Since 2020, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights has been holding its public sessions virtually. For the first time, the 69th session which took place from 15 November 2021 to 5 December 2021 was held in a hybrid format with all Commissioners participating from Dakar, Senegal and participants joining online.
For many human rights defenders, international and regional human rights laws and mechanisms have the potential to protect and amplify their work and impact on the ground. Indeed, for many defenders working in restrictive or repressive national contexts – such as China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – regional and international mechanisms may be among the only platforms available to demand justice, push for accountability, and contribute to positive change.
Civil society and diplomatic allies can also use such mechanisms to increase international pressure for change, such as the release of arbitrarily detained defenders, the repeal of restrictive laws and policies, or accountability for acts of intimidation and reprisals against defenders.
Through this programme, ISHR provides solidarity and support to defenders working in highly restrictive or repressive environments, and undertakes lobbying, advocacy and litigation to ensure that defenders are safe and free and to promote both State and non-State accountability for widespread and systematic threats, attacks, restrictions and reprisals against defenders.