Human Rights

News : Human Rights

Congo-Kinshasa:Bemba Arrives in Congo But Can He Run for President?

[Bemba Trial Website] Bemba Arrives in Congo But Can He Run for President? (AllAfrica)

Africa:Which Countries Have the Highest Rates of Modern Slavery and Most Victims?

[Thomson Reuters Foundation] London -North Korea, Eritrea and Burundi are estimated to have the world's highest rates of modern-day slavery (AllAfrica)

Mauritania:Former Slave Runs for Office in Mauritania to Fight for Freedom

[Thomson Reuters Foundation] Dakar -The country criminalised slavery in 2007, but few slave-owners have been penalised (AllAfrica)

Nigeria:Air Force Chief Orders Troops to Stop Zamfara Killings

[Daily Trust] The Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has issued marching order to personnel of the force to deploy resources at their disposal towards ending killings in Zamfara State and its environs. (AllAfrica)

Burundi:Govt Reversing School Pregnancy Ban 'Not Enough to Protect Girls'

[Thomson Reuters Foundation] Nairobi -Campaigners say tens of thousands of girls in Africa are ostracised or shamed for becoming pregnant every year, despite most having no sex education (AllAfrica)

Africa:Africa's Trafficking Gangs Flourish As Nations Fail to Work Together

[Thomson Reuters Foundation] Nairobi -More than 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders annually (AllAfrica)

South Africa:Tembisa Land Occupiers Accuse Police of Brutality

[GroundUp] Land occupiers in Tembisa say they have been at the receiving end of violent, persistent and unlawful attacks by police, with the most brutal attack taking place on Monday, 30 July. (AllAfrica)

Nigeria:Many Battles of Benue's 40,000 Displaced Persons in Abagena

[Daily Trust] Makurdi -Having survived violent clashes between farmers and herders in Benue, displaced persons in the Abagena Internally Displaced Persons camp must now beat malaria and other common but life-threatening ailments to stay alive. As our correspondent finds out, this is easier said than done. (AllAfrica)

Nigeria:Oba Francis Alao - It's Time for Women to Take Up the Reins of Leadership

[This Day] Many will wonder why a first class king of the Yoruba race will canvass for women to take up the reins of leadership, especially when it appears to contradict African culture and tradition. In an encounter with Mary Nnah at the launch of the book, "Queen Moremi Ajasoro" by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, recently in Osun State, the Olugbon of Orile Igbon, Oba Francis Olusola Alao, a first class king in Oyo State, who got installed only a year ago, explains why he feels so. Excerpts: (AllAfrica)

Africa:Africa's Youth Kick-Start a Million Conversations to End FGM

[Foroyaa] African youth have started their rallying call to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in a generation by sparking one million conversations that break the silence that allows the practice to prevail. (AllAfrica)

Ethiopia:Some Current Threats to the Rule of Law in Ethiopia

[Ethiopian Herald] Along with the wind of change that is blowing over the country, a real threat to the rule of law in Ethiopia has surfaced up in many parts of the country. Yes, everyone seems to support peace and progress in the country and we are definitely not short of mass demonstrations and rallies in support of unity and peace. (AllAfrica)

Liberia:'Take Steps to Eliminate FGM'

[Observer] -Says group against 'harmful' traditional practices (AllAfrica)

Liberia:CSO Platform Wants GOL Comply With UNHCR Reports On Human Rights Violation

[Observer] Adama K. Dempster (center) addresses Journalists at a press conference held in Monrovia (AllAfrica)

Kenya:Slum Justice Centers Give Voice to Victims

[VOA] Residents in Kenya's informal settlements, also known as shantytowns or slums, are often wary of police and authorities because of their precarious legal status and past abuse. Local activists have started social justice centers as part of grass-roots efforts to give voice to victims. But justice for slum dwellers is often elusive. (AllAfrica)

Zimbabwe:Human Rights Groups Condemn Post-Election Violence

[VOA] Zimbabwean human rights activists on Thursday condemned soldiers' actions in post-election violence that killed at least three people in the capital, as the nation's electoral commission promised delayed presidential poll results would be issued soon. (AllAfrica)

Ghana:Minister Urges Ghanaians to Help End Human Trafficking

[Public Agenda] Madam Otiko Afisa Djaba, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection has called on Ghanaians to help end human trafficking in the country, which she described as a crime to humanity. (AllAfrica)

Nigeria:Lawmakers Urged to Pass Digital Rights Bill

[This Day] Some Nigerians have expressed concern about the delay surrounding the transmission of the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill (DRFB) by the National Assembly to President Muhammadu Buhari for the presidential assent. (AllAfrica)

Nigeria:Patients' Bill of Rights Launched to Improve Healthcare Delivery

[This Day] As part of measures to protect the rights of patients seeking medical attention from unwholesome treatments, abuse and exploitation, a bill referred to as 'Patients' Bill of Rights (PBoR)', was on Tuesday launched in Abuja. (AllAfrica)

