6 December 2022
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, and the Southern African Nationality Network (SANN) call on African states, including members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to endorse the adoption of the Draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Specific Aspects of the Right to a Nationality and the Eradication of Statelessness in Africa (Draft Protocol) and to subsequently ratify it. We also call on the Government of South Africa to take leadership in urging other SADC members to endorse the adoption of the Draft Protocol and to subsequently ratify it.
The Expression, Information and Digital Rights (EIDR) unit in collaboration with the Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe (MISA-Zimbabwe) conducted a capacity-building workshop on promoting rights-respecting approaches to disinformation for Community-based Organisations (CBOs) on 17 November in Harare, Zimbabwe. Representatives from the media fraternity and academic institutions were also in attendance.
From 21 to 25 November 2022, the Centre for Human Rights organised a 5-day intensive course on the protection of forcibly displaced persons in Africa. The course presented a human-rights perspective on the protection of forcibly displaced persons in Africa. It enhanced the knowledge of participants on fundamental legal concepts and principles related to international law on forced displacement, critical challenges in the interpretation and application of key treaty provisions, and rights-based approaches to addressing challenges and ensuring durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa.
On 29 and 30 November 2022 in Abuja, Nigeria the Centre for Human Rights Women’s Rights Unit held a joint jurisprudential colloquium for Commissioners of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Judges of the Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice (ECOWAS Court). Judge President Edward Amoako Asante of the ECOWAS Court and Commissioner Janet Sallah-Njie, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights are among the eminent attendees. The purpose of the Judicial Colloquium was to sensitise the judicial and quasi-judicial officers on attaining substantive equality for women in Africa through a gender-sensitive approach to the application and interpretation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).
On 24 and 25 November 2022, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in partnership with OutRight Action International, and with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway in South Africa, held a Conference on the Decriminalisation of Same-Sex Law and the Eradication Conversion Practices in African countries.
The Centre for Human Rights (Centre), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is pleased to share the news of the appointment of its alumna, Muleya Mwananyanda, as the Director, Influence and Partnerships for UNAIDS.
The Centre for Human Rights (CHR), in partnership with the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and the University of Zimbabwe, successfully launched the Zimbabwe Constitutional Literacy Booklet on 16 November in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (the Centre), is providing technical support to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) in its continental project on human rights and artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and other new and emerging technologies in Africa.
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to the Launch of an Impact Analysis Study of the African Union (AU) Economic Cultural and Social Council (ECOSOCC) in the Governance structure of the African Union.
On 17 November 2022, the 10th annual disability rights in Africa Conference organised by the Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria kicked off at Southern Sun hotel OR Tambo, South Africa. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘migration, displacement and disability: a human rights response’. The aim of the two day conference is to critically appraise laws, policies, practices, programmes, polities and ideologies that relate to migration and displacement and suggest remedial measures for protecting and ensuring the rights of migrants and internally displaced persons (IDPs) with disabilities.
Over two days, 15 and 16 November 2022, the Children Rights Unit at the Center for Human Rights, hosted a training workshop to capacitate selected state officials from varied ministries on strategies to incorporate the impact of Climate Change on children’s Socio-economic Rights in their state reports to the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (African Children’s Committee).
The Centre for Human Rights(CHR), in collaboration with the International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) and the working group on indigenous Populations/ Communities of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights hosted their course on 7-11 November 2022. The Course was held in a hybrid format with 20 participants attending physically at graduate center of the University of Pretoria and 35 attending online from countries in Africa and abroad. Participants were drawn from all walks of life including but not limited to students, legal practitioners, Indigenous Rights Advocates and members of indigenous communities, members of government institutions, Public Prosecutors, amongst others.
The Children's Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights launched its Study on Child Participation in Development Frameworks in Africa.
Child participation is a fundamental right guaranteed in international law, specifically under articles 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and 4(2) of the African Children’s Charter. It is a facilitative right that is significant in the intellectual development of the child and vital for a child’s autonomy and social responsibility later in a child’s life course.
