African Commission: Address ongoing human rights challenges on the continent


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(Banjul, The Gambia) - ‘ISHR welcomes the African Commission adoption of Resolution 336 on Measures to protect and promote the work of Women Human Rights Defenders. This resolution is timely as we celebrate the African Union’s ‘African Year of Human Rights with Particular Focus on the Rights of Women,’ ISHR said in a statement under Item 4 at the 58th African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (the African Commission).

The year 2016 marks a meaningful time on Africa’s human rights trajectory. 2016 marks the 35th Anniversary of the adoption of the African Charter in 1981, the 30th Anniversary of the entry into force of the African Charter in 1986 and the year marks the 29th Anniversary of the operationalisation of the African Commission in 1987.

ISHR encouraged Member States to demonstrate their commitment to women’s rights by adopting the Maputo Protocol and implementing the recommendations in the African Commission’s report on the situation of women human rights defenders (HRDs) in Africa and Resolution 336.

While noting the positive efforts made to promote and protect human rights on the continent, the statement also highlighted on going human rights challenges in Angola, South Sudan and Burundi.

‘Defenders in Burundi are paying a high price in the ever-worsening situation, with restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, targeted killings and forced exile affecting them directly. Burundian citizens and defenders are paralysed by fear,’ said Rumbidzai Masango ISHR’s Human Rights Consultant and Ambassador Bari Bari Fellow. 

The statement also expressed shock and dismay that women in South Sudan have been subjected to sexual violence and harassment as groups allied to the Government are being permitted to rape women in lieu of wages. 

ISHR called on the Angolan authorities to immediately release José Marcos Mavungo and to further release and drop all charges against the recently sentenced 17 defenders who were detained and tried for exercising their rights.

‘Proper legal processes were taken and the victims concerned were given a fair trail therefore we cannot release the activists. Moreover, the case has been appealed and we shall not interfere with this legal process,’ said the representative of the Angolan delegation exercising their right to reply. 

The full text of ISHR's Item 4 statement to the ACHPR is here. 

Contact: Mr Clément Voulé, ISHR Africa Advocacy Director,


  • Africa
  • Freedom of expression, association and assembly
  • Human rights defenders
  • NGOs
  • African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
  • ACHPR Special Rapporteur on HRDs
  • Angola
  • Burundi