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(By Professor Daniel Bradlow)

The COVID-19 crisis is one of many indicators that we live in dangerous and uncertain times. Others include the international community’s struggle to respond to technological and climate change, demographic shifts, growing poverty and inequality as well as increased global insecurity. 

The semi-final rounds of the 29th 2020 edition of the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition were held virtually and separately in French and English from 9 - 14 November 2020. This marks the first time that semi-final rounds have been part of the competition.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Democracy Development Program (DDP), under the umbrella of the established Pan-African Parliament (PAP) CSO forum, is hosting a dialogue to engage young Africans on matters related to Africa’s politics and development and the workings of the PAP in particular.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is alarmed by the arrest and detention of three human rights defenders by Egyptian authorities last week, marking a troubling escalation in an ongoing campaign of harassment and intimidation that has thus far failed to silence various organisations dedicated to defending fundamental human rights in the country.

The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) recently launched a video and a comic book prepared from the report on Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). FPIC is a legal right for indigenous people in terms of international law, based on the principle of self-determination and it is also the collective right of indigenous peoples to negotiate the terms of externally imposed policies, programs, and projects that directly affect their livelihoods and well-being.

The 8th Annual Disability Rights Conference was held on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 November 2020, virtually via zoom. The theme for this year’s two-day conference was ‘realising the right to health of persons with disabilities in Africa’. The conference focused on developing responses for overcoming barriers faced by persons with disabilities in the respect, protection and fulfilment of the right to health in the African region. 

During his visit to Bern last week, the Burkinabe Minister of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, Mr  Harouna Kaboré has marked his disagreement with the “Popular Initiative for Responsible  Multinationals” that will be submitted to a vote in Switzerland on November 29th. According to  Minister Harouna Kaboré, the adoption of this Initiative would cause "serious socio-economic problems" in Burkina. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, calls for support for Professor Benyam Dawit Mezmur’s candidacy for re-election to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to be held on 24 November 2020.

Award-winning dissertation: A comparative analysis of the role of lawyers in the settlement of international disputes and the development of international law

In conversation with Jonathan Kabre

The International Development Law Unit (IDLU) at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria invites you to 4 workshops to discuss papers focusing on the impacts and challenges relating to the sovereign debt situations in the SADC member countries.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Global Development Policy Center at Boston University, Southern African Development Community Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE), SADC Development Finance Resource Centre (SADC-DFRC) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa cordially invite you to the launch of the report Expanding Renewable Energy for Access and Development: The Role of Development Finance Institutions in Southern Africa, featuring a discussion of the study and Q&A with the audience.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in partnership with Amnesty International, African Court Coalition, Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA), Coalition for the Independence of the African Commission (CIAC) and Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER), cordially invite you to a webinar for reflection on the current state of the African human rights system and the role of key stakeholders in strengthening and supporting the regional human rights bodies.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Monitoring, Evaluation and Advocacy Co-Ordinator. The deadline for applications is 27 November 2020.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Manager for the Children's Rights Unit. The deadline for applications is 27 November 2020.

Members of the Freedom from Violence Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, have for the last five years been leading the process in the United Nations (UN) to develop a coherent set of international standards on the management of demonstrations.

The Centre for Human Rights, Equality Now and International Commission of Jurists (Kenya Chapter) have drafted Shadow Reporting Guidelines in response to Resolution 436 by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. The resolution recognises the need to have a set of guidelines to guide non-state actors to submit appropriate shadow reports to the Commission. Please take a moment to go through the draft guidelines and fill out the accompanying questionnaire which will assist us to improve the draft guidelines.

#EndSARS: Practical implications of the protests on Nigerian citizens

In conversation with Ayodele Sogunro

For the first time in its 29-year history, the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition took place virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the restriction on movements and the various mitigating measures adopted by several countries on the continent. 29 English-speaking and 7 French-speaking teams took part in the online preliminary rounds from 21 September to 21 October 2020. The semi-final rounds take place from 9 to 14 November, and the final round on 28 November. All these rounds are virtual, using the Zoom platform.

#EndSARS: The need for police reform and justice for victims of police brutality in Nigeria

In conversation with Victoria Ibezim- Ohaeri

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a virtual conference on 4 and 5 November 2020. The theme of the conference is ‘Elections and COVID-19: Harnessing the pandemic to improve elections.’ The conference is organised by the Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit and the Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights. The conference invites academics, policymakers, practitioners, researchers and other stakeholders with a keen interest in democracy and elections, information technology and human rights law in the African context.

The African Human Rights Policy Papers is a series of concise, thoughtful and accessible papers published by the Centre for Human Rights at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. The series runs from 2020. These papers set out key findings on contemporary topics related to human rights, good governance, social justice and democratisation in Africa. In some cases, the topics may extend to the broader range of issues related to the rule of law and international law. The primary aim of the papers is to provide policy guidance to relevant stakeholders and decision makers. Ancillary aims include: supporting advocacy campaigns, spreading knowledge, and sparking public debate on selected issues. 

The Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, recently developed a Toolkit for civil society advocacy in the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). Despite its potentially crucial role in PAP’s activities, civil society organisations (CSOs) still know very little about this institution. For most CSOs, the PAP, and the African Union (AU) in general, are largely invisible, and too distant to access or influence with their advocacy. This Toolkit aims to change that.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is an internationally recognised hybrid institution; both an academic department in the Faculty of Law and a NGO/CSO that combines academic excellence, effective activism, education, training, research and capacity-building to advance human rights in Africa.

The 29th edition of  the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition adopted, for the first time, a hybrid format following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is part of a coalition of seven global disability rights organisations that have called for urgent action by States and the international community to halt the catastrophic failure to protect the lives, health, and rights of persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statement by the Coalition for the Independence of the African Commission (CIAC): Today we mark African Human Rights Day, at a time when many Africans are struggling to come to terms with the devastating effects that Covid-19 has had on their lives. While many have lost their jobs, business, and different sources of income, others have been victims of human rights violations including rape and other gender-based violence, abusive policing, discrimination based on their race, social class, or sexual orientation.

(Op-Ed by Solomon A. Dersso, Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights)

For this year’s Africa Human Rights Day, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights commemorates this landmark event under the theme ‘Human and Peoples’ Rights and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Protecting Rights for Building Back Better’. This occasion serves to deliberate on why and how respect for and protection of human and peoples’ rights offers the recipe for a successful strategy for building back better. 

In an age during which human rights are increasingly intellectually questioned, and placed under political threat, it is reassuring and important that human rights institutions still prosper. In 2019, the Centre for Human Rights forged ahead to establish itself as a credible institution advancing the rights of particularly the most vulnerable among us in Africa, and to raise levels of understanding and awareness of rights on the continent. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to its 8th Annual Disability Rights Conference on 17 and 18 November 2020,  which will take place virtually via Zoom. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Realising the right to health of persons with disabilities in Africa’.  

