East Africa

Impunity is one of the issues that the region of East Africa is struggling with. Freedom of expression and access to information is limited, with some exceptions. The criminalisation, punishment, killing and stigmatisation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons are a pressing concern. We are gradually establishing our presence in the region and looking into different ways to empower human rights defenders and marginalized groups. Read about the current human rights situation in our country report Human rights in East Africa

Select archive for specific country: Ethiopia | Erithrea | Kenya | South Sudan | Uganda

Ethiopian Authorities Release Two Zone 9 Bloggers and Four Journalists


Civil Rights Defenders welcomes the release of two Zone 9 Bloggers who were arrested along with four other bloggers and three journalists in April 2014 on incitement and terrorism charges. In what is seen as an unprecedented move by the Ethiopian authorities the three journalists were also released with all charges against the journalists and bloggers dropped. Another journalist who had spent more than four years in prison has also been released.

Proposed Bill will Restrict the Activities of NGO’s in Uganda

Maina Kiai

Civil Rights Defenders is concerned over the trajectory of a bill that aims to regulate Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) in Uganda. The NGO bill introduced in April 2015 is due to be debated by Ugandan legislators and contains several provisions aimed at curtailing Freedom of Association. It seeks to repeal and replace the current Non-Governmental Organisation Registration Act Cap 113 regulating NGO activities in Uganda.

The Misuse of Anti-Terrorism Laws in Africa with Civil Rights Defenders at the UN Human Rights Council

United_Nations_Human_Rights_Council_Logo (kopia)

During the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council which will be held in Geneva on June 16th, 2015 Civil Rights Defenders will co-sponsor an event entitled “The Misuse of Anti-Terrorism Laws in Africa”.This event will discuss and analyse anti-terrorist legislation trends across the African continent and how they are often used as a smokescreen to stifle dissenting voices instead of addressing genuine national security concerns.

UN Report Highlights Gross Human Rights Violations in Eritrea

United_Nations_Human_Rights_Council_Logo (kopia)

On June 08th The UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea issued a damning report and subsequent statement finding the Government of Eritrea “responsible for systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations that have created a climate of fear in which dissent is stifled, a large proportion of the population is subjected to forced labour and imprisonment, and hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the country”

Human Rights in Kenya

On the 27th August 2010 a new Constitution was adopted in Kenya. The Constitution, considered to be progressive, is seen as the primary instrument required to make social and political reforms in the country, so badly needed, after the violent events of the 2007 elections. Kenya adheres to the monist legal system and as such ratified international treaties are automatically incorporated into national law. Kenya is party to the majority of the core international human rights treaties as well as regional instruments such as the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

We are seeking an intern for the East and Horn of Africa Department

Den internationella människorättsloggan

We are seeking an intern for the East and Horn of Africa Department for the autumn semester. The internship consists of assisting the Program Director in his daily work. The tasks are varied and include writing articles, conducting research and monitoring of regional developments, drafting reports, some administrative work and assisting with the preparation of various activities and events in Sweden and abroad. Please send your application no later than the 30th of June.

Two Organisations at Risk of being Labeled as ‘Terrorist Entities’ in Kenya


Human Rights Agenda (HURIA), The National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders-Kenya (NCHRD-K), the Eastern Horn of Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) and Civil Rights Defenders has learned of the intention of the Inspector General of Police of Kenya to freeze the bank accounts of two highly respected Kenyan human rights organisations following the recent terrorist attack at the University in Garissa.

Anti-gay law in Uganda violates international conventions

H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda. Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

February 25, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill strengthening the punishment against homosexuals, who can now be sentenced to fourteen years up to life in prison for sexual relations with the same sex. Civil Rights Defenders, along with many other human rights organisations, have called for Uganda’s government to reverse the decision and urged them to guarantee Ugandan citizens their human rights

Journalist in exile receives human rights award

Mesfin Negash Photo Ninke Liebert

As recognition for his work promoting free expression in Ethiopia, Mesfin Negash, together with 40 other journalists and writers, has received the Hellman/Hammett award for 2012. The award is administrated by Human Rights Watch and given to writers who are subject to political persecution and human rights abuses. After being threatened by the authorities, Mesfin Negash fled Ethiopia in 2009 and today he continues his work for human rights in exile from Sweden.

Human Rights Defenders in focus – Brian Nkoyooyo

Fit in, instead of standing out, is a general security advice for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people in Uganda. “It is a matter of survival”, says Brian Nkoyooyo, Director of the grass root organisation Icebreakers that works with LGBT youth. Since he is a well-known gay activist in a country that is considered to be one of the worst countries for LGBT people, he is always on guard: “I live every day as it was my last”.

Mesfin Negash

Ninke Liebert Photography

Being one of Ethiopia’s very few independent journalists, Mesfin Negash was harrassed by the government to the limit that he had to go into exile. Today he lives in Sweden but continues to spread news about human rights and politics in Ethiopia, trying to make the international community alert on the situation in the country: “If you took a balance sheet you would see that we are equal to Burma”, says Mesfin Negash.