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Centre News & Events: 2017
Centre for Human Rights presents capacity-building workshop on international human rights protection mechanisms in Zambia

24 August 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights presented a capacity-building workshop on international human rights protection mechanisms in Zambia at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia, on 16 and 17 August 2017. The workshop was organised in collaboration with the University of Zambia, and was attended by more than 40 participants. Participants included Mr Likando Kalaluka (Attorney General of Zambia), Dr. Zonke Majodina (former member/chairperson of the Human Rights Committee) as well as legal officers and staff of various government institutions and ministries. Staff from the Zambian Human Rights Commission, the National Assembly of Zambia, Zambia Open University, Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), Centre for Human Rights, civil society organisations and the press were also in attendance.

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Advancing human rights accountability through digital verification

23 August 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria is among four other universities across the world working with Amnesty International on its cutting-edge volunteer project Digital Verification Corps (DVC).

Coordinated by Sam Dubberley, the DVC was created to equip students to subsequently support the work of Amnesty International’s researchers, who are often confronted with overwhelming volumes of unverified social media content in connection with some form of human rights abuse. 
 


 

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Press Statement: Minister-President of Flanders visits Centre for Human Rights and delivers lecture on the link between official development assistance and the right to development

22 August 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is currently presenting its Advanced Human Rights Course on The Right to Development in Africa, from 21 to 25 August 2017. The course is aimed at responding to the eternal question: ‘is development a human right’? What does it mean in the African context?

As part of the short course, the Centre hosted the Flemish Delegation to Southern Africa. The delegation was led by the Flemish Minister-President Hon Geert Bourgeois and Dr Geraldine Reymenants, General Representative of the Government of Flanders. Also present were representatives from the University of Pretoria: Prof Tiniyiko Maluleke (Special Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Pretoria), Prof Andre Boraine (Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria) and Mr Norman Taku (Assistant Director, Centre for Human Rights).



Flemish Minister-President Hon Geert Bourgeois

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Press Statement: Centre for Human Rights applauds judgment requiring Qwelane to apologise for hate speech against LGBTI community

22 August 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, through its Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Unit, applauds last week’s judgment by the High Court of South Africa Gauteng Local Division in Johannesburg, sitting as an equality court, in the matter of the South African Human Rights Commission v Jon Qwelane. The Court found that Qwelane’s derogatory comments about gays, published in 2008, constituted hate speech, and ordered him, within 30 days, to apologise unconditionally to the lesbian, gay and bisexual community.

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Centre for Human Rights strengthens international collaboration on sexual and reproductive rights
21 August 2017- Participating and contributing to the fourth Bergen Exchanges, in Bergen, Norway, staff and graduates of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, further strengthened the Centre’s focus on and international collaboration in respect of sexual and reproductive rights (SRR). 
 
Four Centre graduates (two currently registered doctoral students), together with two staff members, Prof Frans Viljoen (Director, Centre for Human Rights) and Ms Thuto Hlalele  (Administrative Coordinator, LLM/MPhil Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa programme), are participating in the week-long public discourse at the Bergen Exchanges. The discourse, which is hosted by the Centre on Law and Social Transformation, University of Bergen from 19 to 25 August 2017, is centered towards examining lawfare. The term ‘lawfare’ denotes the strategic uses of rights and law and how legal institutions function as arenas for political contestation. 
 

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The Centre for Human Rights coordinates African Charter and Maputo Protocol drafting workshop in Lesotho
14 August 2017- The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria coordinated a state report drafting workshop in collaboration with Ministry of Law and Constitutional Affairs, Lesotho from 31 July to 4 August 2017. The workshop brought together officials from different Government departments and civil society organisations pivotal to the drafting of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (African Charter) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).
 
The Kingdom of Lesotho ratified the African Charter in 1991 and the Maputo Protocol in 2004. However, it has only submitted one report to the African Commission under the African Charter in 2000 which covered the period from 1991 to 2000 and has not complied with its reporting obligations ever since. Lesotho has similarly not submitted any report under the Maputo Protocol according to article 62 of the African Charter and article 26 (1) of the Maputo Protocol. 
 

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Pretoria News: Tuks legal eagle trio fly high on key UN bodies

Legal expertise in department benefits local law students

16 August 2017- THE University of Pretoria is currently in the unique position where three law professors from the faculty of law serve as international experts on key UN bodies in Geneva, responsible for the development and application of international law.

According to the dean of the faculty of law, Professor Andre Boraine, such a concentration of international experts in one university is exceptional by any standard.

“Some – not even all – countries count themselves lucky if they have one person in these key UN positions: here we have three experts not only from one country but also from one university,” he said.
 

