Throughout 2020, further shrinking of civic space was witnessed across the region, exacerbated
by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.