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In the framework of the Global Campus Exchange of Lecturers, the Master’s Programme in Human Rights & Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) together with the European Regional Master’s Programme in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe (ERMA) will host the joint lecture ''Comparative Transitional Justice: Retributive and Restorative Approaches '', which will take place on 29 and 30 June 2017 at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, replicating the lecture in Sarajevo at the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of the University of Sarajevo on 16 and 17 May 2017. 

On Thursday, 22nd June, the Women’s rights unit and the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Unit (SOGIE) hosted YALI delegates at the Centre for Human Rights. This very memorable visit is part of a bi-annual collaboration between the Centre for Human Rights and the YALI Regional Leadership Center as led by the University of South Africa (UNISA). YALI aims to develop young African leaders in Business and Entrepreneurship Development; Civic Leadership; Public Management and Governance through a hybrid of innovative and complimentary learning approaches. The Centre lends its support in ensuring that the different groups of leaders are conversant in crucial human rights issues and are also aware of their responsibility as leaders to uphold these rights.

On 14 and 15 June 2017, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the School of Law of the University of Nairobi, in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (Special Rapporteur), Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, organised a consultation on the draft ‘Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections for Africa’ (Draft Guidelines). 

The purpose of the consultation was to elicit comments on the Draft Guidelines from various stakeholders with a view to strengthening its content. The event was attended by a broad range of stakeholders including Election Management Bodies, political parties, National Human Rights Institutions, media, academics and civil society organisations. 

The HRDA Chronicles is out with a new episode. This time, the spotlight is on David Nnanna Ikpo, a 2016 graduate of the LLM/MPHIL in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa. In this feature, you will get to discover how David is trying to make the world better with the stroke of his pen and through his recently published novel - Fimi Sile Forever 

The Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the South African Human Rights Commission launched the travelling exhibition I decide=I am at the Commissions’ headquarters in Johannesburg yesterday. The globally acclaimed exhibition by Bulgarian illustrator Nadezhda Georgieva and award winning journalist and human rights activist Yana Buhrer tells the personal stories and reflections of sixteen people denied of their legal capacity because of their psychosocial or intellectual disability.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, South African Human Rights Commissioner responsible for Disability and Older Persons, Commissioner Bokankatla Malatji said the exhibition was part of a broader effort to raise awareness, promote understanding and public support of the right to legal capacity of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities as guaranteed by article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

“Persons with albinism face significant barriers restricting their participation in society on an equal basis with others and preventing them from realising basic rights such as the right to physical and mental health, including access to adequate health care, and the right to education, social services, legal protection, and redress for rights abuses.”

United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism Ms. Ikponwosa Ero in a statement issued today to commemorate the International albinism awareness day

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On Thursday 8 June 2017, the Women’s Rights Unit hosted a dynamic group of activists from the United States who are on an educational and cultural exchange tour. They visited the Centre for Human rights to engage on issues of historical injustice, state violence, truth and the rule of law. The meeting had in attendance members of the Centre’s management team as well as representatives from the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Unit, the Disability Rights Unit and the Women’s Rights Unit. The guests were also a diverse mix of educators, activists, legal practitioners and students, having come under the umbrella of an organisation called ‘Making the Road’. This organisation focuses on forging new paths and understandings through conversations that connect America and Southern Africa, history to the present, and different generations to one another.

On 20 May 2017, students from the Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) programme launched a campaign against children accused of being witches in Africa. The campaign ended on 7 June 2017. The campaign, also known as #ChildNotWitch, aims to create awareness around children in various African countries, accused of being witches and the abuse and even killings that are a result of these accusations.

The launch of the campaign included an art exhibition of images and artistic symbols representing the terrible abuse and discrimination these innocent children have to face.

Students of the HRDA class as well as other guests, including lawyers, judges and magistrates, from various countries around Africa attended the event.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a lecture titled: "The promise and peril of human rights technology"

Date: Monday, 12 June 2017
Time: 09:30 – 12:30
Venue: Room 2-2.1, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria
Enquiries: Adebayo Okeowo ( Adebayo.Okeowo@up.ac.za)

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On 30 May 2017, the annual Helen Kanzira Memorial Lecture was held for the first time in Maputo, Mozambique where the First Lady of Mozambique, Dr Isuara Nyusi, delivered the keynote address. The memorial lecture was organised by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in collaboration with Centro de Direitos Humanos, Faculdade de Deireito, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane. The Universidade Eduardo Mondlane is one of 13 partner universities that present the LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) programme.

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pdfDownload Dr Isuara Nyusi's address

Gabriel Shumba is an alumnus of the Centre for Human Rights, who was tortured by agents of the Zimbabwean government for supporting the opposition in that country. In 2013, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) found the government of Zimbabwe in violation of the African Charter and directed the government to carry out an investigation of the individuals responsible for the torture and recommended that they pay adequate compensation to Gabriel Shumba. 

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) has made a public call for comments on the draft ‘Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa’ (draft guidelines). Comments must be sent to the secretariat of the African Commission via email  (au-banjul@africa-union.org | africancommission@yahoo.com | hezae@africa-union.org) no later than 30 June 2017.

Download draft guidelines in English
Download draft guidelines in French

The Centre for Human Rights and the South African Human Rights Commission invite you to the launch of the travelling exhibition “I Decide = I Am” by Bulgarian illustrator Nadezhda Georgiva, and award winning journalist Yana Buhrer Tavanier featuring emotive paintings on the Life Esidemini Tragedy by South African artist, Daniel Mosako. The exhibition tells the personal stories of people with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities trapped and invisible, denied of their right to decide.

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Irish drag queen and LGBTI activist Rory O’Neill/ Panti Bliss launched the book Protecting the human rights of sexual minorities in contemporary Africa edited by Sylvie Namwase and Adrian Jjuuko. The launch took place on 17 May, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia. The Embassy of the Netherlands, the Embassy of Ireland, HiVOS South Africa and the Centre for Human Rights partnered to organize a Rainbow Happy Hour and a round table discussion on that day.

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The Centre for Human Rights celebrated Africa Day 2017 with the theme “The Africa we want: Rights, freedoms and governance in digital Africa”.This event was hosted in conjunction with Google. It was held at the historic Liliesleaf Farm, Rivonia, and attended by over eighty guests.The Embassy of the Netherlands, the Embassy of Ireland, HiVOS South Africa and the Centre for Human Rights partnered to organize a Rainbow Happy Hour and a round table discussion on that day.

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The Centre for Human Rights calls for urgent action to be taken by the University of Pretoria to engender a campus culture of non-violence and non-discrimination through the accelerated review of the University’s sexual harassment policy and the provision of comprehensive and accessible services for survivors of sexual violence. The University must also ensure that perpetrators of sexual violence and slanderous remarks that defame women are condemned and are held accountable for their actions.

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The Centre for Human Rights congratulates Mr. Rashid Dumbuya – a graduate of its Masters Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (class of 2013), upon his recent appointment as Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria hosted its annual short course on the judicial enforcement of socio-economic rights in Africa from 15-19 May 2017. The course brought together 60 participants from across Africa, mainly representing civil society, members of judiciary, national human rights institutions, policy makers, government officials and academia. 

From 2 to 5 May, the Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (FOE & ATI ) Unit participated in the inaugural meeting of the Africa Academic Network of Internet Policy and Governance which took place in Ibadan, Nigeria. The roundtable which was organised by the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP), with the support of Google, brought together academics of African descent both from within Africa and the diaspora, to identify and interrogate core issues on internet policy and governance. 

The Freedom of Expression and Access to Information Unit participated in the Ghana Data Protection Conference which took place from 20 to 21 April 2017 in Accra, Ghana. 

The Conference, which was organised by the Ghana Data Protection Commission, brought together a broad range of stakeholders to amongst other things share knowledge on data protection issues and developments around the world.

In line with the theme of the conference of ‘Safeguarding Fundamental Human Rights through Data Protection’, the Unit presented findings of its on-going research on the adoption of a human rights based approach to data protection in Africa.

This conference is part of the Unit’s on-going project with Google, which involves collaboration on advancing data protection/privacy in Africa through research, training and advocacy.
 

The International Development Law Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a seminar series titled “Trade & Investment Law Seminar Series (TILSS)”

Date: Wednesday 24 May 2017
Time: 14:00 – 16:00
Venue: Room 2-65, Graduate Centre, University of Pretoria (Hatfield Campus)
Enquiries: Ms Thandeka Rasetsoke (012 420 5296 / thandeka.rasetsoke@up.ac.za)
 
 

The International Development Law Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a seminar series titled “Trade & Investment Law Seminar Series (TILSS)”

Date: Wednesday 24 May 2017
Time: 10:00 – 12:00
Venue: Room 2-65, Graduate Centre, University of Pretoria (Hatfield Campus)
Enquiries: Ms Thandeka Rasetsoke (012 420 5296 / thandeka.rasetsoke@up.ac.za)

We invite activists from the Global South to debate the challenges that the current context poses to human rights across the world.

Activists and defenders from the Global South can submit their applications to attend the 15th International Human Rights Colloquium, wich will be held from October 1 to 6, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

This year, faced with a global conservative wave defined by the restriction of rights and setbacks, the Colloquium’s theme will debate the role, the alternatives, and the opportunities for the movement based on the question: “Human rights today: crisis or transition?”
 
“In this edition of the Colloquium we will collectively debate the current scenario and how human rights organizations, social movements, and other agents of change can react, rethink themselves, and get prepared for the challenges that are taking shape”, says Juana Kweitel, Conectas’ executive-director.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane – Faculty of Law, cordially invites you to the Annual Helen Kanzira Memorial Lecture.

The Keynote Address will be presented by: Her Excellency dr Isaura Nyusi, First Lady of Mozambique on ‘Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls: Challenges on Maternal Health Rights’

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pdfDownload this invitation (Portuguese)

The 5th Annual African Disability Rights Conference will be held from the 7th to the 8th of November 2017 at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in South Africa. This year’s conference will focus on the following themes:

  • a) the implications of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) for the African region with particular reference to article 13, the right to access to justice and article 12, the right to equal recognition before the law;
  • b) the development of mechanisms/strategies for the effective domestication and implementation of articles 12 and 13 of the CRPD and
  • c) the interplay between article 13 and article 12 of the CRPD.

It is anticipated that papers presented at this conference will be reworked by authors and submitted for consideration for publication in the 2018 volume of the African Disability Rights Yearbook.

pdfDownload the Call for Papers

Madame Chair, Honourable Commissioners, the Centre for Human Rights welcomes the ongoing work of the Working Group on the Death Penalty and Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa to continue placing questions concerning the right to life, the supreme human right, high on the agenda of the African Commission.

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The Centre for Human Rights earlier this year went though the process of recruiting a new Director, after the current Director's second term in that position had come to an end. However, the University’s selection committee did not shortlist any of the applicants.

The University Management subsequently decided that the University would fund a permanent position in the Centre of an Assistant Director, if the incumbent Director agrees to serve for another term. The Director (Frans Viljoen) happily agreed, and is looking forward to contribute further to advance the Centre’s vision.

We are now embarking on a process of recruiting a suitable person for the permanent full-time position of Assistant Director in the Centre.

This new position will be in addition to that of the current position of Assistant Director, which is funded by the Centre from external funds (held by Norman Taku). These developments reflect the Centre's thematic and institutional growth over thirty years.

Part of the work we do at the Gender Unit, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is to support the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa especially with respect to the popularization as well as the implementation of the Maputo Protocol across Africa

One area of such support is specifically, with regards to state reporting as well as popularising the 2009 reporting guidelines on the Maputo Protocol.

On Tuesday the 9th of May 2017 Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) - a student based civil society organization, worked with the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Unit of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria to produce an evening of engagement, conversation and debate centered around developments in the LGBTQIA+ sphere in Africa and the severe situation of violence, discrimination and oppression facing the LGBTQIA+ community in South Africa.

The Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), established in 2005 and located in the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, celebrated a landmark this week, as it launched its 175th publication. On 15 May 2017, PULP hosted Doctor Malcolm Langford, who co-edited the landmark The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Commentary (OP-ICESCR Commentary), recently published by PULP. Dr Langford is a renowned socio-economic rights scholar based at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights.

The OP-ICESCR Commentary breaks new ground. It is the first and most comprehensive book of its kind. It offers rigorous scholarly commentary on the provisions of the OP-ICESCR, aimed at informing and encouraging research, reasoned argument, consistent interpretation and effective advocacy, adjudication and remedies under the Protocol. It also provides a critical resource for users of the Optional Protocol (applicants, lawyers, governments, the Committee) and a broader audience of scholars, students, national judiciaries and policy makers.

