CHRI Human Rights Update

Your round up from CHRI on 16/03/2016

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Today’s top news:

· Minister Hugo Swire: “The Commonwealth is no relic of the past”

· NGOs challenge MPs to introduce same-sex marriage by end of year

· Swazi lawmakers want death penalty to stay

· Ban says UNHRC work on Lanka has helped rights issue

· Ghana to put Gender Agenda on UN platform

The Commonwealth

Minister Hugo Swire: “The Commonwealth is no relic of the past”

Merco Press

Minister of state for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire, has come out with a statement praising the Commonwealth and arguing for its usefulness both now and in the future after his visits to New Zealand, Canada and Sri Lanka.

Commonwealth Countries

Africa

Botswana

Ditshwanelo hosts Human Rights film festival

Mmegi

The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, will be hosting its 16th Annual Human Rights Film Festival, (which is part of the Maitisong Festival) from March 30.

Ghana

Ghana’s president to get red carpet treatment at Holyrood and silence over gay rights

Herald Scotland

EQUALITY campaigners have said an opportunity to raise the issue of gay rights with the President of Ghana should not be wasted when he visits Scotland.

Ghana Govt is interested in using skills, contributions of diaspora — Ambassador

Ghana Web

The Ghana government is very interested in utilizing the skills and contributions of the Ghanaian diaspora for more development, the Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee has said.

Ghana to put Gender Agenda on UN platform

Ghana Web

Ghana is set to project the country’s gender agenda at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) slated for March 14 to March 25 at the UN Headquarters, New York.

Involve citizens in Spy Bill debates — CDD to gov’t

Ghana Web

Head of Research and Programmes at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) Dr. Franklin Oduro has called on government to involve the citizens of Ghana in discussions on why the Postal Packets and Telecommunications Bill, popularly known as Spy Bill, must be introduced in Ghana.

NCCE steps up campaign against child marriage

Ghana Business News

The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has signalled the start of a sustained campaign to stop child marriage and substantially bring down cases of child abuse. This involves active engagement with key actors — chiefs, assembly members, religious leaders, parents and teachers.

NDC hates women — Ursula Owusu

Ghana Web

The reception given to women in the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, who committed offences while in office, as opposed to their male counterparts, is an obvious demonstration of the ruling government’s hatred for women, Mrs Ursula Owusu Ekuful has said.

Kenya

OPINION: Kenya: Society Should Mind Welfare of Girls, but It Can’t Ignore Its Boys

All Africa

Trust readers to put writers on the spot even when the latter think they have put forward a watertight case. I found myself in a tight corner as soon as a friend read my offering on rape to commemorate last week’s International Women’s Day.

OPINION: Kenya: Let’s all speak out about domestic violence

All Africa

“ Even though perpetrators of domestic violence are spread across both genders, the victims are mostly women, thus the fight against the vice has always been championed by women. I wanted to show Kenyans that men can also be in the forefront in this fight.”

Malawi

Malawi CSOs press for Independent Police Complaints Commission

Nyasa Times

Civil society groups have ganged up to press for the creation of an Independent Police Complaints Commission. The civil society leaders say there is need for the commission because of the increasing incidents of police brutality.

Free the student arrested on freedom of speech charges

Nyasa Times

Civil society organisations mother body and the media have ganged up to urge President Peter Mutharika come out clearly and condemn student who was arrested in Friday in a minibus for participating in a debate on the status of economic, political and social landscape.

Mozambique

COULD WAR RETURN TO MOZAMBIQUE?

UN Dispatch

Trouble is brewing. “In recent years the country appeared to be defying its traumatic past. Left badly scarred by colonialism and 15 years of civil war, Mozambique has enjoyed political stability and rapid economic growth thanks to valuable deposits of gas and coal. But long-simmering tensions between former rebels and the government have taken a worrying turn.

Nigeria

NHRC Engages Nigerian Military On Alleged Human Rights Violation

Channels TV

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called on security agencies involved in the fight against insurgents to abide by their rules of engagement by respecting the rights of civilians during operations.

Nigeria: Deprivation of Lives and Challenge Before ICC

All Africa

Nigerian security officials have been in the eyes of the storm recently following their alleged crackdown on unarmed protesters. First, soldiers clashed with Muslim shiites in Zaria, Kaduna State and that resulted in the alleged extra-judicial murder of a number of shiites’ members.

Rwanda

Burundian-registered cars: Refugees given reprieve

News Times

The government has given Burundian refugees who have moved into the country with cars two months (renewable once) temporary admissions after which they will have to pay Rwf20,000 ($30) each month.

