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On 8 December 2019, following an Alumni Symposium held at the University of Pretoria's Future Africa Campus, the Centre for Human Rights launched its 20-year edition of the Alumni Diaries.

The 2020 African Human Rights Moot Court Competition was officially launched on 6 December 2019, when the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Prof Tawana Kupe, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the three partner universities. 

The Master's programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) is an academic and practical programme on human rights hosted by the Centre for Human Rights. The programme, established in 2000, focuses on human rights in Africa but with a global footprint. Taught by eminent scholars and practitioners in the field of human rights and international development around the world, the programme is the first of its kind designed to address the gap in human rights scholarship and advocacy in Africa. Now, with an alumni strength of 537 and counting, HRDA has become a beacon of hope for human rights development in Africa and in the world. The original mandate of HRDA to strengthen human rights debate on the continent has been largely achieved in the last twenty years with its alumni spread in almost all sectors including legal practice, inter-governmental organisations, national judiciaries, academic institutions, governments, philanthropy and many more in and out of Africa.

The Sub-Regional Launch of the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty will take place on 9 December 2019 at the seat of the Global Campus Africa which is the Centre for Human Rightsm University of Pretoria, South Africa. The launch will be held at Future Africa Campus in Hillcrest, Pretoria. The focus of this conference is on how to effectively implement the recommendations of the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty from a regional perspective.

December 5, 2019 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is deeply concerned about the recent decision of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to withdraw its declaration made under article 34(6) of the Protocol of the African Charter on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights allowing individuals and NGOs to take cases directly to the African Court.

Men and boys should be socialised from a young age that they do not need to assert their power over women. Statements that promote toxic masculinity should not be said to young boys. 'Boys dont cry' is a statement that teaches men to suppress their emotions and risk instilling in them toxic and violent behaviour. Lets deal with VAW at its root cause.

#enoughisenough

Information is power. The topic of violence against women should not be taboo. Open and frank discussions in communities should be held in order to inform and engage would be perpetrators on the devastating effects of violence against women to the whole society.


#engage
 #enoughisenough

(By Geoffrey Ogwaro)

As South Africa commemorated World Aids Day on December 1, the country pledged to renew, rejuvenate and recommit itself to the fight to end HIV. There are nascent plans and frameworks in place, such as the national strategic plan on HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and tuberculosis (TB) and the national LGBTI HIV plan.

The theme for this year is “ending the HIV/Aids epidemic: community by community”, and the United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids is emphasising the role of communities in ending the epidemic once and for all.

Today marks just over a year since the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Committee) issued its concluding observations on the initial state report of South Africa. Article 35 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) requires states that have ratified the Convention to submit a comprehensive report on measures taken to ensure that the rights guaranteed under the CRPD are enjoyed by persons with disabilities in their countries. State parties are required to submit their first report within two years of ratifying the CRPD, and subsequent reports every four years. South Africa became a signatory to the CRPD in 2008. The country’s initial report was due for submission on 3 June 2010 but was only submitted to the Committee on 26 November 2014.

Violence against women prevents women and girls from reaching their full potential. Education for women and girls is therefore important in efforts to end gender based violence.

#enoughisenough

Violence against women and girls is prevalent and widespread, it cuts across age, education, marital socio-economic and financial status.

#enoughisenough

In speaking out against violence against women and girls, we need to challenge dominant stereotypical norms that excuse and rationalise VAW. For example, we need to begin to teach our children that doing house chores such as cooking and cleaning is a skill and therefore not gender specific.

#enoughisenough

We need to have open, frank and important conversations on violence against women and girls. These conversations would bring about the much needed attention to the issue of VAW as a global and national crisis. It would empower women and girls find their voices, challenge stereotypical notions, break and demystify the culture of silence that surrounds violations such as rape, sexual harassment and intimate partner violence.

#enoughisenough #breakthesilence #demystifysilenceculture

There is a need to create safe spaces for women and girls. Our homes, workplaces, schools and streets should be safe spaces. Most times, perpetrators of rape and sexual harassment are known to victims and survivors. 

The Republic of Liberia ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 1982 and its supplement instrument, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), in 2007. By virtue of its ratification of these instruments, Liberia is bound by the reporting obligations as prescribed under Article 62 of the African Charter and Article 26(1) of the Maputo Protocol. However, despite these commitments, the last time Liberia reported to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (African Commission) on the African Charter was in 2012 and the country is yet to report on the Maputo Protocol.

There are no blurred lines when it comes to consent. Consent involves an active affirmation. No means no! Consent is compulsory, all the time, with no exceptions. Just because a woman is friendly with a man, doesn’t mean she has consented to have sexual relations with him. 

Lets put an end to rape. Lets stop victim shaming #enoughisenough #standagainstrape #consentisassimpleastea

Gender-based violence is the violence targeted at individuals or groups on the basis of gender. Examples include rape, femicide and intimate partner violence. Globally, one in three women and girls have experienced one form of violence in their homes, schools, workplaces and on the streets because of the perpetuation of patriarchy.  

We need to start seeing change. Let us create safe spaces for women and girls. #EnoughIsEnough

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria today joins the world to mark the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence for 2019. It runs under the global theme of ‘Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape’. South Africa brings it closer to home with an additional theme of: ‘Enough is Enough: Together fast-tracking implementation to end gender-based violence’. As the Centre for Human Rights, we raise our voices to say indeed enough is enough; it is time to end all forms of violence against women and gender-based violence all over the world.  

The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) is a coalition of 123 African organisations addressing corporate-related human rights infringements on the African continent. The theme of the 2019 General Assembly (GA) meeting was “Impacts, Opportunities and Accountability in the context of Chinese Investments in Africa.” The proliferation of Chinese firms in Africa has similarly led to the exponential increase of corporate-related human rights encroachments, thus making discussion on and around this issue topical and pertinent. In responding to the need for discourse, ACCA, in partnership with Groupe de Recherche et de Plaidoyer sur les Industries Extractives (GRPIE), hosted its 6th general assembly on 6-8 November 2019. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to its Master’s degree graduation ceremony. This graduation coincides annually with International Human Rights Day on 10 December. 

The Centre for Human Rights hosted the 7th Annual Disability Rights Conference from 11 to 12 November 2019 at the Southern Sun Hotel, OR Tambo International Airport. This year’s conference theme was ‘Fulfilling the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community: Promoting choice, inclusion, and participation.’

South Africa has a history of violence and intolerance towards fellow Africans. Fast forward 25 years and not much has changed in the era of human rights and democracy.

