CHRI Human Rights Update

Your round up from CHRI on 08/04/2016

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Top News:

· Health Ministry will not discourage pregnancy in light of Zika virus

· Police Deny Racism And Demand Data (That They Won’t Collect)

· Bangladesh blogger death: Blood is also on govt’s hands, says women’s rights activist Shireen Huq

· Uganda: Freedoms — Govt Fires Back at U.S. Ambassador

· Secret court hearing to rule on Foreign Office’s evaluation of human rights

Commonwealth Countries

Africa

Ghana

Ghanaian president re-nominates Hilary Gbedemah for UN CEDAW

News Ghana

President John Dramani Mahama has re-nominated Ms Hilary Amesika Gbedemah, a lawyer and gender consultant, to serve on the Advisory Board of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Ghana urges President Obama to intervene to release jailed human rights defenders in the Gulf

News Ghana

William Nicholas Gomes, human rights defender and freelance journalist, writes an open letter to president Obama urging him to release “detained human rights defenders across the Gulf region who are imprisoned solely due to their peaceful and legitimate human rights work.”

Kenya

Death sentences in Kenya the highest within EAC bloc

allAfrica

Death sentences in Kenya increased to 30 last year as other East African nations maintained their penalties at below 10, a new report shows.

‘Nightmare’ for gay refugees in Kenya

76 Crimes

New York-based photographer Jake Naughton has been working with Kenya-based journalist Jacob Kushner to document those refugees’ new lives. An article on that project, including 14 of his photos, was published recently in the Africa edition of Time magazine.

Malawi

Malawi Tries to Crack Down on Albino Killings

Voice of America

The threat against Albino nationals has become so acute in the country, that Malawi’s president gave a national address this month pledging action. “This is evil and a threat to the most fundamental human rights in our constitution.”

Namibia

Namibia: Should Lobola Be Legal or Illegal?

allAfrica

THE UN Human Rights Committee, reviewing Namibia’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, recently recommended that the practice of providing lobola should be prohibited by law on the grounds that it is used as a justification to beat and mistreat wives.

Nigeria

Boko Haram militants offered olive branch by army

BBC

Nigeria’s army says 800 militants from the Islamist Boko Haram group who have surrendered and shown remorse will be rehabilitated into society; an attempt by the army to show that human rights will be respected in future — a key promise made by President Muhammadu Buhari when he came to power last year.

Nigeria: 1,677 on death row — Amnesty International

allAfrica

Amnesty International yesterday disclosed that in 1,677 people, including five foreign nationals were on death row in Nigeria in 2015. Quoting figures from the Nigerian Prisons Service, Amnesty said 171 people were sentenced to death last year. This, it said, was a 74% drop from the 659 death sentences recorded in 2014.

South Africa

Report blames media for last year’s xenophobic panic in South Africa

Destiny Connect

A series of sensational newspaper headlines and the dissemination of false information on social media contributed to the deadly outbreak of xenophobia-related violence last year, a new report says.

Uganda

Out and proud in Uganda

Washington Blade

Last year, the Washington Blade spotlighted United States lawyer Nate Freeman on his journey across Africa to raise awareness for LGBT rights through his Out in Africa Ride foundation. Freeman is back in Africa to continue the work that was started on that ride.

Uganda: Freedoms — Govt Fires Back at U.S. Ambassador

allAfrica

Addressing the post-election symposium on youth, democracy, and governance at Hotel Africana in Kampala yesterday afternoon, United State Ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac told the Uganda government not to sacrifice rights and freedoms of her citizens in the name of keeping stability.

Zambia

MISA issues international alert over Zambian government threat of media regulation

Lusaka Times

MISA Zambia Chapter says it has received with concern the threats by Chief government Spokesperson Chishemba Kambwili that government will start regulating the media in the country.

Americas

Canada

Pressure Grows in Canada for Strict Limits on the Use of Solitary Confinement in Federal and Provincial Prisons

Solitary Watch

The Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission has spoken up against solitary confinement practices in Canada and wishes to eliminate the practice because of ‘The extent and gravity of [Human Rights] Code concerns with the use of segregation’.

Police Deny Racism And Demand Data (That They Won’t Collect)

Huffington Post

The Toronto Police Associtation’s president Mike McCormack has spoken against the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, after she said that systematic racism exists in the police force. He is asking for data that he knows is not collected and refuses to acknowledge the fact until this data has been presented.

