Oral statement on the situation of human rights defenders in Africa at the 59th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Civic space in Africa is under attack. Recent years have seen the rise of the proposal to enact legislation whose purpose or effect is to restrict the space for civil society or create barriers to HRDs effectively doing their work. Ethiopia, Uganda, amongst other countries, have successfully enacted such laws. In countries, such as Angola and Egypt, HRDs have been subjected to unfounded criminal prosecutions, arbitrary detention, and judicial harassment. There are active government efforts to stifle dissent and muzzle the peaceful exercise of the right to freedoms of expression, assembly, and association, especially in the context of elections and transitions. In a wide spectrum of countries, including Burundi, DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, and Nigeria, violent crackdowns on assemblies have resulted in the death and serious injury to peaceful demonstrators. This statement highlights the situation in three countries: Egypt, Ethiopia and Gambia.