Who We Are

The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) is a pan–African non-governmental organization (NGO) working to promote awareness of human rights in Africa and improve the effectiveness of the African Human Rights system. IHRDA envisions an African continent where all have access to justice via national, African and international human rights mechanisms. Our work can be summarized in three words: defend, educate, inform.

History
IHRDA was founded by two human rights lawyers, Julia Harrington and the late Alpha Fall, who formerly worked for the Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Institute was established in 1998 in Banjul, The Gambia. IHRDA’s determination in defending the human rights of Africans has been its motivating force ever since.

Defend: Pro Bono Legal Work
IHRDA has litigated in over thirty-five cases in more than sixteen countries throughout Africa, pro bono. The institute diversifies the scope of its efforts to ensure the effective implementation of decisions and recommendations.

Educate: Capacity Building
IHRDA is involved in a number of capacity building programs which seek to sensitize litigators and civil society actors on the importance of human rights and the various means by which redress can be obtained following their violation. As part of its capacity building programs, IHRDA also provides work opportunities for fellows and interns from all over the world with a genuine interest in human rights. To date, IHRDA has employed over seventy interns worldwide. In so doing, it has attracted fresh and innovative initiatives from ambitious and dedicated young minds.

Inform: Case Law Analyser and Publications
Case Law is at the heart of regional human rights work. With this in mind, IHRDA launched the African Case Law Analyser (CLA), a trilingual (French – English – Portuguese) online interactive database of decisions related to human rights from African judicial bodies.

IHRDA also publishes books on human rights and their implementation, pro bono legal work, compilations of ACmHPR jurisprudence, among others. One of the Institute’s most popular books is the Human Rights Defenders Guide, a copy of which can be downloaded from the IHRDA website for free.

Our Human Rights Award
In recognition for its continuous hard work and commitment in defending, educating and informing about Human Rights in Africa, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has granted the IHRDA its Human Rights Award during the 52nd Ordinary Session of ACmHPR held in  Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire (9-22 October 2012).