human rights violations

  • Cambodia Human Rights Crisis: The UN Human Rights Council Should Act Now

    To Members and Observer States of the United Nations Human Rights Council

    The undersigned civil society organizations are writing to draw your attention to the ongoing human rights crisis in Cambodia and to call for your support at the upcoming 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council (the “Council”) to ensure that the resolution on Cambodia effectively reflects the significant deterioration of the human rights situation in the country and enhances the monitoring and reporting by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

    The human rights situation in Cambodia has continuously worsened since 2017, as the government-controlled courts dissolved the main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), and barred its co-founders, Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha and more than a hundred CNRP politicians from politics, while replacing over 5,000 locally elected officials with members of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

    The situation has further deteriorated since the last Human Rights Council resolution on Cambodia was adopted in September 2019. Judicial harassment against opposition members has sharply increased, including through the conduct of mass trials against them in more recent months. Human rights defenders, activists, independent media and media workers, and trade unionists have continued to be relentlessly persecuted through judicial harassment and legal action. Environmental human rights defenders and youth activists have specifically been targeted: recently, six members1 of Mother Nature - a grassroots environmental group - were detained under serious charges including “plotting” to overthrow the government and face up to 10 years in prison. A highly politicized judicial system renders the prospect of fair trials for those deemed a threat to the interests of the government virtually non-existent.

    The government has used the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to significantly expand its powers through an over-broad and vague state of emergency law2 ; a similarly broad Covid-19 law that allows for up to 20-year prison sentences for violations of Covid-19 measures; and the selective prosecution of political opponents who criticized the government’s Covid-19 efforts. The government also failed to protect human rights in its Covid-19 response. The government’s lockdowns were imposed without ensuring access to adequate food, medical, and other humanitarian assistance, and authorities took insufficient steps to prevent major Covid-19 outbreaks among the prison population in a penal system plagued by chronic overcrowding.

    Laws are routinely misused in Cambodia to restrict human rights, undermine and weaken civil society, and criminalize individuals for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. The authorities continue to adopt repressive legislation, with complete lack of oversight. In the past year, the government has taken drastic measures to further increase online surveillance, clamp down on freedom of expression online and erode privacy rights. In February 2021, the authorities adopted the “Sub-decree on the Establishment of a National Internet Gateway” which aims at forcing all web traffic and internet connections through government controlled and monitored gateways by February 2022. The pending “Draft Law on Cybercrime” and the “Draft Law on Public Order” would provide further tools to criminalize freedom of expression or behaviors in the digital, print, and public spaces, in addition to legislation already denounced by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Cambodia and other UN Special Procedures3.

    Noting the announcement of Commune Council elections to be on June 5, 2022, we are deeply concerned that there has been no meaningful progress to restore human rights.

    The Council has a critical role to play in addressing the ongoing human rights crisis in Cambodia. It is imperative that the Council takes robust action with regard to the government’s escalating repression by sending a strong signal at its 48th session - the last opportunity within the context of the biennial Human Rights Council resolution to address the human rights crisis in Cambodia before the Commune Council elections in 2022 and the National Assembly elections in 2023. For this reason, our organizations urge the Human Rights Council to:

    • Renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Cambodia, so as to allow the mandate to continue to work on long-term issues.

    • Request the OHCHR to monitor and report on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, and in particular in the context of the electoral process, and to present to the Human Rights Council an oral update with recommendations at the 49th session, to be followed by an interactive dialogue, and to present a written report at the 51st session in an enhanced interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Cambodia.

    • Highlight escalating repression and restrictions on human rights, including persecution of human rights defenders, media workers and trade unionists, and misuse of legislation to restrict human rights.

    We further urge your government, during the 48th session of the Human Rights Council, to speak out clearly against ongoing violations in Cambodia.

    We remain at your disposal for any further information.


    1. Amnesty International
    2. ARTICLE 19
    3. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
    4. CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation
    5. Human Rights Watch
    6. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
    7. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

    1In May 2021, the authorities convicted and sentenced three Mother Nature activists to 18 and 20 months in prison. Two others were convicted in absentia.
    In June 2021, the authorities arrested four Mother Nature activists, released one, and maintained the other three in pre-trial detention.
    2The Law on the Management of the Nation in State of Emergency (April 2020)
    3See, for example, Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO), Law on Trade Unions, Law on Political Parties

     Civic space in Cambodia is rated as repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor.

  • Cambodia Should Scrap Rights-Abusing National Internet Gateway

    We, the following 32 human rights organisations, call on the Cambodian authorities to revoke the Sub-Decree on the Establishment of the National Internet Gateway (NIG).

  • Cameroon elections promise more trouble, not solutions for Anglophones

    By Teldah Mawarire, Campaigns and Advocacy Officer and Ine van Severen, Civic Space Research Officer

    For nations in crisis, free and fair elections usually can bring much-needed reprieve. Voting offers hope and chance to end strife and conflict. We’ve seen this in recent times in countries like The Gambia, The Maldives and Malaysia, where increasingly autocratic presidents were booted out of office at the ballot box by fed-up voters.

    Read on: The Government and Business Journal

  • CHAD: ‘The government, local groups and society at large have all joined efforts to help refugees’

    MonimHaroonCIVICUS speaks with Monim Haroon, Emergency Communications Manager at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), about the situation of Sudanese migrants in Chad’s refugee camps and civil society’s work to support them.

    Formally established in 1902, HIAS is the world’s oldest refugee agency. Originally set up by Jewish people to assist fellow Jews, it has evolved into a global humanitarian and advocacy group that helps hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced people in more than 20 countries around the world. Monim, himself a Darfur refugee, is currently deployed in Eastern Chad.

  • Chad: Respect the right to protest and release detained activists

    The use of violence to disperse recent protests in Chad and the arrests and detention of members of civil society and the political opposition highlight ongoing attempts by the military junta to stifle civic freedoms and silence criticism of their actions.