Sudan:Newspaper's Distribution Delayed By NISS for a Week

[Radio Dabanga] Khartoum -The security apparatus has blocked Sudan's El Jareeda newspaper from reaching the distribution outlets in Khartoum and the states for one week. (AllAfrica)

Ethiopia:Task of Ethiopia's New Leader - End Torture

[HRW] Ethiopia's new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, will visit Minneapolis on Monday. Since taking office in April, Abiy has ushered in a new era of reform in Ethiopia. He released thousands of political prisoners, closed Makelawi detention center -- known for torture and inhumane treatment -- and opened up internet access to websites that had been blocked inside the country for years. Though the reforms he has introduced are promising, the prime minister has yet to tackle one of the biggest obstacles to lasting ch (AllAfrica)

Namibia:Germany Urges U.S. Court to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Genocide

[Namibian] A lawyer for Germany on Tuesday urged a U.S. judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the country on behalf of the Herero and Nama people of what is now Namibia over genocide and seizure of property carried out by German colonists more than 100 years ago. (AllAfrica)

South Africa:Three Men Saved From Alleged Traffickers in Cape Town

[News24Wire] Three men were rescued from two alleged human traffickers in Cape Town over the weekend, the Hawks said on Tuesday. (AllAfrica)

Zimbabwe:Will 2018 Elections Pass the Credibility Test?

[] Civil Society Civil Organizations (CSOs) convening under the banner of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) and other stakeholders representing various interest groups in Zimbabwe, wish to share the following concerns and accompanying resolutions with citizens of Zimbabwe and the global community. (AllAfrica)

Uganda:MPs Asked to Repel Marriage Bill to Encompass Child Rights

[Monitor] Kampala -Child activists have challenged Members of Parliament (MPs) to repel the Marriage and Divorce Bill to cater for children's rights. (AllAfrica)

Somalia:Journalist Shot Dead at Police Checkpoint

[CPJ] Nairobi -Authorities in Somalia should rigorously investigate the killing of Abdirizak Kasim Iman, a cameraperson for the privately owned SBS TV, who was shot dead in Mogadishu on the afternoon of July 26, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. (AllAfrica)

South Africa:Protests Against Violence to Mark Start of Women's Month

[News24Wire] The start of Women's Month in South Africa will be marked by countrywide marches and pickets over violence again women, children and gender non-conforming people. (AllAfrica)

Kenya:MP Says Rift Leaders Set to Meet Uhuru Over Contentious Evictions

[Nation] Members of Parliament from Rift Valley are seeking an audience with President Uhuru Kenyatta this week over the ongoing evictions of settlers in Maasai Mau forest. (AllAfrica)

Nigeria:24.9 Million People Trapped in Modern-Day Slavery - U.S. Envoy

[This Day] Abuja -The United States Acting Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria, Aruna Amirthanayagam, on Monday in Abuja disclosed that an estimated 24.9 million persons are trapped in modern-day slavery. (AllAfrica)

Nigeria:Who Is the Woman Honoured for Anti-Trafficking in U.S.?

[Guardian] In recognition of the "World Day Against Trafficking in Persons", a Nigerian Blessing Okoediona was given the US State Department award by Mike Pompeo, United States Secretary of State and Ivanka Trump, senior adviser to the president of the United State of America. (AllAfrica)

South Africa:Veteran South African Activist Kumi Naidoo to Lead Amnesty International

[Deutsche Welle] Days before he took up the top job at Amnesty International, Kumi Naidoo summited Mount Kilimanjaro for charity. The seasoned activist usually linked to a worthy cause is the first African to lead the human rights group. (AllAfrica)

Provide Genuine Refuge to World’s Displaced

Asylum seekers behind a metal fence in the ‘Hangar 1’ detention center, in Röszke, Hungary. September 9, 2015.

© 2015 Zalmaï for Human Rights Watch

(New York) – The massive refugee crisis demands an unprecedented global response. At two summits on September 19 and 20, 2016, at the United Nations, world leaders should take bold steps to share responsibility for millions of people displaced by violence, repression, and persecution.

Leaders will gather in New York to discuss providing greater support to countries where refugees first land, just as many of those countries are at breaking point. There is a grave risk to the bedrock foundation of refugee protection, the principle of nonrefoulement – not forcibly returning refugees to places where they would face persecution and other serious threats. People are fleeing violence in Afghanistan, Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Honduras, Iraq, Somalia, and Syria, among others.

“Millions of lives hang in the balance,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “This is not just about more money or greater resettlement numbers, but also about shoring up the legal principles for protecting refugees, which are under threat as never before.”

This year, Human Rights Watch has documented Turkish border guards shooting and pushing back civilians who appear to be seeking asylum; Jordan refusing entry or assistance to Syrian asylum seekers at its border; Kenya declaring that it will close the world’s largest refugee camp in November and pushing Somalis to return home despite potential danger; and Pakistan and Iran harassing and deregistering Afghan refugees and coercing them to return to a country in conflict.

