Posts Tagged ‘East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project’

DefendDefenders launched new security manual for human rights defenders in Africa

May 9, 2017

On 5 May, 2017, at the NGO forum preceding the 60th session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) launched “Stand Up!”, a new organisational and personal security manual to help human rights defenders (HRDs) do their work in a safe and effective manner.
DefendDefenders was founded to protect HRDs from immediate risks. However, a decade of experience has taught us that much can be done to prevent them from reaching this critical point,” said Hassan Shire, Executive Director.By carefully considering their safety, developing strong security plans, and rigidly adhering to them, even HRDs working in extreme conditions can mitigate the risk they face as individuals and organisations.” “Stand Up!” helps defenders to reduce the risks inherent in achieving their goals. They can use it to better understand the opposing and supporting factors in their environment, identify their vulnerabilities, and create new capacities to stand up to adversity.
 
Book One covers personal, physical, and organisational security planning. HRDs can learn the essential framework for security analysis and planning as well as the support mechanisms available at the regional and international level for human rights defenders.
 
Book Two covers digital security for electronic devices, and online accounts and communications. It extends the lessons of security management into the digital realm with risk assessment of electronic workspaces and the essential steps to secure human rights work when it is conducted from phones, computers, email, websites, social media accounts and more.
Download the full manual here.
 
At the same time, the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network (PAHRDN) also launched its annual “State of African HRDs” report, which examines the major events affecting the freedoms of association, assembly, and expression in the last year. The report is compiled with input from PAHRDN’s five sub-regional networks and is available in English and French.

DefendDefenders seeks Project Coordinator for the Great Lakes region

January 17, 2017

DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) is the secretariat to a network of more than 75 member organisations drawn from eleven countries in the sub-region. Additionally, DefendDefenders acts as the secretariat for the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network, which brings together five sub-regional networks from North, Central, West, Southern and the East and Horn of Africa. Further information can be found on the website.
DefendDefenders is in the process of recruiting a Project Coordinator for its work in supporting human rights defenders in the Great Lakes region.
Key responsibilities:
  • Coordinate the implementation of our Great Lakes region project, including project design and planning, implementation, coordination of activities, budget management, evaluation and reporting to ensure that the project is effectively and efficiently managed in accordance with the strategy of DefendDefenders and the parameters of its partner regulations and procedures;
  • Ensuring high quality, integrity, transparency and accountability of key processes in the project, including: project design, development, and budgeting; project approval process; financial management; and reporting;
  • Ensure swift communication and collaboration with the Great Lakes region project partners for the effective implementation of the project;
  • Establish or reinforce partnerships with other organizations in the field, to create synergies for raising awareness on human rights compliance and protection in the Great Lakes region ;
  • Undertake regular visits to countries of the Great Lakes;
  • Monitoring the human rights legislations, issues and development in the Great Lakes region;
  • Support network of human rights defenders and organization in the Great Lakes region;
  • Engage in strategic advocacy activities, including press releases and statements in conjunction with the advocacy team.
Competencies include:
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills (spoken/written), including the ability to listen to and incorporate the views of stakeholders;
  • Ability to engage with project partners, donors and state authorities clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing;
  • Proven ability to operate effectively across organizational boundaries;
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Ensure all personnel related issues for the staff are carried out in accordance with DefendDefenders guidelines;
  • Strong time management and coordination skills.
  • Ability to foresee risks and allow for contingencies when planning;
  • Ability to identify beneficiaries’ needs and suggest appropriate solutions;
  • Strong comfort with usage of information and internet technologies;
  • Ability to follow digital security protocols.
Education and experience
  • A master’s degree in human rights, law, social sciences, political science or a related field from an accredited academic institution with a minimum of three years of relevant professional experience on project management;
  • A solid understanding of human rights and protection mechanisms;
  • Familiarity with the Great Lakes region and previous experience working in the region ;
  • Good conceptual and analytical capacity;
  • Very good budgeting, project management and report writing skills;
  • Ability and willingness to travel.
Languages
  • Fluency in English and French (both spoken and written) is a must, and fluency in Kirundi and/or Kinyarwanda a strong asset. As part of the recruitment process, short-listed candidates will be tested on their knowledge of both English and French.
The position will be based in Kampala, Uganda with frequent travels within and out of the country. Applicants should be eligible to work in Uganda without restriction. Applicants should send a letter of motivation, CV and contacts of three references to: jobs@defenddefenders.org by 25 January 2017.  The subject line of the email should read “Application for Project Coordinator Great Lakes Region position”

Source: – East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project

In Somaliland lawyer has to choose: practicing law or human rights!

