National and international organisations sent a letter to the new Colombian government with three recommendations to prevent crimes and improve the security of human rights defenders.
As we mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders, in its statement delivered on 28 April, ISHR expressed its concerns about defenders still being subjected to reprisals, judiciary harassment and all forms of violence. Indeed, restrictive laws are used to curtail their work.
“Restrictions are placed on the work of human rights defenders through the adoption of laws that limit their access to funding, and the adoption of anti-terrorism laws that limit the ability of the media and human rights activists to monitor violence committed in the name of the fight against terrorism,” said Adélaïde Etong Kame, ISHR’s Africa Advocacy Consultant.
ISHR called on Egypt and all the States parties to the African Charter to end reprisals against defenders as well as arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances.
ISHR further raised concerns on the current human rights situation in Burundi.
“We call on the Burundian authorities to collaborate fully with regional and international human rights mechanisms, including the United Nations’ Commission of Inquiry, to put an end to these human rights violations and to take all necessary measures to put an end to the current impunity by bringing to justice all perpetrators of human rights violations,” emphasised Etong.
ISHR welcomed the positive developments regarding the protection of defenders on the continent. “We congratulate Mali and Burkina Faso for their recent adoption of national laws for the promotion and protection of human rights defenders and we welcome the spirit of collaboration between the authorities and civil society towards the protection of defenders”, Etong added.
However, ISHR’s statement expressed concerns about the draft law for the protection of human rights defenders that is currently being discussed in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “These laws must be in line with the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the African Charter, and should aim to create an environment conducive to the work of defenders and not to restrict it” reminded Etong.
ISHR welcomed the work accomplished by the mandate of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on human rights defenders for the protection of defenders in Africa since its establishment in 2004. We invite the Commission to monitor closely the implementation process of these protection laws, especially during the review of the periodic reports of these countries and during its promotion and protection visits.
Contact: Adélaïde Etong Kame at [email protected] or on Twitter @Adelaide_ISHR
Photo: African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies
Check out our updated world map on legislative protection, which collates developments in national legal instruments related to defenders and compares existing and draft instruments with the standards set by the Model Law.
ISHR, along with multiple other NGOs, released a joint statement condemning the criminalisation of women human rights defender Milena Quiroz and calling for her right to a fair trial and her right to defend human rights to be guaranteed.