CHRI Human Rights Update

Your round up from CHRI on 03/03/2016

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· Ghana: 407,000 girls to be married off before age 18 by 2030

· The Seychelles will make gay sex legal

· UN questions Malaysia over blocking of Sarawak Report, sedition crackdown

· Ontario Human Rights Commission wants to take part in case it says involves racial profiling

· Foreign Ministry’s PS briefs UN official on Cyprus issue

Commonwealth Countries

Botswana

Botswana: Venson-Moitoi Attends Human Rights Council Meet

allAfrica

Botswana’s minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, has gone to to partake in the 31st session for the human rights council in Geneva. Whilst there, ‘member states an opportunity to make submissions on a wide range of human rights issues’.

Botswana High Court postpones Dukwe refugees’ case

New Era

The Botswanan government who wanted to revoke the refugee status of hundreds of Namibians will now have to wait after an order from the High Court. A hearing will be held deciding the fate of the Namibian refugees.

Cameroon

Cameroon lawyer: It’s time to repeal our anti-gay law

Erasing 76 Crimes

Walter Atoh, a barrister and member of the Human Rights Commission of the Cameroon Bar Association has spoken up against Cameroon’s anti-homosexuality laws. After holding a workshop on human rights, he called for reform of the legislation.

Ghana

Amidu: ‘Spy Bill’ threat to human rights & freedoms

Economist

Martin Amidu, a former Attorney General in Ghana has spoken out against the new Postal Packets and Telecommunication Messages Bill that has been proposed be set into legislation. He says that it will ‘interfere with the fundamental human rights and freedoms’

(Throw out ‘spy bill’ — Samson Lardi)

Ghana: 407,000 girls to be married off before age 18 by 2030

News Ghana

Alban S.K. Bagbin, the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business in Parliament has in a statement said that 407 000 girls will have been married off under the age of 18 within the next 14 years. He stated that they ‘need to resource various state agencies mandated to protect the human rights of individuals’

Malawi

Police Yet to Arrest Malawi Mob Justice Perpetrators Following Withcraft Claims

Nyasa Times

The police in Malawi has not yet arrested the people who found alleged grave diggers with human bones in their position and burned them because of allegations of witchcraft.

Talk highlights gay issues in Africa

News Record

Ashley Currior and Ebenezer Obadare presented the topic on LGBTI rights and hopmophobia and went specifically into Malawi and showed how negative the image of homosexuality was in the country and the pushback that legislation to legalize and end discrimination on basis of sexuality received.

Namibia

LAC says GBV has reached epidemic proportions

New Era

The Legal Assistance Centre has spoken up against gender based violence after the recent murder of Leticia du Plessis. They have said that police fail to protect and assist victims of domestic violence such as Leticia who had continuously filed complaints against her murderer.

Massive ICC Africa pull out on cards

Southern Times

Namibia is resolving to pull out from the ICC after alleging that it targets African leaders, this comes after the South Africa African National Congress made a recommendation to do so. This move has been made to promote others to follow in the footsteps of Namibia.

Nigeria

Declare State of Emergency on human rights now — HURIWA tells Buhari

Daily Post

The Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) has called for the media’s help in putting pressure on the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, to restore many parts of the country to normalcy and to protect human rights.

On Amnesty International And Matters Arising

Leadership

The Nigerian army was criticised by Amnesty International, criticisms that may lead to war crimes allegations against people in the army fighting Boko Haram, even after improvements to its procedures. This, the article argues, shows once more how Amnesty is biased toward countries outside the ‘West’.

Give us education

The Nation

The Almajiris in North-East Nigeria are a very vulnerable group who live in a backward area of the country that suffers harassment from Boko Haram, leading to there being many from that group living on the street. They want and need education as much as anyone else in the country and it should be made available to them.

