14 January, 2020
News from AfricanDefenders| November & December 2019
Ubuntu Hub Cities Coordinators Workshop
Recognising the importance of strengthening the local implementation of the Ubuntu Hub Cities initiative, AfricanDefenders organised a workshop for hub cities coordinators in Kampala, Uganda, in November 2019. The workshop brought together the Ubuntu Hub Cities coordinators, psychosocial specialists, and human rights defenders (HRDs) who have benefitted from the Ubuntu Hub Cities initiative to deliberate on ways to enhance collaboration and improve the experience of relocated HRDs. Participants shared best practices across the continent, reviewed internal guidelines for assessment and placement of HRDs, and brainstormed on how to ensure the psychosocial wellbeing of HRDs during relocation.
More from the Secretariat
- On 8 November 2019, Hassan Shire, AfricanDefender’s Chairperson, officially launched the report on the AfricanDefenders Convention, Johannesburg+20, held in Zanzibar, Tanzania, in June 2019. In addition to the proceedings of the Convention, the report includes the Kampala Plan of Action+10 (KAPA+10), which will guide AfricanDefender’s work in the next ten years;
- During the international week for the elimination of violence against women (25 November) and the women human rights defenders (WHRDs) day (29 November), AfricanDefenders and DefendDefenders jointly launched a campaign in relation to 16 days of Activism against gender-based violence on the theme Orange the World: Generation Stand Against Rape to showcase the challenges, including SGBV, faced by WHRDs in Africa, as well as their determination and courage. Read the stories and listen to the podcast;
- Together with DefendDefenders and 15 other organisations, we signed a joint civil society statement urging African leaders to raise concerns about Tanzania’s pressure on Burundian refugees to return to Burundi ahead of the African Union (AU) High-Level Dialogue on displacement, which took place form 4 to 6 December in Kampala, Uganda;
- The Chairperson of AfricanDefender’s authored an open letter to the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, E. Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo”, with concerns about Somalia’s voting record at the United Nations Human Rights Council;
- Recognizing the importance of protecting all HRDs, AfricanDefenders signed a statement together with other organisations on human rights day: the statement urged the international community to take concrete actions to prevent attacks against human rights and environmental defenders who put their lives at risk to protect those affected by business activities;
- We participated and contributed in a human rights seminar on civil and political rights hosted by the German Federal Foreign office in Nairobi. We shared best practicesthat AfricanDefenders and DefendDefenders have developed to ensure that the voices of HRDs continue to be heard;
- AfricanDefenders had the opportunity to attend a high-level dialogue on the Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa organised by the African Union in Kampala, Uganda, to deliberate on sustainable solutions to forced displacement in Africa;
- AfricanDefenders and DefendDefenders had a partnership meeting with PAX and Amnesty International in The Netherlands, to discuss possibilities for future collaboration and cooperation;
- AfricanDefender’s Chairperson reflected on our achievements in 2019 and our priorities for 2020. He also extended his appreciation to the various partners that made all the achievements possible during the year;
- In December, we witnessed a historic moment for civil society in Ethiopia as the Ethiopian Human Rights Defenders Network was officially launched as an output of a mission to Ethiopia that AfricanDefenders and DefendDefenders conducted earlier in the year.
From our members
- The Cairo Institute for Human Rights (CIHRS) signed a letter together with other human rights organisations demanding investigations to the 167-days disappearance and torture of human rights activist Ibrahim Ezz El- Din;
- CIHRS celebrated 25 years of defending human rights in December. Prominent figures such as the UN Assistant Secretary-General Andrew Gilmour, Sudan’s Minister of Culture and Media Faisal Mohamed Saleh, and prominent Egyptian politician Mohamad El-Baradei joined the celebrations.
East and Horn of Africa:
- In the celebration of Human Rights Defenders Day (9 December) and International Human Rights Day (10 December), DefendDefenders and more than 60 HRDs gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the occasion of the 2019 edition of DefendDefenders’ annual flagship event, Claiming Spaces: Tactical Tools for Human Rights Defenders (9-13 December 2019). The forum provided a platform for Ethiopian HRDs to meet, network, celebrate their achievements, occupy newly open spaces at the national level, and build their capacity to conduct their work and protect themselves, including through enhanced physical and digital security;
- Read more about the Defenders Coalition (National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders in Kenya) and the Working Group on Human Rights Defenders 2019 Human Rights Defenders award winners ;
- Meet DefendDefenders’ HRD of the month of November 2019: Brenda Kugonza.
- The Central African Human Rights Defenders Network (REDHAC) celebrated its tenth anniversary! We presented Maximillienne Ngo Mbe, REDHAC’s Executive Director, with a resilience award. Hassan Shire, AfricanDefenders chairperson, also received an award from REDHAC in recognition of his leadership in advancing human rights defenders;
- Joint letter by the Central African Human Rights Defenders Network (REDHAC) and FrontLine Defenders on situation of HRDs in Cameroon since the socio-political crisis broke out in October 2016.
- International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) documentary on sexual and gender-based violence in Eswatini.
CIHRS ninth annual report focusing on the evocations of the Arab Spring amid newly drawn armed conflicts
Do not miss!
Are you DefendDefenders’ next communications officer? Have a look on their website and apply by 19 January!
For more information please contact:
Hassan Shire, President AfricanDefenders : [email protected]
Joseph Bikanda, Coordinateur AfricanDefenders : [email protected]ers.org