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Disability Rights, Information and CommunicationDisability Rights, Information and CommunicationTechnologies in Africa

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, will be convening a hybrid conference titled ‘Disability Rights, Information, and Communication Technologies in Africa’, scheduled for 13-14 November 2024. The conference aims to achieve two primary objectives: firstly, to critically examine laws, policies, practices, programs, and ideologies pertaining to the rights of individuals with disabilities in Africa within the context of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT); secondly, to promote discussions on innovative solutions aimed at enhancing human rights for individuals with disabilities through the utilisation of ICTs. It is anticipated that papers presented at the conference will be refined by authors and subsequently submitted for potential publication in the 2025 volume of the African Disability Rights Yearbook.

In 2024, there are three positions of Judges of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Court that need to be filled. The African Union policy organs will be electing three Judges later in July. In anticipation of these elections, the Arusha Initiative is collaborating with three academic institutions (the University of Pretoria (Centre for Human Rights), Makerere University (Human Rights and Peace Center (HURIPEC)), and Kabarak University (School of Law), to co-host a webinar on this topic. The Arusha Initiative is a Civil Society Organisations (CSO) led rights-holders movement advocating for a more transparent, participatory and merits-based process in the nomination and selection of African Union (AU) human rights bodies.

 The Centre for Human Rights (CHR), in partnership with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), hosted a Judicial Colloquium on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of women and girls in Nairobi, Kenya, on the 2nd  and 3rd  of July 2024. The event brought together judicial officers from Southern and Eastern African Countries.

From21 to 22 June 2024, the Centre for Human Rights at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre for Human Rights) in collaboration with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court) and the Coalition for an Effective African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Coalition) to organise a two-day conference focusing on the implementation of the African Court's decisions. The conference was held at the Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania, coinciding with the 73rd Ordinary session of the African Court.

On 24 June 2024, the Centre for Human Rights hosted the Pretoria launch of Prof Marc Epprecht’s book Accidental Queer: and other essays around critical masculinity studies in Southern Africa and Canada (Accidental Queer). The launch was held at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, Hatfield campus.

In an era of global interconnectedness, movement of persons remains a vital driving for improved economic growth. However, in recent years, African visa applicants face disproportionately high rejection rates when applying for Schengen visas compared to other regions. In 2022, Africa nationals topped the list of most rejections with one in three of all processed applications being turned down. This was 12.5% higher than the global average. The rejection rates for Schengen visas are generally 10% higher than the global average and ten times higher than for United states citizens. This article highlights the deep-seated biases in the Schengen visa process and advocates for necessary reforms such an equitable and accessible appeal system which states legitimate reasons for visa denials in order not exacerbate high influx of illegal African migrants risking their lives across the Central Mediterranean- the most deadliest migration routes in the world- to enter Europe.  ensure a fairer and more equitable system.

by Sara Hafidh, Eden Getenet, and Dorcas Ameonu 

The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology in Africa has revolutionised the electoral processes. There are fears that if not properly regulated, the use of AI may cause irreparable injuries to African elections. These fears have prompted discussions on how AI could be effectively regulated and its potential impact on African elections.

by Tendai Mbanje

A 2023 study conducted by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, indicates that persons with albinism in South Africa continue to experience discrimination based on the colour of their skin. Titled ‘The impact of race and colour on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism in South Africa,’ the study demonstrates the adverse impact of colour-based discrimination on social inclusion and on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with albinism in South Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria organized a webinar on 21 June 2024 to discuss and assess implementation of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in South Africa. The aim of the webinar was to assess CSE delivery in South Africa through Life Orientation (LO) subject in schools.  

The Centre for Human Rights, in partnership with the Centre for Child Law both at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights, University of the Western Cape hosted the annual Advanced Human Rights Course on Children’s Rights in Africa from 17 to 21 June 2024.  This year, the course was also supported by the Global Campus of Human Rights.

On 12 June, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in partnership with Corruption Watch and the Thulani Maseko Foundation, hosted the 2nd Annual Thulani Maseko Memorial Lecture in honour of the dedicated and tireless human rights defender, respected human rights lawyer and advocate for constitutional reform in Eswatini. The theme of this year's lecture was 'Lack of Accountability and Impunity in the Persecution of Human Rights Defenders'.

As South Africa celebrates Youth Day, and the world commemorates International Day of the African Child on 16 June 2024, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law University of Pretoria, recalls the events that explain why this is the date on which children’s rights are highlighted. It also calls for recommitment to make the right to education meaningful reality to all children.

