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Webinar on 40 years of achievements and challenges to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

To celebrate Africa Human Rights Day, 21 October, the South African Human Rights Commission, HURISA and the Centre for Human Rights, organised a joint webinar to take stock of achievements and challenged that have arisen during the 40 years since the Charter's adoption in 1981.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, has launched a new photobook series titled Looking through the prism: Narratives of queer dignity in South Africa featuring photographs and narratives of the lives of LGBTIQ+ persons living in South Africa. Volume 1 of the series has been published online this October, which is also the South African Pride Month, commemorating the anniversary of the first Lesbian and Gay Pride March in Africa and held in October 1990 in Johannesburg.

National Women’s Day is commemorated on 9 August every year. Commemorating this Day is an opportunity to honour and celebrate the beauty and strength of South African women, but also to draw attention to issues that women in Africa still face. These issues include gender-based violence (GBV), discrimination and harassment in different areas of life, unequal pay, and a lack of access to education and sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls.

On 28 May 2021, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria hosted a high-level advocacy meeting on the ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa (Older Persons’ Protocol) and on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa (Disability Rights Protocol). These two Protocols are not yet in force. They each require fifteen ratifications to ensure their entry into force. So far, only four states to the Charter have ratified the Older Persons’ Protocol, while none have ratified the Disability Rights Protocol. During the meeting, it was revealed that both in Kenya and South Africa cabinet approval for the ratification of the Disability Rights Protocol has been secured recently. The parliamentary processes are ongoing.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is deeply concerned about the recent events occurring in Eswatini in the wake of protests against police brutality and in support of democracy in the nation. The violent nature of the protests and the response of the Eswatini government pose a threat to the fundamental right to life of citizens of Eswatini, the only remaining absolute monarchy in Africa.

At a webinar organised by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in commemoration of the #WorldRefugeeDay, renowned experts drawn from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), civil society (Lawyers for Human Rights) and academia called for increased inclusion of refugees in health systems, education and sports in Africa and made important recommendations to the international community, states, communities hosting refugees, and individuals.

In June 2011, the Human Rights Council endorsed the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in its Resolution 17/4. These principles are based on three pillars: the State duty to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and access to remedy. Having garnered a large consensus, the UNGPs had constituted a watershed moment in the quest for corporate accountability and ending business impunity. However, the 10th anniversary of the UNGPs comes against the background of widespread business-related human rights abuses in Africa. Across the continent, business activities, especially by transnational corporations (TNCs) and extractives industries, impact daily labour rights, the right to a clean environment, the right to water, the right to health, communities’ rights to land, to list only a few. Unfortunately, no effective remedies are available for these breaches. Corporate impunity relating to human rights violations continues to run rampant on the continent, mainly with the complicity of corrupt states agencies captured by corporations.

The Centre for Human Rights (CHR), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, and the Pan-African Parliament Civil Society Forum (PAP CSO Forum) held a webinar on 9 June 2021, to discuss the recently postponed elections of the PAP, and issues related to the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Fifth Pan-African Parliament (PAP). This virtual event was attended by 180 participants from across the continent.

On 16 June every year, the African continent celebrates the Day of the African Child (DAC). The African Union (AU) designated this Day to commemorate the contributions of the children and young people to the liberation of South Africa from apartheid, exemplified by many of them being shot during protest action on this day in 1976. In the years since its establishment, the DAC has been used to highlight pertinent issues affecting the rights and welfare of children in Africa, and to remind African countries of their promise and commitments to protect the rights of children in Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, seeks to appoint a consultant to conduct a study on the Impact of the Master’s programme in partner universities.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (the Centre) is deeply concerned about the recent suspension of Twitter by the Federal Government of Nigeria on 4 June 2021. The suspension came after Twitter deleted a tweet by the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari.

On Friday 28 May 2021, a delegation of students on the Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) Programme at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, met with the Cameroonian High Commissioner to South Africa, HE Mr Anu’a-Gheyle Solomon. This meeting was held under the auspices of a three-week campaign dubbed #StopCameroonViolations. The HRDA students relaunched this campaign on 22 May 2021 in response to the escalating conflict in Cameroon which started as a conflict over cultural rights and identity in the English-speaking regions. 

On Saturday 29 May 2021, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, launched the #ReviveSADCTribunal advocacy campaign at the Future Africa Campus. Students on the LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) programme spearheaded the launch of the campaign.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, and the Pan-African Parliament Civil Society Forum (PAP CSO Forum) are deeply concerned about the recent events that have occurred during the Fourth Ordinary Session of the Fifth Pan-African Parliament currently underway in Midrand, South Africa.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, condemns the recent series of attacks against the LGBTIQ+ community and LGBTIQ+ human rights defenders in the Republic of Ghana. In a press release dated 21 May 2021, the Ghana Police Service claimed it had arrested 21 persons (16 females and 5 males) at a ‘supposed conference, advocating LGBTQI activities’. The police arrested these human rights defenders, who were attending a paralegal training, and charged them before a Circuit Court for unlawful assembly under section 202 of the Criminal Offences Act of Ghana. The court remanded all 21 persons in police custody for 2 weeks.

In celebration of IDAHOBIT 2021, the Flemish Representative in South Africa in collaboration with the SOGIESC Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS and Gender, University of Pretoria, hosted a virtual webinar to explore the theme of healing after harm aimed at LGBTIQ+ people and their allies.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is deeply concerned about the ongoing suppression of freedom of expression in Ethiopia and condemns the arbitrary detention and expulsion of Mr Simon Marks, a news reporter who had resided in Ethiopia for two years.

In celebration of IDAHBOIT 2021, the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, hosted a virtual webinar to launch the report on Current Practices in Conversion Therapy, Emerging Technology, and the Protection of LGBTQ+ Rights in Africa on the occasion of IDAHOBIT 2021, celebrated on May 17, 2021.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria wishes to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the World Press Freedom Day today, 3 May 2021. The celebrations for the World Press Freedom Day began in 1991 at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) Conference where the landmark Windhoek Declaration was adopted. The Declaration which focused on print media considered various issues on freedom of expression, access to information and the public service role of journalism.

On 17 April 2021, at its 68th ordinary session, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) had one of its series of stakeholders’ dialogue on human rights situation in Africa.