In conjunction with its embassies in southern Africa, the Federal Foreign Office is holding a regional conference for human rights advocates in Zambia from 4 to 6 June.
Markus Löning, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, issued the following statement on the event today (3 June):
I am looking forward to this meeting with human rights advocates and staff from our embassies in southern Africa. Our discussions are intended as a chance to gain an impression of the human rights situation in the region.
We will be sitting down with human rights advocates from the region to look for ways in which we can support them in their day-to-day activities. Through their work, these people are changing and improving the human rights situation in their home countries. The German Government has openly pledged its intention to defend them in their sometimes dangerous work. That is why we have been holding regular conferences around the world, with defenders of human rights and our embassies, for the last two years.
The countries of southern Africa are important partners with whom we hope to collaborate on the basis of common values. Intensive exchange with representatives of civil society in this region is extremely important to us in this endeavour. I am therefore particularly looking forward to my discussions with the human rights activists who will be coming to the conference from ten different countries.
This is already the fifth time that the Federal Foreign Office has joined the Human Rights Commissioner to organize a conference of human rights advocates. Following events for South America, the Middle East and North Africa, West Africa, and Central America and the Caribbean, the focus this time is on southern Africa. Human rights advocates and embassy representatives will be gathering from ten different countries, from Angola to Mozambique and from DR Congo to South Africa.
The conference will be shaped by the key human rights topics in the region, such as women’s rights, freedom of opinion and the press, the right to housing, forced relocation, minority rights and the protection of those who stand up for human rights.
Alongside the conference, Markus Löning is also to have meetings with official Government representatives and NGOs as well as visiting a prison.