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.

The High Court of Botswana has, in a landmark ruling and a unanimous decision by the bench declared Section 164 and 165 of the Botswana Penal Code that previously criminalised same-sex sexual acts, as unconstitutional. Botswana joins Angola, Mozambique, Seychelles, and South Africa as members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to have decriminalised same-sex sexual acts, a progressive outlook for this region. The Botswana decision comes not so long after Kenyan judges upheld similar provisions in the Kenyan Penal Code criminalising same-sex sexual acts, a sad contrast.

The Centre for Human Rights (the Centre), University of Pretoria, calls on the South African government to enhance the protection for older persons; and to ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa (Protocol on Older Persons).

The Centre for Human Rights (the Centre) congratulates the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) of Kenya and its leadership upon winning the Court of Appeal case, in which the Kenya Non Government Organisations Coordination Board appealed the decision of the Kenya High Court to allow NGLHRC to register under the Kenya Non Government Organisations Coordination Act. The Court of Appeal delivered its  decision on Friday 22 March 2019. 

The Centre for Human Rights (the Centre), University of Pretoria, fully supports the campaign by the South African Department of Sports and Recreation, against the enforcement of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) regulations against hyper-androgenic women in sports. This follows an appeal against the regulations made to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) by Olympic champion Caster Semenya and Athletics South Africa (ASA). The appeal, which is before the CAS, will be concluded on 29 March 2019. The regulations violate the right to bodily autonomy, physical integrity, freedom from non-discrimination and other bioethical considerations.

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Civil society organisations working on gender-based violence (GBV) express concern over the slow pace at which the South African Presidency is addressing issues identified at the National Summit against Gender-Based Violence and Femicide.

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The Centre for Human Rights (the Centre) congratulates the government, parliament and people of Angola, for the brave steps taken, through its judicial reform programme, towards the decriminalisation of ‘habitual unnatural vices’, into which consensual adult same-sex sexual conduct was read. The Centre also expresses its pleasure towards the criminalisation of crimes based on discrimination including prohibiting crimes based on discrimination based on sexual orientation. To further galvanise the reforms, employment and service discrimination based on sexual orientation is also now illegal. These are major achievements towards respecting and promoting the rights of all citizens of Angola including sexual and gender minorities.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (the Centre) is deeply concerned by the reported ongoing human rights violations in our immediate northern neighbour, taking the form of excessive use of force and restrictions on the free flow of information. We urge the South African government to offer itself as a facilitator to assist in seeking a solution in the interest of Zimbabwe’s people.

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On 11 December 2018, the Constitutional Court of South Africa in the matter between Law Society of South Africa and Others v. The President of the Republic of South Africa and Others, upheld the 1 March 2018 decision of the Northern Gauteng High Court that the President’s decision and signing of the 2014 Protocol which disbanded the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal was unconstitutional, unlawful and irrational. The Court thereby ordered the President to withdraw his signature from the 2014 Protocol to the SADC Tribunal.

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On 10 December 2018, the world celebrated International Human Rights Day and commemorated the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Indeed the UDHR and subsequent human rights instruments have had an enduring impact on the lives of many across the world and has arguably contributed to a more equitable world. The adoption of the UDHR coincided with the institution of formalised apartheid in 1948. As the struggle against apartheid intensified over the subsequent period, the world-wide resistance was increasingly framed along the underlying values and provisions of the UDHR.  

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The Centre participated in the CSO forum of the ACERWC which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 9 to 12 November 2018 under the theme, ‘leave no child behind for Africa’s development: Setting the CSO agenda’. The Centre also participated in the 32nd session of the ACERWC which was held from 12 to 20 November 2018 in Addis Ababa.

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"It’s time for Africa to commit to protect the rights of older persons”

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in partnership with HelpAge Global Network in Africa and Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, on 9 August 2018 organised a Policy Dialogue with Key Government Institutions including the African Union Social Affairs Department responsible for coordination and ratification of the African Union Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons (Protocol) on 8 August 2018 and a regional expert meeting for West Africa on the theme “Human rights of older women in West Africa: The need for enhanced protection”. 

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Civil society organizations in South Africa comprised of a broad collective of human rights and women’s rights organizations and Trade Unions add their voice to the call for immediate and decisive action towards ending violence against women in South Africa. 

We call upon every woman in South Africa to join us on the 1st of August to march peacefully in protest of the violence with impunity targeted at women. We demand that the government of South Africa pay particular attention to the continued and increasing spate of violence against women and girls and take concrete measures to end the violation of women’s right to life, dignity and security of persons. 

GENEVA (26 June 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea expressed concern that patterns of violations identified over the past six years persist, namely arbitrary and incommunicado detention, indefinite military/national service amounting to forced labour and severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms.

In her fifth and final report to the Human Rights Council, Sheila Keetharuth expressed concern that the human rights violations she identified in her first and subsequent reports, as well as in those of the Commission of Inquiry in Eritrea remained unchanged. 

On 16 June 2018, Africa commemorates the Day of the African Child 2018 under the theme “Leave No Child Behind for Africa’s Development”. This year’s theme aims to target children who are not benefitting from Africa’s growth and development. African countries are challenged to ensure that children are at the centre and not left behind in the drive towards sustainable economic development. This day is commemorated in memory of the Soweto student uprising, that began on June 16 1976, when students marched in protest against the poor quality of education they received and demanded to be taught in their own languages.

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The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is extremely concerned about the continuing human rights violations in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon, and the lack of international alarm and action about the situation. Available evidence strongly suggests that crimes against humanity have been and are being committed in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon.

Experts from across Southern Africa attended a meeting at the University Pretoria on 30 May 2018 to explore ways in which more attention can be drawn to the plight of older women in the region, and in Africa. They called for African states to follow the lead of Lesotho, which is on the verge of formalising its ratification of the African Union’s Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa. .

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Bamako, Mali, 24 April 2018

Honourable Chairperson and members of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, I thank you for this opportunity to address you on the occasion of the 31st Ordinary Session of this honourable Committee. The Centre for Human Rights conveys its gratitude to the Committee for granting our application for observer status during the 30th Ordinary Session in Khartoum, Sudan in December 2017. We are pleased that granting us observer status will further facilitate our engagement with the Committee for the promotion and protection of children’s rights on the continent, especially through the full, effective and efficient implementation of the provisions of African Children’s Charter.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is gravely concerned by recent allegations of precarious living conditions in certain residential homes for older persons. Reports of alleged abuse of older persons in the Lodewyk Spies Home, located in Pretoria, places a spotlight on some of the human rights violations that older persons face in residential care. The old age home is accused of neglecting residents, controlling the residents’ social grants cards, and depriving the residents of nutritious food. Older persons, inside and outside of residential care, face discrimination which has an impact on their prospects for employment, their healthcare treatment and their ability to make decisions about their own lives. The Centre calls upon the Department of Social Development to conduct regular investigations of all older person residential care facilities, as mandated by section 22 of South Africa’s Older Persons Act 13 of 2006.

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