fbpx

The Centre for Human Rights welcomes the passing of the Civil Union Amendment Bill by South Africa’s second legislative body, the National Council of Provinces (NCP). The Amendment Bill repeals section 6 of the Civil Union Act 17 of 2006 (CUA), which had provided that a marriage officer may, in writing, inform the Minister of Home Affairs that he or she objects to solemnising a civil union between persons of the same sex on the ground of conscience, religion, and belief. This provision had long been a barrier to the legal recognition of same-sex couples by marriage officers in the Department of Home Affairs.

The Centre for Human Rights has previously published research on the impact of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (The African Charter) as well as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). The research was in the form of two editions of a publication, The Impact of the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol in selected African states published in 2012 and 2016 respectively.  The Centre is building on this work through a new publication focusing solely on the impact of the Maputo Protocol. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum12 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

Institutional racism and how it manifests in the African context

In conversation with Dr Joel Modiri

On 2 July 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted the eleventh in a series of discussions, which are now open to the public. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights on human rights and democratisation in Africa. The discussion was held in Zoom.

On 2 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria hosted a webinar to discuss the challenges faced by hyper-androgenic women in competitive sports, with a focus on Caster Semenya. Members of the panel were Commissioner Advocate Mohamed Shafie Armeemia (from the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)), Professor Steve Cornelius (from the University of Pretoria), Bianca Kapp (a lawyer and researcher on hyperandrogenism in sports), Joshua Sehoole (a South Africa based human rights activist), and Tapiwa Mamhare (a human rights lawyer and project officer at the Centre).

On 29 June 2020, the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) in collaboration with China Accountability Project (CAP), organised a webinar on COVID-19 and its impact on Chinese investments in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is hosting a follow-up webinar on privacy and data protection in Africa in the COVID-19 context. Privacy and data protection practitioners from Africa will analyse the current status of data protection and privacy in continent. In the responses to COVID-19, there is collection, sharing, storage and processing of personal information. This raises questions regarding Africa’s preparedness to the security, management and protection of personal information and safeguarding the right to privacy. This will assess privacy and data protection approaches in the various responses to COVID-19. 

The Centre for Human Rights welcomes the news that the legislature of the Gabonese Republic (‘Gabon’) has voted to pass a landmark bill to decriminalise homosexuality in the country. The amendment removes an ‘offence against morality’ provision in the Penal Code which prohibits ‘sexual relations between persons of the same sex’, stipulating up to six months in prison and a fine of five million CFA francs (about US$8,600) for anyone found guilty.

On 25 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the tenth in a series of discussions, which are now open to the public. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa.The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights is inviting experts and practitioners in the area of privacy and data protection to submit abstracts for a conference and book project. Contributions can be in the context of national, regional and international human rights on legal, regulatory, academic and technological developments and other perspectives on privacy and data protection. This project is meant to build upon existing scholarly work on data protection and data privacy in Africa. The book publication will be preceded by a conference that will be held in October 2020. Book chapters will be selected from the conference manuscripts.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum11 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

The 2020 Helen Kanzira Memorial Lecture was co-hosted by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa and the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Lagos-Nigeria. The lecture was presented online and held on 18 June 2020. The theme of this year’s lecture was Gender inequalities, social inequities and maternal deaths.

In June 2020, South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled the electoral act unconstitutional, for failing to permit individuals to run for a seat in the national or provincial legislatures. The Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is hosting a discussion on the judgment and its implications for South African politics. The discussion aims to unpack the ruling, the actors it implicates and considers what the new electoral act could look like taking into account the Court’s directives.

On 23 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights facilitated a discussion on data protection and privacy issues in Africa. Data protection authorities explored the status of privacy and data protection on the continent. They highlighted the milestones and challenges faced in the adoption and implementation of data protection legislation. The discussion also included privacy and protection of personal information in the context of COVID-19 and steps that have been adopted to ensure that individual privacy is protected while trying to achieve the broader goal of the protecting public health.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum 10 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

What role does international law play in curbing the challenges presented by COVID- 19? 

In conversation with Prof Dire Tladi

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, invites tenders for an Evaluation of a Grant titled RAF-16/0027, CAPACITY-BUIDING TO ADVANCE HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY IN AFRICA (CAHRDA), and funded by the Norwegian Government to the Centre for Human Rights. In this process, it will target at least three specific potential tenderers, and will further widely disseminate this `Invitation to Tender’.

On 19 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the ninth in a series of discussions, which are now open to the public. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa.The discussion was held in Zoom.

On 16 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a webinar organised by the Children’s Rights Unit on the occasion of the Day of the African Child 2020. The webinar focused on the issue of access to a child friendly justice system in Africa, against the backdrop of the 30 year anniversary of the adoption of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, will host a webinar on data privacy, protection and security in Africa in the COVID-19 context. The discussion will be centred on the notion that while the most urgent on the governments’ agenda is the protection of public health to ensure the pandemic is halted, personal privacy should not be undermined. Also, taking into consideration that the right to privacy is not an absolute right but limitations should be prescribed by law, necessary and proportionate and serve a legitimate aim. Representatives of the African Network of Data Protection Authorities will discuss these data protection and privacy issues on the continent generally and specifically in the context of COVID-19. The discussion on COVID-19 is centred on striking a balance between protecting public health and privacy. The webinar will be held in English and French.

On 11 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the eighth in a series of discussions, which are now open to the public. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa.The discussion was held in Zoom.

Today, Global Partners Digital (GPD), ARTICLE 19, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), PROTEGE QV and the Center for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, jointly launched an interactive map to track and analyze disinformation laws, policies, and patterns of enforcement across Sub-Saharan Africa.

