Research, Advocacy and Visibility

The network systematically identifies and unpacks legal, policy and operational challenges, threats and opportunities for HRDs within the Southern Africa region vis-à-vis the existing AU and UN protection mechanisms to ascertain whether these mechanisms match with the patterns and types of attacks being experienced by HRDs.

The SAHRDN assists HRDs with counter narratives and capacitates them to articulate the positive impact of their work to counter propaganda while increasing the visibility and legitimacy of their work. Activities include: Commissioned researches on HRDs and civic space; mapping of the key HRDs active in Southern Africa; an annual human rights award to a most-at-risk HRD; regular symposia and HRDs meetings to discuss contemporary issues on the situation of human rights defenders across the sub-region.

Facilitating country visits by the AU and UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of HRDs and other relevant mechanisms; Facilitating ongoing dialogue and closer collaboration between HRDs and National Human Rights Commissions in Southern Africa; periodic shadow reports on the situation of HRDs to AU and UN mechanisms.

Facilitating solidarity of HRDs with one another in Southern Africa. Through this work, the SAHRDN is continually looking at other collaborators and solidarity partners to increase civic space and make HRD defense more effective and expansive in Southern Africa.