  • China: Impunity persists for attacks against human rights


    Statement at 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council

    Delivered by Sarah M Brooks, The International Service for Human Rights

    Madame High Commissioner,

    As you must be aware, the human rights situation in China remains dire. Major research reports published in the last two months independently reach the same conclusion: the Chinese government is committing crimes against humanity against its Turkic Muslim population. The international community, this Council, and your Office cannot remain silent.

    We request that you urgently strengthen monitoring and initiate public reporting on the human rights situation across China.

    This is essential to providing objective, independent and concrete information to all stakeholders, and to seeking constructive solutions to protect vulnerable populations from further abuse.

    In your last update to this Council, you pointed to the curtailment of fundamental rights and freedoms in the name of national security, especially targeting Uyghurs and Tibetans; restrictions on free speech and detentions linked to the Covid-19 response; the investigation of protesters in Hong Kong; and arbitrary arrest,and unfair trials of lawyers, journalists and defenders.  

    In the months since, little has changed. More is needed.

    We acknowledge your call for unfettered access to ‘all regions of China’. We emphasise that access is not a prerequisite for accountability. Ongoing negotiations should not delay urgently needed action.

    Human rights violations across China, Uyghur and Tibetan regions, as well as Hong Kong have become increasingly severe over the last years, even while Chinese authorities have consistently denied meaningful cooperation. We are here as allies, but the victims and communities urgently need you, your Office, and the UN as a whole to respond.  

    Thank you.

    Civic space in China is currently rated as Closed by the CIVICUS Monitor

  • CIVICUS warns of grave dangers to civil society activists in Kenya

    Johannesburg. 18 May 2010. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation warns that the operating environment for civil society in Kenya remains fraught with danger. As the spotlight is focused on impunity in Kenya by the international community including the International Criminal Court (ICC) and special representatives of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), civil society activists are facing grave risks.

    Groups advocating for ending impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations and those that have documented the violations are particularly threatened. On 4 May 2010, a meeting organised by Bunge la Mwannanchi on the post election violence in Kenya was dispersed and four of its activists were detained and later released without charges. In April this year, Kenneth Kirimi, a member of the civil society group, Release Political Prisoners, was arbitrarily detained and severely tortured by security operatives requiring him to need medical treatment. He was questioned with regard to his work on collecting information about extra-judicial killings and sharing of information with the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Philip Alston.

  • CSO's Letter to the African Union Commission about the State of Human Rights in Egypt

    by H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat 

    We write to you in your capacity as the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the secretariat of the continental organisation responsible for driving the political agenda and development of the people of Africa. As Chairperson of the AU Commission, we are assured of your mandate to promote the objectives of the AU. The undersigned organisations work to advance human rights in Africa and write to express deep concerns about the situation of human rights in the Republic of Egypt. In particular, this letter highlights some systematic violations of human rights in Egypt. While we acknowledge that you may well be aware of certain issues raised in this letter, we bring them to light due to the appalling situation and gravity of the violations.

    Beyond hosting the Africa CUP of Nations (21 June- 19 July) which brought a lot of excitement to the people of Africa, human rights in Egypt face serious threats. Our concerns span from interference with the system of administration justice, enforced disappearances, attacks against human rights defenders and attacks against the independent media. Moreover, we are concerned about the use of systematic torture, lengthy pre-trial detention, the shrinking civic space and other related violations as detailed below.

    Interference with the system of administration of justice and violation of fair trial rights

    In April 2019, the Constitution of Egypt was amended to give the executive branch excessive powers to control the judiciary. Thus, in the amended constitutional articles 185, 189 and 193 the president has powers to appoint the head of judicial bodies including the chief of the Supreme Constitutional Court and the Public Prosecutor. Moreover, in article 200 the executive, and particularly the military, is attributed powers to “protect the constitution and democracy, and safeguard (…) individual rights and freedom”. Categorically, these amendments violate the notion of separation of power known for ensuring checks and balance between the arms of the government. Unless a proper system of checks is put into place, there are huge risks that, working under the military, the judicial arm of the government will not play its role effectively as it ought to do.

    The death of Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi on Monday 17 June 2019, is yet another shocking event that exposes Egypt’s violation of fair trial rights. Morsi died in a defendant courtroom while attending a session in his trial on espionage charges.[1] Reports say that his death could be linked to negligence by Egyptian authorities to provide him with adequate medical treatment for diabetes, liver and kidney malfunction.[2]  

    Enforced disappearances, mass arrest and attacks against activists

    Security forces have used enforced disappearances to instil fear among the population in the country. Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented 1,530 cases of enforced disappearances in Egypt between July 2013 and August 2018. We are particularly concerned that enforced disappearances and mass arrests were used against rights activists and political opponents of President El-Sisi. This has occurred in an attempt to wipe out opposition in the country. The victims of such arrests include political activists such as rights defender Wael Abbas (now released); Shady al-Ghazaly Harb, a surgeon; Haitham Mohamadeen, a lawyer; Amal Fathy; and Shady Abu Zaid, a satirist.[3] Other persons affected include Hoda Abdelmonem, a 60-year-old lawyer and rights defender and Alaa Abdel Fattah (also released, recently). As of 1 November 2018, Ezzat Ghonim, Executive Director of an organisation called Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), was reported missing for several months.[4]

    Attacks against the media

    The 2018 law regulating the media provides overly broad powers to the Council of the Media to block websites, shut down television channels and other publishing forums without a judicial order to that effect. The law also places personal media accounts under the supervision of the Media Council. It means that one can be arrested for publishing fake news on their personal account, even if the publication was done as satire. The situation is exacerbated in a context where media experts such as journalists are detained. To mention a few, Mahmoud Abu Zeid (Shawkan) a photo-journalist was jailed for 5 years, Abdullah Elshamy, also a journalist was sentenced to 15 years in absentia simply for conducting his work, he also undertook a hunger strike in prison. Not so long ago, Hisham Gaafar, a journalist and human rights defender, and Director of an NGO that focuses on media studies was also detained. Gaafar was held for 3 years and only released in April 2019. We submit that the clampdown on media has negatively affected the enjoyment of the rights of freedom of expression and access to information. It is our view that if these rights are to flourish in Egypt, the authorities must seek to improve the country’s human rights record by allowing media freedom and by implication the right to access to information. The Egyptian authorities should also refrain from attacking media professionals.


