The Centre for Human Rights has awarded the 2018 edition of its prestigious Vera Chirwa Award to Solomon Joojo Cobbinah in recognition of his contribution towards the advancement of the socio-economic rights of the most vulnerable in Africa, especially in Ghana, through his courageous and impactful journalism.
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Department of Public Law is launching a Master’s degree programme (LLM/MPhil) in Disability Rights in Africa. The programme is unique in that it is the first Master’s programme in disability rights in Africa. The Master’s programme focuses on the implementation of disability rights in Africa in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the newly adopted Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (African Protocol). The mission of the programme is “[E]ducating passionate defenders of the rights of persons with disabilities with a deep understanding of the rights of persons with disabilities and providing tools to work towards reasonable accommodation and against discrimination and stigma of persons with disabilities.”
On 10 December 2018, staff of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria were at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal to mark the International Human Rights Day at the AfroGames 2018 which included a Symposium on ‘Decolonising of LGBTI rights in Africa’. The symposium of hosted by University of Kwazulu-Natal’s School of Law in collaboration with the AfroGames 2018.The symposium began with a key note address Justice Edwin Cameron. It was highlighted that this year 2018 is particularly important in the discourse on the human rights of LGBTI persons on the African continent because it jointly marks 70 years of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 20 years of the passing of Simon Nkoli, one of South Africa’s most celebrated LGBTI rights and anti-apartheid activist.
On 10 and 11 December 2018, the Amsterdam Rainbow made its debut on the African continent in the Gauteng Province. The Amsterdam Rainbow dress is ‘ a work of art made from the flags of all countries in the world where homosexuality is illegal’. Being that most of the flags that make up the dress are African, it is important that the dress has come in its beauty to symbolise this sad truth.
At the Centre for Human Rights Graduation Ceremony on 7 December 2018, which was the last Graduation Ceremony presided over by the current Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University, Professor Cheryl de la Rey, an honorary doctorate degree was awarded to former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. The event, at which degrees were awarded to students in human rights, commemorates 100 years since the birth of former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, and 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
On the 28th of November, the Centre for Human Rights in Collaboration with Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Pro Bono and Human Rights Practice hosted the ‘Pride and Plight’ exhibition in Sandton, Pretoria. The exhibition brought together key partners, government representatives, and human rights advocates and showcased incredible art works by Helena Hugo, Cindy Awuor, Paulina Mazlbuko, Kenneth Nkozl, Charles Nkosl, Andrew Tshabangu, Dominic Tshabangu, Lisa Nettleton and our very own Advocacy Coordinator, Adebayo Okeowo and University of Pretoria’s Curator, Daniel Mosako.
The Keba Mbaye conference hosted by the Centre for Human Rights on 5 and 6 December 2018, aims to put Africa at the centre of scholarship and practice. It has brought together about a hundred scholars and students from across Africa, the Diaspora and India. The Centre partnered with the Makerere University, Strathmore University, and the University of Johannesburg in organising this event.
On 29 November 2018, The Centre for Human Rights, Media Institute for Southern Africa and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights organized a workshop in Harare, Zimbabwe, aimed at reflecting on Zimbabwe’s 2018 elections. This was in the context of access to information , freedom of expression and digital rights against the backdrop of the normative standards adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights such as the Model Law on Access to Information in Africa and the Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa. The workshop was attended by representatives from the media, media organisations, political parties, election monitors and civil society organisations including women, youth and disability organisations.
The Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Unit continues to celebrate LGBTIQ+ Africans who have bravely served and are still bravely serving their communities in various capacities worthy of note.
Christof Heyns, professor in the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, of which he is a member, to lead a two-year process to draft guidelines on the proper management of demonstrations. This will be the leading UN text setting out the international legal and other standards determining how States must approach mass protest and other forms of assembly.
The 18-member Human Rights Committee will start in March 2019 to draft the new guidelines, with inputs from the 172 States that are members of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as other interested parties, such as police organisations and NGOs
The Centre for Human rights in collaboration with Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Pro Bono and Human Rights Practice is organising an exhibition 'Pride and Plights' to draw attention to the critical challenges faced by older women whilst also celebrating their resilience and amazing contributions to the society.
Date: 28th November
Venue: Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr , 1 Protea Place, Sandton
Time: 17:30 for 18:00
November 20 is marked as International Transgender Day of Remembrance or TDoR. It is a day to remember all those who have been murdered because of their gender identity and expression as transgender persons. The Centre for Human Rights calls upon the affirmation of transgender lives and bodies through supportive laws and protections for transgender persons, as well as education around respect for the right to life and the identities of transgender people.
