The Centre for Human Rights hosted the Advanced Human Rights Course on Disability Rights in an African context from 11 – 15 March 2019. The course was organised by the Centre’s Disability Rights Unit, in collaboration with the Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC).
The course was attended by over 60 participants from 20 African countries. The participants included students on the LLM/MPhil (Disability Rights in Africa) and LLM/MPhil (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa) programmes, doctoral candidates, practitioners working with persons with disabilities, human rights activists, government officials, judicial officers, civil society members and academia.
Lecturers and speakers included:
- Dr Ilze Grobbelaar du-Plessis (Department of Public Law, University of Pretoria) who presented on The historical development of disability rights.
- Ms Elizabeth Kamundia (Kenya National Commission on Human Rights), who presented on the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (African Disability Rights Protocol),
- Prof Serges Kamga (Thabo Mbeki Institute, UNISA), who discussed why African states should ratify the African Disability Rights Protocol,
- Prof Robert Dinerstein, (American University Washington College of Law), who presented on applying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the African Disability Rights Protocol to the right to legal capacity and supported decision-making,
- Professor Helene Combrinck (Faculty of Law, North West University), who reflected critically on the intersection between gender and disability,
- Ms Perpetua Senkoro (Under the Same Sun, Tanzania), who spoke about albinism in Africa,
- Mr Tim Hodgson (International Commission of Jurists), who shared critical perspectives of economic, social and cultural rights in the CRPD and the African Disability Rights Protocol, and
- Ms Annabel Raw (Southern Africa Litigation Centre), who presented a workshop on strategic litigation.
A highlight of the course was the personal narrative by Ms Regina Ndlovu, an activist and motivator. Ms Ndlovu shared her experiences as a person with albinism, the problems she faced and how she managed to overcome these challenges.
Mr Jehoshaphat Njau, from the Centre’s Disability Rights Unit, facilitated the screening of the documentary ‘In the Shadow of the Sun’ which gave the participants a much deeper understanding on the violence experienced by persons with albinism, particularly in Tanzania. He further led a discussion on the key issues that arose from the documentary and urged the participants to consider ways in which they can engage with their communities to address the misconceptions around albinism.
The last day of the course was dedicated to having the participants present a simulated Assembly of Heads of State before the African Union. The debate was on the African Disability Rights Protocol. Participants were tasked with conducting research on the position of their assigned country regarding the Protocol, and see to what extent that could be aligned with their country’s constitution that would to lead to quicker ratification. Participants also had to write a position paper and participated in the debate. The course was a success and the participants did exceptionally well during the simulation.
The financial support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria is greatly appreciated.