    The 2017 Committee against Torture report on Egypt noted that the practice of torture is “habitual, widespread and deliberate” in Egypt. It adds that torture appears to occur frequently following arbitrary arrests and is often carried out to obtain a confession or to punish and threaten political dissenters. Torture is perpetrated by police officers, military officers, national security officers and prison guards. Prosecutors, judges and prison officials also facilitate this ill practice by failing to curb practices of torture, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment, or to act on complaints.[5]

    Pre-trial detention

    Egypt’s Criminal Procedural Code[6] entrenches provisions that have overly vague grounds for pre-trial detention. This has led to lengthy detention of journalists and political activists who have been bold enough to criticize the system of governance in the country. Case in point includes the prolonged detention of Egyptian journalist Mahmoud Hussein Gomaa Ali, who was arrested for more than two years without charges. It is suspected that Mahmoud’s punitive pre-trial detention is a message from the government of Egypt to journalists who dare to speak openly against the ruling authorities.

    Closing civic space

    The 64th Ordinary Session of African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, held in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, was marred with daunting reports about restriction of civic space. Many delegates of civil society organisations operating in the continent faced serious difficulties obtaining entry visas. Participants from Ghana, Malawi, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania were unable to obtain visas to attend the session. Indirect restrictions further included exorbitant fees for hosting side events led by civil society actors and the intentional miscommunication on logistics for events. Registration for the session proved difficult and some participants reported what appeared to be intrusive harassment by security agents. The above scene leads one to think about the challenges faced by rights groups based in Egypt.

    Your Excellency, in 1984, Egypt ratified the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), an instrument that compels member states to respect, protect and fulfil all the human rights recognized in the Charter. Moreover, Egypt is a member state and current chair of the AU and expected to lead as a human rights champion in upholding the human rights principles set out in AU’s Constitutive Act. Your Excellency, the on-going violations of human rights in Egypt are not in keeping with the country’s obligations and domestic laws, including the constitution and major international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Egypt. It also violates objectives 3(g) and (h) of the Constitutive Act of the AU which enjoins AU member States to promote popular participation and human and people’s rights, respectively. Recalling the role of the AU as the lead regional institution tasked to better the lives of the people of Africa, and particular the Egyptian citizens, we respectfully ask you to take measures to ensure that the government of Egypt restores respect for the rule of law, ensures ample protection of human rights and aligns its practice to ratified international and regional human rights standards including the Constitutive Act of the AU and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. We respectfully ask you to consider including the situation of human rights in Egypt as a point for discussion in the agenda of the next Summit of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU with recommendations for the Summit to deliberate on asking the government of Egypt to:

    1. Take steps to ensure full compliance with international and regional human rights standards;
    2. Respect separation of power by refraining from interfering with the system of administration of justice;
    3. Halt enforced disappearances, investigate and punish perpetrators of enforced disappearance;
    4. Investigate and punish perpetrators and stop attacks against political opponents, peaceful protesters and journalists;
    5. Respect the right to access to information and freedom of the media. In particular, lift the ban against independent press and media;
    6. Investigate and take actions to punish perpetrators of torture and ensure assistance and reparations to the victims;
    7. Address lengthy pre-trial detention and release all detainees who are being held in pre-trial detention without proper charges. and
    8. Promote a culture of dialogue and participation and comply with internationally and regionally recognised standards on the rule of law and civic space.

    In addition, we request you to recommend the AU to:

    1. Ask Egypt to report on measures and progress achieved in the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

    Signed by

    1. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS);
    2. Centre for Human Rights Education Advice and Assistance (CREAA);
    3. Freedom Initiative;
    4. Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa;
    6. MENA Rights Group;
    7. Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network;
    8. Southern African Christian Initiative (SACHI);
    9. Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN);
    10. West African Human Rights Defenders; and


    [1] The Wall Street Journal at

    [2] Middle East Monitor report available at

    [3] Human Rights Watch Report - 2018, available at

    [4] See details at

    [5] Para. 69 of the UN Committee against Torture report on Egypt, available at file:///C:/Users/mandlate/Downloads/G1717367.pdf (Doc A/72/44).

    [6] The UN Working group on Arbitrary Detentions (WGAD) criticized Egypt severely for having vague laws on pre-trial detention. For further details see

  • Deportation of academic increases the chilling effect on freedom of expression in Fiji

    USP Fiji

    The recent deportation of academic Professor Pal Ahluwalia is alarming and highlights the restrictive environment for freedom of expression in Fiji, global civil society alliance CIVICUS said today.

  • DRC: ‘Civil society action is needed more than ever, but the space in which it can undertake it is getting smaller’

    Bahati_Rubango.jpgCIVICUS speaks with Bahati Rubango, country coordinator at the Women’s International Peace Centre (WIPC), about conflict in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

    WIPC is a feminist organisation seeking to catalyse women’s leadership, amplify their voices and deepen their role in peacebuilding. It started out in 1974 as Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange, and in 1994 it moved from Geneva to Uganda and deepened its focus on the women, peace and security agenda.

    What’s the security situation in the DRC, and how is civil society working to address it?

    In the DRC, and particularly in Kivu and other parts of eastern DRC, including Beni, Bunagana, Masisi and Rutshuru territories and Ituri and South Kivu provinces, the situation is dire due to ongoing conflict. The prominence of the M23 rebel group exacerbates the crisis. The DRC’s government has accused Rwanda of supporting M23, with these claims substantiated by United Nations (UN) reports. The region is also plagued by the presence of over 120 other armed factions, foreign and local, some of which receive backing from Uganda, further complicating the situation.

    This has precipitated a humanitarian catastrophe, characterised by widespread displacement, killings, rape, plundering of natural resources, instances of sexual violence and severe limitations on access to education and healthcare, worsening the suffering and vulnerability of millions of civilians.

