Human Rights

News : Human Rights

Zimbabwe: What Now After a 2nd Internet Shutdown, and Treason Charges for Activists?

[allAfrica] Cape Town -Zimbabwe's government has again forced a "total Internet shutdown", Misa Zimbabwe says, after a violent crackdown by police when huge crowds protested against dramatic fuel price increases. (AllAfrica)

Morocco: Group Empowers Women to Fight Partner Abuse, Rape

[Deutsche Welle] Victims of domestic violence are often unaware of resources available to them and are too afraid to ask. In Morocco, a new initiative aims to change that by helping women take legal action against their violent husbands. (AllAfrica)

Zimbabwe: Revolt and Repression in Zimbabwe

[ICG] The Zimbabwean government's decision to hike fuel prices has sparked fierce opposition. In this Q&A, Crisis Group's Senior Consultant Piers Pigou explains how economic hardship is driving ordinary citizens to unprecedented acts of resistance. (AllAfrica)

Zimbabwe: ZCTU Boss Goes Into Hiding As CIOs Raid Home, Beat Up Brother

[New Zimbabwe] ZIMBABWE Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, Peter Mutasa has gone into hiding after being linked to week's violent anti-government protests that left three dead and a trail of destruction countrywide. (AllAfrica)

Mozambique: Journalist Expected to Appear in Court

[AIM] Maputo -Mozambican journalist Amade Abubacar, who was illegally detained by the military for 11 days in the town of Mueda, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, will hear the charges against him on Friday, in the court of his home district of Macomia, according to his lawyer. (AllAfrica)

Uganda: Human Rights Report Pins Uganda On Torture

[Monitor] Kampala -Government has failed to provide accountability for torture and extrajudicial killings in the country, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has said in latest report. (AllAfrica)

Uganda: 92 Special Needs Pupils to Join Secondary School

[Monitor] Kampala -At least 92 pupils with special needs have scored aggregate 32 (fourth grade) and are eligible to join Senior One. (AllAfrica)

Zimbabwe: Clergyman Charged With Plotting to Overthrow Mnangagwa's Govt

[] Zimbabwean authorities on Thursday 17 January 2019 charged His Generation Church leader and pro-democracy campaigner Pastor Evan Mawarire with subverting a constitutional government following anti-government protests staged to show dissatisfaction with President Emmerson Mnangagwa's mismanagement of the economy. (AllAfrica)

Africa: European Leaders Manufacturing Migration 'Crisis' for Political Gain - New Report

[AI London] European leaders are distorting the debate on migration for political gain and abandoning refugees and migrants at sea, Amnesty International said today (18 January) as it published a new report into migration across the Mediterranean. (AllAfrica)

Zimbabwe: Soldiers Loot Diamond Ore in Marange During the Internet Blackout

[] In Marange, 15 ZNA soldiers armed with AK 47 rifles and accompanied by a syndicate of 30 illegal diamond miners besieged Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) portal B at Mbada Hills and an area nicknamed Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) because of its rich diamond deposits around 12 midnight on 15 January 2019 and looted diamond ore that had been stockpiled there. The menacing soldiers held ZCDC guards on duty at gun point and tied their dogs together before setting their panning syndicate to fill up (AllAfrica)

Zimbabwe: Pressure Mounting As More Protests Line-Up

[Zimbabwe Independent] Deadly street protests which brought Zimbabwe to a standstill this week have added impetus to calls by opposition parties and civil society organisations for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to agree to dialogue, leading to a negotiated political settlement which could save the country from total collapse, the Zimbabwe Independent can report. (AllAfrica)

Sudan: UN Rights Chief Condemns Sudan's Crackdown on Protesters

[VOA] The U.N. Human Rights chief expressed concern Thursday that Sudanese security forces have used excessive force and live ammunition against anti-government demonstrators, and she called on Khartoum to allow citizens to peacefully protest. (AllAfrica)

Mozambique: Detained Journalist Charged With 'Public Instigation to Crime'

[AIM] Maputo -After being held illegally in military custody in the northern town of Mueda for 11 days, the journalist Amade Abubacar is being charged with "public instigation to crime", according to the spokesperson for the Cabo Delgado provincial attorney's office, Armando Wilson, cited in Thursday's issue of the independent daily "O Pais". (AllAfrica)

Africa: Global Leadership Deficit Leaves Development Goals in Doldrums

[Thomson Reuters Foundation] Madrid -"There has been ... a lot of lip service but not enough action," says former head of U.N. Development Programme (AllAfrica)

Africa: New Crop of African Leaders, Same Old Repression and Suffering

[Daily Maverick] As fresh leaders rise to power resulting from civic movements' demand for change, it seems that the new lot pays only lip-service to better governance. According to a Human Rights Watch report, human rights abuses continue even after electing new public officials. (AllAfrica)

