A compilation of country studies examining the situation of human rights defenders in Africa has just been released by the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network (PAHRDN). The State of Human Rights Defenders 2016 explores challenges, restrictions, and protections on the fundamental freedoms necessary for human rights defenders to operate freely and challenge human rights abuses in their communities.
Launched on May 3rd, 2017 at the NGO forum gathered ahead of the 60th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the report serves as a call to African states to uphold and protect civil society space as envisioned in national constitutions and as represented in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The report covers country situations in Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
In the launching foreward of the publication Hassan Shire, PAHRDN Chairperson notes “In 2017, PAHRDN will continue to bring together HRDs and all those that support their goal of realizing the promises enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. It is our hope that this publication will serve as a tool to raise awareness and bring us one step closer to this goal.”
In attendance at the launch of the publication were several noted human rights rights experts, UN Special Rapporteurs, defenders and human rights organisation representatives, including: Hassan Shire; Arnold Tsunga, Chairperson of the Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network;Honorable Commissioner Reine Alapini Gansou, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa; Ms. Sheila B. Keetharuth, UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea; Maya Fadel, Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Migrants, asylum seekers and internally displaced people;Honorable Commissioner Jamesina Essie L King, Chairperson of the African Commission Committee on ESC Rights; Honorable Commissioner Maiga, Vice President of the African Commission.
Physical copies of the publication were distributed in Niamey, Niger and an online copy is now available at http://www.africandefenders.org
The Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network(PAHRDN) is the secretariat of a collaboration between five sub-regional organizations dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights defender across Africa. It is hosted in Kampala, Uganda, by the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project. It’s membership is additionally comprised of the Réseau des Défenseurs des Droits Humain en Afrique Centrale (Central African Human Rights Defenders Network), the Réseau Ouest Africain des Défenseurs des Droits Humains) (West African Human Rights Defenders Network), the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, and the Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network (hosted by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights).
Download the report: The State of Human Rights Defenders 2016