17 May is the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), celebrated in more than 130 countries around the world.

The International IDAHOT Committee, founded in 2005 as an independent initiative, aimed at fighting against discriminations and injustices on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression.  This year, there is a special focus on families, including the role of families in the well-being of their LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex or Queer) members as well as respect for the rights of diverse LGBTIQ families.

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At the recently concluded 29th Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (African Children’s Rights Committee) held in Lesotho, the Centre for Human Rights and RADDHO, an NGO based in Senegal, participated and presented a joint submission on the implementation of Committee’s decision in the decisions Centre for Human Rights and la Rencontre Africaine pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme (on behalf of Senegales Talibés) v Senegal (Talibe case) ACERWC, Comm/001/2012, 15 April 2014.

This case deals with the conditions of some 100,000 children (called Talibés) who, while attending Koranic schools in Senegal, are required to beg on the streets of Dakar and other urban centres, to secure their own survival.  The Centre for Human Rights and RADDHO submitted the case as far back as 2012.

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STATEMENT BY NGO WITH OBSERVER STATUS: CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, FACULTY OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA

60th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights 11 May 2017, Niamey, Nigee

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In 2015, a call reverberated through South African universities. It started at Wits, moved to UCT and then to most campuses in the country. Thousands of students, at nearly every institution of higher education, demanded the decolonisation of university curricula and the radical transformation of academic spaces. This resulted in a movement towards the rejection of Eurocentric systems of knowledge and the advancement of African approaches and philosophies.

To engage further on the issue of a decolonised education model, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, hosted a lunch lecture by renowned critical legal scholar Professor Makau Mutua. Prof Mutua teaches law at the SUNY Buffalo Law School, State University of New York, in the United States of America (USA). The lecture on 'Decolonising the university curriculum' provided an opportunity for critical reflection on South Africa’s racial and political past, its impact on tertiary education and the way forward.

Over the past six months, the English-speaking part of Cameroon has experienced serious repression and continuous human rights violations. The crisis erupted in October 2016, following a series of sit-in strikes and non-violent actions initiated by common law lawyers and teachers’ trade unions in protest against the government’s policy of assimilation through the imposition of the civil law judges to preside over cases in common law courts and French-speaking teachers to teach in English schools. This policy seems designed to systematically wipe out the legal and education systems of the peoples of Southern Cameroons.

The government’s lethal response to the strikes and protest actions led to the death of at least 8 protesters on 8 December 2016, and subsequent extra-judicial killings, disappearances, rape, maiming, torture and other forms of degrading and inhumane treatment. Civil society organisations coordinating the strikes and protest actions were banned on 17 January 2017.  Leaders, including Justice Ayah Paul Abine (Supreme Court Judge), Dr Felix Agbor Balla (prominent international human rights lawyer), Dr Neba Fontem (a university lecturer), Mr Mancho Bibixy (a civil rights activists), and hundreds of other activists and protesters were arrested and transferred to the nation’s capital, Yaoundé (a civil law jurisdiction). They are currently being tried in a military court on charges of terrorism, which carries a death penalty if found guilty. These actions violate the right to fair trial. This is happening in spite of the African Commissions’ ruling in the Kelvin Gunme v Cameroon (para 215(1)(ii)) forbidding the transfer of accused persons from the English-speaking part to be tried in the French-speaking part of the country.

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GENEVA (3 May 2017) – The Government of Eritrea must free journalist Dawit Isaak who has been awarded a prestigious press freedom prize some 15 years after he was detained, a United Nations human rights expert says.
 
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth, is also calling on the authorities in Asmara to release unconditionally all others detained unlawfully.

“The Eritrean authorities should stop the practice of arrests and detention carried out without legal basis instantly,” said Ms. Keetharuth, welcoming the award of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2017 to Mr. Isaak.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, expresses deep concern about the treason charge Zambia’s opposition party leader Hakainde Hichilema is facing.

The Centre is deeply concerned about the serious recent ethnic tensions in Zambia, which appear to be politically motivated and to be part of an orchestrated campaign by sections of senior level politicians seeking to earn political dividends at the expense of peace in the country.  

Hichilema faces two charges, one for obstructing President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade, and another for treason, which is a non-bailable offence. Treason is an extremely serious offence, for which the maximum penalty is the death penalty.

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kiki* with Panti (*A gathering of people for a casual chat, laughter, and at times serious discussions. May involve locked doors, tea and gossip.) In conversation with Rory O'Neill (aka Panti Bliss, performer, writer, mentor, and LGBTIQA+, HIV and human rights activist)

Event Details

Date: Thursday 18 May 2017
Time: 14:30 - 16:00
Venue: Conference Room 100, UP (Hatfield Campus)
RSVP: johan.maritz@up.ac.za by 15 May 2017

GENEVA (3 May 2017) – The Government of Eritrea must free journalist Dawit Isaak who has been awarded a prestigious press freedom prize some 15 years after he was detained, a United Nations human rights expert says.
 
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth, is also calling on the authorities in Asmara to release unconditionally all others detained unlawfully.

“The Eritrean authorities should stop the practice of arrests and detention carried out without legal basis instantly,” said Ms. Keetharuth, welcoming the award of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2017 to Mr. Isaak.

Dawit Isaak, who is 52 and a playwright, journalist and writer, moved to Sweden in 1987, where he later became a citizen. He returned to Eritrea only after independence in 1993 and was one of the founders and reporters of Setit, the first independent newspaper in the country.

Mr. Isaak was arrested in September 2001 during a political crackdown on the so-called G-15, a group of politicians, and journalists critical of Government policies. Some were detained and tortured, others disappeared. The last known sighting of Mr. Isaak was in 2005. His whereabouts now are unknown.

“The case of Mr. Isaak is emblematic of all those who have been subjected to enforced disappearances by the Government of Eritrea and remain unaccounted for,” said Ms. Keetharuth.

The Special Rapporteur recalled the findings of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, which concluded that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Eritrean officials had committed crimes against humanity, including the crime of enforced disappearance, in a persistent, widespread and systematic manner since 1991.

“The Government of Eritrea has an obligation to urgently provide information on the fate and whereabouts of all those deprived of physical liberty. This would be a first and long-overdue indication that the Government is committed to rebuilding trust with the Eritrean people,” Ms. Keetharuth said.

“By allowing independent monitors immediate and unhindered access to all places of detention, official and unofficial, the Government would send a strong signal that it acknowledges human rights violations of the past, while taking steps to improve the situation on the ground now.
“The arrests of Dawit Isaak and his fellow journalists remain the most visible sign of repression of freedom of expression. The Eritrean authorities continue to stifle all forms of expression that could be perceived as critical of the Government and its policies,” she said.

Ms. Keetharuth reaffirmed that freedom of expression was a basic human right, and a free press one of the tenets of a democratic society, providing a valuable check on potential excesses by government.

Ms. Sheila B. Keetharuth (Mauritius) was appointed as the first Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea in October 2012. From 2014 to 2016, she also served as a member of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea. Since May 2014, Ms. Keetharuth is an expert member of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Until 2012, Ms. Keetharuth was the Executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa in Banjul, The Gambia. She also worked with Amnesty International in Kampala, Uganda, and as a lawyer and broadcaster in Mauritius. In 2017, Ms. Keetharuth was awarded with the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award by the University of Leicester, in recognition of her human rights work.

Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

- See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21571&LangID=E#sthash.rFwqqqsA.dpuf

In view of strengthening the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa (SRRWA), the Gender Unit of the Centre for Human Rights (CHR) organised a three-day refresher workshop on increasing states capacity for reporting under the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol) in the Kingdom of Lesotho. The workshop was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Law and Constitutional Affairs.

What is unique about Africa’s approach to international law? What would be the features of such an approach? This is some of the questions a group of forty international law scholars from across Africa and the diaspora asked themselves at a Round Table hosted by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, on 3 and 4 May 2017.

The Round Table was convened under the theme ‘African approaches to international law’. During the Round Table the concept of an “African approach” was problematized, with participants agreeing that this notion should not be racially or culturally based, but spatially, or in terms of one’s methodological ‘orientation’.

One of the participants was Professor Makau wa Mutua, who is well known for his critical scholarship, and for having been instrumental in launching a school of anti-hegemonic thinking on international law, Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL). He emphasized the ‘African’ origins of TWAIL and contended that it has much to offer to African scholars critically engaged with international law.

The Open Society Foundations (OSF) in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights (CHR) launched the Disability Rights Scholarship Programme (DRSP) in 2011. The CHR through the Disability Rights Unit has played a significant role of coordinating the DRSP which has included: marketing the programme, receiving applications, shortlisting semi-finalists and hosting the interviews of the shortlisted semi-finalists.

In 2016 the Open Society Foundation as the funder of the DRSP extended its funding and introduced for the first time an Inclusive Education Scholarship Programme (IESP), also in collaboration with the CHR.

DRSP and IESP are open to disability rights advocates, lawyers, and educators who are interested in the development of new legislation, jurisprudence, policy and research that will harness the innovations and opportunities offered by the domestication of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). For the 2017 programme those applying for the programmes had to be citizens of Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, or Uganda at the time of application.

The Centre for Human Rights cordially invites all interested stakeholders attending the NGO Forum preceding the 60th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Niamey, Niger, to its presentation of a proposed Draft Model Law on Intersex Persons Rights in Africa. The objective of the meeting is to share the idea of the Model Law, get your views and devise a possible strategy of getting the Model Law adopted and implemented.

Intersex persons continue to face unfair discrimination based on their natural biological sex characteristics. With the exception of a few African countries there is no law that mentions or protects the rights of intersex persons. The Centre for Human Rights anticipates that this Model Law will address the gap in national legislation and assist African States in developing national laws, policies and institutions to protect the rights of all intersex persons. The Model Law will also act as a tool for advocating for law reform and stronger legal recognition and protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of intersex persons in Africa.

pdfDownload this invitation
pdfIntersex Fact Sheet

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a brown bag lunch lecture on decolonising the university curriculum by distinguished critical legal scholar, Professor Makau Mutua.

The Centre for Human Rights joins the rest of South Africa to celebrate Freedom Day 2017. On 27 April 1994, there was a major shift in South Africa’s trajectory with the first non-racial post-apartheid election being held in the country. Twenty three years ago, by this symbolic exercise, apartheid and oppression were formally rejected and South Africa resolved to ensure democracy and equality. This Freedom Day milestone was preceded by the struggle, bloodshed, purposefulness, hard work and the resilience of the people of South Africa. However, it is pertinent to note that the celebration of Freedom Day is South Africa’s victory just as much as it is the victory of Africa and the world. In Nelson Mandela’s speech at the 1995 Freedom Day celebration, he stated that Freedom Day marks a ‘transition from a history of oppression to a future of freedom.’ While revelling in our glorious past on a day like today, South Africa’s present and tomorrow are equally to be reflected upon and attended to.

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On 24 April 2017, the Centre for Human Rights hosted its first consultative meeting on the Model Law on the rights of intersex persons in Africa. The meeting gathered together intersex rights activists in South Africa, coming from the following organisations: Iranti, AIDS Rights Alliance of Southern Africa (ARASA), Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), Transgender Intersex Africa (TIA) and OUT Well-Being. Also in attendance was John Chigiti from Gender Minorities Action Trust Foundation-Kenya (GMAT), who has represented intersex persons before the Kenyan courts.

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The purpose of the meeting was to validate the Draft Model Law on intersex persons, which the Centre for Human Rights is currently drafting for eventual tabling at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Draft Model Law seeks to prevent unfair discrimination and to protect and promote of the rights of intersex persons in African countries.

Delegates to a symposium on land, heritage and human rights gathered in Pretoria for an urgent dialogue.

They heard that a human rights approach to land redistribution, grounded in the effective implementation of Section 25 of the 1996 Constitution of South Africa, can still guarantee a life of dignity, equality and freedom for all South Africans. This was the view expressed by Prof. Bongani Majola, Chair of the South African Human Rights Commission. Prof Mathole Motshekga, Chair of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Justice and Correctional Services, agreed with this sentiment, adding that Parliament has not done enough to effectively make use of the possibilities allowed for under Section 25 of the Constitution, to adopt enabling legislation.

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The right to life is often described as a supreme human right, but it is clearly under pressure worldwide.The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria for the first time hosted its first annual short course on the right to life from 10-13April 2017. The course brought together several participants from across Africa, mainly representing civil society, national human rights institutions, police officers, prosecutors and academia. 

The right to life is often described as a supreme human right, but it is clearly under pressure worldwide.The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria for the first time hosted its first annual short course on the right to life from 10-13April 2017. The course brought together several participants from across Africa, mainly representing civil society, national human rights institutions, police officers, prosecutors and academia. 

