2017 ANNUAL JURISTS CONFERENCE COMMUNIQUE
A. To African Heads of States
The Jurists note with great concern the rampant and systemic non-compliance with state reporting obligations and compliance with recommendations and decisions of the African Commission and the African Court. The jurists are also concerned that few African States have deposited Article 34(6) declarations allowing NGOs and individuals to present communications before the African Court and acknowledging the need to strengthen the follow up mechanisms of these bodies and the pivotal complementary role that the regional mechanism plays in securing human rights in Africa. It was further noted that the culture of non-conformity is a practice also reflected in the decisions of the sub-regional and national judicial and non-judicial mechanisms. In this regard:
B. To the African Union/African Commission
i. We call upon the African Union/African Commission to streamline state reporting procedures given the heavy burden on States to write reports on compliance with African Charter, Maputo Protocol and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child every two/three years.
ii. We call on the African Union to explore avenues for collaboration with different institutions to facilitate complimentary enforcement of human rights and promote institutional synergy among various bodies within the continent. This can be achieved by upholding court orders, respecting judicial independence, developing guidelines to make State reporting effective and according political support to the national and regional courts
C. Regional and National Courts
We recognize the fundamental importance of judicial independence in safeguarding rights and sustaining democracy and rule of law in the continent. As such we are alarmed at the persistent executive interference/or attempted undermining of such independence in some judiciaries.
We therefore call on the regional and national courts to:
enhance the promotion of human rights;
enforcement of human rights.
D. As Jurists and Civil Society
As jurists and Civil Society Organisations, we are deeply concerned about the growing trends of police brutality, torture and extrajudicial killing and regime policing. State machinery (police) has increasingly been used to intimidate and harass citizens and to silencing dissident voices, resulting into grave human rights violations. We also note the centrality of free and fair elections in securing good governance of the African people, we are concerned about the electoral violence and malpractices across the region. In this regard:
E. To Africa’s Citizens
As jurists, we recognize the centrality of a vibrant citizenry and public participation in ensuring accountability and bolstering good governance across nations; we implore on the citizenry to:
Developed at the Serena Beach Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya on November 24, 2017
We are incredibly excited to invite you to apply to Ngao Yetu: Digital Security with Usable Tools, a unique masterclass for current and upcoming digital security trainers working with human rights defenders in East Africa. Ngao Yetu combines two back-to-back workshops: a User Experience (UX) training facilitated by a UX expert followed by an advanced digital security training of trainers facilitated by DefendersTech. Read on below for more information on both parts of the program.
Ngao Yetu is open to tech-savvy human rights defenders, digital security trainers, and technologists working with human rights defenders in Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia.
The program takes place in Nairobi and runs from September 27th to October 5th 2017 so make sure you can block off all of those 9 days and are able travel to Kenya for this intense knowledge-packed session. Be prepared to complete some pre-workshop assignments as well over the coming weeks. Ready to apply? APPLY NOW! Application closes September 10th.
DefendersTech is a project of DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project). It aims to empower human rights defenders to unlock the potentials of technology while staying secure, effective, and innovation. The UX Workshop is a collaboration with Internews as part of their USABLE project.
There is an increased barrage of digital risks, threats and attacks against human rights defenders and independent media practitioners. Risk assessment and defense against threats in this area is not always intuitive even for otherwise technologically proficient human rights defenders. Therefore, there is need to create a pool of digital safety trainers and practitioner within the East and Horn of Africa region to raise awareness, impart skills and respond to threats when they emerge.
The digital safety training of trainers will explore digital risk assessment, protection of data, devices security, account lock-down, and communications privacy. In addition, there will be a session on training skills, elaborating how to share digital safety information effectively with communities who need your skills.
Attendees will participate in a 4-day User Experience Workshop tailored to digital security trainers under Internews’ human-centered security project, USABLE (https://usable.tools). The goal of the workshop is to empower and enhance digital security trainers’ understanding of the specific usability roadblocks tool developers face in the design and deployment of their products, while also equipping trainers to better collect and gather important feedback from high-risk communities they work with. The project aims to improve the usability of critical open source security and privacy tools used by high-risk groups around the world, in order to scale adoption of good information security practices.
The 4-day workshop will be co-facilitated with a regional digital security trainer and User Experience expert, who will walk us through the biggest challenges open source developers face in creating usable and useful products for vulnerable communities, and will facilitate discussion on how we can improve feedback on changing threats and constraints when it comes to learning new technologies for different groups.
After the workshop, we will be opening up a regional pool of funding for trainers to apply the new skills they’ve learned and jump-start this critical feedback mechanism. Feedback will be collected in a number of areas like user-interface or work flow hurdles which are causing low adoption to changing threats or operating environments.
We are looking for tech-capable human rights defenders and journalists who have attended a digital security training before, have conducted digital security trainings themselves, or who work within the ICT/IT department within their organizations. Applicants must have strong computer and/or digital security skills.
Participant must be willing to carry out digital safety training and UX Workshops after attending the training-workshop
Ngao Yetu will take place in Nairobi from September 27th to October 5th. Make sure you can be available for those days including a travel days. Program activities will be held in English.
Elections make a fundamental contribution to democratic governance by enabling the participation of voters to select leaders to represent them within the government and ensures the responsiveness of democratic governments to the will of the people. Elections also reinforce the stability and legitimacy of the political community thus facilitating social and political integration. Participation in an election serves to underpin the rights of citizens to have their voices heard. However, this is not always attained as restrictions may be initiated to limit fundamental rights that deny citizens a free, fair, credible and peaceful election.
Election monitors and observers play an important role in enhancing the transparency and credibility of elections and democratic governance. Human Rights Defenders (that include election monitors, observers, journalists and other civil society actors) continue to be at the forefront in advancing the civil and political rights of citizens by safeguarding the right of citizens to participate in the conduct of public affairs, to vote and to be elected and access public services.
Get more information in the booklet: NCHRD-K Elections Monitoring Interim Report