The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Global Campus of Human Rights cordially invite you to a multi-disciplinary international conference on the theme ‘Democarcy under threat’.

Date: Thursday 7 December 2017
Time: 09:30 – 16:30
Venue: Auditorium, Plant Sciences, University of Pretoria

About the Global Campus of Human Rights international conference

The dawn of democracy on a global scale may be turning out to be its dusk. Even as some countries strive to reassure the global community of their commitment to democratic values, the notion of democracy itself is increasingly contested. Authoritarian governments continue to claim to rely on the will of the people as expressed by unending amendments to constitutional texts; from immigration policies to socio-economic rights, supposedly ‘stable’ democracies often proceed to negate the goals of democracy through the processes of democracy.
New and old forms of ‘democratic’ processes and institutions compete for moral authority in global d iplomacy. Beyond the question ‘What is democracy’, the argument has shifted, ever so slightly, from ‘Why democracy?’ to ‘Whose democracy?’ These are not just philosophically vexatious arguments; the way they mapped and morphed into social and political consciousness continues to have significant, and sometimes dangerous effects on the protection of human rights under domestic and international law.


Thursday 7 December 2017
Global Campus of Human Rights international conference on ‘Democracy under threat’
Auditorium, Plant Sciences, University of Pretoria


  • Departure from hotel
    Hotel reception

09:30 – 09:45

  • Welcome
    Prof Andre Boraine
    Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

09:45 – 10:30

  • ‘Democracy under threat – Global perspectives’
    Prof Manfred Nowak
    EIUC Secretary General
    University of Vienna, Austria

10:30 – 11:00

  • Tea break

11:00 – 12:30

  • Panel on ‘Global perspectives on democracy under threat’
    Chair: Dr Veronica Gomez
    Chairperson, Global Campus of Human Rights
    CIEP-UNSAM, Argentina

  • ‘Democracy and populism’
    Prof Hector Mazzei
    Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • ‘Impact of socio-economic inequality on democracy promotion: case of Georgia’
    Ms Nino Lapiashvili
    University of Tbilisi, Georgia
  • ‘Education as a tool of discrimination and violence – ‘Two schools under one roof’
    Dr Dennis Gratz
    Member of the House of Representatives, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • ‘Prospects and challenges in the institutionalization of a robust South Asian human rights protection mechanism’
    Prof Geeta Pathak Sangroula
    Kathmandu School of Law, Nepal

12:30 – 13:30

  • Lunch
    Adlers Restaurant, University of Pretoria

13:30 – 14:15

  • ‘Democracy under threat in South Africa’
    Prof Johann van der Westhuizen
    University of Pretoria (Retired Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa)

14:15 – 16:00

  • Panel on ‘Democracy in Africa’
    Chair: Prof Michelo Hansungule
    Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
  • Ms Nonhle Mbuthuma
    Amadiba Crisis Committee, Pondoland, Eastern Cape, South Africa
  • ‘AU position on recognition of governments: A threat to democracy in Africa‘
    Dr Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua
    University of Ghana
  • ‘Democratic governance or governance of democracy?
    The normative influence of international donors in African developing countries’
    Ms Yousra Abourabi
  • International University of Rabat, Morocco
    Prof Joseph Kiarie Mwaura
    University of Nairobi

16:00 – 16:15

  • Concluding remarks
    Prof Frans Villjoen
    Director, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria


  • Departure for conference dinner
    (Global Campus, EIUC and HRDA Partners, HRDA students and Centre for Human Rights staff members)
    Foyer, Faculty of Law

18:00 – 22:00

  • Conference dinner
    The Farm Inn


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