South Africa ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (the Children’s Charter) in 2000. Its main obligation under this African Union treaty is to ensure that the rights of children in the country are fulfilled. As a State Party to the Charter, South Africa is also required to periodically report on the progress that is has made towards implementing the Charter. In terms of article 43(1) of the African Children’s Charter, which regulates the reporting procedure, an initial report to the African Committee of Expert on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (the Committee) is required within two years of ratifying the Charter, and thereafter every three years.
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria hosted the 6th annual Disability Rights in Africa conference from the 6th to the 7th of November 2018 at St George Hotel in Pretoria. The theme for this year’s conference was “Are we learning together? Addressing barriers to inclusive education in the African region.”
The Centre for Human Rights (the Centre) organised a panel discussion on access to information and elections in Africa during the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ (African Commission) 63rd Ordinary Session in Banjul, The Gambia. The panel discussion was held on 28 October 2018, and was moderated by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, Commissioner Lawrence Mute. The panel consisted of Maxwell Kadiri, of the Open Society Justice Initiative; Raouf Salami, of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) and Joana Cortes, a senior official of the Gender Ministry of Angola. The discussion was aimed at popularizing and facilitating dialogue on the Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa (the Guidelines), which the African Commission adopted during the 61st Ordinary Session in November 2017.
Du 30 octobre au 01 Novembre 2018, le département de droits de la femme du Centre des droits de l'homme de l’Université de Pretoria a organisé et animé un atelier régional de soumission de rapports sur la Charte africaine des droits de l'homme et des peuples (Charte africaine) et le Protocole à la Charte africaine des droits de l'homme et des peuples relatif aux droits des femmes en Afrique (Protocole de Maputo). Cet atelier a connu la participation de représentants du Gabon, de la République du Congo, du Djibouti et de la Guinée Équatoriale. L’atelier a eu pour cadre, la salle de conférence de l'hôtel Fortis à Pretoria.
On Monday 5 November 2018, participants from across the region came together to discuss critical issues of inclusive education in the African Context. The roundtable was organised by Open Society Foundation in collaboration, UNESCO and the Centre for Human Rights on the eve of the Center’s annual African disability rights conference, which is held on the 6-7 of November, 2018.
The Women’s Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights was involved in various activities at the 63rd ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights which is currently been held in Banjul, The Gambia from 24 October to 7 November 2018. The session was preceded by the NGO Forum and 37th African Human Rights Book Fair, which took place from 20 to 22 October 2018.
Day one of the two day conference on Disability Rights in Africa kicked off this morning at St George’s Hotel in Pretoria with welcome addresses from Professor Andre Boraine, Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and Professor Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. Professor Boraine in his address said the conference was a platform for participants to exchange and explore ideas on how the right to inclusive education as set out in Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities can be implemented. He went on point out that the over representation of persons with disabilities among the poor was due to their under representation in education systems. Professor Viljoen echoing Professor Borraine called on States to ratify the Protol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa to ensure the right of education of children with disabilities in Africa. To date no African State has ratified the Protocol.
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, will be hosting its annual disability rights in Africa conference from the 6 - 7 November 2018.The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Are we learning together? Addressing barriers to inclusive education in the African region’. The focus of the conference will be on addressing the barriers to implementation of inclusive education in the African region
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria on 26 October 2018 held a side event on Resolution 275 of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Resolution passed by the African Commission in 2014 calls upon state parties to stop violence and other human rights violations against people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The purpose of the side event was to discuss how Resolution 275 can be implemented by state and non-state actors. Against this background, the Centre for Human Rights in partnership with Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) successfully launched the Implementation Guidelines on Resolution 275.
The Democracy and Transparency Unit of the Centre hosted an East African Civil Society round-table forum in Kigali, Rwanda at the sidelines of a session of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). The forum participants included academics, law students from Rwanda University and Kigali University, a representative from Rwanda Ministry of Justice and members of various civil society organisations in Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.
What brings us – states, Commission, civil society, and others – here, to the 63rd session if the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, is our joint pursuit to better protect the rights of Africa’s peoples – in all their diversity. We have just lived through the second year of the AU’s 2016-declared Human and Peoples’ Rights Decade in Africa 2017-2026. However, Africa’s people would be forgiven for feeling perplexed and disappointed, and question the legitimacy of both their states and the African Commission to claim to be protectors of their rights.
