On November 9, 2023, the ACHPR released its Resolution No. 569 on the Need to Protect Civic Space, Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa, recalling that these freedoms, that constitute “civic space”, are essential elements in a vibrant democracy. The ACHPR initially stated that the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Charter) recognizes several rights and freedoms that, such as freedom of expression and access to information, freedom of association, and freedom of peaceful assembly and demonstration, that shape what is the civic space.

Group of people participating in a demonstration in Sudan. Source. El País.

In this regard, the ACHPR expressed its concern about the ongoing restrictions on civic space in some African countries, which has hindered the enjoyment of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and demonstration through hatred messages, incitement to violence, invasions of privacy and attacks on human rights defenders and journalists. Consequently, the ACHPR urged States to adopt various measures to protect civic space, such as respecting and protecting the aforementioned freedoms and fulfilling its obligations under the African Charter and other relevant regional and international instruments. It also called on States not to intimidate, harass or attack human rights defenders and journalists through the use of arbitrary force by the police. Thus, the ACHPR emphasized the need for adequate investigations, based on transparency and promptness, into all acts of violence and crimes committed against human rights defenders and journalists. Finally, the ACHPR called for an immediate cessation of the repression. The Resolution No. 569 can be found here.