A Centre for Human Rights alumna, Grace Wakio Kakai, has been appointed the new Deputy Registrar of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Court). She was sworn in on 7 November 2022, as the Court started its 67th Ordinary Session in Arusha, Tanzania.
On 3 November 2022, Professor Charles Manga Fombad, the Director of Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA), was awarded the University of Pretoria’s (UP) prestigious Chancellor’s award for research, for the year 2021. Prof Fombad is a National Research Foundation (NFR) B1-rated scholar and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSA).
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (the Centre) will be hosting an Access to Information and Elections in South Africa symposium on 10 and 11 November 2022 at the University of Pretoria. The symposium is hosted in collaboration with the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), the Information Regulator (IR), the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and Media Monitoring Africa (MMA).
In order to develop the knowledge and expertise of lawyers and legal organisations in the region on statelessness and migration in general and in the context of Southern Africa, to equip legal practitioners with skills and tools to identify people affected by statelessness, and to develop practical legal interventions to resolve statelessness, Lawyers for Human Rights (South Africa) in partnership with the Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for Child Law (South Africa) held a hybrid legal training on statelessness and migration for paralegals, candidate attorneys and junior attorneys in Southern Africa on 24 – 26 October 2022 at the University of Pretoria.
The Centre for Human Rights (Centre) in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) under the aegis of the Rule of Law Program for Sub Saharan Africa developed simple-easy-reference booklets (for non-lawyers) that summarise the Bill of Rights as espoused in the constitutions of selected “Anglophone African” countries including Zimbabwe. The broad aim is to promote human rights and Constitutional literacy in Africa.
The Centre for Human Rights, in collaboration with its partners SIPD-Uganda and Intersex Community of Zimbabwe (ICoZ), launched an intersex report on the sidelines of the ongoing 73rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul, The Gambia.
In the last few years Africa’s sub-regional courts have passed judgments that buttress the importance of internet freedom. On 17 July 2022 the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS Court) found that the Nigerian government’s 7-month Twitter ban violated article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Member states are obligated to report to the African Commission every two years, in accordance with its guidelines, on measures they have taken to give effect to the provisions of the African Charter; and its Protocols, including the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa; the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa, the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa; the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Citizens to Social Protection and Social Security; the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa; and any other subsequent regional human rights treaties in respect of which the African Commission has the mandate to monitor state reporting.
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (the Centre) is pleased to invite interested persons to express their interest to participate in a two-day election symposium on 10 - 11 November 2022 at the University of Pretoria.
As part of our commitment to address policy gaps and find durable solutions to internal displacement, the GENIDA Network is convening a webinar to examine the Action Agenda in light of the current state and continued increase in the number of IDPs in Africa. This webinar will hear perspectives from different stakeholders regarding the UN Secretary General’s Action Agenda on Internal Displacement.
In collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, Wits University Natural Justice will host a two-day conference to empower young activists and students with knowledge and tools to influence climate justice in South Africa.
The right to access justice is an important cross-cutting right that is a pre-requisite for the enjoyment and vindication of all other human rights and fundamental freedoms. Enshrined in article 13 of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and article 13 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (African Disability Protocol), the right guarantees effective access to justice through the provision of procedural, age and gender-appropriate accommodations.
Amnesty International, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly are hosting an event on Protecting The Right To Protest in Africa on the Side-lines of the ACHPR 73rd Ordinary Session.
On 8 September 2022 the Center for Gender Studies and Feminist Futures (CGS) and the Center for Conflict Studies (CCS) at the University of Marburg hosted the final session of the webinar series in the Pretoria-Marburg Queer Conversations: Scholarly and Activist Perspectives on LGBTIQ+ Lived Realities in Africa in collaboration with the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS, and Gender (CSA&G), and the Centre for Human Rights (CHR) at the University of Pretoria. The Pretoria-Marburg Queer Conversations creates a monthly space for in-depth discussions designed to tap into the intersections of knowledge-production and transfer between diverse scholarly and activist spheres and contributes to methodological, conceptual, and normative aspects of centering LGBTIQ+ rights and lived realities in African contexts.
