ACHPR49: Report on human rights situation in the East and Horn of Africa (November 2010 – April 2011)

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This report highlights some of the key human rights issues in the East and Horn of Africa sub-region from November 2010 to April 2011 and addresses the human rights situation in ten countries: Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, and two special territories, Somaliland and South Sudan. It focuses on issues relating to civil and political rights, and in particular the situation of human rights defenders, in line with the expertise of EHAHRDP.
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Over the past six months, the human rights situation in the sub-region has continued to be closely linked to the holding of national elections, with journalists particularly affected.
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Restrictions on civil and political rights identified in this period have ranged from the development and implementation of restrictive legislation to direct attacks on human rights defenders, which have included physical and verbal threats, legal and judicial harassment, increased surveillance, and acts of physical violence, including targeted killings.

Certain groups of human rights defenders, such as defenders working in conflict zones, journalists, women human rights defenders and LGBTI human rights defenders have all continued to face particular threats in the period covered by this report as a result of the specific context and circumstances in which they operate.


Human Rights Defender of the month: Esther Tawiah

In Ghana, Esther Tawiah is one of the loudest voices for women empowerment and gender. It is also why she is one of the most loathed. Born and raised in New-Tafo in the country’s eastern region, Esther grew up surrounded by a culture that frowned at the idea of women participating in public affairs, and witnessed firsthand, the backlash those who dared to challenge that cultural norm faced.

“I grew up in a society where ageism and sexism were so entrenched. As a young person, you weren’t supposed to give your opinion on public issues, especially if you were a woman. Women who dared to speak up were caricatured and branded as frustrated, unmarriageable prostitutes, all designed to shut them up,” she says.