Bi-Annual Report: April-October 2021

Introduction and executive summary

The last six months have seen increased repression and armed conflict which threaten to further restrict citizens’ exercise of their human rights and fundamental freedoms in the East and Horn of Africa sub-region. The conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has further destabilised an already fragile Horn of Africa, as Somalia is dealing with a 30-year armed conflict. Djibouti and Eritrea remain extremely closed and repressive, tolerating little to no dissent. Additionally, a military coup in Sudan threatens to erase the gains of the popular 2018-2019 revolution of the Sudanese people. Other countries in the sub-region have also registered downward trends with reports of harassment of human rights defenders (HRDs), including journalists and activists, curtailing of the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, association, and peaceful assembly, leading to a further shrinking of the civic and democratic space.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread. Some government authorities use excessive power under the guise of curbing the pandemic, and to specifically target human rights defenders. This report illustrates key infringements on democracy, rule of law, and human rights in the East and Horn of Africa.

MORE NEWS:

Public statement to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on closing civic space

As the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights holds its 69th ordinary session, DefendDefenders and the South Sudan Human Rights Defenders Network (SSHRDN), call on the government of the Republic of South Sudan to respect the rights of its citizens to peacefully assemble, associate, and express opinions and views, strengthen the legal framework that allows citizens and civil society organizations to form and operate without any hinderances.

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