CHRI Human Rights Update
Your round up from CHRI on 17/02/2016
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Today’s top news:
Mail & Guardian
Boko Haram has been active in many countries in Africa, and though there have been leaders of several countries around the continent trying to fight the terrorist group, none have succeeded in their campaigns. They stand responsible for thousands of deaths and have recently changed tactics in their approach.
The OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), is having debates on what should and should not count as being Official Development Assistance (ODA), the debate is concerning the inclusion of some defence additions to the definition.
Charlotte Osei the chairperson for the Electoral Commission (EC), has come under harsh criticism for her appointments of several known members of the current ruling party in Ghana, NDC, for the steering committee of the upcoming election. Claims are being made that it is an attempt to prevent a free and fair election.
Chief Olusegun Obsanjo, the chairman of the Commonwealth Election Observer Group to Uganda, and former president of Nigeria has called for elections to be non-violent and transparent in elections tomorrow.
Peace fm online
The NGO ‘Youth for Peace and Security-Africa’ is suing the government of Ghana at the Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court for disbanding the NGO. The NGO has been working in the Volta region to solve the 19 year old conflict between the Alavanyo and the Nkonya people.
The report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) titled ‘I just sit and wait to die: Reparations for survivors of Kenya’s 2007–2008 post-election sexual violence’ has come out and explains the ordeal that the victims of the assaults have to go through even today.
The President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika, was there to personally welcome David Mundell, the secretary of state for Scotland and a UK cabinet minister who came out as openly gay last year, to Malawi. This comes at a time where Malawi is facing a rise in homophobia. The meeting was to discuss and agree to further aid given by Scotland to Malawi.
Nigeria’s Federal Government has said that they will uphold the human rights provisions that they have agreed to as they fight insurgency in the country.
A boy was found and saved by a Danish aid worker (Anja Ringgren Loven) who had been abandoned by his family who had accused him of being a witch. This is a reoccurring problem and has happened to ‘thousands of children’, sometimes leading to abandonment, torture and death.
The Nigerian army has been commended by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as it has made sure that its facilities for detention meet acceptable global standards.
Victoire Ingabire, an opposition figure in Rwanda was not allowed a visit from her lawyer to prepare for her appeal in front of the African rights court. She was a critic of the president that came after the genocide, and has been convicted of ‘conspiracy in harming authorities through terrorism and war’ and of ‘spreading rumours to incite violence’.
Are the leaders in Africa, who keep prolonging their tenures there to provide discipline to their people to bring them to greatness at any cost?
Femal Youth Volunteers in Communuity Policing have been encouraged in coming together to fight crimes in their communities by the Huye District Police Commander. They were told to focus on crimes of ‘drug abuse, gender based violence and human trafficking’.
Kanye West’s new season for his Yeezy show was inspired by a photo from the Rwandan genocide. This photo was of a refugee camp in Rwanda in Kibeho just days after the government’s forces had entered it and killed thousands.
Seychelles News Agency
In a State of the Nation Address, Seychelles’ president James Michael announced that legislation concerning the ‘fight against drugs, corruption, good governance and homosexuality’ will be changed. This is to fight corruption, decriminalize homosexuality, and limit the presidential term.
Police fired weapons and teargas into a crowd of protesters against a presidential candidate in the election tomorrow. The supporters of the candidate had been throwing rocks and set up roadblocks as the police came and stormed the streets. People were reportedly arrested with no explanation or reason.
10 Hotspots have been identified in Uganda for where violence is likely to appear for the elections tomorrow. There have been urges for those areas to receive extra attention and security.
The Turkish ambassador to Uganda has in a speech commended the political maturity of Uganda, and put emphasis on the work needed to promote ‘Peace and tolerance before, during and after elections’.
There are several dangers with social media that have been uncovered in Tanzania, however, the new act is working to prevent these. Some of these are ‘dissemination of racist and xenophobic material’, ‘Publication of child pornography’, and ‘data espionage’
Deus Kibamba has come with an analysis of what he calls democratic retrogression in East Africa. He claims that elections often make the countries vulnerable, and that some of the worst human rights violations happen around elections, and goes on to speak of what may come from the Ugandan election.
A large amount of children are being arrested in Zambia, additionally, there is a problem with handling their cases and sending them to where they are meant to be. Instead, they are put in prison along with adults, reports the Human Rights Commission.
Canada will no longer tolerate having its citizens put on death row by another country, as its foreign affairs minister decries capital punishment as being beneath “a civilized society.” The change was announced on Monday by Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion after his meeting with the Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the first UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Canada in a decade.
Stateless people are still having a hard time to settle into the states in which they have been accepted and given nationality by. Often these people are mistreated by the governments who recognize them.
The Kapaeeng Foundation, and Bangladesh Women’s Network were supported by Manusher Jonnno Foundation in creating the ‘Annual Situation Report 2015 on Indigenous Women in Bangladesh’. They are using this to call for the implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) peace accord.
Sunil Ambekar the national organizing secretary of ABVP claimed that excessive rights are owned by the people and the misuse of rights, and the government’s correction of these, were the roots of the upset at the JNU University.
A student leader that was arrested during the sedation laws of the colonial times was receiving the support of several university protesters who then clashed with lawyers with ties to the ruling nationalist party in India.
Gender sensitation of the court has been called for after a court decision that reduced a woman’s reward was cut after a gender discrimination law suit.
Richard Howitt the Vice Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation with South Asia as well as the British Labour spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Human rights, is calling for international action against the Maldives which ‘has become notorious for democratic and human rights abuse.’