Portrait of Two little African kids looking together at digital tablet at table.

The Global Campus of Human Rights and the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you, on the occasion of the Day of the African Child, to a webinar on Edtech regulatory frameworks and the right to education in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria invites you to the Pretoria launch of Prof Marc Epprecht’s recent book Accidental Queer: and other essays around critical masculinity studies in Southern Africa and Canada. 

We, the undersigned organizations, write regarding the ongoing developments relating to the repeal of the Sections of the landmark Women’s (Amendment) Act of 2015, which criminalizes Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the Gambia. We are deeply concerned that these developments threaten the protection of the human rights and dignity of women and girls in the country, as well as in the region.

On the 24 - 25 May 2024, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria in collaboration with the Media Network on Child Rights and Development held a workshop in Lusaka, Zambia.  This workshop, the third of its kind following previous workshops in Malawi  and Kenya, focused on “Promoting Child Participation in Development Frameworks in Africa” and to established the African base of the Global Campus for Human Rights, Child Leadership Team (GC-CLT). 

Collaborating with the Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre) on 23 May 2024 hosted a virtual launch of the recently published open-access book The Impact of the United Nations Human Rights Treaties on the Domestic Level: Twenty Years On. This book, edited by Frans Viljoen and Rachel Murray, together with the late Christof Heyns, contains studies on the implementation of the UN human rights treaty system in 20 countries across the world. The book was dedicated to the memory and legacy of Professor Christof Heyns.

On the eve of the International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia and Intersexism (IDAHOBIT) on 16 and 17 May, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria took part in a pivotal workshop aimed at fortifying the digital advocacy landscape in human rights activism within the Southern African Democratic Community (SADC) region. 

On 15 May 2024, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo, co-organised a webinar for academics, NGOs and civil society organisations on the implementation of the UN treaty system within domestic legal systems across the world.

The United Nations Independent Expert  on Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (UNIE-SOGI), Dr Graeme Reid, in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights (Centre), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, held a workshop on 2 May 2024 focused on the South African perspective of sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights at the Department of International Relations and Corporation (DIRCO). The Director-General of DIRCO, Zane Dangor, opened the hybrid workshop, which was held as part of the DIRCO Academy’s ongoing initiatives aimed at contributing to the development of the knowledge and skills of DIRCO officials in a wide range of relevant human rights and international relations issues. The workshop was aimed at strengthening the knowledge of participants on pertinent geopolitical developments that affect South Africa’s foreign policy initiatives with respective sexual and gender minority rights and to empower participants with knowledge about sexual orientation, gender identity (SOGI) and human rights from a South African perspective.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) 2024, a momentous occasion designated by the UN General Assembly in 2005. This day serves as a platform to spotlight the transformative potential of the internet and other technologies in advancing socio-economic development, while also championing efforts to bridge the digital divide. Its date, May 17, holds profound historical significance, tracing back to the signing of the First International Telegraph Convention on 17 May 1865, which established the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The establishment of the ITU, laid the foundation for international cooperation and innovation in the dynamic sphere of communication and information technology. 

On 17 May, 1990 the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from its list of diseases. The decision was celebrated by the sexual as well as gender minority rights movement as it marked a milestone in the history of the quest for equality and non discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Henceforth, 17 May has been celebrated as the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT).

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, joins the rest of the world in commemorating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD).  GAAD is an annual global observance held on the third Thursday of May to raise awareness and promote the significance of digital accessibility and inclusion for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs). GAAD promotes dialogue and education, aiming to empower over one billion individuals with disabilities to navigate the digital realm seamlessly. While GAAD primarily focuses on digital accessibility and inclusion for PWDs, its overarching goal is to promote awareness and understanding of accessibility issues in digital environments for all individuals. It also encompasses broader themes of inclusivity, which can include individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. The 2024 GAAD is commemorated under the theme: ‘Built Without Barriers’, emphasising the importance of creating digital environments that are universally accessible and inclusive.  

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is pleased to launch this call for book chapters on the theme of democracy versus mis- and disinformation in Africa. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 30 June 2024.