‘Freedom from Violence in Africa’ is a research programme that focusses on violence and securing the right to life in Africa. It is a multi-disciplinary programme that engages in the African context with the aspiration of the UN Sustainable Goal 16 to establish ‘peaceful societies.’
On Friday, 19 October 2018, there was a one-day technical support meeting for stakeholders from Uganda. The meeting was organised jointly by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Centre for Human Rights. The meeting was held at the Protea hotel, Entebbe. Participants for this meeting were drawn from Government ministries, National Human Rights Commissions and civil society in Uganda. Participants were also members of a task team that had been set up for the purposes of drafting state reports on all the treaties that Uganda is party to. The meeting was earmarked specifically to offer technical support to Uganda's current draft report as part of the state's efforts to fulfil its reporting obligations under the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol to the African Commission.
From Tuesday, 16 October 2018 to Thursday, 18 October 2018, the Women's Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights organised and conducted a regional state reporting workshop on the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (African Charter) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) for four African countries namely, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan. The workshop was organised and hosted in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, in Uganda. It was held at the Protea hotel, Entebbe.
On 11 and 12 October 2018, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (Special Rapporteur), Commissioner Lawrence Mute, organised a technical draft meeting of experts on the Revision of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, in Mombasa, Kenya.
The Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) will be implementing a project on “Influencing Policy for Social, Political, and Economic Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Mozambique” over the next two years and has partnered with the Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights and ADEMO (an organisation representing persons with disabilities in Mozambique) in the implementation of this project. As an initial step in the implementation of this project, a stakeholder engagement and project work plan validation workshop was held in Maputo from the 27th to the 28th of September 2018. Various stakeholders including government ministries, organisations of persons with disabilities, media, and the private sector were present at the meeting and gave an input into the project. The workshop received a lot of media coverage with several newspapers in Mozambique covering the workshop.
The Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria participated in the roundtable on the development of an integrated plan to protect, promote and uphold the rights of persons with albinism held in Pretoria on 27 and 28 September 2018. The roundtable was hosted by the Department of Social Development (DSD), the department responsible for coordinating national strategies aimed at promoting the rights of persons with disabilities and other marginalised groups who are at risk of compounded marginalisation.
Today - 1 October 2018, the Centre for Human Rights, joins others in commemorating the International Day of Older Persons. The theme of this year’s observance, “Celebrating Older Human Rights Champion,” points to the leading role of older persons in championing human rights. The International Day of Older Persons is representative of a global push to prioritise, promote and protect the rights of ageing populations across regions. Current global trend shows an increase in the overall number of people who are living beyond the age of sixty. The 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) Global Report on Ageing posits that between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population that is 60 and above will double from 11 per cent to 22 per cent. By 2050, 2 billion of the world’s population will be 60 or older. Thus, it is critical that we focus on addressing the specific and unique needs of individuals as they grow older.
The recent surge in scholarship on queer African visuality has brought into sharp focus the queer somapolitics of body-technics-visualitytechnology assemblages. In this frame, queer visuality can be understood as a new presentfuture philosophical and ethico-political horizon which views the body, visuality and technology as coimbricated and mutually interdependent in contemporary society.
The President of the South African Supreme Court of Appeal on 19 September 2018 delivered the annual Helen Kanzira Memorial Lecture on maternal health at the School of Law at the University of Venda (UNIVEN). This event is co-hosted annually by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, and one of the partner universities of the Master’s programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa. Helen Kanzira, a graduate of the Master’s programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa, passed away in 2007 due to complications arising from giving birth. This year’s Memorial Lecture addressed the theme ‘Safe and voluntary motherhood a matter of human rights: We can do more’.
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria partnered with the Network of Scholars on Gender, Sexuality and the Law (ALAS), the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law in hosting a conference on Global Transformation towards Gender Equality and Agenda 2030: A conversation about innovative approaches to break the cycle of violence against women, which was held in México City, México from 17-18, September 2018. The Conference brought together researchers, academics and civil society from the world over.
The Centre for Human Rights, in partnership with African Men for Sexual and Health Rights (AMSHeR) and African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF), ran a week-long capacity-building course on Policing and Vulnerability: Exploring Issues of Vulnerability, Policing and Oversight. It took place from 10 to 14 September 2018 at the University of Pretoria.
The Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) on 11 September 2018 marked its 200th publication with the launch of a monograph by Charles Ngwena, titled What is Africanness: Contesting nativism in culture, race and sexualities. This book has already been lauded as a significant contribution to ongoing discussions about race and identity.
