Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights 2018 Civic Space Litigation Surgery for lawyers & CSOs in Africa (Fully Funded to Dakar, Senegal)

Application Deadline: March 16th 2018

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is calling for applications from lawyers and civil society organizations based in Africa to participate in a forthcoming litigation surgery on the protection of civic space. The litigation surgery will be held in Dakar on 10 – 11 May 2018. All applicants are required to submit a current or potential case involving the protection of civic space for discussion and workshopping.

Objectives of the litigation surgery:

  • To identify high-impact cases to submit before the African human rights system (i.e. the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, and East African Court of Justice) to address key areas in the protection of civic space.
  • To confidentially workshop cases among participants and experienced litigants in the African and Inter-American Human Rights System, receiving feedback and cross-regional advice on litigation and advocacy strategies.
  • To identify resources, partnerships, and ongoing support needed to facilitate the filing of cases and accompanying advocacy strategies.

Eligibility Requirements:


  • The litigation surgery is open to lawyers and civil society representatives from African Union member states, with a demonstrated commitment to addressing threats to civic space in their home country through regional human rights litigation.
  • The participants must be involved in, or considering, litigating a case or cases that address the suppression of civic space involving a violation of the rights to freedoms of expression, assembly, and/or association. With their application, they must submit a case that they are litigating or intend to litigate before an African human rights body that could be discussed and workshopped during the litigation surgery.
  • The following non-exhaustive list of themes are a guide for the types of cases that could be submitted with the application:
    • Suppression of peaceful protests — e.g. through excessive use of force against protesters; criminalization of protestors and organizers; legal frameworks that either prevent, restrict and/or chill protest;
    • Burdensome regulatory restrictions on civil society organizations — e.g. constraints on access to foreign funding and foreign partnerships; obstacles in registering or maintaining registration;
    • Suppression of the media and access to information — e.g. misuse of criminal defamation laws; restricted access to the internet and social media; abuse of cyber-crimes laws; other violations that produce a chilling effect on the media, citizen journalism, or access to information;
    • Abuse of laws or policies in the context of countering terrorism — e.g. misuse of broad counter-terrorism laws to criminalize and/or chill legitimate activities of civic actors;
    • Impunity for threats, violence, and arbitrary detention against human rights defenders, activists, journalists, and other civic actors.


  • Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights will cover the costs of airfare, visas, transportation, accommodations, and a reasonable per diem for expenses not otherwise covered for up to 8 selected participants.

How to Apply:

Apply Now for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights 2018 Civic Space Litigation Surgery

If you have any questions regarding the litigation surgery or the application process, please email [email protected].

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the 2018 Civic Space Litigation Surgery


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