Since the political crisis in Burundi started in 2015, most human rights defenders have been forced to flee the country to avoid persecution. With the help of DefendDefenders, Burundian defenders in exile have pushed the UN to investigate violations in Burundi.
Regional cooperation covers activities across the countries through regional organizations or in collaboration by different organizations from various countries. Women’s rights, work against trafficking and strengthening the capacity and security of organizations has been the focus of regional projects supported by KIOS. KIOS prioritizes regional cooperation to achieve more effective human rights work.
Human rights work across the borders
Regional projects are supported in East Africa and in South Asia, where the work is in relation to KIOS focus countries and nearby areas. Regional cooperation is an excellent way to increase the capacity of human rights organizations and create wider networks, which in turn enable more effective work at local, national and regional level. It may also strengthen the organizations capacity to work with international human rights mechanisms such as those of the United Nations.
International cooperation increases the opportunities to influence decision makers at higher level such as officials and politicians. Regional cooperation is also an effective way to increase the security of human rights defenders at risk.
We should have learned – during past sixty or seventy years in Africa – that development without having a human rights framework to protect it, does not function, it does not work.