What We Do

“Silence never won rights. Do not expect rights to handed down from above; they are forced by pressures from below, by people like you. So, to those who still feel a sense of impotence and helplessness – I say to you, you can do something: support AU Watch and all the defenders in Africa who are standing up for truth, freedom and justice”. 

Theresa Ogunade, Mother, Motivational Speaker and Philanthropist

A Dedicated Program for Human Rights Defenders in Africa
We partner with and support human rights defenders who work in some of the continent most repressive countries. Through advocacy, litigation, and public campaigns, we promote and protect the rights of defenders in Africa. We act as Africa’s watchdog civil rights group.

Who We Are

We are, individually or with collectively with others, act to promote or protect human rights through peaceful means. Many times, because of our commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms, we are the target of repression by states or by private or parastatal groups.

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What We Do

In countries where communities are subject to human right violations, violent conflicts, intimidation or repression, human rights defenders could be the last frontier for resistance and change. Our work has the potential to bring about the long-term development of democratic civil society and ultimately peace.

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Get Involved

AU Watch Defenders hosts numerous public events throughout the calendar year, including an Annual Lectures during Sessions of the African Court, Commission and Summit of African Heads of State & Government, Speakers Tours, Film Screenings, Events and Fundraising Events.

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The People We Protect

In 2019, human rights defenders in many places in Africa braved cruel punishment in challenging the governments human rights abuses. They refused to back down from the rising closure of civil spaces in many places in the continent.


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Our Media Work

Creative and informative media outputs are at the core of our approach. At AU Watch we believe that media and communication can inform, connect and empower. They can help defenders, institutions and even governments bring about critical and lasting changes. Advocacy and outreach activities are two major strands of our communication approach. 

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Partnerships, Support and Expertise

We partner with other human rights groups who are standing for the rights of defender. We provide security training, emergency support, expertise, organisational development, and long-term financial support. We also bring together our partners so they can exchange experiences, as well as learn from and inspire each other.

AU Watch Defenders Awards

AU Watch is setting up the annual AU Watch Defenders Award to honour the work of HRDs who are courageously making outstanding contributions to the promotion and protection of the human rights in Africa, often at great personal risk to themselves. The Award focuses international attention on the HRDs work, providing them with a greater national, regional and international platform to speak about and advocate for their work