News from AfricanDefenders : January & February 2020


43rd Session of the Human Rights Council(HRC)

  • At the 43rdsession of the HRC (HRC43, 24 February-20 March 2020), AfricanDefenders signed a civil society letter calling for the renewal of the mandate of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.
  • At the start of HRC43, AfricanDefenders and DefendDefenders engaged states, dignitaries, UN officials, experts, and NGO partners, discussing issues of common interest and making the case for preventative action on country situations of concern, based on early warning signs and objective criteria.

{See more here;}


More from the Secretariat

  • On behalf of DefendDefenders and AfricanDefenders, we participated in a workshop facilitated by the International Civil Society Action Network to share experiences and best practices in the protection of women peacebuilders; and
  • Since January 2020, 7 requests of support under the Ubuntu Hub Cities were received. So far 6 are under consideration and 1 has been dismissed.

From our Members

North Africa:

  • The Cairo Institute for Human Rights (CIHRS) together with other human rights organisations called for the unconditional release of Patrick George Zaki, a researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and graduate student and, an investigation into the torture Zaki endured during his detention; and
  • Read CIHRS’ statement on Egypt’s Case 488/2019 against prominent journalists, human rights defenders (HRDs), politicians and lawyers.

{Read more on Case488/2019}

West Africa:

 The West African Network of Human Rights Defenders (WAHRDN):

  • Called for an investigation on human rights violations in Mauritania;
  • Expressed concerns over the Gambian security forces using violence against peaceful protestors; and
  • Called for the respect of human rights in Guinea after the announcement of the proposed constitutional reform and legislative elections held on 16 February 2020.

Central Africa:

The Human Rights Defenders Network in Central Africa (REDHAC) wrote a letter together with Frontline Defenders to the United Nations Security Council on the situation of  HRDs in Cameroon.

East and Horn of Africa:

  • Meet DefendDefender’s HRD of the month of January Faiza Abdi Mohamed;
  • Read DefendDefernder’s joint letter to Michel Forst, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, and Rémy Ngoy Lumbu, African Commission Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Focal Point on Reprisals in Africa, on the intervention in the case of the HRD Elia Magoti;
  • The Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition(THRDC) released a press statement condemning government officials’ narratives that encourage killing of social and political activists in Tanzania.

Southern Africa:

  • The Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN) has a new website!

{Check it out!}

  •  SAHRDN released a statement calling on authorities to guarantee transparent and credible elections in Malawi.


Recommended Readings

Read the SAHRDN process report on the 2019 Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Summit

{Process Report}


Do not miss!

Free Press Unlimited and Greenhost are offering free digital security online courses for journalists and activists on the online platform Totem.

{Find out more about the courses}

Just Associates (JASS) has launched a new 5-module toolkit for women activists and HRDs that was commissioned by the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Michel Forst.

Have a look!

{Our Rights, Our Safety: Resources for Women Human Rights }



AfricanDefenders and DefendDefenders engaged with partners at the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, February 2020.


For more information, please contact

Hassan Shire, Chairperson/President AfricanDefenders: [email protected]

Joseph Bikanda, Coordinator/Coordinateur AfricanDefenders: [email protected]