ACHPR60: Updates from the East and Horn of Africa (November 2016 – April 2017)

In its biannual report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 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, highlighting worsening, sustained and targeted attacks on human rights defenders (HRDs), and civil society as a whole.

The full report was compiled with input from National Coalitions for Human Rights Defenders and local focal points in the East and Horn of Africa, and submitted on 8 May 2017 at the 60th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Niamey, the Republic of Niger, and can be found here.

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Human Rights Defender of the month: Esther Tawiah

In Ghana, Esther Tawiah is one of the loudest voices for women empowerment and gender. It is also why she is one of the most loathed. Born and raised in New-Tafo in the country’s eastern region, Esther grew up surrounded by a culture that frowned at the idea of women participating in public affairs, and witnessed firsthand, the backlash those who dared to challenge that cultural norm faced.

“I grew up in a society where ageism and sexism were so entrenched. As a young person, you weren’t supposed to give your opinion on public issues, especially if you were a woman. Women who dared to speak up were caricatured and branded as frustrated, unmarriageable prostitutes, all designed to shut them up,” she says.

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