The Research and Documentation Programme (RDP) plans, conduct and manage research on the promotion and protection of human rights aimed at monitoring …
The programme seeks to promote and facilitate interaction between the SAHRC and civil society and; the SAHRC and parliament on human rights issues; to engage with the legislative drafting and oversight function of Parliament; and to monitor and raise awareness about South Africa’s international and regional treaty body obligations.
Whilst engagement with Parliament at a national level continues to be the well established business of the programme, the provincial parliamentary work and international treaty body work is still an area which is in its infancy and continues to grow.
The Parliamentary & International Affairs Programme (PIAP) has progressively evolved within the Commission. The Programme has its genesis in the days of the first term of the commission under the chairmanship of Barney Pityana. In 1997, he was pivotal in ensuring the appointment of a Parliamentary Officer.
The Commission had a single Parliamentary Officer from 1997 through to 2004. In 2004 the first foreign intern was hosted and in early 2005 the first South African intern was appointed to assist the Parliamentary Officer. Now that there were 2 members of staff dedicated to Parliamentary work, the Parliamentary Unit came into being. In April 2007 the Unit became a fully fledged Programme of the Commission and provision was made for a Senior Researcher; 2 researchers, 2 additional South African interns and an Admin Secretary. The international internship programme has expanded over the years with the Programme now attracting top students from internationally recognised universities (Harvard, Stanford, Michigan, Oxford amongst others) throughout the year. Due to budgetary constraints the local internship programme has been placed on hold.
The Programme is the only Programme of the Commission which is not based at the Commissions head office in Johannesburg, rather being based in Cape Town in close proximity to the National Parliament.
Nature of the Programmes work
The nature of the Programmes work is at a broad policy level impacting on legislation and oversight processes whilst strengthening constitutional democracy through facilitating participation in these processes.
The Programme also ensures that the commission is visible within the ever increasing and recognised role of national human rights institutions at the treaty body level seeking out innovative methods of transporting broad international principles and recommendation into the daily work of the commission in order that this may impact on the lives of the poor and most vulnerable in society.
The Programme works closely with Commissioners and senior management in developing policy positions on issues.
The Programme also provides opportunities for the various aspects of the Commissions work to be articulated and show cased at the parliamentary and international level.
The 3 sub-programmes of PIAP
The Programme is comprised of 3 sub-programmes working in the areas of parliamentary liaison; legislation monitoring and oversight; and treaty body monitoring.