Canada elected as a voice for women on UN Commission

Kelowna Now

Canada has been chosen to be in the UN Commission on the Status of Women, a UN ‘body that sets priorities on the topic of gender equality and the empowerment of women globally’.

Asia

Bangladesh

Bangladesh puts politics above eliminating arsenic in drinking water, Human Right Watch says

Humanosphere

An estimated 43,000 Bangladeshis are dying each year from arsenic poisoning. The government has failed to solve a known problem of more than 20 years as close to 20 million people still drink water with unacceptably high levels of arsenic. Human Rights Watch says that nepotism by politicians who prioritize the needs of their home regions over cleaning up the deadly water supply has allowed the problem to persist.

Rights bodies for justice for ‘police shooting of journo’

Prothom Alo

Three local and international rights organisations on Wednesday urged the global human rights community to raise its voice and called for justice for the several human rights defenders and journalists who have been “shot in the limbs by police forces in Bangladesh.”

Bangladesh blogger death: Blood is also on govt’s hands, says women’s rights activist Shireen Huq

First Post

The hacking to death of Nazimuddin Samad, the sixth secular Bangladeshi blogger to be murdered in the last 14 months, has no doubt been carried out by religious fanatics. But the blood is also on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s hands, feels Shireen Huq of Nari Pokkho, a women’s rights organisation in Bangladesh.

Malaysia

No excuses for nixing human rights standards

Free Malaysia Today

Women’s rights activist Ivy Josiah today denounced those who cite cultural and religious rules for rejecting international human rights standards.

Malaysian opposition MP charged over 1MDB leak

Channel News Asia

Malaysian opposition lawmaker Rafizi Ramli was slapped with two charges under the Official Secrets Act 1972 on Friday (Apr 8) after leaking classified information about the embattled state fund 1MDB.

Pakistan

Human Rights reporting guidelines

The Express Tribune

Using a human rights lens while reporting on issues will contribute to improving human rights protection in the country as well as help towards Pakistan’s international law obligations.

Caribbean

Barbados

Notorious American Hate Group Heads to Barbados

Human Rights Campaign

The World Congress of Families (WCF) is hosting an anti-LGBTI gathering in Barbados, bringing ‘some of the most virulently anti-LGBT extremists from around the world’.

Let Zika affected mothers abort

Barbados today

George Griffith, the former Executive director of the Barbados Family Planning Organisation has come out with a statement calling for pregnant mother affected by the Zika virus to be allowed to have abortions.

Saint Lucia

Marry Francis urges media to stand firm

St Lucia Times

Mary Francis, an outspoken attorney and human rights activist has urged the media to stand strong in the face of legal action that is trying to silence it, and says that everyone must ‘raise its voice on the issue of sexual violence against women’, referring to the media accusing people in high offices of being involved in such violence.

Health Ministry will not discourage pregnancy in light of Zika virus

St Lucia News

The Health ministry has come out with a statement saying that it will not discourage pregnancies and that such matters are ‘a decision of a couple’. The Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, also said that they ‘are working to strengthen our services and public health system to ensure the best outcome of anybody […] at this time’.

Europe

Malta

The right to say anything

Times of Malta

Freedom of the press and defamation laws have often been a point of discussion in Malta, and is so once more after the shadow minister, Jason Azzopardi, has been accused of defamation.

Pacific

Australia

Barristers call for mandatory sentences on minor assaults to be scrapped ‘to keep indigenous Australians out of jails’

Mail Online

Barristers in Australia have called for the removal of mandatory sentences on minor crimes to keep the indigenous community of Australia out of the prisons as ‘Australia’s indigenous incarceration rate is one of the most challenging human rights issues facing the country today’.

EU

Shatter the stigma on World Health Day

Kaleidoscot

World health day has been used by two extremely influential LGBTI groups to argue for more mental health support for the LGBTI communities as LGBTI people are ‘disproportionately affected by mental ill health’.

FCO

Secret court hearing to rule on Foreign Office’s evaluation of human rights

The Guardian

A three-year battle by the Foreign Office (FCO) to keep secret how diplomatic issues colour its human rights decisions reached its climax on Thursday, in a court case that was itself largely held in secret at the insistence of the security services.

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