena)

Let us take a moment to reflect on the question of African identity. This is important for several reasons, not least in order to pay homage to the diversities that make up Africa against the backdrop of a colonial history which has sought to nativise Africans and treat them as if they are made from the same clay whether racially, culturally, sexually or otherwise.

The Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights (the Centre), University of Pretoria, hosted an African Day Celebration on 23 May 2019. The aim of the event was to celebrate the diversity of Africa and what it means to be African. The event further aimed to facilitate a conversation on Pan-Africanism and how South Africans as a people, can stand in solidarity with African migrants on the injustices and inhuman experiences of xenophobia in South Africa.

Le Centre for Human Rights, Faculté de Droit, Université de Pretoria et l’Université Catholique d’Afrique Centrale, Yaoundé, Cameroun, vous invite à la conférence annuelle en l’honneur de Julius Osega. 

On Monday 27 May 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with Living Stories & Memories hosted a seminar on Tibet: Culture nationalism, human rights, and self-immolation.

Students from all countries in Africa are invited to participate in the 2019 edition of FACES: African Student Cellphone Film Competition. The competition, which is now in its third year, has since 2017 awarded winners with incredible prizes (which included cash prizes and all expenses paid trip to Mauritius).

The advanced course on Effective and Accountable Policing in Africa is currently being hosted by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF).

In 2018, the Centre – together with the rest of South Africa and the world – celebrated a number of human rights landmarks. We marked 100 years since the birth of one of the greatest sons of our soil and one of the greatest human rights icons, Nelson Mandela. It was 70 years since the adoption – on 10 December 1948 – of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To commemorate those milestones, an honorary degree was awarded to former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day, and a multimedia competition calling for creative portrayals of the Universal Declaration provisions. The tenth edition of the Nelson Mandela World Moot Court Competition also took place in 2018.

The Centre continued its manifold activities towards fostering a human rights culture in Africa, with academic programmes, research, contributing to the human rights discourse in Africa, advocacy and capacity building.
The dedication and professionalism of the Centre staff made this possible.

Africa Day commemorates the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963. The OAU was the precursor to the current African Union, which remains focussed on creating pan-African solutions that promote prosperity for all Africa’s citizens; a prosperity based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hosted its annual Advanced Human Rights Course (AHRC) on Judicial Enforcement of Socio-Economic Rights in Africa from 13 to 17 May 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is deeply concerned about the reported blocking of social media by the government of Eritrea to curb an impending demonstration ahead of the country’s Independence Day commemorations. Eritrea is due to celebrate its 26th Independence Day on 24 May 2019. 

On Monday 13 May 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted participants on the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Approximately fifty youth leaders and two YALI facilitators attended the programme, representing a number of countries in Southern Africa, including Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Mozambique, Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Centre was represented by the Women’s Rights Unit (Ade Johnson and Lydia Chibwe), the SOGIESC Unit (Geoffrey Ogwaro), the Disability Rights Unit (Dianah Msipa) and the Communications and Marketing team (David Ikpo).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with Living Stories & Memories, cordially invites you to a Seminar on Tibet: Culture nationalism, human rights and self-immolation. 

(By Satang Nabaneh)

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a widespread and pervasive human rights violation experienced by women and girls.  FGM refers to all procedures “involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female organs for non-medical reasons.”[1] It is estimated that more than 200 million women and girls have been cut in thirty countries across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia where FGM is concentrated. Another estimated 3 million girls are at risk of FGM annually.[2] The World Health Organization (WHO) has also estimated that 100 to 140 million women and girls worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM. It is mostly carried out on young girls at some point between infancy and the age of fifteen years old. In Africa, an estimated 92 million girls from ten years of age and above have undergone FGM.[3] 

The Women's Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mauritius, organised and facilitated a national meeting on state reporting on 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) for Mauritius. The workshop took place at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Port Louis, Mauritius from 6 to 9 May 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to an Africa Day Celebration. The theme of the event is on protecting the rights of African migrants in the context of xenophobia. The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to an Africa Day Celebration. The theme of the event is on protecting the rights of African migrants in the context of xenophobia