From 2 - 3 May 2024, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) convened the inaugural experts’ validation session for the study on human and peoples’ rights and artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and other new and emerging technologies in Africa. The validation event took place with a hybrid format, blending in-person attendance in Nairobi, Kenya, with virtual participation. The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is the technical support institution to the development of the study.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), cordially invites you to apply for its Capacity Building Workshop on Strategic Litigation and Advocacy for human rights defenders working on the promotion and protection of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and other non-binary and gender-nonconforming persons in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria organised a webinar on 2 May 2024 to discuss youth engagement in elections and participation in politics in South Africa ahead of the 2024 national and provincial elections. The webinar also aimed to diagnose the possible causes of youth decline in participation in elections and politics and proffer possible solutions.

On Tuesday 30 April 2024, the Centre for Human Rights (Centre) Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Durban Lesbian and Gay Community and Health Centre, successfully conducted a full-day training session aimed at empowering LGBTQI+ persons on the usage of the South Africa Equality Courts.

The recently published open-access book The Impact of the United Nations Human Rights Treaties on the Domestic Level: Twenty Years On – Second Revised Edition | Brill, edited by Frans Viljoen, and Rachel Murray, with the late Christof Heyns, contains studies on the implementation of the UN human rights treaty system in countries across the world. Four African countries — Egypt, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia — are covered in this publication. During this webinar, the authors of the chapters on these four countries will present a summary of their findings. They will highlight examples of the meaningful impact of UN human rights treaties, and discuss the challenges and opportunities experienced by these countries. The webinar is co-hosted by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Regional Office for Southern Africa). 

The World Press Freedom Day is commemorated annually on 3 May to reiterate State obligations to respect, protect and promote press freedom. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed this day in December 1993. Three decades later, the need to celebrate the democratic contributions of an independent press and reaffirm commitments to protecting the press against existing and evolving threats to their freedom remains crucial. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a webinar on youth engagement and elections in South Africa.

To the Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

We, the undersigned organisations, are reaching out to alert you to a critical issue regarding human rights protection in Africa, particularly concerning the interpretationand application of Article 59(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.This concern has led to the development of a concept note outlining the imperativeneed for a progressive interpretation of Article 59(1) and the launch of the Article59(1) Campaign.

On 18 April 2024, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria hosted the pre-election assessment delegation from the Electoral Commission Forum of SADC countries (ECF-SADC) to discuss issues related to electoral preparedness in anticipation of South Africa’s forthcoming National and Provincial Elections scheduled for 29 May 2024.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (the Centre) is looking for a consultant to undertake a study on access to information and the quality of the information ecosystem in the 2024 national and provincial elections in South Africa. The study is supervised by the Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit under the Access to Information and Elections project.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Norwegian Centrefor Human Rights, University of Oslo, cordially invite you to an online seminaron the implementation of the United Nations treaty system within domesticlegal systems of the world. This webinar is part of the UTFORSK project, entitled “Fostering research-based education through academic mobility and measuring the domestic impact of core human rights treaties”. The project connects teaching and research through collaborative exploration of a key human rights topic, namely the domestic impact of core UN human rights treaties and mechanisms.

The Centre for Human Rights supports the call for inputs by the United Nations Independent Expert (IE) on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), for a thematic report on electoral participation and sexual orientation and gender identity. The purpose of the call is to seek inputs for incorporation into a report on the obstacles to full and meaningful participation in electoral processes that individuals face, linked to their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. The report will be presented at the 79th session of the United Nations General Assembly in November 2024, by the current IE SOGI, Graeme Reid. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria(the Centre) attended the 24th Ordinary Session of the Civil Society Organisations Forum on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (CSO Forum), held from the 13 - 14 April 2024, in Maseru, Kingdom of Lesotho. The session was held on the eve of the 43rd Ordinary Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC).  

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria welcomes the adoption of  a resolution on ‘Combating discrimination, violence and harmful practices against intersex persons’ by the United Nations Human Rights Council during its 55th Session on 4 April 2024. Resolution #HRC55 is timely and important in so far as it recognises the discrimination, violence and harm that intersex persons are  commonly subjected to  because of  harmful stereotypes, stigma, taboos, as well inaccurate information and misconceptions about persons with innate variations in sex characteristics.

On 27 March 2024, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (the Centre) hosted a training with the Pretoria Aurum Institute Pop INN clinic, on the Equality Courts of South Africa to increase confidence, knowledge and capacity in seeking recourse for discrimination. Naledi Mpanza, Tholoana Mosia, Victoria Amaechi, from the Centre, coordinated the training, ensuring its success.

