SAIFAC has recently received support from the Constitution Hill Trust to further its research and educational projects.
New Research Fellows
Raphael Ginsberg joined SAIFAC as a Visiting Research Fellow in January 2009. Raphael is a PhD student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in the Cultural Studies department. He is completing research for his dissertation, which compares Victims' Rights in South Africa to Victims' Rights in the United States, and also looks at the TRC from the perspective of Victims' Rights.
Ms Franziska Sucker arrived at SAIFAC in February 2009. She is currently based at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law at Heidelberg University. She is researching towards her PhD on ‘Cultural Diversity and World Trade Law: the Central Conflict of Audio-Visual Media’. She presented an internal seminar to SAIFAC staff in April dealing with her research topic.
Ms Veruska Sartori arrived at SAIFAC in late March 2009. She is an LLM student at the University of Bologna. She will be conducting research towards her research report during the next three months at SAIFAC.
Latest Research Seminars
Prof James Silke presented a seminar on ‘When Law Fails: Examining the Legitimacy of Private Measures to Protect Worker’s Rights’ on 26 February 2009. Prof Silke was the Bram Fischer Visiting Scholar, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand; Clinical Professor of Law, Allard K Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic; and Executive Director, Orville H Schell, Jr Centre for International Human Rights, Yale Law School.
Professor Nelson Tebbe presented a Seminar on "Inheritance and Disinheritance: African Customary Law and Constitutional Rights" on Monday 9th March, 2009. Professor Tebbe is an Associate Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School and he is also a member of the Executive Committee, of the Law and Religion Section of the American Association of Law Schools.
SAIFAC researcher James Fowkes presented a Seminar on "Evaluating the Indian Public Interest Litigation as a model for broadening access to relief for rights violations and to boost the public image of the judiciary" on 12th June 2009. Mr. Fowkes is currently a junior researcher at SAIFAC and lectures at Wits, and will join Yale's LLM program in August 2009 on a Fulbright scholarship.
Redson Kapindu presented a Seminar on ”Justification for the preferential treatment of refugees over voluntary migrants in the enjoyment of socio-economic rights” on 17th June 2009, based on his continued work on a PhD Thesis with the Wits Law School. Mr. Kapindu is Deputy Director of SAIFAC.
Franziska Sucker presented a seminar on 'Cultural Diversity and WTO law' on Thursday 2 April 2009. Franziska was a Research Fellow at SAIFAC for one month, from March – April 2009 and will be returning in September to continue her research.
SAIFAC in partnership with Constitution Hill organized a seminar titled “Globalisation versus the Right to Vote: Should South Africans Abroad have the right to vote?” on Thursday 12 March 2009 at the Women's Jail Atrium, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg. The panel was chaired by David Bilchitz, Director of SAIFAC and speakers included Paul Graham, Executive Director IDASA; Nichola De Havilland, Director, Centre for Constitutional Rights and Andrew Smith, Bowman Gilfillan Inc.
Professor Catherine Jenkins presented a Seminar on "No Peace Without Justice: What Role for Amnesties in the Age Of The International Criminal Court?” on 31st March, 2009. Professor Jenkins is from the Centre for Law and Conflict, School of Law, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
SAIFAC organized a Conference on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights in Africa on Friday, 30th January 2009 which was held at the Chalsty Centre, Wits Law School. This conference provided an opportunity to stimulate engagement on this important but neglected area with both foreign and local contributions. A full copy of the programme can be accessed here . The Conference was co-ordinated by Dr. Mia Swart, a Research Associate of SAIFAC and was generously sponsored by the Open Society Foundation for South Africa.
Prof. Jonathan Klaaren presented a Seminar on "Opening Open Democracy" on 17th April, 2009. Prof. Klaaren is a Professor of Law, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand.
SAIFAC was actively involved in helping to establish and adjudicate the Human Rights Debating Competition for Grade 10 Learners in High Schools organised by Constitution Hill, which was an excellent way for learners to learn about human rights. Different schools from all over Gauteng came and participated in debates on important Constitutional matters. SAIFAC is highly committed to continue supporting such initiatives.