Dr. Nkatha holds the degrees LLB (Moi), LLM (UP), LLD (UWC). She is an alumna (of the Class of 2009) of the Centre’s Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa. She is also an advocate of the High Court of Kenya. She completed her doctorate at the University of the Western Cape, on the topic: "The significance of article 24(2) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for the right to primary education of children with disabilities: A comparative study of South Africa and Kenya".
For the last 22 years, on the first Friday of every September, South Africans from all works of life have celebrated Casual Day. This year Casua is celebrated on 7 September. Day Casual Day is a leading fundraising and awareness campaign for persons with disabilities and a flagship project of the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities. This campaign was launched in 1995 as a way to create awareness and raise funds for persons with disabilities. The campaign encourages the public to contribute financially through a small donation of R10 for a sticker, and at the same time lobbies for the full inclusion and equity of persons with disabilities.
The Centre welcomes the promotional visit by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Right (African Commission) to South Africa. This visit, which takes place from 3 to 8 September, aims to raise awareness about the African human rights system, established under the African Union(AU), and to provide a forum for dialogue about the state of human rights in South Africa.
Having been established in 1987 to supervise states’ adherence to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter), the Commission is the longest-standing AU human rights body. It is an independent body, composed of eleven African experts, created as an autonomous institution to supervise human rights within member states. Its mandate is to promote and protect the rights of everyone under the jurisdiction of states that have accepted to be bound by the African Charter. All AU member states, with the exception of Morocco, have become a party to the African Charter. South Africa joined soon after its democratic transition, in 1995.
On 3 September 2018, the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Unit at Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria kicked off the Strategic Litigation and Advocacy workshop for African LGBTI Human Rights Defenders. The workshop was officially opened by Hans Peters, the ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands. The workshop aims to strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations in order to better pursue legal disputes and advocate on behalf of LGBTI people who are at risk of suffering serious human rights violations. In addition, the workshop seeks to have participants learn from each other about the challenges of filing cases at domestic courts. Mr Peters encouraged the participants to continue fighting for equality of LGBT individuals within Africa.
The Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa and the Geneva Academy invite you to a discussion targeted at seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders on a set of draft guidelines on the lawful and responsible redesign, production, procurement, testing, training, transfer and use of non-lethal weapons and related equipment.
A recent PULP publication, What is Africanness: Contesting nativism in culture, race and sexualities, by Charles Ngwena, Professor of Law at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is a peer-reviewed monograph aiming to contribute to the ongoing scholarly conversation in and beyond South Africa about who is African and what is African. It aims to implicate a reductive sameness in the naming of Africans (‘nativism’) by showing its teleology and effects; and offers an alternative understanding of how Africans can be named or can name themselves.
From 17 to 18 August 2018, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is holding its 38th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government in Namibia. The Summit is expected to address some of the critical challenges affecting the region including the need to address poverty, promote development and take steps towards sub-regional integration. The Summit is also expected to speak to peace, stability and security in the region. Whilst these goals are inspirational, achieving them requires strong regional institutions capable of defending the rule of law and promoting democratic governance.
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is proud to announce the winners of this year’s FACES African Student Cellphone Film Competition.
Jenira Ferreira with ‘Disillusionment of Student Culture’
The film was well executed and incorporated unique techniques that added flare to the overall output. This film was outstanding in its audio narration, cinematic shots and editing style.
The Centre of Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), held a Civil Society Organisations’ Forum on the sidelines of committee sittings which focused on the theme ‘Effective Engagement with the Pan-African Parliament’. The one-day meeting, which was held on 8 August 2018, was attended by the First Vice-President of the PAP, Honorable Julius Masel; the PAP Acting Clerk Parliament, Mr Yusupha Jobe; the PAP Legal Counsel, Mr Clement Phebe Mavungu; the PAP Senior International Relations Officer, Mrs Lyn Chiwandamira; Professors and staff members from the Centre of Human Rights. The forum was attended by Gauteng-based civil society organisations (CSOs) including Oxfam South Africa, Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST), the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA), Section 27, South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), Centre of Applied Legal Studies (CALS), Freedom House and the French Embassy. The forum sought to establish a common approach to sustained and meaningful engagement by enabling participants to share and exchange best practices on how to achieve an effective and constructive civil society engagement platform with the PAP.
The final round of the 27th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, which took place on 11 August 2018 at the Law Court complex in Accra, Ghana, was won by the combined team comprising the Université des Lagunes (Côte d'Ivoire), Makerere University (Uganda) and the University of Pretoria (South Africa).
