The annual board meeting on DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) was held today at its offices in the Osman Hummaida Boardroom in Kampala, Uganda. The meeting was led by the Chairperson of the board, Dr. Livingstone Sewanyana and attended by Mr. David Kaggwa (board Secretary), Ms. Sophie Kyagulanyi (board treasurer), Dorothe Appels, Faiza Jama Mohamed, (members) and Executive Director of DefendDefenders, Mr. Hassan Shire (ex-officio). Also in attendance were Secretariat senior staff members, the Director of Programs and Administration, Memory Bandera and the Finance Manager, Alex Lukoye.
The meeting was critical in assessing the progress over the past year and to review organizational policies. The Board discussed the past years’ successes, challenges and emerging issues within DefendDefenders Secretariat, as well as the current situation of human rights defenders in the East and Horn of Africa sub-region. The discourse on specific issues especially the withdrawal of African States from the ICC and their impact in human rights defenders work were discussed.
DefendDefenders secretariat reported on the trends of harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders including journalists, and increasing attempts by States and non-state actors to undermine and disrupt the activities of civil society. A report by the Executive Director on the situation of human rights defenders in the sub-region and activities report was provided and deliberated upon. The full agenda is provided below.
- Welcome remarks from the board chairperson
- Review of previous minutes
- Update from the Executive Director on organisational activities
- Emerging issues
- Review of audit reports
- Review of organizational policies
The board passed and approved some crucial decisions during the meeting including approval of the procurement policy, anti-corruption policy and the monitoring and evaluation policy. Observations and recommendations to take the organization to the next level were discussed and will be taken up by the Secretariat for implementation. Finally, the board commended DefendDefenders Secretariat for their tireless work in promoting human rights by protecting and promoting the work of human rights defenders.