Experts in the field who lectured and participated on panel discussion consisted of: Professor Christof Heyns, Director Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa University of Pretoria and Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Commissioner Solomon Dersso, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Commissioner Med Kaggwa, Member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ Working Group on the Death Penalty and Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa; Dr Thomas Probert, Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa; Stuart Maslen, Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa; Valentina Cadelo, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights; Dr Japhet Biegon, Amnesty International; Sarah Swart, International Committee of the Red Cross; Sylvie van Lammeren, International Committee of the Red Cross; Dr Thompson Chengeta, Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa and Adebayo Okeowo, Centre for Human Rights. The course is the first of its kind presented by an academic institution in Africa.

The Community Law Centre at the Kara Heritage Institute, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (George Campus) and the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a symposium on land, heritage and human rights.

Click here to RSVP for the symposium

pdfDownload this invitation
pdfDownload the programme
pdfDownload Section 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Property)

Since graduating from the Centre in 1998 with his LLM degree, Mr Melron Nicol-Wilson has been an outstanding ambassador of the Centre's values of excellence and ubuntu, through his work as a human rights defender in Sierra Leone and abroad.

Melron Nicol-Wilson is an alumnus of a unique and distinguished pedigree. He joined the Centre in 1998, with academic distinctions from Fourah Bay College and the Sierra Leone Bar School where finished second in a class of 22. In the course of his LLM studies here, he demonstrated a synthesis of intellectual aptitude, the capacity for rigorous study and an indelible personal commitment to improving the lives of others with the instrument of law.

“The [Maputo] Protocol stands as a comprehensive instrument that demonstrates the good will of African States to end all forms of violence against women… Notwithstanding that, our role as women has been fraught with challenges and circumstances of vulnerability”. First Lady of Sierra Leone Her Excellency Mrs Sia Yama Koroma, rightly noted as she gave the Keynote address at a state reporting workshop that was hosted by the Gender Unit in Freetown from 22-24 March 2017. She was speaking at the opening ceremony which also saw the awarding of the first Extraordinary Vera Chirwa Award to the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone Honourable Justice Abdulai Hamid Charm, an alumnus of the Centre for Human Rights, for his contribution to human rights in Sierra Leone.

pdfDownload the introduction to Chief Justice Charm on receiving the first Extraordinary Vera Chirwa Award 

 Dr Anastacia Tomson, medical doctor, author and transgender rights activist, weighs in on International Transgender Day of Visbility and states that 'visbility is no longer enough'

I always have mixed feelings over International Transgender Day of Visibility, which is observed annually on 31 March. Do not get me wrong; I am a believer in visibility. I live as visible a life as I can, because I believe in the power of representation, and I believe in spreading understanding and awareness, especially where trans issues are concerned.

But I also recognise that visibility is a privilege. And that visibility does not stop the violence. Trans people continue to be shamed, threatened or hurt. We are thrown out of our homes. We lose our jobs. All too often we lose our lives.

For me to be able to stand up and say “I’m transgender, and I’m out, and that’s ok” reflects the massive chasm between different groups. My visibility can be scary to me sometimes, because it’s a form of exposure or vulnerability. But, even so, my life is probably not at risk. Because of the colour of my skin, because of the job I have, because of the area I live in. Because I have access to medical care, and because I was able to acquire legal documents that accurately reflect my identity.

Sheila B. Keetharuth wins Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award for human rights work in Africa

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office 27 March 2017

The University of Leicester has recognised the outstanding contribution of one of its alumni to exposing and protecting against human rights abuses worldwide. This year’s winner of the University’s Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award is Sheila B. Keetharuth, in recognition of her human rights work and her determination to provide a voice to the powerless. She was presented with the award at the University’s Alumni Association’s Black Tie Dinner on 16 March before an audience of nearly 500 alumni and guests in the Grand Connaught Rooms in London’s Covent Garden.

Whatever her intentions, the recent public utterance posted on Twitter by Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, reminding the nation of the enormous debt owed to colonialism, has generated public debate. In not so many words, in a nation still healing from a racially bruised past, Zille has been asking black Africans to be complicit in their own historical oppression and show gratitude to a system that was scrupulously built on white supremacy. This sounds incredulous, but perhaps not so once we understand where Zille is coming from – her situated reasoning and vantage point. The utterance shows all too clearly that the terms on which the world is understood, even by persons holding high public office, including in post-apartheid South Africa, are more than porous to self-serving 'regimes of truth'. Every truth has its history, but which is Zille's?

“It is not about power, it is about purpose.” In his Keynote Address at the Second Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture, Justice Dikgang Moseneke pre-empted Oliver Tambo’s response to the current leadership challenges that the African continent is facing.

Through his activism over the decades, lawyer, revolutionary and politician, Oliver Reginald Tambo left an indelible impression on South Africa and its new Constitution. In celebration of his legacy, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation, hosted the second in a series of Oliver Tambo Centenary Lectures and the welcoming ceremony for the students of the Centre’s four Master’s programmes on Thursday 30 March 2017. The students that were welcomed at the event are studying towards the following degrees: LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA), LLM in International Trade and Investment Law in Africa (TILA), LLM/MPhil in Multidisciplinary Human Rights (Multi) and LLM/MPhil in Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa (SRRA).

pdfClick here to download this Press Statement

(By Dr Ashwanee Budoo)

The Maputo Protocol, adopted by the African Union in 2003, was expected to transform the landscape for women’s rights on the continent. Its aim was to set standards and create positive change across a range of areas including violence against women, child marriage, land rights and harmful practices.

But 14 years and 37 ratifications later there’s a great deal that remains undone.

On 14 and 15 March 2017, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Centre for Human Rights, Eduardo Mondlane University in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (Special Rapporteur), Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, organised a consultation on the draft ‘Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections for Africa’ (Draft Guidelines).

Reflections by a participant of the Disability Rights in an African Context short course hosted by the Centre for Human Rights from the 13-17 March 2017

As I skimmed through the programme for the short course “Disability Rights in an African context” last week, the varied themes on the agenda conjured up the prospect of five days of enlightening discussions and profound reflection. On Monday, as I made my way to the classroom, several thoughts flashed through my mind: that of my late grandmother’s dread for the wheelchair after she underwent a partial foot amputation, that of the bullying of my autistic friend in primary school and the account of my parent’s agony on learning of my diagnosis of severe clubfoot at birth. During the introductory session, whilst the participants shared their interest in and expectations from the course and invoked disturbing details about disability abuse in their respective countries, the enduring obstacles to furthering disability rights across Africa dawned on me. The dearth of visibility of disability – disability being somewhat shunned in my home country Mauritius - had probably clouded my appreciation of the magnitude of the challenges lying ahead. Professor Ngwena’s words echoed, setting the tone for the week: we should look beyond the letter of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and seek to address the implementation gap in the continent. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundationcordially invites you the Centre for Human Rights Master's Programmes Welcoming Ceremony and Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture Series. The second edition of this series of lectures will be delivered by Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Retired Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa.

On this occasion, the eighty students on the following Master’s programmes of the Centre for Human Rights will be individually introduced:

  • LLM/MPhil (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)
  • LLM (International Trade and Investment Law in Africa)
  • LLM/MPhil (Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa)
  • LLM/MPhil (Multidisciplinary Human Rights)

pdfDownload this invitation

On March 21 1960, the residents of Sharpeville took to the streets in protest of the oppressive laws the Apartheid government imposed on black people. In terms of these laws black people had to carry passes in order to move around the country. These laws reinforced the notion that being black was bad and that black people were subhuman. The Government of the time retaliated by opening fire on the crowd leading to the deaths of many people that day, all because they stood  for their human  rights to social inclusion and  freedom of movement. It is their courage that we celebrate on March 21st (Human Rights Day).

As part of its advocacy efforts against Xenophobia, the Centre for Human Rights randomly approached students at the Hatfield campus of the University of Pretoria to share their thoughts on the recent xenophobic attacks targeted at African foreigners in South Africa. In this video, the students speak about the beauty in diversity and the need for tolerance.

The Centre for Human Rights believes that in addition to educating communities on issues of human diginity and respect for human life, the South African government must also ensure that perpetrators of xenophobic attacks are investigated and prosecuted. This is how we shall put an end to such inhumane acts.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, takes note, with satisfaction, of the South African government’s revocation of its ‘Instrument of Withdrawal’ in line with the decision of the North Gauteng High Court of 22 February 2017. In its decision, the High Court found that the deposit of South Africa’s ‘Instrument of Withdrawal’ was unconstitutional because Parliament’s approval for withdrawal from the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC Statute) was not sought or obtained. The Court ordered the government to revoke its withdrawal notice, which it has now done.

pdfDownload this press statement

In commemorating International Women’s Day with the UN theme focusing on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030,” the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, the University of Pretoria, welcomes the nomination of Justice Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya as the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal. She has extensive experience having served in the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, the Labour and the High Court. If Justice Maya’s nomination gets confirmed, she would become South Africa’s first woman President of the Supreme Court of Appeal. This would be ground breaking and a major step in ensuring that women are represented equally in the judiciary and in achieving gender equality.

pdfDownload this press statement

Invitation to Tender: Evaluation of grant agreement beteween the Norwegian Government and the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, invites tenders for an Evaluation of a Grant by the Norwegian Government to the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. In this process, it will target at least three specific potential tenderers, and will further widely disseminate this `Invitation to Tender’.

docxDownload the TOR for the Invitation to Tender

 The Global Campus of Human Rights is proud to announce the launch of the Global Campus Human Rights Journal (GCHRJ) , a peer-reviewed online publication serving as a forum for rigorous scholarly analysis, critical commentaries, and reports on recent developments pertaining
to human rights and democratisation globally.

GCHRJ is edited by a team of three, led by Prof Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, who is assisted by two co-editors: Vahan Bournazian, Professor at Yerevan State University in Armenia, and Matthew Mullen, Lecturer at Mahidol University of Bangkok in Thailand. They are supported by an International Editorial Advisory Board.

Students from all countries in Africa are invited to participate in the FACES 2017: African student cellphone film competition. The Competition is part of  the 26th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, due to be held in Mauritius from 18 - 23 September 2017. The winning entries will be screened at the Moot Court Competition.

The closing date for FACES 2017 is 31 July 2017 (deadline extended).

pdfDownload the FACES 2017 Poster
pdfDownload the FACES 2017 Official Rules (English)
pdfDownload the VISAGES 2017 Official Rules (French)

Submit your entry online (Deadline: 31 July 2017)

The purpose of the Competition is to encourage students from Africa to express themselves and to engage with issues of relevance to Africa, using available cellphone technology, and the enhance the Moot Court experience.

One student from the University of Pretoria, and one student from another university in Africa, will win a trip to screen their video at the Moot Court Competition in Mauritius.

The Eduardo Mondlane University is one of several leading African Universities that partner with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in the execution of the Disability Rights Law Schools Project sponsored by the Open Society Foundation.

At Eduardo Mondlane University, disability rights teaching has been incorporated into the human rights module for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. There is also an active clinic group that takes up cases of discrimination against persons with disability as well as carry out vigorous sensitization visits in communities.

Following a support visit held in 2016 by the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, a video was produced to highlight some of the incredible work being done by students and their lecturers/supervisors in advancing the rights of persons with disability in Mozambique. Watch below:

(On 22 February  2017 the Centre for Human Rights welcomed the judgment of the Full Bench of Gauteng Division, Pretoria, in the matter of Democratic Alliance v Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and Others (case no. 83145/16). The CHR, represented by the Legal Resources Centre, was joined as a party to the proceedings by the applicant for its interest in the matter. Read the joint statement with the LRC here.)

pdfDownload this letter

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is gravely concerned about the on-going human rights violations, particularly of the right to freedom of expression in the North West and South West regions of the Republic of Cameroon (English-speaking Cameroon).

Since 17 January 2017, internet connections have been completely shut down in English-speaking Cameroon, reportedly on the orders of the Ministry of Communications. This action is an apparent attempt to suppress the use of social media to mobilise the mass protests that have taken place in English-speaking Cameroon since November 2016. The Centre for Human Rights had on 17 February, expressed concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in English-speaking Cameroon, sighting ‘reports of arbitrary arrests, abductions, extra-judicial killings, involuntary disappearances, rape, torture and inhumane treatment of detainees, trial of civilians by military tribunals, shut down of internet services and the shutdown of schools’.

pdfDownload this press statement in PDF

With Morocco’s re-entry into the African Union (AU) earlier in 2017, important questions around the self-determination of the people of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) have taken centre stage again. To answer some of these questions, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, together with the Embassy of the SADR in South Africa, hosted a panel discussion on Monday 27 February 2017.