From 11 - 15 March 2024, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, hosted the Advanced Human Rights Course on Disability Rights in an African context. The short course was presented using a hybrid format, with participants joining both in person at the Graduate Centre, University of Pretoria, as well as virtually via Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights (CHR) and the Psychological Society of South Africa (PsySSA) have been formally admitted as joint amici curiae (friends of the court) in the case of Embrace Project NPC and Another v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Others (Case no.: 48656/2022) (“Embrace Project case”). 

Arusha, March 28, 2024 - The African Human Rights Mechanisms Nomination and Selection Initiative, also known as ‘the Arusha Initiative,’ announced a campaign to help identify qualified candidates ahead of the upcoming elections to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The aim of the campaign is to assist the State Party-led nomination process by identifying experts who meet the criteria for serving at the African Court. Given the current geographical composition of the Court, nominations are open from the East Africa, West Africa, and Central Africa regions.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre for Human Rights), in collaboration with the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court) and the Coalition for an Effective African Court, will host a 2-day conference on the implementation of the decisions of the African Court. The Conference will be held from 27 -  28 June 2024 alongside the 73rd Ordinary session of the African Court) in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, seeks to recruit a Part Time Project Assistant to be embbed withing the Womens Rights Unit. 

Post information
Department  : Womens Rights Unit
Duty Station : Pretoria, South Africa
Duration       : 4 months
No. of positions: 1
Start Date     : As soon as possible 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes the launch of the "Principles and Guidelines for the Use of Digital and Social Media in Elections in Africa" developed by the Association of African Electoral Authorities (AAEA). The Guidelines and Principles were officially launched by Deputy President of South Africa Paul Mashatile. This notable milestone underscores the significance of integrating digital advancements while steadfastly upholding democratic values.

by Prof Frans Viljoen

The Mauritius Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional a law that criminalises consensual same-sex acts between adult men. The decision boosts the trend in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region towards decriminalisation. Now, a slight majority – nine out of 16 member states – do not prohibit gay and lesbian sexual relations.

The Centre for Human Rights (the Centre) is an academic department in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria. Recognised internationally for excellence in human rights law in Africa, the Centre is uniquely positioned as both an academic department and a non-governmental organisation. A leader in human rights education in Africa, the Centre works towards a greater awareness of human rights, the wide dissemination of publications on human rights in Africa, and the improvement of the rights of women, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, sexual minorities and other disadvantaged or marginalised persons or groups across the continent. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria joins the voices of many human rights defenders and organisations in condemning the passing of the Human Sexual Rights and Family Values  Bill by the Parliament of Ghana on 28 February 2024. 

La première suspension d’internet datamobile a été imposée le 4 février 2024 par le Ministre sénégalais de la communication, télécommunications et économie numérique en réaction au tôlée qui a suivi  l’annonce par le président Macky SALL de report de l’élection présidentielle initialement prévue le 25 février 2025 sans donner de nouvelle date. Le Ministre a suspendu de nouveau l’internet, le 13 février à la suite des manifestations continues dans le pays, consécutives à l’annonce du Président SALL.

Over the past decade, more than half of African countries have shut down internet access at least once. Typically, these internet shutdowns are usually ordered by government authorities amidst major political events such as public protests and elections. Notably, in 2023, ten African countries including Ethiopia, Algeria, Mauritania, Gabon and Senegal collectively contributed to 17 new cases of internet shutdowns. Senegal is the most recent African country to order an internet shutdown in the new year and the shutdown has been instituted twice already in February 2024. 

Download Invitation

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (UP) recently hosted the 2024 edition of the annual short course on Sexual Minority Rights in Africa. The course was presented through both virtual and physical sessions from 19 to 23 February 2024 and was attended by over 90 participants with 13 presenters from both across and outside Africa. Participants included LLM/MPhil students in both the Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) and the Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa (SRRA) Masters programmes in the Faculty of Law, UP. Other participants included researchers, academics, judicial officers, government workers, officials of selected National Human Rights Institutions, and members of civil society.

On 26 February 2024, the United Nations Independent Expert on Protection Against Violence and Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (“IE SOGI”), in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights (Centre), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, brought together global experts, academics, and activists in an online consultation for the upcoming report that will focus on the vital issues of freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association concerning the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). The report will be the first from the newly appointed Independent Expert on SOGI Graeme Reid from South Africa, according to the office’s mandate to advance protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In South Africa, racial discrimination has received considerable attention from researchers, human rights advocates and scholars. Because of South Africa’s apartheid legacy, the focus on racial discrimination is justified. Despite the focus on racial discrimination in South African society, certain population groups have been neglected. Specifically, race and colour-based discrimination against persons with albinism has received little or no attention despite the existence of anecdotal evidence indicating that persons with albinism experience this kind of discrimination daily.

