[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.
21 March 2010 marks 50 years since the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, which is today commemorated annually as Human Rights Day in South Africa. To mark this event, the Democratic Governance and Right Unit (DGRU) of the Department of Public Law at the University of Cape Town (UCT), the Political Studies Department at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), are convening a conference to consider some contemporary issues confronting civil society activists and human rights practitioners. Papers, to be presented at the conference in March 2010, are invited to address the following themes / questions:
What is the meaning of Sharpeville in a contemporary context? How should we define the relationship between the state and civil society, contrasting 1960 and the post-1994 era?
Please send an abstract of 300 words to Dr Kristina Bentley, firstname.lastname@example.org by 2 October 2009. Authors of the selected papers will be invited to a workshop in early December to present their papers for discussion ahead of the conference in March 2010. The papers will be published in a special edition of a local peer reviewed journal.BACK TO TOP