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Monitoring by Academia and NGOs

Most of the references on this website relate to governmental and multilateral organizations dealing with human rights issues. However, sometimes, Academia and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) or Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) provide more detailed or different insights into the human rights situation in African countries. Anyhow, a careful judgement is needed before any of the information provided is used before court, because not every report may be impartial.

From the point of view of the publishers, the following organizations and research centres provide information to be taken into account (although views not necessarily correspond to those of the publishers):

AfricaFiles is a network of volunteers from different fields committed to promoting African perspectives and alternative analyses for human rights in Africa. On the website they publish articles available for download.

African Human Rights Resource Center:
Part of the Human Rights Library of the Human Rights Center at the University of Minnesota, this resource center assembles a collection of international human rights materials with a particular focus on Africa. Unfortunately, revisions and updates since about 2006 have been sparse.

Amnesty International ;
Amnesty International is one of the most well-known and renowned international NGOs in the field of human rights. The country profiles on the AI website provide a good overview of the respective current situation. The annual AI Human Rights report is also worth reading.

Association for Women’s Rights in Development:
AWID, an international NGO with an office in Cape Town, South Africa, focuses on women's human rights. Members are researchers, academics, students, educators, and development practitioners. On the website there are news, issues and analyses and tools regarding women’s human rights issues, sorted by world regions.

Business and Human Rights Resource Center:
The resource center is a global independent non-profit information clearinghouse for news and links to information about corporate responsibility and human rights issues. It works in a collaborative partnership with Amnesty International sections, leading academic institutions and the UN Special Representative on Business & Human Rights. There is information related to almost every African country on the website.

Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria: ;
The Centre is one of the most active human rights organisation in Africa. It publishes some of the leading reference works on African human rights law like the African Human Rights Law Journal which is available for free download on the website. In 2006, the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education, the highest award of its kind, was presented to the Centre for outstanding projects. On the website there are also important human rights documents sorted by country and thematic issue.

Child Rights Information Network:
CRIN is a very active and quick-responding global network of NGOs offering on its website detailed information regarding children’s rights. CRIN has databases of child rights’ organizations working in each African country and you will also find full text reports, articles sorted by country, keyword, and topic.

Crowdsourcing Crisis Information:
This free open-source project allows anyone to submit incidents and crisis information through text messaging using a mobile phone (SMS), email or web form. “Ushahidi” means testimony in Swahili. The goal is to create a simple way of aggregating information from the public. A combination of user-generated reports and Google Maps allows backtracking human rights violations. The focus is on Africa with current projects in Kenya, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Danish Institute for Human Rights: ;
The institute is very active and has partnerships in Africa, it even has a West Africa Strategy. Some African countries are portrayed in detail regarding their human rights situation on the institute’s website. The Human Rights and Business Project is driven by a business-focused team of human rights specialists. The portal of this project hosts an online self-assessment tool for companies called Human Rights Compliance Assessment (HRCA) and Country Risk Assessment reports to provide companies with analyses of sensitive human rights issues in the countries where they operate.

Fédération internationale des Ligues des droits de l’homme:
The federation embraces more than 150 human rights associations from around the world. The website offers full text reports and dossiers on African human rights issues. On the country sites one can locate press releases on human rights violations in Africa and addresses of human rights organizations.

Global Rights:
Global Rights is a human rights advocacy non-profit organization which works closely with human rights organizations and partners with local activists in Africa. The website includes summaries of activities and downloadable reports on some African countries.

Human Rights First:
Through research, analysis, and advocacy, Human Rights First works to improve governments' responses to mass atrocities against civilians. In the left-hand menu of the website (“country focus”) there are links to human rights’-centred country briefing papers on some African states.

Human Rights Watch: ;
HRW is a major human rights NGO that provides on its website reports and publications on human rights situations in Africa. The World Report covers many African countries and the Africa section of the website offers scores of useful and up-to-date information (current and recent news, press releases, full-text investigative reports on individual countries and issues).

Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa:
The IHRDA is a pan-African non-profit human rights association. On its website, IHRDA documents past and ongoing cases and decisions of the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights – with whom it has an observer status – where it is involved. IHRDA also publishes and distributes general information on the African human rights system.

Interafrican Union for Human Rights:
IUHR is working with about forty members in different francophone, anglophone, arabophone and lusophone countries in Africa. On the website, IUHR publishes news and country reports (most of it only in French).

International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights:
The UK-based charity organization INTERIGHTS represents a group of lawyers, academics and human rights activists. INTERIGHTS holds consultative status with the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights and has a specific African Programme. On its website there are up-to-date news and interpretations of recent decisions of tribunals applying international human rights law and a database.

International Commission of Jurists:
The ICJ is a network of eminent jurists representing the world’s legal systems. ICJ essentially contributed to the establishment of the African human rights system since the 1960ies and has a consultative status with the AU. Besides national sections in several African countries, ICJ is about to establish a regional office in South Africa. On its website there is information on the programmatic activities and the ambitious regional programme for Africa.

International Humanitarian Law Research Initiative:
Being part of the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University, IHLRI is a research, policy and information project. There is an E-Library-service on the website – which can be searched by world region – worth checking for new judicial decisions, news and reports/analyses.

The Euro Mediterranean Human Rights Network:
EMHRN is a network of more than 60 human rights organizations, institutions and individuals. It acts as a regional forum for human rights NGOs and a pool of expertise on promotion and protection of human rights in the region. The “Country issues”-pages of the website provide a good summary of the current human rights situation of the MENA-countries.

Transparency International:
While not dealing directly with human rights, with its Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Transparency International contributes to a better understanding of the political culture and the business climate of a country as the CPI is an indicator for confidence in politics and governance. Under “Regional Highlights” the NGO offers more detailed analyses for Sub-Saharan Africa and the MENA-region.

World Organisation Against Torture / Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture:
OMCT is a coalition of international NGOs fighting against human rights violations with a special focus on torture. The organization offers “Urgent Assistance for Victims” and could therefore be a very good contact for immediate help. OMCT enjoys consultative status with the African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights. Urgent appeals – from Africa or from elsewhere – are published on the website.

Last change: 04.05.10 - 13:56