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 course began with a word of welcome, the setting of the course scenes, the introduction of the course programme and course exercises by Mr Lloyd Kuveya, Assistant Director of the CHR, UP and assisted by Dennis Antwi, Project Manager of the Advanced Human Rights Courses, CHR, UP.

It is worth adding the remarks made by Dr Geraldine Reymenants, the general Representative of the delegation of Flanders who expressed the need to ensure development and the readiness of her government to assist.

The course began with Professor Koen De Feyter of the University of Antwerp who virtually introduced the right to development from the perspective of UN norms and institutions. He highlighted the factors that led to the emergence of the right, particularly the intervention of Senegalese jurist and scholar, Keba Mbaye.. He thus emphasised that the right to development is an achievement of the Global South.  To give participants a clear and practical understanding of the right to development, Prof Wouter Vandenhole discussed the concept of human rights-based approaches to development, differentiating between human rights, rights-based approaches and development. On his part, Prof Bonny IBhawoh of Macmaster University dealt with the concepts of peoples and self-determination in the context of the right to development while Prof Mihir Kanade of the University of Peace, Costa Rica elaborated on the link between the right to development and sustainable development goals.

Furthermore, Dr Deborah Casalin of the University of Antwerp spoke to the theories that undergird law and development including mainstream, postmodern, alternative and multi-dimensional approaches to law and development. This was complemented by Dr Gamze Erdem Turkelli of the University of Antwerp who looked at the impact of international financial institutions especially the IFM and the World Bank on the right to development.

On the other hand, Dr Carol Ngang, Shyreen Chirwa and Dr Chairman Okoloise discussed the Endorois case, Ogiek and SERAC cases respectively to demonstrate how the right to development can be claimed.

Dr Okoloise continued with the Evolution of the Right to Development under the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. This was complemented by Dr Ngang who explained the Right-to-development governance in Africa. According to Dr Ngang, the right to development emanated from and was coined by Africans.  The concept of the right to development was further presented as a model for the realisation of Agenda 2063 by Dr Ngang, Dr Okoloise, and Dr Rita Ozoemena of the University of South Africa.

Insights were equally drawn from the work of the ACHPR’s working group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations by Dr Oyeniyi Abe of the OGEES Institute, Nigeria. Prof Nkrumah added its voice to the issues of Land, displacement and food security in Africa and how Africa can develop. Moreover, Dr Ozoemena stressed the need for a gender-responsive sustainable development framework and gender justice due to equality constraints. Ms Nona Cynthia Tamale presented on the impact of Foreign Debt on Human rights and climate change.

 Prof Christopher Mbazira from Makerere University had an interactive session with participants on how to litigate the Right to Development in Domestic Courts. Prof Kanade revisited the Concept of “Peoples” Debate between developing and developed states while Dr Donald Rukare, the Chief of Party of Freedom House in Kampala examined the effect of development assistance/ aid in Africa.

The uniqueness of the course was its continuation with a roundtable discussion on the right to development which sought to build an agenda for norm elaboration and litigation on illicit financial flows, taxation and fiscal justice within a regional and international human rights-based framework.  The roundtable discussion was facilitated by Mr Lloyd Kuveya, Ms Asha Ramgobin and Dr Matti Kohonen. The resource persons were Vanessa Ogle, historian, from Yale University who gave the keynote speech, Prof Surya Deva, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to development and Prof Attiya Waris, the UN Independent Expert on Foreign Debt.

The course was successful and we would like to reiterate our appreciation to the government of Flanders for their unwavering support.




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