 
PICTURE: BONGANI SHILUBANE/ANA
Three law professors from the Tuks faculty of law, Christof Heyns, Dire Tladi and Ann Skelton, serve as international experts on key UN bodies in Geneva, responsible for the development and application of international law.
 
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Pan African Parliament members briefed on the new Regional Action Plan on Albinism in Africa 2017-2021

11 August 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights made a presentation before members of the Pan African Parliament Permanent Committte on Justice and Human Rights on the continued plight of persons with albinism on the continent and the need for regional action on 9 August 2017. The presentation is part of the Centre for Human Rights’ on-going efforts to advance the rights of persons with albinism in Africa which began in 2016. The presentation, which took place at the Pan African Parliament headquarters in Midrand, South Africa during the Justice and Human Rights Committee session sought to bring to the attention of the Committee members the continued persistent and egregious violations of the rights of persons with albinism. More importantly the need for African states to adopt the recently finalised Regional Action Plan on Albinism in Africa, a 5-year plan to address attacks and related violations against persons with albinism in Sub Saharan Africa.

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Centre for Human Rights celebrates National Women’s Day

11 August 2017 - Every year on 9 August, South Africa celebrates National Women’s Day in recognition of the role that women played in the liberation of the country from Apartheid. On 9 August 1956, over 20,000 women marched onto the Union Buildings in Pretoria protesting the Pass-Laws that restricted the movement of women of color in white areas to certain times of the day. The demonstration was a resounding success and is nationally recognised as one of the political milestones that marked the events that challenged the apartheid government to eventually usher in democracy in 1994. While National Women’s Day celebrates the courage of those women back in the day, it has also evolved into a day to promote women’s rights within the community and to call out government to act on unfulfilled promises to women in the country regarding rights such as freedom from violence perpetrated against women and girls.

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Capacity Building for members of the Pan African Parliament on Digital Rights, Democracy and Governance in Africa

8 August 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights held a capacity building workshop for members of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) on 5 August 2017. The workshop, which was held at the seat of PAP in Midrand, South Africa, was themed ‘Digital Rights, Democracy and Governance in Africa: The Role of National and Regional Parliaments. The Centre for Human Rights facilitated this workshop in collaboration with its partners- Applied Law and Technology (ALT) Africa, Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and Google.

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Op-Ed: It takes a village to breastfeed a child

7 August 2017 - (By Yolanda Booyzen) - One of the smartest investments that a country, a community and a family can make is to promote breastfeeding.

This is the message spread  by UNICEF, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international organisations that are promoting the benefits of breastfeeding during World Breastfeeding Week. The multiple advantages offered by breastfeeding include the most commonly known benefits of exceptional nutritional value, economic viability and cost-effectiveness, the prevention of childhood diseases, increased brain development in babies and a decreased risk of diabetes and some cancers in mothers.



Larissa Waters breastfeeding in the Australian Parliament
(Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP)

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Press Statement: Centre for Human Rights demands that government put words into action and take a definitive stand on violence against women

7 August 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, takes note of media reports and images circulating on social media, suggesting that the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Mduduzi Manana, has been involved in a case of assaulting a woman in a public place (restaurant) over the weekend.

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Op-Ed: What is Women’s Day to me?: Re-membering Saartjie Baartman and the place of memory

7 August 2017 - (By Prof Charles Ngwena) - As we celebrate Women’s Day let us engage in more than just reciting our affirmation of the equal citizenship and dignity of women in all their shades as adults, girl-children, transgender, straight, lesbian, disabled, black, white, brown and other shades of the human rainbow. Let us also engage in remembrance so that we summon our past and draw apt lessons. Histories are an integral part of our present and futures. Especially where unfulfilled promises or continuing injustices abide, as is borne by the continuing scourge of entrenched gender-based discrimination, including sexual violence and exploitation, remembrance offers us a powerful and creative cultural resource for investing with imaginary coherence our quest to create just, inclusive societies where women count. To this end, as we honour Women’s Day in South Africa, on the African continent and across the world and as we affirm the rightness of women’s equality, among other resources, we can draw on the memory of a Saartjie Baartman (also known as Sara or Sarah). The memory of the grotesque dehumanisation she suffered during her short life can serve to strengthen our resolve.

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Press Statement: Centre for Human Rights calls for the unconditional release of the 42 persons arrested with homosexual charges by the Nigerian government

3 August 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights calls for the immediate release of the 42 persons who were unjustly arrested by law enforcement agents at the HIV awareness training for sexual and gender minorities which was held at the Vincent Hotel, Weigh Bridge in Owode Onirin, Lagos State, Nigeria on Saturday 29 July 2017.

