Regional Situation

Election periods in the East and Horn of Africa are times of heightened tension and often result in the temporary, or sometimes permanent, closing of civic space. Many political parties in the sub-region lack a strong platform to express view on social and political issues and civil society has often filled this gap. By monitoring the electoral process and demanding accountability and transparency, human rights defenders place themselves in the crosshairs of those trying to consolidate their power. In the past, this has lead to increased harassment, surveillance, arrests, and torture of human rights defenders, with their vocal criticism is often mistaken for opposition activities.

Latest News

ACHPR62: The human rights situation in Africa

Our statement delivered by Ajo Noel Julious Kenyi.

26 April 2018
Reflections on the 61st session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

In October, DefendDefenders travelled to the Gambia, accompanied by human rights defenders (HRDs) from Burundi, Tanzania, and Uganda to attend the 61st Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR or the Commission). On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, DefendDefenders...

28 November 2017
HRC36: Kenya – Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Human Rights Council: 36th Session Item 4: General Debate – Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention Oral Intervention Delivered on 19 September 2017 by Ludivine Lecat Thank you Mr. President. The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and the National...

20 September 2017


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Caught up in Bitter Contests: report on human rights defenders working in the context of elections

The report details the tactics used by the Sudanese, Ethiopian, Burundian and Ugandan governments to limit the operating environment for civil society in advance of elections.

30 September 2015
2015: Burundi at a turning point

DefendDefenders details extensively how the relationship between civil society and Burundian state authorities dramatically deteriorated ahead of the April 2015 Presidential elections.

2 February 2015