The UN General Assembly has convened the September 19 summit “with the aim of bringing countries together behind a more humane and coordinated approach” to refugees. The final statement, already drafted, is a missed opportunity to widen the scope of protection and limits expectations for concrete, new commitments. However, it affirms refugee rights and calls for more equitable responsibility sharing. Given the scale of the refugee crisis and populist backlash in many parts of the world, this affirmation should be the basis for collective action, Human Rights Watch said.

On September 20, US President Barack Obama will host a “Leader’s Summit” to increase commitments for aid, refugee admissions, and opportunities for work and education for refugees. Governments are expected to make concrete pledges toward goals of doubling the number of resettlement places and other admissions, increasing aid by 30 percent, getting 1 million more refugee children in school, and granting 1 million more adult refugees the right to work. Though the participants have not been announced, 30 to 35 countries are expected to attend. Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Sweden, and Jordan will join the United States as co-facilitators.

Boost Humanitarian Aid to Countries of First Arrival
The vast majority of the world’s 21.3 million refugees are in the global south, where they often face further harm, discrimination, and neglect. Human Rights Watch called on countries of first arrival like Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Thailand, Kenya, Iran, and Pakistan, to commit to proposals to provide refugees with better access to work and education.

The world’s richest nations have largely failed to help countries on the front lines of the displacement crisis. As of September 9, UN aid appeals were 39 percent funded, with some of the worst-funded in Africa; the appeal for refugees from South Sudan stands at 19 percent. The regional refugee response plans for Yemen and Syria are funded at 22 and 49 percent.

Increase Numbers Resettled in Other Countries
Resettlement from countries of first arrival is a key way to help refugees rebuild their lives and to relieve host countries, but international solidarity is glaringly absent. In 2015, the UN refugee agency facilitated resettlement of 81,000 of a projected 960,000 refugees globally in need of resettlement. The agency estimated that over 1.1 million refugees would need resettlement in 2016, but projected that countries would only offer 170,000 places. Representatives of 92 countries pledged only a slight increase in resettlement places for Syrian refugees at a high-level UN meeting in March.

In the European Union, the arrival by boat in 2015 of more than 1 million asylum seekers and migrants – and more than 3,700 deaths at sea – laid bare the need for safe and legal channels for refugees to move, such as resettlement.  However, many EU countries, including Austria, Bulgaria, and Hungary, are focused primarily on preventing spontaneous arrivals, outsourcing responsibility, and rolling back refugee rights.

A July 2015 European plan to resettle 22,500 refugees from other regions over two years has resettled only 8,268 refugees, according to figures from July 2016. Most EU countries underperformed, and 10 failed to resettle a single person under the plan.

End Abusive Systems, Flawed Deals
The EU struck a deal with Turkey in March to allow the return to Turkey of almost all asylum seekers on the deeply flawed grounds that Turkey is a safe country for asylum; it is on the verge of falling apart. Australia forcibly transfers all asylum seekers who arrive by boat to offshore processing centers, where they face abuse, inhumane treatment, and neglect.

The EU and Australia should renounce these abusive policies. EU countries should swiftly adopt a proposed permanent resettlement framework with more ambitious goals and a clear commitment to meet them, Human Rights Watch said. They should share fairly the responsibility for asylum seekers arriving spontaneously, and help alleviate the pressure on Greece and Italy.

Governments also undermine asylum with closed camps, as in Kenya and Thailand, and by detaining asylum seekers, as do Australia, Greece, Italy, Mexico, and the United States.

While by many measures the US leads in refugee resettlement and response to UN humanitarian aid appeals, it has been particularly slow and ungenerous in admitting Syrian refugees. And it has had notable blind spots, as with its border policies for Central American children and others fleeing gang violence and its use of Mexico as a buffer to keep them from reaching the US border.

The Obama Administration met its goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year in the face of opposition from more than half of US governors and a lack of resettlement funds from Congress, but the US has the capacity to resettle many times that number. It should commit to meeting the Leaders’ Summit goals, which would mean doubling this year’s 85,000 total refugee admissions to 170,000.

Several other countries with capacity to admit far more refugees, including Brazil, Japan, and South Korea, have fallen woefully short. Japan admitted 19 refugees in 2015, South Korea only 42 aside from North Koreans, and Brazil only 6.

Russia resettles no refugees. The Gulf States do not respond to UN resettlement appeals, though Saudi Arabia says it has suspended deportations of hundreds of thousands of Syrians who overstay visitor visas. Most Gulf states, except Kuwait, have also fallen short in their response to Syrian-refugee-related UN appeals to fund refugee needs, according to an Oxfam analysis.

“Every country has a moral responsibility to ensure the rights and dignity of people forced to flee their homes,” Roth said. “When more than 20 million people are counting on a real international effort to address their plight, lofty pronouncements are not enough.”

(Human Rights Watch)