Dullah Omar Institute

The Dullah Omar Institute started as the Community Law Centre in 1990. It was renamed as the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights in 2015. Through its work, it honours the life and legacy of its founding director, Adv. Dullah Omar, a stalwart of the struggle against Apartheid and the Minister of Justice in President Mandela’s Cabinet. It houses professorial and research staff with international reputations and runs masters and doctoral programmes in governance and human rights. The Institute comprises some 40 staff members and is headed by Prof Jaap de Visser. It conducts applied research, postgraduate teaching and advocacy in six programmes: The Childrens’ Rights Project, headed by Prof Benyam Mezmur, supports the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Childrens’ Charter across the African continent. The Africa Criminal Justice Reform headed by Prof Lukas Muntingh is leading research and advocacy on human rights-driven criminal justice reform in Africa, focusing on issues such as pretrial detention, torture and the criminalisation of poverty. The Applied Constitutional Studies Laboratory, headed by Prof Derek Powell, uses big data and computational methods to analyse complex problems of governance, accountability and social justice. Prof Nico Steytler holds the South African Research Chair in Multilevel Government. It focuses on the role of local authorities, provinces and regions to pursue development and peace in Africa and beyond. The Socio-Economic Rights Project, headed by Prof Ebenezer Durojaye promotes the realisation of socio-economic rights in Africa. The Women and Democracy Initiative, headed by Ms Samantha Waterhouse works to increase civil society claims on legislatures, emphasising their oversight and accountability roles, particularly with respect to women’s rights.

University of the Western Cape


Prof. Jaap de Visser

Contact Details

Contact person: Prof. Jaap de Visser
Contact number: +27 21 959 2950/1
Website: Click here


New Social Sciences Building
University of the Western Cape
Robert Sobukwe Road
Cape Town

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