Safeguarding Civil Society

The explosive boom in connectivity and online participation in the East and Horn of Africa has opened up a new world of possibilities for human rights defenders and civil society organisation.
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However, as access to technology continues to grow, they are also presented with new challenges.
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Governments in the East and Horn of Africa have repeatedly instituted internet black-outs during periods of heightened tension or conflict.
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In the new digital world, human rights defenders and their organisations now have to consider new safety aspects, as their data and their security can be compromised through digital attacks or restrictions such as new legislation.

“Safeguarding Civil Society” sets out to assess internet freedom and the digital resilience of civil society organizations in the East and Horn of Africa, specifically in Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The report, composed in partnership with Small Media, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), and Strathmore University’s Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law, contains a policy analysis of current freedom of expression and internet-related legislation, 39 CSO interviews and a series of network measurements. Check out our full report for the full findings and recommendations.


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.