(By Women's Rights Unit)

Youth Day in South Africa commemorates the Soweto youth uprising of 16 June 1976.[1]  It is the day that many black students went on a protest rally against an official order which made Afrikaans compulsory in black township schools throughout the country.[2] The day is celebrated in order to recognize the role of the youth in the liberation of South Africa from the Apartheid regime.[3]  On this basis, the African Union designated 16 June as the Day of the African Child.  This year, Africa on this day commemorates the adoption, 30 years ago, of the AU’s main human rights treaty, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. As we at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, remember the past, we also draw attention to the challenges that the present COVID-19 crisis presents to the youth particularly within educational settings. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum 9 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

The South African Constitutional Court’s recent judgment requiring Parliament to amend the Electoral Act is remarkable for two reasons. In this judgment, the Court for the first time ever placed reliance on a judgment of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights. This hopefully marks the beginning of a continuous dialogue between the highest South African and African Union courts. Through this judgment, the Court has set a process in motion that would see the end of the closed party-list proportional representation to the national and provincial legislatures. This is a welcome development, and provides an opportunity not only to expand citizen participation in the electoral process, but also in the drafting of the new Electoral Act. 

With the recent happenings in the world: racism, police brutality, rape, and femicide, a number of Centre for Human Rights HRDA alumni came together with others to provide a message of hope and solidarity. In this video, Ms Mary Izobo (HRDA 2015), Ms Hibo Mahad (HRDA 2015), Ms Aminata Ly (HRDA 2015) and Ms Khuraisha Patel (HRDA 2015), alongside Ms Greta Dunn, Ms Neda Grozeva, Ms Khanyo Farise and Ms Rita Jacques provide this message: "We may look different and speak different languages, but we are one race - the human race. Hoping that our voices will be heard and we can contribute towards the wave of change."

The Centre for Human Rights (CHR), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is an internationally recognised institution combining academic excellence and impactful activism to advance human rights, particularly in Africa. Through education, research and advocacy, to support the African Union’s infrastructure and improve the enjoyment of human rights on the continent.

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) held its inaugural session in March 2004. With the PAP now marking 16 years of operation, the CHR is commissioning an evidence-based analytical study to assess (a) the way in which the PAP has executed its functions and exercised its powers; (b) the extent to which it has achieved its objectives; and (c) the factors that have supported and constrained it in its operations. In particular, the study examines how the PAP has helped close the ‘democratic deficit’ in AU governance, while exploring the AU’s attempts to convert PAP into a fully-fledged legislative institution for the African continent.

On 9 June 2020, The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - Regional Office for Southern Africa, in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), convened a webinar on the right of peaceful assembly in Southern Africa in the context of COVID-19.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, notes with grave concern the instances of death and other human rights violations due to excessive force during law enforcement in South Africa. We note that these are not isolated instances, but are linked to inequalities based on race.

“The disturbingly high rate of arrest-related deaths, and its structural causes, in particular as far as it relates to racial inequalities, must be investigated and addressed with great urgency and seriousness”, said Frans Viljoen, the Centre’s Director. 

The Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, and the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invite you to the Annual Helen Kanzira Memorial Lecture, which will be presented online.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar organised by the Children’s Rights Unit on the occasion of the Day of the African Child 2020. The webinar will speak to the issue of access to a child friendly justice system in Africa, against the backdrop of the 30 year anniversary of the adoption of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

These are some of the African organisations that have been in the frontlines battling the COVID-19 pandemic by putting the interests of persons with albinism at the fore, as we prepare to celebrate International Albinism Awareness Day on 13 June 2020.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum 8 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

Covid-19 and the impacts of concomitant government regulations on women

In conversation with Ms Patience Mungwari

In commemoration of International Albinism Awareness Day on 13 June 2020, these are some of the voices from women with Albinism in Africa telling us how they are #MadeToShine

On 4 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the seventh in a series of discussions, which are now open to the public. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa.The discussion was held in Zoom.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - Regional Office for Southern Africa, in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), is convening a webinar on the right of peaceful assembly in Southern Africa in the context of COVID-19.

The Centre for Human Rights, in partnership with the United Nations Independent Expert on Albinism, Open Society Foundations and other organisers takes pleasure in inviting you to an online albinism celebration to commemorate International Albinism Awareness Day on 13 June 2020. The celebration is a global event which features various artists with albinism from all over the world. 

On 2 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a webinar on challenges of hyperandrogenic women in competitive sports. The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum 7 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

A webinar on the theme “Assessing the implications of Covid-19 pandemic regulations on human rights and the rule of law in Africa,” is planned for 11-12 August 2020. It is organized by the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa and Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Rule of Law Program for Sub-Saharan Africa - Nairobi, Kenya. 

Since 20 April 2020, through a global survey, the COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor (DRM) has been gathering data to conduct rapid independent monitoring of state measures concerning persons with disabilities in the context of the pandemic.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar to discuss the impact of the World Athletics (formerly IAAF) Regulations on the human rights of hyperandrogenic female athletes.

On 28 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the sixth in a series of discussions, which are now open to the public. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa.The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights (CHR), University of Pretoria (UP), with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held its annual Advanced Human Rights Course (AHRC) on the judicial enforcement of socio-economic rights in Africa from 18 to 22 May 2020. The course was delivered for the first time in a virtual format.

On 26 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a webinar organised by the Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit to unpack the challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on elections on the African continent. The discussion was held in Zoom.

The right to access to justice for persons with disabilities

In conversation with Ms Dianah Msipa

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum 6 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

On 21 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the fifth in a series of discussions with Centre alumni, students and staff. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa.The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar organised by the Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit to unpack the challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on elections on the African continent.

As governments attempt to tackle the unprecedented public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are deeply concerned that women and girls are suffering even more egregious violations of their human rights. In the absence of gender-sensitive intersectional responses, different forms of systemic discrimination already faced by women and girls will be exacerbated. The dramatic increase in women’s caregiving responsibilities, the rise in what was already an epidemic of sexual and domestic violence, the continued feminization of poverty, the proliferation of barriers to healthcare, especially pregnancy-related healthcare, will profoundly jeopardize women’s safety and well-being, economic security, and participation in political and public life, both during and after the pandemic. The measures taken by governments to mitigate the risks to health and life posed by COVID-19 must take into account the specific attributes and circumstances faced by women and girls. These include, but are not limited to their sex, gender, age, disability, ethnic origin, and immigration or residence status. States must refrain from any action that will exacerbate the already disproportionate economic and social impact of this pandemic on women and girls.