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is saddened by the passing of Devikarani Priscilla Jana, anti-apartheid activist and giant of South African human rights law, on 10 October 2020. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is concerned about ongoing police brutality and human rights violations in Nigeria. These violations are in response to demonstrations by Nigerians expressing concerns about gross human rights violations by the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), particularly by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a tactical unit within the NPF designed to tackle incidents of armed robbery in Nigeria.

On 1 October 2020, the Women’s Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University for Pretoria, in partnership with International Commission of Jurists (Kenya) and Equality Now, conducted a webinar to garner the views of civil society organisations on the draft Shadow Reporting Guidelines they have developed.  

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Deputy Accountant. The deadline for applications is 9 November 2020.

On 22 October 2020, Validity Foundation, the European Network on Independent Living, Disability Rights International, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, the International Disability Alliance, the International Disability and Development Consortium, and the Disability Rights Fund/Disability Rights Advocacy Fund will launch the COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor Global Report.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (UP), in partnership with the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA), hosted a three-day 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 building the capacity of and empowering LGBTI+ human rights defenders in Africa, with a specific focus on how to conduct strategic litigation and advocacy. This year’s edition was held virtually from 7 to 9 October 2020.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, takes great pleasure in congratulating Dianah Msipa on her appointment by the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities onto a team of experts working on the proposed African Union (AU) Convention on Violence against Women and Children.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (the Centre) is assessing state compliance with the Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa (the Guidelines) that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) adopted during its 61st Ordinary Session in November 2017. The Centre has completed its initial country assessment under the Guidelines focusing on the 2019 elections in South Africa.

The African Human Rights Law Journal (AHRLJ) in 2020 celebrates 20 years since it first appeared. This milestone was marked with a webinar on 7 October 2020, hosted by the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), based at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. The AHRLJ is the only peer-reviewed journal focused on human rights related topics of relevance to Africa, Africans and scholars of Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a conference on privacy and data protection in Africa from 12 to 15 October 2020. The conference is organised by the Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit in collaboration with the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms Coalition(AfDec Coalition). The conference will be of interest to academics, students, policymakers and practitioners working in the areas of privacy, data protection, big data, information technology, and human rights law in Africa and others interested in understanding of the state of privacy and data protection, particularly within the African context. The conference is aimed at improving privacy and data protection scholarship in Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Global Engagement Network on Internal Displacement in Africa (GENIDA), cordially invite you to a webinar on the situation of urban IDPs in an era of COVID-19 and how protection can be secured and enhanced.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC), under the umbrella of the Solidarity for African Women's Rights (SOAWR) Network, held a three-day virtual workshop from 28 to 30 September 2020 on the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and shadow reporting. The aim of the workshop was to increase the number of shadow reports submitted to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) and to encourage a robust interaction of CSOs with the African Commission to effectively monitor the implementation of the Maputo Protocol

The Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the office of the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism hosted a virtual two-day advocacy and human rights skills training. The training, which was held online from 28 to 29 September 2020 was aimed at organisations representing persons with albinism in Southern Africa. The training was attended by individuals representing civil society organisations (CSOs) from various African countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Malawi, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique. Furthermore, the virtual platform allowed the inclusion of international participants, and included Argentina and Iraq.

On 27 August 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the African Climate Foundation hosted a webinar focusing on foreign policy and South Africa's climate change diplomacy. 

The Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) invites you to a webinar to mark 20 years of the African Human Rights Law Journal. 

The African Human Rights Law Journal in 2020 marks 20 years of consistently publishing 2 issues per year. It was first published in 2001 by Juta publishers. From 2013, it has been published as an open-access journal by PULP. The Journal is accredited with the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) and appears in a number of open access portals, including AfricanLii, the Directory of Open Access Journals and SciELO.

The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) is convening a webinar on the Second Revised Draft of the Treaty on Business and Human Rights. The webinar will be an opportunity for Africans to discuss the draft, highlight its strengths and weaknesses and reflect on the prospects of galvanising state support for its adoption.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, calls for applications for full-time doctoral scholarships in the field of sexual and/or reproductive rights in the African region. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, takes great pleasure in congratulating Professor Charles Ngwena on his appointment by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development as an advisory committee member for Project 148. 

This year's Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition saw 44 teams (39 English-language and 5 Spanish-language teams) participating for the coveted eight quarter-finalists positions places. Although the Competition is open to French-language teams, regrettably, only two teams submitted its memorials (Ecole Superieure des sciences de Pierre Elliot Trudeau (Esseget) and Catholic University of Bakavu).

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya) and Equality Now cordially invite you to a validation meeting of the shadow reporting guidelines to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is distressed by the march on 23 September 2020 against foreign nationals in the City of Tshwane (#PutSouthAfricansFirst). The marchers targeted Nigerians and Zimbabweans, in particular. While declaring that they are concerned about illegal migrants, the marchers spoke of ‘Nigerians’ and ‘Zimbabweans’ in a very general way. The march organisers in one breath expressed concern about illegal migrants and drug trafficking. By making this association between migrant status and drug trafficking, the marchers fell into the trap of generalisation and stigmatisation of all of these non-nationals as both illegal and criminal. 

The first phase of the 2020 Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition has been completed. From 19 to 23 September 2020, the preliminary rounds of the World Moot Court Competition for the first time ever took place virtually. Forty-three teams from all five United Nations regions participated in these rounds, which took place in English and Spanish.  

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, ARTICLE 19 (Eastern and Western Africa), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe, Transparency International (Kenya), and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa cordially invite you to a webinar on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is assessing state compliance with the Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa (the Guidelines) that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) adopted during its 61st Ordinary Session in November 2017. The Centre has completed its initial country assessment under the Guidelines focusing on the 2019 elections in South Africa.

The English preliminary rounds for the 29th edition for the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition will be held online from 21 September to 21 October 2020. The #AfricanMoot2020 is presented by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Université Virtuelle de Sénégal (UVS) and the Université Cheick Anta Diop de Dakar (UCAD). The preliminary rounds for the French-speaking teams have been organised separately and will be held, also online, from 12 to 16 October 2020.

The preliminary oral rounds of the 12th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Competition will be held online from 19 to 23 September 2020. The World Moot is presented by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Washington College of Law, American University and the United Nations Human Rights Council Branch (HRCB) at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, wishes to congratulate Dr Rimdolmsom Jonathan Kabre on his recent achievement. Dr Kabre, a post-doctoral research fellow at International Development Law Unit (IDLU), was awarded the 2020 Law Faculty Prize (Prix de Faculté) from the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) for the best doctoral dissertation. Dr Kabre was also awarded a grant to support the publication of his dissertation. This prize was awarded during the Opening Ceremony for the 2020 courses at the University of Lausanne, which took place on 15 September 2020.