The event brought together ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, students, academics and representatives of state authorities, under the theme ‘Self-determination delayed: The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic’. The panel consisted of Ambassador Radhi Bachir (Ambassador to South Africa from the SADR), Ambassador Ghulam Asmal (Director: NEPAD and Partnerships in the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)) and Mr José Nascimento (Practitioner and international law expert).

pdfDownload this press statement
pdfDownload Ambassador Radhi Bachir's address

Recognising that South Africa has experienced xenophobic violence on numerous occasions on a scale which has been unprecedented in its democratic history, South Africa needs to recognise and strengthen those policies and laws which will promote tolerance and cater for appropriate sanctions for perpetrators of xenophobia. The last years have seen frequent attacks against refugees and migrants living in South Africa. We are reminded that between 2000 and 2008 close to 67 people died due to what became identified as xenophobic attacks in South Africa.[1] In May 2008, 62 people were killed and 600 sustained injuries as a result of xenophobic attacks.[2]Twenty-five of those killed were South Africans who were mistakenly believed to be non-nationals. Since 2009, the number of attacks against refugees and migrants in South Africa escalated reaching an average of between two and three attacks annually. In April 2015 at least 5 people died and about 5000 others were displaced when there was an outbreak of xenophobic attacks in the KwaZulu Natal province. During the 2015 attacks, at least 5 people were killed. Last week foreign nationals in Pretoria faced another wave of violent attacks. As in the past, these attacks caused loss of lives, injury, loss of livelihood and irreparable damage to property.

pdfDownload this press statement

Through his activism over the decades, lawyer, revolutionary and politician – Oliver Reginald Tambo – left a lasting impression on South Africa and its Constitution. In celebration of his legacy, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation, hosted the first in a series of Oliver Tambo Centenary Lectures on Wednesday 22 February 2017.

The event brought together students, academics and members of civil society to pay homage to Tambo’s life. Attendees were welcomed by the University’s Chancellor, Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu. Former Mayor of Ekhuruleni, Duma Nkosi – who played an instrumental role in the official renaming Johannesburg International Airport in Tambo’s honour – was also present.

pdfClick here to download this Press Statement
pdfClick here to download the text version of the Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture by Justice Albie Sachs
click here
Click here to watch the Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture by Justice Albie Sachs on YouTube

The Centre for Human Rights (CHR), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes today’s judgment of the Full Bench of Gauteng Division, Pretoria, in the matter of Democratic Alliance v Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and Others (case no. 83145/16). The CHR, represented by the Legal Resources Centre, was joined as a party to the proceedings by the applicant for its interest in the matter.

pdfDownload this press statement
pdfCentre calls for extension of due date for submissions on ICC withdrawal

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation is hosting the Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture Series. The first edition of this series of lectures is by Justice Albie Sachs, Retired Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, at 16:00 SAST on Wednesday 22 February 2017.

The lecture will be livestreamed on the Centre for Human Rights YouTube Channel and on its Facebook page.

Click here to watch live on YouTube
Visit the Centre for Human Rights Facebook page

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon (English-speaking Cameroon), including reported arbitrary arrests, abductions, extra-judicial killings, involuntary disappearances, rape, torture and inhumane treatment of detainees, trial of civilians by military tribunals, shut down of internet services and the shutdown of schools (since November 2016).

pdfDownload this press statement
pdfDownload the ADISI-Cameroon Report (Summary)

The Centre for Human Rights works for the improvement of the human rights of minorities - including sexual minorities - and other disadvantaged or marginalised persons or groups across the continent.

Funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Pretoria, the Centre's SOGIE Unit focuses on education, capacity-building, advocacy and legal aid in the area of LGBTI rights and anti-discrimination. This poster highlights great South Africans who identify as LGBTI persons, who are leaders in their field, and whose work contributes to the realisation of sexual minority rights in South Africa.

pdfDownload the LGBTI icons poster

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation cordially invites you the Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture Series. The first edition of this series of lectures will be delivered by Justice Albie Sachs, Retired Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

pdfDownload this invitation 
Click here to RSVP for this lecture

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, notes with regret that the Tanzanian government has ordered the arrest of three men accused of ‘promoting’ homosexuality through social media. This action by the Assistant Minister of Health Hamisi Kigwangalla is a violation of human principles contained in the constitution of Tanzania international human rights treaties which Tanzania is party to.

pdfDownload this press statement

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, together with the Embassy of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, cordially invites you to a brown bag lunch-hour panel discussion on the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people.

pdfDownload this invitation
click hereClick here to RSVP for this discussion forum

‘One world; one people’. This is how Advocate Kevin Malunga, South Africa’s Deputy Public Protector, described those who inhabit Africa, as he welcomed Master’s students from all over the continent to the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria on Friday 3 February 2017. Presenting the keynote address under the theme ‘Thoughts on the African lawyer’s role in globalising the rule of law, integrity and economic advancement and justice’, Advocate Malunga challenged students to become ‘rebels with a cause’. 

pdfDownload Adv Kevin Malunga's Keyonote address

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria is shocked and horrified at the findings of the Health Ombudsman, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, following an investigation into the circumstances in which more than 94 persons with mental disabilities died between 23 March and 19 December 2016 in Gauteng Province.

pdfDownload this press statement

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a seminar on the EU in Africa.

Human rights, democracy and rule of law are high on the agenda in the relations between the European Union (EU) and Africa. However, despite slogans like ‘2 unions, 1 vision’ there are many deeply contested issues between the two regional blocs. This seminar that is held in the framework of the project ‘Fostering for Human Rights among European Policies’ (Frame) explores visions, practice and scenarios for the future of the EU’s relationship with Africa.

pdfDownload this invitation

With the inauguration of the President-elect of The Gambia scheduled for 19 January 2017, the situation in that country is of grave concern to us, as it is to many fellow Africans.

pdfDownload this statement

The University of Pretoria wishes to invite applications for the following vacancy at the Centre for Human Rights (an academic department and a non-governmental organisation at the University).

3 December 2016 marked the 24th anniversary of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Currently, around one billion people live with a disability, making up 15% of the world’s total population.

The Open Society Foundation (OSF) supports the implementation of Disability Rights education in selected law faculties in Africa. In pursuance of this vision, the Centre for Human Rights (CHR), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria in collaboration with the Disability Unit, embarked upon a support visit to the University of Zambia (UNZA) in efforts to advance inclusive policies and practices.

The Vera Chirwa Human Rights award recognises the outstanding professional achievements of a graduate of the HRDA Masters programme, and one who epitomises the true African human rights lawyer. They would have made a significant contribution to human rights promotion and protection in Africa; they would have demonstrated a courageous and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of people in Africa; and their achievements will bear the hallmarks of dynamism, originality, and a pioneering spirit.

On the eve of International Human Rights Day, the Centre for Human Rights held its annual graduation ceremony. This year’s event, which took place on 9 December 2016, was very special for a number of reasons.

The first reason is that the first graduates of the first fully-fledged hybrid Master’s programme presented by the Centre received their degrees at this Ceremony.  This Master’s programme, focusing on “Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa”, brings together students from all across the continent in a combination of on-line and on-campus teaching and learning.

In a recent Colloquium of graduates of the Centre for Human Rights, participants agreed that the greatest challenges for human rights in Africa lie in the effective implementation of rights, and the independent functioning of institutions. This event, which took place on 8 December 2016, brought together some hundred current Centre Master’s students and graduates of its various programmes under the theme “How far have we come; where do we go from here?”

The African Disability Rights Yearbook (ADRY) is calling for papers for consideration for publication in 2017.

pdfDownload the 2017 ADRY Call for Papers

The ADRY publishes once a year with a focus on disability rights issues and developments of contemporary concern to persons with disabilities on the African continent. It comprises three sections – Section A containing doctrinal articles and for which we are calling for papers; Section B containing country-focused overviews of developments in disability rights in selected African countries; and Section C containing brief overviews of developments at the
African regional and sub-regional levels.

As we recently observed the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we have reason to see the glass as half-full. In the past ten years, there has been a discernible shift towards raising the profile of disability in our human rights systems. The adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006 was a pivotal event at the global level. Conceptually, the CRPD is paradigm-setting; it constitutes a shift not just from a charity model of disability to a rights-based social model, but also in the way we look at disability.

During 2016, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is celebrating its 30th anniversary, coinciding with the entry into force of the most important human rights treaty on the continent, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. This year is also the African Union’s Year of Human Rights (with a focus on women’s rights) as well as the 20th anniversary of the South African Constitution.

Over the past 30 years, the Centre’s academic programmes, projects and partnerships have focused on the African regional human rights system, with the African Charter at its core. The Master’s programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa, in particular, with its 14 partner faculties across the continent, and 456 graduates around the continent and beyond, has seen a convergence between the agendas of the Centre and the African human rights system.

During 2016, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is celebrating its 30th anniversary, coinciding with the entry into force of one of the most important human rights treaties on the continent, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

This year is also the African Union’s Year of Human Rights (with a focus on women’s rights) as well as the 20th anniversary of the South African Constitution.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria recently established a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Unit.

Have you or someone you know suffered discrimination, hate speech or harassment? We will help you for FREE!

We offer legal advice, facilitate mediation and may represent you in the Equality Court.

pdfDownload the SOGIE flyer

Reflections on a visit to Chancellor College, University of Malawi as part of the Disability Rights Law Schools Project

When we turned off the main tarmac road into the villages, we were faced with a rocky dirt road. For a while it seemed like our car was no match for the rugged terrain with the wheels churning a huge spray of dust and the engine struggling and coughing violently as we chugged along. Shortly thereafter, we crossed a narrow bridge and with a spirited lurch we were on our way. The bumpy and long drive through scattered mud huts, grazing goats and waving children brought us to our destination, Ntungulutsi Primary School in Chingale. We were greeted by the sight of school children singing and dancing, their laughter filling the air as their parents chatted away.

The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Unit (SOGIE) of the Centre for Human Rights conducted a ‘Sexual minority rights in Africa training and dialogue’ from 23 Nov to 25 Nov 2016 at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Pretoria.

The aim of the training and dialogue was to train and dialogue with government department officials, the police, national human rights institutions, human rights NGO workers, and LGBTI activists on the human rights of sexual minorities (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons, and intersex persons) in Africa, basing on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The change expected is that relevant government departments and NGOs will put more effort in enabling the rights of sexual minorities through the right policies, domestic laws, action and advocacy plans.

The past ten years have ushered in a new sense of urgency in efforts to change the quality of life of persons with disabilities in Africa. The African Union and its agencies have made various efforts towards ensuring the rights of persons with disability including through developing an Africa-specific protocol for persons with disabilities.

The Department of Social Affairs of the African Union hosted a validation workshop on the Draft Protocol to the African Charter on the Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa from the 29 – 30 November in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

South Africa is a country that is so diverse and heterogeneous that the term rainbow nation was coined by the late President Nelson Mandela to describe it's characteristics under the new democratic dispensation. The term however does not only apply to the different races that inhabit this great land, but also extends to the diverse cultures, nationalities, religious and political affiliations, sexual orientations and gender identities, and expressions of South Africans and their other non-South African fellow inhabitants.

Gender inequalities are at the heart of rape culture in South Africa and without conscious, sustained and deliberate efforts to dismantle them, the problem will prevail. Gender equality should be understood in a much broader frame than just the equal treatment of all human beings regardless of gender, extending to include the need for creating an enabling social and institutional environment for all women and all men to be able to access equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities. Inequalities are not just expressed in our beliefs, attitudes and actions, but are entrenched within social structures and institutions to maintain and reinforce the superiority of one gender over another.

Violence and discrimination against persons with albinism as well as trafficking and cross-boarder sale of their body parts continues to be a worrying trend on the continent.TheIndependent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism, Ms. Ikponwosa Ero in her report to the Human Rights Council earlier this year reported that over 500 cases of violence against persons with albinism including murder and mutilation have been reported in 26 African countries, since 2006. It is believed that a majority of cases go unreported due to the secrecy of witchcraft and other harmful practices which serve as the context of most of these attacks. 

The Centre for Human Rights, in partnership with Open Society Foundations and the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, held a high-level meeting on 8 November 2016. This meeting formed part of a number of events that focused on advancing the rights of persons with albinism in Africa. 

The meeting was convened by the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, who was grateful to all stakeholders for making the forum a reality at such short notice. The meeting brought together high-level stakeholders from the United Nations, the African Union, government, diplomats, civil society including academia and leaders of organisations representing persons with albinism.

