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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Downlaod Statement

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria is concerned with the passage of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill H.B 15 of 2022 (Patriot Bill) in Zimbabwe’s House of Assembly. The Patriot Bill, which was passed on 31 May, is overbroad, curtails freedom of expression, suppresses freedom of association and assembly and restricts political participation. The Patriot Bill proposes, among other things, to criminalises meetings with foreign governments for purposes of planning military intervention or calling for economic sanctions. The Bill will become law only after the Senate, the second parliamentary house, adopts it, and if President Mnangagwa assents to it.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria is concerned with the gross and systemic human rights violations targeted at human rights defenders, political activists, and civil society actors; because of calls for greater reforms in Eswatini’s political governance system. 

The Centre for Hunan Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria is deeply concerned about the ongoing Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, characterised by non-state armed groups in the North-West participating in violent conflict with the government of Cameroon over perceived discrimination on the basis of language.

Celebrating Worker’s Day in South Africa on 1 May 2023 has a hollow ring to it. Commemorating the achievements of the labour movement, including many important improvements to working conditions, and celebrating the crucial role of the working class in our country’s past and present, are overshadowed by the alarmingly high unemployment rate among South Africans.  The precarious position of domestic workers demands more visibility about their rights and greater accountability for those who violate their rights. Acknowledging South Africa’s membership of the global community, and conscious of the undercurrent of xenophobia, consideration should be given to placing the rights of migrant workers on a firmer footing by ratifying the United Nations treaty on this theme.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (the Centre) denounces the conviction of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere. Mahere, a prominent political activist and lawyer, was found guilty by a Harare Regional Magistrate on charges of publishing falsehoods emanating from a retweet where she shared information that a police officer had beaten to death a child with a baton in Harare. The Court held that she undermined the authority of the police through her tweet and noted that her conduct was reckless and detrimental to the State as it intended to undermine the police force and also erode public confidence in the law enforcement agents. The contentious charges carried an imprisonment term of up to 20 years and a fine. The Court opted to impose a fine of USD 500 on Mahere and not a prison sentence.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (the Centre) expresses concern over claims of retaliatory disciplinary proceedings against a senior judicial officer in Uganda, Justice Esther Kisaakye of the Supreme Court. The Centre understands that the country’s Judicial Service Commission commenced inquiry proceedings into the conduct of Justice Kisaakye after her dissenting decision in the 2021 Presidential election petition filed by opposition leader, Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu (Bobiwine), against President Yoweri Museveni. In that Petition, the Supreme Court of Uganda denied a later application by Sentamu to be allowed more time to change the main application, stating it was late. Justice Kisaakye, however, dissented on the basis that the applicant's illegal house arrest hindered timely submission.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre), is proud to commemorate Trans Day of Visibility, which falls every year and is celebrated internationally on 31 March.  This day is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the contributions of trans gender and gender diverse individuals in our society, and to raise awareness of the challenges and discrimination that they face. Trans Day of Visibility Founder Rachel Crandall-Crocker, a Michigan-based and licensed psychotherapist and transgender advocate, chose the month of March to not to ‘step on the toes’ of other Trans Day of Remembrance on 20 November or American Pride Month in June.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of law, University of Pretoria (CHR) and the Centre for Sexualities, AIDS, and Gender, University of Pretoria (CSA&G) condemn the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill by the Parliament of Uganda on 21 March 2023.  

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (Centre) condemns the racist remarks made by the President of Tunisia and the arbitrary arrest, detention and forced eviction of African migrants in Tunisia.

On February 6, 2023, Amhara Association of America (AAA) and Centre for Human Rights, Pretoria University (CHR) submitted a complaint to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights against the Ethiopian Government. The complaint is made on behalf of ethnic Amhara residents in West Wollega, East Wollega, Horo Guduru Wollega, Qelem Wollega and West Shewa Zones of the Oromia Region who faced mass atrocities at the hand of state and non-state armed forces and militias. The complaint argues that the Ethiopian state bears responsibility for human rights violations committed by its agents, including the Oromia Special Forces (OSF), such as extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, property destruction, communication blackouts, violent dispersal of peaceful protests, and displacement. It is also submitted that the lack of adequate efforts on the part of the state to halt the atrocities and human rights violations committed by the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) or punish those responsible for violating the obligation of states to ensure the rights and freedoms of all individuals within its jurisdictions is not respected, thereby depriving the Amhara residents of several substantive rights in the African Charter.

In response to the African Commission’s unfortunate decision to reject observer status applications by three human rights organizations in its final communique of its 73rd ordinary session, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and its partners - Synergía Initiatives for Human Rights, the Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA), PanAfrica ILGA, Amnesty International, and Mouvement pour les Libertés Individuelles (MOLI) condemn this decision that threatens the Commission’s ability to promote and protect human rights for all. 

Thulani Rudolf Maseko (1 March 1970 - 21 January 2023) 

It is with great shock and profound sadness that we at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, learnt about the assassination of Thulani Maseko on 21 January 2023. He was shot dead in front of his family in his home south of Mbabane, Eswatini, in what can only be described as a targeted killing.

Our deepest sympathy goes to his wife and family in this difficult and traumatising time.

6 December 2022

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, and the Southern African Nationality Network (SANN) call on African states, including members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to endorse the adoption of the Draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Specific Aspects of the Right to a Nationality and the Eradication of Statelessness in Africa (Draft Protocol) and to subsequently ratify it. We also call on the Government of South Africa to take leadership in urging other SADC members to endorse the adoption of the Draft Protocol and to subsequently ratify it.

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