COVID-19 updates: DefendDefenders continue to Respond to Emergency Protection Needs of Human Rights Defenders

Dear friends, partners, and human rights defenders,

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads globally and extraordinary measures are being enacted to respond to this threat, DefendDefenders and AfricanDefenders must also be responsive to protect our staff, partners, beneficiaries, and to play a positive role in this emergency. Safety of our team is our number one concern.

The situation of COVID-19 in Uganda has changed dramatically in the past couple of days. Yesterday the Ministry of Health confirmed at least 10 known people and we are suspecting that the number could be higher.

DefendDefenders and AfricanDefenders will implement a preventive social distance plan. As of today, all staff of DefendDefenders and AfricanDefenders will work from home until further notice. All visitors to the office have been temporarily banned, all in-person meetings have been cancelled, and all activities that require in-person contact postponed.

We will continue to respond to emergency protection needs of human rights defenders as best as we can. We encourage all human rights defenders who need emergency protection to reach out to us via [email protected] or our 24/7 emergency phone line on +256 783 027 611. This line is also available on signal.

Please stay safe!

Hassan Shire

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Human Rights Defender of the month: Alex Njenga John

Alex Njenga has always believed in egalitarianism both as a principle and as a tool for justice. As a result, he has always been suspicious of, and at times hostile to social prejudices that treat some people as “more equal than others,” – to use a line from George Orwell’s famed political fable, Animal Farm.

Some of the experiences that have shaped his social and political outlook have been personal. As an adolescent in Kenya’s Uasin Gishu County, Alex was stigmatised and denied healthcare after he identified himself as belonging to Kenya’s sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) community.

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