May 19, 2016

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - croppedreports that on 16 May 2016, human rights defender Mr Guleid Ahmed Jama received notification from the Somaliland Minister of Justice and Judicial Affairs that his licence to practice law had been terminated. Guleid Ahmed Jama [for profile see: https://frontlinedefenders.org/en/profile/guleid-ahmad-jama] is a lawyer and founder of the Human Rights Center, a human rights watchdog organisation in Somaliland.

He only learned about this when he saw on 16 May a letter (dated 10 April!) which was circulated to members of the Somaliland judiciary from the Minister of Justice and Judicial Affairs, Minister Ahmed Farah Adarre, requesting that the judiciary cease to allow Guleid Ahmed Jama to practice law, as his position as chairperson of the HRC and his work as a lawyer are incompatible. [The termination of the licence by the Minister of Justice is unprecedented as the duty of licensing permissions falls within the mandate of the Advocates Licensing and Disciplining Commission.]

Earlier harassment against him occurred in April 2015 when he was arrested, charged and detained in Hargeisa while working in his capacity as a lawyer at Hargeisa Regional Court. He was accused of ‘subversive or anti-national propaganda’, ‘instigation to disobey the laws’, ‘intimidation of the public’ and ‘publication or circulation of false, exaggerated and tendentious news capable of disturbing public order’. According to the Office of the Attorney General, the human rights defender had allegedly committed these offences through his work at the HRC. This case was later closed. <https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-guleid-ahmed-jama>

Seems to me to be a good case for (international) lawyers organizations.

See also: https://www.defenddefenders.org/2016/05/somaliland-minister-justice-revokes-license-human-rights-lawyer/

 

 

Killing of land rights defender John Waweru in Nairobi decried

April 13, 2016

The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya (NCHRD-K) and DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) expressed their outrage over the killing of human rights defender John Waweru on Monday 11 April 2016 in Zimmerman, Nairobi. John Waweru was the director of Githunguri Constituency Ranching Company and a committed human rights defender working towards the promotion and protection of economic and social rights. He was at the forefront of advocacy against forced evictions of individuals residing on contested land in Kiambu County.

The killing of John Waweru comes cynically shortly after the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the protection of human rights defenders addressing economic, social and cultural rights in March 2016 [see: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/03/25/human-rights-council-adoption-landmark-resolution-protection-defenders-economic-social-cultural-rights/]

The NCHRD-K and DefendDefenders recall other cases against human rights defenders in Kenya, such as:

Joel Ogada, a human rights defender in Kilifi County who has been a leading advocate for land rights against the neighbouring Salt farms has faced three criminal charges, one of which resulted in him being sentenced to two years in prison after appeal. He was released in September 2015 and barely six months after his release, in March 2016, he was rearrested and charged with attempting to kill.

In 2013, Hassan Guyo, the Programme Director for Strategies for Northern Development (SND), an organisation that promotes human rights for women and children and works on refugee and human trafficking issues in Moyale was killed by security forces.

In 2009, HRDs Oscar Kingara and Paul Oulu of Oscar Foundation were shot dead in Nairobi.

In all of these matters, no one has been held to account and police investigations have been inconclusive.

