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The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes the coming into effect of Angola’s Penal Code decriminalising consensual same-sex acts between adults. The new Penal Code repeals articles 70 and 71 of the colonial Penal Code that had prohibited acts considered to be ‘against nature’ including same-sex sexual practices. These previous provisions adversely affected Angolan LGBTIQ+ communities and hindered their access to basic human rights such as access to justice, healthcare services, education, and employment.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, gladly notes that the African Union (AU) policy organs elected Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza as a Judge on the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.  Adv Ntsebeza, a human rights stalwart of note, will be the second South African to serve on the continent’s highest human rights body. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, wishes to support its alumnus, Professor Anthony Chima Diala on his recent recommendation to the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent by the United Nations Consultative Group on the mandate on 22 January 2021. Professor Diala is one of the two candidates put forward by the Consultative Group out of 10 initially selected candidates. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, joins the commemoration of Data Protection Day, celebrated worldwide on 28 January. This year, it is the 40th anniversary of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, also known as Convention 108. On 28 January 1981, the treaty opened for signature by the member states and for accession by non-member states. To date, it has been signed by close to forty countries including five African countries. The Convention has global applicability, as it is the only treaty on data protection that is open to any country in the world. Its principles have been transposed in national, regional and sub-regional data protection frameworks.  

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes and commends the signing of the South African Political Party Funding Act by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Act will come into operation on 1 April 2021. The adoption of this law follows the ruling of the Constitutional Court on private political party funding in the case of My Vote Counts NPC v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Another, in which the Court reiterated that funding disclosure is part of the right to make informed political and electoral decisions.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre), welcomes the decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) holding the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) responsible for the extrajudicial execution of Pascal Kabungulu, a prominent human rights defender, at the hands of state agents. The Centre calls on the DRC government to give effect to the HRC’s decision and bring those responsible to justice.  

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, wishes to congratulate its graduate, Justice Miatta Maria Samba, who has just been elected as a Judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC).  She will take her seat on the Court early in 2021.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is concerned about ongoing discrimination on the basis of disability by airline carriers in Nigeria.

More than 20 civil society organisations fighting for social justice, supported by the Marikana Commission Chairperson Judge Ian Farlam, state that meaningful engagement with the new draft SAPS Bill is being undermined due to the 2018 report of the Panel of Experts on Policing being kept secret

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is alarmed by the arrest and detention of three human rights defenders by Egyptian authorities last week, marking a troubling escalation in an ongoing campaign of harassment and intimidation that has thus far failed to silence various organisations dedicated to defending fundamental human rights in the country.

For the first time in its 29-year history, the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition took place virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the restriction on movements and the various mitigating measures adopted by several countries on the continent. 29 English-speaking and 7 French-speaking teams took part in the online preliminary rounds from 21 September to 21 October 2020. The semi-final rounds take place from 9 to 14 November, and the final round on 28 November. All these rounds are virtual, using the Zoom platform.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is part of a coalition of seven global disability rights organisations that have called for urgent action by States and the international community to halt the catastrophic failure to protect the lives, health, and rights of persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is concerned about ongoing police brutality and human rights violations in Nigeria. These violations are in response to demonstrations by Nigerians expressing concerns about gross human rights violations by the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), particularly by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a tactical unit within the NPF designed to tackle incidents of armed robbery in Nigeria.

This year's Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition saw 44 teams (39 English-language and 5 Spanish-language teams) participating for the coveted eight quarter-finalists positions places. Although the Competition is open to French-language teams, regrettably, only two teams submitted its memorials (Ecole Superieure des sciences de Pierre Elliot Trudeau (Esseget) and Catholic University of Bakavu).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is distressed by the march on 23 September 2020 against foreign nationals in the City of Tshwane (#PutSouthAfricansFirst). The marchers targeted Nigerians and Zimbabweans, in particular. While declaring that they are concerned about illegal migrants, the marchers spoke of ‘Nigerians’ and ‘Zimbabweans’ in a very general way. The march organisers in one breath expressed concern about illegal migrants and drug trafficking. By making this association between migrant status and drug trafficking, the marchers fell into the trap of generalisation and stigmatisation of all of these non-nationals as both illegal and criminal. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria notes with disappointment the decision by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to effectively ban Caster Semenya from participating in certain competitive sporting events (400m to the mile) unless she reduces her testosterone levels to ‘acceptable female’ levels. This decision follows an appeal by Caster to the Supreme Court against a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), which upheld the validity of the World Athletics regulations on female athletes with differences of sex development (Eligibility Regulations on Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development). The CAS, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, is a private legal person under Swiss law. Its arbitration awards are subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

