Reflections on 20 years of SA in the AU

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Beyond treaties, legislation we ponder how SA has fared on its African human rights commitments

The Southern Africa Trust and the Human Rights Institute of South Africa, with support from the State of the Union (SOTU) Coalition, are partnering with the Mail and Guardian to host a discussion and photographic exhibition to commemorate South Africa’s 20th anniversary of membership in the African Union (AU).

Bringing together various thought leaders, the event on Tuesday, 20 May 2014 will be an invaluable opportunity for reflections and critical assessment of South Africa’s involvement in the AU, focusing on the country’s progress in achieving its African human rights commitments. 

South Africa has ratified all of the AU’s human rights treaties, and their tenets are reflected in the country’s progressive constitution and legislation. Looking beyond treaties and legislation, however, the event will interrogate whether South Africa has in practice lived up to these African human rights commitments. The exhibition of news photography from the Mail and Guardian will focus on freedom of assembly in South Africa. Images of historic (pre-1994) and contemporary (post-1994) protests will be juxtaposed to show how far the country has come in protecting free assembly, while also drawing attention to the concerning trend of violent clashes between citizens and police.

The discussion and exhibition falls in the week leading up to Africa Day, which marks the formation of the Organisation African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the AU. South Africa was officially admitted into the OAU on 23 May 1994 following the country’s first democratic election.

Discussion and Exhibition

Event Title: Reflections on 20 Years of South Africa in the AU – A Discussion and Exhibition

Date: 20 May 2014, 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Venue: Constitution Hill, Women’s Jail (Capacity – 150 people)

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