EHAHRDP Receives US State Department Human Rights Defenders Award

Ambassador Michael Posner (Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor) and Ambassador Scott DeLisi (the new US Ambassador to Uganda) today presented members of the Ugandan Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law with the US Department of State 2011 Human Rights Defenders Award.

Hassan Shire received the award on behalf of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and Protection Desk Uganda team (pictured here). The award recognizes individuals or non-governmental organizations who show exceptional valor and leadership in advocating for the protection of human rights and democracy in the face of government repression.

 

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Human Rights Defender of the Month: Anny Kapenga

As a young student, Anny Kapenga used to cringe at the cult-like worship of Mobutu Sese Seko, the then Zaire’s President. By then, in the early 1990s, Zaire was still under one party rule, and calls were increasing for Mobutu to open political space to allow other parties to operate. In the meantime, however, all Zairians were expected to show affection for Mobutu wherever they gathered in public.

Students across Zaire’s schools were required to sing and dance adoringly before his (Mobutu)’s portrait every morning before they went to class, and all school scholastic materials were emblemed with his portrait. A young Anny never really appreciated the obsession:

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