The Regional Exchange of Professors of the Global Campus aims to put in contact the academics of each programme, with the students and the curricula of the other Regional Masters. This activity is of undeniable value for the GC objectives, as it fosters exchange and the mutual enrichment of the curricula of the Regional Master’s programmes and the understanding by the students of the human rights issues in a truly global perspective.
Within the Regional Exchange programme, on Wednesday 24th of September 2013, Veronica Gomez, Co-Director of Lat.Ma (Latin American Master on Human Rights and Democratisation), gave a lecture on the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights, while on the Friday 26th September 2014 Frans Viljoen, Academic Director of the Master's programme in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa, gave a lecture on the African regional human rights system, established under the auspices of the African Union (AU).
A Brief Account on Prof. Frans Viljoen Lecture Zahraa Awada-Badawi, E.MA Student 2014/15
As part of the “Regional Exchange of Professors” activity which the Global Campus tends to apply among its six different Master’s programmes, students of the E.MA in Human Rights and Democratisation at EIUC-Venice were lectured during the second week by Prof. Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Right at University of Pretoria and Academic Coordinator for the LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa).
The lecture revolved around the African Regional Human Rights System with its various bodies, roles, and modes of work. In fact, it was well-organised and thematically structured whereby the lecturer covered almost all the ideas he intended to highlight meanwhile allowing sufficient time for students to pose questions and make relevant comments. Thematically speaking, the lecture was divided into six major themes: African Union (IGO- Organogram: African Union), norms, institutions (African Commission, African Children’s Rights Committee, and African Court), and procedures (productive mandate and promotional mandate); an overview of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (interpretation of individual rights and duties underscoring reciprocity, definition of collective concepts, indivisibility of rights, claw-back clauses, limitations/margin of appreciation, reservations, and derogations); the protection of specific and vulnerable groups (women, children, indigenous peoples, sexual orientation and gender identity); the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (judicialisation from quasi-judicial to judicial, relationship with African Commission, complaints procedure, State parties to certain protocols, referral from commission to court, merger with the African Court of Justice, ); sub-regional initiatives on human rights (sub-regional organisations, ECOWAS); and current issues and challenges (implementation and follow up & fragmentation of mutual ‘reinforcement system’).
Moreover, Prof. Viljoen elaborately emphasized the contradictions surrounding certain articles of the AU (ex: Art .4(g) on the non-interference of member states v/s Art. 4(h) on the right of the Union to intervene in cases of violations of Human Rights). Furthermore, he made use of photographs, maps, and statistical illustrations that served to clarify the points and visualize the image on a wider scope. In addition, he held an optional workshop afterwards at the Aula Magna which served a great deal to train students, especially non-lawyers, to examine cases from two different if not opposite perspectives as applicants and respondents, and as a Commission as well (in this case the African Commission).
Throughout his lecture, Prof. Viljoen made a thorough presentation during which he employed numerous examples and cases from within the African continent, alongside with reference to the European and Inter-American systems by means of juxtaposition; he thus succeeds at promoting the level of understanding of the topic at hand. It is clear that the Global Campus’s strategy of “Regional Exchange of Professors” helps students to develop a better understanding of other non-European Human Rights systems, thanks to the long-standing expertise of professors who have lived in the heart of the respective regions. Surely this greatly contributes to the programme's objective to attain a global perspective on Human Rights issues.