On 19 May 2020, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa in partnership with the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and ARTICLE 19 (Eastern Africa and Western Africa) convened a webinar to introduce the revised Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa.

In response to the recent Khoza judgement in the Pretoria High Court on the use of force by law enforcement officials during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa together with the Centre for Human Rights have made available an overview of the main international legal documents and standards on the use of force.

The Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G), recognise, support, and commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). This annual event, observed on May 17, is marked internationally for the recognition of LGBTIQ+ rights. In particular, it is used to raise awareness and educate the public on issues of violence, discrimination, repression, and also to call attention to the health challenges that detract from the progress and wellbeing of the LGBTIQ+ community all over the world.

On 14 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the fourth in a series of discussions with Centre alumni, students and staff. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Southern African Miners Association (SAMA) (comprised of the undersigned organisations), are gravely concerned by the recently published SADC Regional COVID-19 Response Report – Bulletin 2 which omitted to set out clear guidelines on how older persons right to health should be protected during national lockdowns. This is particularly alarming considering the vulnerability of older persons to COVID-19. This susceptibility is further heightened for older persons who used to work in the mines with pre-existing occupational lung diseases and weakened immune systems due to ageing. Without a clear regional response that involves working together across communities, organisations and countries, which targets the protection of the most vulnerable, the spread and minimisation of the virus cannot be suppressed.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has had a major impact on the global public and has disrupted the daily pattern of life for billions of people across the world. As states across the globe impose lockdowns and ‘social distancing’ regulations to contain the spread of the virus, human rights have become severely restricted even in the most liberal democratic countries.

On 12 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a webinar on the need for businesses to respect and promote human rights in Africa, specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion was held in Zoom.

In commemoration of IDAHOBIT, there will be a webinar hosted by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS & Gender, University of Pretoria.

Governments across the world are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside the mountain of related challenges, fake news has become a source of frustration. Some are now referring to this fake news phenomenon as a ‘disinfodemic’.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, would like to inform applicants and prospective applicants of the Advanced Human Rights Course on the Judicial Enforcement of Socio-Economic Rights in Africa (18 – 22 May 2020) that due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of borders as well as academic institutions in South Africa, the course will be presented in a modified format — a format different from the conventional contact sessions.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar on the need for businesses to respect and promote human rights in Africa, specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 7 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the third in a series of discussions with Centre alumni, students and staff. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. The discussion was held in Zoom.

On 5 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a webinar on human rights abuses by police officers during enforcement of government responses to COVID-19 in Africa. The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, together with the Sex Workers Education & Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) and Sisonke is deeply concerned about the ongoing discrimination against sex workers in South Africa in response to the COVID-19 crisis and calls on the government to take urgent measures to extend its COVID-19 palliative measures to sex workers in need.

(By Professor Daniel Bradlow)

Once again, African countries are confronting overwhelming debt burdens. According to the most recent World Bank debt statistics, they owe a total of $493.6 billion in long term debt to their foreign official and commercial creditors. About one third, $117 billion, is in the form of tradeable bonds. In 2019, many African countries spent more money servicing their debts than they did on health.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is deeply concerned about the recent decisions by the Governments of the Republic of Benin and Côte d’Ivoire to no longer allow individuals and NGOs to take cases directly to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Almost all cases decided by the African Court so far have been submitted by individuals. Reducing this form of access to the African Court, impedes the establishment of the Court as a legitimate continental institution that entrenches the principles of accountability based on the rule of law. Our concern is exacerbated by the fact that that these decisions have been taken in a context of increased hostility towards the human rights bodies established under the African Union and decreasing support for their mandates. 

As the world commemorates the World Press Freedom Day, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, commends the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights for making available the revised Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa at a time when the world has been plunged into a global health crisis, COVID-19. The current Declaration replaces the 2002 Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa. The revision was undertaken by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (Special Rapporteur) against the backdrop developments in the developments that have taken place in the context of freedom of expression, access to information.

On 30 April 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the second in a series of discussions with Centre alumni, students and staff. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar on human rights abuses by police officers during enforcement of government responses to COVID-19 in Africa.

Understanding the rights of sexual minorities as human rights 

In conversation with Dr Adrian Jjuuko

The need for inclusive spaces for trans women in Africa

In conversation with Dr Anastacia Tomson

This year, South Africans celebrate Freedom Day in conditions of confinement.  We are reminded that on this day, 26 years ago, for the first time in history all South Africans exercised the most basic of rights, the right to vote. This election ushered in a system of democratic governance based on the values of equality, inclusion and tolerance, as entrenched in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

Since 2008, Lesbian Visibility Day is celebrated annually on 26 April. It has now grown into a week-long event known as Lesbian Visibility Week and is celebrated from 20 to 26 April 2020. The day aims to celebrate and support lesbian women while increasing the visibility of the lesbian community. Across the globe, women who love women continue to be persecuted in a unique way. Their sexuality is often viewed as a challenge to patriarchal masculinity and traditional gender roles, and this frequently results in targeted violence against lesbian women. The violent phenomena of homophobic rape, more commonly recognised by the misnomer ‘corrective rape’, continues to plague the lesbian community. This is the situation in Africa, as it is around the world.

