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17th Human Rights Moot Court competition draws law students from across the continent

By Gill JacotGuillarmod

Posted on 22 April 2008

The African Human Rights Moot Court Competition has established the largest network of African law faculties and is the largest gathering around the theme of human rights in Africa. This year the moot court is being held at the University of Pretoria

Approximately 70 African universities send their top law students to compete in the Moot, which is organised by the Centre for Human Rights, in a different country each year. In commemoration of the University’s Centenary, the Competition will take place from 30 June to 5 July at the University of Pretoria.

During the Moot Competition, teams of students argue a hypothetical human rights case as if they were before the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. This year the case deals primarily with “the right not to be poor”. Judges in the final round include the Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa, the President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Participants will also attend a one-day training workshop and enjoy an excursion to Soweto and the Apartheid Museum.

In training those who are most likely to effect positive changes in Africa through human rights law, the Moot is making an important contribution to sustainable development in Africa. Since its inception in 1992, 774 teams from 118 universities representing 45 of the 53 African countries have taken part in this event. Through its network, postgraduate degree programmes have been established, student and lecturer exchange programmes set up and seminal research programmes undertaken, resulting in the publication of the leading texts on human rights law in Africa.

In 2006, the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education was awarded to the Centre for Human Rights, with specific mention made of the contribution the Moot has made to the realisation of human rights in Africa through education.

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