9 May, 2019
News from AfricanDefenders | March & April 2019
64th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
In April, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) held its 64th session in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. We facilitated the participation of human rights defenders (HRDs) to the NGO Forum and the Ordinary Session, and conducted bilateral meetings and strategic advocacy (more details below). Six HRDs from from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Algeria, Cameroon, and Sudan participated under the umbrella of AfricanDefenders.
MORE FROM THE SECRETARIAT
At the NGO forum:
- Together with the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), we co-organised a panel on the situation of HRDs defending the rights of people on the move, and exiled HRDs;
- We facilitated the presentation of resolutions and recommendations to be submitted to theAfrican Commission; and
- In association with other civil society organisations (CSO) participating in the NGO forum, we issued a protest letter against the poor treatment accorded to civil society organisations by Egypt as a host of the 64th session. This included delays in the issuance of visas for participants and restrictions imposed on CSOs activities.
At the 64th session of the African Commission:
- Together with DefendDefenders, we submitted a joint statement on the human rights situation in Africa, highlighting the situation of HRDs in Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Ethiopia; and thanking the governments of Côte d’Ivoire, Tunisia, and South Africa for their support to the Ubuntu Hub Cities initiative; and
- We signed an open letter to the Government of Cameroon in relation to the government’s attacks and reprisals against international and regional human rights organisations and gross human rights violations in certain regions of the country.
- In March 2019, we facilitated consultations on the subject of impunity for violations against HRDs between the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, and African HRDs. The consultations were held in Nairobi, in two sessions dedicated to anglophone and francophone HRDs, respectively; and
- In March and April 2019, AfricanDefenders received 18 applications for support under the Ubuntu Hub Cities initiative. Ten applications have been accepted, four referred to partners for further consideration, three are under review, and one is in hold on the applicant’s request.
FROM OUR MEMBERS
- The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) highlighted human rights issues in Egypt, as the country hosted the 64th session of the African Commission; and
- CIHRS called on all parties to the armed conflict in Libya to abide by obligations under international law.
- The West African Human Rights Defenders Network issued a statement on the human rights situation in the sub-region during the 64th Ordinary Session session of the AfricanCommission;
- The Ivorian Coalition of Human Rights Defenders issued a statement highlighting the attack of a trade unionist, and the arrest of an HRD in Cote d’Ivoire; and
- The Human Rights Defenders Network Sierra Leone called on the Government to respect commitment on women and children rights
East and Horn Of Africa:
- In March 2019, DefendDefenders participated in the 40th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council, and called for a UN resolution on environmental HRDs, which was adopted by the Council, and a UN resolution on South Sudan, also adopted by the Council; and
- At the NGO Forum preceding the 64th session of the African Commission, DefendDefenders provided a bi-annual update from the East and Horn of Africa sub-region.
- The Central African Human Rights Defenders Network issued a statement on the human rights situation in the sub-region at the 64th Ordinary Session of the African Commission
- In its bi-annual report to the ACHPR, DefendDefenders provides a six-month overview of events affecting the rights to freedom of association, expression, and peaceful assembly in the East and Horn of Africa sub-region; and
- During its 40th Regular Session, the Human Rights Council issued a resolution on environmental HRDs, and a resolution on South Sudan.