ACHPR: Stronger Protection for HRDs Needed to Respond to Clampdown

At the just concluded session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and network members highlighted the major human rights developments in the region and called for a stronger protection of human rights defenders. In particular, EHAHRDP joined other NGOs highlighting the urgent need for a strong response by the Commission to the serious and ongoing human rights violations in the conflict areas in Sudan.

On 22nd October 2013, Mr. Hassan Shire, EHAHRDP’s Executive Director, delivered an oral intervention illustrating the human rights situation in the East and Horn of Africa from April to September 2013. “Regrettably this period has been marked by renewed government clamp down on fundamental human rights in most countries in the sub region”, he said. EHAHRDP urged the Commission to follow up with States where its decisions remain unimplemented, for example in Eritrea. EHAHRDP also called on the Commission to reaffirm its support for the International Criminal Court and to urge AU member states to ensure that the perpetrators of the most serious crimes do not benefit from impunity.

In an oral intervention on 27th October 2013, EHAHRDP denounced the increased number of killings and attacks on HRDs in the sub region. In Kenya, Hassan Ali Guyo was shot dead by an army officer on 7th August 2013, and in Rwanda, Gustave Sharangabo Makonene was found murdered on 17th July 2013. Physical attacks and killings of journalists also remains a serious concern for EHAHRDP. EHAHRDP condemned the killings of six media workers in Somalia to date this year in an oral intervention on freedom of expression and access to information, as well as the continuing crackdown on the independence of the media throughout the region.

On the sidelines of the Commission session, EHAHRDP and Elman Peace and Human Rights Center organized a side event to give an update on the human rights pledges and commitments made by the Somali Federal Government in recent months, and discuss the vision of human rights defenders of how these commitments can be translated into concrete improvements on the ground. It was also an opportunity for members of the ACHPR and other human rights defenders to discuss how they can support and provide solidarity to their colleagues in Somalia.

EHAHRDP calls upon states and the Commission to prioritise protection for human rights defenders and strongly condemn impunity for the killings of HRDs in Africa. States are also encouraged to support the ACHPR by implementing decisions passed by the Commission in order to promote and protect human rights.

To read EHAHRDP’s full oral intervention on the report on HRDs in Africa, please see: https://defenddefenders.org/2013/10/oral-intervention-on-the-report-of-special-rapporteur-on-human-rights-defenders-in-africa-2/

To read EHAHRDP’s full oral intervention on the report on freedom of expression and access to information in Africa, please see: https://defenddefenders.org/2013/10/oral-intervention-on-the-report-of-special-rapporteur-on-freedom-of-expression-and-access-to-information-in-africa/

To read EHAHRDP’ full oral intervention on the human rights situation in Africa, please see: https://defenddefenders.org/2013/10/oral-intervention-human-rights-situation-in-africa-item-5/

To read EHAHRDP’s report on the overview of the human rights situation in the east and horn of Africa, April- September 2013, please see https://defenddefenders.org/2013/10/overview-of-the-human-rights-situation-in-the-east-and-horn-of-africa-april-september-2013/

Background:

The NGO Forum, a platform for nongovernmental organisations to discuss the various human rights issues across Africa was held from 18th to 20th October 2013 in Banjul, The Gambia. The African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, a quasi-judicial body tasked with the promotion and protection of human rights on the African continent, held its 54th ordinary session from 22nd October to 5th November 2013.

EHAHRDP is a member of the NGO Forum steering committee and regularly supports the engagement of human rights defenders from the region at both the Forum and the Commission sessions.

For more information, please contact:

Mr Hassan Shire, Executive Director on [email protected] or +256 772 753 753

Ms Rachel Nicholson, Advocacy Officer on [email protected] or +256 778 921 274

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