Nigeria & Boko Haram : The Nature of the War, 2010–2015

IndraStra

Nigeria and Boko Haram have long been in conflict with each other, however, in 2010, Boko Haram stepped up its offensive and it went into a different stage of the war. There have been multiple human rights abuses and intentional targeting of civilians.

Seychelles

The Seychelles will make gay sex legal

Gay Star News

The Seychelles’ cabinet have decided to strip the ban on homosexuality from its legislation. The previous law could mean prison for up to 14 years, however, this has now been changed.

South Africa

UN reviews South Africa’s human rights record

Times LIVE

South Africa is obliged to be reviewed by the Committee as it has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The committee is made up of 18 independent members to look into issues concerning the ICCPR.

South Africa calls on UNHRC to fight human rights abuses worldwide

StarAfrica

South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers called on the UUNHCR in Geneve on Tuesday to combat ‘with renewed vigour the insurgence of extremism, terrorism and other inhumane acts in the world.’

Uganda

Uganda: Stop Beating Up Journalists

allAfrica

Ugandan police and security forces are beating up journalists and arresting them very frequently. Media is vital for a democratic society and the upholding of rights and have the right to freedom expression.

Uganda Journalists Arrested; Opposition Contests Poll Results

Voice of America

There is a Supreme Court battle coming up in Uganda concerning the election results where there have been allegations of rigging votes among other things. Additionally, journalists have been continuously arrested, especially since the campaigns started for the presidential election.

The opposition, the EU, and the US and various human rights groups question the democratic “level-playing-field” credentials of the regime

New Europe

There have been various calls from around the world for improved democratic practices in Uganda, as well as multiple allegations of the election that was held was not just and fair.

Americas

Canada

Ontario Human Rights Commission wants to take part in case it says involves racial profiling

CBC News

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is fighting to take part in a disciplinary hearing against two Toronto police officers, arguing the case involves racial profiling.

Public servant slapper gets job back, $25Gs in damages to human rights

Sun

An Ottawa public servant who slapped his boss has been given both his job back, and a $25,000 award for damages to his human rights.

Trinity Western University graduate awarded $8.5K in religious discrimination case

CBC News

A graduate of a Christian university has been awarded $8,500 by a British Columbia human-rights tribunal that found a company refused to hire her in part because of her religion.

Opinion: Veganism as a human right/ Ontario’s expanded definition of “creed”

Borden Ladner Gervais

In a new policy released in December 2015 (the “Policy”), the Ontario Human Rights Commission expanded the definition of “creed” in an attempt to capture Ontario’s modern landscape of belief. But how far does it go? A vegan may, for example, consider their veganism to form a central part of their identity. Would this be protected by the Policy? And is veganism as worthy of protection as religious beliefs, for example?

Asia

India

India’s female scavengers enslaved by caste, gender discrimination

Mail Online

The recent legislation to prevent the forcing of the poorest women in India to clear excrement from other people will not do much unless the underlying sexist and caste biased are focused on as well.

Indian students march against government’s ‘war on democracy’

Socialist Worker

Indian students have fought back strongly against the government’s crackdown on ‘campuses and democracy’. Thousands will march to parliament to demand that the arrested JNU students be released as well as protest the caste discrimination.

India priest sentenced 40 years for child rape

Gulf News

A priest in India has been sentence to 40 years in prison after he was convicted of raping a 12 year old girl at his church. He is also being investigated for another similar allegation.

Malaysia

UN questions Malaysia over blocking of Sarawak Report, sedition crackdown

Aliran

The OHCHR has shown and expressed concern over Malaysia’s crackdown on dissent in the country and its violation of the right to freedom of expression and opinion.

Starved of legal access, Anwar to fight own cases in court

Malaymail

Datuk Seri Anwar will represent himself at court in Malaysia after his legal representative has been allowed less and less visiting time to his client. This has been called ‘unjust’ and ‘absurd’, especially considering the amount of cases that he is faced with.