On 23 April 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the first in a series of discussions with Centre alumni, students and staff. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. The discussion was held in Zoom.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has published the revised Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (the Declaration). The Commission adopted the Declaration during its 65th Ordinary Session which was held from 21 October to 10 November 2019 in Banjul, The Gambia. The revised Declaration replaces the 2002 Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa. The initiative to revise the Declaration was undertaken by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (the Special Rapporteur). The adoption of the Declaration is a landmark development that elaborates article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and will contribute to an enhanced normative standard for freedom of expression, access to information and digital rights in Africa, in line with international human rights and standards. The Declaration was scheduled to be launched during the African Commission’s 66th Ordinary Session which has been deferred due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

(By Thomas White)

Let’s go back to the “trolley problem”. Imagine a group of hostages is chained to a train track with a runaway locomotive hurtling towards them. If the train stays on course, the entire group of hostages is going to die. If the train is derailed, fewer deaths will ensue, but massive chaos will be caused in the process.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, call on the South African government to act swiftly to reduce the further spread of COVID-19 in South African correctional centres. This can be done by releasing a limited number of incarcerated persons so as to reduce their risk of contracting the virus, and allowing for more effective social distancing within correctional centres. 

Students who have completed, or will complete, their doctoral studies in law at an African University in 2020 are encouraged to submit their doctoral theses for consideration for the new Pretoria University  Law Press Thesis Prize, which will be awarded on an annual basis. The winning thesis will be published in book form by the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP).

Evidence is emerging that persons with disabilities are being disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and emergency measures being taken by governments worldwide. As governments rush to respond to the virus, it is more critical than ever to guarantee that measures taken are fully inclusive of persons with disabilities and prevent human rights violations from taking place.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisers of the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition have decided to adjust the format and dates of the 2020 African Moot Competition. The preliminary rounds of the Competition will now take place virtually, and the semi-final and final rounds have been rescheduled to take place in Dakar, in December 2020.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, are deeply concerned about the situation of migrants in the territory of South Africa during this COVID-19 crisis. 

The study on Civil society in the digital age in Africa: identifying threats and mounting pushbacks was undertaken by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretroia and the Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) to explore the extent of state-sponsored digital challenges that the civil society in Africa is faced with. It illustrates the challenges faced by civil society organisations and the importance of digital security measures.

(By Prof Danny Bradlow)

The coronavirus and its economic consequences have caused economic tsunamis in every country in the world. The scale of the onslaught will dominate discussions at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank spring meetings due to take place – for the first time ever virtually – in mid April.

Recently, three graduates of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) programme, presented by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, were appointed to positions in which they are able to apply the theory of democratisation and human rights to make a difference in two African states, Namibia and Uganda. 

The Centre for Human Rights in an effort to spearhead the belief of leaving no one behind acknowledges the importance of a rights-based approach to ageing and calls for the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa, is calling for applications for the Master's degree (LLM/MPhil) in Human Rights and Democratisation (HRDA) for the Class of 2021. This prestigious degree is presented by the Centre in partnership with 12 leading African universities.The programme forms part of the Global Campus of Human Rights, with Pretoria as the hub of the African regional programme.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa, is calling for applications for the Master's degree (LLM/MPhil) in Disability Rights in Africa (DRIA) for the Class of 2021. The DRIA programme was launched in 2018 and is the first master’s degree programme in Africa focusing specifically on the rights of persons with disabilities in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa, is calling for applications for the Master's degree (LLM/MPhil) in Sexual & Reproductive Rights in Africa (SRRA) for the Class of 2021. The SRRA degree is a unique degree, offered as a blended learning programme, to which 15 individuals from African countries are admitted.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa, is calling for applications for the Master's degree (LLM) in International Trade and Investment Law in Africa (TILA) for the Class of 2021. The TILA degree is a unique programme to which 25 to 30 individuals from African countries with a degree allowing access to the legal profession (e.g. LLB or licence en Droit) and preferably experience in the field of trade and investment law are admitted.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19, the oral rounds of the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition will now be held in December 2020, and no longer in July. The Competition will be scheduled around Human Rights Day (10 December), with participating teams and judges traveling to Geneva, Switzerland, for the oral rounds. If this would not be possible, the oral rounds, probably in an adjusted and scaled down version, will be held on-line. Either way, the 2020 Competition will still be held.

The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) wishes to inform its members, partners and other stakeholders of the suspension, until further notice, of the Southern and Central Africa capacity building trainings, as well as the side event scheduled to take place during the 66th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The UNCRC and its practical implications in the African context 

In conversation with Adv Karabo Ozah

The South African government announced a 21-day lockdown of the country starting on 27 March 2020, as part of measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the national directive, the University of Pretoria took the decision to close down until 16 April 2020. Being based in South Africa, and the University of Pretoria in particular, the Centre for Human Rights is directly affected by these measures.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions on movement has generated considerable anxiety and uncertainty for us. We support and embrace these measures for unmistakably serving the public good, but we are also aware of their disruptive effect on our regular mode of academic and programmatic work. We have therefore made efforts to ensure continuity as far as possible, and to minimise disruption where possible. Our commitment is driven by the long-term goal of ensuring the advancement of the protection of human rights through education, research and advocacy on the African continent.

We live in uncertain times. Around the world, severe measures have been put in place to protect public health and avoid the collapse of health care systems. Many countries are in lock down and international travel has all but ceased. South Africa will be in lock down for 21 days from midnight on 26 March.

As South Africa continues to evolve nearly 26 years into its democratic era, special occasions such as Human Rights Day on 21 March are a sobering reminder of the struggle and sacrifice that so many undertook for the benefit of all.

Human Rights Day memorialises the 69 people killed and 180 injured during the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, which followed a march by ordinary people demonstrating against unjust pass laws which infringed on their right to freedom of movement.

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa's speech on 15 March 2020, the Executive Management of the University of Pretoria has decided to suspend contact classes, graduation ceremonies, conferences, mass gatherings and events. 

The Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC), in collaboration with the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), recently hosted the annual short course on Disability Rights in an African Context, from 9 to 13 March 2020.

  • Premium
  • Standard Compliant Channels
  • $100
  • Completely synergize resource taxing relationships via premier market
  • 10 GB of space
  • Support at $15/hour
  • Sign Up

The Centre for Human Rights welcomes the passing of the Civil Union Amendment Bill by South Africa’s second legislative body, the National Council of Provinces (NCP). The Amendment Bill repeals section 6 of the Civil Union Act 17 of 2006 (CUA), which had provided that a marriage officer may, in writing, inform the Minister of Home Affairs that he or she objects to solemnising a civil union between persons of the same sex on the ground of conscience, religion, and belief. This provision had long been a barrier to the legal recognition of same-sex couples by marriage officers in the Department of Home Affairs.