The Disability Rights Scholarship Program offers awards to individuals from the Czech Republic and select countries in Africa and Eurasia for a one-year Master of Laws (LLM) degree. The program’s objective is to provide disability rights advocates and lawyers with the necessary expertise to develop new legislation, jurisprudence, policy, research, and scholarship to harness the innovations and opportunities offered by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD, which entered into force in May 2008, presents a paradigm shift in the field of disability rights and provides a framework for promoting the inclusion and full participation of persons with disabilities in their communities. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, calls for applications for a full-time doctoral scholarship in the field of children’s rights. The successful candidate will be based within the Centre, and will be expected to contribute to the work of the Centre’s Children’s Rights Unit (for 25 hours per week), while attending to her/his LLD/DPhil work.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, calls for applications for a full-time doctoral scholarship in the field of disability rights. The successful candidate will be based within the Centre, and will be expected to contribute to the work of the Centre’s Disability Rights Unit (for 25 hours per week) while attending to her/his LLD/DPhil work. 

30 years have passed since world leaders adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Many alumni from the Global Campus Alumni network dedicated their professional lives to transform children’s lives around the world.

November 12, 2019 

Honourable Emmanuel Macron
President of the Republic of France
Palais de l’Elysée, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
75008 Paris, FRANCE

Dear President Macron:

We, the undersigned scholars, writers, and human rights advocates, write to plead with France to up its engagement in resolving Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis, described by some analysts as “Rwanda in slow motion”.

Specifically, we respectfully urge France to use its considerable influence with the government of President Paul Biya to encourage Cameroon to openly embrace the Swiss-led peace talks, as a means of ending the killings and atrocities being committed in the North West and South-West regions of the country. A lasting solution must come from a mediated process that includes Anglophone armed-separatist groups and non-violent civil-society leaders.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), is currently hosting the annual disability rights in Africa conference at Southern Sun Hotel, OR Tambo International Airport. More than 250 scholars, disability rights activists, lawyers, policymakers and self-advocates from various African countries are converging to exchange experiences and knowledge on the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community.

Exploring issues affecting migrants in South Africa

In conversation with Ms Abigail Dawson

The Centre for Human Rights wishes to congratulate Prof Elsabe Schoeman on her appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria, for the period 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2023. We are pleased to note that Prof Schoeman is also the first woman to be appointed in this position in the Faculty’s history of more than 100 years.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, will be hosting a regional conference titled ‘Fulfilling the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community: Promoting choice, inclusion and participation’. The 7th Annual Disability Rights Conference will be held on 11 and 12 November 2019 in Johannesburg. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a two-day training workshop on access to justice for persons with disabilities in Gaborone, Botswana from 29 to 30 October 2019. This was the fourth training on access to justice conducted by the Centre in 2019. The first training took place in Lusaka, Zambia in July 2019, and this was followed by the second training in Okahanja, Namibia and the third training in Pretoria, South Africa, which were both held in September 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is deeply concerned about the eviction of refugees and asylum seekers who were holding a sit-in at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Cape Town, South Africa. The evictions were carried out by the South African Police Service on 30 October 2019.

The evictions were conducted in a violent manner, violating the dignity of those affected. Furthermore, scenes of children being forcibly separated from their parents are especially concerning, taking into account the standards dealing with the protection of the rights of children that South Africa has committed itself to.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), in collaboration with Shift, will be hosting a two-day multi-stakeholder meeting of experts concerning the Valuing Respect project - a project aimed at evaluating how companies understand and give effect to their responsibility to respect human rights. The consultation will take place on 30 and 31 October 2019. 

Mental health as a human right

In conversation with Dr Linda Blokland

A number of Univeristy of Pretoria researchers have been arguing that the United Nations human rights system will be more effecitive - with more visibility and greater global ownership - if the bodies monitoring human rights compliance by states meet not only in Geneva, but also in other parts of the world when monitoring compliance. Samoa will now be the first country to implement this proposal, when they host the Committee on the Rights of the Child there next year. According to Prof Christof Heyns, a member of the UN Human Rights Committee, this will in particualr allow countries from the South to engage more directly and on a more eqaul footing with the system.

The Centre for Human Rights presented its statement on aspects of the human rights situation in Africa, at the 65th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, taking place in Banjul, the Gambia. It drew attention to the situation in Cameroon; raised concerns about the lack of priority by the African Commission on its protective mandate; called for the consistent implementation of Resolution 275; and urged the African Commission to develop soft-law standards on the rights of intersex persons.

The Advanced Human Rights Course on African Human Rights Systems in Comparative Perspectives was held at the University of Pretoria (UP). The course was presented by the Centre for Human Rights from 21 to 25 October 2019.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by its state parties. Prof Christof Heyns, former Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Professor of human rights law at the University of Pretoria, is one of the 18 independent experts that make up the Committee. The Committee is in the process of developing General Comment 37 on Article 21 of the ICCPR and Prof Heyns was designated as the Rapporteur for the drafting of the General Comment.

As part of the Africa Beijing+25 review, and in preparation of the commemoration of the Beijing Declaration in 2020, the  African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission), through the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, hosted a panel during the 65th Ordinary Session of the Commission on 22 October 2019 in Banjul. The panel focused on the rights of women in Africa and was an opportunity to reflect on the strides made on the continent over the years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration in 1995.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), is delighted that one of its alumni has been elected as the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights at its 65th Ordinary Session in Banjul, The Gambia.

On 18 and 19 October 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights (DTDR) Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, participated in the regional consultation meeting for Francophone West Africa and North Africa on freedom of expression and access to information. The meeting was organised by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, Commissioner Lawrence Mute.  The consultation was aimed at discussing strategies for ensuring effective realisation of access to information; exploring how access to information may be used to support a free and fair electoral environment; and strategising on ways of ensuring freedom of expression.

The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) in partnership with its organisation member called: Groupe de Recherche et de Plaidoyer sur les Industries Extractives (GRPIE), are pleased to invite you to the annual General Assembly of our coalition to be held from 06 to 8 November 2019 in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), at the hotel IVOTEL.

Preparation for the 2020 African Human Rights Moot Court Competition were launched formally when the Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, and the Rectors of the Virtual University of Senegal and the University Cheikh Anta Diop, on 18 October 2019 signed the Memorandum of Agreement in Dakar, Senegal.

On 12 October 2019 the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Forum on the side-lines of the Third Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). The CSO Forum was attended by members of civil society and academics from across the region. Organisations represented included the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA), Lawyers for Human Rights, Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, University of Kenya, University of Tanzania, University of Johannesburg and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa.

