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Centre News & Events: 2017
Centre for Human Rights hosts the South African government and CSO’s on compliance with the Concluding Observations issued by the African Commission on the Rights of Women in South Africa

1 November 2017- By ratifying the Maputo Protocol in 2004, South Africa made a commitment to improve the status and protect the rights of women and girls in the country. It also committed under Article 62 of the African Charter and Article 26 (1) of the Maputo Protocol to submit periodic reports to the African Commission every two years from the time of ratification, highlighting the steps taken to guarantee the rights of women and girls. After consideration of these reports, concluding observations and recommendations are given to State Parties to guide them on the implementation of the rights as mentioned in the treaty.

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Centre for Human Rights and UNESCO present training for judges in Africa on freedom of expression, access to information and the safety of journalists

30 October 2017- The Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) held a three-day judicial training for judges from across Africa. The training which focused on freedom of expression, access to information and the safety of journalists took place from 23 to 25 October. 

In attendance were senior judges from Cameroon, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Mauritania, Mozambique, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. There was also a judge from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community of Court of Justice.

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SOGIE Unit celebrates outstanding LGBTI icons in Africa

26 October 2017- 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 Africans who identify as LGBTI persons, who are leaders in their field, and whose work contributes to the realisation of sexual minority rights in Africa.

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Call for Applications: Research consultant on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights

25 October 2017- The Centre for Human Rights (CHR), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is looking for a research consultant to prepare a baseline report on the impacts of the extractive industries on human rights and the environment in Africa. This work forms part of a project in which the CHR offers support to the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment, and Human Rights (WGEI) of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission).

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Women’s Rights Unit facilitates meeting in Malawi on the African Commission’s Concluding Observations of the Maputo Protocol

25 October 2017- On Wednesday 18 October 2017, the Women's Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights (the Centre) organised a one-day meeting with Government and civil society organizations on Malawi’s compliance with the concluding observations issued by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) specifically in relation to the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol). The meeting was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in Malawi. The meeting brought together a total of about 20 stakeholders from the relevant government ministries, National Human Rights Commission, Office of the Ombudsman and Civil Society Organisations involved in the state reporting process in the country. The meeting was held at the Sunbird Capital hotel, in the capital city of Lilongwe. 

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Call for applications: LLD/DPhil in Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa

24 October 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, calls for applications for full-time doctoral scholarships in the field of sexual and/or reproductive rights and their intersection with culture or criminalisation in the African region.

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Press statement: LGBTI Human rights defenders and lawyers express grave concern over continuing harassment of LGBTI rights defenders, activists, educators and supporters

23 October 2017 - We, LGBTI human rights defenders and human rights lawyers, having gathered at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa, from  16 to 19 October 2017 for a training on Strategic Advocacy and Litigation for LGBTI Human Rights Defenders in Africa, strongly condemn the harassment, arbitrary arrest and prolonged detention of ordinary citizens  perceived to be gay in Egypt and Burundi; human rights activists working with health rights organisations in Tanzania; as well as  human rights lawyers planning to litigate a case on LGBTI health rights in Tanzania.

LGBTI human rights defenders and human rights lawyers who gathered at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa, from 16 to 19 October 2017 for a training on Strategic Advocacy and Litigation for LGBTI Human Rights Defenders in Africa
 
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Call for Applications: Disability Rights Scholarship Programme (Open Society Foundations)

23 October 2017- The Disability Rights Scholarship Programme provides awards for master’s degree study to disability rights advocates, lawyers, and educators to develop new legislation, jurisprudence, policy, research, and scholarship to harness the innovations and opportunities offered by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

With the knowledge and networks gained through the program, we expect that fellows will deepen their understanding of international law and education, with a focus on disability rights, and gain the tools necessary to engage in a range of CRPD implementation strategies, such as: challenging rights violations in their home countries by drafting enforceable legislation consistent with the CRPD; utilizing enforcement mechanisms set forth in the convention; taking forward disability rights litigation requesting CRPD-compliant remedies; engaging in disability rights advocacy; and developing law, education, or other academic curricula informed by the CRPD.

 

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Faculty of Law enters into MoU with Pan-African Parliament to advance the agenda of good governance in Africa

18 October 2017- The Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (UP) on 17 October 2017 entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). The foreseen collaboration will be spear-headed by the Centre for Human Rights, but may involve other departments, centres, institutes and units in the Faculty of Law.



Prof Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Honourable Roger Nkodo Dang, President of the Pan-African Parliament

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Invitation: Seminar on South Sudan and issues arising from narratives on human rights and armed rebellion

17 October 2017- The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria cordially invites you to a seminar on South Sudan and issues arising from narratives on human rights and armed rebellion.

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Press Statement: Centre for Human Rights calls for expediting of sexual harassment cases at the University of Pretoria

17 October 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, deplores any form of sexual harassment and is steadfastly committed to supporting the University community in any way possible to ensure that it is a safe environment – free from sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination – and to foster the values of equality, integrity, human dignity, privacy and mutual respect.

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African Forum for Doctoral Research in Human Rights (AfriDoors)

17 October 2017- The first African Forum for Doctoral Research in Human Rights (AfriDoors) was held at the University of Pretoria from 9 to 13 October. AfriDoors brought together close to 50 doctoral students, post-docs and faculty from the member institutions of Strengthening Human Rights Research and Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (SHUREA). SHUREA is a project funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland through the Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) and is aimed at strengthening policy relevant human rights research.