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone: Wanep Launches R2P Case Study Report in Sierra Leone

All Africa

The West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) has launched a report on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in Sierra Leone and set a timeline for the development of an implementation plan. The report is themed ‘Institutional capacities for the implementation of R2P in West Africa, a case study for Ghana.’

South Africa

South Africa: Human Rights Debate Gets Noisy in the House

All Africa

MPs who hoped to make a point on human rights in the context of building South Africa had a job securing their right to be heard over sarcastic heckling, shrieking and hand waving during a debate in Parliament on Tuesday.

South African court attacks government over ‘disgraceful’ flight of al-Bashir

The Telegraph

Supreme Court condemns as “risible” the South African government’s explanation that it allowed Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the ICC for war crimes, to leave the country despite a judge’s instructions

South Africa: President Al Bashir Faces Arrest if He Returns to South Africa

All Africa

The South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Tuesday rejected an appeal by the government against a ruling that the State had made an error in allowing Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir to leave the country, in spite of a court order barring him from doing so.

Swaziland

Swazi lawmakers want death penalty to stay

Star Africa

While the African Union’s Commissioner on Human and People’s Rights Pansy Tlakula wants Swaziland to abolish the death penalty, parliamentarians want murderers to be killed, APA learnt on Wednesday.While on a visit to Swaziland last week, Tlakula recommended that the Swazi government scraps the death penalty.

Tanzania

Tanzania: Kenyans Jailed in Arusha Accuse Tanzania of Gross Human Rights Violations

Daily Nation

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights will on Friday deliver judgment in a case in which 10 Kenyans have accused the Tanzanian government of unlawfully and forcibly arresting them in Maputo, Mozambique.

Zambia

Zambia First Lady in New York for Women’s meeting

Lukasa Times

The First Lady of Zambia Mrs. Esther Lungu arrived in New York on Tuesday to participate in the 60th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60).

The CSW60 opened at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Monday 14 March 2016 with a priority theme focusing on women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development.

Americas

Canada

Restaurants Canada’s silence on sexist dress codes is no surprise

The Globe and Mail

The very public issue about gender discriminating and sexist dress codes in restaurants in Canada is still causing a lot of debate, however, restaurants in Canada have in general been very quiet on the issue.

Ottawa mulls greater scrutiny of border agency after detainee deaths

The Globe and Mail

After 2 deaths of detainees in CBSA custody last week, there are plans of creating and oversight body over the CBSA to investigate these deaths and to make sure that these things don’t continue to happen.

I want to visit my family in Canada

Jamaica Observer

Canadian visas are hard to come by unless you fit the right ‘generic criteria’ to enter the country. Depending on where you come from, visas are denied in different degrees.

Asia

Bangladesh

Deserving Kashmiri students ignored in SAARC Bangladesh MBBS quota? Bangla official rubbishes charge

New Kerala

Admissions in Bangladesh under SAARC quota for MBBS course to select medical students from India (Kashmir ) has come under question by rights groups with the list allegedly showing the names of students who were not recommended as meritorious students by India, activists said, even as a senior official of the Bangladesh High Commission rubbished the charge saying there is no anomaly in the process and merit was given top priority.

Brunei Darussalam

Trailblazing women pilots complete history-making flight to Saudi Arabia

News.com

ON BOARD a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, these trailblazers have blasted their way into a country where they’re not allowed to travel without a man, let alone drive a car.

India

Amal Clooney to visit India, discuss freedom of expression

Hindustan Times

British human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who is married to Hollywood icon George Clooney , says she is looking forward to her trip to India and is eager to initiate a dialogue on human rights and freedom of expression in the country.

INDIA: Frivolity Judiciary’s real crisis, not backlog

Asian Human Rights Commission

The Indian Judiciary is facing a crisis of credibility, which is a challenge from within. These are the words of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, delivered on March 13 at an event marking the 150th anniversary of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad. In his speech, the Chief Justice went on to blame this crisis on the backlog of cases in Indian courts.

Malaysia

How Malaysia’s push to stifle scandal questions backfired as journalists deported

The Telegraph

The Malaysian administration has waged an increasingly heavy-handed campaign to muzzle dissent and divert attention as a funding scandal and corruption allegations shake his administration.

Bersih: Free, fair elections in NSC security zones impossible

Malaysiankini

Electoral reform group Bersih today poured scorn on the government’s claim that elections can still go on in security zones declared under the National Security Council (NSC) Bill, stating that free and fair polls under such circumstances is impossible.

Protecting children from abuse

The Star Online

ISSUES concerning child care and child abuse are very critical today considering the many incidents of abuse and violence against children.