Preparations for the 30th edition of the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, scheduled to take place from 26 to 31 July 2021, are now formally underway. Following the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by Stellenbosch University, the host for the 30th edition of the Competition, on 7  September 2020, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Prof Tawana Kupe, co-signed the MOU at the University of Pretoria on 16 September 2020. 

The Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit and the Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, are hosting a (virtual) conference on 29 October 2020 under the theme ‘Elections and COVID-19: Harnessing the pandemic to improve elections’.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar organised by the Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit on “Proactive disclosure of information and elections in South Africa”. The webinar will focus on South Africa’s compliance with the Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa, issued by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. This flows from a collaborative research report on access to information and elections during South Africa’s 2019 elections, that will be formally launched.

Preparations for the 2021 African Human Rights Moot Court Competition were formally launched on 7 September 2020 in Stellenbosch, South Africa, when the Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, Prof Frans Viljoen, the Vice Rector (Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies) of Stellenbosch University, Prof Eugene Cloete, together with the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Stellenbosch University, Prof Nicola Smit, signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

Pride Afrique, the first virtual Pan-African pride event, recently took place from 14 to 16  August. The event provided an opportunity for African LGBTIQ+ communities to meet and celebrate virtually, despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has prevented several physical pride events from being held.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria notes with disappointment the decision by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to effectively ban Caster Semenya from participating in certain competitive sporting events (400m to the mile) unless she reduces her testosterone levels to ‘acceptable female’ levels. This decision follows an appeal by Caster to the Supreme Court against a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), which upheld the validity of the World Athletics regulations on female athletes with differences of sex development (Eligibility Regulations on Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development). The CAS, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, is a private legal person under Swiss law. Its arbitration awards are subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF), and African Men for Sexual Health & Rights (AMSHeR) is currently prersenting the annual Advanced Human Rights Course on Police Oversight and Vulnerable Groups in Africa.  

(Op-Ed by Marystella A. Simiyu)

The inability of countries to ordinarily hold elections and undertake electioneering is one of the many disruptions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the passing of Advocate George Bizos on 9 September 2020, South Africa lost an exceptional human rights lawyer who devoted his life to the promotion and fostering of a human rights culture in South Africa. “His life demonstrates the best use to which the law can be put: as a tool to defend those at risk of abuse of power, and as a tool for social transformation and human connection’”, said the Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, Frans Viljoen.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, has with alarm taken note of the precarious position and imminent risk of irreparable harm to the life of Nigerian singer Yahaya Sharif Aminu. The Centre on 9 September 2020 lodged a request to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) to take immediate action, in the form of directing an urgent appeal to the Head of State, or any other appropriate form. 

About 40% of countries in Africa are at a debt-stressed level, while COVID-19 has forced a strong fiscal response globally as nations try to avoid lasting structural damage to their economies. This is according to Governor Lesetja Kganyago of the South African Reserve Bank, who spoke at the fourth annual Distributed Interdisciplinary Sovereign Debt Research and Management Conference, or D-DebtCon. The conference is taking place virtually this year in nine countries, spanning five continents, from 7 to 18 September.

The Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar on mothers impacted by albinism. The webinar, which is a dialogue on gender, albinism and human rights in South Africa is held in commemoration of Albinism Awareness Month.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar organised by the Children’s Rights Unit on the occasion of the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC). The webinar will focus on children’s rights in the digital age in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa, cordially invites you to apply for the Capacity Building Workshop on Strategic Advocacy and Litigation for human rights defenders working on 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 (‘the Centre’), is implementing a three-year project on access to the equality courts by the LGBTIQ+ community in the City of Tshwane. The overall goal of the project is to demonstrably promote the enhanced use of the Equality Courts by the South African LGBTIQ+ community in general, and the Tshwane community in particular.

An analysis of the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe

In conversation with Mr Brian Kagoro

The Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI) is holding its annual conference from 3 to 5 September on the theme 'The future of human rights: Socio-economic rights, equality and development'. Register for free on www.ahri-network.org and join us online. 

In recent days, media houses in the region and around the globe have put a spotlight on the continuation of systemic human rights violations in Zimbabwe. This state of affairs is disturbing as far as the democratic space in the country is concerned, and needs to be closely monitored by the international community. Elie Wiesel, who was a holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate rightly said that the opposite of good is not bad, but rather indifference; Indifference against human suffering, indifference against serious violations of rights by the State agents in Zimbabwe is a serious threat to peace both locally and regionally. Wiesel comprehended well that the struggle against indifference is a struggle for peace.

The Disability Rights Unit, Centre for Human Rights cordially invites you to join a training in strengthening advocacy skills in the era of COVID-19 and beyond: Human rights training for organisations representing persons with albinism in Southern Africa. 

Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosts an annual conference on disability rights in an African context during the month of November. The inaugural disability rights conference was held in 2013. The conference acts as a platform for convening dialogue amongst key stakeholders on disability rights, and to spotlight the pertinent and emerging disability rights concerns in the African region. More information on previous editions of the conference can be found at  https://www.chr.up.ac.za/disability-rights-projects/dru-annual-conference.

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

The International Development Law Unit, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to the opening session of the 4th Annual Distributed Sovereign Debt Research and Management Conference (D-DebtCon4). The opening session will start a 15:00 (SAST) and the keynote address will be given by Lesetja Kganyago South African Reserve Bank Governor.

The impact of COVID-19 on elections in Africa

In conversation with Ms Bonolo Makgale

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, the Human Rights Institute of South Africa, DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights and the Global Rainbow Foundation (Mauritius) cordially invite you to a webinar on civil society experiences on the shadow reporting mechanism of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

The webinar provides the opportunity to learn about the experiences of civil society organisations in using the shadow report mechanism for promoting human rights at national levels, especially in the absence of civil society reporting guidelines on shadow reporting to the African Commission.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar organised by the Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit on the current situation in Zimbabwe. The webinar will discuss the continuing deterioration of human rights in Zimbabwe, and provide an opportunity  to stand in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe during these challenging times.

On 11 August 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, in collaboration with the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS & Gender (CSA&G) at the University of Pretoria (UP), co-hosted a webinar on the UP Trans Protocol (the ‘Protocol’), a document developed for UP’s Institutional Transformation Committee (ITC) to address the needs of transgendered, intersex and gender-diverse students and staff members. The Protocol hopes to enable the eradication of discrimination against transgender (trans), intersex, gender non-conforming and non-binary members of the student and staff body.

