Geneva: UN should follow up on reprisals against individuals cooperating with its human rights system

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network called on the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday to follow up allegations on reprisals against individuals cooperating with mechanisms.
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EHAHRDP thanked the Secretary-General for his report [AVAILABLE HERE] on cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, which highlights the pressing issue of acts of intimidation and reprisals against individuals – especially but not exclusively human rights defenders – who engage with the UN human rights system.

In her statement to the council, Rachel Nicholson, EHAHRDP’s Advocacy Officer, regretted to note that by the time of publication, many States had yet to reply to communications regarding allegations contained in this current report or to provide any information on investigations or prosecutions for such acts. While the public statement by the Prime Minister of Kenya calling for investigations into the 2009 killings of Oscar Kamau Kingara and John Paul Oulu is a positive step forward, the network urges the government to follow through with concrete actions to investigate and bring those responsible to justice.

She also pointed out that in addition to reprisals related to cooperation with Special Procedures, over the past year individuals have once again faced threats linked to their participation in the Universal Periodic Review mechanism.
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In Rwanda, the NGO network that coordinated the civil society stakeholders’ joint submission faced a concerted smear campaign and, following threats and harassment, its executive secretary eventually fled the country.
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Human Rights Defender of the month: Kasale Maleton Mwaana

Kasale’s human rights activism precedes his years. The son of pastoralist parents from Ngorongoro district in northern Tanzania, he grew up seeing his parents and entire community having to defend their land and way of life against authorities who thought their lands could be put to better use. Now, at 25, Kasale is already one of the most recognizable advocates of his people’s cause, much to the ire of Tanzanian authorities.
“Our people’s struggle goes back many generations. It started with the pushing out of our forefathers from Serengeti to gazette Serengeti National Park in 1959, and then further evictions from the Ngorongoro crater to gazette the Ngorongoro conservation area in 1975. Since then, every generation has had to resist further evictions. It’s now my generation’s turn,” he says.