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In the framework of the Global Campus Exchange of Lecturers, the Master’s Programme in Human Rights & Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) together with the European Regional Master’s Programme in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe (ERMA) will host the joint lecture ''Comparative Transitional Justice: Retributive and Restorative Approaches '', which will take place on 29 and 30 June 2017 at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, replicating the lecture in Sarajevo at the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of the University of Sarajevo on 16 and 17 May 2017. 

On Thursday, 22nd June, the Women’s rights unit and the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Unit (SOGIE) hosted YALI delegates at the Centre for Human Rights. This very memorable visit is part of a bi-annual collaboration between the Centre for Human Rights and the YALI Regional Leadership Center as led by the University of South Africa (UNISA). YALI aims to develop young African leaders in Business and Entrepreneurship Development; Civic Leadership; Public Management and Governance through a hybrid of innovative and complimentary learning approaches. The Centre lends its support in ensuring that the different groups of leaders are conversant in crucial human rights issues and are also aware of their responsibility as leaders to uphold these rights.

On 14 and 15 June 2017, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the School of Law of the University of Nairobi, in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (Special Rapporteur), Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, organised a consultation on the draft ‘Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections for Africa’ (Draft Guidelines). 

The purpose of the consultation was to elicit comments on the Draft Guidelines from various stakeholders with a view to strengthening its content. The event was attended by a broad range of stakeholders including Election Management Bodies, political parties, National Human Rights Institutions, media, academics and civil society organisations. 

The HRDA Chronicles is out with a new episode. This time, the spotlight is on David Nnanna Ikpo, a 2016 graduate of the LLM/MPHIL in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa. In this feature, you will get to discover how David is trying to make the world better with the stroke of his pen and through his recently published novel - Fimi Sile Forever 

The Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the South African Human Rights Commission launched the travelling exhibition I decide=I am at the Commissions’ headquarters in Johannesburg yesterday. The globally acclaimed exhibition by Bulgarian illustrator Nadezhda Georgieva and award winning journalist and human rights activist Yana Buhrer tells the personal stories and reflections of sixteen people denied of their legal capacity because of their psychosocial or intellectual disability.

Speaking at the opening of the exhibition, South African Human Rights Commissioner responsible for Disability and Older Persons, Commissioner Bokankatla Malatji said the exhibition was part of a broader effort to raise awareness, promote understanding and public support of the right to legal capacity of persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities as guaranteed by article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

“Persons with albinism face significant barriers restricting their participation in society on an equal basis with others and preventing them from realising basic rights such as the right to physical and mental health, including access to adequate health care, and the right to education, social services, legal protection, and redress for rights abuses.”

United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism Ms. Ikponwosa Ero in a statement issued today to commemorate the International albinism awareness day

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On Thursday 8 June 2017, the Women’s Rights Unit hosted a dynamic group of activists from the United States who are on an educational and cultural exchange tour. They visited the Centre for Human rights to engage on issues of historical injustice, state violence, truth and the rule of law. The meeting had in attendance members of the Centre’s management team as well as representatives from the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Unit, the Disability Rights Unit and the Women’s Rights Unit. The guests were also a diverse mix of educators, activists, legal practitioners and students, having come under the umbrella of an organisation called ‘Making the Road’. This organisation focuses on forging new paths and understandings through conversations that connect America and Southern Africa, history to the present, and different generations to one another.

On 20 May 2017, students from the Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) programme launched a campaign against children accused of being witches in Africa. The campaign ended on 7 June 2017. The campaign, also known as #ChildNotWitch, aims to create awareness around children in various African countries, accused of being witches and the abuse and even killings that are a result of these accusations.

The launch of the campaign included an art exhibition of images and artistic symbols representing the terrible abuse and discrimination these innocent children have to face.

Students of the HRDA class as well as other guests, including lawyers, judges and magistrates, from various countries around Africa attended the event.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a lecture titled: "The promise and peril of human rights technology"

Date: Monday, 12 June 2017
Time: 09:30 – 12:30
Venue: Room 2-2.1, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria
Enquiries: Adebayo Okeowo ( Adebayo.Okeowo@up.ac.za)

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On 30 May 2017, the annual Helen Kanzira Memorial Lecture was held for the first time in Maputo, Mozambique where the First Lady of Mozambique, Dr Isuara Nyusi, delivered the keynote address. The memorial lecture was organised by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in collaboration with Centro de Direitos Humanos, Faculdade de Deireito, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane. The Universidade Eduardo Mondlane is one of 13 partner universities that present the LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) programme.

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pdfDownload Dr Isuara Nyusi's address

Gabriel Shumba is an alumnus of the Centre for Human Rights, who was tortured by agents of the Zimbabwean government for supporting the opposition in that country. In 2013, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) found the government of Zimbabwe in violation of the African Charter and directed the government to carry out an investigation of the individuals responsible for the torture and recommended that they pay adequate compensation to Gabriel Shumba. 

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) has made a public call for comments on the draft ‘Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa’ (draft guidelines). Comments must be sent to the secretariat of the African Commission via email  (au-banjul@africa-union.org | africancommission@yahoo.com | hezae@africa-union.org) no later than 30 June 2017.

Download draft guidelines in English
Download draft guidelines in French

The Centre for Human Rights and the South African Human Rights Commission invite you to the launch of the travelling exhibition “I Decide = I Am” by Bulgarian illustrator Nadezhda Georgiva, and award winning journalist Yana Buhrer Tavanier featuring emotive paintings on the Life Esidemini Tragedy by South African artist, Daniel Mosako. The exhibition tells the personal stories of people with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities trapped and invisible, denied of their right to decide.

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Irish drag queen and LGBTI activist Rory O’Neill/ Panti Bliss launched the book Protecting the human rights of sexual minorities in contemporary Africa edited by Sylvie Namwase and Adrian Jjuuko. The launch took place on 17 May, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia. The Embassy of the Netherlands, the Embassy of Ireland, HiVOS South Africa and the Centre for Human Rights partnered to organize a Rainbow Happy Hour and a round table discussion on that day.

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The Centre for Human Rights celebrated Africa Day 2017 with the theme “The Africa we want: Rights, freedoms and governance in digital Africa”.This event was hosted in conjunction with Google. It was held at the historic Liliesleaf Farm, Rivonia, and attended by over eighty guests.The Embassy of the Netherlands, the Embassy of Ireland, HiVOS South Africa and the Centre for Human Rights partnered to organize a Rainbow Happy Hour and a round table discussion on that day.

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The Centre for Human Rights calls for urgent action to be taken by the University of Pretoria to engender a campus culture of non-violence and non-discrimination through the accelerated review of the University’s sexual harassment policy and the provision of comprehensive and accessible services for survivors of sexual violence. The University must also ensure that perpetrators of sexual violence and slanderous remarks that defame women are condemned and are held accountable for their actions.

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The Centre for Human Rights congratulates Mr. Rashid Dumbuya – a graduate of its Masters Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (class of 2013), upon his recent appointment as Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria hosted its annual short course on the judicial enforcement of socio-economic rights in Africa from 15-19 May 2017. The course brought together 60 participants from across Africa, mainly representing civil society, members of judiciary, national human rights institutions, policy makers, government officials and academia. 

From 2 to 5 May, the Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (FOE & ATI ) Unit participated in the inaugural meeting of the Africa Academic Network of Internet Policy and Governance which took place in Ibadan, Nigeria. The roundtable which was organised by the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy (ISGPP), with the support of Google, brought together academics of African descent both from within Africa and the diaspora, to identify and interrogate core issues on internet policy and governance. 

The Freedom of Expression and Access to Information Unit participated in the Ghana Data Protection Conference which took place from 20 to 21 April 2017 in Accra, Ghana. 

The Conference, which was organised by the Ghana Data Protection Commission, brought together a broad range of stakeholders to amongst other things share knowledge on data protection issues and developments around the world.

In line with the theme of the conference of ‘Safeguarding Fundamental Human Rights through Data Protection’, the Unit presented findings of its on-going research on the adoption of a human rights based approach to data protection in Africa.

This conference is part of the Unit’s on-going project with Google, which involves collaboration on advancing data protection/privacy in Africa through research, training and advocacy.
 

The International Development Law Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a seminar series titled “Trade & Investment Law Seminar Series (TILSS)”

Date: Wednesday 24 May 2017
Time: 14:00 – 16:00
Venue: Room 2-65, Graduate Centre, University of Pretoria (Hatfield Campus)
Enquiries: Ms Thandeka Rasetsoke (012 420 5296 / thandeka.rasetsoke@up.ac.za)
 
 

The International Development Law Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a seminar series titled “Trade & Investment Law Seminar Series (TILSS)”

Date: Wednesday 24 May 2017
Time: 10:00 – 12:00
Venue: Room 2-65, Graduate Centre, University of Pretoria (Hatfield Campus)
Enquiries: Ms Thandeka Rasetsoke (012 420 5296 / thandeka.rasetsoke@up.ac.za)

We invite activists from the Global South to debate the challenges that the current context poses to human rights across the world.

Activists and defenders from the Global South can submit their applications to attend the 15th International Human Rights Colloquium, wich will be held from October 1 to 6, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

This year, faced with a global conservative wave defined by the restriction of rights and setbacks, the Colloquium’s theme will debate the role, the alternatives, and the opportunities for the movement based on the question: “Human rights today: crisis or transition?”
 
“In this edition of the Colloquium we will collectively debate the current scenario and how human rights organizations, social movements, and other agents of change can react, rethink themselves, and get prepared for the challenges that are taking shape”, says Juana Kweitel, Conectas’ executive-director.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane – Faculty of Law, cordially invites you to the Annual Helen Kanzira Memorial Lecture.

The Keynote Address will be presented by: Her Excellency dr Isaura Nyusi, First Lady of Mozambique on ‘Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls: Challenges on Maternal Health Rights’

pdfDownload this invitation (English)
pdfDownload this invitation (Portuguese)

The 5th Annual African Disability Rights Conference will be held from the 7th to the 8th of November 2017 at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria in South Africa. This year’s conference will focus on the following themes:

  • a) the implications of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) for the African region with particular reference to article 13, the right to access to justice and article 12, the right to equal recognition before the law;
  • b) the development of mechanisms/strategies for the effective domestication and implementation of articles 12 and 13 of the CRPD and
  • c) the interplay between article 13 and article 12 of the CRPD.

It is anticipated that papers presented at this conference will be reworked by authors and submitted for consideration for publication in the 2018 volume of the African Disability Rights Yearbook.

pdfDownload the Call for Papers

Madame Chair, Honourable Commissioners, the Centre for Human Rights welcomes the ongoing work of the Working Group on the Death Penalty and Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa to continue placing questions concerning the right to life, the supreme human right, high on the agenda of the African Commission.

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The Centre for Human Rights earlier this year went though the process of recruiting a new Director, after the current Director's second term in that position had come to an end. However, the University’s selection committee did not shortlist any of the applicants.

The University Management subsequently decided that the University would fund a permanent position in the Centre of an Assistant Director, if the incumbent Director agrees to serve for another term. The Director (Frans Viljoen) happily agreed, and is looking forward to contribute further to advance the Centre’s vision.

We are now embarking on a process of recruiting a suitable person for the permanent full-time position of Assistant Director in the Centre.

This new position will be in addition to that of the current position of Assistant Director, which is funded by the Centre from external funds (held by Norman Taku). These developments reflect the Centre's thematic and institutional growth over thirty years.

Part of the work we do at the Gender Unit, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is to support the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa especially with respect to the popularization as well as the implementation of the Maputo Protocol across Africa

One area of such support is specifically, with regards to state reporting as well as popularising the 2009 reporting guidelines on the Maputo Protocol.

On Tuesday the 9th of May 2017 Students for Law and Social Justice (SLSJ) - a student based civil society organization, worked with the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Unit of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria to produce an evening of engagement, conversation and debate centered around developments in the LGBTQIA+ sphere in Africa and the severe situation of violence, discrimination and oppression facing the LGBTQIA+ community in South Africa.

The Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), established in 2005 and located in the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, celebrated a landmark this week, as it launched its 175th publication. On 15 May 2017, PULP hosted Doctor Malcolm Langford, who co-edited the landmark The Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Commentary (OP-ICESCR Commentary), recently published by PULP. Dr Langford is a renowned socio-economic rights scholar based at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights.

The OP-ICESCR Commentary breaks new ground. It is the first and most comprehensive book of its kind. It offers rigorous scholarly commentary on the provisions of the OP-ICESCR, aimed at informing and encouraging research, reasoned argument, consistent interpretation and effective advocacy, adjudication and remedies under the Protocol. It also provides a critical resource for users of the Optional Protocol (applicants, lawyers, governments, the Committee) and a broader audience of scholars, students, national judiciaries and policy makers.

