Human Rights and Democracy Building

OSISA's work in human rights and democracy building is intended to promote open societies in which transparency and accountability are recognised as essential parts of the culture of a working democracy. As such, the programme focuses on two primary objectives: (a) supporting better monitoring and protection of human rights across the region, and (b) promoting open, transparent and accountable cultures of democracy and political participation in southern Africa.

As such, OSISA supports initiatives that promote advocacy, networking and capacity-building in the following areas:

Effective monitoring of human rights: with an emphasis on ensuring that human rights defenders are afforded human rights protection. OSISA will support organisations that seek to defend the rights of human rights defenders, and those that wok directly with communities on civic education, and documenting human rights violations and abuses.

Expanding women’s human rights: OSISA recognises the importance of gender equality in a region in which women have less access to, and control of, resources. The foundation will support initiatives that have a particular emphasis on addressing gender-based violence and increasing women’s leadership and participation in political processes.

Expanding access to public interest litigation: OSISA works to improve the quality of, and access to, public interest litigation. This is done by supporting particular cases where these represent groundbreaking new areas of the law.

Promoting the Rule of Law: The foundation provides training for lawyers and professional lawyers’ associations through a specific Law Programme, which also focuses on promoting international justice and on criminal justice reform.

Promoting transparency in elections and electoral systems: A significant challenge in the region remains the dominance of the executive. The programme works with initiatives that seek to limit the powers of the executive. The foundation is also cognisant of the fact that parliaments are often dominated by one party and this hampers their ability to exercise their oversight role. HRDB supports parliamentary strengthening programmes aimed both at parliamentarians and at citizens.


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Building vibrant and tolerant democracies
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