HRDI is an African regional non-governmental human rights organisation based in Pretoria, South Africa working in Southern Africa, East Africa and the Great Lakes Region.

HRDI’s mission is to challenge political, economic and social elitism and promote equality of people regardless of race, place of origin, gender, social status, class, religion, sexual orientation, belief, ethnicity, HIV status or any other quality or trait that might be used as a basis for unfair discrimination, using international and regional human rights standards as the barometer. Constantly bearing in mind that human rights is not about what we write or say, but what we do.

Illicit Financial Flows and Human Rights in Africa

Addressing illicit financial flows from Africa as a fundamental human rights issue is, arguably, the most important human rights intervention of this era. Indeed it has the potential to have substantial impact on the ability of African governments to achieve the sustainable development goals.

Mindful of the fact that Africa loses more money through illicit financial flows than it receives in aid, loans and investments combined; Mindful also that despite high growth rates, Africa today is a mixed story of booming economic growth juxtaposed against abject poverty and idyllic holiday locations against overflowing slums. Illicit financial flows directly affect a government’s ability to meet their obligations under international human rights law as it drains the continent of much needed resources.

On 23rd April 2013, as a result of HRDI’s advocacy strategy, the ACHPR adopted Resolution 236 and took the first bold step toward a human rights based approach to addressing this issue.

HRDI is currently working with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights as its Secretariat to manage a study on the human rights impact of and human rights based solutions to illicit financial flows from Africa.


August 2016: Training representatives from 11 law faculties at universities in Southern Africa and East Africa on establishing, strengthening and sustaining university based law clinics and using clinical legal education as a tool for social justice hosted by Midlands State University, in Harare, Zimbabwe

HRDI’s executive director presented an inspirational paper at a conference on Clinic Legal Education to law teachers and deans of law faculties from universities in Southern Africa. The highlight of this interaction were the individual consultations with each institution during which Ms Ramgobin assisted the institutional teams to work through bottlenecks that arose out of contextual constraints that they were confronted by. Ms Ramgobin’s experience of universities in the African context and of clinical legal education enabled her to provide unique insights into the implementation challenges that they all faced.

July 2016: Training of Civil Society Representatives and Academics from 15 Countries in Africa at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria on “Illicit financial flows and human rights in Africa”

HRDI’s executive director taught representatives from civil society, national human rights institutions and academics from 15 countries in Africa on “Illicit Financial Flows and Human Rights in Africa”. She simplified complex concepts like transfer mispricing, trade misinvoicing, thin capitalisation, tax havens, secrecy jurisdictions and brought them all into the sphere of human rights. She challenged the participants to take on this massive Goliath and to use human rights weapons in that battle. For the power point presentation, further reading materials and for further enquiries, contact Ms Asha Ramgobin at

April 2016: Speeches at the 58th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

HRDI’s executive director raised the issues of illicit financial flows and human rights at the 58th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, highlighting the revelations reported in the leaked Panama Papers. She talked about the great betrayal of ordinary African people at the hands of other African people for a mere “30 coins of silver”.
To download the full text of the speech, click here

HRDI highlighted the link between illicit financial flows, human rights and secrecy jurisdictions and urges the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information to engage with state parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to increase transparency, openness and accountability in their financial systems.
To download the full text of the speech, click here

HRDI requested the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders to include in her mandate the rights of activists who challenge big business and mining interests and to particularly engage with the government of South Africa regarding the killing of an activist and the Democratic Republic of Congo regarding the killing priest.
To download the full text of the speech, click here

HRDI named prominent individuals linked to politicians who were named in the Panama Papers and called upon the ACHPR to engage with the relevant governments to investigate further and take steps to recover the lost revenue.
To download the full text of the speech, click here

For further enquiries, contact Ms Asha Ramgobin at