Cameroon: Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Adopt Plan of Action

Human rights defenders gathered in Yaounde, Cameroon for the first counterparts meeting of the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network (PAHRD-Net) today adopted a plan of action to promote stronger collaboration and protection of human rights defenders across Africa.

During the week-long meeting, representatives from the five sub-regions, the Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (REDHAC), West African Human Rights Defenders Network, Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, as well as thematic focal points for women human rights defenders, defenders working on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity and HRDs working in conflict zone and journalist working to end impunity and corruption, shared experiences and best practices for protection, security management, advocacy, research, information technology, program management and fundraising.

In the plan of action adopted today, the PAHRD-Net steering committee agreed to carry out a number of joint activities to strengthen the capacities of the sub-regional networks and to work together to increase the protection and security support available to human rights defenders at risk across the continent.

At the end of the fruitful meeting, Hassan Shire, PAHRD-Net chairperson said: “African human rights defenders encounter myriad risks and obstacles in carrying out their work. With the steps agreed today, PAHRD-Net looks forward to seeing empowered, safer and more effective HRDs working throughout the continent.

The PAHRD-Net would like to thank its’ partners the European Union, the Swedish International Development Agency, and the National Endowment for Democracy for their support which has made the meeting possible.


Human Rights Defender of the month: Veronica Almedom

Veronica Almedom is a poster child of successful immigration. A duo Eritrean and Swiss citizen, she was born in Italy, and grew up in Switzerland where she permanently resides. Her parents are some of the earliest victims of Eritrea’s cycles of violence. When Eritrea’s war of independence peaked in the early 1980s, they escaped the country as unaccompanied minors, wandering through Sudan, Saudi Arabia, before making the hazard journey across the Mediterranean into Europe. There, they crossed first to Italy, and finally, to Switzerland, where they settled first as refugees, and later, as permanent residents.