On Thursday 22 February 2024, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, the Embassy of France in South Africa, Lesotho, and Malawi (Embassy of France), and the Delegation of Flanders, successfully hosted a compelling film and panel discussion celebrating two decades of the legal recognition of Same-Sex Marriages in Belgium, France and South Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre) is deeply concerned about the political situation currently unfolding in Senegal. Following President Macky Sall’s announcement on 3 February 2024 annulling the presidential elections earlier set for 25 February 2024, the actions of the Senegalese Government have continued to threaten digital rights in Senegal. The annulment is one of the most recent developments in a series of actions taken by the government leading up to the presidential elections over the past year. These actions include internet shutdowns, attacks on media practitioners and violent crackdowns on public protests. These actions violate various human rights including the rights to freedom of expression, access to information, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, and political participation as guaranteed in domestic national laws and under international treaties ratified by Senegal.

Civil society organisations and National Human Rights Institutions engaging with the African Union (AU) human rights mechanisms call for greater transparency in the nominations and selection of its members, and a more inclusive and participatory process. This call is especially applicable to the July 2024 elections to fill three vacancies at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

On 13 February 2024, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the Information Regulator (IR), the Human Research Council (HSRC), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) and the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) convened an engagement with representatives from the media and civil society, focusing on the upcoming May 2024 South African elections. The purpose of the engagement was to deliberate and strategise on monitoring and reporting on the forthcoming elections, with a specific focus on the information ecosystem, electoral transparency, and integrity. This collaborative initiative underscores the shared commitment to fostering a transparent and informed democratic process in the upcoming electoral events.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria in coalition with Civil Society Organisations and the Pan-African Parliament Civil Society Forum, address the Assembly on the crisis at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP).

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The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (the Centre) stands in solidarity with the global community in observance of World Radio Day, celebrated on 13 February annually. World Radio Day emerged from a proclamation in 2011 by UNESCO member states before being endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 2013. The day is commemorated in recognition of the significance of radio as a medium for accessible communication across the globe.

The Centre for Human Rights,Faculty of Law,  University of Pretoria welcomes and applauds the recent adoption of the Resolution on mass surveillance and unlawful targeted surveillance by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission).  Resolution 573 was adopted during the 77th Ordinary Session of the African Commission held from 20 October to 9 November 2023 in Arusha, Tanzania. The landmark Resolution on the deployment of mass and unlawful targeted communication surveillance and its impact on human rights in Africa, is a significant step by the African Commission in recognising the importance of human rights protection in an increasingly interconnected world, particularly the need to safeguard privacy rights in the face of evolving technological advancements. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre) joins the global community in commemorating Data Protection Day 2024. Launched by the Council of Europe (CoE) in 2006, Data Protection Day was set for January 28 of every year in recognition of the day that the CoE opened its data protection convention (Convention 108) for signature. The day is now celebrated across the globe, known sometimes as International Data Privacy Day to raise awareness about data protection and privacy. In celebrating the day, the Centre notes the commitments by the African Union (AU) and its member States to ensure the protection of personal information through data protection frameworks in Africa. However, given the ever-evolving nature of data use, there is a need to increase these efforts.

Social media and artificial intelligence (AI) have become integral parts of modern society, influencing communication, information dissemination, and social interactions. However, the impact of these technologies on people with disabilities has received limited attention. This book aims to explore the intersection of social media, artificial intelligence (AI), and disability in the context of the Global South, with a focus on opportunities, challenges, and strategies for promoting inclusivity and empowerment. The rapid advancement of technology, particularly in the fields of social media and artificial intelligence (AI), has the potential to significantly impact the lives of people with disabilities in the Global South. This intersection presents both opportunities and challenges in terms of accessibility, inclusion, and empowerment. Understanding the dynamics between social media, AI, and disability in the Global South is crucial for harnessing the potential benefits and addressing the potential risks.

2023 marks 75 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and 25 years of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, OHCHR Regional Office for Southern Africa (OHCHR ROSA) and the European Union Delegation in South Africa, in partnership with Ford Foundation, hosted a commemoration of this milestone on 4 December 2023.

