On 14 April, ISHR delivered a statement on the situation of human rights in Africa, with a particular focus on the criminalisation and arrest of defenders in countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, the Republic of Congo or Burundi.
Since the recent change in leadership in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the OHCHR noted an improvement in the protection of human rights. However, defenders and other civil society actors are still being attacked, intimidated and threatened.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, despite the change of leadership, human rights defenders still operate in a challenging environment. As the government admitted during its Universal Periodic Review, a lot remains to be done for Congolese to fully enjoy their human rights in the country.
The Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) eighth periodic report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was reviewed at its seventy-third session (1 – 19 July 2019). During its review the Committee urged the State to adopt a law on human rights defenders and to take measures to ensure the protection of fundamentals rights. Four key human rights defenders-related recommendations were addressed to the State.
ISHR and its partners call on the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to guarantee the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, as well as to adopt laws that ensure the protection of human rights defenders as part of the DRC’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review in 2019.
During the enhanced dialogue on the High Commissioner’s report on the Democratic Republic of Congo, ISHR expressed concerns over the alarming shrinking space for civil society and restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression in the country.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) urges the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) introduce changes in the bill on the protection of defenders.
This year, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders calls on us to assess what has been done since then and to reflect on what can be done for the next 20 years in Africa.
During the 63 session of the African Commission, ISHR delivered a statement highlighting the situation of human rights defenders on the continent. While appreciating the numerous accomplishments made at the national level, we also emphasised the remaining challenges and threatening situations defenders face in some countries.
As the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is approaching the crucial time of its presidential elections, the government continues to restrict civil society actions. ISHR reiterated its call on the Human Rights Council to maintain a high level of scrutiny on the human rights situation in the DRC.