The number of children — defined as those aged below 18 years old — being abused physically, sexually, emotionally as well as being neglected and abandoned by parents, guardians or family members has been on the increase.

Pakistan

PAKISTAN: Stop the torture and disappearance of Sindhis protecting their local resources

Asian Human Rights Commission

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information regarding the disappearance of several activists of a proscribed nationalist group, Jeay Sindh Muttehda Mahaz (JSSM), from Sindh Province. In the recent days, the Rangers and police, in front of dozens of onlookers, have arrested two cousins, and since then their whereabouts are unknown

Interview: WHAT’S LIFE REALLY LIKE FOR LGBT PEOPLE IN PAKISTAN?

Attitude

As the closet doors slowly begin to be prised open on gay life in the Middle East, a new independent documentary is delving into the hidden lives, history and culture of Pakistan’s suppressed — but ever-present — LGBT community.

Pakistani Parliament Finally Criminalizes Sexual Assault of Children, Child Porn

Christian Post

The Pakistani Parliament has finally passed legislation that criminalizes sexual assault of children, child trafficking and child pornagraphy, although Christian rights activist are skeptical that such a law will protect Christian girls from being kidnapped and raped by Muslim men.

Singapore

Singaporean Women’s Hall of Fame inductee Dr Ang Swee Chai struggles for clearance to enter country

The Independent

Dr Ang Swee Chai, the widow of human rights lawyer, Francis Khoo, who died in exile in 2011, is struggling to obtain the clearance she requires to enter the country.

Sri Lanka

Ban says UNHRC work on Lanka has helped rights issue

Colombo Gazette

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the work of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on countries like Sri Lanka has helped address the human rights issues in those countries.

HOW SERIOUS ARE WE ABOUT DISABILITY?

Daily News

Sri Lanka has a long tradition of sharing with our disabled citizens the state’s largesse when it comes to welfare. The state provides grants for medical expenses and self-employment, assistive devices free of cost, cash transfers to those who have low incomes and provides youth with vocational training in special institutions.

Caribbean

Europe

Malta

NGOs challenge MPs to introduce same-sex marriage by end of year

Times of Malta

MPs in Malta have been challenged to introduce same-sex marriage before the end of 2016 by the Aditus director and human rights lawyer named Neil Falzon and says that it is time for it to happen.

Pacific

Australia

MOBILE BILLBOARD PROTESTING AUSTRALIA’S TREATMENT OF GAY REFUGEES TO TOUR PARLIAMENT HOUSE

Star Observer

A mobile billboard funded by the LGBTI rights group All Out together with the Human Rights Law Centre which is aimed to bring attention to the two Iranian men held in Nauru will be outside the house of Parliament tomorrow. This is because homosexuality is punishable in Nauru by up to 14 years.

Anti-protest laws giving police greater powers pass NSW parliament

Guardian

New anti-protest laws have been passed in parliament that give police more authority to ‘search without a warrant, seize items and move protesters on’ as well as increased jail time to up to 7 years.

AAP: NCRI condemns Australia’s bid to do deal with Iran regime

NCRI

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has spoken up against Australia’s plans of dealing with Iranian refugees. The plan is to send up to 9000 Iranian refugees back to what they call the ‘religious fascism ruling Iran’.

Fiji

Raj new Fiji Human Rights Commission director

RNZ

Ashwin Raj has been appointed the new director of the Fiji Human Rights Commission, he has already now taken up the office.

Nauru

AFR Business Summit: Broadspectrum’s Smith-Gander says activists misuse data

Financial Review

The data used to protest the Nauru camps have been misused by activists claims Diane Smith-Gander from Broadspectrum, a supplier of services and goods to these camps.

New Zealand

A celebration of culture on Race Unity

Stuff

As part of Race Unity day, a group of Girls and Nelson College for Girls have formed a kapa haka group and will perform to celebrate their different cultures.

Solomon Islands

Solomons concerned about abuses in West Papua

RNZ

The Solomon Islands have spoken up against the human rights abuses that are going on in West Papua during the UNHRC in Geneva, saying that it ‘need urgent attention by the world community’

Other

As UN Human Rights Council marks 10th anniversary, Ban urges body to increase ‘impact’

UN News Centre

Human rights are, sadly, “under attack” worldwide, and the United Nations Human Rights Council must increase its impact on the ground over its second decade, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today as the Organization’s main human rights body marked the 10th anniversary of its creation.

Watchdogs on a leash: where and why governments restrict election monitors

The Conversation

The University of Sydney’s Electoral Integrity Project has just released its annual report, The Year in Elections 2015. Drawing on evidence from 54 countries that held elections in 2015, this report helps us understand their levels of compliance with international standards of electoral integrity.