On 23rd November 2023, the Centre hosted a conference on sexual and gender minority rights in Africa, under the theme of decriminalising anti-sodomy laws in a hostile environment. This Conference falls within the broader work of the Centre to advance sexual and reproductive rights in Africa, including those of sexual and gender minorities. The Conference was held in a hybrid format and brought together academics, researchers, legal practitioners, activists, religious leaders and students from across the continent.

On 24 November 2023, the Centre held a training workshop for officials from National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) focusing on the implementation of the Resolutions 275 on Protection against Violence and other Human Rights Violations against Persons on the basis of their real or imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity (2014) and Resolution 552 on Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Intersex Persons in Africa (2023). The training falls within the broader work of the Centre to advance sexual and reproductive rights in Africa, including those of sexual and gender minorities. The objectives of the training were to increase the understanding of the contents and significance of Resolutions 275 and 552, to strengthen the capacity of NHRIs in the implementation of the 2 Resolutions, and to enhance the ability of NHRIs to protect and promote the rights of sexual and gender minorities in Africa.

On 4 October 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, 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) held an engagement with political parties and candidates in Johannesburg to discuss the role of political parties and candidates in promoting access to information ahead of the 2024 elections.

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On 16 and 17 November 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, in collaboration with the Open Society Foundation, Amnesty International and the University of California, Berkeley, organised a workshop on Strategic litigation and state obligations to secure platform accountability in respect of the effects of technology on children. The workshop aimed to devise a litigation strategy holding states accountable for protecting children from the adverse effects of technology and the internet, with a focus on creating a test case for this strategy.

From 13 – 14 November 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria conducted a workshop on utilising General Comments on Article 14 of the of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) as tools for Advocacy on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law,University of Pretoria and OHCHR Regional Office for Southern Africa (OHCHR ROSA), in partnership with the Ford Foundation and the European Union (EU) Delegation in South Africa, will commemorate International Human Rights Day this year in the context of the UDHR 75th year and the 25th Anniversary of the HRDs Declaration.The Commemoration will assess progress made in advancing human rights guaranteed by the UDHR and the challenges human rights defenders face in defending human rights.

Climate change is a global problem of epic proportions, which many countries around the world, including Africa, are grappling to address through a variety of measures and interventions. In order to be effective, these measures must be informed by and aim to fulfil all human rights and fundamental freedoms, leaving no one behind.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (the Centre) participated in the 42nd session of the African Children’s Committee during which the Centre presented its partner statement and hosted a side event to raise awareness on the plight of intersex children in Africa on 9 November 2023.

Breaking the Binary: Intersex Remembrance Day highlights human diversity

8 November 2023 - The Centre for Human Rights (Centre), University of Pretoria joins the global community in commemorating Intersex Remembrance Day 2023. Intersex Remembrance Day, also referred to as Intersex Solidarity Day is meant to raise awareness on the issues faced by intersex persons globally. It serves as a time to reflect on the past and inspire a more inclusive future. The day was first observed in 2005, with the date having particular meaning, as it is the birthday of French Intersex activist Herculine Barbin who contributed significantly in raising awareness on intersex rights.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, has released volume 3 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 3 of the series focuses on lesbian, bisexual and queer (LBQ) cisgender and transgender persons.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to the virtual launch of a research report on the Impact of Race and Colour on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism in South Africa.

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On 25 October 2023, the Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa handed down a revolutionary judgement in the case of Van Wyk and Others v Minister of Employment and Labour [2023] ZAGPJHC 1213. The judgment, penned by Sutherland DJP, declared the provisions of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 75 of 1997 (“BECA”) relating to maternity, parental, adoption and commissioning parental leave, as well as the relevant provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Act, 63 of 2001 (“UIA”), unconstitutional and invalid. 

Downlaod Statement

The Centre for Human Rights (Centre) Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Pan African International, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (PAN ILGA), held a side event on the practical steps to realising the Resolution on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Intersex Persons in Africa (Resolution 552) , on 19 October 2023 at the 79th session of the African Commission on Humana Peoples’(African Commission) Rights in Arusha. The side event was hosted under the umbrella of the African Civil Society Engagement (ACSE), a group of African Civil Society organisations working towards effective engagement with the African Commission.

On 24 October 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria in collaboration with the Coalition for Effective African Court held a stakeholders’ dialogue on the ratification of the Protocol establishing the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and increased direct access to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The event was held as one of the Centre for Human Rights side events during the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights 77 Ordinary session in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria will have a side event during the 42nd Ordinary Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights of the Child, focusing on the essential topic of Intersex Children's Rights.

