The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) in collaboration with the Government
of the Republic of South Africa and the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC), organized, from 24-26 October 2011, a sensitization visit to South Africa comprising courtesy calls on Government in Pretoria and Parliament in Cape Town on 24 and 26 October 2011, a one-day sensitization seminar for human rights organizations in South Africa, on 25 October 2011, in Johannesburg, and a public presentation at the University of South Africa (UNISA), in Pretoria, South Africa. The main objective of the sensitization mission was to raise awareness about the Court, among human rights actors in South Africa, and in the process, request the government of the Republic of South Africa to consider depositing the declaration allowing individuals and NGOs to access the Court.
The delegation of the Court was composed of Honorable Justice Gerard Niyungeko, President of the Court, the Honorable Bernard M. Ngoepe and Honorable Justice Duncan Tambala, Judges of the Court; assisted by four staff members of the Registry and Judge Ngoepe’s personal assistant.
The visit commenced on 24 October 2011 with the payment of courtesy calls on the Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Office of the President of the Republic of South Africa, the Honorable Mr Collins Chabane, and the Deputy Minister of Justice, the Honorable Mr Andries Nel.
The courtesy calls continued on 26 October 2011 with visits to the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, the Honorable Mr Mahlangu accompanied by the Under Secretary, Ms Jodie Anne Niekerk, the Deputy Clerk, Mr J Lamani, and the Legal Advisor, Advocate Mamoti; and the Speaker of Parliament, Honorable M.V. Sisulu, accompanied Honorable Ms F Hajaig, Chairperson of the International Relations Committee and Honorable Mr L.T. Landers, Chairperson of the Justice and Constitutional Development Committee.
At each courtesy call, the President gave a briefing on the purpose of the visit; the background of the Court, and made or reiterated four requests:- that South Africa considers: the possibility of making the declaration; seeking the advisory opinion of the Court; uses its influence to persuade other Member States to deposit the declaration or ratify the Court protocol; and that South Africa continues to support the Court within the AU policy organs.
The Court delegation was well received, and all the various officials visited assured the Court of their support and the support of South Africa. They further undertook to consider the possibility of making the declaration or seeking advisory opinion of the Court, or to initiate or encourage discussion and re-examination of South Africa’s position thereon.
Click here to view the pictures of the courtesy calls
The Courtesy calls were punctuated on 25th October 2011, by a sensitization seminar for human rights stakeholders at the Crown Plaza Hotel, the Rosebank, and Johannesburg. The seminar was attended by more than fifty people from a cross section of human rights and similar organizations in South Africa, including members of the Judiciary, Senior Government Officials, and representatives of the South Africa Human Rights Commission, members of the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC), non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, religious bodies and media organizations.
The theme of the Seminar was ‘the African Court on Human and People’ Rights – Your New Partner in Human Rights Protection in Africa’.
The seminar was officially opened by the Honorable Mr Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa. Other speakers at the opening ceremony included, Hon. Judge Gerard Niyungeko, President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Justice Bernard M. Ngoepe, Judge of the Court, Ms Nicole Fritz, Executive Director of the Southern African Litigation Centre, and Advocate Lawrence Mushwana, Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission.
Click here to view the speeches by the speakers
Click here to view the pictures of the seminar
The visit culminated on 26 October 2011, with a public presentation by the Court delegation at the University of South Africa (UNISA) which was attended by about one hundred people, comprising law students and lectures, lawyers and other human rights stakeholders, during which the Court delegation answered a considerable number of questions from the audience.
Click here to view pictures of the public lecture