17 May is the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), celebrated in more than 130 countries around the world.

The International IDAHOT Committee, founded in 2005 as an independent initiative, aimed at fighting against discriminations and injustices on the grounds of sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression.  This year, there is a special focus on families, including the role of families in the well-being of their LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex or Queer) members as well as respect for the rights of diverse LGBTIQ families.

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At the recently concluded 29th Session of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (African Children’s Rights Committee) held in Lesotho, the Centre for Human Rights and RADDHO, an NGO based in Senegal, participated and presented a joint submission on the implementation of Committee’s decision in the decisions Centre for Human Rights and la Rencontre Africaine pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme (on behalf of Senegales Talibés) v Senegal (Talibe case) ACERWC, Comm/001/2012, 15 April 2014.

This case deals with the conditions of some 100,000 children (called Talibés) who, while attending Koranic schools in Senegal, are required to beg on the streets of Dakar and other urban centres, to secure their own survival.  The Centre for Human Rights and RADDHO submitted the case as far back as 2012.

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STATEMENT BY NGO WITH OBSERVER STATUS: CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, FACULTY OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA

60th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights 11 May 2017, Niamey, Nigee

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In 2015, a call reverberated through South African universities. It started at Wits, moved to UCT and then to most campuses in the country. Thousands of students, at nearly every institution of higher education, demanded the decolonisation of university curricula and the radical transformation of academic spaces. This resulted in a movement towards the rejection of Eurocentric systems of knowledge and the advancement of African approaches and philosophies.

To engage further on the issue of a decolonised education model, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, hosted a lunch lecture by renowned critical legal scholar Professor Makau Mutua. Prof Mutua teaches law at the SUNY Buffalo Law School, State University of New York, in the United States of America (USA). The lecture on 'Decolonising the university curriculum' provided an opportunity for critical reflection on South Africa’s racial and political past, its impact on tertiary education and the way forward.

Over the past six months, the English-speaking part of Cameroon has experienced serious repression and continuous human rights violations. The crisis erupted in October 2016, following a series of sit-in strikes and non-violent actions initiated by common law lawyers and teachers’ trade unions in protest against the government’s policy of assimilation through the imposition of the civil law judges to preside over cases in common law courts and French-speaking teachers to teach in English schools. This policy seems designed to systematically wipe out the legal and education systems of the peoples of Southern Cameroons.

The government’s lethal response to the strikes and protest actions led to the death of at least 8 protesters on 8 December 2016, and subsequent extra-judicial killings, disappearances, rape, maiming, torture and other forms of degrading and inhumane treatment. Civil society organisations coordinating the strikes and protest actions were banned on 17 January 2017.  Leaders, including Justice Ayah Paul Abine (Supreme Court Judge), Dr Felix Agbor Balla (prominent international human rights lawyer), Dr Neba Fontem (a university lecturer), Mr Mancho Bibixy (a civil rights activists), and hundreds of other activists and protesters were arrested and transferred to the nation’s capital, Yaoundé (a civil law jurisdiction). They are currently being tried in a military court on charges of terrorism, which carries a death penalty if found guilty. These actions violate the right to fair trial. This is happening in spite of the African Commissions’ ruling in the Kelvin Gunme v Cameroon (para 215(1)(ii)) forbidding the transfer of accused persons from the English-speaking part to be tried in the French-speaking part of the country.

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GENEVA (3 May 2017) – The Government of Eritrea must free journalist Dawit Isaak who has been awarded a prestigious press freedom prize some 15 years after he was detained, a United Nations human rights expert says.
 
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth, is also calling on the authorities in Asmara to release unconditionally all others detained unlawfully.

“The Eritrean authorities should stop the practice of arrests and detention carried out without legal basis instantly,” said Ms. Keetharuth, welcoming the award of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2017 to Mr. Isaak.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, expresses deep concern about the treason charge Zambia’s opposition party leader Hakainde Hichilema is facing.

The Centre is deeply concerned about the serious recent ethnic tensions in Zambia, which appear to be politically motivated and to be part of an orchestrated campaign by sections of senior level politicians seeking to earn political dividends at the expense of peace in the country.  

Hichilema faces two charges, one for obstructing President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade, and another for treason, which is a non-bailable offence. Treason is an extremely serious offence, for which the maximum penalty is the death penalty.

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kiki* with Panti (*A gathering of people for a casual chat, laughter, and at times serious discussions. May involve locked doors, tea and gossip.) In conversation with Rory O'Neill (aka Panti Bliss, performer, writer, mentor, and LGBTIQA+, HIV and human rights activist)

Event Details

Date: Thursday 18 May 2017
Time: 14:30 - 16:00
Venue: Conference Room 100, UP (Hatfield Campus)
RSVP: johan.maritz@up.ac.za by 15 May 2017

GENEVA (3 May 2017) – The Government of Eritrea must free journalist Dawit Isaak who has been awarded a prestigious press freedom prize some 15 years after he was detained, a United Nations human rights expert says.
 
The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth, is also calling on the authorities in Asmara to release unconditionally all others detained unlawfully.

“The Eritrean authorities should stop the practice of arrests and detention carried out without legal basis instantly,” said Ms. Keetharuth, welcoming the award of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2017 to Mr. Isaak.

Dawit Isaak, who is 52 and a playwright, journalist and writer, moved to Sweden in 1987, where he later became a citizen. He returned to Eritrea only after independence in 1993 and was one of the founders and reporters of Setit, the first independent newspaper in the country.

Mr. Isaak was arrested in September 2001 during a political crackdown on the so-called G-15, a group of politicians, and journalists critical of Government policies. Some were detained and tortured, others disappeared. The last known sighting of Mr. Isaak was in 2005. His whereabouts now are unknown.

“The case of Mr. Isaak is emblematic of all those who have been subjected to enforced disappearances by the Government of Eritrea and remain unaccounted for,” said Ms. Keetharuth.

The Special Rapporteur recalled the findings of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea, which concluded that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Eritrean officials had committed crimes against humanity, including the crime of enforced disappearance, in a persistent, widespread and systematic manner since 1991.

“The Government of Eritrea has an obligation to urgently provide information on the fate and whereabouts of all those deprived of physical liberty. This would be a first and long-overdue indication that the Government is committed to rebuilding trust with the Eritrean people,” Ms. Keetharuth said.

“By allowing independent monitors immediate and unhindered access to all places of detention, official and unofficial, the Government would send a strong signal that it acknowledges human rights violations of the past, while taking steps to improve the situation on the ground now.
“The arrests of Dawit Isaak and his fellow journalists remain the most visible sign of repression of freedom of expression. The Eritrean authorities continue to stifle all forms of expression that could be perceived as critical of the Government and its policies,” she said.

Ms. Keetharuth reaffirmed that freedom of expression was a basic human right, and a free press one of the tenets of a democratic society, providing a valuable check on potential excesses by government.

Ms. Sheila B. Keetharuth (Mauritius) was appointed as the first Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea in October 2012. From 2014 to 2016, she also served as a member of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea. Since May 2014, Ms. Keetharuth is an expert member of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Until 2012, Ms. Keetharuth was the Executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa in Banjul, The Gambia. She also worked with Amnesty International in Kampala, Uganda, and as a lawyer and broadcaster in Mauritius. In 2017, Ms. Keetharuth was awarded with the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award by the University of Leicester, in recognition of her human rights work.

Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

- See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21571&LangID=E#sthash.rFwqqqsA.dpuf

In view of strengthening the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa (SRRWA), the Gender Unit of the Centre for Human Rights (CHR) organised a three-day refresher workshop on increasing states capacity for reporting under the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol) in the Kingdom of Lesotho. The workshop was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Law and Constitutional Affairs.

What is unique about Africa’s approach to international law? What would be the features of such an approach? This is some of the questions a group of forty international law scholars from across Africa and the diaspora asked themselves at a Round Table hosted by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, on 3 and 4 May 2017.

The Round Table was convened under the theme ‘African approaches to international law’. During the Round Table the concept of an “African approach” was problematized, with participants agreeing that this notion should not be racially or culturally based, but spatially, or in terms of one’s methodological ‘orientation’.

One of the participants was Professor Makau wa Mutua, who is well known for his critical scholarship, and for having been instrumental in launching a school of anti-hegemonic thinking on international law, Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL). He emphasized the ‘African’ origins of TWAIL and contended that it has much to offer to African scholars critically engaged with international law.

The Open Society Foundations (OSF) in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights (CHR) launched the Disability Rights Scholarship Programme (DRSP) in 2011. The CHR through the Disability Rights Unit has played a significant role of coordinating the DRSP which has included: marketing the programme, receiving applications, shortlisting semi-finalists and hosting the interviews of the shortlisted semi-finalists.

In 2016 the Open Society Foundation as the funder of the DRSP extended its funding and introduced for the first time an Inclusive Education Scholarship Programme (IESP), also in collaboration with the CHR.

DRSP and IESP are open to disability rights advocates, lawyers, and educators who are interested in the development of new legislation, jurisprudence, policy and research that will harness the innovations and opportunities offered by the domestication of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). For the 2017 programme those applying for the programmes had to be citizens of Mozambique, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, or Uganda at the time of application.

The Centre for Human Rights cordially invites all interested stakeholders attending the NGO Forum preceding the 60th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Niamey, Niger, to its presentation of a proposed Draft Model Law on Intersex Persons Rights in Africa. The objective of the meeting is to share the idea of the Model Law, get your views and devise a possible strategy of getting the Model Law adopted and implemented.

Intersex persons continue to face unfair discrimination based on their natural biological sex characteristics. With the exception of a few African countries there is no law that mentions or protects the rights of intersex persons. The Centre for Human Rights anticipates that this Model Law will address the gap in national legislation and assist African States in developing national laws, policies and institutions to protect the rights of all intersex persons. The Model Law will also act as a tool for advocating for law reform and stronger legal recognition and protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of intersex persons in Africa.

pdfDownload this invitation
pdfIntersex Fact Sheet

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a brown bag lunch lecture on decolonising the university curriculum by distinguished critical legal scholar, Professor Makau Mutua.

The Centre for Human Rights joins the rest of South Africa to celebrate Freedom Day 2017. On 27 April 1994, there was a major shift in South Africa’s trajectory with the first non-racial post-apartheid election being held in the country. Twenty three years ago, by this symbolic exercise, apartheid and oppression were formally rejected and South Africa resolved to ensure democracy and equality. This Freedom Day milestone was preceded by the struggle, bloodshed, purposefulness, hard work and the resilience of the people of South Africa. However, it is pertinent to note that the celebration of Freedom Day is South Africa’s victory just as much as it is the victory of Africa and the world. In Nelson Mandela’s speech at the 1995 Freedom Day celebration, he stated that Freedom Day marks a ‘transition from a history of oppression to a future of freedom.’ While revelling in our glorious past on a day like today, South Africa’s present and tomorrow are equally to be reflected upon and attended to.

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On 24 April 2017, the Centre for Human Rights hosted its first consultative meeting on the Model Law on the rights of intersex persons in Africa. The meeting gathered together intersex rights activists in South Africa, coming from the following organisations: Iranti, AIDS Rights Alliance of Southern Africa (ARASA), Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), Transgender Intersex Africa (TIA) and OUT Well-Being. Also in attendance was John Chigiti from Gender Minorities Action Trust Foundation-Kenya (GMAT), who has represented intersex persons before the Kenyan courts.

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The purpose of the meeting was to validate the Draft Model Law on intersex persons, which the Centre for Human Rights is currently drafting for eventual tabling at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Draft Model Law seeks to prevent unfair discrimination and to protect and promote of the rights of intersex persons in African countries.

Delegates to a symposium on land, heritage and human rights gathered in Pretoria for an urgent dialogue.

They heard that a human rights approach to land redistribution, grounded in the effective implementation of Section 25 of the 1996 Constitution of South Africa, can still guarantee a life of dignity, equality and freedom for all South Africans. This was the view expressed by Prof. Bongani Majola, Chair of the South African Human Rights Commission. Prof Mathole Motshekga, Chair of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Justice and Correctional Services, agreed with this sentiment, adding that Parliament has not done enough to effectively make use of the possibilities allowed for under Section 25 of the Constitution, to adopt enabling legislation.

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The right to life is often described as a supreme human right, but it is clearly under pressure worldwide.The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria for the first time hosted its first annual short course on the right to life from 10-13April 2017. The course brought together several participants from across Africa, mainly representing civil society, national human rights institutions, police officers, prosecutors and academia. 

The right to life is often described as a supreme human right, but it is clearly under pressure worldwide.The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria for the first time hosted its first annual short course on the right to life from 10-13April 2017. The course brought together several participants from across Africa, mainly representing civil society, national human rights institutions, police officers, prosecutors and academia. 