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On Monday, 2 October 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria co-hosted a public forum on Mothering, Albinism and Human Rights in South Africa: The Resilience of Mothers Affected by Albinism at the Protea Hotel, Loftus Park, in Pretoria. The public forum was hosted as a collaborative effort between the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria; the Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria; Trinity Western University, Canada; McMaster University, Canada; University of Ottawa, Canada; and University of Toronto, Canada.

On 23 October 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (the Centre) hosted a side event on the margins of the ongoing 77th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) taking place in Arusha, Tanzania. The side event was aimed at highlighting issues emerging from the apparent concurrence and overlap of reporting processes related to the implementation of the Maputo Protocol.  The processes of concern are the State Periodic Reporting to the African Commission as outlined under the Guidelines on State Reporting under the Maputo Protocol, and the reporting under the Maputo Protocol Score Card Index which was recently adopted by the African Union.

On October 6, 2024, the Centre for Human Rights ( Centre), University of Pretoria held a training for members of the LGBTIQ+ community on accessing Equality Courts in South Africa. The event was held in collaboration with Nelson Mandela University (NMU) Transformation Office in Gqeberha. 

The training is part of a larger project on Equality Courts in South Africa, aiming to raise awareness about the South African Equality Courts for the purposes of building capacity, confidence and knowledge in seeking redress for discrimination. The training began on 5 October, led by Adelaide Karomo from the NMU Transformation Office, with a short session on implicit bias and explored how bias can quickly turn into unfair discrimination.

From 12 – 13 October 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria conducted the 2nd edition of its capacity building workshop for African civil society organisations on engagement with the African human rights system.  The event took place at Murray Guest House Brooklyn, Pretoria.

The workshop brought together civil society organisations from various African countries. Its primary aim was to acquaint participants with the foundational frameworks of the African human rights system and the institutions overseeing these norms. Additionally, attendees gained insights into the practical aspects of interfacing with African human rights bodies, for purposes of promoting and protecting human rights in Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria , International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) and ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa will be hosting a side event on “the Surveillance and human rights in Africa,” to promote human rights based approaches to the practice of surveillance and raise awareness on its human rights implications. Principle 41 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (the Declaration), calls on States to undertake lawful targeted surveillance instead of indiscriminate and untargeted collection, storage, analysis or sharing of a person’s communications.

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The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to its 11th Annual Disability Rights Conference on 20 and 21 November 2023 which will take place in a hybrid format (Southern Sun Hotel, OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg; and on zoom). The theme of this year’s conference is “Climate change and disability in Africa: A human rights’ response”.

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The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria South Africa invites you to an event on the side-lines of the 77th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights titled: ‘Dissemination of the findings of the Study on Review of Discriminatory Laws related to Violence against Women in Africa’

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The Centre for Human Rights (Centre) , Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes the two judgements of the Supreme Court of Mauritius in Ah Seek A.R.F. v The State of Mauritius and Fokeerbux N. A. & Others v The State of Mauritius which decriminalised consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults.

The Centre for Human Rights (Centre), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria stands in solidarity with the Chief Justice of Zambia, Dr Mumba Malila SC, who has come under attack following his remarks about the need to respect the human rights of sexual minorities in Zambia. During a public lecture commemorating the Silver Jubilee of the Supreme Court of Zambia, on 22 September 2023, held at the University of Zambia, Justice Malila was asked a question on the rights of sexual minorities in Zambia, particularly of gay persons. In his response, Justice Malila stated:

I think there is something absolutely wrong in discriminating people that are different because of their sexuality. If they are people you know who are gay, I think it is absolutely wrong in allowing them less right than you would give to anyone else. Whether people are gay or not, they are human beings at the end of the day, and human rights must be accorded to all human beings.

To commemorate this anniversary, the Centre forHuman Rights, in collaboration with Government of Flanders calls to the general public for the participationof individuals or couples who are or have been marriedunder the same-sex marriage legal system applicablein South Africa, Belgium and France to be part of theco-creation and curation process of documenting thelived realities of same-sex married couples in thesecountries through photos and videos that reflct theirjourney. Prospective participants are encouraged toindicate their interest on or before 17 October 2023.

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On 27 and 28 September 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, organised a two-day virtual seminar in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights’ Model Law on Access to Information for Africa. The Model Law was adopted on 13 February 2013, to provide legislative guidance for developing new and reviewing existing access to information laws in line with international best practices. It contains best practices and represents a harmonised approach to access to information throughout the continent and also serves as a basis for advocating for an enhanced access to information environment. The seminar provided a platform for ​​ exploring the status of access to information in Africa, including milestones and challenges.

