On June 26th, NED (National Endowment for Democracy) hosted “Fighting Impunity: High Stakes in the East and Horn of Africa” featuring Hassan Shire Sheikh of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (EHAHRDN) and Bronwyn Bruton of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Center for International Private Enterprise. Bronwyn introduced Hassan with the story of his organization’s response to the situation of journalist fleeing
Hassan began his lecture with the idea that “every challenge has a response.” He explained that people in civil society really want to “pick up the pieces on the ground” to effect change at the grassroots level but they are in need of support and encouragement. Activists and Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) in the east and horn of
Hassan individually described the terrible conditions for Human Rights Defenders in
In order to provide adequate protection for HRDs in the East and Horn of Africa and to eradicate human rights violations, Hassan provided several constructive recommendations for the international community. Not only should it, continue its condemnation of HR violations, but it should call on all parties to bring an end to arbitrary arrests, harassments, systematic attacks, and targeted killings. Accountability mechanisms for governments and other actors should be set in place and investigations of HR violations should be encompassing and prompt.
Assistance should target marginalized groups such as women and defenders of minorities groups because they are the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, the increase in violations against HRDs will increase self-censorship and inhibit the dissemination of information regarding the atrocities in this region. This will have an exceedingly negative impact on the ability of these nations to progress and establish peace, justice, and stability.
Hassan called upon the international community and NGOs to provide logistical, political, and financial support to entities and bodies serving the HRDs network in
Sponsor: The National Endowment for Democracy
Time: 12-2 p.m.
Representative Attending: Jessica Walker