UPDATE ON THE CORE PUBLICATIONS PROGRAMME PAGE
The Constitutional Court Review has come out in electronic form (see Home Page) and will be released in print shortly. The Review for 2008 will continue this year and a conference will be held in September to evaluate existing papers.
George Mukundi Wachira
George Mukundi successfully defended his LLD thesis on Vindicating Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights in Kenya at the University of Pretoria in November 2008– he graduated on 10th December 2008.
January – June 2009
Since January 2009, David Bilchitz has been involved in the following:
- He has produced a paper titled ‘The Ruggie Framework: An Adequate Rubric for Corporate Human Rights Violations?” The Paper has been submitted for publication in an international journal.
- He has produced a paper titled ‘Moving Beyond Arbitrariness: the Legal Personhood and Dignity of Non-Human Animals’ which has been accepted for publication by the South African Journal on Human Rights in its 2009 (1) volume.
- David presented a paper at the Vienna Workshop on International Constitutional Law held in mid-May 2009. He produced a paper on socio-economic rights titled ‘Social Rights in South Africa’ that he presented there and which will be published in a publication emanating from this workshop.
- David also presented a seminar relating to his Ruggie Framework paper in the United Kingdom at the University of Essex as well as at the University of Oxford in May 2009.
- David also gave a presentation in March 2009 to a round-table organised by the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship that involved commenting on the ISO 26 000 standard that has been developed and relates to reporting standards that businesses must comply with relating to fundamental rights.
- In the project looking at legal connections between Brazil, India and South Africa in the human rights field, David has also been asked to contribute a chapter on the question of corporations and fundamental rights.
- During this period, David has refereed a number of articles for several journals. He has also been asked to review another book for Oxford University Press. David has also been appointed Guest-Editor for the SA Journal of Human Rights in respect of a special edition on business and human rights.
- David has organised the component of their LLM Programme on Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa at the University of Pretoria, relating to the SA Bill of Rights and taught on several occasions in the programme. He has also been attending the Doctoral Seminar Series at the said university and commented on student proposals. David has also agreed to supervise an LLM student at Wits on Corporations and Human Rights and an LLM student from University of the North-West on Animal Rights.
- David was awarded a Visiting Scholarship by the University of Sydney to conduct research and present a paper on the field of Corporations and Human Rights at the University during 2009. Prof David Kinley, who visited South Africa as part of SAIFAC’s Business and Human Rights conference is the academic sponsor of this award. David will take up the fellowship in mid-November 2009.
Since January 2009, Redson Kapindu has been involved in the following:
- In January 2009, Redson published a paper on “Malawi: Legal System and Research Resources”, (New York: Globalex - Hauser Global Law School Program, New York University School of Law, 2009)
- He has written a book review for the South African Journal on Human Rights on Scott Leckie’s ‘Housing, Land, and Property Restitution Rights of Refugees and Displaced Persons: Laws, Cases, and Materials, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007) which will come out in the forthcoming issue.
- He produced a research paper for the Forced Migration Studies Programme titled ‘Social Protection for Malawian Migrants in Johannesburg: Access & Exclusion’, in April 2009.
- Redson is currently working on a Commissioned Research Paper on “The Role of International Human Rights Law in Advancing Socio-Economic Rights in South Africa”, for the Socio-Economic Rights Project of the Community Law Centre at the University of the Western Cape.
- He is currently working on a joint Paper with Associate Professor Danwood Chirwa of the University of Cape Town, titled ‘Holding the Government to Account: The Role of the Malawi Human Rights Commission’ - to be presented at an International Conference on Sources of Accountability on the African Continent, 20 to 24 July 2009 organised by the Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town.
- He is currently working on an update of an Article titled “Researching South African Law” (New York: Globalex - Hauser Global Law School Program, New York University School of Law, 2009)
- Redson has been involved in editorial work on the African Human Rights Law Journal published by the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria as an Associate Editor.
- He also continues to be involved in editorial work as an associate Editor of the Malawi Law Journal.
- Redson attended a Seminar on Litigating Socio-Economic Rights in Africa organised by the Socio-Economic Rights Project of the Community Law Centre at the University of the Western on 25th may 2009 in Cape Town.
- Redson has, together with Dr. David Bilchitz, been regularly participating in the Doctoral Seminar Series at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, since January 2009.