    Despite the deployment of various regional and international peacekeeping missions, the violence persists. The peacekeeping efforts of MONUSCO, the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC, have fallen short. The conflict has regional and global dimensions beyond the DRC’s borders, impacting on peace and security across multiple countries.

    There is a complex interplay of local and international dynamics, including economic interests that perpetuate the conflict. The conflict’s economic dimension has been illustrated by the fact that rebel groups are mainly located where there are strategic natural resources.

    Efforts to quell the insurgency by national militia groups such as the Wazalendo movement find obstacles in the challenging terrain and the firm grip of rebel groups on strategic areas. As a result, access to Goma and other conflict-affected regions is primarily limited to air travel and boats across Lake Kivu, which impedes humanitarian aid and peacekeeping efforts.

    Civil society organisations play a crucial role in peacebuilding, monitoring human rights violations and advocating for justice and security sector reforms. Civil society highlights the need for justice for victims and the involvement of women and young people in peace processes. Despite challenges, including threats to human rights defenders, civil society strives to raise awareness, combat hate speech and protect vulnerable populations.

    How much space is there for civil society action in the DRC?

    The situation has been tumultuous since May 2021, with the declaration of a state of siege in conflict areas that has subsequently been renewed. Under the ongoing state of siege, the military displaced civilian authorities and assumed control. This shift resulted in a significant curtailment of civic freedoms, particularly for public demonstrations and speech. Military justice has taken precedence over civilian law, raising ethical concerns and contributing to lack of accountability.

    Problems have been compounded by the questionable level of training and education in the army. There have been reports of inadequately trained people being integrated, including former rebel fighters with no regard for human rights principles, approaches or values. This has led to a rise in criminal activities and violations committed by security forces, further restricting civic space.

    Human rights defenders and journalists critical of the government have faced persecution. Arrests and criminalisation under baseless charges have become commonplace. Despite legislative efforts to protect activists, implementation has been lacking, exacerbating the erosion of civic space. An example is Lucha (Lutte pour le changement – Fight for Change), an organisation of young activists, several of whom spent four days under arrest simply for signing a declaration urging the state to stop war.

    Advocacy at national, regional and global levels is needed to address the challenges of conflict. However, entrenched power dynamics in the DRC, including the dominance of the ruling party, pose significant obstacles to meaningful reform. Urgent action is needed to reverse the trend of declining civic space, because civil society action is needed more than ever, but the space in which it can undertake it is getting smaller.

    What’s the likelihood of tensions between the DRC and Rwanda escalating into a regional conflict?

    Rwanda’s involvement in destabilising the DRC is concerning, especially considering its history of aggression in the region, but it won’t necessarily lead to a regional conflict. Despite Rwanda’s attempts to exert influence, the DRC has demonstrated significant military strength in defending its territory against its aggression in the past.

    Rwanda’s diplomatic prowess and hidden support from foreign countries – often driven by economic interests around mineral resources – contribute to its ability to manipulate regional dynamics. Rebel groups such as the M23 and the Allied Democratic Forces exploit the porous borders between Rwanda and the DRC, seeking refuge in and support from Rwanda to evade accountability for their actions. This exacerbates tensions between the two countries.

    But the likelihood of the conflict escalating into a full-blown regional war is mitigated by mutual interests and dependencies. Both countries rely on resources derived from the DRC, which acts as a deterrent to all-out warfare. Regional initiatives like the Nairobi Process, brokered by the East African Community in November 2022, seek to address underlying tensions and promote peacebuilding efforts. However, the effectiveness of such initiatives is undermined by external influences dictating the terms of engagement and providing support to conflicting parties.

    Civil society plays a crucial role in advocating for peace and stability, but its efforts are hindered by external interference and power dynamics that dictate the trajectory of the conflict. While regional organisations, notably the African Union, are theoretically focused on addressing conflict in the continent, external influences and interests often compromise their effectiveness.

    Ultimately, it will require a concerted effort from regional and global players committed to peace and stability in the Great Lakes region to prevent the escalation of the conflict and resolve it for good.

    How can the international community support peacebuilding efforts in the DRC?

    There is a pressing need for support from the international community to assist internally displaced people in desperate need of essentials such as food and shelter. Efforts are also needed to document atrocities to ensure accountability further along the road. This includes highlighting the responsibilities of perpetrators and using this information to ensure justice is served, even if it takes years. Support for civil society groups involved in peacebuilding processes is crucial, particularly since the state lacks adequate resources.

    Although it may not generate enthusiasm in all quarters of the international community, security sector reform requires attention. Fortunately, there are promising initiatives funded by international donors.

    Another critical need is justice reform, which should include mechanisms for transitional justice. This will be vital to address the immediate effects of conflict and the long-standing grievances and cycles of violence that have plagued the region for decades. Access to justice for victims is paramount to break the cycle of impunity and prevent further atrocities. There’s a need for collective and individual reparations for victims, as well as guarantees that such violence will not be repeated. This includes addressing psychological trauma and providing survivors the support they need to rebuild their lives.

    Both local and international engagement will be needed to ensure that peacebuilding agreements are fully respected and implemented, including by holding all parties responsible and accountable. Civil society activists, academics and journalists will have a crucial role in monitoring and advocating for these agreements to be fulfilled.

    Finally, it’s essential to recognise that the conflict in the DRC is not isolated but has regional and global implications. Efforts to address the crisis must consider its broader context and involve stakeholders at all levels, from local communities to international organisations. Only through a holistic and inclusive approach can lasting peace and stability be achieved in the region.

    Civic space in the DRC is rated ‘repressed’ by theCIVICUS Monitor.

    Get in touch with the Women’s International Peace Centre through itswebsite and follow @TheWIPCentre and@BRubango on Twitter.

