The Research Units of the Centre for Human Rights contribute to the realisation of human rights in Africa and beyond.

Business & Human Rights Unit

The Business and Human Rights Unit is a multi- and trans-disciplinary research unit which focuses on the extractive industries law, trade and development law, as well as general international human rights law – and is relevant to the business environment.

Children's Rights Unit

The Children’s Rights Unit is a pan-African platform established to carry out & support pan-African research in children’s rights, provide capacity strengthening training for government, intergovernmental and non-governmental institutions and organisations. 

Democracy & Civic Engagement Unit

The Democracy and Civic Engagement Unit works with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) – the chief legislative organ of the African Union. From its seat in South Africa, PAP provides a regional platform for Africans and their civil society organisations to have a greater impact on the decisions affecting the continent.

Disability Rights Unit

The Disability Rights Unit works to find ways of addressing the rights of persons with disabilities on the African continent by conducting research on international disability rights standards and instruments, building capacity among governments, national human rights institutions, academia, civil society, and communities.

Expression, Information & Digital Rights Unit

The Expression, Information, and Digital Rights Unit is aimed at supporting the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in the promotion and protection of Freedom of Expression and Access to information on the continent.

Freedom from Violence Unit

The Freedom from Violence Unit was established in 2014 to research the incidence of unlawful killings across the African continent, working within the Centre for Human Rights and the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa. The Unit looks to explore the drivers of violence & the legal framework in which they operate.

International Development Law Unit

The International Development Law Unit presents the LLM (International Trade and Investment Law in Africa) and its mission is to conduct and promote policy-oriented legal research on international development law topics.

Litigation & Implementation Unit

The Litigation and Implementation Unit strategically uses the law through the instrumentality of judicial and quasi-judicial institutions to enforce human rights, prevent human rights violations and seek redress for human rights violations.


Established in May 2016, the SOGIESC Unit’s mandate is to advocate for and work towards equality inclusion non-discrimination, non-violence, and non-heterosexism for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, and asexual persons (LGBTIQ+ persons).

Women's Rights Unit

The Women’s Rights Unit works towards the realisation of the rights of women and girls in Africa. The Unit aims to promote the implementation & popularisation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human & Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa through researchtraining, and advocacy

Migrants’ Rights Unit

The Migration Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, engages in research and activities on migration. The migration Unit works through research, advocacy and training in contributing to the regional discussion on migrant rights. The Unit responds to the need for evidence-based work. The focus areas of the Migration Unit include the protection of migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons and stateless persons.

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