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: 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.