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African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

ICJ Oral Intervention on the Human Rights Violations Affecting Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) in Africa




                                                                                                                           AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES’ RIGHTS                                                                          

                                                                                                                                               51ST SESSION, 18 APRIL – 7 MAY 2012                                                                                                                     


                                                                                                                                                                  Agenda Item 7.b

            ICJ Oral Intervention on the Human Rights Violations Affecting Human Rights                  

Defenders (HRDs) in Africa

24 April 2012

Madam Special Rapporteur,

African HRDs persistently face, particularly in the context of elections, a wave of serious attacks, of which perpetrators have continued to enjoy impunity. For purposes of this brief intervention, the ICJ will only focus on a few countries due to the severity and persistence of persecutions.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Senegal, Swaziland, Uganda and Zimbabwe, HRDs have suffered the following human rights violations:

·         Harassment by government authorities and/or security forces

·         Arbitrary arrests

·         Cruel and degrading treatment whilst in detention

·         Physical assaults

·         Enactment and use of repressive laws,

·         Torching of homes

·         Death threats

·         Extra-judicial executions

The ICJ observes that the culture of not holding State actors to account perpetuates the cycle of impunity, which Uganda must break.


The ICJ requests the Special Rapporteur and the African Commission to exhort all African States and, in particular, the period leading up to elections:

·         to integrate the protection of human rights defenders in their electoral legal frameworks;

·         to improve the human rights and the rule of law working environment of HRDs;

·         to put an end to the persecution of HRDs and

·         to break the cycle of impunity for attacks against HRDs.



Thank you!