The Centre for Human Rights has previously published research on the impact of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (The African Charter) as well as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). The research was in the form of two editions of a publication, The Impact of the African Charter and the Maputo Protocol in selected African states published in 2012 and 2016 respectively.  The Centre is building on this work through a new publication focusing solely on the impact of the Maputo Protocol. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum12 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

Institutional racism and how it manifests in the African context

In conversation with Dr Joel Modiri

On 2 July 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted the eleventh in a series of discussions, which are now open to the public. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights on human rights and democratisation in Africa. The discussion was held in Zoom.

On 2 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria hosted a webinar to discuss the challenges faced by hyper-androgenic women in competitive sports, with a focus on Caster Semenya. Members of the panel were Commissioner Advocate Mohamed Shafie Armeemia (from the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC)), Professor Steve Cornelius (from the University of Pretoria), Bianca Kapp (a lawyer and researcher on hyperandrogenism in sports), Joshua Sehoole (a South Africa based human rights activist), and Tapiwa Mamhare (a human rights lawyer and project officer at the Centre).

On 29 June 2020, the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) in collaboration with China Accountability Project (CAP), organised a webinar on COVID-19 and its impact on Chinese investments in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is hosting a follow-up webinar on privacy and data protection in Africa in the COVID-19 context. Privacy and data protection practitioners from Africa will analyse the current status of data protection and privacy in continent. In the responses to COVID-19, there is collection, sharing, storage and processing of personal information. This raises questions regarding Africa’s preparedness to the security, management and protection of personal information and safeguarding the right to privacy. This will assess privacy and data protection approaches in the various responses to COVID-19. 

The Centre for Human Rights welcomes the news that the legislature of the Gabonese Republic (‘Gabon’) has voted to pass a landmark bill to decriminalise homosexuality in the country. The amendment removes an ‘offence against morality’ provision in the Penal Code which prohibits ‘sexual relations between persons of the same sex’, stipulating up to six months in prison and a fine of five million CFA francs (about US$8,600) for anyone found guilty.

On 25 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the tenth in a series of discussions, which are now open to the public. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa.The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights is inviting experts and practitioners in the area of privacy and data protection to submit abstracts for a conference and book project. Contributions can be in the context of national, regional and international human rights on legal, regulatory, academic and technological developments and other perspectives on privacy and data protection. This project is meant to build upon existing scholarly work on data protection and data privacy in Africa. The book publication will be preceded by a conference that will be held in October 2020. Book chapters will be selected from the conference manuscripts.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum11 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

The 2020 Helen Kanzira Memorial Lecture was co-hosted by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa and the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Lagos-Nigeria. The lecture was presented online and held on 18 June 2020. The theme of this year’s lecture was Gender inequalities, social inequities and maternal deaths.

In June 2020, South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled the electoral act unconstitutional, for failing to permit individuals to run for a seat in the national or provincial legislatures. The Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is hosting a discussion on the judgment and its implications for South African politics. The discussion aims to unpack the ruling, the actors it implicates and considers what the new electoral act could look like taking into account the Court’s directives.

On 23 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights facilitated a discussion on data protection and privacy issues in Africa. Data protection authorities explored the status of privacy and data protection on the continent. They highlighted the milestones and challenges faced in the adoption and implementation of data protection legislation. The discussion also included privacy and protection of personal information in the context of COVID-19 and steps that have been adopted to ensure that individual privacy is protected while trying to achieve the broader goal of the protecting public health.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum 10 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

What role does international law play in curbing the challenges presented by COVID- 19? 

In conversation with Prof Dire Tladi

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, invites tenders for an Evaluation of a Grant titled RAF-16/0027, CAPACITY-BUIDING TO ADVANCE HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY IN AFRICA (CAHRDA), and funded by the Norwegian Government to the Centre for Human Rights. In this process, it will target at least three specific potential tenderers, and will further widely disseminate this `Invitation to Tender’.

On 19 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the ninth in a series of discussions, which are now open to the public. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa.The discussion was held in Zoom.

On 16 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a webinar organised by the Children’s Rights Unit on the occasion of the Day of the African Child 2020. The webinar focused on the issue of access to a child friendly justice system in Africa, against the backdrop of the 30 year anniversary of the adoption of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, will host a webinar on data privacy, protection and security in Africa in the COVID-19 context. The discussion will be centred on the notion that while the most urgent on the governments’ agenda is the protection of public health to ensure the pandemic is halted, personal privacy should not be undermined. Also, taking into consideration that the right to privacy is not an absolute right but limitations should be prescribed by law, necessary and proportionate and serve a legitimate aim. Representatives of the African Network of Data Protection Authorities will discuss these data protection and privacy issues on the continent generally and specifically in the context of COVID-19. The discussion on COVID-19 is centred on striking a balance between protecting public health and privacy. The webinar will be held in English and French.

On 11 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the eighth in a series of discussions, which are now open to the public. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa.The discussion was held in Zoom.

Today, Global Partners Digital (GPD), ARTICLE 19, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), PROTEGE QV and the Center for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, jointly launched an interactive map to track and analyze disinformation laws, policies, and patterns of enforcement across Sub-Saharan Africa.