Spirit Day is an annual LGBTQ awareness day which was started in 2010 by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan. Spirit Day was initially created in response to many widely publicised bullying-related suicides of gay school students in 2010. The Centre for Human Rights stands with LGBTQ youth this Spirit Day, and every day. We sat down with young people who have both experienced and witnessed bullying in schools to share their perspectives with us and explain why #IHaveSpirit.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, hosted a week-long capacity building workshop on strategic litigation and advocacy for LGBTI+ human rights defenders in Africa. The workshop is an annual event organised by the Centre’s Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Unit and is aimed at empowering LGBTI+ human rights defenders in Africa, with a specific focus on how to conduct strategic advocacy and litigation. This year’s edition was held from 7 to 11 October 2019.

The Women’s Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, a non-profit organisation in Africa, conducted a state reporting workshop on the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (African Charter) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). The meeting took place at Aqua Safari Resort, Ghana from 9 to 11 October 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights on 15 October hosted a seminar at which Ambassador Maria Teresa Infante, who is a candidate for a seat on the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, provided some reflections on the contribution of Latin America to international law.

You are cordially invited by the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in collaboration with the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, the Centre for Human Rights (University of Pretoria) and the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN in Geneva to the launch of the United Nations Human Rights Guidance on Less Lethal Weapons and Related Equipment in Law Enforcement.

What is Africanness?

In conversation with Prof Charles Ngwena

On 8 October 2019, the Centre for Human Rights’ Disability Rights Unit was invited by the BOLD student society to participate in an awareness event. BOLD which is an acronym for Beyond Our Limiting Disabilities is a student society for students with disabilities which aims to raise awareness on disability issues at the University.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria,  in collaboration with the Chilean Embassy, invite you  to a seminar on  Latin America and international law: Tradition and innovation delivered by  Ambassador Maria Teresa Infante (currently a candidate for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea) 

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Civil Society Law in Africa was held at the University of Pretoria from 30 September to 4 October 2019. The course was presented by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria hosted a dialogue on xenophobia, nationality, and equality in South Africa. The dialogue was warranted by the recent upsurge in xenophobic incidents in South Africa and other African countries.  The event was part of the University of Pretoria’s various initiatives to foster a culture of diversity. The dialogue explored the economic and historical perspectives of xenophobia. It further elaborated on intergenerational conversations and cultural and political identity.  The aim of the dialogue was to critique and analyse the National Action Plan (NAP) and the extent to which it pledges to tackles issues of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance. The NAP also considers the roles of both state and non-state actors and their proposed countermeasures in cases involving xenophobia, and how such interventions can be conducted in a more pragmatic manner within South African borders.

On 19 and 20 September 2019 the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, attended the sub-regional consultation to revise the draft Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa in Windhoek, Namibia. The consultation was at the invitation of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa Mr Lawrence Mute and was hosted and facilitated by the Namibia Media Trust in collaboration with ACTION Namibia Coalition.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a conference on fulfilling the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community by promoting choice, inclusion and participation. The conference will be held from 11 to 12 November 2019. 

After an intense but rewarding three-day meeting  (9 to 11 September 2019), the Kingdom of Eswatini finalised the drafting of their state party report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission). This after over a decade of non-compliance with the state party obligation under article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and article 26(1) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).

On 27 September 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), collaborated with the South African Information Regulator, South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), UNESCO, Media Monitoring Africa, African Centre of Excellence for Information Ethics (ACEIE), UP and other stakeholders in commemorating International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI). IDUAI is celebrated on annually on 28 September and the commemorations focused on the right of access to information in relation to digital equality and universal access to the internet.

At a memorable advocacy meeting organised by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and HelpAge International, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ms Pholile P. Shakantu, speaking on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Themba Masuku, committed to the ratification of both the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa (Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons) and Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (Protocol on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Indigenous People’s Rights in Africa was held at the University of Pretoria from 23 to 27 September 2019. The course was presented by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) and the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa (WGIP) of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

UN Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Rights of Persons with Albinism visits the University of Pretoria

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) is a powerful human rights response to violations and occurrences across the continent. Such human rights violations include the outbreaks of conflicts and civil wars in countries such as Liberia. The Republic of Liberia ratified the African Charter in 1982  and its supplement instrument – The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) in 2007.

ICLA and the Centre for Human Rights are delighted to announce the launch of their new global online repository of laws on the right of peaceful assembly.

On 17 and 18 September 2019, the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Namibian Office of the Ombudsman, hosted a training in Namibia on the right to participation in political and public life for persons with disabilities. The training, which was held at the Windhoek Country Club Resort, was aimed at civil society organisations (CSOs) working to advance the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), cordially invite you to a Civil Society Forum, to be held on the sidelines of the upcoming PAP October Ordinary Session in Midrand, South Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), cordially invites you to an anti-discrimination week dialogue. The theme of the event is on xenophobia, nationality and equality in South Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a two-day training on access to justice for persons with disabilities in Okahanja, Namibia from 18 to 19 September 2019. This training is the third of four trainings that the Centre is conducting in Southern Africa. The first training took place in Lusaka, Zambia from 22 to 23 July 2019, and the second in Pretoria, South Africa from 10 to 11 September 2019.

The seventh African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG 2019) took place on 3-9 September 2019. With a track record of producing unique cohorts of internet governance specialists for the continent and beyond, it sets itself apart by building synergies and interpersonal professional relationships that transcend beyond borders and limitations.

As the World Commemorated World Democracy Day on 15 September 2019, the Centre for Human Rights reflects on the wobbly democracy trajectory on the African continent and reiterate on the observation by the late Kofi Annan that: “no one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime.”

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Post-doctoral Fellow in the International Development Law Unit. The deadline for applications is 15 October 2019.

Former members of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission), meeting in Pretoria, initiated the setting-up of a platform to strengthen the independence of the African Commission.

A recent round table seminar brought together by the South Africa Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, with the support of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, discussed South Africa’s attitude towards global and regional accountability mechanisms. Discussions focused on international criminal accountability, and on the ease of access to regional justice for human rights violations. Reasons for South Africa’s position were provided and interrogated.

On 2 and 3 September 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights (DTDR) Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a workshop on access to information and election preparedness in Botswana. The workshop was held ahead of the Botswana general elections scheduled for 23 October 2019. The workshop was organised in collaboration with the Electoral Commissions Forum of Southern African Development Community (ECF-SADC) and the Law Department of the University of Botswana. In attendance were a diverse group of stakeholders including representatives from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the Attorney General Chambers, the Botswana Communications Authority (BOCRA), members of the media, representatives of political parties and civil society organisations (CSOs).

On 10 and 11 September 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted a two-day training workshop on access to justice for persons with disabilities. The training workshop was convened under the title ‘Ensuring access to justice for persons with disabilities: Training for justice personnel on providing accommodations in the criminal justice system’. The workshop forms part of a wider project on access to justice, which the Centre will be implementing in South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana. Facilitators included experts on access to justice from the Centre and the Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication at the University of Pretoria. In attendance were police officers, prosecutors, magistrates, officials from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, as well as the Department of Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities.