With the passing of Advocate George Bizos on 9 September 2020, South Africa lost an exceptional human rights lawyer who devoted his life to the promotion and fostering of a human rights culture in South Africa. “His life demonstrates the best use to which the law can be put: as a tool to defend those at risk of abuse of power, and as a tool for social transformation and human connection’”, said the Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, Frans Viljoen.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, has with alarm taken note of the precarious position and imminent risk of irreparable harm to the life of Nigerian singer Yahaya Sharif Aminu. The Centre on 9 September 2020 lodged a request to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) to take immediate action, in the form of directing an urgent appeal to the Head of State, or any other appropriate form. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes the appointment by President Ramaphosa of two special envoys to engage with the deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe.  However, we regret the characterisation of a situation of serious human rights violations as “difficulties”, and urge President Ramaphosa to ensure that South Africa’s approach is not one of “quiet diplomacy” at the expense of addressing the underlying issues of impunity and lack of accountability. Given that South Africa is currently chairing the African Union, it is of increased importance for President Ramaphosa to take a clear stand against erosions of constitutional governance and the rule of law, and to insist on accountability for violations of human rights in Zimbabwe.

As part of Mandela Month, during which we remember the birth date of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela on 18 July 1918, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Leading Like Mandela Institute and the Thembekile Mandela Foundation, hosted the first in a series of online Mandela Talks.

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The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes the coming into effect of Angola’s Penal Code decriminalising consensual same-sex acts between adults. The new Penal Code repeals articles 70 and 71 of the colonial Penal Code that had prohibited acts considered to be ‘against nature’ including same-sex sexual practices. These previous provisions adversely affected Angolan LGBTIQ+ communities and hindered their access to basic human rights such as access to justice, healthcare services, education, and employment.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, gladly notes that the African Union (AU) policy organs elected Adv Dumisa Ntsebeza as a Judge on the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.  Adv Ntsebeza, a human rights stalwart of note, will be the second South African to serve on the continent’s highest human rights body. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, wishes to support its alumnus, Professor Anthony Chima Diala on his recent recommendation to the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent by the United Nations Consultative Group on the mandate on 22 January 2021. Professor Diala is one of the two candidates put forward by the Consultative Group out of 10 initially selected candidates. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, joins the commemoration of Data Protection Day, celebrated worldwide on 28 January. This year, it is the 40th anniversary of the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, also known as Convention 108. On 28 January 1981, the treaty opened for signature by the member states and for accession by non-member states. To date, it has been signed by close to forty countries including five African countries. The Convention has global applicability, as it is the only treaty on data protection that is open to any country in the world. Its principles have been transposed in national, regional and sub-regional data protection frameworks.  

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes and commends the signing of the South African Political Party Funding Act by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Act will come into operation on 1 April 2021. The adoption of this law follows the ruling of the Constitutional Court on private political party funding in the case of My Vote Counts NPC v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Another, in which the Court reiterated that funding disclosure is part of the right to make informed political and electoral decisions.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre), welcomes the decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) holding the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) responsible for the extrajudicial execution of Pascal Kabungulu, a prominent human rights defender, at the hands of state agents. The Centre calls on the DRC government to give effect to the HRC’s decision and bring those responsible to justice.  

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, wishes to congratulate its graduate, Justice Miatta Maria Samba, who has just been elected as a Judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC).  She will take her seat on the Court early in 2021.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is concerned about ongoing discrimination on the basis of disability by airline carriers in Nigeria.

