'If we work together to make sure that issues are more visible, that happen in Africa, civil society organisations, I think, will be achieving more.'
On 29 and 30 March 2022, Nigerian civil society met in Abuja during a workshop co-organised by ISHR and Development Dynamics to discuss and strategise on ways to reduce legislative restrictions which impair the work of defenders and to strengthen legislative protections to support, safeguard and enable their work.
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.
The African Union (AU) declared 2021 as the year of “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.” The preservation of these values is inextricably linked to the protection of human and peoples’ rights.
The relationship between any State and its civil society should be one of collaboration and protection, in the interest of all citizens. Yet, it is not easy being a human rights defender or civil society organisation in Nigeria, as the government continues to interfere with the work of defenders and NGOs through restrictive legislation.
Abusing independent experts and downplaying the value of their work is unacceptable and counterproductive; instead States should be making much more of their work, to prevent human rights violations. This was the President of the Human Rights Council's message to the General Assembly, following threats made against UN experts by the government of Burundi.
As part of Nigeria’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review, ISHR and partners call on the Nigerian government to amend laws and policies preventing human rights defenders from conducting their work, and to ensure they are protected from intimidation.
20 years after the adoption of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders, where are we on the legal protection of defenders in West Africa? To assess the progress made but also the challenges that still remain in the region, ISHR in collaboration with the West African Human Rights Defenders Network (WAHRDN), the Ivorian Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (CIDDH) and HRCnet, is organising a workshop with defenders coming from all around the region.
In a statement delivered on 28 April before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission), ISHR called on States to end the adoption of restrictive laws and commended the adoption of national laws for the promotion and protection of human rights defenders in West Africa.
In two statements, ISHR and Amnesty International have called on the President of the Human Rights Council to urge 71 States to respond to communications by UN experts regarding alleged human rights violations, and have raised the alarm regarding personal attacks on such experts.