Gambia: Adequate Policies and Programs Are Required to Address Strategic Needs of Children

[The Point] National executive coordinator of Young People in the Media (YPM) has appealed to authorities to establish national policies and programs that would adequately address strategic needs of children, particularly those on streets, disabled, in prisons and female children who are forced into marriages. (AllAfrica)

Ethiopia: Statistics Agency Looks to Get Precise Figures of Persons with Disabilities

[ENA] Addis Ababa -Central Statistical Agency (CSA) says it has improved mechanisms and included the globally recognized Washington Group Questions to assess and identify the precise figure of persons with disability (PWDS) in the upcoming 4th national census. (AllAfrica)

Zimbabwe: UK Condemns Killing of Protesters in Zimbabwe

[CAJ News] Johannesburg -THE United Kingdom (UK) has summoned Zimbabwe's top envoy following the deadly demonstrations and subsequent human rights violations in the Southern African country. (AllAfrica)

Zimbabwe: Soldiers Invade People's Homes

[Zimbabwe Independent] At a private hospital in Harare on Wednesday, a mother lay between her two children, all writhing in pain from injuries sustained when masked soldiers attacked their home Boko Haram-style. (AllAfrica)

Zimbabwe: Govt Defends Condemned Internet Shutdown

[CAJ News] Bulawayo -THE Zimbabwean government has justified a blackout in internet connectivity after days of violent protests by citizens over economic problems. (AllAfrica)

Sudan: UN Alarmed Over 'Excessive Force', Alleged Use of Live Fire Against Protestors

[UN News] The reported use of "excessive force" against demonstrators across Sudan over food and fuel shortages that has led to the deaths of at least 24 people is "deeply worrying", the UN's top human rights official, Michelle Bachelet, said on Thursday. (AllAfrica)

Sudan: Act for Sudan - US Policy On Sudan Must Pivot to Advance Freedom, Justice, and Democracy

[Radio Dabanga] Washington DC -A group of 93 Sudanese scholars, human rights organisations, and leading activists have published an open letter strongly urging the US Government to support the participants in the current Sudan uprising, by calling for President Omar Al Bashir to step down and by supporting democratic transformation in Sudan. (AllAfrica)

Chad: Security Forces Free 'Activists Against Voluntary Return' Arrested in Chad

[Radio Dabanga] Khartoum -Yesterday, the security forces released activist Kamal El Zein, Abdu Ishag, and Ibrahim Abdallah from the NISS detention centres near the Shendi bus station and Kober prison in Khartoum North after they had spent 33 days in detention camps on charges of working against the voluntary return of refugees. (AllAfrica)

Africa: Civil Society Petitions AU Over Zimbabwe Crisis

[CAJ News] Harare -Civil society organisations in Zimbabwe have petitioned the African Union (AU) to intervene and resolve the crisis in the country after a strike over fuel increases left at least eight people dead. (AllAfrica)

Nigeria: Heightened Insecurity Threatens Rights

[HRW] Abuja -Persistent attacks by Boko Haram, intensified conflict between nomadic herdsmen and farming communities, and violent banditry in many northern states dominated Nigeria's human rights landscape during 2018, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2019. The government's failure to ensure adequate protection for citizens and accountability for attacks is a clear indication of huge gaps in security. (AllAfrica)

Swaziland: Evicted Farmers Take On King to Get Their Land Back

[Swazi Media] Swaziland's government has been evicting farmers from their land to expand the monarchy-controlled sugar industry for decades. After years of empty promises that they could return, the children of farmers from Mbuluzi are fighting to get their land back, writes Kenworthy News Media. (AllAfrica)

Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa Falls Short on Human Rights Obligations, Says HRW

[allAfrica] Cape Town -President Emmerson Mnangagwa has done little since taking power to carry out reforms reflecting a commitment to respect for human rights, according to a new report from a leading advocacy group. (AllAfrica)

Zimbabwe: Activist Accused of Secretly Recording Airport Officials

[New Zimbabwe] Fierce government critic Makomborero Haruzivishe (26) spent a night in police cells following his arrest for secretly recording and posting on social media, a video of his conversation with Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport officials concerning four foreign activists who were being deported. (AllAfrica)

South Africa: 'A Name Means So Much' - Sister of Life Esidimeni Victim Slams DA Billboard

[News24Wire] A relative of a Life Esidimeni victim has lambasted the DA for disrespecting the deceased by using their names on a billboard. (AllAfrica)

Ghana: Pensioners Deserve a Better Deal

[Ghanaian Times] A pension act makes it mandatory for workers who have reached the retiring age receive a lump sum of their contribution to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) after which, they receive monthly allowances based on their contributions. (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)