A political opponent of the current government has been jailed, after protesting the jailing of the former president.
The UN high Commissioner for Human Rights and the Sri Lankan prime minister met at a camp for internally displaced people, to talk about how to protect human rights and make the rule of law stronger.
The UK has pledged to help Sri Lanka in its strengthening of democracy in the country.
Caribbean News Now
Victims of domestic violence in Barbados are on the verge of receiving greater protection. The Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Amendment Act, Cap 130A was recently passed by the House of Assembly and is currently before the Senate for debate. The Act, which seeks to make several sweeping changes to domestic violence protection available to victims, has evoked mostly public approval for the increased protection of women, men and children that are victims of domestic violence.
Local businessman A.U. Browne is giving the Team Unity Government a “D Grade as the Dr Timothy Harris Government celebrates its first year in office. He said the ruling government’s achievements have done little to progress this country and “regression” has become the buzz word. “Their persistent indiscriminate human rights violations are reminiscent of the PAM administration of the 80’s to mid- 90’s under Dr. Kennedy Simmonds. The opposition is asserting that almost two hundred persons on St. Kitts and a reported 300 on Nevis have been victimized for their God-given and democratic right to affiliate, support and or vote for the party of their choosing. Others have also been victimized for their criticism of the bad decisions, poor policies and lack thereof by the government.”
Manchester Evening News
Shabir Ahmed, 63, has written to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) claiming his convictions for sick child sex offences were a conspiracy to ‘scapegoat’ Muslims, his immigration tribunal heard
Elizabeth Spehar will replace Lisa Butteinheim as the UN Secretary-General`s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Spehar, director of the Policy and Mediation Division at the UN headquarters, is expected to undertake her new duties in mid March as Butteinheim will be named deputy Head of department of Field Support at the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
“We are committed to fight human trafficking”, Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Carmelo Abela said during a meeting held with the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA). This group is currently in Malta to review and discuss Maltese structures and institutions involved in the fight against human trafficking. Minister Abela highlighted Malta’s efforts as reflected in the National Action Plan 2015–2016 to counter this crime. The strategy includes ways of protecting victims and provision of services needed in this regard. He noted that in the past months training was offered to diplomats and consuls, as well as to other stakeholders, particularly regarding human trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation.
Times of Malta
Doubts on whether Caroline Farrugia Frendo is eligible to become magistrate should be clarified as it was in the interest of the justice system to have certainty, Chamber of Advocates president George Hyzler said yesterday. Giovanni Bonello, a former judge of the European Court of Human Rights and the author of the government’s justice reform blueprint, warned of “serious problems” if there were to be a successful constitutional challenge to the new magistrate.
With the recent high court ruling, Australia now faces the return of 267 asylum seekers to Nauru and Manus Island, where they face possible renewed physical and sexual assault, and life in limbo. The human rights principles once a core part of Australia’s foreign policy have been undermined by its single-minded determination to stop the boats.
THE Australian government violated the rights of former Guantánamo Bay inmate David Hicks by keeping him in jail for months under a transfer deal with the US, UN human rights experts say.
The jailing was despite the fact the sentence imposed on him as the result of a “flagrant denial of justice”, UN Human Rights Committee chair Fabian Salvioli said in a statement on Tuesday.
The findings by the committee, which is composed of 18 independent experts, came after considering a complaint brought by Hicks specifically regarding his treatment by Australia.
Radio New Zealand International
The Fiji Coalition on Human Rights is calling on parliamentarians to reverse two of the changes made to parliamentary standing orders last week which it says may stifle democratic engagement and debate. Human rights groups in Fiji are concerned a change of rules in Parliament means minority voices will not be heard. The Fiji Parliament voted last Thursday to amend its Standing Orders, which were set in 2014 for the new parliament.
The Fiji Times Online
THE Fiji Government has dismissed an international report ranking Fiji 116th out of 197 countries for how effectively children can use the courts to defend their rights. The ranking was released by international children’s rights group, Child Rights International Network (CRIN). The report looked at a number of factors, including how courts use the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, the legal status of a child in Fiji courts and how violations to child’s rights can be challenged in Fiji courts.
Radio New Zealand International
New Zealand’s Human Rights Commission has welcomed the government’s offer to give sanctuary to Australian born asylum seeker children if they are declared genuine refugees.
The Australian government indicated the children and their families were about to be sent back to detention camps on Nauru, a move that had sparked widespread community anger in that country.
New Zealand made an earlier offer to take Australia’s refugees from the camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, in 2013, but Australia refused.
Scoop Independent News
New Zealand humanitarian aid and development organisations are urging the New Zealand government to speak out strongly from its place on the United Nations Security Council and condemn the air strikes on schools and hospitals in northern Syria that have killed up to 50 people.
Papua New Guinea to be one of the countries Making Streets Safe for Women
Whether it is in urban or rural areas, in developed or developing countries, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence in public spaces are everyday episodes for women and girls around the world. In response to this, UN Women has launched the Safe Cities Global Initiative. It has two flagship programs. There is the Safe Cities Free of Violence against Women and Girls which is active in Ecuador, Egypt, India, Papua New Guinea and, Rwanda. The other is the Safe and Sustainable Cities for All joint program with UNICEF, and UN-Habitat. It runs in Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, Kenya, Lebanon, Morocco, Philippines, and Tajikistan.
New York Times
Vulnerable children are supposed to be protected by UN peace keepers, however, there have been continuous reports of these violations, even after these violations were previously brought into light.
Obama and leaders of Southeast Asia have promoted a peaceful solution of the disputes in the area. They are calling for a legal solution to these maritime issues.