On Monday 18 March 2019 the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (UP), welcomed the 2019 cohort of its Master’s degree students. The Centre’s 2019 Master’s programmes brings together 91 students from 28 countries across the African continent in order to further their postgraduate studies in human rights and related fields.
The Centre currently presents 5 Master's programmes. One of them, the LLM/Phil in Disability Rights in Africa
(DRIA), is presented for the first time in 2019. With the introduction of this programme, the Centre now presents two Master's programmes by way of hybrid learning, with online content combined with on-campus block weeks. The Centre (and the Faculty of Law's) first hybrid Master's programme is the LLM/MPhil in Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa
(SRRA), which this year has taken in its third cohort of students.
The 2019 LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) marks the 20th year of this programme. The graduates of 2019 will join 537 alumni of this programme, who are working to advance human rights in various capacities across the continent -- ranging from Chief Justice of Sierra Leone to member of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, and members of national cabinets.
The other two programmes are the LLM/MPhil in Multidisciplinary Human Rights (MDHR), and the LLM in Trade and Investment Law in Africa (TILA). The former is a part-time programme presented after hours and the latter is presented every second year at the University of Pretoria.
The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof Andre Boraine, welcomed the students and introduced UP’s newly appointed Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Tawana Kupe. Dr Marcus Cornaro (Head of Delegation of the European Union’s diplomatic mission to South Africa) and Ms Astrid E Helle (Ambassador, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria), welcomed the students on behalf of the donors. Other donors who attended were the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) (represented by its South African Director, Dr Anja Hallacker) and Open Society Foundations (represented by its Director of Scholarship Programmes Mr Philip Watkins).
In attendance were Justice Johann van der Westhuizen and Justice Johann Kriegler, both retired judges of the Constitutional Court of South and Centre Board Members. Ms Abigail Noko, the Head of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in South Africa also showed support. Other guests included representatives of the High Commissions of various African countries, diplomats, academics, students and friends of the Centre.
The highlight of the ceremony was the keynote address, delivered by Justice Leona Theron (Judge, Constitutional Court of South Africa). Justice Theron shared her journey and experiences as an African female in the judiciary during the forging of the new constitutional dispensation in South Africa.
Prof Frans Viljoen, the Centre’s director, gave the closing remarks and expressed his deep appreciation to all the staff of the Centre.
The formal ceremony gave way to a dinner and dance, where many of the students showed off their moves in colourful traditional clothes.
The Centre is proud to welcome the 2019 Master’s students and extends its gratitude for the generous and continued support to the following donors:
- European Union
- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria
- Kingdom of the Netherlands through its Embassy in Pretoria
- Deutscher Akadmischer Austauschdienst (DAAD)
- General Representation of the Government of Flanders
- Open Society Foundations
The welcoming ceremony was held at Tuks Monate on the UP’s Hillcrest Campus