Election periods in the East and Horn of Africa are times of heightened tension and often result in the temporary, or sometimes permanent, closing of civic space. Many political parties in the sub-region lack a strong platform to express view on social and political issues and civil society has often filled this gap. By monitoring the electoral process and demanding accountability and transparency, human rights defenders place themselves in the crosshairs of those trying to consolidate their power. In the past, this has lead to increased harassment, surveillance, arrests, and torture of human rights defenders, with their vocal criticism is often mistaken for opposition activities.
At a critical juncture for Sudan, a UN resolution on the country’s human rights situation offers hope that the international community will contribute to domestic improvements. Yet, as the Sudanese people attempt to turn the page on 30 years of dictatorship and repression, significant challenges remain. The resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council (“Council”) is an encouraging signal but should push all stakeholders to be cautiously optimistic, DefendDefenders said today.
The UN Human Rights Council (“Council”) has decided to keep a spotlight on Burundi ahead of key elections scheduled for 2020. Today, the Council adopted a resolution that extends the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Burundi for one year and condemns a wide range of human rights violations and abuses, a move which DefendDefenders welcomes.