Posts Tagged ‘Margaret Sekaggaya’

9 December, Human Rights Defenders Day, ‘celebrated’ in Uganda

December 13, 2017

In an article in the Ugandan paper The Independent entitled “Activists mark Human Rights Defenders day” (13 December 2017), Robert Kirenga, the Executive Director of the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders in Uganda spoke to Flavia Nassaka about his perspective on international human rights defenders day and the general human rights situation in the country. He made some interesting points such as (excerpts):  Read the rest of this entry »

Two more side events on Human Rights Defenders on 10 and 12 March

March 5, 2014

In a post earlier in the day I mentioned that I would restrict myself to announcing Side Events to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that are specially focused on Human Rights Defenders, but that seems not be much of a restriction with two more interesting events scheduled for next week:

1.Human Rights Defenders and the Shrinking Space for Civil Society” on Monday 10 March 2014 from 14 to 15h00 in Room XX Palais des Nations. Speakers:

  • Navi Pillay UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Halah Eldoseri – Saudi Arabia [researcher on women’s health services; blogs (Saudi women’s rights) to educate women about the country’s  international obligations towards women; writes and organises lectures and workshops in Saudi Arabia for activists and the public]
  • Maksym Butkevych – Ukraine [radio and TV journalist working with “Hromadske Radio” (“Public Radio”) in Kiev; Co-Founder of “No Borders” project of the NGO “Social Action Centre”, which works on anti-discrimination issues;  organised an independent radio station to directly cover the events in Ukraine; Co-Ordinator of the Independent Civic human rights violations Investigation Commission]
  • Mary Lawlor Director of Front Line Defenders [Chair]Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped

Co sponsors: Troicare, International Commission of Jurists, Permanent Mission of Ireland.


2. “Global Trends for Human Rights Defenders” on Wednesday 12 March from 09h30 -12h00 in the office of International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Rue de Varembé 1.  This Roundtable brings together human rights defenders, practitioners, academic scholars, intergovernmental officials, government representatives, and donors to discuss innovation and the way forward to improve understanding and protection of HRDs, specially to foster an enabling environments for human rights defenders. This discussion will draw upon:

  1. Recommendations made in the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders  to the Human Rights Council on 10 March 2014,
  2. Ideas shared in the Side Eventof the Human Rights Council on ‘Creating a Safe and Enabling Environment for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders’ on 11 March 2014 (see my post:
  3. Issues in the Special Issue on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in the Journal of Human Rights Practice (

To attend this event, please register by Friday March 7 at 12:00 noon by completing this on-line form:

Werner Lottje, German human rights pioneer, finally honored on 13 November in Berlin

November 11, 2013

If the coming days I am a bit less prolific with news on human rights defenders (maybe a welcome respite!) there is a good human rights reason: I will be in Berlin where on 13 November 2013 the first annual Werner Lottje Lecture will be inaugurated. It is an initiative by Bread for the World and the German Institute for Human Rights. As a good friend of Werner I am delighted to be allowed to speak about his enormous contribution to the human rights world as it is today: Read the rest of this entry »

Margaret Sekaggya, UN expert, finds situation of human rights defenders in Togo improved, but not good enough

October 18, 2013

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, on 16 October 2013 called on the Togolese Government to ensure a favourable environment in which human rights defenders can carry out their work. The Government can do this by fully implementing the existing legal framework, avoiding stigmatisation and fostering a spirit of dialogue and constructive criticism, she said at the end of her five-day mission to assess progress made in Togo since her last visit in 2008.

Compared to 2008, “The environment for defenders is more enabling now, but important challenges remainRead the rest of this entry »

UN alarmed by reprisals against Chinese activists

October 16, 2013

A group of United Nations experts has expressed serious concern at reports that Chinese human rights defenders have suffered reprisals for seeking to participate in a major UN human rights assessment of China. Read the rest of this entry »

Observatory for HRDs comes out with annual report

October 27, 2011

IPS reported that on Monday 24 October a symbolic empty chair was at the launch of a report on the repression of human rights defenders, a physical reminder that its would-be occupant – Ales Bialiatski, president of Human Rights Centre Viasna in Belarus – has been languishing in prison since August. Bialiatski is charged with tax evasion, but supporters say it is clear that the charges are in retaliation for his long and distinguished career of human rights activism in the country. The chair was also empty for the hundreds of other human rights defenders across the world who have been deprived of their freedom and fundamental rights, leaving a void in the communities they worked to protect.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT), published its 600-page report on individual human rights defenders and organisations that faced repression between January 2010 and April 2011. It covers 70 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, The Americas and Europe. The abuses cited include the ‘usual’ harassment, threats and arrests, arbitrary detention, defamation campaigns, and restrictions in terms of freedoms of association and expression, but  also notes Antoine Bernard, of FIDH, a trend to the criminalise social protests. “That is a very universal trend, to use the law not as a protecting tool, that is supposed to be its role, but law as a repressive tool to arbitrarily provide the legal basis for silencing human rights defenders”, he said to InterPress Service (IPS).  “A threat to a human rights defender very often transcends beyond the individual case, it carries a shadow to society at large,” concluded Gerald Staberock, secreterary-general of OMCT.

The United Nations special rapporteur on the situation for human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggaya, underscored the importance of implementing the Declaration for Human Rights Defenders that the General Assembly adopted back in 1998, and the importance of disseminating information about it. “It is still an instrument that is not sufficiently known, either to those who should shoulder the main responsibility for its implementation, namely states, or to those whose rights it sets out to protect, human rights defenders,” Sekaggaya said.