The runner up team consisted of Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique), University of Ghana (Ghana) and University of Nairobi (Nairobi).
The final round was presided over by the Chief Justice of Ghana, Justice Sophia Akuffo, who is also a previous President of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights.
A total of 48 teams partcipated in this annual event, which in 2018 was organised by the Centre for Human Rights and hosted by the School of Law, University of Ghana. This was the second time that the African Moot Competition was held in Ghana.
After an intense two days of heated arguments at the 27th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Ghana, the results of the preliminary rounds were announced at Miklin Hotel, East Legon on 8 August 2018.
The following teams qualified for the final round which will take place at the High Court of Ghana:
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the School of Law, University of Ghana, Legon, in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are pleased to announce a one-day conference on human rights, securitisation and counter-terrorism in Africa and hereby invite proposals for papers. The conference will be held as part of the 27th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition.
Alongside the activities of the 27th African Human Rights Moot Court, the Centre for Human Rights is engaging in advocacy to advance the rights of older persons, with a specific focus on older women, in Ghana. The Centre’s Women’s Rights Unit campaign, #AgeWithRights, in partnership with HelpAge International and the Moremi Initiative, hosted an advocacy meeting on 8 August to discuss Ghana’s ratification of the Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons.
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a conference on addressing the barriers to implementation of inclusive education in the African region, which will be held from 6 to 7 November 2018.
On the 2 and 3 August, 2018, the Centre for Human Rights hosted a colloquium on sexual minority rights within Africa. The colloquium presented a platform for authors from around the continent to challenge and re-define how sexuality, identity, and LGBT advocacy have been constructed in Africa. In his welcoming address, Professor Frans Viljoen recognized the inspirational role of Professor Charles Ngwena in initiating and conceptualising the colloquium, and emphasises its multi-disciplinary nature. In giving background about the workshop, Professor Ebenezer Durojaye challenged the participants to interrogate how sexuality has been defined in Africa, outside of Western ideals, and outlined the aspiration of a publication following the colloquium.
Civil society organizations in South Africa comprised of a broad collective of human rights and women’s rights organizations and Trade Unions add their voice to the call for immediate and decisive action towards ending violence against women in South Africa.
We call upon every woman in South Africa to join us on the 1st of August to march peacefully in protest of the violence with impunity targeted at women. We demand that the government of South Africa pay particular attention to the continued and increasing spate of violence against women and girls and take concrete measures to end the violation of women’s right to life, dignity and security of persons.
The School of Law, University of Venda, and the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invite you to the Annual Helen Kanzira Memorial Lecture.
The Keynote Address will be presented by The Honourable Justice Mandisa Maya President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, South Africa ‘Safe and voluntary motherhood a matter of human rights: We can do more’
On Friday 20 July 2018, students from the 14th Cohort of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) (Civic Leadership Track) visited the Centre for Human Rights to learn more about the Centre’s work.
The afternoon kicked off with a presentation from the Disability Rights Unit. The students were introduced to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and given some information on how specific rights within the Convention may be implemented in practice, using the right to access to justice which is found in article 13 of the Convention as an example. Students learnt about the different types of disabilities and the barriers which people with each type of disability typically face in accessing justice. Solutions to these barriers were also explored in the form of accommodations which may be made to enable persons with disabilities to participate effectively in the criminal justice system and access justice on an equal basis with others.
Registered undergraduate and postgraduate students from all tertiary institutions in Africa are invited to participate in the FACES 2018: African Student Cellphone Film Competition.
The purpose of the Competition is to encourage students from Africa to express themselves and to engage with issues of relevance to Africa, using available cellphone technology.
GENEVA (26 June 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea expressed concern that patterns of violations identified over the past six years persist, namely arbitrary and incommunicado detention, indefinite military/national service amounting to forced labour and severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms.
In her fifth and final report to the Human Rights Council, Sheila Keetharuth expressed concern that the human rights violations she identified in her first and subsequent reports, as well as in those of the Commission of Inquiry in Eritrea remained unchanged.
On 13 June 2018, the Centre for Human Rights (the Centre) joined the Minister of Arts & Culture Nathi Mthethwa, Commissioner Nomasonto Mazibuko, Commissioner for Gender Equality and the Albinism Association of South Africa in the 5thcommemoration of the International Albinism Awareness Day. The theme for this year’s commemoration was “Shining Our Light to the World.”
