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01 October 2019 | Story Ngang Carol | Photo Stephen Collett
International conference delegates
International delegates attending the International Conference on the Right to Development hosted on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The International Conference on the Right to Development was held in Bloemfontein for the first time from 25 to 27 September 2019, hosted by the Free State Centre for Human Rights at the University of the Free State. This is the third in the international conference series launched in 2017 with the aim of advancing the right to development both in Africa and internationally. This year’s conference follows the previous two that were held at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, in September 2017 and August 2018.  

Based on the theme, ‘The right to development and natural resource ownership’, the 3rd International Conference on the Right to Development offered the forum and opportunity to participants from a diversity of backgrounds and disciplines to interact and share knowledge on their research outputs, which extensively explored questions on how natural resource ownership could contribute to the realisation of the right to development. The keynote address was delivered by Prof John C Mubangizi, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State. 

The three-day conference registered a total of 35 participants and 27 presentations out of the 33 that were scheduled. Participants came from different countries, including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, and the United Kingdom. Some of those who were unable to attend had the opportunity to present their papers through Skype. The presentations stimulated exciting and robust debates. 

The International Conference Series on the Right to Development is jointly organised and co-sponsored by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria; the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute, University of South Africa; and the Free State Centre for Human Rights, University of the Free Sate. In its three years of existence, it has progressively established a steady track record of publications, including journal articles in special editions of selected journals and collections of chapters in edited volumes. 

The next (fourth) conference is intended to be much bigger and is scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2021. 

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