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.

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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.

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