On 6 August 2020, the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) based at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, held its first-ever virtual book launch. The edited volume of essays titled Exploring the link between poverty and human rights in Africa is edited by Ebenezer Durojaye and Gladys Mirugi-Mukundi, with contributions from eminent scholars from diverse backgrounds. PULP is a non-profit open-access publisher focused on advancing African scholarship.

This webinar seeks to provide reflections on aspects of the Commission’s 2020 Rules. It aims to inform, but also to provoke discussion and further criticism. The Rules of Procedure remain work-in-progress. 

This event takes place under the auspices of five NGOs that work closely with the Commission: Amnesty International; Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria; Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA); Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA); and Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA).

(By Dr Nkatha Murungi)

Women’s Day commemorates the march by about 20,000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 9 August 1956, to protest the introduction of regulations on movement, also known as pass laws by the government of South Africa at the time. The march to the Union Buildings was accompanied by similar protests in other towns and provinces, in a manner that portrayed a solid resolve and unity of purpose, for a cause that defied colour and racial differences that were the norm at the time. The march was the culmination of resistance initiatives by women in the face of state-backed oppression and brutality.

The Centre for Human Rights, in collaboration with the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS & Gender at the University of Pretoria (UP), is hosting a webinar on the UP Trans Protocol. The UP Trans Protocol is a document developed for the Institutional Transformation Committee to address the needs of transgendered, intersex and gender-diverse students and staff members.

The UP Trans Protocol hopes to enable the eradication of discrimination against transgender (trans), intersex, gender non-conforming and non-binary members of the student and staff body. It has been presented to the University’s Institutional Transformation Committee (ITC) for consideration as an approach to supporting trans, intersex, gender non-conforming and non-binary students and staff in the places where they study or work.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes the appointment by President Ramaphosa of two special envoys to engage with the deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe.  However, we regret the characterisation of a situation of serious human rights violations as “difficulties”, and urge President Ramaphosa to ensure that South Africa’s approach is not one of “quiet diplomacy” at the expense of addressing the underlying issues of impunity and lack of accountability. Given that South Africa is currently chairing the African Union, it is of increased importance for President Ramaphosa to take a clear stand against erosions of constitutional governance and the rule of law, and to insist on accountability for violations of human rights in Zimbabwe.

In answer to the question “What would it take to turn the tide of the negation of women’s rights”, a webinar commemorating Women’s Month identified two main responses: the need for mobilisation at grass root street level, and the need for building closer partnerships between men and women to achieve the full dignity and equality of women and men.

The Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA), University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Rule of Law Program for Sub-Saharan Africa, Nairobi, Kenya cordially invites you to an Online Seminar under the theme “Assessing the Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic regulations on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Eastern and Southern Africa”

The first issue of the 2020 volume of the African Human Rights Law Journal (AHRLJ) is published today (6 August 2020). The publication of this volume of the AHRLJ marks twenty years since the Journal has first appeared.  The African Human Rights Law Journal, which is the only scholarly journal focused on the African regional human rights system, is published by the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), in association with the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria.  

Understanding Indigenous People’s rights from a global perspective

In conversation with Professor Cyndy Baskin

The COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor Coordinating Group express their alarm about increasing police violence against persons with disabilities in the context of the pandemic, and are calling on governments around the world to take urgent steps to prevent acts of brutality.

The International Development Law Unit (IDLU) at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Boston University, Global Development Policy Center, the SADC Development Finance Resource Centre (SADC-DFRC), the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa recently published a report that articulates how development finance can play a significant role in helping SADC countries shift toward more renewable and accessible energy sources for their countries.

This webinar hosted jointly by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, the Leading Like Mandela Institute, the Thembekile Mandela Foundation and the United Nations, in a series of online “Mandela Talks” honours these legacies, celebrates the power of women to rise above adversity in creating a better world and remembers the indomitable spirit of Zindzi Mandela, a great daughter of the nation.

The most recent volume of the Global Campus Human Rights Journal was published on 31 July 2020. It comprises a special focus feature, foregrounding selected developments in the area of children’s rights’. The special focus results from a cooperation agreement between the Global Campus of Human Rights and the Right Livelihood Foundation. 

In 2017, the Assembly of the African Union adopted the “African Union Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020”. The Silencing the Guns campaign is part of the broader vision of Agenda 2063 with the goal of achieving the ‘Africa We Want’. It aims to ensure a prosperous, integrated and peaceful Africa with inclusive and sustainable development. In 2020, as part of the practical steps, the African Union has kicked off the Silencing the Guns campaign, targeting its member states as they are the primary duty-bearers to ensure peace and security, and the realisation of human rights within their respective jurisdictions and beyond.

The Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) invites you to the virtual book launch of Exploring the link between poverty and human rights in Africa

This book, edited by Ebenezer Durojaye and Gladys Mirugi-Mukundi, addresses poverty, one of the important issues confronting Africa, from a multi-disciplinary approach. With contributions from eminent scholars from diverse backgrounds, the book explores poverty from a human rights perspective. Its central message is that poverty is not necessarily a failure on the part of an individual, but rather caused by the actions or inactions of governments, which are often exacerbated by structural inequalities in many African societies. This in turn requires a more pragmatic approach grounded in respect for human rights. Exploring the link between poverty and human rights in Africa will be useful to researchers, policymakers, students, activists, and others interested in addressing poverty.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, wishes to congratulate Prof Charles Maimela on his appointment as the Deputy Dean: Teaching and Learning of the Faculty of Law for the period 1 August 2020 to 30 April 2024. He joins the Dean, Professor Elsabe Schoeman, at the helm of the faculty ship as it faces the stormy waters of a COVID-19 world.

(Op-Ed by Dr Ashwanne Budoo)

Since the new wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in December 2019, many states around the world have taken drastic steps including lockdowns and quarantine to ensure the minimal spread of the virus.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee last week adopted comprehensive standards on the way in which States should deal with peaceful assemblies. These guidelines are authoritative for the 173 States in the world that have ratified the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The 18-member committee of international experts adopted the General Comment as the culmination of a two-year process. The process was led by Professor Christof Heyns, former Director of the Centre for Human Rights, current Director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at the University of Pretoria and a member of the Committee. He was supported by colleagues in the Faculty of Law and a doctoral student from Kenya.

(By Professor Daniel Bradlow)

African sovereign debtors are caught on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, they are obliged to help their populations deal with the COVID virus. This requires them to mobilize as quickly as possible the maximum available resources to spend on health care and on supporting people facing hunger, homelessness and unemployment. However, they know that they cannot raise sufficient financing for these purposes merely by mobilizing domestic resources and accessing official sources of finance. 

