EAST AND HORN OF AFRICA HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS NETWORK
Banjul: ACHPR should enhance human rights monitoring and reporting prior to elections
The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) should enhance monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in countries undergoing elections the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRD-Net) says in an intervention to the 47th Session of the Commission.
In its intervention to the Commission today, EHAHRD-Net, focusing on Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda, highlights how the pre-electoral period in these countries is being marred by heightened attacks on civil and political rights.
Based on a bi-annual report produced by EHAHRD-Net for the ACHPR, the intervention reveals how authorities in the region have made use of a range of measures to restrict key rights: from legislative developments aimed at thwarting the rights of civil society, the media and the political opposition, through methods of intimidation such as threats, increased surveillance and censorship of key actors, to more traditional and violent means of restrictions.
According to EHAHRD-Net the Commission should therefore increase human rights monitoring and reporting on countries currently in a pre-electoral phase notably by calling on these countries to allow unimpeded access by ACHPR Special Procedures.
It also stressed the need to pay particular attention to the situation of human rights defenders, particularly journalists and human rights activists, in these countries and to condemn clear violations of the rights of defenders.
“Human rights defenders are often amongst the first victims of the clampdown on civil and political space and yet key actors in our region, including the ACHPR, are failing to give this clampdown the attention it requires. If immediate action is not taken to improving the reality facing human rights defenders, the likelihood of ensuring free and fair elections in our region will be greatly weakened. The Commission has a duty to act” says Mr. Hassan Shire Sheikh, Chairperson of EHAHRD-Net.
The intervention also stressed the need for the Commission to enhance its efforts on demanding accountability and supporting efforts to tackle impunity in the region, notably in Somalia and Kenya.
For more information please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Hassan Shire Sheikh, Executive Director of EHAHRDP on + 256 772 753 753 or Ms Laetitia Bader, Human Rights Officer at EHAHRDP on + 256 775 141 756 or [email protected]
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