In newly published report, ISHR and four partner organisations assess China's lack of implementation of human rights commitments from its 2018 Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The report details the government's diverse strategies to silence and repress human rights defenders, lawyers, and journalists.
At the request of the Sierra Leone NGOs, ISHR supported a policy dialogue between NGO and governmental actors to discuss and enrich a draft law on the protection of human rights defenders, which took place in Freetown on 30 May. The draft Sierra Leone law is substantially inspired from the model national law on the recognition and protection of human rights defenders.
On 31 May, ISHR and partners met with members of the Sierra Leone legislative and human rights parliamentary committees, to further discuss the draft law and the next stages of approval.
“We’re impressed and pleased to see the major progress made in the preparation of a draft law on the protection of human rights defenders in Sierra Leone” says ISHR’s Adélaïde Etong Kame. “But we’re also concerned by NGO regulations which are restricting freedom of association” she warned.
Sierra Leone could become the first Commonwealth country in Africa to adopt a new law on the protection and recognition of human rights defenders, and national NGOs are keen to support the process. Activists, including those working on land rights, face a range of threats and challenges, as echoed by several UN Special Procedures.
UN experts and Sierra Leone NGOs have also expressed concern with restrictive NGO policies which “impose severe restrictions to CSOs and impinge on the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association which are guaranteed under international human rights law”.
“We hope that Sierra Leone authorities will send a strong signal to the international community by adopting the new law on the protection of HRDs, and reviewing restrictive NGO policies. This would be in direct compliance with SDG 16 –peace, justice and strong institutions” Etong Kame concludes.
Video: ISHR on Ayvnews TV about Sierra Leone’s efforts towards a law protecting human rights defenders
During each ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (‘The African Commission’), Commissioners present their activity reports which provides an overview of the work done in between two sessions. On 23 November 2021, the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders and Focal point on reprisals presented his report.
On the last day of the NGO Forum, a panel was organised to officially launch the newly established Lusophone Platform for Human Rights in Africa.
In compliance with Article 62 of the African Charter, States have the obligation to report every two years on the legislative, administrative and political measures taken with a view to give effect to human rights guaranteed by the Charter. Despite the challenges of conducting the sessions online, it doesn't prevent the African Commission from holding States accountable to their human rights obligations.
The passage of a human rights defender resolution by the Third Committee of the GA by consensus, with 85 co-sponsors, is another important step in ongoing work to strengthen the promotion and protection of those who defend rights.
During its 76th session and in a move welcomed by civil-society, the Third Committee of the GA adopted by consensus a resolution recognising the rights of all people to participate in elections and public affairs, without discrimination, including on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Concerned about the increase in the number of human rights defenders in exile in Africa, during its 27th Extraordinary session, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (‘the African Commission’) adopted resolution 439 mandating the African Commission to publish a report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Exile in Africa.
Civil society calls for an end to attacks against Sudanese women protestors and WHRDs following the military coup.
On 16 November, ISHR delivered a statement on the situation of human rights in Africa, with a particular focus on the criminalisation and arrest of women defenders in Sudan, of LGBTI defenders in Namibia and the progress made on legislative protection of defenders in Benin and Mali.
As we celebrate 40 years since the adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which established the African Commission, the NGO Forum seized the opportunity to analyse the engagement of civil society with the Commission the past 40 years.
ISHR joins 15 NGOs in calling on Egypt to immediately communicate to Salah Soltan’s relatives his whereabouts, and release him from detention.
Sudanese human rights defender Abdulaziz Adam addresses the HRC to draw attention to the human right situation in Sudan.