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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