Experts in the field who lectured and participated on panel discussion consisted of: Professor Christof Heyns, Director Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa University of Pretoria and Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Commissioner Solomon Dersso, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Commissioner Med Kaggwa, Member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ Working Group on the Death Penalty and Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa; Dr Thomas Probert, Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa; Stuart Maslen, Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa; Valentina Cadelo, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights; Dr Japhet Biegon, Amnesty International; Sarah Swart, International Committee of the Red Cross; Sylvie van Lammeren, International Committee of the Red Cross; Dr Thompson Chengeta, Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa and Adebayo Okeowo, Centre for Human Rights. The course is the first of its kind presented by an academic institution in Africa.

The Community Law Centre at the Kara Heritage Institute, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (George Campus) and the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a symposium on land, heritage and human rights.

Click here to RSVP for the symposium

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pdfDownload the programme
pdfDownload Section 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Property)

Since graduating from the Centre in 1998 with his LLM degree, Mr Melron Nicol-Wilson has been an outstanding ambassador of the Centre's values of excellence and ubuntu, through his work as a human rights defender in Sierra Leone and abroad.

Melron Nicol-Wilson is an alumnus of a unique and distinguished pedigree. He joined the Centre in 1998, with academic distinctions from Fourah Bay College and the Sierra Leone Bar School where finished second in a class of 22. In the course of his LLM studies here, he demonstrated a synthesis of intellectual aptitude, the capacity for rigorous study and an indelible personal commitment to improving the lives of others with the instrument of law.

“The [Maputo] Protocol stands as a comprehensive instrument that demonstrates the good will of African States to end all forms of violence against women… Notwithstanding that, our role as women has been fraught with challenges and circumstances of vulnerability”. First Lady of Sierra Leone Her Excellency Mrs Sia Yama Koroma, rightly noted as she gave the Keynote address at a state reporting workshop that was hosted by the Gender Unit in Freetown from 22-24 March 2017. She was speaking at the opening ceremony which also saw the awarding of the first Extraordinary Vera Chirwa Award to the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone Honourable Justice Abdulai Hamid Charm, an alumnus of the Centre for Human Rights, for his contribution to human rights in Sierra Leone.

pdfDownload the introduction to Chief Justice Charm on receiving the first Extraordinary Vera Chirwa Award 

 Dr Anastacia Tomson, medical doctor, author and transgender rights activist, weighs in on International Transgender Day of Visbility and states that 'visbility is no longer enough'

I always have mixed feelings over International Transgender Day of Visibility, which is observed annually on 31 March. Do not get me wrong; I am a believer in visibility. I live as visible a life as I can, because I believe in the power of representation, and I believe in spreading understanding and awareness, especially where trans issues are concerned.

But I also recognise that visibility is a privilege. And that visibility does not stop the violence. Trans people continue to be shamed, threatened or hurt. We are thrown out of our homes. We lose our jobs. All too often we lose our lives.

For me to be able to stand up and say “I’m transgender, and I’m out, and that’s ok” reflects the massive chasm between different groups. My visibility can be scary to me sometimes, because it’s a form of exposure or vulnerability. But, even so, my life is probably not at risk. Because of the colour of my skin, because of the job I have, because of the area I live in. Because I have access to medical care, and because I was able to acquire legal documents that accurately reflect my identity.

Sheila B. Keetharuth wins Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award for human rights work in Africa

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office 27 March 2017

The University of Leicester has recognised the outstanding contribution of one of its alumni to exposing and protecting against human rights abuses worldwide. This year’s winner of the University’s Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award is Sheila B. Keetharuth, in recognition of her human rights work and her determination to provide a voice to the powerless. She was presented with the award at the University’s Alumni Association’s Black Tie Dinner on 16 March before an audience of nearly 500 alumni and guests in the Grand Connaught Rooms in London’s Covent Garden.

Whatever her intentions, the recent public utterance posted on Twitter by Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille, reminding the nation of the enormous debt owed to colonialism, has generated public debate. In not so many words, in a nation still healing from a racially bruised past, Zille has been asking black Africans to be complicit in their own historical oppression and show gratitude to a system that was scrupulously built on white supremacy. This sounds incredulous, but perhaps not so once we understand where Zille is coming from – her situated reasoning and vantage point. The utterance shows all too clearly that the terms on which the world is understood, even by persons holding high public office, including in post-apartheid South Africa, are more than porous to self-serving 'regimes of truth'. Every truth has its history, but which is Zille's?

“It is not about power, it is about purpose.” In his Keynote Address at the Second Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture, Justice Dikgang Moseneke pre-empted Oliver Tambo’s response to the current leadership challenges that the African continent is facing.

Through his activism over the decades, lawyer, revolutionary and politician, Oliver Reginald Tambo left an indelible impression on South Africa and its new Constitution. In celebration of his legacy, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation, hosted the second in a series of Oliver Tambo Centenary Lectures and the welcoming ceremony for the students of the Centre’s four Master’s programmes on Thursday 30 March 2017. The students that were welcomed at the event are studying towards the following degrees: LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA), LLM in International Trade and Investment Law in Africa (TILA), LLM/MPhil in Multidisciplinary Human Rights (Multi) and LLM/MPhil in Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa (SRRA).

pdfClick here to download this Press Statement

(By Dr Ashwanee Budoo)

The Maputo Protocol, adopted by the African Union in 2003, was expected to transform the landscape for women’s rights on the continent. Its aim was to set standards and create positive change across a range of areas including violence against women, child marriage, land rights and harmful practices.

But 14 years and 37 ratifications later there’s a great deal that remains undone.

On 14 and 15 March 2017, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Centre for Human Rights, Eduardo Mondlane University in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (Special Rapporteur), Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, organised a consultation on the draft ‘Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections for Africa’ (Draft Guidelines).

Reflections by a participant of the Disability Rights in an African Context short course hosted by the Centre for Human Rights from the 13-17 March 2017

As I skimmed through the programme for the short course “Disability Rights in an African context” last week, the varied themes on the agenda conjured up the prospect of five days of enlightening discussions and profound reflection. On Monday, as I made my way to the classroom, several thoughts flashed through my mind: that of my late grandmother’s dread for the wheelchair after she underwent a partial foot amputation, that of the bullying of my autistic friend in primary school and the account of my parent’s agony on learning of my diagnosis of severe clubfoot at birth. During the introductory session, whilst the participants shared their interest in and expectations from the course and invoked disturbing details about disability abuse in their respective countries, the enduring obstacles to furthering disability rights across Africa dawned on me. The dearth of visibility of disability – disability being somewhat shunned in my home country Mauritius - had probably clouded my appreciation of the magnitude of the challenges lying ahead. Professor Ngwena’s words echoed, setting the tone for the week: we should look beyond the letter of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and seek to address the implementation gap in the continent. 

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundationcordially invites you the Centre for Human Rights Master's Programmes Welcoming Ceremony and Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture Series. The second edition of this series of lectures will be delivered by Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Retired Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa.

On this occasion, the eighty students on the following Master’s programmes of the Centre for Human Rights will be individually introduced:

  • LLM/MPhil (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)
  • LLM (International Trade and Investment Law in Africa)
  • LLM/MPhil (Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa)
  • LLM/MPhil (Multidisciplinary Human Rights)

pdfDownload this invitation

On March 21 1960, the residents of Sharpeville took to the streets in protest of the oppressive laws the Apartheid government imposed on black people. In terms of these laws black people had to carry passes in order to move around the country. These laws reinforced the notion that being black was bad and that black people were subhuman. The Government of the time retaliated by opening fire on the crowd leading to the deaths of many people that day, all because they stood  for their human  rights to social inclusion and  freedom of movement. It is their courage that we celebrate on March 21st (Human Rights Day).

As part of its advocacy efforts against Xenophobia, the Centre for Human Rights randomly approached students at the Hatfield campus of the University of Pretoria to share their thoughts on the recent xenophobic attacks targeted at African foreigners in South Africa. In this video, the students speak about the beauty in diversity and the need for tolerance.

The Centre for Human Rights believes that in addition to educating communities on issues of human diginity and respect for human life, the South African government must also ensure that perpetrators of xenophobic attacks are investigated and prosecuted. This is how we shall put an end to such inhumane acts.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, takes note, with satisfaction, of the South African government’s revocation of its ‘Instrument of Withdrawal’ in line with the decision of the North Gauteng High Court of 22 February 2017. In its decision, the High Court found that the deposit of South Africa’s ‘Instrument of Withdrawal’ was unconstitutional because Parliament’s approval for withdrawal from the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC Statute) was not sought or obtained. The Court ordered the government to revoke its withdrawal notice, which it has now done.

pdfDownload this press statement

In commemorating International Women’s Day with the UN theme focusing on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030,” the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, the University of Pretoria, welcomes the nomination of Justice Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya as the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal. She has extensive experience having served in the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, the Labour and the High Court. If Justice Maya’s nomination gets confirmed, she would become South Africa’s first woman President of the Supreme Court of Appeal. This would be ground breaking and a major step in ensuring that women are represented equally in the judiciary and in achieving gender equality.

pdfDownload this press statement

Invitation to Tender: Evaluation of grant agreement beteween the Norwegian Government and the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, invites tenders for an Evaluation of a Grant by the Norwegian Government to the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria. In this process, it will target at least three specific potential tenderers, and will further widely disseminate this `Invitation to Tender’.

docxDownload the TOR for the Invitation to Tender

 The Global Campus of Human Rights is proud to announce the launch of the Global Campus Human Rights Journal (GCHRJ) , a peer-reviewed online publication serving as a forum for rigorous scholarly analysis, critical commentaries, and reports on recent developments pertaining
to human rights and democratisation globally.

GCHRJ is edited by a team of three, led by Prof Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, who is assisted by two co-editors: Vahan Bournazian, Professor at Yerevan State University in Armenia, and Matthew Mullen, Lecturer at Mahidol University of Bangkok in Thailand. They are supported by an International Editorial Advisory Board.

Students from all countries in Africa are invited to participate in the FACES 2017: African student cellphone film competition. The Competition is part of  the 26th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, due to be held in Mauritius from 18 - 23 September 2017. The winning entries will be screened at the Moot Court Competition.

The closing date for FACES 2017 is 31 July 2017 (deadline extended).

pdfDownload the FACES 2017 Poster
pdfDownload the FACES 2017 Official Rules (English)
pdfDownload the VISAGES 2017 Official Rules (French)

Submit your entry online (Deadline: 31 July 2017)

The purpose of the Competition is to encourage students from Africa to express themselves and to engage with issues of relevance to Africa, using available cellphone technology, and the enhance the Moot Court experience.

One student from the University of Pretoria, and one student from another university in Africa, will win a trip to screen their video at the Moot Court Competition in Mauritius.

The Eduardo Mondlane University is one of several leading African Universities that partner with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in the execution of the Disability Rights Law Schools Project sponsored by the Open Society Foundation.

At Eduardo Mondlane University, disability rights teaching has been incorporated into the human rights module for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. There is also an active clinic group that takes up cases of discrimination against persons with disability as well as carry out vigorous sensitization visits in communities.

Following a support visit held in 2016 by the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, a video was produced to highlight some of the incredible work being done by students and their lecturers/supervisors in advancing the rights of persons with disability in Mozambique. Watch below:

(On 22 February  2017 the Centre for Human Rights welcomed the judgment of the Full Bench of Gauteng Division, Pretoria, in the matter of Democratic Alliance v Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and Others (case no. 83145/16). The CHR, represented by the Legal Resources Centre, was joined as a party to the proceedings by the applicant for its interest in the matter. Read the joint statement with the LRC here.)

pdfDownload this letter

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is gravely concerned about the on-going human rights violations, particularly of the right to freedom of expression in the North West and South West regions of the Republic of Cameroon (English-speaking Cameroon).

Since 17 January 2017, internet connections have been completely shut down in English-speaking Cameroon, reportedly on the orders of the Ministry of Communications. This action is an apparent attempt to suppress the use of social media to mobilise the mass protests that have taken place in English-speaking Cameroon since November 2016. The Centre for Human Rights had on 17 February, expressed concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in English-speaking Cameroon, sighting ‘reports of arbitrary arrests, abductions, extra-judicial killings, involuntary disappearances, rape, torture and inhumane treatment of detainees, trial of civilians by military tribunals, shut down of internet services and the shutdown of schools’.

pdfDownload this press statement in PDF

With Morocco’s re-entry into the African Union (AU) earlier in 2017, important questions around the self-determination of the people of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) have taken centre stage again. To answer some of these questions, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, together with the Embassy of the SADR in South Africa, hosted a panel discussion on Monday 27 February 2017.

