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Annual Conference on Disability Rights in Africa
The Centre for Human Rights of the University of Pretoria hosts an annual conference on disability rights in an African context during the first week of November.

Conference participants include persons with disabilities, their families and their representative organisations, policy makers, policy implementers, lawyers, faculty from universities around the world, human rights activists and scholars. The inaugural disability rights conference was held in 2013.

This activity is developed and supported in the framework of the Disability Rights and Law Schools Project in Africa supported by the Open Society Foundations

Upcoming conference

‘Domesticating the CRPD in the African region: A focus on access to justice and legal capacity’
7 - 8 November 2017

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.

Past Conferences

Advancing the rights of persons with albinism in Africa: A call to action
9 -10 Novembver 2016

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. The Independent 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. 

In response to these persistent and egregious violations of the rights of persons with albinism in many parts of Africa the Centre for Human Rights with the support of Open Society Foundation hosted a two-day conference on 9-10 November 2016 which focused on Advancing the Rights of Persons with Albinism in Africa.

Twenty-five papers jointly conceptualised by civil society organisations working on the rights of persons with albinism and academia were presented at the conference. These papers covered a diverse range of critical issues including the role of superstition, myth and witchcraft in contributing to rights violations of persons with albinism; research and socio-cultural construction of albinism; the state responsibility for protection and law enforcement; the role of regional and sub regional systems; discrimination in healthcare and education. The discussions in the conference yielded innovative and practical solutions and ideas that will contribute towards advancing the rights of persons with disabilities on the continent.

 

 

‘Overcoming obstacles: Towards the effective implementation of the rights of children and youth with disabilities in Africa’
3 - 4 November 2015

On 3-4 November 2015, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted an academic conference on disability rights with a focus on the effective implementation of the rights of children and youth with disabilities in Africa.

Thirty one papers were delivered at the conference, on a diverse range of issues including the right to education, the right to work and employment, political participation and empowerment, right to legal capacity, access to healthcare and other services, sexuality, sexual and reproductive health of youth with disabilities, freedom from violence and abuse and access to justice.

The conference drew participants from at least fifteen countries and there were over eighty participants. Participants included persons with disabilities, their families, academics, civil society groups as well as advocates for disability law reform, lawyers, policy makers and others. Conference presenters were drawn from diverse backgrounds including academics, practitioners, advocates and policy makers from around the world.

The Conference coincided with the launch of the third issue of the African Disability Rights Yearbook on the evening of 3 November. The Yearbook’s open-access online journal was also launched and can be viewed by visiting www.adry.up.ac.za. It is anticipated that papers presented at the conference would be subsequently re-worked for consideration for publication in the 2016 issue of the African Disability Rights Yearbook.

With the support of OSISA and the Open Society Foundations International Higher Education Support Programme.

Presentations (a number of presentations from the conference can be found below):

Video

Ms Catalina Devandas Aguilar, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities delivered this statement at the opening of the conference.

Below is a transcript of the Special Rapporteur's message:

C: Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

C: Good morning my name is Catalina Devandas. I am the UN  Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Let me first of all thank the organisers of this conference, the Centre for Human Rights, and the Faculty of Law, and the University of Pretoria for inviting me to participate in this important conference on the rights of children and youth with disabilities and Africa.
 
C: In my role as a Special Rapporteur, I have to promote and monitor the implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities. The situation of children and youth with disabilities is a fundamental part of my work. Unfortunately, their rights are not taken into account in many countries. And policy makers are not putting enough attention in their situation. We have to change this tendency. It is important to develop this kind of initiative that you are starting today. To bring together policy makers, civil society, scholars, to think together about how to move forward and how to promote an agenda, in which children and youth with disabilities will be fully considered. It is fundamental, to take into consideration the voices and the perspectives of children and youth with disabilities. To the extent possible, children with disabilities must be consulted, taken into consideration their evolving capacities. Youth with disabilities should also participate in decision-making, their perspectives, should be taken into account when designing policies, when addressing or creating solutions to address their needs. Nobody but them will be able to guide us, to create the right solutions to address their needs and to respect their rights.

C: It is fundamental to create alliances with all different and relevant stakeholders. Again examples like this, in which you are bringing together a set of different and relevant stakeholders are fundamental to advance. We need to have a coordinated approach. We also need to develop research and we need more data. Policy makers need to have the data in order to develop their work, and we need to work on that, and for that, we need a strong research sector, we need the universities to be engaged and to be involved fully and committed with this issue of the rights of persons with disabilities and specifically with the situation of children and youth with disabilities. Because there a lot of particularities that we need to take into account.

C: I congratulate you, in this important initiative, and I wish you success. I hope that I will be able to contribute with this discussions even if from afar, and that the results  that you are going to bring to the  world, will be important not only for Africa but for the rest of the regions, that will be looking for the work that you are doing.  And that we will try to use the results of this meeting, in all the regions of the world. I wish you all the best.

Photos:

Overcoming obstacles: Towards the effective implementation of the rights of women with disabilities in Africa
4 - 5 November 2014

On 4 and 5 November 2014, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted an academic conference on disability rights with a focus on the effective implementation of the rights of women with disabilities in Africa. Fifteen papers were presented at the conference, on a diverse range of issues including political participation, access to education, sexual and reproductive rights, building an inclusive environment, resource allocation, access to justice and violence against women with disabilities. The conference drew participants from more than 15 countries and approximately 50 people attended the conference. Participants included persons with disabilities, their families, civil society groups as well as advocates for disability law reform, lawyers, policy makers, academics and practitioners from around the world.

The Conference coincided with the launch of the second issue of the African Disability Rights Yearbook on the evening of 4 November. The Yearbook’s open-access online journal was also launched and can be viewed by visiting www.adry.up.ac.za

More information about this conference:

Overcoming obstacles: towards the effective implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in Africa
5 - 6 November 2013

The Centre for Human Rights at the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria hosted an academic conference on disability rights in Africa on the theme ‘Overcoming obstacles: towards the effective implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in Africa'. The Conference was held at University of Pretoria, SRC Chambers on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 November 2013. The conference coincided with the launch of first issue of the African Yearbook on Disability Rights on the evening of 5 November. It was anticipated that papers presented at the 5 November conference would be subsequently re-worked for consideration for publication in the 2014 issue of the African Yearbook on Disability Rights.

More information about this conference:

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