The Free State Centre for Human Rights is a criticalinterdisciplinary, and contextually engaged research, advocacy, and legal-practice institution, focusing in its work on the relationship between human rights and transformation.

Established in January 2016, the centre’s genesis was the 2007 incident of racial discrimination at the Reitz student residence on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. Following this incident an agreement was reached between the UFS and the South African Human Rights Commission that a centre for human rights would be established, with the mandate to work toward the transformation of the UFS campus and campus community.

Given this background, the centre’s broad focus is not on human rights in the abstract, but on the relationship between human rights and our actual mandate, transformation.

This relationship is approached from a critical perspective, that is, one that recognises its double-handed nature; the fact that human rights, in whatever context, relate both positively and negatively to transformation, can both enable and hinder transformation.

This inevitably means that the centre’s work and its research community is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on a range of different disciplines and combining insights and wisdom from a variety of disciplines. The centre participates in its research and other activities with the whole UFS community, be it through teaching in the centre’s Interdisciplinary Master’s Degree in Human Rights; co-supervision of postgraduate students; participation in research projects; or simply involvement in the centre’s research discussions and events.

Although the centre is primarily an academic research institution, its work is contextually engaged. Apart from its Research and Postgraduate Division, coordinated by Prof Loot Pretorius, the centre consists of an Advocacy Division, coordinated by Dr Annelie de Man, and a Legal Services Division, currently coordinated by the centre’s director, Prof Danie Brand. The Advocacy Division engages in transformation-related human rights advocacy on the UFS campus, working primarily with students in the university’s student residences. The Legal Services Division operates as a Free State-focused public interest strategic litigation unit, partly in cooperation with the UFS Law Clinic.

All of the centre’s work is geographically located: research, advocacy, and litigation focus on issues on the UFS campus and in Bloemfontein, the Free State Province, and Lesotho.



FACULTY CONTACT

T: +27 51 401 2451
F: + 27 51 401 3043

E: law@ufs.ac.za

Equitas Building
UFS Bloemfontein Campus

Law photo for next to contact block

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