Last week the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association presented his report to the Third Committee of the General Assembly urging states and private sector to respect the exercise of human rights of those mobilising peacefully to address the climate crisis.
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]
Today, UN member States elected members to the UN's top human rights body, the Human Rights Council, for the 2022-2024 term. 18 candidates ran for 18 seats, and all were elected, leaving civil society disappointed in a process that can hardly be called an election.
Mozambique has accepted 236 of the 266 recommendations received. While this highlights a slight progress since their last Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the human rights situation in the country still needs large structural improvements.
During the adoption of the outcome of its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, Niger manifested its willingness to cooperate with human rights mechanisms by accepting almost all the recommendations. However, more efforts for an efficient implementation remain necessary.
Despite Sierra Leone's acceptance of recommendations aiming to improve civil society’s space, cases of reprisals against human rights defenders are still reported.
The DRC has noticeably improved the protection of human rights in the Kasaï region but progress remains slow and action is still needed towards transitional justice and the protection of defenders in this region.
Defender Zhang Haitao's wife addressed the UN Human Rights Council on 20 September, after more than 1240 days without information about her husband's status. He is serving 19 years on 'national security'-related charges, punishing him for exercising freedom of speech.
Human rights organisations* urge the immediate and unconditional release of Egyptian human rights defender Mohamed El-Baqer, who completes today two years in arbitrary detention.
Human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia continue to face an increasing crackdown including arbitrary detention, ill-treatment, and medical and administrative neglect. The UN Human Rights Council must take action by establishing a monitoring and reporting mechanism on the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia.
Ten organisations renew their call for the immediate and unconditional release of Egyptian human rights defender Abdulrahman Tarek as he receives Index on Censorship’s Freedom of Expression Award
Despite the Burundian government’s efforts, the human rights situation in the country remains a matter of concern. During the presentation of its report, the Commission of Inquiry underscored the necessity to take more significative actions to pave the way towards sociopolitical stabilization and democracy.
This week in an online event, 10 candidate States publicly spoke to an audience of around 200 people on their pledges as incoming Human Rights Council members for 2022 – 2024. They also faced questions on pressing human rights issues from both States and civil society organisations.