(By Women's Rights Unit)

Youth Day in South Africa commemorates the Soweto youth uprising of 16 June 1976.[1]  It is the day that many black students went on a protest rally against an official order which made Afrikaans compulsory in black township schools throughout the country.[2] The day is celebrated in order to recognize the role of the youth in the liberation of South Africa from the Apartheid regime.[3]  On this basis, the African Union designated 16 June as the Day of the African Child.  This year, Africa on this day commemorates the adoption, 30 years ago, of the AU’s main human rights treaty, the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. As we at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, remember the past, we also draw attention to the challenges that the present COVID-19 crisis presents to the youth particularly within educational settings. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum 9 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

The South African Constitutional Court’s recent judgment requiring Parliament to amend the Electoral Act is remarkable for two reasons. In this judgment, the Court for the first time ever placed reliance on a judgment of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights. This hopefully marks the beginning of a continuous dialogue between the highest South African and African Union courts. Through this judgment, the Court has set a process in motion that would see the end of the closed party-list proportional representation to the national and provincial legislatures. This is a welcome development, and provides an opportunity not only to expand citizen participation in the electoral process, but also in the drafting of the new Electoral Act. 

With the recent happenings in the world: racism, police brutality, rape, and femicide, a number of Centre for Human Rights HRDA alumni came together with others to provide a message of hope and solidarity. In this video, Ms Mary Izobo (HRDA 2015), Ms Hibo Mahad (HRDA 2015), Ms Aminata Ly (HRDA 2015) and Ms Khuraisha Patel (HRDA 2015), alongside Ms Greta Dunn, Ms Neda Grozeva, Ms Khanyo Farise and Ms Rita Jacques provide this message: "We may look different and speak different languages, but we are one race - the human race. Hoping that our voices will be heard and we can contribute towards the wave of change."

The Centre for Human Rights (CHR), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is an internationally recognised institution combining academic excellence and impactful activism to advance human rights, particularly in Africa. Through education, research and advocacy, to support the African Union’s infrastructure and improve the enjoyment of human rights on the continent.

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) held its inaugural session in March 2004. With the PAP now marking 16 years of operation, the CHR is commissioning an evidence-based analytical study to assess (a) the way in which the PAP has executed its functions and exercised its powers; (b) the extent to which it has achieved its objectives; and (c) the factors that have supported and constrained it in its operations. In particular, the study examines how the PAP has helped close the ‘democratic deficit’ in AU governance, while exploring the AU’s attempts to convert PAP into a fully-fledged legislative institution for the African continent.

On 9 June 2020, The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - Regional Office for Southern Africa, in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), convened a webinar on the right of peaceful assembly in Southern Africa in the context of COVID-19.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, notes with grave concern the instances of death and other human rights violations due to excessive force during law enforcement in South Africa. We note that these are not isolated instances, but are linked to inequalities based on race.

“The disturbingly high rate of arrest-related deaths, and its structural causes, in particular as far as it relates to racial inequalities, must be investigated and addressed with great urgency and seriousness”, said Frans Viljoen, the Centre’s Director. 

The Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, and the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invite you to the Annual Helen Kanzira Memorial Lecture, which will be presented online.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar organised by the Children’s Rights Unit on the occasion of the Day of the African Child 2020. The webinar will speak to the issue of access to a child friendly justice system in Africa, against the backdrop of the 30 year anniversary of the adoption of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

These are some of the African organisations that have been in the frontlines battling the COVID-19 pandemic by putting the interests of persons with albinism at the fore, as we prepare to celebrate International Albinism Awareness Day on 13 June 2020.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum 8 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

Covid-19 and the impacts of concomitant government regulations on women

In conversation with Ms Patience Mungwari

In commemoration of International Albinism Awareness Day on 13 June 2020, these are some of the voices from women with Albinism in Africa telling us how they are #MadeToShine

On 4 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the seventh in a series of discussions, which are now open to the public. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa.The discussion was held in Zoom.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - Regional Office for Southern Africa, in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), is convening a webinar on the right of peaceful assembly in Southern Africa in the context of COVID-19.

The Centre for Human Rights, in partnership with the United Nations Independent Expert on Albinism, Open Society Foundations and other organisers takes pleasure in inviting you to an online albinism celebration to commemorate International Albinism Awareness Day on 13 June 2020. The celebration is a global event which features various artists with albinism from all over the world. 

On 2 June 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a webinar on challenges of hyperandrogenic women in competitive sports. The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum 7 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

A webinar on the theme “Assessing the implications of Covid-19 pandemic regulations on human rights and the rule of law in Africa,” is planned for 11-12 August 2020. It is organized by the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa and Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Rule of Law Program for Sub-Saharan Africa - Nairobi, Kenya. 

Since 20 April 2020, through a global survey, the COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor (DRM) has been gathering data to conduct rapid independent monitoring of state measures concerning persons with disabilities in the context of the pandemic.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar to discuss the impact of the World Athletics (formerly IAAF) Regulations on the human rights of hyperandrogenic female athletes.

On 28 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the sixth in a series of discussions, which are now open to the public. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa.The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights (CHR), University of Pretoria (UP), with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held its annual Advanced Human Rights Course (AHRC) on the judicial enforcement of socio-economic rights in Africa from 18 to 22 May 2020. The course was delivered for the first time in a virtual format.

On 26 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a webinar organised by the Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit to unpack the challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on elections on the African continent. The discussion was held in Zoom.

The right to access to justice for persons with disabilities

In conversation with Ms Dianah Msipa

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, takes pleasure in inviting you to our COVID-19 Discussion Fora. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. This Discussion Forum is part of a series of events at which the panelists are alumni of the academic programmes of the Centre. While these Fora had initially been targeting only the Centre’s staff and alumni, they are now public. The panelists of Forum 6 are all alumni of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation Africa (HRDA).

On 21 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the fifth in a series of discussions with Centre alumni, students and staff. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa.The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar organised by the Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit to unpack the challenges of COVID-19 and its impact on elections on the African continent.

