African Commission: Take concrete steps to implement study on women human rights defenders


The African Commission should adopt a resolution on the protection of women human rights defenders across the continent and take urgent action to protect human rights defenders and civil society in Burundi, ISHR said in a statement delivered in Banjul today.

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(Banjul, The Gambia) – The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights must pressure States to implement the recommendations of the study on the situation of women human right defenders (WHRDs) in Africa, ISHR has said in a statement delivered to the African Commission’s 57th ordinary session.

The African Commission must urge States to ‘establish a transparent and publicly accessible database for recording attacks against WHRDs and for facilitating follow-up by governmental, non-governmental and community-based actors, while also recognising the need to respect the right to privacy of survivors,’ the ISHR statement said.

Echoing the International Service for Human Rights call, Commissioner Soyata Maiga, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, reported to the African Commission her observation that while travelling on mission in Kampala, Uganda, ‘women human rights defenders in the country were not sufficiently recognised and that they were still confronted with challenges because they lack special protection.’ She called on States to ratify and implement the Maputo Protocol and United Nations Resolution 1325, as well as to mainstream gender in all government policies and departments. 

In addition to the highlighting the plight of women human rights defenders, the International Service for Human Rights also mentioned it was 'gravely concerned about the rapidly worsening situation in Burundi.'

'We urge the African Commission, while conducting its fact-finding mission, to have a particular focus on the situation and security of human rights defenders, and demand concrete guarantees for their security from authorities. It is unacceptable that Burundi, particularly as a new member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, shows utter disregard for its obligation to protect its human rights defenders,' said Rumbidzai Masango, ISHR Africa Human Rights Consultant and Ambassador Bari Bari Fellow.

Download the full ISHR ACHPR Item 4 statement here.           

Contact: Clement Voule, Head of African Advocacy, ISHR, on 


  • Africa
  • Human rights defenders
  • Reprisals and intimidation
  • Women's rights and WHRD
  • UN Human Rights Council
  • African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
  • Algeria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Ivory Coast
  • Kenya
  • Sierra Leone