Annual Report 2020

In 2020, DefendDefenders and its partners continued to monitor and document human rights violations across the East and Horn of Africa sub-region.

Overshadowed by the COVID19 pandemic, 2020 saw further shrinking of civic space across the region, exacerbated by the pandemic-related restrictions.  Human rights defenders (HRDs) were disproportionately affected by increased restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly, expression, and access to information.

While new regulations were enacted to curb the spread of the virus and misinformation, they were also used to silence opposing voices and curtail protest movements, spurred on by increased police violence during COVID-19 lockdowns in countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.

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Human Rights Defender of the month: Kasale Maleton Mwaana

Kasale’s human rights activism precedes his years. The son of pastoralist parents from Ngorongoro district in northern Tanzania, he grew up seeing his parents and entire community having to defend their land and way of life against authorities who thought their lands could be put to better use. Now, at 25, Kasale is already one of the most recognizable advocates of his people’s cause, much to the ire of Tanzanian authorities.
“Our people’s struggle goes back many generations. It started with the pushing out of our forefathers from Serengeti to gazette Serengeti National Park in 1959, and then further evictions from the Ngorongoro crater to gazette the Ngorongoro conservation area in 1975. Since then, every generation has had to resist further evictions. It’s now my generation’s turn,” he says.

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