Pan-African protection of Human Rights Defenders boosted with EU grant

February 5, 2013

Having just today reported on the new human rights defenders network created in the Arab world, I would be amiss not to draw attention to the developments of an already existing network in Africa. On 4 February 2013 the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network (PAHRD-Net) officially launched from Kampala, Uganda, a 3-year programme totalling 1.8 million Euros to promote a safe legal and working environment for human rights defenders (HRDs) across Africa.

The tireless and innovative work done at the sub-regional level to protect human rights defenders will now have a dedicated venue at the Pan-African level for mutual support and reinforcement,” said Hassan Shire Sheikh, Chairperson of PAHRD-Net and Executive Director of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP). Today’s launch is the result of a process started in 1998 in Johannesburg (All-Africa Human Rights Defenders Conference) and renewed in 2009 at the follow-up meeting in Kampala.humanrightslogo_Goodies_14_LogoVorlagen

PAHRD-Net brings together the five sub-regional human rights defenders networks in Africa (the Central African HRD Network, the East and Horn of Africa HRD Network, the North Africa HRD Network represented through the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Southern Africa HRD Network hosted by the International Commission for Jurists, and the West African HRD Network) to meet the protection needs of human rights defenders and especially to address the needs of the five groups of most-at-risk: journalists fighting to end impunity and corruption, women human rights defenders, defenders working on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity, HRDs working under oppressive regimes or in armed/post-conflict areas, and HRDs engaging with the resource extraction industries.

Human rights defenders are individuals working alone or through organizations under the goal of promoting respect for universal human rights norms. Frequently HRDs come into conflict with the entrenched local power structures of state and non-state actors through their activism. This conflict can put in jeopardy the security of the HRD and their work and family networks. HRDs are often the victims of harassment, threats, assault, injury, and death across Africa, and many are forced into exile, a move which may effectively end their advocacy for human rights. The consolidation and growth of protection mechanisms within the sub-regions will improve the responses available to mitigate these threats and develop HRDs’ ability to manage their own security effectively.

The European Commission supports the new programme under its global fund for Democracy and Human Rights, which is to underpin the implementation of the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders

For further information please contact:

Hassan Shire Sheikh – Chairperson, Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network executive@defenddefenders.org

Joseph Bikanda – Coordinator, Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network: Tel +256-312-202133, +256-312-265825, or panafrica@defenddefenders.org

Rachel Nicholson – Advocacy Officer, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project: Tel +256-312-265-824, +256-778-921274, or advocacy@defenddefenders.org

2 Responses to “Pan-African protection of Human Rights Defenders boosted with EU grant”


  1. […] Pan-African protection of Human Rights Defenders boosted with EU grant (thoolen.wordpress.com) […]


  2. We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community will be grateful to you.


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