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(By Professor Daniel Bradlow)

The COVID-19 crisis is one of many indicators that we live in dangerous and uncertain times. Others include the international community’s struggle to respond to technological and climate change, demographic shifts, growing poverty and inequality as well as increased global insecurity. 

The semi-final rounds of the 29th 2020 edition of the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition were held virtually and separately in French and English from 9 - 14 November 2020. This marks the first time that semi-final rounds have been part of the competition.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Democracy Development Program (DDP), under the umbrella of the established Pan-African Parliament (PAP) CSO forum, is hosting a dialogue to engage young Africans on matters related to Africa’s politics and development and the workings of the PAP in particular.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is alarmed by the arrest and detention of three human rights defenders by Egyptian authorities last week, marking a troubling escalation in an ongoing campaign of harassment and intimidation that has thus far failed to silence various organisations dedicated to defending fundamental human rights in the country.

The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) recently launched a video and a comic book prepared from the report on Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). FPIC is a legal right for indigenous people in terms of international law, based on the principle of self-determination and it is also the collective right of indigenous peoples to negotiate the terms of externally imposed policies, programs, and projects that directly affect their livelihoods and well-being.

The 8th Annual Disability Rights Conference was held on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 November 2020, virtually via zoom. The theme for this year’s two-day conference was ‘realising the right to health of persons with disabilities in Africa’. The conference focused on developing responses for overcoming barriers faced by persons with disabilities in the respect, protection and fulfilment of the right to health in the African region. 

During his visit to Bern last week, the Burkinabe Minister of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, Mr  Harouna Kaboré has marked his disagreement with the “Popular Initiative for Responsible  Multinationals” that will be submitted to a vote in Switzerland on November 29th. According to  Minister Harouna Kaboré, the adoption of this Initiative would cause "serious socio-economic problems" in Burkina. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, calls for support for Professor Benyam Dawit Mezmur’s candidacy for re-election to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child to be held on 24 November 2020.

Award-winning dissertation: A comparative analysis of the role of lawyers in the settlement of international disputes and the development of international law

In conversation with Jonathan Kabre

The International Development Law Unit (IDLU) at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria invites you to 4 workshops to discuss papers focusing on the impacts and challenges relating to the sovereign debt situations in the SADC member countries.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Global Development Policy Center at Boston University, Southern African Development Community Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE), SADC Development Finance Resource Centre (SADC-DFRC) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa cordially invite you to the launch of the report Expanding Renewable Energy for Access and Development: The Role of Development Finance Institutions in Southern Africa, featuring a discussion of the study and Q&A with the audience.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in partnership with Amnesty International, African Court Coalition, Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA), Coalition for the Independence of the African Commission (CIAC) and Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER), cordially invite you to a webinar for reflection on the current state of the African human rights system and the role of key stakeholders in strengthening and supporting the regional human rights bodies.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Monitoring, Evaluation and Advocacy Co-Ordinator. The deadline for applications is 27 November 2020.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Manager for the Children's Rights Unit. The deadline for applications is 27 November 2020.

Members of the Freedom from Violence Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, have for the last five years been leading the process in the United Nations (UN) to develop a coherent set of international standards on the management of demonstrations.

The Centre for Human Rights, Equality Now and International Commission of Jurists (Kenya Chapter) have drafted Shadow Reporting Guidelines in response to Resolution 436 by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. The resolution recognises the need to have a set of guidelines to guide non-state actors to submit appropriate shadow reports to the Commission. Please take a moment to go through the draft guidelines and fill out the accompanying questionnaire which will assist us to improve the draft guidelines.

#EndSARS: Practical implications of the protests on Nigerian citizens

In conversation with Ayodele Sogunro

For the first time in its 29-year history, the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition took place virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the restriction on movements and the various mitigating measures adopted by several countries on the continent. 29 English-speaking and 7 French-speaking teams took part in the online preliminary rounds from 21 September to 21 October 2020. The semi-final rounds take place from 9 to 14 November, and the final round on 28 November. All these rounds are virtual, using the Zoom platform.

#EndSARS: The need for police reform and justice for victims of police brutality in Nigeria

In conversation with Victoria Ibezim- Ohaeri

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a virtual conference on 4 and 5 November 2020. The theme of the conference is ‘Elections and COVID-19: Harnessing the pandemic to improve elections.’ The conference is organised by the Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit and the Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights. The conference invites academics, policymakers, practitioners, researchers and other stakeholders with a keen interest in democracy and elections, information technology and human rights law in the African context.

The African Human Rights Policy Papers is a series of concise, thoughtful and accessible papers published by the Centre for Human Rights at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. The series runs from 2020. These papers set out key findings on contemporary topics related to human rights, good governance, social justice and democratisation in Africa. In some cases, the topics may extend to the broader range of issues related to the rule of law and international law. The primary aim of the papers is to provide policy guidance to relevant stakeholders and decision makers. Ancillary aims include: supporting advocacy campaigns, spreading knowledge, and sparking public debate on selected issues. 

The Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, recently developed a Toolkit for civil society advocacy in the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). Despite its potentially crucial role in PAP’s activities, civil society organisations (CSOs) still know very little about this institution. For most CSOs, the PAP, and the African Union (AU) in general, are largely invisible, and too distant to access or influence with their advocacy. This Toolkit aims to change that.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is an internationally recognised hybrid institution; both an academic department in the Faculty of Law and a NGO/CSO that combines academic excellence, effective activism, education, training, research and capacity-building to advance human rights in Africa.

The 29th edition of  the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition adopted, for the first time, a hybrid format following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is part of a coalition of seven global disability rights organisations that have called for urgent action by States and the international community to halt the catastrophic failure to protect the lives, health, and rights of persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Statement by the Coalition for the Independence of the African Commission (CIAC): Today we mark African Human Rights Day, at a time when many Africans are struggling to come to terms with the devastating effects that Covid-19 has had on their lives. While many have lost their jobs, business, and different sources of income, others have been victims of human rights violations including rape and other gender-based violence, abusive policing, discrimination based on their race, social class, or sexual orientation.

(Op-Ed by Solomon A. Dersso, Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights)

For this year’s Africa Human Rights Day, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights commemorates this landmark event under the theme ‘Human and Peoples’ Rights and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Protecting Rights for Building Back Better’. This occasion serves to deliberate on why and how respect for and protection of human and peoples’ rights offers the recipe for a successful strategy for building back better. 

In an age during which human rights are increasingly intellectually questioned, and placed under political threat, it is reassuring and important that human rights institutions still prosper. In 2019, the Centre for Human Rights forged ahead to establish itself as a credible institution advancing the rights of particularly the most vulnerable among us in Africa, and to raise levels of understanding and awareness of rights on the continent. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to its 8th Annual Disability Rights Conference on 17 and 18 November 2020,  which will take place virtually via Zoom. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Realising the right to health of persons with disabilities in Africa’.  