The Disability Rights Unit Clinic, Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, hosted a Zoom webinar to call for the ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (African Disability Protocol).
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, condemns the disbarring of lawyer Muzi Simelane by Eswatini Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala. The Chief Justice disbarred Mr Simelane by way of notice in April 2018 on the basis of alleged contempt. Since he was banned from appearing in any court in Eswatini, Mr Simelane has not practised law for the past four years. The Chief Justice issued the notice from his chambers without any court hearing, application by the Law Society of Swaziland or determination by a tribunal that the lawyer had committed an act of misconduct. Chief Justice Maphalala purported to act in accordance with sections 139(5) and 142 of the Constitution of Eswatini when he issued the notice mero motu. On 10 June 2022, Mr Simelane challenged his disbarment by the Chief Justice in the Supreme Court of Eswatini after several failed attempts to secure judicial redress.
On 23 June 2022, the Centre for Human Rights held a high-level meeting to encourage African Union (AU) member states to ratify three instruments. First, is the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa (Older Persons Protocol), which was adopted by the AU in 2016. Second, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (African Disability Protocol), adopted in 2018. Third, the Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention) was adopted by the AU in 2009. The Older Persons Protocol and the African Disability Protocol are both not yet in force as they are yet to receive the 15 ratifications necessary for them to come into effect.
On 23 June 2022, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (the ‘Centre’) hosted a roundtable discussion for alumni of its Capacity Building Workshop on Strategic Litigation and Advocacy for LGBTIQ+ Human Rights Defenders in Africa. The workshop is the Centre’s annual event designed to assist LGBTIQ+ activists in Africa to effectively promote and protect LGBTIQ+ rights through domestic, regional, and international level strategic litigation and advocacy using African-specific approaches. The annual workshop is targeted at experienced activists in Africa who want to build on their capacity, develop their skills, and network with activists from other parts of Africa. The workshop seeks to strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations in Africa so that they can better pursue legal challenges and advocate on behalf of LGBTIQ+ individuals at risk of or who have suffered serious violations of human rights under domestic African laws. The workshop also aims to have participants think through and develop autochthonous, African-specific ways of advocacy and strategic litigation, and learn from each other about the challenges of filing cases at domestic courts.
‘Access to asylum: The gateway to safety and refugee rights’ was the theme under which the Centre for Human Rights in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria (UP) marked World Refugee Day during a panel discussion held recently.
Of 55 member states of the African Union, only six have the Portuguese language as an official language. This presents challenges and opportunities for the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in its mandate to promote the respect for and monitor the implementation of human rights on the continent. The Centre for Human Rights (the Centre) in collaboration with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) are hosting a hybrid workshop with five PALOPs on using the state reporting process to monitor the implementation of the rights contained in 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).
On 6 June 2022, the Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria hosted a capacity-building training workshop for African civil society to implement and monitor the implementation of human rights of persons with albinism in Africa. The aim of the workshop was to equip persons with albinism with tools to enable them to be better placed to engage with National, regional and international mechanisms including and not limited to reporting, engagement with the UN systems such as independent experts and special rapporteurs and periodic reporting as advocacy tools. The countries represented at the workshop were Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania.
Over 100 students, academics and experts from more than 50 countries joined the four-day long Global Classroom 2022 on internal displacement, amiably hosted by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. The programme included presentations by seven student research teams on regional approaches and case studies on topics such as climate disaster-induced displacement; the impact of ongoing conflicts on displaced women and children; an analysis of the Kampala Convention and the UN Guiding Principle on internal displacement; and the role of state and non-state organisations in supporting IDPs.
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (the Centre) at a meeting on 24 May 2022, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Office for Public Defender and Citizens’ Rights Commission in Kogi State, Nigeria (PDCRC). The PDCRC is a hybrid institution that provides legal aid for indigent individuals in Kogi State and also serves as a Human Rights Commission that tries to advance human rights in Kogi State.
