Posts Tagged ‘Margaret Sekaggya’

Fascinating insight: local community can be the leading violators of rights of HRDs

July 6, 2017

Local community leading violators of rights of HRDs

We all assume that the biggest threat to human rights defenders comes from the State or similarly powerful actors. Now a report by the Human Rights Centre Uganda (led by former UN Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya, pictured above) shows that it can be the local community that is the leading violator of the rights of HRDs. Juliet Kigongo of KFM, reports on 16 June 2017 that – at least in Uganda – 28% of complaints recorded were about members of the community, against 17% about government officials and 16% about politicians. The study was carried out in nine districts of Kasese, Mbarara, Lira, Soroti, Gulu, Mbale, Hoima and Kampala with Arua being the most affected.

[The report compiled by the Human Rights Centre Uganda also raises the red flag over the slow investigations of cases of violations against rights defenders, warning that the “slow pace of investigation could be seen as condoning attacks on Human Rights Defenders. While launching the report Margaret Sekaggya, the center’s Executive Director appealed to parliament to review existing laws that impede the work of human rights defenders and ensure that the legislative framework reflects provisions of the constitution and Uganda’s international commitments to ensure a safe and conducive environment.]
That the danger comes from all sides is clear, see e.g., but I really wonder what the situation is in other countries and whether other such studies have been carried out.

Source: Local community leading violators of rights of HRDs | KFM

Human Rights Tulip makes public its 2015 Jury

September 10, 2015

Transparency in the composition of the jury of human rights awards is not always very high, so the announcement by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the composition of its 2105 Tulip jury is to be welcomed:

Ugandan Margaret Sekaggya is to chair the jury. She is a human rights lawyer who from 2008 until 2014 was UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Human Rights Centre Uganda and sits on the Board of a number of NGOs, including True Heroes Films.

Ales Bialiatski is a distinguished human rights defender from Belarus and the founder of the Viasna Human Rights Center.

Nicola Jägers is a professor international human rights law and her research is mainly focused on the expansion of trade beyond borders and the universaling effects of the human rights movement.

Shahzad Ahmed has made his voice known by fighting against online censorship in Pakistan.

Amira Yahyaoui is a Tunisian blogger, activist and founder of the NGO Al Bawsala.

For more on awards, see:

Source: Human rights defender Margaret Sekaggya Sekaggya to chair the Human Rights Tulip 2015 Jury | News item | Human Rights Tulip

The Anna Lindh Lecture 2014 focused on human rights defenders

October 27, 2014

On 23 October former UN Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, gave the Anna Lindh Lecture 2014 under the title: “Providing a safe and enabling environment for Human Rights Defenders: Critical factors to Consider”. This was done in the context of the 30th anniversary of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Lund, Sweden.

The full text is available:

Michel Forst, New Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, gives indication of his priorities

August 5, 2014

After a long holiday break there is probably no better way to start again covering developments relevant to human rights defenders than by referring to the views of the new Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, who shared his vision with the International Service on Human Rights on 16 July 2014. Michel Forst – appointed in June 2014 – is an experienced human rights lawyer. He was Secretary-General of France’s national human rights commission, and was a Board member of several international human rights NGOs.  In an interview with ISHR, he sets out his vision and priorities in the post of Special Rapporteur on HRDs. Read the rest of this entry »

Finally it is final: Michel Forst the new Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders

May 8, 2014

It took a lot of wrangling but finally the President of the Human Rights Council has transmitted the list of candidates for mandate holders to be appointed on 8 May 2014 at the organizational meeting of the Human Rights Council. Michel Forst will succeed Margaret Sekaggya as Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders. To see the letter and list of all mandate holders:

For previous posts in the saga see:, with a picture of Michel Forst in the post of 13 March.





Here we go again: appointment UN special rapporteurs postponed

March 31, 2014

Contrary to what I hoped in my post of last week, there are still problems with the appointment of the slate of special rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council. The session that just finished SHOULD have seen the appointment of 19 special procedure mandate holders, including the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders. The appointments were, however, postponed until April at the request of Peru. It seems that Peru argued that the President had not justified the few instances in which he had chosen to select another candidate than the one recommended by the consultative group based on the interviews they had carried out; and that the final group of selected candidates did not adhere to requirements of gender or regional balance. Peru was specifically unhappy at a lower representation of experts from Latin America amongst the special procedures. So, we wait a bit longer!

UN Human Rights Council Adopts New Resolution on Human Rights Defenders

March 29, 2014

This week, the UN Human Rights Council adopted its annual resolution on human rights defenders. The resolution, led by Norway and Ireland, was co-sponsored by 74 nation-states and adopted by consensus. The new emphasis – in line with the latest report by the departing Rapporteur, Margaret Sekaggya – is on the importance of domestic law and administrative provisions which protect human rights defenders from criminalization, stigmatization, impediments, and obstructions contrary to international human rights law. The misuse of national security and counterterrorism legislation to crackdown on human rights defenders is also explicitly warned against. The resolution explicitly refers to the impact of how a country’s laws can be used by a government to further or impede the work of human rights defenders within the country.

for the full text see:

New UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders indeed Michel Forst

March 28, 2014

While two weeks ago I was a bit too quick in announcing Michel Forst‘s appointment as the new UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders [], a letter from the Chair of the Human Rights Council of 27 March 2014 fortunately confirms that he is the sole candidate and most likely to be endorsed by this session of the Council.

correction: Rapporteur on human rights defenders not yet confirmed

March 18, 2014

Well, it seems that my announcement of 13 March ( was a bit premature and the world will have to hold its collective breath until the announcement is confirmed towards the end of this month. But the rest of the post (the re-assuring part) stands.

Margaret Sekaggya succeeded as HRD Rapporteur by Michel Forst: Reassuring

March 13, 2014

In March, Margaret Sekaggya will finish her term as the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders. For more than five years the Ugandan Margaret Sekaggya has served the mandate with dedication and commitment, and has played an integral role in promoting the work of and furthering protection for human rights defenders around the world.

Also it has been announced that the new Special Rapporteur will be Michel Forst , from France.

Michel ForstHe is a lawyer by training and the Secretary General of the Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme de la Republique Française. From 2008 – 2013, he was the Independent Expert of the United Nations on the situation of human rights in Haiti. He was Director General of Amnesty International in France and worked in the human rights department of UNESCO. Mr. Forst is also a founding trustee of Front Line Defenders.

In short, Margaret Sekaggya did a great job – like her predecessor Hina Jilani – and the credentials of the new Rapporteur give all reason to hope that the level of knowledge and commitment will be maintained. Glad to report something good coming out of the Council!