Human Rights Defender of the month: Mohammed Adam Hassan. Awarded by Defend Defenders ,September 2022

Mohammed Adam Hassan. Director of DNMD, has been awarded by Defend Defenders as the Human Right Defender of the Month September 2022.

Defend Defenders was established in 2005 as the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and registered as a foreign Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Uganda. Defend Defenders exists to strengthen the work of human rights defenders(HRDs) in the Sub region by reducing their vulnerability to the risk of persecution and by enhancing their capacity to effectively defend human rights.

Mohammed Adam Hassan Has been recognized for his achievements and also for his dedication, Hard Work and determination. Mohammed’s family was one of those displaced in 2003 when Darfur’s black population decided to fight back against the Bashir’s Government, hence the establishment of the two rebel movements “Sudan’s Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement, seeking justice for Darfur’s non-Arab population. Hassan’s family was one of those displaced from their home, into Kalma refugee camp in South Darfur, where other nearly 90,000 people relocated for shelter from the violence. When an aid worker was killed under unclear circumstances in the Camp, Mohamed and 150 other youth were rounded up and charged with the crime. They were later released as a result of the intervention of Amnesty international.

Mohammed’s first step was to start exposing human rights violations by military authorities, using his social media pages. In 2016, he was part of a long-ranging investigation by Amnesty International of human rights violations in Darfur, including the use of chemical weapons in Darfur’s Jabel Marra province. After the report was released, Sudanese intelligence authorities tracked him down with the intention of arresting him, prompting him to flee.

The following year, after months on the run, he contacted Defend Defenders for evacuation as an at-risk HRD. After initial complications following red alerts issued against his name at airports and borders of Sudan, Mohammed finally made it out of Sudan to Uganda, and was received by Defend Defenders who gave him a desk from which to work, a laptop, and access to unlimited internet.

Hassan Via his Twitter Accounts recognizes the role of defend defenders. “DefendDefenders really gave me an opportunity to repurpose my life when everything around me had ground to a halt. Hassan (DefendDefenders Executive Director) particularly put DefendDefenders resources at my disposal so that I could continue my activism even when I was in exile, and for that, I am eternally grateful to him and to DefendDefenders,” he says.

Mohammed would remain housed by DefendDefenders for the next four years, during which he was able to enroll at the Kampala-based International University of East Africa and complete his bachelor’s degree in Law, which he had abandoned when he was forced to flee from Sudan. Facilitated to resume his human rights work, Mohammed also used his time at DefendDefenders to set up and register Darfur Network Monitoring and Documentation as a human rights NGO, through which he continued to monitor human rights developments in Darfur.

Today, Mohammed has been able to rent new office premises in Kampala, which currently house the Darfur Network for Monitoring and Documentation, at which he employs five fulltime staff.  His network of human rights monitors in Darfur has also since increased to 25, prompting the organization to expand its focus from just Darfur to South Kordofan and the Nuba mountains.

The Darfur Network for Monitoring and Documentation is now a member of the Sudan Human Rights Coalition launched in Kampala this year. Last year, its work and reports were part of evidence tabled by the international criminal Court (ICC) in its prosecution of Ali Kushayb, a notorious Janjaweed commander who was in 2007 indicted by the ICC for war crimes in Darfur.

Darfur Network for Monitoring and Documentation is joyous by the recognition of their Executive Director in his struggle towards a better Sudan where Human rights and fundamental freedoms are enjoyed by everybody and that monitoring, documentation and reporting of human rights violations becomes a public concern.

Mohammed Adam Hassan insists that credit goes to defend defenders “Without DefendDefenders, I would not be here. There would be no Darfur Network for Monitoring and Documentation. Hassan in particular, has been a trailblazing leader in the human rights sphere, and I wish that other human rights organizations can be as dedicated as he is,” he says.

More information is available from Mohammed Hassan, Executive Director, DNHR.


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