Casa dos Direitos (House of Rights) is a space for dialogue between civil society organisations working to strengthen human rights in Guinea-Bissau. It was created through a joint initiative of the Guinean Human Rights League, a Guinean NGO specialised in Human Rights, and ACEP, a Portuguese NGO, which has extensive experience working with Guinean organisations in applied research and policy monitoring. Casa dos Direitos has became a privileged space for the promotion of human rights for a variety of different stakeholders, civil society organisations, associations and formal institutions.
Casa dos Direitos initiatives include capacity building for the promotion of economic, social, environmental, civic and gender rights, training of facilitators and journalists from radio stations in various issues related to human rights, and training of civil society organisations and NGOs in research methodologies and the use of the internet for the creation of blogs and newsletters.
Casa dos Direitos is based in a former prison of Bissau’s old colonial quarter. During many years this building was a place of repression, oppression, a place without freedoms where human rights where under considered. In 2011, thanks to the initiative of a group or civil society organizations: ACEP, the Guinean League of Human Rights, AMIC, and Tiniguena, the building was delivered by the government. In February 2012 Casa dos Direitos was inaugurated.
Casa dos Direitos was not targeted or threatened during the last military putsch in 2012. On the contrary, the defense forces participated in training about the Role of the Military in the consolidation of peace and the promotion and defense of human rights, organised by the Youth Association for the promotion and defense of Human Rights.
Casa dos direitos was directly involved in the discussions and sharing previous to the elaboration of the Guinean NGO Manifesto about the guiding principles, values and agenda of the guinean and international NGOs to contribute on building the future of Guinea-Bissau.
One of the most significant points of the document is the decision to create a space for concerted action by NGOs. This space which will serve to share information and experiences among NGOs, to enhance dialogue with the State a to promote greater awareness and solidarity among NGOs.