Jehoshaphat Njau, Moyahabo Thoka and Maria Nantege from the Centre’s Disability Rights Unit attended the commemoration, held at the J. Khananda Primary School and Leonard Ntshuntshe Secondary School in eMalahleni (formerly Witbank), Mpumalanga Province.
On 16 June 2018, Africa commemorates the Day of the African Child 2018 under the theme “Leave No Child Behind for Africa’s Development”. This year’s theme aims to target children who are not benefitting from Africa’s growth and development. African countries are challenged to ensure that children are at the centre and not left behind in the drive towards sustainable economic development. This day is commemorated in memory of the Soweto student uprising, that began on June 16 1976, when students marched in protest against the poor quality of education they received and demanded to be taught in their own languages.
Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is launching the UDHRat70 Multimedia Competition, with four creative categories, and a total amount of R32 000 in prizes. The Competition is open to University of Pretoria (UP) staff and students only. The winners will be announced at the Centre’s Graduation Ceremony on 7 December 2018.
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is extremely concerned about the continuing human rights violations in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon, and the lack of international alarm and action about the situation. Available evidence strongly suggests that crimes against humanity have been and are being committed in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.
Experts from across Southern Africa attended a meeting at the University Pretoria on 30 May 2018 to explore ways in which more attention can be drawn to the plight of older women in the region, and in Africa. They called for African states to follow the lead of Lesotho, which is on the verge of formalising its ratification of the African Union’s Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa. .
On 18 May 2018, the Pan African Parliament (Parliament) adopted a Resolution on Persons with Albinism in Africa (Resolution). The Parliament is an organ of the African Union (AU), which was established to ensure that Africa takes full ownership and participation in the development and sustainable transformation of the continent. The Parliament sits in Midrand, South Africa and comprisesof 53 AU member states. The Parliament holds the mandate to issue resolutions and recommendations on key developmental and social issues affecting the African continent.
Following on from a two-day Round Table on ‘African Approaches to International Law’, held at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, on 3 and 4 May 2017, a two-day Conference is scheduled for 5 and 6 December 2018, in Pretoria: the ‘Kéba Mbaye Conference on African approaches to international law, with a focus on international human rights law’.
On 16 May 2018 Ms Ikponwosa Ero, the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism addressed the Pan Africa Parliament during its Sixth Ordinary Session which ended on 18 May 2018.
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and the Global Emergency and Counterterrorism Institute cordially invites you to a public lecture by Peter Knoope on the ‘The lone wolves’ legion’.
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is an organ of the African Union (AU), which was established to ensure that Africa takes full ownership and participation in the development and sustainable transformation of the continent. PAP essentially operates in a consultative and advisory role mandated by the African Union.The Centre for Human Rights established a partnership with PAP through a Memorandum of Understanding which was signed on 27 October 2017. Key among the objectives of the partnership are the promotion of capacity building on human rights and democratisation in Africa, the increased visibility of PAP and the fostering of a strong interaction between PAP and Civil Society Organisations on the continent.
The Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) recently launched a collection of essays dealing with the lives and judgments of some of the first Constitutional Court Judges who were also all appointed by then President Nelson Mandela.The book, Making the road by walking, was launched at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (UP), on 18 April 2018, as South Africa and the rest of the world honour the birth-year of the iconic Nelson Mandela 100 years ago. A panel discussion took place under the banner: “Mandela’s legacy (re)considered: Historical and current perspectives of the Chaskalson Court”.
Download the publication Making the road by walking
3 May 2018 Geneva - As the world marks Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2018, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, Sheila B Keetharuth, has called on the Government to end its crippling restrictions on freedom of the press.
“Journalists remain at risk of arbitrary arrest, imprisonment and enforced disappearance in efforts to intimidate and control them, and these human rights violations happen with total disregard for the fundamental right to freedom of expression and information, as well as individual rights,” - Ms. Keetharuth.
Statement by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, at its 62nd ordinary session, Nouakchott, Mauritania, 28 April 2018, on the situation of human rights in Africa
Download this statement
Bamako, Mali, 24 April 2018
Honourable Chairperson and members of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, I thank you for this opportunity to address you on the occasion of the 31st Ordinary Session of this honourable Committee. The Centre for Human Rights conveys its gratitude to the Committee for granting our application for observer status during the 30th Ordinary Session in Khartoum, Sudan in December 2017. We are pleased that granting us observer status will further facilitate our engagement with the Committee for the promotion and protection of children’s rights on the continent, especially through the full, effective and efficient implementation of the provisions of African Children’s Charter.
