Migration, Displacement and Disability: A Human Rights Response

17 and 18 November 2022

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosts an annual conference on disability rights in an African context during the month of November. The inaugural disability rights conference was held in 2013. The annual conference serves as a platform for convening dialogue amongst key stakeholders on disability rights, and to  spotlight  pertinent and emerging disability rights concerns in the African region.

Download Call for Papers

The African Disability Rights Yearbook (ADRY) is calling for papers for consideration for publication in Section A of the ADRY in 2022. The ADRY publishes once a year with a focus on disability rights issues and developments of contemporary concern to persons with disabilities on the African continent. The ADRY is published by the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) and is published as a peer-reviewed open-access journal. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosts an annual conference on disability rights in an African context during the month of November. The inaugural disability rights conference was held in 2013. The conference acts as a platform for convening dialogue amongst key stakeholders on disability rights, and to spotlight the pertinent and emerging disability rights concerns in the African region. 

The 8th Annual Disability Rights Conference was held on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 November 2020, virtually via zoom. The theme for this year’s two-day conference was ‘realising the right to health of persons with disabilities in Africa’. The conference focused on developing responses for overcoming barriers faced by persons with disabilities in the respect, protection and fulfilment of the right to health in the African region. 

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, is part of a coalition of seven global disability rights organisations that have called for urgent action by States and the international community to halt the catastrophic failure to protect the lives, health, and rights of persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to its 8th Annual Disability Rights Conference on 17 and 18 November 2020,  which will take place virtually via Zoom. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Realising the right to health of persons with disabilities in Africa’.  

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, is saddened by the passing of Devikarani Priscilla Jana, anti-apartheid activist and giant of South African human rights law, on 10 October 2020. 

On 22 October 2020, Validity Foundation, the European Network on Independent Living, Disability Rights International, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, the International Disability Alliance, the International Disability and Development Consortium, and the Disability Rights Fund/Disability Rights Advocacy Fund will launch the COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor Global Report.

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, takes great pleasure in congratulating Dianah Msipa on her appointment by the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities onto a team of experts working on the proposed African Union (AU) Convention on Violence against Women and Children.

The Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the office of the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism hosted a virtual two-day advocacy and human rights skills training. The training, which was held online from 28 to 29 September 2020 was aimed at organisations representing persons with albinism in Southern Africa. The training was attended by individuals representing civil society organisations (CSOs) from various African countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Malawi, Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique. Furthermore, the virtual platform allowed the inclusion of international participants, and included Argentina and Iraq.

The Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a webinar on mothers impacted by albinism. The webinar, which is a dialogue on gender, albinism and human rights in South Africa is held in commemoration of Albinism Awareness Month.

The Disability Rights Unit, Centre for Human Rights cordially invites you to join a training in strengthening advocacy skills in the era of COVID-19 and beyond: Human rights training for organisations representing persons with albinism in Southern Africa. 

Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosts an annual conference on disability rights in an African context during the month of November. The inaugural disability rights conference was held in 2013. The conference acts as a platform for convening dialogue amongst key stakeholders on disability rights, and to spotlight the pertinent and emerging disability rights concerns in the African region. More information on previous editions of the conference can be found at  https://www.chr.up.ac.za/disability-rights-projects/dru-annual-conference.

In 2020, the conference will focus on developing responses for overcoming barriers faced by persons with disabilities in the respect, protection and fulfilment of the right to health in the African region.

The COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor Coordinating Group express their alarm about increasing police violence against persons with disabilities in the context of the pandemic, and are calling on governments around the world to take urgent steps to prevent acts of brutality.

On 20 April 2020, the COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor (DRM) launched an international survey to monitor state measures concerning persons with disabilities amid the pandemic. The initial analysis of the ongoing global survey has revealed grave and systemic violations of fundamental freedoms and human rights of persons with disabilities detained in large- and small-scale institutions, which have become the epicenter of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

These are some of the African organisations that have been in the frontlines battling the COVID-19 pandemic by putting the interests of persons with albinism at the fore, as we prepare to celebrate International Albinism Awareness Day on 13 June 2020.

