Security and safety during elections

Elections are a challenging period in many African countries. In the past ten years, many African nations have experienced pre- and post-election violence which resulted in the loss of lives, properties, and stability.

Human rights defenders (HRDs) involved in electoral processes as observers, civic educators, and monitors have in the past been targeted. They are at high risk for potential physical assaults and attacks, office break-ins, arrests and detentions, and targeted cyber-attacks. To ensure their safety, security, and wellbeing, DefendDefenders continuously engages with HRDs to enhance their capacity in security management. For reference, we developed these guidelines to strengthen HRDs’ safety, security, and wellbeing during election periods. The guidelines apply to both HRDs working in organisations and individual HRDs and are available in English, French, and Arabic.

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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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