On September 18-19 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria hosted a hybrid Human Rights Strategic Litigation and Advocacy Training Workshop to curb the adverse effects of Climate Change and environmental shocks in Africa, at the Plant Sciences Complex in the University of the Pretoria. The event brought together legal professionals, judges, and scholars from Southern Africa to explore the critical intersections of climate change, human rights, and climate justice in Africa, with a specific focus on the SADC region. The event was opened by the convener of the event, Dr Elvis Fokala and soon after, the Assistant Director of the Centre for Human Rights, Mr Lloyd Kuveya and the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Elsabe Schoeman welcomed the participants to the University and wished them a very productive stay in Pretoria. 

The recent developments in Nagorno-Karabakh, a month-long blockade followed by a large-scale offensive on the region by Azerbaijani forces, the protracted conflict and the ensuing humanitarian tragedy have brought great sorrow to the lives of the most vulnerable members of our society, children. Many children faced the harsh realities of malnutrition and limited access to food due to severe shortages caused by the blockade and critical infrastructure damage. Since last week, many children in Nagorno-Karabakh have been brutally killed or injured in their homes or in the streets, or went missing. In the last days, after the cease-fire, hundreds of children along with their families have been deprived of food, sanitation, and shelter, and under difficult circumstances have been forced to seek refuge in Armenia.

On 15 September 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, held its 5th edition of the African human rights bodies case discussion series at Southern Sun Hotel, Pretoria. The African human rights bodies case discussion series is part of the Centre for Human Rights efforts to improve the implementation and impact of the jurisprudence of African human rights bodies by providing a platform for stakeholders to discuss and engage with critical aspects of decisions of African human rights bodies. The 5th edition focused on the decisions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) in the cases of Justice Thomas S. Masuku v The Kingdom of Swaziland and Equality Now and Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA) v the Federal Republic of Ethiopia.

The Centre for Human Rights and its partners ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa, and ARTICLE 19 Western Africa invite stakeholders to the launch of the reports on Proactive Disclosure of Information and Elections in Africa. The reports assessed state compliance with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights 2017 Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa (the Guidelines).

On 8 September 2023, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and Parliamentary Network Africa (PNAfrica), hosted a high-level discussion regarding civil society entry points into the African Union (AU). The discussion took place in Accra, Ghana with participants from various civil society organisations (CSOs) across Africa. 

On 18 August 2023, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities marked the one-year anniversary of adoption of its Guidelines on Deinstitutionalization, including in Emergencies (CRPD/C/5). Watch the official recording on UN Web TV here.

The Global Coalition on Deinstitutionalization (‘GC-DI’) is a collection of seven leading international organizations of persons with disabilities and civil society organizations. It was formed around the collective goal of promoting deinstitutionalization of persons with disabilities, under Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (‘CRPD’).

Decriminalisation of anti-sodomy laws in an increasingly hostile environment in Africa

23 November 2023

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is convening a conference on sexual and gender minority rights in Africa under the theme decriminalisation of anti-sodomy laws in an increasingly hostile environment on sexual and gender minority rights in Africa. The aim of the conference is to critically analyse how anti-sodomy laws can be decriminalised under the prevailing hostile legal and political environment against sexual and gender minority rights in Africa.  The conference will be held in hybrid format on 23 November 2023 in South Africa and online. It is anticipated that papers presented at this conference will be reworked by authors and submitted to be part of an edited book on decriminalisation of Anti-sodomy laws in  Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria seeks the consultancy services of an experienced consultant with research expertise to conduct a study to document the impact of digital violence on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) of women in Africa and measures taken by states to protect women from and respond to violence in the digital sphere.

2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ (African Commission) adoption of the Model Law on Access to Information for Africa (the Model Law). Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria will be organising a commemorative seminar on 27 and 28 September 2023, which aims to explore the status of access to information in Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (the Centre), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) held a two-day Validation Workshop on the State Report of the Republic of Sierra Leone as required under 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). The Workshop was held from 1 to 2 August 2023 in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone ratified the African Charter in September 1983 and the Maputo Protocol in July 2015, and as of January 2023, had three outstanding reports on the African Charter. Sierra Leone is also yet to report on the Maputo Protocol since ratification.

To celebrate 20 years of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Office of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa) calls for newsletter article contributions.

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