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Centre for Human Rights presents training workshop on strategic advocacy and litigation for LGBTI human rights defenders and activists in Africa

16 October 2017- The Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Unit, Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy in Pretoria is currently hosting the 2018 Training Workshop on Strategic Advocacy and Litigation for LGBTI Human Rights Defenders and Activists. This workshop, now ongoing, shall run from 16 October 2017 to 19 October 2017. In attendance are LGBTI human rights defenders from the legal, health, civil society and other sectors across the African continent. The participants are trained on using several advocacy stragies, including faith-based, disruptive and prison advocacy, as well as strategic litigation at national level, and how to use the UN and African regional human rights system for the advancement of LGBTI human rights.

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Call for Abstracts: Colloquium on 'Reading the LGBTI category at the locale - Indigenising stigmatised non-heteronormative African sexualities and genders'

16 October 2017- The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is convening a colloquium on 2 - 3 August 2018. The colloquium has the following main themes:

a) reading the LGBTI category at the African locale; and
b) indigenising stigmatised non-heteronormative African sexualities and genders.

It is anticipated that papers presented at the colloquium will be reworked by authors with a view to their consideration for publication as chapters in an edited volume.

© Corinna Kern / Getty Images Reportage

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Press Statement: African Court rejects Centre for Human Rights and CAL request, leaving political tension within AU unresolved

6 October 2017- SUMMARY: In 2015, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission), based in Banjul, The Gambia, and the AU body supervising state compliance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, granted observer status to the NGO Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL). When the Executive Council of the African Union (AU), with its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, subsequently considered the Commission’s activity report, it directed the African Commission to retract the observer status granted to CAL. A potential deadlock was avoided when two NGOs (the Centre for Human Rights and CAL) submitted a request for an advisory opinion to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, soliciting the Court’s view on how the matter could be resolved. However, the Court has now declined to give its view, on the basis that the two NGOs were not competent to bring the request. This decision puts the Commission and the Executive Council on a potential collision course. The circumstances of the case revealed that the system of NGO obtaining observer status with the AU is illusory, as no NGO has as yet obtained this status. 

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Centre acknowledges and thanks staff, students, graduates, partners, donors and supporters for contributing to make University of Pretoria the top Law Faculty in Africa

6 October 2017-The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria (UP), takes note of the 2018 raking of law faculties or schools by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (THEWUR), in which the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Law is placed at position 92

According to the THEWUR, using a fixed set of criteria, UP’s Faculty of Law is the top law faculty not only in South Africa, but in Africa. As one of six departments within the Faculty of Law, the Centre for Human Rights acknowledges and thanks our staff, current students, our many graduates, partners, donors and other supporters, for their contributions in making the Centre – and the Faculty – a centre of excellence in Africa. 

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Invitation to a panel discussion on 'Working as a UN expert'

6 October 2017- Students and other interested parties are invited to attend a panel discussion on: ‘Working as a UN expert’. The Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria is currently in the unique position where three of its professors serve as expert members of United Nations bodies involved in the development of international law. They will discuss their work and how the appointment procedure works. This should be of special interest to students who consider a career with an international dimension.

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AU Human Rights Commissioner encourages acceptance of political diversity in Ethiopia at annual Julius Osega Lecture

3 October 2017- ‘The Constitution as a whole should guide governance in Ethiopia, not selected parts chosen for particular purposes.’ Dr Solomon Dersso, a member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, expressed this view when he delivered the 2017 Julius Osega Memorial Lecture in Addis Ababa on Friday 29 September. The African Commission is the African Union’s longest-serving human rights body. 

Dr Solomon Negussie (Dean, College of Law and Governance Studies, Addis Ababa University), Prof Frans Viljoen (Director, Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria), Dr Solomon Ayele Dersso (Commissioner of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Executive Director, Amani Africa Media and Research), Dr Yonas Birmeta (Head, School of Law, Addis Ababa University) and Dr Mizane Abate (Associate Dean, Graduate Programmes, College of Law and Governance Studies, Addis Ababa University)

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Conference on Regional Perspectives on the Right to Development

3 October 2017- A two-days Conference on the theme ‘Regional Perspectives on the Right to Development’ was jointly organised by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria and the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, University of South Africa. The Conference took place on 28 and 29 September 2017 at the University of Pretoria. 

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Capacity Building for Senior Government Officials of the African Union on Disability Mainstreaming, Coordination and Financing

29 September 2017- The Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, conducted a training course on disability mainstreaming, coordination, financing and implementation for senior government officials of the Africa Union member states and focal persons from the African Union Commission (AUC). Senior government officials from Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Somalia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria and Zimbabwe attended the one-week training which took place from 18-22 September 2017 at Capital Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Centre for Human Rights presents Advanced Human Rights Short Course on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Africa (25 - 29 September 2017)

29 September 2017- The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) hosted its Advanced Human Rights Short Course on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Africa from 25-29 September, 2017. The course brought together 32 participants; from different countries across Africa and Europe, with backgrounds that include: NGO managers, delegates of indigenous communities, academia, government policy makers, civil society, independent community consultants and legal practitioners. 

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