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Police Oversight and Vulnerable Groups in Africa was held at the University of Pretoria from 9 to 13 September 2019. The course was presented by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) and the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR).

WE, PARTICIPANTS of the International Conference on the Protection of Forced Migrants in Africa, gathered on 6 and 7 September 2019 at the Future Africa campus of the University of Pretoria, South Africa;

INVOKING the notion of Ubuntu; RECOGNIZING the development of progressive laws and policies governing forced displacement and migration adopted by several countries in Africa; and CALLING for a movement away from rhetoric towards the effective implementation of existing laws and policies;

An international conference on forced migration in Africa organised by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria drew attention to the plight of forced migrants – internally displaced person (IDPs) and refugees – on the continent. It was held against the background of declaration by the African Union of 2019 as the “Year of Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Returnees: Towards Durable Solution to Forced Displacement in Africa”.  

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is hosting a two-day conference, on 6 and 7 September 2019 on the theme: “Beyond 50 and 10, beyond the rhetoric: The protection of forced migrants in Africa”. 

Professor Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, on August 2019 delivered a public lecture in Kigali, Rwanda, on the contemporary challenges that the African Union human rights system faces.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, strongly condemns the recent xenophobic violence and attacks against foreign nationals in South Africa. The Centre calls on the government to develop a targeted intervention strategy. The cycle of outrage, followed by commitment to take action, but then inevitably fading into inaction, should be broken.

(By Bonolo Makgale and Lydia Chibwe)

The month of August marked women's month in South Africa, it is important to check the progress that the country has made in terms of women’s representation in politics and governance.

Almost two decades into the 21st century, women are still not accorded a place of prominence in politics and governance, particularly in Africa. This article briefly reflects on women’s political representation at the regional level, within the African Union, and then looks critically at South Africa’s implementation of women’s rights, in particular examining whether there have been tangible and sustainable gains for women’s representation during the 2019 national and provincial elections.

Dawda K Jawara, who played a considerable role in laying the foundations of the African regional human rights system, passed away on 27 August 2019.  He was 95 years old. For those following and committed to human rights in Africa, the name of Dawda Jawara takes pride of place.

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The Advanced Human Rights Course on The Right to Development in Africa, hosted by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the University of Antwerp was held at the University of Pretoria (UP).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in collaboration with the School of Law, University of Kigali  invite you to a lecture on  Contemporary challenges to the  African Union human rights system  delivered by  Prof Frans Viljoen. 

On 7 August 2019 the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ms. Ikponwosa Ero, briefed members of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Committee on Gender, Family, Youths and Persons with Disabilities of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on the annotated outline for the Draft guidelines on ending harmful practices related to manifestations of certain beliefs in witchcraft. In May 2019, the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Rules Committee of PAP adopted a resolution authorizing the drafting of the guidelines. The purpose of the briefing was therefore to elicit the input from the committee members on areas of concern or issues from specific countries or regions to be taken into consideration in the drafting of the guidelines.

On 6 August, 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Open Society Foundations - Africa Regional Office (OSF-AFRO) attended a seating at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Committee on Justice and Human Rights to appraise the parliamentarians of the  Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa. Further, the Centre sought to discuss the possibility of developing a Model Law on Access to Information and Elections under the auspices of the PAP, based on those Guidelines that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted in 2017.

On 30 and 31 July, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit and the Disability Rights Unit attended a workshop organised by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) on advancing the inclusion and participation of persons with disability in Mozambique. The workshop was attended by officials from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action (MGCSA) and Office of the Ombudsman; the Deputy President of the National Assembly. In attendence were also representatives from civil society organisations, most of them working on disability issues including the Centre for Human Rights (University of Pretoria) Light of the World, Associação dos Deficientes Moçambicanos (ADEMO), Forum das Organizações Moçambicanas de Deficientes (FAMOD), UNICEF, academia and the media.

The conference is about developing responses for realising the human right of persons with disabilities to live in the community in the African region. The focus is two-fold: 1) critically appraising laws, policies, practices, programmes, polities and ideologies that serve to impede the human right of persons with disabilities to live in the community with choices and appropriate support on an equal basis with others; and 2) suggesting reforms to overcome the impediments. The conference will be held at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa, on 11 and 12 November 2019. 

Authors of abstracts and papers should seek to propose ideas and remedial approaches which can serve as resources for assisting lawmakers, courts and tribunals, policymakers, caregivers, residential and other community support service providers, education providers, health-care providers, employers, and other pertinent actors in fulfilling the right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community. It is anticipated that papers presented at this conference will be reworked by authors and submitted for consideration for publication in the 2020 volume of the African Disability Rights Yearbook.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, cordially invites you to apply for the Capacity Building Workshop on Strategic Advocacy and Litigation targeted at the promotion and protection of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Post-doctoral Fellow in Children's Rights in Africa, and will be hosted within the Children’s Rights Unit of the Centre. The deadline for applications is 23 August 2019.

On 11 and 12 July 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, participated in the first regional consultation of the revision of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa. The regional consultation meeting, covering only Lusophone countries in Africa, was held in Maputo and was organised by the Mozambique chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).

In June 2017, Mauritius ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). In accordance with Article 26 (1) of the Maputo Protocol, the country has to submit its initial report at the 65th Session of the African Commission in October 2019.

The Disability Rights Unit (DRU) at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Zambia’s Ministry of Justice, hosted a two-day training workshop for criminal justice officials. The training workshop focused on ensuring access to justice for persons with disabilities through the provision of accommodations in the criminal justice system and was held in Lusaka from 22 to 23 July 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is pleased to announce that Prof Michelo Hansungule has been re-elected as Commissioner under the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). This will be the third term Prof Hansungule will serve as a ICJ Commissioner. Election is done by jurists and leading academics around the globe and Prof Hansungule will serve for four years. 

#HRDA20Years: The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, from 7 to 10 December 2019, celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa programme (HRDA). 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, will host a colloquium on safe abortion and realising women's human rights from 23 to 24 January 2020. We invite abstracts on overcoming barriers to safe abortion in the African region.

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Children’s Rights in Africa, hosted by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the Centre for Child Law, and the Dullah Omar Institute at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), was held from 22 to 26 July 2019 at the University of Pretoria (UP).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria recently hosted the very successful celebrations of Nelson Mandela International Day in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), aims to foster closer collaboration between and among civil society organisations (CSOs) on PAP with a view to advancing and promoting the mandate of the continental Parliament. This partnership further aims to sensitise CSOs on the workings of the PAP and promote active and constructive citizen and civil society engagement with the PAP.

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On 8 December 2019, following an Alumni Symposium held at the University of Pretoria's Future Africa Campus, the Centre for Human Rights launched its 20-year edition of the Alumni Diaries.