As governments attempt to tackle the unprecedented public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are deeply concerned that women and girls are suffering even more egregious violations of their human rights. In the absence of gender-sensitive intersectional responses, different forms of systemic discrimination already faced by women and girls will be exacerbated. The dramatic increase in women’s caregiving responsibilities, the rise in what was already an epidemic of sexual and domestic violence, the continued feminization of poverty, the proliferation of barriers to healthcare, especially pregnancy-related healthcare, will profoundly jeopardize women’s safety and well-being, economic security, and participation in political and public life, both during and after the pandemic. The measures taken by governments to mitigate the risks to health and life posed by COVID-19 must take into account the specific attributes and circumstances faced by women and girls. These include, but are not limited to their sex, gender, age, disability, ethnic origin, and immigration or residence status. States must refrain from any action that will exacerbate the already disproportionate economic and social impact of this pandemic on women and girls.

On 19 May 2020, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa in partnership with the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and ARTICLE 19 (Eastern Africa and Western Africa) convened a webinar to introduce the revised Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa.

In response to the recent Khoza judgement in the Pretoria High Court on the use of force by law enforcement officials during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa together with the Centre for Human Rights have made available an overview of the main international legal documents and standards on the use of force.

The Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender (CSA&G), recognise, support, and commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). This annual event, observed on May 17, is marked internationally for the recognition of LGBTIQ+ rights. In particular, it is used to raise awareness and educate the public on issues of violence, discrimination, repression, and also to call attention to the health challenges that detract from the progress and wellbeing of the LGBTIQ+ community all over the world.

On 14 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the fourth in a series of discussions with Centre alumni, students and staff. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Southern African Miners Association (SAMA) (comprised of the undersigned organisations), are gravely concerned by the recently published SADC Regional COVID-19 Response Report – Bulletin 2 which omitted to set out clear guidelines on how older persons right to health should be protected during national lockdowns. This is particularly alarming considering the vulnerability of older persons to COVID-19. This susceptibility is further heightened for older persons who used to work in the mines with pre-existing occupational lung diseases and weakened immune systems due to ageing. Without a clear regional response that involves working together across communities, organisations and countries, which targets the protection of the most vulnerable, the spread and minimisation of the virus cannot be suppressed.

The COVID-19 global pandemic has had a major impact on the global public and has disrupted the daily pattern of life for billions of people across the world. As states across the globe impose lockdowns and ‘social distancing’ regulations to contain the spread of the virus, human rights have become severely restricted even in the most liberal democratic countries.

On 12 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a webinar on the need for businesses to respect and promote human rights in Africa, specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion was held in Zoom.

In commemoration of IDAHOBIT, there will be a webinar hosted by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS & Gender, University of Pretoria.

Governments across the world are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alongside the mountain of related challenges, fake news has become a source of frustration. Some are now referring to this fake news phenomenon as a ‘disinfodemic’.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, would like to inform applicants and prospective applicants of the Advanced Human Rights Course on the Judicial Enforcement of Socio-Economic Rights in Africa (18 – 22 May 2020) that due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of borders as well as academic institutions in South Africa, the course will be presented in a modified format — a format different from the conventional contact sessions.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar on the need for businesses to respect and promote human rights in Africa, specifically during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 7 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the third in a series of discussions with Centre alumni, students and staff. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. The discussion was held in Zoom.

On 5 May 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a webinar on human rights abuses by police officers during enforcement of government responses to COVID-19 in Africa. The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, together with the Sex Workers Education & Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) and Sisonke is deeply concerned about the ongoing discrimination against sex workers in South Africa in response to the COVID-19 crisis and calls on the government to take urgent measures to extend its COVID-19 palliative measures to sex workers in need.

(By Professor Daniel Bradlow)

Once again, African countries are confronting overwhelming debt burdens. According to the most recent World Bank debt statistics, they owe a total of $493.6 billion in long term debt to their foreign official and commercial creditors. About one third, $117 billion, is in the form of tradeable bonds. In 2019, many African countries spent more money servicing their debts than they did on health.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is deeply concerned about the recent decisions by the Governments of the Republic of Benin and Côte d’Ivoire to no longer allow individuals and NGOs to take cases directly to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Almost all cases decided by the African Court so far have been submitted by individuals. Reducing this form of access to the African Court, impedes the establishment of the Court as a legitimate continental institution that entrenches the principles of accountability based on the rule of law. Our concern is exacerbated by the fact that that these decisions have been taken in a context of increased hostility towards the human rights bodies established under the African Union and decreasing support for their mandates. 

As the world commemorates the World Press Freedom Day, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, commends the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights for making available the revised Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa at a time when the world has been plunged into a global health crisis, COVID-19. The current Declaration replaces the 2002 Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa. The revision was undertaken by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (Special Rapporteur) against the backdrop developments in the developments that have taken place in the context of freedom of expression, access to information.

On 30 April 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the second in a series of discussions with Centre alumni, students and staff. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. The discussion was held in Zoom.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar on human rights abuses by police officers during enforcement of government responses to COVID-19 in Africa.

Understanding the rights of sexual minorities as human rights 

In conversation with Dr Adrian Jjuuko

The need for inclusive spaces for trans women in Africa

In conversation with Dr Anastacia Tomson

This year, South Africans celebrate Freedom Day in conditions of confinement.  We are reminded that on this day, 26 years ago, for the first time in history all South Africans exercised the most basic of rights, the right to vote. This election ushered in a system of democratic governance based on the values of equality, inclusion and tolerance, as entrenched in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

Since 2008, Lesbian Visibility Day is celebrated annually on 26 April. It has now grown into a week-long event known as Lesbian Visibility Week and is celebrated from 20 to 26 April 2020. The day aims to celebrate and support lesbian women while increasing the visibility of the lesbian community. Across the globe, women who love women continue to be persecuted in a unique way. Their sexuality is often viewed as a challenge to patriarchal masculinity and traditional gender roles, and this frequently results in targeted violence against lesbian women. The violent phenomena of homophobic rape, more commonly recognised by the misnomer ‘corrective rape’, continues to plague the lesbian community. This is the situation in Africa, as it is around the world.