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is saddened by the passing of Devikarani Priscilla Jana, anti-apartheid activist and giant of South African human rights law, on 10 October 2020. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is concerned about ongoing police brutality and human rights violations in Nigeria. These violations are in response to demonstrations by Nigerians expressing concerns about gross human rights violations by the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), particularly by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a tactical unit within the NPF designed to tackle incidents of armed robbery in Nigeria.

On 1 October 2020, the Women’s Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University for Pretoria, in partnership with International Commission of Jurists (Kenya) and Equality Now, conducted a webinar to garner the views of civil society organisations on the draft Shadow Reporting Guidelines they have developed.  

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Deputy Accountant. The deadline for applications is 9 November 2020.

On 22 October 2020, Validity Foundation, the European Network on Independent Living, Disability Rights International, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, the International Disability Alliance, the International Disability and Development Consortium, and the Disability Rights Fund/Disability Rights Advocacy Fund will launch the COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor Global Report.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (UP), in partnership with the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA), hosted a three-day 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 building the capacity of and empowering LGBTI+ human rights defenders in Africa, with a specific focus on how to conduct strategic litigation and advocacy. This year’s edition was held virtually from 7 to 9 October 2020.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, takes great pleasure in congratulating Dianah Msipa on her appointment by the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities onto a team of experts working on the proposed African Union (AU) Convention on Violence against Women and Children.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (the Centre) is assessing state compliance with the Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa (the Guidelines) that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) adopted during its 61st Ordinary Session in November 2017. The Centre has completed its initial country assessment under the Guidelines focusing on the 2019 elections in South Africa.

The African Human Rights Law Journal (AHRLJ) in 2020 celebrates 20 years since it first appeared. This milestone was marked with a webinar on 7 October 2020, hosted by the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), based at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. The AHRLJ is the only peer-reviewed journal focused on human rights related topics of relevance to Africa, Africans and scholars of Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a conference on privacy and data protection in Africa from 12 to 15 October 2020. The conference is organised by the Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit in collaboration with the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms Coalition(AfDec Coalition). The conference will be of interest to academics, students, policymakers and practitioners working in the areas of privacy, data protection, big data, information technology, and human rights law in Africa and others interested in understanding of the state of privacy and data protection, particularly within the African context. The conference is aimed at improving privacy and data protection scholarship in Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Global Engagement Network on Internal Displacement in Africa (GENIDA), cordially invite you to a webinar on the situation of urban IDPs in an era of COVID-19 and how protection can be secured and enhanced.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and the Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre (TLAC), under the umbrella of the Solidarity for African Women's Rights (SOAWR) Network, held a three-day virtual workshop from 28 to 30 September 2020 on the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and shadow reporting. The aim of the workshop was to increase the number of shadow reports submitted to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) and to encourage a robust interaction of CSOs with the African Commission to effectively monitor the implementation of the Maputo Protocol

The Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the office of the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism hosted a virtual two-day advocacy and human rights skills training. The training, which was held online from 28 to 29 September 2020 was aimed at organisations representing persons with albinism in Southern Africa. The training was attended by individuals representing civil society organisations (CSOs) from various African countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Malawi, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique. Furthermore, the virtual platform allowed the inclusion of international participants, and included Argentina and Iraq.

On 27 August 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the African Climate Foundation hosted a webinar focusing on foreign policy and South Africa's climate change diplomacy. 

The Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) invites you to a webinar to mark 20 years of the African Human Rights Law Journal. 

The African Human Rights Law Journal in 2020 marks 20 years of consistently publishing 2 issues per year. It was first published in 2001 by Juta publishers. From 2013, it has been published as an open-access journal by PULP. The Journal is accredited with the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) and appears in a number of open access portals, including AfricanLii, the Directory of Open Access Journals and SciELO.

The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) is convening a webinar on the Second Revised Draft of the Treaty on Business and Human Rights. The webinar will be an opportunity for Africans to discuss the draft, highlight its strengths and weaknesses and reflect on the prospects of galvanising state support for its adoption.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, calls for applications for full-time doctoral scholarships in the field of sexual and/or reproductive rights in the African region. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, takes great pleasure in congratulating Professor Charles Ngwena on his appointment by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development as an advisory committee member for Project 148. 

This year's Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition saw 44 teams (39 English-language and 5 Spanish-language teams) participating for the coveted eight quarter-finalists positions places. Although the Competition is open to French-language teams, regrettably, only two teams submitted its memorials (Ecole Superieure des sciences de Pierre Elliot Trudeau (Esseget) and Catholic University of Bakavu).

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya) and Equality Now cordially invite you to a validation meeting of the shadow reporting guidelines to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is distressed by the march on 23 September 2020 against foreign nationals in the City of Tshwane (#PutSouthAfricansFirst). The marchers targeted Nigerians and Zimbabweans, in particular. While declaring that they are concerned about illegal migrants, the marchers spoke of ‘Nigerians’ and ‘Zimbabweans’ in a very general way. The march organisers in one breath expressed concern about illegal migrants and drug trafficking. By making this association between migrant status and drug trafficking, the marchers fell into the trap of generalisation and stigmatisation of all of these non-nationals as both illegal and criminal. 

The first phase of the 2020 Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition has been completed. From 19 to 23 September 2020, the preliminary rounds of the World Moot Court Competition for the first time ever took place virtually. Forty-three teams from all five United Nations regions participated in these rounds, which took place in English and Spanish.  

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, ARTICLE 19 (Eastern and Western Africa), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe, Transparency International (Kenya), and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa cordially invite you to a webinar on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is assessing state compliance with the Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa (the Guidelines) that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) adopted during its 61st Ordinary Session in November 2017. The Centre has completed its initial country assessment under the Guidelines focusing on the 2019 elections in South Africa.

The English preliminary rounds for the 29th edition for the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition will be held online from 21 September to 21 October 2020. The #AfricanMoot2020 is presented by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Université Virtuelle de Sénégal (UVS) and the Université Cheick Anta Diop de Dakar (UCAD). The preliminary rounds for the French-speaking teams have been organised separately and will be held, also online, from 12 to 16 October 2020.

The preliminary oral rounds of the 12th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Competition will be held online from 19 to 23 September 2020. The World Moot is presented by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Washington College of Law, American University and the United Nations Human Rights Council Branch (HRCB) at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, wishes to congratulate Dr Rimdolmsom Jonathan Kabre on his recent achievement. Dr Kabre, a post-doctoral research fellow at International Development Law Unit (IDLU), was awarded the 2020 Law Faculty Prize (Prix de Faculté) from the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) for the best doctoral dissertation. Dr Kabre was also awarded a grant to support the publication of his dissertation. This prize was awarded during the Opening Ceremony for the 2020 courses at the University of Lausanne, which took place on 15 September 2020.