  • Egypt: international community must take a stand and demand an end to human rights violations
    • More than 2000 people arrested after peaceful protests
    • Widespread arrests include people not related to the protests but perceived by the authorities to have taken part in any demonstrations dating back to 2011
    • Global civil society alliance condemns the harsh repression of protests in Egypt and calls for international pressure

    The ongoing crackdown on people in Egypt, large scale arrests and heightened security in Cairo and other major cities signal another low moment for human rights in Egypt, global civil society alliance CIVICUS said today. The Egyptian authorities have arrested more than 2000 people in a massive sweep that followed peaceful protests calling for an end to widespread corruption and condemning the actions of the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. On 26 September 2019, the Egyptian authorities deployed hundreds of military personnel across the country to pre-empt any planned anti-government protest, intimidate the population and force many to self-censor to avoid reprisals from the state. Many of those who have been arrested include representatives of civil society, academics, former politicians and others.  

    The recent crackdown and militarisation of cities across the country began during a rare protest on the weekend of 20 September when protesters expressed concerns over the government of President Sisi and condemned high levels of corruption. In response, security forces physically assaulted some protesters and used tear gas to disperse others, arrested thousands and detained them in different locations. The protests have been followed by a widespread crackdown on human rights defenders, members of the political opposition, activists and journalists—many of whom had not taken part in the protests at all and were instead arrested in raids on their homes. The Egyptian authorities embarked on a punitive campaign by using this protest to arrest many including those perceived to have been connected to protests in 2011.

    Many of those arrested have been ordered into pretrial detention and informed that they were under investigation for using social media to spread false news, aiding a terrorist group to achieve its objectives and for participating in unauthorised protests. Others remain forcibly disappeared today. Among those arrested is human rights defender and lawyer Mahienour el-Masry who was detained on 22 September 2019 as she exited the headquarters of the State Security Prosecution in Cairo where she represented some of the detained protesters. She was then interrogated by the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) on false allegations of spreading false news and aiding a terrorist group to achieve its objectives.

    More than five journalists have been arrested for sharing information and videos about the protests and the violent response by the police online. Families of those speaking from abroad to condemn the Sisi government have faced harassment and intimidation; for example, in the wake of videos recorded by Egyptian activist Wael Ghonim in which he criticised Sisi, Ghonim’s dentist brother Hazem was arrested and ordered into pretrial detention in retaliation.

    To pre-empt any further protests, some government officials threatened to decisively confront any attempts to “destabilise Egypt” and riot police, plain clothes security officials and other security personnel were deployed in major cities across Egypt.

    Over the last few years, President Sisi’s government has promulgated and amended laws that restrict the activities of civil society organisations and their ability to access funding, detained scores of human rights defenders and journalists and imposed travel bans on many. In its March 2019 submission to the UN Human Rights Council, CIVICUS and partners found that Egypt had not implemented any of the recommendations related to civic space. Instead, civic space in Egypt continues to deteriorate exponentially.

    Many civil society organisations have been forced to close down amidst this systemic crackdown on fundamental freedoms as the government has also imposed some of the worst restrictions on internet freedoms.

    “Amidst the ongoing human rights violations in Egypt exemplified by the forceful dispersal of peaceful protests and arrests of nearly 2,000 people, Egypt’s international partners and the United Nations Secretary General should call on him to put an end to all forms of restrictions on fundamental rights in Egypt,” said Dr. Nancy Okail, Executive Director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.

    CIVICUS calls on the international community to exert pressure on President Sisi to call on his security forces to immediately release all those detained in relation to the recent protests, respect the rights of Egyptians to assemble and express themselves in a peaceful manner.


    Egypt is rated as closed by the CIVICUS Monitor, a participatory platform that rates and measures the state of civic freedoms in 196 countries. Earlier this month, CIVICUS and 15 human rights organisations wrote a letter to the United Nations Human Rights Council with a call to use the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt to address the unprecedented levels of repression.

    For more information, please contact:

    Masana Ndinga-Kanga

    MENA Advocacy Lead, CIVICUS

    Email: :

  • Egypt: Quash Verdicts and Stop Unfair Trials by Emergency Courts

    We, the undersigned organisations, call on Egyptian President Abdelfattah Al-Sisi to immediately quash the verdicts against seven arbitrarily detained human rights defenders, activists and politicians.

  • Egypt: Release human rights defenders Alaa Abdel Fattah, Mohamed El-Baqer and Mohamed Oxygen

    Ahead of the Emergency Court verdict on 20 December, we, the undersigned organisations, call upon the Egyptian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Alaa Abdel Fattah, Mohamed El-Baqer and Mohamed Ibrahim “Oxygen” and to drop all charges and cases against them. Their detention and imprisonment create an environment where freedom of expression is not respected. States and international institutions should raise these cases directly with their Egyptian counterparts and urge immediate release and dismissal of all charges.

  • El Salvador: Stop attacks on civil society and civic freedoms

    Government extends a state of emergency with unprecedented mass arrests and restrictions on civic rights.

  • Eritrea: Extend UN Special Rapporteur mandate, help end generalized impunity

    To Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland


    Ahead of the 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council (“HRC” or “the Coun­cil”), we write to you as a cross-re­gional group of non-governmental organizations to share our serious concerns over the sys­te­ma­tic, wide­spread and gross human rights violations that continue to be committed with impu­nity in Eritrea.

    We urge your Govern­ment to support and co-sponsor at the upcoming session a streamlined reso­lution that accurately reflects the gravity of the situation on the ground, renews the man­date of the Special Rapporteur under the Council’s agenda item 4, and sets out a framework for need­ed reforms to improve the human rights situation in the country and advance ac­count­ability.