The 2020 African Human Rights Moot Court Competition was officially launched on 6 December 2019, when the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Prof Tawana Kupe, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the three partner universities. 

The Master's programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) is an academic and practical programme on human rights hosted by the Centre for Human Rights. The programme, established in 2000, focuses on human rights in Africa but with a global footprint. Taught by eminent scholars and practitioners in the field of human rights and international development around the world, the programme is the first of its kind designed to address the gap in human rights scholarship and advocacy in Africa. Now, with an alumni strength of 537 and counting, HRDA has become a beacon of hope for human rights development in Africa and in the world. The original mandate of HRDA to strengthen human rights debate on the continent has been largely achieved in the last twenty years with its alumni spread in almost all sectors including legal practice, inter-governmental organisations, national judiciaries, academic institutions, governments, philanthropy and many more in and out of Africa.

The Sub-Regional Launch of the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty will take place on 9 December 2019 at the seat of the Global Campus Africa which is the Centre for Human Rightsm University of Pretoria, South Africa. The launch will be held at Future Africa Campus in Hillcrest, Pretoria. The focus of this conference is on how to effectively implement the recommendations of the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty from a regional perspective.

December 5, 2019 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is deeply concerned about the recent decision of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to withdraw its declaration made under article 34(6) of the Protocol of the African Charter on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights allowing individuals and NGOs to take cases directly to the African Court.

Men and boys should be socialised from a young age that they do not need to assert their power over women. Statements that promote toxic masculinity should not be said to young boys. 'Boys dont cry' is a statement that teaches men to suppress their emotions and risk instilling in them toxic and violent behaviour. Lets deal with VAW at its root cause.

#enoughisenough

Information is power. The topic of violence against women should not be taboo. Open and frank discussions in communities should be held in order to inform and engage would be perpetrators on the devastating effects of violence against women to the whole society.


#engage
 #enoughisenough

(By Geoffrey Ogwaro)

As South Africa commemorated World Aids Day on December 1, the country pledged to renew, rejuvenate and recommit itself to the fight to end HIV. There are nascent plans and frameworks in place, such as the national strategic plan on HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and tuberculosis (TB) and the national LGBTI HIV plan.

The theme for this year is “ending the HIV/Aids epidemic: community by community”, and the United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids is emphasising the role of communities in ending the epidemic once and for all.

Today marks just over a year since the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Committee) issued its concluding observations on the initial state report of South Africa. Article 35 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) requires states that have ratified the Convention to submit a comprehensive report on measures taken to ensure that the rights guaranteed under the CRPD are enjoyed by persons with disabilities in their countries. State parties are required to submit their first report within two years of ratifying the CRPD, and subsequent reports every four years. South Africa became a signatory to the CRPD in 2008. The country’s initial report was due for submission on 3 June 2010 but was only submitted to the Committee on 26 November 2014.

Violence against women prevents women and girls from reaching their full potential. Education for women and girls is therefore important in efforts to end gender based violence.

#enoughisenough

Violence against women and girls is prevalent and widespread, it cuts across age, education, marital socio-economic and financial status.

#enoughisenough

In speaking out against violence against women and girls, we need to challenge dominant stereotypical norms that excuse and rationalise VAW. For example, we need to begin to teach our children that doing house chores such as cooking and cleaning is a skill and therefore not gender specific.

#enoughisenough

We need to have open, frank and important conversations on violence against women and girls. These conversations would bring about the much needed attention to the issue of VAW as a global and national crisis. It would empower women and girls find their voices, challenge stereotypical notions, break and demystify the culture of silence that surrounds violations such as rape, sexual harassment and intimate partner violence.

#enoughisenough #breakthesilence #demystifysilenceculture

There is a need to create safe spaces for women and girls. Our homes, workplaces, schools and streets should be safe spaces. Most times, perpetrators of rape and sexual harassment are known to victims and survivors. 

The Republic of Liberia ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in 1982 and its supplement instrument, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), in 2007. By virtue of its ratification of these instruments, Liberia is bound by the reporting obligations as prescribed under Article 62 of the African Charter and Article 26(1) of the Maputo Protocol. However, despite these commitments, the last time Liberia reported to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (African Commission) on the African Charter was in 2012 and the country is yet to report on the Maputo Protocol.

There are no blurred lines when it comes to consent. Consent involves an active affirmation. No means no! Consent is compulsory, all the time, with no exceptions. Just because a woman is friendly with a man, doesn’t mean she has consented to have sexual relations with him. 

Lets put an end to rape. Lets stop victim shaming #enoughisenough #standagainstrape #consentisassimpleastea

Gender-based violence is the violence targeted at individuals or groups on the basis of gender. Examples include rape, femicide and intimate partner violence. Globally, one in three women and girls have experienced one form of violence in their homes, schools, workplaces and on the streets because of the perpetuation of patriarchy.  

We need to start seeing change. Let us create safe spaces for women and girls. #EnoughIsEnough

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria today joins the world to mark the start of 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence for 2019. It runs under the global theme of ‘Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape’. South Africa brings it closer to home with an additional theme of: ‘Enough is Enough: Together fast-tracking implementation to end gender-based violence’. As the Centre for Human Rights, we raise our voices to say indeed enough is enough; it is time to end all forms of violence against women and gender-based violence all over the world.  

The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) is a coalition of 123 African organisations addressing corporate-related human rights infringements on the African continent. The theme of the 2019 General Assembly (GA) meeting was “Impacts, Opportunities and Accountability in the context of Chinese Investments in Africa.” The proliferation of Chinese firms in Africa has similarly led to the exponential increase of corporate-related human rights encroachments, thus making discussion on and around this issue topical and pertinent. In responding to the need for discourse, ACCA, in partnership with Groupe de Recherche et de Plaidoyer sur les Industries Extractives (GRPIE), hosted its 6th general assembly on 6-8 November 2019. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to its Master’s degree graduation ceremony. This graduation coincides annually with International Human Rights Day on 10 December. 

The Centre for Human Rights hosted the 7th Annual Disability Rights Conference from 11 to 12 November 2019 at the Southern Sun Hotel, OR Tambo International Airport. This year’s conference theme was ‘Fulfilling the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community: Promoting choice, inclusion, and participation.’

South Africa has a history of violence and intolerance towards fellow Africans. Fast forward 25 years and not much has changed in the era of human rights and democracy.

