BANJUL: HRDs’ challenges continue as African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights reaches 30 years

BANJUL: HRDs’ challenges continue as African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights reaches 30 years

As the human rights community celebrates 30 years of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, human rights defenders continue to be impeded in the course of promoting and protecting human rights. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) should call for an end to restrictive laws mainly aimed at thwarting freedom of association and expression, acts of intimidation against key civil society actors and physical and verbal threats, which all threaten the fundamental rights and work of human rights defenders.

In its intervention to the Commission today, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRD-Net) raised concerns about how human rights defenders and in particular journalists in almost all the countries in the sub-region are being targeted and restricted in carrying out their work of informing the populace. EHAHRD-Net highlighted cases of attacks on journalists mainly from Burundi, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea, as well as the deteriorating legal and security environment for human rights defenders (HRDs) throughout the region.


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.