Webinar: The suspension of rights in the fight against COVID-19: What South Africans think about that [22 April 2021]

Constitutional Resilience and Covid-19 Pandemic in Africa Webinar Series
  • When Apr 22, 2021 from 02:30 PM to 04:00 PM (Africa/Johannesburg / UTC200)
  • Where Zoom (Virtual meeting)
  • Contact Name
  • Add event to calendar iCal


Moderator: Gladys Mirugi-Mukundi, Dullah Omar Institute, UWC

Panellist: Professor Narnia Bohler-Muller, Human Sciences Research Council


The Applied Constitutional Study Laboratory (ACSL) and the Socio-economic Rights Project (SERP) at the Dullah Omar Institute, University of the Western Cape invite you to a webinar on The suspension of rights in the fight against COVID-19: What South Africans think about that.

Governments have the right under law to take drastic measures to protect the population from pandemics.  In a constitutional democracy that permission is a state of exception, not an open-ended license to suspend individual rights and rule by decree.  But where the line is drawn between permissible and impermissible state action is by no means clear.  A balance must be struck in every instance between the protection of public health and the protection of individual rights and freedoms.  The pandemic has shown how difficult striking the right balance has been for many countries.  Human rights are the hard-fought gains of centuries of struggle for human dignity and freedom against one form of tyranny after another.  It is precisely in a state of exception that constitutionalism and the state's positive duty to protect rights matter the most.  Yet, it is also in the state of emergency that individual rights must be balanced against the interest of the public as a whole.

In this webinar we talk to Professor Bohler-Muller about the findings from a recent study by the Human Sciences Research Council in partnership with the University of Johannesburg, of how South Africans feel about the suspension of various rights in the course of the struggle against the pandemic in 2020.




ACSL and SERP wish to acknowledge the financial support of Open Society Foundation- South Africa towards this webinar series.