The Disability Rights Scholarship Program offers awards to individuals from the Czech Republic and select countries in Africa and Eurasia for a one-year Master of Laws (LLM) degree. The program’s objective is to provide disability rights advocates and lawyers with the necessary expertise to develop new legislation, jurisprudence, policy, research, and scholarship to harness the innovations and opportunities offered by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The CRPD, which entered into force in May 2008, presents a paradigm shift in the field of disability rights and provides a framework for promoting the inclusion and full participation of persons with disabilities in their communities. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, calls for applications for a full-time doctoral scholarship in the field of children’s rights. The successful candidate will be based within the Centre, and will be expected to contribute to the work of the Centre’s Children’s Rights Unit (for 25 hours per week), while attending to her/his LLD/DPhil work.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, calls for applications for a full-time doctoral scholarship in the field of disability rights. The successful candidate will be based within the Centre, and will be expected to contribute to the work of the Centre’s Disability Rights Unit (for 25 hours per week) while attending to her/his LLD/DPhil work. 

30 years have passed since world leaders adopted the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Many alumni from the Global Campus Alumni network dedicated their professional lives to transform children’s lives around the world.

November 12, 2019 

Honourable Emmanuel Macron
President of the Republic of France
Palais de l’Elysée, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
75008 Paris, FRANCE

Dear President Macron:

We, the undersigned scholars, writers, and human rights advocates, write to plead with France to up its engagement in resolving Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis, described by some analysts as “Rwanda in slow motion”.

Specifically, we respectfully urge France to use its considerable influence with the government of President Paul Biya to encourage Cameroon to openly embrace the Swiss-led peace talks, as a means of ending the killings and atrocities being committed in the North West and South-West regions of the country. A lasting solution must come from a mediated process that includes Anglophone armed-separatist groups and non-violent civil-society leaders.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), is currently hosting the annual disability rights in Africa conference at Southern Sun Hotel, OR Tambo International Airport. More than 250 scholars, disability rights activists, lawyers, policymakers and self-advocates from various African countries are converging to exchange experiences and knowledge on the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community.

Exploring issues affecting migrants in South Africa

In conversation with Ms Abigail Dawson

The Centre for Human Rights wishes to congratulate Prof Elsabe Schoeman on her appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria, for the period 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2023. We are pleased to note that Prof Schoeman is also the first woman to be appointed in this position in the Faculty’s history of more than 100 years.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, will be hosting a regional conference titled ‘Fulfilling the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community: Promoting choice, inclusion and participation’. The 7th Annual Disability Rights Conference will be held on 11 and 12 November 2019 in Johannesburg. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a two-day training workshop on access to justice for persons with disabilities in Gaborone, Botswana from 29 to 30 October 2019. This was the fourth training on access to justice conducted by the Centre in 2019. The first training took place in Lusaka, Zambia in July 2019, and this was followed by the second training in Okahanja, Namibia and the third training in Pretoria, South Africa, which were both held in September 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is deeply concerned about the eviction of refugees and asylum seekers who were holding a sit-in at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Cape Town, South Africa. The evictions were carried out by the South African Police Service on 30 October 2019.

The evictions were conducted in a violent manner, violating the dignity of those affected. Furthermore, scenes of children being forcibly separated from their parents are especially concerning, taking into account the standards dealing with the protection of the rights of children that South Africa has committed itself to.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), in collaboration with Shift, will be hosting a two-day multi-stakeholder meeting of experts concerning the Valuing Respect project - a project aimed at evaluating how companies understand and give effect to their responsibility to respect human rights. The consultation will take place on 30 and 31 October 2019. 

Mental health as a human right

In conversation with Dr Linda Blokland

A number of Univeristy of Pretoria researchers have been arguing that the United Nations human rights system will be more effecitive - with more visibility and greater global ownership - if the bodies monitoring human rights compliance by states meet not only in Geneva, but also in other parts of the world when monitoring compliance. Samoa will now be the first country to implement this proposal, when they host the Committee on the Rights of the Child there next year. According to Prof Christof Heyns, a member of the UN Human Rights Committee, this will in particualr allow countries from the South to engage more directly and on a more eqaul footing with the system.

The Centre for Human Rights presented its statement on aspects of the human rights situation in Africa, at the 65th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, taking place in Banjul, the Gambia. It drew attention to the situation in Cameroon; raised concerns about the lack of priority by the African Commission on its protective mandate; called for the consistent implementation of Resolution 275; and urged the African Commission to develop soft-law standards on the rights of intersex persons.

The Advanced Human Rights Course on African Human Rights Systems in Comparative Perspectives was held at the University of Pretoria (UP). The course was presented by the Centre for Human Rights from 21 to 25 October 2019.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by its state parties. Prof Christof Heyns, former Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Professor of human rights law at the University of Pretoria, is one of the 18 independent experts that make up the Committee. The Committee is in the process of developing General Comment 37 on Article 21 of the ICCPR and Prof Heyns was designated as the Rapporteur for the drafting of the General Comment.

As part of the Africa Beijing+25 review, and in preparation of the commemoration of the Beijing Declaration in 2020, the  African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission), through the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, hosted a panel during the 65th Ordinary Session of the Commission on 22 October 2019 in Banjul. The panel focused on the rights of women in Africa and was an opportunity to reflect on the strides made on the continent over the years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration in 1995.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), is delighted that one of its alumni has been elected as the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights at its 65th Ordinary Session in Banjul, The Gambia.

On 18 and 19 October 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights (DTDR) Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, participated in the regional consultation meeting for Francophone West Africa and North Africa on freedom of expression and access to information. The meeting was organised by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, Commissioner Lawrence Mute.  The consultation was aimed at discussing strategies for ensuring effective realisation of access to information; exploring how access to information may be used to support a free and fair electoral environment; and strategising on ways of ensuring freedom of expression.

The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) in partnership with its organisation member called: Groupe de Recherche et de Plaidoyer sur les Industries Extractives (GRPIE), are pleased to invite you to the annual General Assembly of our coalition to be held from 06 to 8 November 2019 in Abidjan (Ivory Coast), at the hotel IVOTEL.

Preparation for the 2020 African Human Rights Moot Court Competition were launched formally when the Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, and the Rectors of the Virtual University of Senegal and the University Cheikh Anta Diop, on 18 October 2019 signed the Memorandum of Agreement in Dakar, Senegal.

On 12 October 2019 the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Forum on the side-lines of the Third Ordinary Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). The CSO Forum was attended by members of civil society and academics from across the region. Organisations represented included the Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA), Lawyers for Human Rights, Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, University of Kenya, University of Tanzania, University of Johannesburg and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa.

Spirit Day is an annual LGBTQ awareness day which was started in 2010 by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan. Spirit Day was initially created in response to many widely publicised bullying-related suicides of gay school students in 2010. The Centre for Human Rights stands with LGBTQ youth this Spirit Day, and every day. We sat down with young people who have both experienced and witnessed bullying in schools to share their perspectives with us and explain why #IHaveSpirit.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, hosted a week-long capacity building workshop on strategic litigation and advocacy for LGBTI+ human rights defenders in Africa. The workshop is an annual event organised by the Centre’s Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Unit and is aimed at empowering LGBTI+ human rights defenders in Africa, with a specific focus on how to conduct strategic advocacy and litigation. This year’s edition was held from 7 to 11 October 2019.