As South Africans, fellow Africans, and the world, finally bid farewell to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, we at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, join to honour the life of this remarkable woman. While it is a time of sadness, it is also a time of celebration.
We celebrate Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in solidarity with all other Africans. Few figures in modern Africa have had the power to unite and inspire as she had. Standing tall and proud, she made visible South Africans’ struggle for dignity, and ignited a common sense of purpose among Africans in all corners of the continent.
The Ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria, Ambassador Trine Skymoen, and the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria (UP), Prof Cheryl de la Rey, today (10 April 2018) renewed the long-standing collaborative partnership between Norway and UP. Building on two previous periods of support, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its Embassy in Pretoria, provided a three-year grant to the University’s Centre for Human Rights, covering 2018 to 2020.
A recent PULP publication, Making the road by walking, considers the contribution of eight of the Judges who served on the Constitutional Court headed by Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, and who were still alive and no longer served on the Court in 2013. They are Justices Ackermann, Goldstone, Kriegler, Mokgoro, O’Regan, Sachs, Skweyiya and Yacoob. They were all appointed by President Nelson Mandela. Making the road by walking is edited by three members of the Human Sciences Research Council’s Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery Programme (Narnia Bohler-Muller, Michael Cosser and Gary Pienaar).
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria held a one-week intensive short course on Women’s Rights in Africa from 26 to 29 March 2018. The course is part of a series of Advanced Human Rights Short Courses the Centre organises and offers to the members of the public. The course was attended by students of the Masters in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa as well as practitioners from government officials, women’s rights advocates and activists, members of civil society and researchers. The course has also attracted and proved useful for cross-discipline practitioners such as medical doctors who often encounter various women’s rights concerns in their work.
From 23 to 25 March 2018, Constitution Hill in partnership with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, alongside other civil society organisations presented the first edition of the Human Rights Festival. The Human Rights Festival was held in celebration of South African Human Rights Day (21 March), 21 years since the coming into effect of the South African Constitution and 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations.
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child are pleased to announce the call for articles for the Second Edition of the African Human Rights Yearbook (AHRY). The First Edition, which was published at the end of 2017, comprised 17 articles. This joint publication, which contains contributions in English and French, is initiated in the framework of the complementarity relationships between the three institutions. We are inviting abstracts for papers and case discussions that will propose groundbreaking academic contributions to the human rights discourse in Africa.
Undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Pretoria were exposed to the world of digital verification from 13 to 15 February 2018. Sam Dubberley, Manager of Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps (DVC) programme, facilitated a training, which was organised by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. The sole purpose was to open up the verification work to a multi-disciplinary group of students who will then become part of a global team assisting researchers at Amnesty International to advance accountability for human rights violations.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Republic of Mauritius, the Mauritius High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa, in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a debate on the topic ‘Democracy is necessary for economic development’, presented by students of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA).
The continued attacks perpetrated against persons with albinism on the continent has prompted the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the office of the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism and several organisations representing persons with albinism to appeal to the Pan-African Parliament to prioritise the rights of persons with albinism on the continent.
The Centre for Human Rights hosted the annual Advanced Human Rights Course on Sexual Minorities in Africa from 26 February 2018 to 2 March 2018 at the University of Pretoria, Hatfield campus. This course, which is sponsored by the Flemish Government, was attended by 61 participants from 17 African countries, as well as participants representing the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Participants included LLM/MPhil students, lawyers, magistrates, members of the civil society and staff from State departments.
You are cordially invited to Centre for Human Rights Master’s Programmes Welcoming Ceremony.
The Global Campus of Human Rights is glad to announce the launch of the fourth edition of the GC Visual Contest, open to photographers and video-makers, professionals and amateurs, from any part of the world.
The Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, invites applications from individuals interested in pursuing a doctorate degree in law, specifically on the topic of the impact of the United Nations human rights treaties on the domestic level.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Department of Library Services, cordially invites you to a screening of the film Queen of Katwe and the I am Woman photo exhibition.
International collaboration opportunity for students on #PolicingLaw to engage in an international effort to collect national legislation on the use of force.
Join a global team of volunteers working to hold governments accountable. Learn skills that will enable you to authenticate social media posts, separating truth from lies.
On 25 January 2018, the Centre for Human Rights hosted yet another cohort of Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Southern Africa scholars for an afternoon of discussions on violence against women and the rights of sexual and gender minorities. The discussion started with introductions from Ms Patience Mungwari Mpani, Manager of the Women’s Rights Unit and Mr Geoffrey Ogwaro, Manager of the SOGIE Unit, on the work of their respective units.