Raising awareness on the rights of children

The Star

UNICEF in Malaysia has called for a cooperation between government and society to be able to raise awareness and the implementation on children’s rights. It is the obligation of Malaysia to keep people informed and uphold these rights.

Pakistan

Submission on Pakistan to the Committee on the Rights of the Child

Human Rights Watch

Pakistan has been seen to violate multiple articles on human rights relating specifically to children’s rights as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It has come out with a report about these.

Women have little relief from harassment

The News

Despite laws, rights accords and agreements, and declarations women continue to be harassed and become victims of crimes against them. It seems these laws and agreements do not in themselves do anything to stop the targeting of women.

No honor in killing

Arab News

Honor killings are a tragic yet not all too irregular occurrence in Pakistan, more than 1000 women get killed in ‘”honor killings”’ each year, however, there are probably more as many go unregistered. Laws need to be amended to fight this problem in Pakistan.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan boy excluded from school over false HIV rumour

BBC

A Sri Lankan boy was excluded from school after allegations of him carrying AIDS, however, these rumours were false. This exclusion on basis of him carrying AIDS have been opposed by many already.

Caribbean

The Bahamas

Bahamian Prime Minister Says Gender Vote ‘Will Be A Historic Day’

Tribune 242

Prime Minister Perry Christie said all parliamentarians will vote today on the four constitutional bills regarding gender equality in The Bahamas that is before the House of Assembly, vowing that it will be “a historic day” for equality between men and women in terms of rights.

Guyana

Guyana Minister asked to protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination

Gay Star Business

A human rights organization, SASOD, in Guyana is lobbying the government to extend workplace discrimination protections to include ‘gender identity’, ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘health status’ — despite the fact that same-sex sexual activity remains illegal in the country.

Saint Lucia

Aids Action Foundation (AAF) laments LGBT stigma, discrimination

St. Lucia times

Director of the Aids Action Foundation (AAF), Joan Didier, has lamented that generally attitudes in the Islands of the OECS towards LBGT persons have not changed. “Across the board attitudes remain the same,” Didier told the Times. She was among participants at a conference on security training for LGBT persons that opened in Saint Lucia yesterday.

Europe

Cyprus

Foreign Ministry’s PS briefs UN official on Cyprus issue

FG News

Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry of Cyprus, Ambassador Alexandros Zenon has held a meeting in Geneva with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra `ad Al Hussein, whom he briefed on the ongoing UN led talks aiming at reaching a solution of the Cyprus human rights issue.

Malta

Opinion: Human rights ‘conversions’

Times of Malta

Austin Bencini, a Maltese constitutional lawyer, discusses reactions to the Maltese Church’s position paper on ‘conversion therapy’ stating that “it may not have crossed the mind of the paper’s detractors that it in fact raised a number of fundamental human rights concerns, which, if ignored, will give rise to a flawed law open to challenges at the constitutional level.”

Pacific

Australia and Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea says ‘damaged’ by Australia asylum seeker camp

Reuters

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said on Thursday that Australia’s detention of asylum seekers on Papua territory has severely damaged the archipelago’s reputation and that the camp would have to close eventually.

Nauru and New Zealand

Diplomatic relations remain frosty between Nauru and New Zealand

Newstalk ZB

Diplomatic relations with Nauru have been frosty ever since New Zealand put a hold on aid funding for Nauru’s justice system last September. The freeze followed concerns held about Nauru’s justice sector and human rights matters.

UN Human Rights Council

UN human rights body should not be undermined by politicization, double standards

Shanghai Daily

A senior Chinese diplomat said here on Wednesday that the UN Human Rights Council should not be undermined by politicization and double standards, or to use human rights to interfere in the sovereignty of other countries.

Apple

Opinion: Apple, the FBI, and the Human Rights Side of Encryption

Citizens for Global Solutions

Apple’s refusal to help the FBI unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters has reignited the debate over how much privacy we can expect in the information age.