More than 60 Master’s students graduate as UP Centre for Human Rights celebrates 20 years of HRDA programme

Posted on December 13, 2019

More than 60 students recently graduated with a Master's degree at a graduation ceremony held by the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Centre for Human Rights on International Human Rights Day at the University’s Aula. On this occasion, Justice Zak Yacoob, retired Constitutional Court judge, was awarded an honorary doctorate degree. It was the first human rights graduation ceremony presided over by UP’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tawana Kupe. It was also the first UP law graduation ceremony in the term of recently elected Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Elsabe Schoeman.

Video: Formal Ceremony

During the ceremony, the donors of the programme congratulated the students and reiterated their commitment to the human rights agenda, particularly in Africa. The donors were represented by Her Excellency Ambassador Riina Kionka, Head of EU Delegation to the Republic of South Africa; Deputy Head of Mission, Minister Counsellor, Jon-Åge Øyslebø from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria; and His Excellency Ambassador Han Peters from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa.

More than 60 Master’s graduates

More than 60 students graduated with a Master's degree from the following Master's programmes organised by the Centre for Human Rights:

  • LLM/MPhil Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA)
    (26 students graduating, three with distinction)
  • LLM International Trade and Investment Law in Africa (TILA)
    (22 students graduating; three with distinction)
  • LLM/ MPhil Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa (SRRA)
    (13 students graduating; one with distinction)
  • LLM/MPhil Multidisciplinary Human Rights (MDHR)
    (three students graduating, one with distinction)
  • Master’s by research (MPhil)
    (one student graduating, with distinction)

Two students graduated with a doctoral degree from the Faculty of Law, UP.

Awards (HRDA and TILA)

The following prizes were awarded to the HRDA Class of 2019:

  • Nelson Mandela Prize for the student with the best overall performance:
    Zerene Ghairun Haddad
  • Kéba M’Baye Prize for the best mini-dissertation:
    Chisomo Tsankho Nyemba
  • Victor Dankwa Prize for the best student in African Human Rights:
    Deborah Nyokabi Mburu and Thomas Kagiso White
  • Ubuntu Prize for the student who best captured the values of humanity:
    Osman Eisa Yousif Eisa and Hernler Tayba

The following award of prizes were made for the TILA Class of 2017:

  • Social Responsibility Prize for the student who best represents the values of social responsibility that should be displayed by all international trade and investment lawyers:
    Francis Kofi Korankye-Sakyi
  • Dr TO Elias Prize for the student who obtained the highest percentage for the mini-dissertation in the Master's in Trade and Investment Law in Africa:

Kriosha Naidoo

  • Advanced International Investment Law Prize for the best student in the Advanced International Investment Law module:

Kimbeng Tebene Tah

  • Advanced International Trade Law Prize for the best student in the Advanced International Trade Law module:

Regina Mabwe

Vera Chirwa Prize

Annually, the Vera Chirwa Prize is awarded to a graduate on the HRDA who has, after completing the degree, shown singular commitment and self-sacrifice in furtherance of human rights and democracy. The Vera Chirwa Prize for 2019 was awarded to Justice Lydia Mugambe (Class of 2002), in recognition of her contribution towards advancing the socio-economic rights of the most vulnerable and ensuring gender-based justice in Africa, especially in Uganda, through her courageous and impactful judicial career. The Prize was presented to Justice Mugambe by the EU Head of Cooperation, Mr Bernard Rey.

Opportunities to four graduates of the HRDA Class of 2019

Annually, the Centre raises some funds to enable some of the top graduates to undertake one-year paid internships/ take up positions as legal staff at African Union human rights institutions. The following graduates of the Class of 2019 have the opportunity to contribute as follows in 2020:

  • Intern/Legal officer, African Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child:
    Aline Nininahazwe
  • Intern/Legal officer, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights:
    Louisa Ntaji
  • Intern/Legal officer, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights:
    Usani Odum 
  • Doctoral candidate and tutor, Centre for Human Rights:
    Mary Auma 

The ceremony was attended by representatives from the partner universities of the HRDA programmes, donors, partners of the Global Campus of Human Rights, the Global Campus of Human Rights President and its Secretary General.

The support of the twelve partner universities of the HRDA programme and the donors, European UnionDAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Pretoria and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa is gratefully acknowledged.

The Centre for Human Rights graduation ceremony was part of a number of events recently hosted by the Centre for Human Rights, celebrating 20 years of the existence of its Master’s programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa.

Video: Informal Ceremony

- Author Centre for Human Rights

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