Kampala: Australian Grant Program to Benefit Human Rights Defenders in Uganda and South Sudan

Human rights defenders in Uganda and South Sudan are to benefit from Australia’s commitment to the global promotion of human rights under a grant from Australia’s Human Rights Grants Scheme, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) announced today. EHAHRDP hosted the Australian High Commissioner HE Geoff Tooth at their Kampala offices this afternoon for the formal signing ceremony. The grant will allow EHAHRDP and its joint project with Protection International, Protection Desk Uganda, to deliver programs to improve security management among human rights defenders, strategies for coping with stress and trauma, and engagement with international and regional human rights mechanisms.

In the new nation of South Sudan it is essential that South Sudanese civil society continues its engagement with the process of nation-building, contributing its vision and energy to realize a South Sudan based on democratic principles and the respect of human rights. The grant will allow training for human rights defenders on how to access and engage international and regional human rights mechanisms such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the UN Human Rights Council, and the Universal Periodic Review to best effect. EHAHRDP seeks to equip South Sudanese civil society with the expertise and tools required to use the international human rights system to increase attention and promote redress for the human rights issues prevalent in their country.

“South Sudan is facing complex challenges in these early stages of independence,” said EHAHRDP’s Executive Director, Hassan Shire. “A strong human rights movement is needed for the entrenchment of a human rights culture in this new nation,”

In Uganda the grant will allow Protection Desk Uganda, a partnership initiative between EHAHRDP and Protection International, to share tools on security management with Ugandan human rights defenders and provide technical support that will enable them to assess risks emanating from their human rights work and develop tailor-made response strategies that mitigate risks and allow for a continuation of their work.

“The Australian Government is delighted to support the very important work of EHAHRDP”, High Commissioner Tooth said today. “Australia has a strong record in the protection and promotion of international human rights.  Through our aid program, the Australian Government is assisting partner governments to respect, protect and fulfil their international human rights obligations.  Through the Human Rights Grants Scheme, Australia will assist non-government organisations to promote good governance, access to justice, gender equality, disability rights, child protection and combating human trafficking.”

EHAHRDP and PD-U expressed their gratitude to the Australian government and its representatives today for their valuable support towards strengthening civil society in East Africa to meet the challenges and risks they face on a daily basis in tirelessly campaigning for the respect of universal human rights.

For more information, please contact:

Hassan Shire, Executive Director, EHAHRDP at [email protected] or +256-772753753


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.