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.
Areas of work
With respect to research, the Unit has developed a number of research initiatives, hosting conferences, seminars and workshops on the protection of migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons and stateless persons. Against the backdrop of the AU Theme of the Year 2019 relating to refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), the Unit hosted an international conference on forced migration from which an outcome statement emerged from stakeholders across academia, civil society and international organisations
In terms of advocacy and influencing norms at the regional level, the Unit has also been actively engaged. The Unit provided technical support to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in the development of General Comment no 5 on The Right to Freedom of Movement and Residence under article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The General Comment was adopted at the 65th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in November 2019.
The Unit also contributes to the Centre’s academic programmes in various ways, particularly through the Migrant Rights Clinics. The clinic comprises groups of students who work on migration and produce evidence-based policy recommendations on addressing migrant issues within the South African context, but broadly also in Africa.
As one of its areas of work, the Unit further coordinates the Global Engagement Network on Internal Displacement (GENIDA) is an international collaboration for the furtherance of IDP protection and assistance in Africa which response to the paucity of research on internal displacement and the importance for more evidence-based knowledge in the furtherance of protection and assistance of IDPs.