    At the Council’s last regular session, during an enhanced interactive dialogue on Eri­trea held in March 2018, Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore noted:

    “In 2016, the Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea found reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity, namely, enslavement, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, other inhumane acts, per­secution, rape and murder, had been committed since 1991. The Commission noted that despite the State’s increased engagement with the international community, there was no evidence of progress in the field of hu­man rights. I regret to report that this state of affairs remains unchanged.”[1]

    In her most recent statement to the Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea, Sheila B. Keet­ha­ruth, similarly detailed violations per­tain­ing to the right to life, including deaths in custody for which responsibility “falls squarely on Gov­ernment authorities,” the right to liberty and security of the person, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, freedoms of expression, assembly and as­so­ciation, and freedom of religion or belief, inc­lu­­ding the harass­ment, mis­treatment, torture and detention of members of unrecognized religions.[2] These continuing violations present a systematic character, meaning, in the words of the Special Rap­porteur, that “they cannot be the result of ran­dom or isolated acts by the autho­rities” and that they occur in a country ruled “not by law, but by fear.”[3]

    Since Eritrea was first considered by the Council, the Government has refused to cooperate with the mechanisms the Council set up, including the Special Rapporteur and the Commis­sion of In­quiry (CoI). At the March 2018 enhanced interactive dialogue, Eritrea was not present to take the floor as the con­cer­ned country.

    Eritrea’s cooperation with other international bodies, mechanisms or agencies has been extremely selec­tive. While the Government recently invited the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Hu­man Rights (OHCHR) for a short-term technical assistance mission, the Deputy High Commissio­ner under­lined that “the test of the merits of our engagement with Eritrea – like Eritrea’s commitments at the international level – lies in whether or not they produce concrete human rights improvements for the people of Eritrea.” She concluded that there had been no measurable progress to date.

    Eritrea has consistently denied UN Special Procedures, including the country-specific Special Rap­por­teur, access to the country. At the time of writing, pen­ding visit requests by Special Procedures included requests from the Spe­cial Rapporteurs on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (request in 2005; reminders in 2007 and 2010); freedom of religion or belief (request in 2004; reminders in 2005 and 2006); extrajudicial, sum­mary or arbitrary exe­cu­tions (request in 2010); the right to food (request in 2003); and freedom of opi­nion and expression (request in 2003; reminders in 2005 and 2015).

    Eritrea has also attacked, intimidated and threatened human rights defenders and independent UN ex­perts, including the Special Rapporteur and members of the CoI. When the latter presented their report in 2015, they noted that “[they] were followed in the streets and in [their] hotels and vilified in blogs on line where the words of [their] report have been twisted and misquoted.” The Com­mission’s Chair added: “Of course this is trivial compared to the day to day experience of people in Eritrea itself, but it is indicative of a determination on the part of the authorities to control anyone they perceive as a critic.”[4]

    The gravity, scale and nature of the continuing violations call for justice. Victims, including those who live inside the country and those who have fled it, deserve redress. As domestic avenues for such red­ress are non-existent, the international community must continue to act with a view to en­ding the gene­ra­lized impu­nity that prevails in the coun­try. The Deputy High Commissioner remin­ded the Coun­cil that, as advi­sed by the Special Rapporteur, there could be “no sustain­able solution to the refugee out­flows until the Government complied with its human rights obligations.”[5]

    In view of the ongoing crimes under international law and violations of human rights and fun­da­mental freedoms committed in Eritrea, the Special Rapporteur’s mandate remains an indispensable mechanism to advance the protection and promotion of human rights in the country. The mandate holder continues to fulfil an invaluable role by monitoring the dire situation in the country, shining a light on violations, providing a crucial platform to help amplify the voices of victims, and offering Eritreans an opportunity to find long-lasting solutions for the respect of their human rights.

    Consistent with its mandate to address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, the Human Rights Council should continue to address the situ­ation in Eritrea. We urge your dele­gation to actively support and co-sponsor a resolution that:

    • Recalls the reports of the Commission of Inquiry and the Special Rapporteur and continues to ex­press its deep concern over the findings contained therein;
    • Condemns the reported systematic, widespread and gross human rights viola­tions and abuses that have been and are being committed by the Government of Eritrea in a climate of genera­li­zed im­punity;
    • Reiterates that all perpetrators of such violations and abuses should be held ac­countable;
    • Extends the mandate of the Special Rap­porteur and invites the mandate holder to continue to fol­low up on the findings of HRC mechanisms, including on accountability;
    • Invites the Special Rapporteur to assess and report on the Eritrean Government’s degree of enga­ge­ment and cooperation with the Council and its mechanisms, as well as with OHCHR, and whe­re feasible to develop benchmarks for progress on human rights and a time-bound action plan for the imple­mentation of these benchmarks;
    • Calls on all states to urge the Government of Eritrea to co-operate with the Special Rappor­teur and other UN bodies and mechanisms, including Special Procedures, implement the recommen­da­­tions these bodies and mechanisms made over the years, and allow unfettered ac­cess to the coun­try, including detention centers and training facilities.

    We thank you for your attention to these pressing issues and are available to provide your delegation with further information as required.


    Africa Monitors

    Amnesty International

    ARTICLE 19

    Asian Legal Resource Centre

    Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (REDHAC)

    Christian Solidarity Worldwide

    Citizens for Democratic Rights in Eritrea (CDRiE)


    DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)

    Eritrean Diaspora in East Africa

    Eritrean Lowland League

    Eritrean Law Society

    Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights

    FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights)


    Human Rights Concern – Eritrea

    Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA)

    Human Rights Watch

    International Fellowship of Reconciliation

    International Service for Human Rights                        

    PEN Eritrea

    Release Eritrea

    Reporters Without Borders

    Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN)

    West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (WAHRDN/ROADDH)

    [1] The meeting summary can be found at:

    [4] The Special Rapporteur herself has faced personal attacks during an interactive dialogue that was held in June 2017, when she was referred to as a “naked Empress with no clothes” and was accused of carrying out a witch-hunt against Eritrea. See

    [5] See footnote 1 above.

  • Eritrea: Government fails to address grave human rights violations

    Statement at the 47th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
    Interactive Dialogue on the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea

    Delivered by Helen Kidan, Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights 

    CIVICUS and the Eritrean Movement for Democracy and Human Rights welcome the Special Rapporteur’s report and engagement with the mandate.

    Eritrea’s government remains one of the world’s most repressive. It has no independent civil society organisations or media outlets, imposing severe restrictions on freedom of expression and opinion, peaceful assembly, association and religion or belief. Eritrean forces have been implicated in violations in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

    Both the High Commissioner and Special Rapporteur report a lack of progress, and still the government remains unwilling to address grave human rights violations and abuses. This is particularly concerning given that Eritrea is a Member of this Council.

