Grant agreement with Norway renewed

Posted on April 11, 2018

The Ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria, Trine Skymoen, and the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria (UP), Prof Cheryl de la Rey, renewed the long-standing collaborative partnership between Norway and UP.

Building on two previous periods of support, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its Embassy in Pretoria, provided a three-year grant to the University’s Centre for Human Rights.

The aim of this grant is to contribute to the realisation of human rights in Africa by enhancing the capacity of African Union human rights and democracy-related bodies, African states and African civil society.

The grant contributes to the Centre’s programmes and projects, some of which are listed below:

  • the Master’s Programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa;
  • the work of the Centre’s Women’s Rights Unit;
  • the presentation of the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition, which is the largest event bringing African faculties of law together annually; and
  • the Freedom from Violence Unit, which is based in the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA), of which Professor Heyns is the Director.

The following are some examples of activities to be undertaken under the grant:

  • Research will be conducted on the rights of persons with albinism in Africa, as a basis to better advocate for their rights, and to reinforce the relevant legal response by African states.
  • Guidelines to improve transparency and openness during elections in African states will be developed.
  • The Centre will work with partner universities on the continent to advance human rights teaching of master’s students in human rights, and in the process also build the capacity of these partners.

Prof Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights, said: ‘Authoritarian populism is increasingly threatening human rights worldwide – also across Africa. The Centre for Human Rights aims to contribute to reinforcing human rights through education, awareness-raising and strengthening institutions. All this would remain words and ideals in proposals if not supported by partners such as the Norwegian government. Sincere appreciation on behalf of the Centre, the University and everyone benefiting from the grant!’

The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof Andre Boraine, expressed his deepest gratitude, on behalf of the Faculty of Law, and added: ‘This grant will assist the Faculty in further establishing itself as an internationally acknowledged centre for academic excellence in service of the broader African community.’

The Norwegian government is a long-standing supporter of the ideals of human rights and democracy. It contributed materially and morally to the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. On 12 April, the Embassy will host the opening of a permanent exhibition on Norway’s contribution to the South African liberation struggle at Liliesleaf Liberation Centre in Rivonia.

- Author Centre for Human Rights

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