Preparations for the 30th edition of the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, scheduled to take place from 26 to 31 July 2021, are now formally underway. Following the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by Stellenbosch University, the host for the 30th edition of the Competition, on 7  September 2020, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Prof Tawana Kupe, co-signed the MOU at the University of Pretoria on 16 September 2020. 

The Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit and the Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, are hosting a (virtual) conference on 29 October 2020 under the theme ‘Elections and COVID-19: Harnessing the pandemic to improve elections’.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar organised by the Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit on “Proactive disclosure of information and elections in South Africa”. The webinar will focus on South Africa’s compliance with the Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa, issued by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. This flows from a collaborative research report on access to information and elections during South Africa’s 2019 elections, that will be formally launched.

Preparations for the 2021 African Human Rights Moot Court Competition were formally launched on 7 September 2020 in Stellenbosch, South Africa, when the Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, Prof Frans Viljoen, the Vice Rector (Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies) of Stellenbosch University, Prof Eugene Cloete, together with the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Stellenbosch University, Prof Nicola Smit, signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

Pride Afrique, the first virtual Pan-African pride event, recently took place from 14 to 16  August. The event provided an opportunity for African LGBTIQ+ communities to meet and celebrate virtually, despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has prevented several physical pride events from being held.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria notes with disappointment the decision by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to effectively ban Caster Semenya from participating in certain competitive sporting events (400m to the mile) unless she reduces her testosterone levels to ‘acceptable female’ levels. This decision follows an appeal by Caster to the Supreme Court against a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), which upheld the validity of the World Athletics regulations on female athletes with differences of sex development (Eligibility Regulations on Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development). The CAS, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, is a private legal person under Swiss law. Its arbitration awards are subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF), and African Men for Sexual Health & Rights (AMSHeR) is currently prersenting the annual Advanced Human Rights Course on Police Oversight and Vulnerable Groups in Africa.  

(Op-Ed by Marystella A. Simiyu)

The inability of countries to ordinarily hold elections and undertake electioneering is one of the many disruptions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the passing of Advocate George Bizos on 9 September 2020, South Africa lost an exceptional human rights lawyer who devoted his life to the promotion and fostering of a human rights culture in South Africa. “His life demonstrates the best use to which the law can be put: as a tool to defend those at risk of abuse of power, and as a tool for social transformation and human connection’”, said the Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, Frans Viljoen.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, has with alarm taken note of the precarious position and imminent risk of irreparable harm to the life of Nigerian singer Yahaya Sharif Aminu. The Centre on 9 September 2020 lodged a request to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) to take immediate action, in the form of directing an urgent appeal to the Head of State, or any other appropriate form. 

About 40% of countries in Africa are at a debt-stressed level, while COVID-19 has forced a strong fiscal response globally as nations try to avoid lasting structural damage to their economies. This is according to Governor Lesetja Kganyago of the South African Reserve Bank, who spoke at the fourth annual Distributed Interdisciplinary Sovereign Debt Research and Management Conference, or D-DebtCon. The conference is taking place virtually this year in nine countries, spanning five continents, from 7 to 18 September.

The Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar on mothers impacted by albinism. The webinar, which is a dialogue on gender, albinism and human rights in South Africa is held in commemoration of Albinism Awareness Month.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar organised by the Children’s Rights Unit on the occasion of the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC). The webinar will focus on children’s rights in the digital age in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa, cordially invites you to apply for the Capacity Building Workshop on Strategic Advocacy and Litigation for human rights defenders working on 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 (‘the Centre’), is implementing a three-year project on access to the equality courts by the LGBTIQ+ community in the City of Tshwane. The overall goal of the project is to demonstrably promote the enhanced use of the Equality Courts by the South African LGBTIQ+ community in general, and the Tshwane community in particular.

An analysis of the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe

In conversation with Mr Brian Kagoro

The Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI) is holding its annual conference from 3 to 5 September on the theme 'The future of human rights: Socio-economic rights, equality and development'. Register for free on www.ahri-network.org and join us online. 

In recent days, media houses in the region and around the globe have put a spotlight on the continuation of systemic human rights violations in Zimbabwe. This state of affairs is disturbing as far as the democratic space in the country is concerned, and needs to be closely monitored by the international community. Elie Wiesel, who was a holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate rightly said that the opposite of good is not bad, but rather indifference; Indifference against human suffering, indifference against serious violations of rights by the State agents in Zimbabwe is a serious threat to peace both locally and regionally. Wiesel comprehended well that the struggle against indifference is a struggle for peace.

The Disability Rights Unit, Centre for Human Rights cordially invites you to join a training in strengthening advocacy skills in the era of COVID-19 and beyond: Human rights training for organisations representing persons with albinism in Southern Africa. 

Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosts an annual conference on disability rights in an African context during the month of November. The inaugural disability rights conference was held in 2013. The conference acts as a platform for convening dialogue amongst key stakeholders on disability rights, and to spotlight the pertinent and emerging disability rights concerns in the African region. More information on previous editions of the conference can be found at  https://www.chr.up.ac.za/disability-rights-projects/dru-annual-conference.

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

The International Development Law Unit, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to the opening session of the 4th Annual Distributed Sovereign Debt Research and Management Conference (D-DebtCon4). The opening session will start a 15:00 (SAST) and the keynote address will be given by Lesetja Kganyago South African Reserve Bank Governor.

The impact of COVID-19 on elections in Africa

In conversation with Ms Bonolo Makgale

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, the Human Rights Institute of South Africa, DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights and the Global Rainbow Foundation (Mauritius) cordially invite you to a webinar on civil society experiences on the shadow reporting mechanism of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

The webinar provides the opportunity to learn about the experiences of civil society organisations in using the shadow report mechanism for promoting human rights at national levels, especially in the absence of civil society reporting guidelines on shadow reporting to the African Commission.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar organised by the Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit on the current situation in Zimbabwe. The webinar will discuss the continuing deterioration of human rights in Zimbabwe, and provide an opportunity  to stand in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe during these challenging times.

On 11 August 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, in collaboration with the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS & Gender (CSA&G) at the University of Pretoria (UP), co-hosted a webinar on the UP Trans Protocol (the ‘Protocol’), a document developed for UP’s Institutional Transformation Committee (ITC) to address the needs of transgendered, intersex and gender-diverse students and staff members. The Protocol hopes to enable the eradication of discrimination against transgender (trans), intersex, gender non-conforming and non-binary members of the student and staff body.

