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ACHPR67 | Stop the violent repression of protests in Africa

On 24 November, ISHR delivered a statement on the situation of human rights in Africa, with a particular focus on the restrictions to freedom of assembly in Africa and the recent arrests of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights’ (EIPR) staff in Egypt.

The statement delivered by ISHR presented the challenges faced by civil society during this electoral year. It highlighted the situation in Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire with the repression of demonstrations before and after the presidential elections. The statement also shared concerns regarding the situation in Nigeria and the killing of protesters asking for the dismantling of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Adélaïde Etong Kame, ISHR Africa Programme Manager highlighted that “the excessive use of force during peaceful demonstrations by police forces in Africa continues to remain a problem” and added “the current climate does not in any way justify the violations of human rights which preceded and or followed the passage to the polls of the African populations.”

ISHR brought to the attention of the Commission, the recent crackdown on defenders in Egypt who are being targeted solely because of their legitimate work, in order to intimidate them and the Egyptian human rights community at large.

“EIPR is one of the few independent human rights NGOs remaining in Egypt who continues to work publicly and to engage with State institutions. We are also increasingly concerned about the ever-tightening space for organisations like EIPR and others who choose to carry out their work publicly in Egypt, and who are being punished for trying to uphold human rights and constitutional norms in the country” said Etong Kame.

To conclude, ISHR reminded the Commission of the efforts made so far for the legislative protection of defenders in Africa and the importance to maintain these efforts and ensuring they don’t get lost in working through the current health crisis.

“Finally, Mr. President, over the past 5 years more and more African States have made the legal protection of human rights defenders a reality at the national level and others are in the process of doing so. This is the case of Niger, Guinea and even Benin. It is important that these advances are not undermined or distorted by the violations committed during these times of crisis, because the adoption and implementation of these laws remain all the more important” concluded Etong Kame.

Contact: Adélaïde Etong Kame, Africa Programme Manager, [email protected]

Photo: ISHR

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