For more information, contact Hassan Shire  Executive Director, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project: executiveATdefenddefenders.org.

www.defenddefenders.org

Laurent Munyandilikirwa paints a bleak picture of Rwanda’s human rights situation

March 18, 2016

During the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report of Rwanda at the UN Human Eights Council, Laurent Munyandilikirwa, former President of the Ligue Rwandaise pour la Promotion et la Défense des Droits de l’homme, delivered on 16 March 2016 a statement (on behalf of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project):.
Mr President, for the vast majority of my professional and personal life, I have proudly dedicated myself to protecting and promoting fundamental human rights in Rwanda.  As the former President of LIPRODHOR, one of Rwanda’s only independent human rights monitoring organisations, I had the great privilege of supporting my fellow citizens to secure and claim their rights.  However, despite the severe human rights deficits which continue to undermine Rwanda’s democratic consolidation, the important work LIPRODHOR and other human rights groups undertook in Rwanda is now largely untenable and fraught with danger.
Since Rwanda’s last UPR examination in 2011, the government has strengthened its long-term and systematic campaign to completely stifle freedom of association, by replacing the leadership of human rights organisations with those sympathetic to the government. As a result, there are now very few freely functioning and entirely independent human rights organisations left that can meaningfully challenge government policies and advocate for reforms, without well-founded fear of reprisals. In addition, since Rwanda’s last examination, independent civil society organisations, NGOs, and individual human rights defenders have continued to face escalating intimidation and reprisals in the course of their work. A number of defenders, including myself, have either been imprisoned or forced into exile. Increasingly, human rights defenders and the NGOs for which they work have been subjected to administrative harassment smear campaigns and public denouncement in pro-government media.
We therefore strongly urge the Government of Rwanda to take effective and meaningful steps to operationalize the important recommendations put forward during this examination in support of the creation of a safe and enabling environment for civil society and human rights defenders.

This is line with e.g. Front Line Defenders’ report of 10 September 2015 about the Rwandan police disrupting the general assembly organised by LIPRODHOR  . [On 5 September 2015, Rwandan police officers disrupted a general assembly that had gathered several dozen members of the League for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights in Rwanda. The purpose of the general assembly was to elect a new independent board of directors.[LIPRODHOR is one of the few human rights organisations in Rwanda, which has continuously endeavoured to hold the government accountable for a wide range of human rights abuses. After numerous human rights groups based in Rwanda were either co-opted or forced into silence, LIPRODHOR stood out as the sole Rwandan organisation committed to being independent. In 2004, the government targeted its leaders and accused them on fabricated charges of “propagating genocide ideology.” The outgoing members of the board of directors of LIPRODHOR have allegedly been acting on behalf of the government.  The general assembly which took place on 5 September 2015 had been convened by the outgoing board, whose term ended in July 2015, in order for a new board to be elected. During the assembly, participants elected three board members, namely the chair, the vice-chair and the secretary general. Following this, a number of participants, led by the chair of the outgoing board, reportedly stood up and caused a commotion as they claimed that the vote had been rigged. Soon after the incident, these participants reportedly called the police, who intervened and disrupted the assembly. A senior police officer informed the participants who had remained inside that he had to put an end to the meeting as it was “causing insecurity”. Members of the organisation have contacted the authorities about the incident, but, to date, no measures have been taken to assure the organisation’s rights to conduct its activities. It remains unclear whether LIPRODHOR’s members will be allowed to convene again and complete the election of the new board which will allow them to carry out their legitimate human rights work without restriction.  

In November 2014, several members of LIPRODHOR attempted to convene a similar assembly in order to address the ongoing problem. However, local authorities thwarted the initiative, informing them that the gathering would be deemed illegal. Thereafter, Messrs Evariste Nsabayezu and Daniel Uwimana, respectively LIPRODHOR’s vice chair and provincial representative at the time, were arrested and detained over allegations that they were involved in organising the assembly using what the police claimed were “falsified documents.” They were later released without trial. Several other members of LIPRODHOR were also reportedly threatened with arrest.]

 

Important side event on Burundi on 4 March 2016 during UN Human Rights Council

March 2, 2016

logo_partners

DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project) together with the many NGOs, whose logos are shown above, will host the side event “Crisis in Burundi: Implementing Sustainable Solutions on 4 March 2016 (15h00 – 17h00), Room XXIV, Palais des Nations, Geneva.