- He continues to work on his PhD Thesis titled “Towards the Full Realisation of Socio-Economic Rights for Refugees in Southern Africa: Prospects and Challenges” at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Mmatsie Mooki has been involved in the following activities since January 2009:
- She participated in the UNGASS (United Nations General Assembly Special Session) 3rd Forum workshop for South Africa organized by Mosaic Training, Service and Healing Centre for Women and the Health Systems Trust, held in Cape Town in the first half of 2009 . The purpose of the workshop was to prepare for the civil society submission of the 2010 country report and a possible shadow report. She has been tasked with looking into the country’s national policy on abortion.
- She co-authored a paper on “Realising the right to health in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after 60 years: addressing the reproductive health rights of women living with HIV Southern Africa” for the Swiss Initiative to Commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the UDHR - Protecting Dignity: An Agenda for Human Rights.
- She acted as a referee for the Malawi Law Journal (Vol 3. Issue 1).
- She acted as an adjudicator for the Constitution Hill/SAIFAC high school debating tournament (February – May 2009)
- Mmatsie continues to work on her Doctoral Thesis titled ‘Legal Access to Abortion in SADC’ at the University of Pretoria.
James Fowkes began his employment at SAIFAC in January 2009. Since then, he has been involved in the following activities:
- He presented a paper entitled 'The Regulation of Detention in the Age of Terror: Lessons from the Apartheid Experience', co-authored with Prof. Mia Swart, delivered at conference on Terrorism in Africa held at the University of Witwatersrand on 27th January 2009. A revised version of the paper will be submitted for publication shortly.
- He presented a research paper on social and economic rights record of potential nominees to fill Constitutional Court vacancies to a working group at University of Cape Town on 17th February 2009 and has helped revise this paper for submission into the public arena.
- Between February – May 2009, he was involved in adjudication and topic-setting for the Constitution Hill human rights debating tournament for Grade 10 learners.
- He made a joint presentation with Ngwako Raboshakga at a round table on the current status of international work on corporate responsibility for human rights violations, at the Nedbank Atrium, Johannesburg on 9th June 2009.
- He is currently preparing a Paper on the reform of rules of jurisdiction to ensure South African courts have jurisdiction over human rights violations by corporations in South Africa.
- He is working on a forthcoming report for International Commission of Jurists, evaluating the potential of the South African legal system to provide remedies to victims of human rights violations perpetrated by corporations
- He has also prepared a paper for publication on “Evaluating Indian Public Interest Litigation as a model for broadening access to relief for victims of human rights violations and to boost the public image of the judiciary" and presented a seminar on this topic on 12 June 2009.
Ngwako Raboshakga began his employment at SAIFAC in January 2009. Since then, he has been involved in the following activities:
- Ngwako completed his LLM thesis on ‘The Adequacy of the Reasonableness Approach in Public Involvement Cases’
- During February, he prepared a report on the African Commission’s writings on the 'State duty to protect against corporate related human rights violations', which SAIFAC is preparing for the John Ruggie Mandate.
- He presented a lecture to a group of 20 students from Randolph-Macon University, Virginia, USA on 24 January 2009. The lecture was titled 'The achievement of equality in South Africa's transitional democracy'.
- He presented two lectures to honours and masters students at the School of Language and Translation Studies, Wits University on 24 March 2009. These lectures were on 'Introduction to the South African Constitution' and 'Structure of Courts in South Africa'
- Ngwako has also formed a key part of the Constitution Hill-SAIFAC debating competition and has worked with James Fowkes in conceptualizing and developing topics for the human rights debating tournament for Grade 10 learners and adjudicating the debates.
- He lectured the topic “Reasonableness” which forms part of the final year Administrative Law course at University of the Witwatersrand Law School.
- Ngwako also conducted two lectures of African Human Rights course to undergraduate students at University of Pretoria Law School. He also adjudicated students’ street law community presentations at the same university.
- Ngwako is currently busy investigating the question surrounding the constitutionality of the representations made by the South African government in the In Re South African Apartheid Litigation case in the Southern District Court of New York. This case concerns litigation claiming civil damages against companies who were complicit with the apartheid government.