Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

27 April 2009

African Human Rights Defenders acknowledge gains but concerns remain deep…

African Human Rights Defenders acknowledge gains but concerns remain deep…
Human rights defenders from across Africa say they remain deeply concerned by the threats, harassment, intimidation and physical violence they continue to face in carrying out their work.

Human rights defenders from 45 African countries, together with partners from across the world, met at the All-Africa Human Rights Defenders’ Conference in Kampala, Uganda, last week (20-23 April), organized by the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network. In a final statement, they acknowledged the achievements made since the first such conference was held in Johannesburg more than a decade ago.

Advances included the appointment of a United Nations as well as African Union Special Rapporteur on HRDs, the adoption of a UN declaration on HRDs, the establishment of regional HRD networks in Africa and an increasing awareness of their work across the continent.

However, the Kampala meeting also condemned the sizeable number of human rights defenders who have been killed in their efforts to promote and protect universal rights over the past ten years. The conference declaration also stressed deep concern over the continued violation of the rights of defenders in the various sub-regions of Africa, where they are routinely subjected to harassment, stigmatisation, arbitrary arrest, unfair trials, torture and even killings.

There was particular concern about threats against vulnerable HRDs, especially women, people working in areas of armed conflict and under repressive regimes, journalists, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) and minority rights activists.

Addressing the Kampala forum, Amnesty International’s Africa Programme Director, Erwin van der Borght, spoke of the many gains, in terms of better communication where human rights defenders are at risk, more opportunities for activists to meet and strengthened protection mechanisms at regional as well as international level.

But, van der Borght also stressed that “the human rights situation in many African countries remains precarious. Governments continue to restrict, without justification, the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.  Activists regularly have to flee their countries because of security risks and some are killed because of their human rights work.”

Among the demands made by the Kampala meeting was a call to the governments in Africa to bring an immediate end to the harassment, intimidation, legislative affronts and attacks on HRDs; to respect the United Nations declaration on HRDs; and to ensure that domestic legislation conforms with their regional and international human rights obligations.
Kampala-Declaration-ENG.pdf21.24 KB


United Nations 





@amnestyonline on twitter


24 November 2014

A Belgian mining company, Groupe Forrest International, has consistently lied about the bulldozing of hundreds of homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and... Read more »

28 November 2014

The State of Texas should immediately halt its shameful plans to execute a man with severe mental illness, said Amnesty International with the scheduled execution now less than... Read more »

28 November 2014

Hong Kong’s police chief must urgently stamp out any arbitrary and excessive use of force by police officers, with thousands of pro-democracy protesters... Read more »

27 November 2014

Raymond Gûreme experienced years of abuse at the hands of the Nazis in France for being a Traveller. Now, seven decades later, he lives like many... Read more »

27 November 2014

The Egyptian authorities must halt the arbitrary demolition of hundreds of homes and mass forced evictions under way in Rafah, North Sinai in order to create a buffer zone... Read more »