Resolution of Sub-Regional Journalists Conference 2012 and Human Rights Defenders for the East and Horn of Africa

Resolution of the Sub-Regional Journalists and Human Rights Defenders Conference for the East and Horn of Africa

Colline Hotel, Mukono, Uganda, 12-16th November 2012

 

WE, the journalists and human rights defenders from Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia/Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, meeting at the Sub-Regional Journalists and Human Rights Defenders Conference organised by the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project in Mukono, Uganda, 12-16th November 2012:

REITERATING the fundamental principles of freedom of opinion and of expression enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights, as an individual human right, as a cornerstone of democracy and as a means of ensuring respect for all human rights and freedoms;

DEEPLY CONCERNED at the continuing cases of killings, illegal arrests, arbitrary or incommunicado detentions, harassments, expulsion, sexual harassment, torture and confiscation of equipment of journalists and human rights defenders in Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia/Somaliland, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda;

SHOCKED by the killings of 18 media workers in Somalia over the course of 2012;

CONCERNED FURTHER about the many infringements of freedom of expression and access to information in the countries of the sub-region, including through the use of restrictive legislation;

NOTING the particular challenges facing journalists and human rights defenders working on politically sensitive issues such as governance, corruption, counter-terrorism, natural resources, and sexual minority rights, as well as the additional dangers facing journalists and human rights defenders working in areas of armed conflict;

CONCERNED by the challenging working environment for many journalists and human rights defenders in the sub-region and lack of sufficient support from media houses;

REAFFIRMING the essential role of journalists and human rights defenders in monitoring and reporting during peaceful protests;

EXPRESSING solidarity with all journalists, individuals and groups of human rights defenders who have been subject to attacks, threats and harassment, including those forced into exile and NOTING the need for greater collaboration between journalists and human rights defenders in the sub-region;

ACKNOWLEDGING efforts at the international and regional levels to introduce measures to ensure the safety of journalists and human rights defenders, such as the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity;

Therefore RESOLVE to:

CALL on the governments of the sub-region to act to end impunity for attacks on journalists and human rights defenders, by carrying out thorough and impartial investigations and bringing the perpetrators to justice in fair trials;

URGE the governments of the sub-region to amend any legislation and policies that restrict the work of journalists and human rights defenders to be in line with regional and international human rights standards, in particular the Anti-Terrorism laws and Charities and Societies Proclamation in Ethiopia;

CALL on the sub-regional governments to enact legislation that promotes and protects the rights of journalists and human rights defenders;

URGE the governments of the sub-region to cooperate fully with the special mechanisms of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations, and to invite the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, the ACHPR Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, and the ACHPR Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information to carry out country visits;

STRONGLY ENCOURAGE media houses in the sub-region to invest financial and other resources in the professional development and security measures for the journalists in their employment and human rights defenders in their activism;

CALL on members of the international community and development partners to provide concrete support to measures to ensure journalists and human rights defenders’ safety and to bring an end to impunity.