The event brought together ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, students, academics and representatives of state authorities, under the theme ‘Self-determination delayed: The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic’. The panel consisted of Ambassador Radhi Bachir (Ambassador to South Africa from the SADR), Ambassador Ghulam Asmal (Director: NEPAD and Partnerships in the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)) and Mr José Nascimento (Practitioner and international law expert).

pdfDownload this press statement
pdfDownload Ambassador Radhi Bachir's address

Recognising that South Africa has experienced xenophobic violence on numerous occasions on a scale which has been unprecedented in its democratic history, South Africa needs to recognise and strengthen those policies and laws which will promote tolerance and cater for appropriate sanctions for perpetrators of xenophobia. The last years have seen frequent attacks against refugees and migrants living in South Africa. We are reminded that between 2000 and 2008 close to 67 people died due to what became identified as xenophobic attacks in South Africa.[1] In May 2008, 62 people were killed and 600 sustained injuries as a result of xenophobic attacks.[2]Twenty-five of those killed were South Africans who were mistakenly believed to be non-nationals. Since 2009, the number of attacks against refugees and migrants in South Africa escalated reaching an average of between two and three attacks annually. In April 2015 at least 5 people died and about 5000 others were displaced when there was an outbreak of xenophobic attacks in the KwaZulu Natal province. During the 2015 attacks, at least 5 people were killed. Last week foreign nationals in Pretoria faced another wave of violent attacks. As in the past, these attacks caused loss of lives, injury, loss of livelihood and irreparable damage to property.

pdfDownload this press statement

Through his activism over the decades, lawyer, revolutionary and politician – Oliver Reginald Tambo – left a lasting impression on South Africa and its Constitution. In celebration of his legacy, the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation, hosted the first in a series of Oliver Tambo Centenary Lectures on Wednesday 22 February 2017.

The event brought together students, academics and members of civil society to pay homage to Tambo’s life. Attendees were welcomed by the University’s Chancellor, Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu. Former Mayor of Ekhuruleni, Duma Nkosi – who played an instrumental role in the official renaming Johannesburg International Airport in Tambo’s honour – was also present.

pdfClick here to download this Press Statement
pdfClick here to download the text version of the Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture by Justice Albie Sachs
click here
Click here to watch the Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture by Justice Albie Sachs on YouTube

The Centre for Human Rights (CHR), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, welcomes today’s judgment of the Full Bench of Gauteng Division, Pretoria, in the matter of Democratic Alliance v Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and Others (case no. 83145/16). The CHR, represented by the Legal Resources Centre, was joined as a party to the proceedings by the applicant for its interest in the matter.

pdfDownload this press statement
pdfCentre calls for extension of due date for submissions on ICC withdrawal

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation is hosting the Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture Series. The first edition of this series of lectures is by Justice Albie Sachs, Retired Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, at 16:00 SAST on Wednesday 22 February 2017.

The lecture will be livestreamed on the Centre for Human Rights YouTube Channel and on its Facebook page.

Click here to watch live on YouTube
Visit the Centre for Human Rights Facebook page

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon (English-speaking Cameroon), including reported arbitrary arrests, abductions, extra-judicial killings, involuntary disappearances, rape, torture and inhumane treatment of detainees, trial of civilians by military tribunals, shut down of internet services and the shutdown of schools (since November 2016).

pdfDownload this press statement
pdfDownload the ADISI-Cameroon Report (Summary)

The Centre for Human Rights works for the improvement of the human rights of minorities - including sexual minorities - and other disadvantaged or marginalised persons or groups across the continent.

Funded by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Pretoria, the Centre's SOGIE Unit focuses on education, capacity-building, advocacy and legal aid in the area of LGBTI rights and anti-discrimination. This poster highlights great South Africans who identify as LGBTI persons, who are leaders in their field, and whose work contributes to the realisation of sexual minority rights in South Africa.

pdfDownload the LGBTI icons poster

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, together with the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation cordially invites you the Oliver Tambo Centenary Lecture Series. The first edition of this series of lectures will be delivered by Justice Albie Sachs, Retired Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa.

pdfDownload this invitation 
Click here to RSVP for this lecture

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, notes with regret that the Tanzanian government has ordered the arrest of three men accused of ‘promoting’ homosexuality through social media. This action by the Assistant Minister of Health Hamisi Kigwangalla is a violation of human principles contained in the constitution of Tanzania international human rights treaties which Tanzania is party to.

pdfDownload this press statement

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, together with the Embassy of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, cordially invites you to a brown bag lunch-hour panel discussion on the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people.

pdfDownload this invitation
click hereClick here to RSVP for this discussion forum

‘One world; one people’. This is how Advocate Kevin Malunga, South Africa’s Deputy Public Protector, described those who inhabit Africa, as he welcomed Master’s students from all over the continent to the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria on Friday 3 February 2017. Presenting the keynote address under the theme ‘Thoughts on the African lawyer’s role in globalising the rule of law, integrity and economic advancement and justice’, Advocate Malunga challenged students to become ‘rebels with a cause’. 

pdfDownload Adv Kevin Malunga's Keyonote address

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria is shocked and horrified at the findings of the Health Ombudsman, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, following an investigation into the circumstances in which more than 94 persons with mental disabilities died between 23 March and 19 December 2016 in Gauteng Province.

pdfDownload this press statement

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a seminar on the EU in Africa.

Human rights, democracy and rule of law are high on the agenda in the relations between the European Union (EU) and Africa. However, despite slogans like ‘2 unions, 1 vision’ there are many deeply contested issues between the two regional blocs. This seminar that is held in the framework of the project ‘Fostering for Human Rights among European Policies’ (Frame) explores visions, practice and scenarios for the future of the EU’s relationship with Africa.

pdfDownload this invitation

With the inauguration of the President-elect of The Gambia scheduled for 19 January 2017, the situation in that country is of grave concern to us, as it is to many fellow Africans.

pdfDownload this statement

The University of Pretoria wishes to invite applications for the following vacancy at the Centre for Human Rights (an academic department and a non-governmental organisation at the University).

3 December 2016 marked the 24th anniversary of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Currently, around one billion people live with a disability, making up 15% of the world’s total population.

The Open Society Foundation (OSF) supports the implementation of Disability Rights education in selected law faculties in Africa. In pursuance of this vision, the Centre for Human Rights (CHR), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria in collaboration with the Disability Unit, embarked upon a support visit to the University of Zambia (UNZA) in efforts to advance inclusive policies and practices.

The Vera Chirwa Human Rights award recognises the outstanding professional achievements of a graduate of the HRDA Masters programme, and one who epitomises the true African human rights lawyer. They would have made a significant contribution to human rights promotion and protection in Africa; they would have demonstrated a courageous and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of people in Africa; and their achievements will bear the hallmarks of dynamism, originality, and a pioneering spirit.

On the eve of International Human Rights Day, the Centre for Human Rights held its annual graduation ceremony. This year’s event, which took place on 9 December 2016, was very special for a number of reasons.

The first reason is that the first graduates of the first fully-fledged hybrid Master’s programme presented by the Centre received their degrees at this Ceremony.  This Master’s programme, focusing on “Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa”, brings together students from all across the continent in a combination of on-line and on-campus teaching and learning.

In a recent Colloquium of graduates of the Centre for Human Rights, participants agreed that the greatest challenges for human rights in Africa lie in the effective implementation of rights, and the independent functioning of institutions. This event, which took place on 8 December 2016, brought together some hundred current Centre Master’s students and graduates of its various programmes under the theme “How far have we come; where do we go from here?”

The African Disability Rights Yearbook (ADRY) is calling for papers for consideration for publication in 2017.

pdfDownload the 2017 ADRY Call for Papers

The ADRY publishes once a year with a focus on disability rights issues and developments of contemporary concern to persons with disabilities on the African continent. It comprises three sections – Section A containing doctrinal articles and for which we are calling for papers; Section B containing country-focused overviews of developments in disability rights in selected African countries; and Section C containing brief overviews of developments at the
African regional and sub-regional levels.

As we recently observed the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we have reason to see the glass as half-full. In the past ten years, there has been a discernible shift towards raising the profile of disability in our human rights systems. The adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006 was a pivotal event at the global level. Conceptually, the CRPD is paradigm-setting; it constitutes a shift not just from a charity model of disability to a rights-based social model, but also in the way we look at disability.

During 2016, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is celebrating its 30th anniversary, coinciding with the entry into force of the most important human rights treaty on the continent, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. This year is also the African Union’s Year of Human Rights (with a focus on women’s rights) as well as the 20th anniversary of the South African Constitution.

Over the past 30 years, the Centre’s academic programmes, projects and partnerships have focused on the African regional human rights system, with the African Charter at its core. The Master’s programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa, in particular, with its 14 partner faculties across the continent, and 456 graduates around the continent and beyond, has seen a convergence between the agendas of the Centre and the African human rights system.

During 2016, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is celebrating its 30th anniversary, coinciding with the entry into force of one of the most important human rights treaties on the continent, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

This year is also the African Union’s Year of Human Rights (with a focus on women’s rights) as well as the 20th anniversary of the South African Constitution.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria recently established a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Unit.

Have you or someone you know suffered discrimination, hate speech or harassment? We will help you for FREE!

We offer legal advice, facilitate mediation and may represent you in the Equality Court.

pdfDownload the SOGIE flyer

Reflections on a visit to Chancellor College, University of Malawi as part of the Disability Rights Law Schools Project

When we turned off the main tarmac road into the villages, we were faced with a rocky dirt road. For a while it seemed like our car was no match for the rugged terrain with the wheels churning a huge spray of dust and the engine struggling and coughing violently as we chugged along. Shortly thereafter, we crossed a narrow bridge and with a spirited lurch we were on our way. The bumpy and long drive through scattered mud huts, grazing goats and waving children brought us to our destination, Ntungulutsi Primary School in Chingale. We were greeted by the sight of school children singing and dancing, their laughter filling the air as their parents chatted away.

The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression Unit (SOGIE) of the Centre for Human Rights conducted a ‘Sexual minority rights in Africa training and dialogue’ from 23 Nov to 25 Nov 2016 at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Pretoria.

The aim of the training and dialogue was to train and dialogue with government department officials, the police, national human rights institutions, human rights NGO workers, and LGBTI activists on the human rights of sexual minorities (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons, and intersex persons) in Africa, basing on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The change expected is that relevant government departments and NGOs will put more effort in enabling the rights of sexual minorities through the right policies, domestic laws, action and advocacy plans.

The past ten years have ushered in a new sense of urgency in efforts to change the quality of life of persons with disabilities in Africa. The African Union and its agencies have made various efforts towards ensuring the rights of persons with disability including through developing an Africa-specific protocol for persons with disabilities.

The Department of Social Affairs of the African Union hosted a validation workshop on the Draft Protocol to the African Charter on the Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa from the 29 – 30 November in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

South Africa is a country that is so diverse and heterogeneous that the term rainbow nation was coined by the late President Nelson Mandela to describe it's characteristics under the new democratic dispensation. The term however does not only apply to the different races that inhabit this great land, but also extends to the diverse cultures, nationalities, religious and political affiliations, sexual orientations and gender identities, and expressions of South Africans and their other non-South African fellow inhabitants.

Gender inequalities are at the heart of rape culture in South Africa and without conscious, sustained and deliberate efforts to dismantle them, the problem will prevail. Gender equality should be understood in a much broader frame than just the equal treatment of all human beings regardless of gender, extending to include the need for creating an enabling social and institutional environment for all women and all men to be able to access equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities. Inequalities are not just expressed in our beliefs, attitudes and actions, but are entrenched within social structures and institutions to maintain and reinforce the superiority of one gender over another.

Violence and discrimination against persons with albinism as well as trafficking and cross-boarder sale of their body parts continues to be a worrying trend on the continent.TheIndependent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism, Ms. Ikponwosa Ero in her report to the Human Rights Council earlier this year reported that over 500 cases of violence against persons with albinism including murder and mutilation have been reported in 26 African countries, since 2006. It is believed that a majority of cases go unreported due to the secrecy of witchcraft and other harmful practices which serve as the context of most of these attacks. 

The Centre for Human Rights, in partnership with Open Society Foundations and the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, held a high-level meeting on 8 November 2016. This meeting formed part of a number of events that focused on advancing the rights of persons with albinism in Africa. 

The meeting was convened by the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, who was grateful to all stakeholders for making the forum a reality at such short notice. The meeting brought together high-level stakeholders from the United Nations, the African Union, government, diplomats, civil society including academia and leaders of organisations representing persons with albinism.