More than 20 civil society organisations fighting for social justice, supported by the Marikana Commission Chairperson Judge Ian Farlam, state that meaningful engagement with the new draft SAPS Bill is being undermined due to the 2018 report of the Panel of Experts on Policing being kept secret

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is alarmed by the arrest and detention of three human rights defenders by Egyptian authorities last week, marking a troubling escalation in an ongoing campaign of harassment and intimidation that has thus far failed to silence various organisations dedicated to defending fundamental human rights in the country.

For the first time in its 29-year history, the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition took place virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the restriction on movements and the various mitigating measures adopted by several countries on the continent. 29 English-speaking and 7 French-speaking teams took part in the online preliminary rounds from 21 September to 21 October 2020. The semi-final rounds take place from 9 to 14 November, and the final round on 28 November. All these rounds are virtual, using the Zoom platform.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is part of a coalition of seven global disability rights organisations that have called for urgent action by States and the international community to halt the catastrophic failure to protect the lives, health, and rights of persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is concerned about ongoing police brutality and human rights violations in Nigeria. These violations are in response to demonstrations by Nigerians expressing concerns about gross human rights violations by the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), particularly by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a tactical unit within the NPF designed to tackle incidents of armed robbery in Nigeria.

This year's Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition saw 44 teams (39 English-language and 5 Spanish-language teams) participating for the coveted eight quarter-finalists positions places. Although the Competition is open to French-language teams, regrettably, only two teams submitted its memorials (Ecole Superieure des sciences de Pierre Elliot Trudeau (Esseget) and Catholic University of Bakavu).

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is distressed by the march on 23 September 2020 against foreign nationals in the City of Tshwane (#PutSouthAfricansFirst). The marchers targeted Nigerians and Zimbabweans, in particular. While declaring that they are concerned about illegal migrants, the marchers spoke of ‘Nigerians’ and ‘Zimbabweans’ in a very general way. The march organisers in one breath expressed concern about illegal migrants and drug trafficking. By making this association between migrant status and drug trafficking, the marchers fell into the trap of generalisation and stigmatisation of all of these non-nationals as both illegal and criminal. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria notes with disappointment the decision by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to effectively ban Caster Semenya from participating in certain competitive sporting events (400m to the mile) unless she reduces her testosterone levels to ‘acceptable female’ levels. This decision follows an appeal by Caster to the Supreme Court against a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), which upheld the validity of the World Athletics regulations on female athletes with differences of sex development (Eligibility Regulations on Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development). The CAS, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, is a private legal person under Swiss law. Its arbitration awards are subject to the appellate jurisdiction of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

With the passing of Advocate George Bizos on 9 September 2020, South Africa lost an exceptional human rights lawyer who devoted his life to the promotion and fostering of a human rights culture in South Africa. “His life demonstrates the best use to which the law can be put: as a tool to defend those at risk of abuse of power, and as a tool for social transformation and human connection’”, said the Director of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, Frans Viljoen.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, has with alarm taken note of the precarious position and imminent risk of irreparable harm to the life of Nigerian singer Yahaya Sharif Aminu. The Centre on 9 September 2020 lodged a request to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) to take immediate action, in the form of directing an urgent appeal to the Head of State, or any other appropriate form. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes the appointment by President Ramaphosa of two special envoys to engage with the deteriorating conditions in Zimbabwe.  However, we regret the characterisation of a situation of serious human rights violations as “difficulties”, and urge President Ramaphosa to ensure that South Africa’s approach is not one of “quiet diplomacy” at the expense of addressing the underlying issues of impunity and lack of accountability. Given that South Africa is currently chairing the African Union, it is of increased importance for President Ramaphosa to take a clear stand against erosions of constitutional governance and the rule of law, and to insist on accountability for violations of human rights in Zimbabwe.

As part of Mandela Month, during which we remember the birth date of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela on 18 July 1918, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Leading Like Mandela Institute and the Thembekile Mandela Foundation, hosted the first in a series of online Mandela Talks.