See Our Work

Freedom of Expression, Association, and Assembly

In many countries, individuals are arrested or assaulted for exercising their legitimate right to participate in a peaceful gathering or protest, form associations, or exercise their right to speech. The Justice Defenders Program supports human rights defenders -- including journalists and labor activists -- that face retaliation for exposing human rights abuses.

See below for examples of the Program's public work on fundamental freedoms.


Angola: New Report urges President Joao Lourenço to drop all criminal charges against journalists

The Justice Defenders Program prepared a report on the apparent judicial harassment of human rights defender Musa Usman Ndamba. The Cameroonian human rights defender has appeared before the Cameroonian courts over 32 times, defending himself against allegations of criminal defamation filed by wealthy businessman and politician Baba Ahmadou Danpullo.


Amicus Curiae Brief on Criminal Defamation Laws in Burkina Faso

At the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Justice Defenders Program’s pro bono lawyers successfully supported the participation of 17 regional human rights and media organizations as amici curiae (friends of the court) in a challenge to Burkina Faso’s criminal defamation law, a relic of its colonial days which has been used to target and silence criticism of public officials.


Sectoral Equity: A Stimulus Plan for Civic Space

The Justice Defenders Program worked with the former UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association to compare states' differing treatment of non-state actors, particularly looking into the different status and privileges of businesses compared to those of civil society organizations. 


Freedom of Association And Assembly Rights In Access to Foreign Funding

The Justice Defenders Program received a request from the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of association and assembly to assess whether access to resources, particularly foreign funding, is part of the right to freedom of association under international law, standards and principles.