Solidarity Visit by Dutch Ambassador to Uganda to Human Rights House

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H.E. Alphons J.A.J.M.G. Hennekens, the newly arrived Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Uganda, today paid a visit to Human Rights House to meet with the staff of Foundation for Human Rights Initiatives (FHRI), the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) and their partner projects.

The visit was planned by the Dutch Embassy as a show of support to Uganda’s human rights community and to promote continued collaboration.

In welcoming the Ambassador and Political Officer Judith Maas to the meeting, FHRI Executive Director Livingstone Ssewanyana decried the shrinking space for civil society in Uganda, as seen in recent threats made against organizations working on human rights in the country. Hassan Shire, EHAHRDP’s Executive Director, continued this thread by placing the situation in Uganda in a regional context where the space for effective human rights work has come under attack from many corners.

Both thanked the Ambassador, as a representative of his government and of the citizens of the Netherlands, for their past and continued support to the respect for basic human rights internationally, as well as the Netherland’s consistent support to human rights defenders globally.

H.E. Hennekens stressed the responsibility of Ugandan citizens to ensure that Uganda is a country where the rule of law is respected, and praised the tenacity and unity seen amongst the civil society actors present in addressing the human rights and democratic challenges of today facing Uganda.

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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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