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Support and protection for lawyers and other human rights defenders in the regions of the African Great Lakes and Eastern Africa

IATI Identifier: BE-BCE_KBO-0447404580-BELUEDH113601IN

Published on IATI
  • date_range Sep 12, 2011 - Oct 31, 2014
  • autorenew Finalisation (Status)

Human Rights Defenders (hereafter HRDs) are ordinary people taking extraordinary risks. Whether they are members of civil society organizations, community leaders, paralegals, social workers, media workers, volunteers or lawyers, HRDs share a common objective: they act, individually or with others, to promote and/or protect human rights. Through their actions, HRDs build bridges between vulnerable people prevented from accessing and enjoying their basic human rights, and states authorities, who had promised, through international engagements, to ensure the respect, protection and promotion of these rights. These defenders ensure that society’s most marginalized peoples’ voices are heard, providing them with information on how to best defend their interests, investigating sensitive issues that affect the realization of their rights, and exerting pressure to turn governments’ promises into concrete and sustainable actions. HRDs are often confronted with attempts to limit their capacities to defend and promote human rights while carrying out their work. These attempts take various forms: physical threats, administrative or judicial harassment, criminal charges, and sometimes violent crimes (such as assault, torture, killings, etc). The general objective of the project is to contribute to the protection of human rights in the regions of the African Great Lakes and Eastern Africa (hereafter, the Region), by ensuring that lawyers and other HRDs receive support and stronger protection. The 3 years project, financed by the European Union, is implemented in partnership with the East Africa Law Society (EALS) in 5 countries in the Region: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda. All activities are organized within the framework of a regional strategy which aims to provide both an emergency response, in the short term, and structural and lasting solutions in the long term: - in the short term, it is necessary to take immediate and often urgent measures. It will be done in the form of direct assistance (notably financial and material) for specific needs (medical, psychological, logistical, etc.) and through providing high quality legal assistance to HRDs (whose activities are criminalized or who have been victims of threats, violations of their physical integrity or attacks). - in the long term, it is about creating the conditions for a lasting strategy involving various national (national bar associations and civil society) as well as regional structures (EALS and other regional networks). Therefore the project has established a pool of 42 lawyers from the Region, who are committed to human rights. In order to provide high quality legal services (legal representation, mediation, amicus curiae, trial observations, etc.) to HRDs, these lawyers benefit from high-level trainings throughout the project. Advocacy strategies are also implemented in order to promote and contribute to the development of a legal framework designed to provide specific protection to HRDs and the emergence of good practices in state institutions in the Region. Finally, the key component of this project is the creation of a regional dynamic among HRDs, lawyers, institutions, protection organizations and networks, donors and other stakeholders, through the establishment of a funding mechanism (Protection Trust Fund – PTF), designed to provide comprehensive and long lasting responses to HRDs’ protection issues. Although the Region benefit from a considerable number of programmes and initiatives designed to strengthen the protection of HRDs, there is a lack of regional coordination or collaboration among key stakeholders, disruptions in the responses given on protection issues and unequal funding sources between countries or sub-regions. In collaboration with other initiatives being implemented in the Region, the PTF will aim to ensure that HRDs receive increased legal and personal protection throughout the Region, regardless of their country of origin or their first request for support.;

  • Legal and judicial development

Participating Organisations

Avocats Sans Frontières National NGO Accountable
Avocats Sans Frontières National NGO Implementing
European Union Multilateral Funding
East African Law Society (EALS) Private Sector Implementing
Wallonie-Bruxelles International (WBI) Government Funding


Transaction Value Provider
Type Date


2,097,314 USD
  • 1,538,000 EUR (Valued at Sep 12, 2011)
    date_range Sep 12, 2011 - Oct 31, 2014
access_time Updated on Dec 18, 2018 11:30:10
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