In commemoration of International Albinism Awareness Day on 13 June 2020, these are some of the voices from women with Albinism in Africa telling us how they are #MadeToShine

The Centre for Human Rights, in partnership with the United Nations Independent Expert on Albinism, Open Society Foundations and other organisers takes pleasure in inviting you to an online albinism celebration to commemorate International Albinism Awareness Day on 13 June 2020. The celebration is a global event which features various artists with albinism from all over the world. 

Since 20 April 2020, through a global survey, the COVID-19 Disability Rights Monitor (DRM) has been gathering data to conduct rapid independent monitoring of state measures concerning persons with disabilities in the context of the pandemic.

The right to access to justice for persons with disabilities

In conversation with Ms Dianah Msipa

Evidence is emerging that persons with disabilities are being disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and emergency measures being taken by governments worldwide. As governments rush to respond to the virus, it is more critical than ever to guarantee that measures taken are fully inclusive of persons with disabilities and prevent human rights violations from taking place.

The Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC), in collaboration with the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), recently hosted the annual short course on Disability Rights in an African Context, from 9 to 13 March 2020.

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP) through its Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC) and the Disability Rights Unit is currently hosting the annual Disability Rights in an African Context course.

The African Disability Rights Yearbook (ADRY) is calling for papers for consideration for publication in Section A of the ADRY in 2020. The ADRY publishes once a year with a focus on disability rights issues and developments of contemporary concern to persons with disabilities on the African continent. The ADRY is published by the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) and is published as a peer-reviewed open-access journal.

Today marks just over a year since the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the Committee) issued its concluding observations on the initial state report of South Africa. Article 35 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) requires states that have ratified the Convention to submit a comprehensive report on measures taken to ensure that the rights guaranteed under the CRPD are enjoyed by persons with disabilities in their countries. State parties are required to submit their first report within two years of ratifying the CRPD, and subsequent reports every four years. South Africa became a signatory to the CRPD in 2008. The country’s initial report was due for submission on 3 June 2010 but was only submitted to the Committee on 26 November 2014.

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The Disability Rights Scholarship Program offers awards to individuals from the Czech Republic and select countries in Africa and Eurasia for a one-year Master of Laws (LLM) degree. The program’s objective is to provide disability rights advocates and lawyers with the necessary expertise 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). The CRPD, which entered into force in May 2008, presents a paradigm shift in the field of disability rights and provides a framework for promoting the inclusion and full participation of persons with disabilities in their communities. 

pdfDownload Scholarship brochure

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, calls for applications for a full-time doctoral scholarship in the field of disability rights. The successful candidate will be based within the Centre, and will be expected to contribute to the work of the Centre’s Disability Rights Unit (for 25 hours per week) while attending to her/his LLD/DPhil work. 

The scholarship is for an initial period of one year, renewable subject to satisfactory progress in the doctoral studies and corresponding duties within the Centre. 

The scholarship covers tuition fees, accommodation, and a modest stipend.

pdfDownload Call for Applications

The theme for #DRAM2019 is 25 Years of Democracy: Together we must prioritise building a Disability Inclusive and Safe South Africa

DRAM2019 will focus on the disability inclusion commitments contained in the 2019-2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), due for final Cabinet approval before the end of October 2019. 

pdfDownload Events Calander 

 Week 1 (03-09 Nov) –2019
Priorities 2-3: Education, Skills, Health & Social Wage
Sub-Theme: Children and young people with disabilities empowered to chart their own destiny

 Week 2 (10-16 Nov) –2019
Priority 4: Spatial Integration, Human Settlements and Local Government         
Sub-Theme: Persons with disabilities living independently in the community

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), is currently hosting the annual disability rights in Africa conference at Southern Sun Hotel, OR Tambo International Airport. More than 250 scholars, disability rights activists, lawyers, policymakers and self-advocates from various African countries are converging to exchange experiences and knowledge on the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community.

In his welcoming address, Commissioner Adv Bokankatla Joseph Malatji from the South African Human Rights Commission stated that the right to live in the community is about ‘enabling people to live their lives to the fullest within society.’ He emphasised that comprehensive de-institutionalisation strategies should be established which acknowledge the right to living independently in the community.

pdf Conference Programme

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, held a two-day training workshop on access to justice for persons with disabilities in Gaborone, Botswana from 29 to 30 October 2019. This was the fourth training on access to justice conducted by the Centre in 2019. The first training took place in Lusaka, Zambia in July 2019, and this was followed by the second training in Okahanja, Namibia and the third training in Pretoria, South Africa, which were both held in September 2019.

