HF Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights

Endowed in 1986 by De Beers, the HF Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights Law is located in the public law department of the University of Stellenbosch Law Faculty. The Chair in Human Rights Law was founded with the purposes of promoting the development of human rights law in South African through the three main pillars of academic endeavour – research, teaching and community interaction.

The founding incumbent of the Chair was Emeritus Justice Laurie Ackermann, who went on to serve with distinction as a member of South Africa’s first Constitutional Court.  Prof Gerhard Erasmus, an internationally regarded expert in international and comparative human rights law, served as the second incumbent of the Chair.

Professor Sandra Liebenberg is the third and current incumbent of the Chair. She is an internationally renowned scholar in the field of socio-economic rights, and served as Chair of the expert committee advising the Constitutional Assembly on the Bill of Rights in the 1996 Constitution.

Key activities of the Chair include the following:

  • Producing high quality research and publications
  • Designing and teaching the major undergraduate module on human rights
  • Supervising and mentoring a range of postgraduate (LLM and LLD) students in the field of human rights
  • Co-directing special Faculty projects such as the Socio-Economic Rights and Administrative Justice Project (SERAJ)
  • Organising the prestigious Annual Human Rights Lecture series of the Chair
  • Engaging in a range of human rights-related community service activities such as supporting NGO advocacy and public interest litigation, hosting workshops and conferences, and publishing articles in the popular media. In 2014, Prof Liebenberg’s work in this area was recognised through a prestigious Chancellor’s Award.
  • Building international linkages such as the flagship international course on the judicial protection of economic, social and cultural rights jointly organised on an annual basis by the Chair, the Åbo Akademi Institute of Human Rights, Finland, and the Norwegian Institute of Human Rights.

Gestig in 1986 deur die De Beers, die HF Oppenheimer Leerstoel in Menseregte is in die Departement Publiekreg van die Regsfakulteit aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch geleë. Die Menseregte Leerstoel was gestig met die doel om die ontwikkeling van menseregte in Suid-Afrika te bevorder, deur gebruik te maak van die hoofpilare van akademiese strewe – navorsing, onderrig en gemeenskapsinteraksie.

Die stigter lid en bekleër van die Leerstoel was Emeritus Regter Laurie Ackermann, wat voortgegaan het om met onderskeiding as lid van die eerste Konstitusionele Hof in Suid-Afrika te dien. Prof Gerhard Erasmus, word op internasionale vlak beskou as ʼn kenner in die veld van internasionale en vergelykende menseregte. Hy het ook gedien as die tweede bekleër van die Leerstoel.

Professor Sandra Liebenberg is die derde bekleër en huidige houer van die Leerstoel. Sy is ʼn internasionale bekende akademikus in die veld van sosio-ekonomiese regte, en het gedien as Voorsitter van die deskundige komitee wat die Grondewetlike Vergadering geadviseer het op die Handves van Regte in die 1996 Grondwet.

Sleutel aktiwiteite van die Leerstoel sluit die volgende in:

  • Vervaardiging van hoe kwaliteit navorsing en publikasies
  • Ontwerp en aanbied van die hoof voorgraadse module oor menseregte
  • Toesig hou en mentor van ʼn reeks nagraadse (LLM en LLD) studente in die veld van menseregte
  • Mede-beheer van spesiale Fakulteit projekte soos die Sosio-Ekonomiese Regte en Administratiewe Geregtigheid Projek (SERAJ)
  • Organisering van die Leerstoel se gesogte jaarlikse Menseregte Lesing reeks
  • Betrokke in verskeie menseregte verwante gemeenskapsdiens aktiwiteite soos die ondersteuning van NGO voorspraak en openbare belang litigasie, reël van werkswinkels en konferensies en publisering van artikels in populêre media. In 2014 is Prof Liebenberg se werk in hierdie gebied erkenning gegee deur middel van die gesogte Kanselier Toekenning.
  • Bou van internasionale skakels soos die primêre internasionale kursus oor die geregtelike beskerming van ekonomiese, sosiale en kulturele regte, gesamentlik georganiseer op ʼn jaarlikse basis deur die Leerstoel, die Åbo Akademi Instituut van Menseregte, Finland, en die Noorse Instituut van Menseregte.