    Human rights violations continue unabated including arrests and incommunicado detention and enforced disappearances. The indefinite national service continues and involves torture and forced labour. In late 2020, Eritrean forces indiscriminately attacked civilians in Axum in the Tigray region, killing and injuring many, and destroyed property including healthcare facilities.

    We urge the Council to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, and to mandate reporting on the role played by Eritrean forces in Ethiopia’s Tigray region since November 2020. We ask the Special Rapporteur: in the continued absence of cooperation by Eritrea, what other avenues for international pressure could be leveraged to engender progress?

    Thank you.

     Civic space in Eritrea is rated as Closed by the CIVICUS Monitor

  • Es necesaria una respuesta internacional unificada y coordinada a los ataques de Rusia en Ucrania

    La alianza global de la sociedad civil CIVICUS se solidariza con el pueblo ucraniano y pide una respuesta internacional rápida, unificada y dirigida a Rusia.

  • Ethiopia: Civil society calls for the immediate release of detained journalists

    Global civil society alliance CIVICUS calls on the Ethiopian authorities to immediately release 11 journalists and media workers arrested and detained since May 19 in Amhara state and the capital Addis Ababa for doing their work.

  • Ethiopia: Civil society groups raise concerns over the termination of the Mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia

    We, the undersigned civil society, and human rights organizations are alarmed by your recent decisionto prematurely terminate the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry into the situation in the Tigray Region of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia (CoI).

    The undersigned organizations concerned by grave human rights violations and abuses committed in the conflict in northern Ethiopia, welcomed the May 2021 initiative2 of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) to establish the Commission of Inquiry to, among others, determine the underlying causes of the conflict, investigate violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and identify perpetrators for purposes of pursuing justice and accountability. Several of the undersigned civil society and human rights organizations submitted briefings and information to the Commission of Inquiry on the nature and scale of human rights violations and abuses committed by the parties to the conflict. It was encouraging to witness an African organization take the lead in establishing an independent body to investigate these violations and abuses.

    We are, therefore, shocked and perplexed by the decision to terminate the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry without publishing a report of its findings and recommendations. This decision contradicts the rationale behind the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry and the core values underpinning the work of the African Commission as set out in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the 2020 Rules of Procedure. It sets a detrimental precedent for future investigative mandates into human rights violations across the continent.

    The reasons given by the African Commission in support of its decision are not convincing.

    First, the African Commission’s decision is informed by the fact that the Ethiopian government is in the process of adopting “an inclusive and comprehensive national transitional Justice policy, centered on accountability, truth seeking, redress for victims, and reconciliation and healing, in line with the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and the African Union’s (AU) 2019 Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP)”.

    It is disappointing that the African Commission, in its decision to terminate the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry, relied on a transitional justice policy proposal that is yet to be adopted. This reasoning also fails to recognize that continued investigations and evidence preservation efforts by independent bodies are central to any eventual justice and accountability for victims and survivors, and constituent of holistic transitional justice mechanisms.

    Second, the African Commission’s decision is based on the fact the Ethiopian government has initiated a national process to “address the situation in the country and ensure accountability and redress for reported cases of human rights violations in the Tigray region” and that this process “offer[s] prospects for a national, inclusive and sustainable approach to addressing the situation in the country and taking adaptive measures”. The reasoning fails to recognize the crucial issues of independence and impartiality3 of the judiciary in Ethiopia, as the executive continues to interfere with judicial functions, including the frequent non-compliance of police to execute court orders.4 While we understand that legal reform has been initiated by the Ministry of Justice, Ethiopian criminal law does not currently recognize crimes against humanity, which have been widely reported in the conflict in northern Ethiopia, including the Tigray region. The role of independent investigative mechanisms in ensuring justice, accountability, and redress is indispensable due to the complexities of investigation, prosecution, and adjudication of the temporal scope, elements of these serious crimes, and the alleged perpetrators, including a foreign army.

    Third, the African Commission’s decision is based on “positive developments” in the Tigray region, including restoration of peace and security, reconciliation, disarmament, demobilization, and rehabilitation. This fails to recognize ongoing gross human rights violations and abuses in the Tigray region, including a continued ethnic cleansing5 campaign in the western Tigray zone by Amhara security forces and interim authorities, as documented by Human Rights Watch. In a joint monitoring report published on 9 July 2023, civil society organizations also compiled various incidents where civilians were targeted after the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA), in areas controlled by Eritrean troops. Human rights organizations have diligently documented violations, including war crimes6, ethnic cleansing7, sexual violence8, and crimes against humanity9 in northern Ethiopia for more than two years, and recent reports indicate that these violations persist. Since early August, a new conflict dynamic has emerged in the Amhara region, and international media outlets have reported civilian casualties.10 The commission's decision overlooked the complexity and broader context of the conflict in Ethiopia, which has an impact beyond the Tigray region, affecting the country as a whole.

    We believe that the African Commission’s decision mistakenly buys into the rhetoric11 provided by the Ethiopian government- a party to the conflict and accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity - to eschew justice and accountability. We are apprehensive that in taking this unfortunate decision, the African Commission may have succumbed to undue political pressure from the Ethiopian government. The decision came barely four months after the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, in an address to the African Union Executive Council in February 2023, argued that the Commission of Inquiry “undermine[d] the AU-led Peace Process, the Peace Agreement, and its full implementation” and demanded that the African Commission “stop its consideration to undertake a unilateral investigation irrespective of ongoing national efforts12”. These remarks were a culmination of close to two years of unwarranted political attacks and a spirited smear campaign against the Commission of Inquiry by the Ethiopian government. In the same speech, the Deputy Prime Minister announced that the Ethiopian government was planning to present a resolution at the March 2023 session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission to terminate the mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia.13

    We acknowledge that the Ethiopian government declined to grant the Commission of Inquiry access into the country to conduct investigations. However, we note that in its combined 50th and 51st activity report, the African Commission reported that the Commission of Inquiry had “held oral hearings to receive the testimonies of witnesses and victims” and that it had also “received reports on the human rights situation in the Tigray region”. Through this activity report14, the African Commission informed the African Union Executive Council and the public at large that “[a] report on the findings and recommendations will be presented in this regard”. In its 52nd and 53rd activity report, presented to the African Union Executive Council in February 2023, the African Commission indicated that the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry had been renewed multiple times to allow it to “finalize its work and draft its investigation report for submission to the AU policy organs”.