The training in Botswana, which was conducted in collaboration with the University of Botswana, was attended by 33 participants consisting of judges, magistrates, prosecutors, police officers, and personnel from correctional services. Personnel from the University of Botswana’s Law Faculty and Disability Rights Clinic, as well as members of organisations of persons with disabilities were also in attendance. The training was conducted by a team from the Centre consisting of Ms Dianah Msipa, Ms Innocentia Mgijima, Ms Tariro Rufetu and a team from the University of Botswana which included Dr Emmanuel Moswela, Professor Bonolo Dinokopila and Dr Elizabeth Macharia–Mokobi.

On 8 October 2019, the Centre for Human Rights’ Disability Rights Unit was invited by the BOLD student society to participate in an awareness event. BOLD which is an acronym for Beyond Our Limiting Disabilities is a student society for students with disabilities which aims to raise awareness on disability issues at the University.

The Disability Rights Unit was represented by Mrs Tariro Rufetu and Ms Vivian Kasunda, both Research Assistants for the Unit. Their presentations focused on explaining what psychosocial disabilities are, as this type of disability is often misunderstood. They further went on to outline the international and regional legal instruments that protect the rights of persons with disabilities; the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of persons with disabilities in Africa (African Disability Rights Protocol).

The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, cordially invites you to a conference on fulfilling the right of persons with disabilities to live in the community by promoting choice, inclusion and participation. The conference will be held from 11 to 12 November 2019. 

pdfDownload Invitation

Conference details 

Date 11 and 12 November 2019 
Time Monday 11 November – 08:00 to 17:30  
         Tuesday 12 November – 09:00 to 17:00

Venue Southern Sun O.R. Tambo International Airport Hotel, Kempton Park, South Africa 
RSVP PLEASE CLICK HERE TO RSVP ONLINE BEFORE FRIDAY 25 OCTOBER 2019 
Enquiries Tariro Rufetu (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Tel: +27 12 420 3072) 

On 10 and 11 September 2019, the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted a two-day training workshop on access to justice for persons with disabilities. The training workshop was convened under the title ‘Ensuring access to justice for persons with disabilities: Training for justice personnel on providing accommodations in the criminal justice system’. The workshop forms part of a wider project on access to justice, which the Centre will be implementing in South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana. Facilitators included experts on access to justice from the Centre and the Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication at the University of Pretoria. In attendance were police officers, prosecutors, magistrates, officials from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, as well as the Department of Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities.

On 7 August 2019 the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ms. Ikponwosa Ero, briefed members of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Committee on Gender, Family, Youths and Persons with Disabilities of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on the annotated outline for the Draft guidelines on ending harmful practices related to manifestations of certain beliefs in witchcraft. In May 2019, the Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Rules Committee of PAP adopted a resolution authorizing the drafting of the guidelines. The purpose of the briefing was therefore to elicit the input from the committee members on areas of concern or issues from specific countries or regions to be taken into consideration in the drafting of the guidelines.

On 30 and 31 July, the Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit and the Disability Rights Unit attended a workshop organised by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) on advancing the inclusion and participation of persons with disability in Mozambique. The workshop was attended by officials from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action (MGCSA) and Office of the Ombudsman; the Deputy President of the National Assembly. In attendence were also representatives from civil society organisations, most of them working on disability issues including the Centre for Human Rights (University of Pretoria) Light of the World, Associação dos Deficientes Moçambicanos (ADEMO), Forum das Organizações Moçambicanas de Deficientes (FAMOD), UNICEF, academia and the media.

The conference is about developing responses for realising the human right of persons with disabilities to live in the community in the African region. The focus is two-fold: 1) critically appraising laws, policies, practices, programmes, polities and ideologies that serve to impede the human right of persons with disabilities to live in the community with choices and appropriate support on an equal basis with others; and 2) suggesting reforms to overcome the impediments. The conference will be held at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, South Africa, on 11 and 12 November 2019. 