On 23 April 2020, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held the first in a series of discussions with Centre alumni, students and staff. These discussions deal with the potential and actual impact on human rights and democratisation of COVID-19 in Africa. The discussion was held in Zoom.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has published the revised Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (the Declaration). The Commission adopted the Declaration during its 65th Ordinary Session which was held from 21 October to 10 November 2019 in Banjul, The Gambia. The revised Declaration replaces the 2002 Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa. The initiative to revise the Declaration was undertaken by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (the Special Rapporteur). The adoption of the Declaration is a landmark development that elaborates article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and will contribute to an enhanced normative standard for freedom of expression, access to information and digital rights in Africa, in line with international human rights and standards. The Declaration was scheduled to be launched during the African Commission’s 66th Ordinary Session which has been deferred due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

(By Thomas White)

Let’s go back to the “trolley problem”. Imagine a group of hostages is chained to a train track with a runaway locomotive hurtling towards them. If the train stays on course, the entire group of hostages is going to die. If the train is derailed, fewer deaths will ensue, but massive chaos will be caused in the process.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, call on the South African government to act swiftly to reduce the further spread of COVID-19 in South African correctional centres. This can be done by releasing a limited number of incarcerated persons so as to reduce their risk of contracting the virus, and allowing for more effective social distancing within correctional centres. 

Students who have completed, or will complete, their doctoral studies in law at an African University in 2020 are encouraged to submit their doctoral theses for consideration for the new Pretoria University  Law Press Thesis Prize, which will be awarded on an annual basis. The winning thesis will be published in book form by the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP).

Evidence is emerging that persons with disabilities are being disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and emergency measures being taken by governments worldwide. As governments rush to respond to the virus, it is more critical than ever to guarantee that measures taken are fully inclusive of persons with disabilities and prevent human rights violations from taking place.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisers of the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition have decided to adjust the format and dates of the 2020 African Moot Competition. The preliminary rounds of the Competition will now take place virtually, and the semi-final and final rounds have been rescheduled to take place in Dakar, in December 2020.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, are deeply concerned about the situation of migrants in the territory of South Africa during this COVID-19 crisis. 

The study on Civil society in the digital age in Africa: identifying threats and mounting pushbacks was undertaken by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretroia and the Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) to explore the extent of state-sponsored digital challenges that the civil society in Africa is faced with. It illustrates the challenges faced by civil society organisations and the importance of digital security measures.

(By Prof Danny Bradlow)

The coronavirus and its economic consequences have caused economic tsunamis in every country in the world. The scale of the onslaught will dominate discussions at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank spring meetings due to take place – for the first time ever virtually – in mid April.

Recently, three graduates of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) programme, presented by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, were appointed to positions in which they are able to apply the theory of democratisation and human rights to make a difference in two African states, Namibia and Uganda. 

The Centre for Human Rights in an effort to spearhead the belief of leaving no one behind acknowledges the importance of a rights-based approach to ageing and calls for the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa, is calling for applications for the Master's degree (LLM/MPhil) in Human Rights and Democratisation (HRDA) for the Class of 2021. This prestigious degree is presented by the Centre in partnership with 12 leading African universities.The programme forms part of the Global Campus of Human Rights, with Pretoria as the hub of the African regional programme.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa, is calling for applications for the Master's degree (LLM/MPhil) in Disability Rights in Africa (DRIA) for the Class of 2021. The DRIA programme was launched in 2018 and is the first master’s degree programme in Africa focusing specifically on the rights of persons with disabilities in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa, is calling for applications for the Master's degree (LLM/MPhil) in Sexual & Reproductive Rights in Africa (SRRA) for the Class of 2021. The SRRA degree is a unique degree, offered as a blended learning programme, to which 15 individuals from African countries are admitted.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa, is calling for applications for the Master's degree (LLM) in International Trade and Investment Law in Africa (TILA) for the Class of 2021. The TILA degree is a unique programme to which 25 to 30 individuals from African countries with a degree allowing access to the legal profession (e.g. LLB or licence en Droit) and preferably experience in the field of trade and investment law are admitted.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19, the oral rounds of the Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition will now be held in December 2020, and no longer in July. The Competition will be scheduled around Human Rights Day (10 December), with participating teams and judges traveling to Geneva, Switzerland, for the oral rounds. If this would not be possible, the oral rounds, probably in an adjusted and scaled down version, will be held on-line. Either way, the 2020 Competition will still be held.

The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) wishes to inform its members, partners and other stakeholders of the suspension, until further notice, of the Southern and Central Africa capacity building trainings, as well as the side event scheduled to take place during the 66th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The UNCRC and its practical implications in the African context 

In conversation with Adv Karabo Ozah

The South African government announced a 21-day lockdown of the country starting on 27 March 2020, as part of measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the national directive, the University of Pretoria took the decision to close down until 16 April 2020. Being based in South Africa, and the University of Pretoria in particular, the Centre for Human Rights is directly affected by these measures.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions on movement has generated considerable anxiety and uncertainty for us. We support and embrace these measures for unmistakably serving the public good, but we are also aware of their disruptive effect on our regular mode of academic and programmatic work. We have therefore made efforts to ensure continuity as far as possible, and to minimise disruption where possible. Our commitment is driven by the long-term goal of ensuring the advancement of the protection of human rights through education, research and advocacy on the African continent.

We live in uncertain times. Around the world, severe measures have been put in place to protect public health and avoid the collapse of health care systems. Many countries are in lock down and international travel has all but ceased. South Africa will be in lock down for 21 days from midnight on 26 March.

As South Africa continues to evolve nearly 26 years into its democratic era, special occasions such as Human Rights Day on 21 March are a sobering reminder of the struggle and sacrifice that so many undertook for the benefit of all.

Human Rights Day memorialises the 69 people killed and 180 injured during the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, which followed a march by ordinary people demonstrating against unjust pass laws which infringed on their right to freedom of movement.

Following President Cyril Ramaphosa's speech on 15 March 2020, the Executive Management of the University of Pretoria has decided to suspend contact classes, graduation ceremonies, conferences, mass gatherings and events. 

The Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC), in collaboration with the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), recently hosted the annual short course on Disability Rights in an African Context, from 9 to 13 March 2020.