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Centre for Human Rights signs technical cooperation agreement with AMSHeR

3 August 2017 - On 2 August 2017, the Centre for Human Rights signed a technical cooperation agreement with African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR), establishing a framework for concrete collaboration on a number of activities. AMSHeR is a Pan-African coalition of organisations focusing on men who have sex with men (MSM) and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons (LGBT). AMSHeR works towards the promotion of non-discrimination, particularly based on sexual orientation and gender identity and the advancement of health services for MSM/LGBT persons in Africa. The signing ceremony was attended by AMSHeR’s Executive Director Kene Esom and law and human rights advocacy manager, Berry Didier Nibogora. The Centre was represented by its Director, Professor Frans Viljoen and Assistant Director Norman Taku.



Berry Didier Nibogora (Law and Human Rights Advocacy Manager, AMSHeR), Professor Frans Viljoen (Director, Centre for Human Rights), Kene Esom (Executive Director, AMSHeR) and Norman Taku (Assistant Director, Centre for Human Rights).

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Invitation: Women's Day advocacy event at the University of Pretoria

3 August 2017 - The Women's Rights Unit, the SOGIE Unit and the Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights is organising an advocacy event in commemoration of the National Women's day in South Africa. On the 9th of August 1956 more than 20 000 women of all races marched to the Union Buildings in Protest to amendments to the Pass Law and presented a petition against the idea of women carrying passes in urban areas.

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Centre for Human Rights presents third Advanced Human Rights Short Course on Children’s Rights in Africa

1 August 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is currently hosting its third Advanced Human Rights Short Course on Children’s Rights in Africa. It started on Monday 31 July 2017 and runs to Friday 4 August 2017. The short course brings together 35 participants from 10 countries across Africa, with backgrounds that include national human rights institutions, academia, civil society, legal practitioners, prosecutors, teachers, medical professionals and government.

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Short Course on Business and Human Rights, 10 - 14 July 2017, Pretoria, South Africa

31 July 2017 - The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted its second short course on business and human rights at the University of Pretoria from 10 - 14 July 2017. The event was made possible with support from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Regional Office for Southern Africa. The short course brought together more than 55 participants, from 18 countries across Africa, with backgrounds that include national human rights institutions, academia, civil society, legal practitioners and government.

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Launch of Queer Africa 2: New stories and the fight for the protection and promotion of the human rights of non-confirming sexual and gender minorities

28 July 2017 - On Thursday 27 July 2017, Queer Africa 2: New stories made its grand entry into the University of Pretoria(UP) community at its well-attended book launch organised by the Queer Space Collective (QSC) at the Library Auditorium, University of Pretoria, Hatfield Campus. This was preceding earlier launches at the University of Witwatersrand, Cape Town and Oslo.

The force behind bringing Queer Africa 2: New stories home to UP, was the QSC’s vision to make the UP safer and more inclusive of queer identity and expression through creative writing and expressions. The QSC is an informal group comprising of individuals mostly from ten organisations representative of both themselves and their organisations. These organisations include: Student for Law and Social Justice; Up and Out; English Department and Drama Department of the University of Pretoria; Church World Services; Right to Care; Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action(GALA); Centre for Sexuality Aids and Gender; and the Centre for Human Rights. These organisations among other things engage actively at the core of their work with the issues of queerness and sexual and gender minority issues. Interestingly, individual membership of the QSC cuts across persons of various ages, races, sexual orientation, gender identities, nationalities and backgrounds working together through interdependence amongst members and member organisations to storm UP, to charm the UP space with the saturating consciousness of the need for equality, safety and inclusivity. The launch of Queer Africa 2: new stories is the Queer Space Collective’s maiden event.

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SA Federation for Mental Health hosts I Decide=I Am travelling art exhibition

28 July 2017 - The SA Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH) hosted the I Decide=I Am travelling art exhibition from the 17th to the 27th of July 2017 at its Randburg offices in Gauteng. The globally acclaimed exhibition by Bulgarian illustrator Nadezhda Georgieva 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. The exhibition also includes three pieces by South African artist Daniel Mosako, based on his interpretation of the Life Esidimeni tragedy in which almost 100 persons with mental disabilities lost their lives.  

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Official results of the 9th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition

21 July 2017 - The 9th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition concluded with the final round on 21 July 2017 at the Palais des Nations in geneva, Switzerland.

  • The winning team of the 9th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition is the team that argued the case for the Applicant / Respondent, with 79.5%
    The winning team from St Thomas University, Canada was represented by Abbie LeBlanc and Navy Vezina.

     
  • The runner-up team of the 9th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition is the team that argued the case for the Applicant / Respondent, with 77.67 %.
    The runner-up team from University of buenos Aires, Argenitina was represented by Carolina Lisandro Elias and Tomas Maria Ainchill.

Judge Raul Pangalangan with the winners of the 9th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition
Navy Vezina and Abbie LeBlanc from St Thomas University, Canada

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