On 6 August 2020, the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) based at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, held its first-ever virtual book launch. The edited volume of essays titled Exploring the link between poverty and human rights in Africa is edited by Ebenezer Durojaye and Gladys Mirugi-Mukundi, with contributions from eminent scholars from diverse backgrounds. PULP is a non-profit open-access publisher focused on advancing African scholarship.

This webinar seeks to provide reflections on aspects of the Commission’s 2020 Rules. It aims to inform, but also to provoke discussion and further criticism. The Rules of Procedure remain work-in-progress. 

This event takes place under the auspices of five NGOs that work closely with the Commission: Amnesty International; Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria; Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA); Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA); and Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA).

(By Dr Nkatha Murungi)

Women’s Day commemorates the march by about 20,000 women to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 9 August 1956, to protest the introduction of regulations on movement, also known as pass laws by the government of South Africa at the time. The march to the Union Buildings was accompanied by similar protests in other towns and provinces, in a manner that portrayed a solid resolve and unity of purpose, for a cause that defied colour and racial differences that were the norm at the time. The march was the culmination of resistance initiatives by women in the face of state-backed oppression and brutality.

The Centre for Human Rights, in collaboration with the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS & Gender at the University of Pretoria (UP), is hosting a webinar on the UP Trans Protocol. The UP Trans Protocol is a document developed for the Institutional Transformation Committee to address the needs of transgendered, intersex and gender-diverse students and staff members.

The UP Trans Protocol hopes to enable the eradication of discrimination against transgender (trans), intersex, gender non-conforming and non-binary members of the student and staff body. It has been presented to the University’s Institutional Transformation Committee (ITC) for consideration as an approach to supporting trans, intersex, gender non-conforming and non-binary students and staff in the places where they study or work.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes the appointment by President Ramaphosa of two special envoys to engage with the deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe.  However, we regret the characterisation of a situation of serious human rights violations as “difficulties”, and urge President Ramaphosa to ensure that South Africa’s approach is not one of “quiet diplomacy” at the expense of addressing the underlying issues of impunity and lack of accountability. Given that South Africa is currently chairing the African Union, it is of increased importance for President Ramaphosa to take a clear stand against erosions of constitutional governance and the rule of law, and to insist on accountability for violations of human rights in Zimbabwe.

In answer to the question “What would it take to turn the tide of the negation of women’s rights”, a webinar commemorating Women’s Month identified two main responses: the need for mobilisation at grass root street level, and the need for building closer partnerships between men and women to achieve the full dignity and equality of women and men.

The Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA), University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Rule of Law Program for Sub-Saharan Africa, Nairobi, Kenya cordially invites you to an Online Seminar under the theme “Assessing the Implications of the COVID-19 pandemic regulations on Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Eastern and Southern Africa”

The first issue of the 2020 volume of the African Human Rights Law Journal (AHRLJ) is published today (6 August 2020). The publication of this volume of the AHRLJ marks twenty years since the Journal has first appeared.  The African Human Rights Law Journal, which is the only scholarly journal focused on the African regional human rights system, is published by the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), in association with the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria.  

Understanding Indigenous People’s rights from a global perspective

In conversation with Professor Cyndy Baskin

The COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor Coordinating Group express their alarm about increasing police violence against persons with disabilities in the context of the pandemic, and are calling on governments around the world to take urgent steps to prevent acts of brutality.

The International Development Law Unit (IDLU) at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Boston University, Global Development Policy Center, the SADC Development Finance Resource Centre (SADC-DFRC), the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa recently published a report that articulates how development finance can play a significant role in helping SADC countries shift toward more renewable and accessible energy sources for their countries.

This webinar hosted jointly by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, the Leading Like Mandela Institute, the Thembekile Mandela Foundation and the United Nations, in a series of online “Mandela Talks” honours these legacies, celebrates the power of women to rise above adversity in creating a better world and remembers the indomitable spirit of Zindzi Mandela, a great daughter of the nation.

The most recent volume of the Global Campus Human Rights Journal was published on 31 July 2020. It comprises a special focus feature, foregrounding selected developments in the area of children’s rights’. The special focus results from a cooperation agreement between the Global Campus of Human Rights and the Right Livelihood Foundation. 

In 2017, the Assembly of the African Union adopted the “African Union Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020”. The Silencing the Guns campaign is part of the broader vision of Agenda 2063 with the goal of achieving the ‘Africa We Want’. It aims to ensure a prosperous, integrated and peaceful Africa with inclusive and sustainable development. In 2020, as part of the practical steps, the African Union has kicked off the Silencing the Guns campaign, targeting its member states as they are the primary duty-bearers to ensure peace and security, and the realisation of human rights within their respective jurisdictions and beyond.

The Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) invites you to the virtual book launch of Exploring the link between poverty and human rights in Africa

This book, edited by Ebenezer Durojaye and Gladys Mirugi-Mukundi, addresses poverty, one of the important issues confronting Africa, from a multi-disciplinary approach. With contributions from eminent scholars from diverse backgrounds, the book explores poverty from a human rights perspective. Its central message is that poverty is not necessarily a failure on the part of an individual, but rather caused by the actions or inactions of governments, which are often exacerbated by structural inequalities in many African societies. This in turn requires a more pragmatic approach grounded in respect for human rights. Exploring the link between poverty and human rights in Africa will be useful to researchers, policymakers, students, activists, and others interested in addressing poverty.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, wishes to congratulate Prof Charles Maimela on his appointment as the Deputy Dean: Teaching and Learning of the Faculty of Law for the period 1 August 2020 to 30 April 2024. He joins the Dean, Professor Elsabe Schoeman, at the helm of the faculty ship as it faces the stormy waters of a COVID-19 world.

(Op-Ed by Dr Ashwanne Budoo)

Since the new wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in December 2019, many states around the world have taken drastic steps including lockdowns and quarantine to ensure the minimal spread of the virus.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee last week adopted comprehensive standards on the way in which States should deal with peaceful assemblies. These guidelines are authoritative for the 173 States in the world that have ratified the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The 18-member committee of international experts adopted the General Comment as the culmination of a two-year process. The process was led by Professor Christof Heyns, former Director of the Centre for Human Rights, current Director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at the University of Pretoria and a member of the Committee. He was supported by colleagues in the Faculty of Law and a doctoral student from Kenya.

(By Professor Daniel Bradlow)

African sovereign debtors are caught on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, they are obliged to help their populations deal with the COVID virus. This requires them to mobilize as quickly as possible the maximum available resources to spend on health care and on supporting people facing hunger, homelessness and unemployment. However, they know that they cannot raise sufficient financing for these purposes merely by mobilizing domestic resources and accessing official sources of finance.