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Media Statement: SAHRC Mourns the Passing of Professor Christof Heyns

Attention: Editors and Reporters

Monday, 29 March 2021

The South African Human Rights Commission (the SAHRC or the Commission) is deeply saddened by the passing of Professor Christof Heyns.

Professor Heyns’ made an immense contribution in the advancement of human rights. Professor Heyns was Professor of Human Rights Law and the Director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at the University of Pretoria. He was also a member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee. He served as United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions from 2010 to 2016. He was also visiting professor at American University Washington College of Law's Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from 2006 to 2012.

Professor Heyns’ contribution advancement of was at the foundations of human rights – not only locally within South Africa, but across Africa and globally. Professor Heyns held a MA LLB from the University of Pretoria, an LLM from Yale Law School and PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand. He was also a Visiting Fellow at Kellogg College at Oxford University.

He dedicated his life’s work in ensuring that young people were educated on human rights at school level, having been central at the establishment, participation and the organising of the National Schools Moot Court Competition, which the SAHRC now administers. Through his work, the Centre of Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, is one of the leading institutes on human rights on the African continent, ensuring that young legal practitioners who study human rights at the institution have an academic and practical mastery of human rights as it applies in the real world.

Professor Heyns passed away, while on a hike, on Sunday the 28th March 2021, aged 62 years old.

Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission
Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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