Authors of abstracts and papers should seek to propose ideas and remedial approaches which can serve as resources for assisting lawmakers, courts and tribunals, policymakers, caregivers, residential and other community support service providers, education providers, health-care providers, employers, and other pertinent actors in fulfilling the right of all persons with disabilities to live in the community. It is anticipated that papers presented at this conference will be reworked by authors and submitted for consideration for publication in the 2020 volume of the African Disability Rights Yearbook.

pdf Download Call for Papers

The Disability Rights Unit (DRU) at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with Zambia’s Ministry of Justice, hosted a two-day training workshop for criminal justice officials. The training workshop focused on ensuring access to justice for persons with disabilities through the provision of accommodations in the criminal justice system and was held in Lusaka from 22 to 23 July 2019.

The workshop was aimed at building the capacity of personnel in the justice system to ensure that persons with disabilities are accommodated to enable them to access justice on an equal basis with others in accordance with article 13 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Research shows that persons with disabilities encounter numerous barriers to accessing justice on an equal basis with others. The barriers include communication, legal, environmental and attitudinal barriers. These barriers can in part be overcome through the provision of accommodations.

The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, invite you to a Brown Bag Seminar and Photo Exhibition on International Albinism Awareness Day (13 June).

The theme for International Albinism Awareness Day 2019 is #StillStandingStrong

jpgDownload the Invitation

pdfDownload the Programme

Date: Thursday 13 June 2019
Time: 09:30 – 13:00
Venue: OSISA Offices, 1st Floor President Place, 1 Hood Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg

RSVP: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (please indicate whether you will require parking)

Concept Note: Dialogue on Human Rights Situation of Persons with Albinism in Southern Africa 

The Centre for Human Rights hosted the Advanced Human Rights Course on Disability Rights in an African context from 11 – 15 March 2019. The course was organised by the Centre’s Disability Rights Unit, in collaboration with the Advanced Human Rights Courses (AHRC).

The course was attended by over 60 participants from 20 African countries. The participants included students on the LLM/MPhil (Disability Rights in Africa) and LLM/MPhil (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa) programmes, doctoral candidates, practitioners working with persons with disabilities, human rights activists, government officials, judicial officers, civil society members and academia.

On 4 March 2019, the Disability Rights Unit of the Centre for Human Rights (Centre), University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the with the office of the UN Independent expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, hosted a workshop at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on the rights of persons with albinism in Africa.

The workshop was held at a Committee sitting of PAP in Midrand (South Africa), with the purpose to deliberate on measures for the effective implementation of the Resolution on Persons with Albinism in Africa(PAP.4/PLN/RES/05/MAY.18) which was adopted by PAP on 18 May 2018.

The workshop was attended by the PAP’s Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The workshop was co-chaired by the Chairperson of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights (Hon Nyirarukundo) as well as the chairperson of the Rules committee (Hon Kalyan).

(By Prof Magnus Killander)

Is South Africa regularly denying children their right to access education as well as health care on the grounds either of petty bureaucracy or by a misinterpretation of the country’s laws and international obligations?

The answer is yes.

The country places limitations on children’s access to education and affordable health care. This is particularly true of migrant children. These limitations are, in my view, unconstitutional and in violation of South Africa’s international obligations. For example, South Africa is bound by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In the interpretation of this convention, the United Nations Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights has emphasised that:

The African Disability Rights Yearbook (ADRY) is calling for papers for consideration for publication in Section A of the ADRY in 2019. The ADRY publishes once a year with a focus on disability rights issues and developments of contemporary concern to persons with disabilities on the African continent. It comprises three sections – Section A containing doctrinal articles and for which we are calling for papers; Section B containing country-focused overviews of developments in disability rights in selected African countries; and Section C containing brief overviews of developments at the African regional and sub-regional levels.

pdfDownload this Call for Papers

The ADRY is published by the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP) and is published as a peer-reviewed open-access journal.

The Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights seeks to appoint an appropriately qualified individual (student) for its internship programme, based in Hatfield, Pretoria, South Africa

pdfDownload this Opportunity 

Opportunity closing date: Friday 22 February 2019
Opportunity type: Internship

Organisation: Centre for Human Rights
Job title: Internship Opportunity for 2019  
Type of contract: Fixed-Term
Duty station: Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

Duration: 10 months (1 March 2019 – 31 December 2019) with the possibility of extension.
Weekly hours: 20 hours a week