The Women’s Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, a non-profit organisation in Africa, conducted a state reporting workshop on the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (African Charter) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). The meeting took place at Aqua Safari Resort, Ghana from 9 to 11 October 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights on 15 October hosted a seminar at which Ambassador Maria Teresa Infante, who is a candidate for a seat on the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, provided some reflections on the contribution of Latin America to international law.

You are cordially invited by the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in collaboration with the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, the Centre for Human Rights (University of Pretoria) and the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN in Geneva to the launch of the United Nations Human Rights Guidance on Less Lethal Weapons and Related Equipment in Law Enforcement.

What is Africanness?

In conversation with Prof Charles Ngwena

On 8 October 2019, the Centre for Human Rights’ Disability Rights Unit was invited by the BOLD student society to participate in an awareness event. BOLD which is an acronym for Beyond Our Limiting Disabilities is a student society for students with disabilities which aims to raise awareness on disability issues at the University.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria,  in collaboration with the Chilean Embassy, invite you  to a seminar on  Latin America and international law: Tradition and innovation delivered by  Ambassador Maria Teresa Infante (currently a candidate for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea) 

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Civil Society Law in Africa was held at the University of Pretoria from 30 September to 4 October 2019. The course was presented by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria hosted a dialogue on xenophobia, nationality, and equality in South Africa. The dialogue was warranted by the recent upsurge in xenophobic incidents in South Africa and other African countries.  The event was part of the University of Pretoria’s various initiatives to foster a culture of diversity. The dialogue explored the economic and historical perspectives of xenophobia. It further elaborated on intergenerational conversations and cultural and political identity.  The aim of the dialogue was to critique and analyse the National Action Plan (NAP) and the extent to which it pledges to tackles issues of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance. The NAP also considers the roles of both state and non-state actors and their proposed countermeasures in cases involving xenophobia, and how such interventions can be conducted in a more pragmatic manner within South African borders.

On 19 and 20 September 2019 the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, attended the sub-regional consultation to revise the draft Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa in Windhoek, Namibia. The consultation was at the invitation of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa Mr Lawrence Mute and was hosted and facilitated by the Namibia Media Trust in collaboration with ACTION Namibia Coalition.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a conference on fulfilling the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community by promoting choice, inclusion and participation. The conference will be held from 11 to 12 November 2019. 

After an intense but rewarding three-day meeting  (9 to 11 September 2019), the Kingdom of Eswatini finalised the drafting of their state party report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission). This after over a decade of non-compliance with the state party obligation under article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) and article 26(1) of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).

On 27 September 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), collaborated with the South African Information Regulator, South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), UNESCO, Media Monitoring Africa, African Centre of Excellence for Information Ethics (ACEIE), UP and other stakeholders in commemorating International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI). IDUAI is celebrated on annually on 28 September and the commemorations focused on the right of access to information in relation to digital equality and universal access to the internet.

At a memorable advocacy meeting organised by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, and HelpAge International, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Ms Pholile P. Shakantu, speaking on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Themba Masuku, committed to the ratification of both the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa (Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons) and Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (Protocol on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Indigenous People’s Rights in Africa was held at the University of Pretoria from 23 to 27 September 2019. The course was presented by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) and the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa (WGIP) of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

UN Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Rights of Persons with Albinism visits the University of Pretoria

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) is a powerful human rights response to violations and occurrences across the continent. Such human rights violations include the outbreaks of conflicts and civil wars in countries such as Liberia. The Republic of Liberia ratified the African Charter in 1982  and its supplement instrument – The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) in 2007.

ICLA and the Centre for Human Rights are delighted to announce the launch of their new global online repository of laws on the right of peaceful assembly.

On 17 and 18 September 2019, the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Namibian Office of the Ombudsman, hosted a training in Namibia on the right to participation in political and public life for persons with disabilities. The training, which was held at the Windhoek Country Club Resort, was aimed at civil society organisations (CSOs) working to advance the rights of persons with disabilities.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), cordially invite you to a Civil Society Forum, to be held on the sidelines of the upcoming PAP October Ordinary Session in Midrand, South Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), cordially invites you to an anti-discrimination week dialogue. The theme of the event is on xenophobia, nationality and equality in South Africa. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a two-day training on access to justice for persons with disabilities in Okahanja, Namibia from 18 to 19 September 2019. This training is the third of four trainings that the Centre is conducting in Southern Africa. The first training took place in Lusaka, Zambia from 22 to 23 July 2019, and the second in Pretoria, South Africa from 10 to 11 September 2019.

The seventh African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG 2019) took place on 3-9 September 2019. With a track record of producing unique cohorts of internet governance specialists for the continent and beyond, it sets itself apart by building synergies and interpersonal professional relationships that transcend beyond borders and limitations.

As the World Commemorated World Democracy Day on 15 September 2019, the Centre for Human Rights reflects on the wobbly democracy trajectory on the African continent and reiterate on the observation by the late Kofi Annan that: “no one is born a good citizen; no nation is born a democracy. Rather, both are processes that continue to evolve over a lifetime.”

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Post-doctoral Fellow in the International Development Law Unit. The deadline for applications is 15 October 2019.

Former members of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission), meeting in Pretoria, initiated the setting-up of a platform to strengthen the independence of the African Commission.

A recent round table seminar brought together by the South Africa Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, with the support of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, discussed South Africa’s attitude towards global and regional accountability mechanisms. Discussions focused on international criminal accountability, and on the ease of access to regional justice for human rights violations. Reasons for South Africa’s position were provided and interrogated.

On 2 and 3 September 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights (DTDR) Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a workshop on access to information and election preparedness in Botswana. The workshop was held ahead of the Botswana general elections scheduled for 23 October 2019. The workshop was organised in collaboration with the Electoral Commissions Forum of Southern African Development Community (ECF-SADC) and the Law Department of the University of Botswana. In attendance were a diverse group of stakeholders including representatives from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the Attorney General Chambers, the Botswana Communications Authority (BOCRA), members of the media, representatives of political parties and civil society organisations (CSOs).

On 10 and 11 September 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted a two-day training workshop on access to justice for persons with disabilities. The training workshop was convened under the title ‘Ensuring access to justice for persons with disabilities: Training for justice personnel on providing accommodations in the criminal justice system’. The workshop forms part of a wider project on access to justice, which the Centre will be implementing in South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana. Facilitators included experts on access to justice from the Centre and the Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication at the University of Pretoria. In attendance were police officers, prosecutors, magistrates, officials from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, as well as the Department of Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities.