    Therefore, it remains unconscionable that the Commission of Inquiry failed to produce a report during its two- year-long existence and that instead of allowing it to finalize its work as promised in February 2023, the African Commission prematurely terminated its mandate. The termination of the mandate is also an abdication of the Commission’s duty towards victims and witnesses who appeared before the Commission of Inquiry to share their pains and sufferings hoping that they will one day see justice and accountability.

    Considering the above concerns, we call upon the African Commission to promptly reconsider its decision to terminate the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry and ensure that its mandate concludes, at least, with a report of its findings and recommendations.


    1. Advocacy Hub Africa
    2. African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS)
    3. Alliance of Civil Society Organizations in Tigray (ACSOT)
    4. Amnesty International
    5. Atrocities Watch Africa
    6. Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD)
    7. Center for Reproductive Rights
    8. Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
    9. Centre for Rights Education and Awareness (CREAW)
    10. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
    11. CIVICUS
    12. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
    13. Health Professionals Network for Tigray
    14. Human Rights Watch
    15. Independent Medico-Legal Unit (IMLU)
    16. Initiative for Strategic Litigation in Africa (ISLA)
    17. Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA)
    18. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
    19. Irob Anina
    20. Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
    21. Kenyan Section of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya)
    22. Legal Action Worldwide (LAW)
    23. OMNA Tigray
    24. Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU)
    25. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)
    26. REDRESS
    27. South Sudan Law Society (SSLS)
    28. Swedish Foundation for Human Rights
    29. Tadamon Multicultural Council for Refugees, Egypt
    30. Tigray Human Rights Network.
    31. Women’s Association for Victims’ Empowerment (WAVE-Gambia)
    32. World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)
    33. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

    1 Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Resolution on the termination of the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on the Situation in the Tigray Region of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia - ACHPR/Res.556 (LXXV) 2023,13 June 2023, resolutions/556-resolution-termination-mandate-commission-inquiry

    2 African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Press Statement on the official launch of the Commission of Inquiry on the Tigray Region in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,16 June 2021, tigray-region-federal

    3 “Ethiopia: Freedom in the world 2022”, Freedom House,

    4“Detained Ethiopian journalists still behind bars as police refuse to release them on bail despite court order – Lawyer”, Africa News Watch, 8 June 2022, order-lawyer/

    5 Human Rights Watch, Ethiopia: Ethnic Cleansing Persists Under Tigray Truce,1 June 2023, cleansing-persists-under-tigray-truce

    6 Human Rights Watch, Ethiopia: Tigray Forces Summarily Execute Civilians,9 December 2021, forces-summarily-execute-civilians

    7 Human Rights Watch, Crimes against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone,6 April 2022,

    8 Amnesty International, Ethiopia: Troops and militia rape, abduct women and girls in Tigray conflict – new report (10 August, 2021),

    9 Amnesty International, Ethiopia: Summary killings, rape and looting by Tigrayan forces in Amhara (Index: AFR 25/5218/2022)

    10 BBC Amharic: Multiple civilian casualties in Gondar city, 9 August

    11 Amnesty International, Ethiopia: Government’s effort to end mandate of UN human rights commission must be rejected.(Press release, 3 March 2023), rejected/

    12 Human Rights Watch, Threats to Terminate the Mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia,28 February 2023,

    13 Ashenafi Endale, “Ethiopia demands termination of mandate for UN rights experts” The Reporter, 17 December 2022, /

    14 Previously cited, 1, 2

  • Ethiopia: international scrutiny must continue to ensure peace and stability in the country

    Statement at the 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

    Interactive Dialogue with the Commission on Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia

    Delivered by Sibahle Zuma

    Thank you, Mr President,

    CIVICUS and its partners in Ethiopia welcome the renewal of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia’s mandate at the 51st Human Rights Council Session. We also welcome the signing of the agreement on the cessation of hostilities between the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan authorities on the 2nd of November 2022. This is a critical moment to end all atrocities and the suffering of millions of civilians.

    For the past two years, Ethiopia’s human rights situation has been marred by extrajudicial killings, rape and sexual violence, unlawful shelling, airstrikes and pillage. Freedom of expression has particularly been restricted in the past two years. Journalists and media actors have faced detentions, arrests, and censorship from both Ethiopian and Tigrayan authorities. On the 7th of September 2022, the founder and editor of the Voice of Amhara was arrested by authorities at his home. He was accused of having ties with the TLPF and attempting to terrorise the public by disseminating information that supports the rebel group. No formal charges were laid against him.

    In the same month, Abay Zewdu, the chief editor of a privately owned satellite and YouTube-based broadcaster, Amara Media Centre, was arrested by Ethiopian authorities. He was accused of disseminating false information and organising students from the Amhara ethnic group to commit violence. He remained in detention even after he had posted bail.

    We call on the Ethiopian government to respect the right to freedom of expression and to cease all forms of intimidation and harassment of journalists and other media actors. We urge the UN Human Rights Council and the Commission of Experts to continue scrutinising the situation in Ethiopia to ensure peace and stability in the country.

    We thank you.

     Civic space in Ethiopia is rated as "Repressed" by the CIVICUS Monitor



25  Owl Street, 6th Floor
Tel: +27 (0)11 833 5959
Fax: +27 (0)11 833 7997

11 Avenue de la Paix
Tel: +41.79.910.34.28

CIVICUS, c/o We Work
450 Lexington Ave
Nueva York
NY 10017
Estados Unidos