Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا
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⋄ CODESRIA Policy Briefs No. 2, December 2021: Shrinking Civic Space and Women Human Rights Defenders in Africa


CODESRIA Policy Briefs No. 2, December 2021: Shrinking Civic Space and Women Human Rights Defenders in Africa by Awino Okech and Marianne Mesfin Asfaw

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Overview
This policy brief examines the closure of civic space for women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in Africa. Closing civic space is used to describe the growing phenomenon of governments, political elite and non-state actors using a range of legal and extra-judicial tactics to control dissent. These actions include but are not limited to arbitrary arrests, indefinite pre-trial detention, enforced disappearances and expanding the ability of the police to arrest people on terrorism charges.1 This policy brief begins by examining the key features of closing civic space to determine the major trends across the continent. The second section offers a close examination of the key features of how closing civic space affects WHRDs drawing on examples from Africa. Finally, we outline policy recommendations to address the safety of WHRDs in this environment.

Awino Okech, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London
Marianne Mesfin Asfaw, Association for Women’s Rights (AWID), Burnaby, British Columbia.




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