Africa is a vast and diverse continent, spanning more than 11 million square miles from the Mediterranean Sea to the Cape of Good Hope. It is home to 1.3 billion people from thousands of ethnic groups, settled in 56 sovereign states. Amidst this diversity there is one constant –abuse of fundamental freedoms. Paul Biya, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, and Yoweri Museveni have ruled their respective nations for decades by resolutely quashing dissent and restricting basic human rights. Even in countries perceived to be progressive –such as Rwanda –government critics are subjected to arbitrary detention for the slightest criticism of the regime.

Journalists are particular targets of repressive rulers in the region. Attempts to establish a free and independent press in countries such as Cameroon and Ethiopia have been met with severe punishments.

Freedom Now has advocated for the release of 92 prisoners of conscience in the region, 87 of whom have been released. Our work in the region focuses on freedom of expression and the rights of political opposition members.

Fighting Wrongful Imprisonment

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Can you imagine a doctor being imprisoned just for treating a patient, or a journalist detained simply for publishing an article critical of his government?