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Police Oversight and Vulnerable Groups in Africa was held at the University of Pretoria from 9 to 13 September 2019. The course was presented by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) and the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR).

WE, PARTICIPANTS of the International Conference on the Protection of Forced Migrants in Africa, gathered on 6 and 7 September 2019 at the Future Africa campus of the University of Pretoria, South Africa;

INVOKING the notion of Ubuntu; RECOGNIZING the development of progressive laws and policies governing forced displacement and migration adopted by several countries in Africa; and CALLING for a movement away from rhetoric towards the effective implementation of existing laws and policies;

An international conference on forced migration in Africa organised by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria drew attention to the plight of forced migrants – internally displaced person (IDPs) and refugees – on the continent. It was held against the background of declaration by the African Union of 2019 as the “Year of Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Returnees: Towards Durable Solution to Forced Displacement in Africa”.  

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is hosting a two-day conference, on 6 and 7 September 2019 on the theme: “Beyond 50 and 10, beyond the rhetoric: The protection of forced migrants in Africa”. 

Professor Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, on August 2019 delivered a public lecture in Kigali, Rwanda, on the contemporary challenges that the African Union human rights system faces.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, strongly condemns the recent xenophobic violence and attacks against foreign nationals in South Africa. The Centre calls on the government to develop a targeted intervention strategy. The cycle of outrage, followed by commitment to take action, but then inevitably fading into inaction, should be broken.

(By Bonolo Makgale and Lydia Chibwe)

The month of August marked women's month in South Africa, it is important to check the progress that the country has made in terms of women’s representation in politics and governance.

Almost two decades into the 21st century, women are still not accorded a place of prominence in politics and governance, particularly in Africa. This article briefly reflects on women’s political representation at the regional level, within the African Union, and then looks critically at South Africa’s implementation of women’s rights, in particular examining whether there have been tangible and sustainable gains for women’s representation during the 2019 national and provincial elections.

Dawda K Jawara, who played a considerable role in laying the foundations of the African regional human rights system, passed away on 27 August 2019.  He was 95 years old. For those following and committed to human rights in Africa, the name of Dawda Jawara takes pride of place.

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The Advanced Human Rights Course on The Right to Development in Africa, hosted by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the University of Antwerp was held at the University of Pretoria (UP).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in collaboration with the School of Law, University of Kigali  invite you to a lecture on  Contemporary challenges to the  African Union human rights system  delivered by  Prof Frans Viljoen. 

On 7 August 2019 the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ms. Ikponwosa Ero, briefed members of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Committee on Gender, Family, Youths and Persons with Disabilities of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on the annotated outline for the Draft guidelines on ending harmful practices related to manifestations of certain beliefs in witchcraft. In May 2019, the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Rules Committee of PAP adopted a resolution authorizing the drafting of the guidelines. The purpose of the briefing was therefore to elicit the input from the committee members on areas of concern or issues from specific countries or regions to be taken into consideration in the drafting of the guidelines.

On 6 August, 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Open Society Foundations - Africa Regional Office (OSF-AFRO) attended a seating at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Committee on Justice and Human Rights to appraise the parliamentarians of the  Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa. Further, the Centre sought to discuss the possibility of developing a Model Law on Access to Information and Elections under the auspices of the PAP, based on those Guidelines that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights adopted in 2017.

On 30 and 31 July, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit and the Disability Rights Unit attended a workshop organised by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) on advancing the inclusion and participation of persons with disability in Mozambique. The workshop was attended by officials from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action (MGCSA) and Office of the Ombudsman; the Deputy President of the National Assembly. In attendence were also representatives from civil society organisations, most of them working on disability issues including the Centre for Human Rights (University of Pretoria) Light of the World, Associação dos Deficientes Moçambicanos (ADEMO), Forum das Organizações Moçambicanas de Deficientes (FAMOD), UNICEF, academia and the media.

The conference is about developing responses for realising the human right of persons with disabilities to live in the community in the African region. The focus is two-fold: 1) critically appraising laws, policies, practices, programmes, polities and ideologies that serve to impede the human right of persons with disabilities to live in the community with choices and appropriate support on an equal basis with others; and 2) suggesting reforms to overcome the impediments. The conference will be held at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa, on 11 and 12 November 2019. 

Authors of abstracts and papers should seek to propose ideas and remedial approaches which can serve as resources for assisting lawmakers, courts and tribunals, policymakers, caregivers, residential and other community support service providers, education providers, health-care providers, employers, and other pertinent actors in fulfilling the right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community. It is anticipated that papers presented at this conference will be reworked by authors and submitted for consideration for publication in the 2020 volume of the African Disability Rights Yearbook.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, cordially invites you to apply for the Capacity Building Workshop on Strategic Advocacy and Litigation targeted at the promotion and protection of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is seeking a Post-doctoral Fellow in Children's Rights in Africa, and will be hosted within the Children’s Rights Unit of the Centre. The deadline for applications is 23 August 2019.

On 11 and 12 July 2019, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, participated in the first regional consultation of the revision of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa. The regional consultation meeting, covering only Lusophone countries in Africa, was held in Maputo and was organised by the Mozambique chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).

In June 2017, Mauritius ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). In accordance with Article 26 (1) of the Maputo Protocol, the country has to submit its initial report at the 65th Session of the African Commission in October 2019.

The Disability Rights Unit (DRU) at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Zambia’s Ministry of Justice, hosted a two-day training workshop for criminal justice officials. The training workshop focused on ensuring access to justice for persons with disabilities through the provision of accommodations in the criminal justice system and was held in Lusaka from 22 to 23 July 2019.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is pleased to announce that Prof Michelo Hansungule has been re-elected as Commissioner under the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). This will be the third term Prof Hansungule will serve as a ICJ Commissioner. Election is done by jurists and leading academics around the globe and Prof Hansungule will serve for four years. 

#HRDA20Years: The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, from 7 to 10 December 2019, celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa programme (HRDA). 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, will host a colloquium on safe abortion and realising women's human rights from 23 to 24 January 2020. We invite abstracts on overcoming barriers to safe abortion in the African region.

The Advanced Human Rights Course on Children’s Rights in Africa, hosted by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the Centre for Child Law, and the Dullah Omar Institute at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), was held from 22 to 26 July 2019 at the University of Pretoria (UP).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria recently hosted the very successful celebrations of Nelson Mandela International Day in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), aims to foster closer collaboration between and among civil society organisations (CSOs) on PAP with a view to advancing and promoting the mandate of the continental Parliament. This partnership further aims to sensitise CSOs on the workings of the PAP and promote active and constructive citizen and civil society engagement with the PAP.