Panelists:

  • Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders
  • Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, President of APRODH (and Laureate MEA 2007)
  • Tom GibsonRepresentative for Burundi and DRC at Protection International

Moderator:

  • Hassan Shire, Executive Director of East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project.

The situation in Burundi is terrible as is know from the many reports issued already and the December 2015 Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council, which culminated in the adoption of a strong resolution mandating the High Commissioner for Human Rights to deploy a mission by independent experts to visit the country to investigate human rights violations, represents an important step to ensuring greater accountability for violations of fundamental rights in Burundi. However, the Burundian Government’s refusal to facilitate this mission has severely hampered efforts to identify and implement a sustainable resolution to the crisis [https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/what-is-burundi-doing-in-the-un-human-rights-council/]. Although there is now a bit of hope as three investigators are due to visit Burundi for a week from March 1, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a statement. The three experts — from Algeria, Colombia and South Africa — are members of the UN’s Independent Investigation on Burundi (UNIIB). “Our aim is to help the state fulfil its human rights obligations, ensure accountability for human rights violations and abuses, including by identifying alleged perpetrators,” said Christof Heyns, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary of Arbitrary Executions who is one of the investigators. The African Union (AU) said it would increase the number of human rights and military observers deployed. “The AU will deploy 100 human rights observers and 100 military monitors to Burundi to monitor the situation,” a statement on the South African presidency’s website said Saturday.

Source: HRC31: Side-event on Burundi on 4th March at 3pm – East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project

http://www.timeslive.co.za/africa/2016/02/29/UN-to-send-human-rights-team-to-Burundi

UN and NGOs try to deal with Burundi on 17 December

December 16, 2015

Tomorrow 17 December there will be a Special session of the Human Rights Council on preventing further deterioration [now that is diplomatic language!] of the human rights situation in Burundi. The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) is using the occasion to organize a side event on:  “Escalation of Violence in Burundi: Human rights defenders voices from the ground” from 09.00-10.00 am in Room XII, Palais des Nations, Geneva. It will be webcast live on www.ishr.ch/webcast. Follow on twitter using the hash-tag #BurundiHRDs.ISHR-logo-colour-high

Panelists (moderator Nicolas Agostini of FIDH):

  • Mr Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Incarcerated Persons (APRODH), MEA Laureate 2007.
  • Ms Margaret Barankitse, Maison Shalom
  • Mr Anschaire Nikoyagize, Ligue ITEKA
  • Ms Carina Tertsakian, Human Rights Watch
There has been almost unanimity on the need for international attention and action. For those who want to see some of the major reports that came out recently, see the summary below. See also my earlier post: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/burundi-what-more-early-warning-does-one-need/

Read the rest of this entry »

Austria and Netherlands pledge €1.35 million to African human rights defenders

February 16, 2015

World Bulletin News (from Turkey) reports on 13 February about the Dutch and Austrian governments funding a three-year project to support African human rights defenders. One always wonders why this kind of information pops up in one news source but not in others. Read the rest of this entry »

Human rights defenders pay with their lives, you can pay with your wallet

May 13, 2014

This is a fundraising appeal which this blog normally would not relay but as (1) it is done jointly by two organisations, (2) comes with images, and (3) has such a clear focus on human rights defenders, I make an exception.  It was published on 8 May 2014 by the International Service for Human Rights and the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, to ensure that human rights defenders have the skills and resources they need. To donate, go to www.ishr.ch/donate.

 

Sudan Human Rights Defender Osman Hummaida passes away

April 23, 2014

On 21 April 2014, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network announced the loss of its founding member, Osman Hummaida. Mr Hummaida, who died of natural causes on Thursday 17th April 2014, was a leading Sudanese human rights defender and an inspiration to countless activists in the international and African human rights community. He advocated for human rights in Sudan, challenging the impunity of those responsible for atrocities carried out against civilians. Forced to leave Sudan, having been detained and tortured on account of his work, Mr Hummaida founded the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies in exile. The Centre’s success and strength in documenting and reporting ongoing human rights violations in the country and advocating for justice is a living testament to Mr Hummaida’s vision and determination.

via Human Rights Defenders Mourn the Loss of Osman Hummaida – East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project.