The Disability Rights Unit, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria held a two-day regional convening on Promoting access to justice for persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities in Southern Africa from 16 to 17 May 2022 at Capital Hotel Menlyn Maine in Pretoria, South Africa.
The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, and Mzalendo Trust in partnership with Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica) hosted a two-day civil society engagement on the workings on the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) for the East African Community. This forum was held on Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 April 2022, in Nairobi, Kenya. The forum focused on developing networks for increased engagement between civil society in the East African region and the Pan-African Parliament.
Lesbian Day of Visibility is celebrated internationally on 26 April each year, as part of Lesbian Visibility Week. Lesbian Visibility Day seeks to combat the erasure of lesbians by celebrating their existence, achievements and contributions. The Centre for Human Rights is proud to celebrate Lesbian Visibility Day and to note the important role lesbians have played in the feminist, LGBTIQ+ and anti-apartheid movement in South Africa as well as various movements for justice across the continent and globe.
As part of its efforts in increasing awareness and understanding among relevant stakeholders about the jurisprudence of African human rights bodies, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, on 7 April 2022 launched a quarterly webinar series on decisions of African human rights bodies.
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, has released volume 2 of the photobook series titled Looking through the prism: Narratives of queer dignity in South Africa. This series features photographs and narratives of the lives of LGBTIQ+ persons living in South Africa. Volume 2 of the series focuses on lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) cisgender and transgender women.
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, condemns the xenophobic attacks against non-citizens in South Africa and in particular the brutal murder of Elvis Nyathi, a Zimbabwean national residing in the Johannesburg township of Diepsloot. Elvis’ brutal murder happened after several inflammatory statements targeting non-citizens, by representatives of political parties and vigilante groups. The state cannot allow vigilante groups to take the law into their own hands and in the name of curbing crime, engage in an extra-judicial killing of a person solely based on their nationality. If this behaviour is not curtailed through application of the rule of law and protection of the human rights of all people in South Africa by the government, more people will be killed and more livelihoods and property will be destroyed.
As South Africa get set for the 4th cycle of its review by the UPR in November 2022, the Social Policy Initiative (SPI) and the Centre for Human Rights (Centre) have requested the UPR Working group to encourage South Africa to adopt a new composite index in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
International Transgender Day of Visibility is celebrated globally on the 31st of March every year. International Transgender Day of Visibility celebrates the existence and achievements of transgender persons and seeks to raise awareness of the discrimination experienced by the trans community. Transgender persons have been at the forefront of LGBTIQ+ communities’ struggles and activism and have contributed to the collective human endeavour in fields as diverse as science, law, philosophy and the arts. Unfortunately, transgender persons in Africa and across the world experience a plethora of human rights violations that have not been effectively addressed, such as transphobic killings, inaccessibility to healthcare, lack of legal recognition and exclusion from public areas of life, such as sports and media. Increasingly, there are attempts to portray trans inclusion as anti-feminist, a move which must be rejected as bad faith and ill-informed. The Centre for Human Rights stands by the principle that human rights are universal and inalienable, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, invites you to a webinar discussion on two casesThe Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, invites you to a webinar discussion on two cases recently decided by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. This event is the first of a series of discussions of decisions by African human rights bodies.
On Monday, 7 March 2022, Italian diplomat Fabrizio Petri, the country’s first Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTQI+ persons, visited the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. Mr Petri is one of only four such Special Envoys globally. In this position, created in 2021 by the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, he works towards promoting and protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ persons around the world, with special focus on the decriminalisation of same-sex sexual relationships.
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes the recently improved pace of ratification of the 2018 Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (African Disability Protocol). In the past 12 months, Mali, Kenya and Rwanda have ratified the African Disability Protocol. We applaud these three states for demonstrating commitment and political will to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. However, three ratifications in four years represent a very slow ratification rate. Fifteen ratifications are required for its entry into force. At the current rate of ratification, it would take decades for the Africa Disability Protocol to take effect. An acceleration in ratifications is therefore urgently needed.
The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is concerned about the growing anti-immigrant sentiments and attacks fuelled by the recent xenophobic statements of political parties.