West African Frontline Defenders Data Collection Training Opens in Monrovia

(Monrovia -Liberia) Twenty-one West African Frontline Grassroots Defenders and activists are assembling in Liberia this week for a three-day data collection training to document reprisal attacks against defenders in the region.

The training which starts on Wednesday, January 17 to 19, is organized by Green Advocates International and the Mano River Union Civil Society Natural Resources Rights Governance Platform, a network of land and environmental defenders across West Africa.

The workshop is aimed at equipping data collectors from the sixteen West African Countries with the required knowledge, skills, and tools to effectively monitor, document, and address the acute under-reporting of abuses against frontline defenders in indigenous communities.

With support from the International Land Coalition, the Business Human Rights Resources Center and Global Witness, the training will enhance the understanding of data collectors on human rights protocols, methodologies for monitoring, and techniques for documenting violations, and contribute to the promotion and protection of defenders in the region.

The Country Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Mr. Christian Mukosa is expected to address participants at the opening of the training on Wednesday, at the Corina Hotel on Tubman Boulevard beginning at 9:am.
International data collection organizations have not been able to fully cover Africa at large. As a result, defenders are being violated/killed undocumented.

In 2021, the network launched the West African Frontline Grassroots Defenders Directory to respond to the acute under-reporting of attacks against defenders after a comprehensive baseline assessment.

The Baseline Assessment Report revealed a damming account of the conditions of HRDs in the region, declaring an acute under-reporting of reprisal attacks on defenders predominantly in frontline communities battling the land, environmental and climate crises.

A release quotes the Coordinator, Peter Quaqua, as saying, that defenders have suffered from decades of abuse from their own governments and transnational corporations operating in the region with very little or no attention drawn to their situation.

He extended thanks to the supporting organizations and said the project is an attempt to tell the African story and raise the profile of little-known defenders working to protect the planet.

The MRU CSO Platform brings together frontline grassroots land and environmental defenders and their organizations across West Africa with the Secretariat in Liberia.

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