The Centre for Human Rights wishes to congratulate Ms Meskerem Geset Techane, an alumna of the Class of 2011 of the LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) programme, who was recently appointed into the United Nations Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice (Working Group). She is among four other experts that make up the Working Group.
Every year, the Vera Chirwa award is given to an alumnus or alumna of the LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) programme in recognition of their contributions to the advancement of human rights.
On 8 December 2017, Melanie Smuts (Class of 2012) and Musu Bakoto Sawo (Class of 2014) were jointly awarded the prize for their groundbreaking work in South Africa and The Gambia respectively.
Melanie’s commitment to improved access to quality education in South Africa through her Streetlight Schools formed the basis for her selection for the prize. While Musu was awarded the prize in recognition of her relentless commitment towards the eradication of harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation in The Gambia.
As co-recipients of the 2017 Vera Chirwa Award, Melanie and Musu will be working on a human rights campaign with the Centre for Human Rights, amongst other things aimed at supporting the work that they do.
The Organisers of the Stellenbosch Annual Seminar on Constitutionalism in Africa (SASCA) are pleased to announce the call for papers for the Sixth Stellenbosch Annual Seminar on Constitutionalism in Africa (SASCA 2018) which will be held in Stellenbosch (South Africa) from 4 -7 September 2018.
During the 30th session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (African Children’s Committee) held in Khartoum, Sudan, from 6 to 16 December 2017, the African Children’s Committee granted observer status to the Centre for Human Rights.
The pro-bono International Human Rights Clinic at the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice (UK) is accepting submissions from human rights activists who would like assistance filing a case before the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.
The University of Pretoria wishes to invite applications for the following vacancy at the Centre for Human Rights (an academic department and a non-governmental organisation at the University):
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS:
Project Co-ordinator / Researcher, Democracy and Transpartency Unit - (One post) (12 month contract appointment) - Centre for Human Rights
We invite activists from the Global South to debate the challenges that the current context poses to human rights across the world.
Activists and defenders from the Global South can submit their applications to attend the 15th International Human Rights Colloquium, wich will be held from October 1 to 6, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Sheila B. Keetharuth wins Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award for human rights work in Africa
Issued by University of Leicester Press Office 27 March 2017
The University of Leicester has recognised the outstanding contribution of one of its alumni to exposing and protecting against human rights abuses worldwide. This year’s winner of the University’s Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award is Sheila B. Keetharuth, in recognition of her human rights work and her determination to provide a voice to the powerless. She was presented with the award at the University’s Alumni Association’s Black Tie Dinner on 16 March before an audience of nearly 500 alumni and guests in the Grand Connaught Rooms in London’s Covent Garden.
“It is not about power, it is about purpose.” In his Keynote Address at the Second Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture, Justice Dikgang Moseneke pre-empted Oliver Tambo’s response to the current leadership challenges that the African continent is facing.
Through his activism over the decades, lawyer, revolutionary and politician, Oliver Reginald Tambo left an indelible impression on South Africa and its new Constitution. In celebration of his legacy, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation, hosted the second in a series of Oliver Tambo Centenary Lectures and the welcoming ceremony for the students of the Centre’s four Master’s programmes on Thursday 30 March 2017. The students that were welcomed at the event are studying towards the following degrees: LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA), LLM in International Trade and Investment Law in Africa (TILA), LLM/MPhil in Multidisciplinary Human Rights (Multi) and LLM/MPhil in Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa (SRRA).
The Centre for Human Rights works for the improvement of the human rights of minorities - including sexual minorities - and other disadvantaged or marginalised persons or groups across the continent.
Funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Pretoria, the Centre's SOGIE Unit focuses on education, capacity-building, advocacy and legal aid in the area of LGBTI rights and anti-discrimination. This poster highlights great South Africans who identify as LGBTI persons, who are leaders in their field, and whose work contributes to the realisation of sexual minority rights in South Africa.
Download the LGBTI icons poster
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a seminar on the EU in Africa.
Human rights, democracy and rule of law are high on the agenda in the relations between the European Union (EU) and Africa. However, despite slogans like ‘2 unions, 1 vision’ there are many deeply contested issues between the two regional blocs. This seminar that is held in the framework of the project ‘Fostering for Human Rights among European Policies’ (Frame) explores visions, practice and scenarios for the future of the EU’s relationship with Africa.