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African Sexualities

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Human rights

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Congo: Torture commonplace in prisons - report

2012-11-07, Issue 605

Torture has become routine in prisons and police stations in the Republic of Congo, according to a 2 November report by the Congolese Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH). The report is based on a series of field investigations OCDH conducted, with financial support from the European Union, between 2010 and 2012 in prisons around the country. These investigations aimed to, among other things, understand 'the extent of the practice of torture in the country, with a view to attracting the attention of national and international opinion'.

Libya: Hague prosecutor urges Libya not to grant amnesty for war crimes

2012-11-08, Issue 605

Libya should not grant amnesty for war crimes committed during last year's uprising against former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, regardless of who committed them, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said. In her first official presentation to the UN Security Council as The Hague-based court's top prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda said that the ICC's pre-trial chamber would decide 'in due course' on whether the late Libyan leader's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi should be tried in Libya or The Hague.

DRC: No justice in Canada for Congolese massacre victims

2012-11-08, Issue 605

In a decision that represents the end of any judicial relief in Canada for victims of the Kilwa massacre, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the application for leave to appeal brought in the case against Anvil Mining by The Canadian Association against Impunity (CAAI), an organization representing survivors and families of victims of the 2004 Kilwa massacre. The CAAI expressed its profound disappointment with the Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case. 'It is unacceptable that in 2012, victims are still unable to hold Canadian companies accountable in Canadian courts, for their alleged involvement in serious human rights violations committed abroad. We look forward to a time when Canadian companies are held responsible for their actions,' said Matt Eisenbrandt, a member of the Board of Directors of the CAAI.

Sudan: Nuba Mountains activist detained for eight months

2012-11-12, Issue 605

In the middle of the night on 14 March 2012, the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) abducted a woman named Jalila Khamis Kuku from her home and took her into custody. Denied access to a lawyer and even a change of clothes, Jalila was dragged into a pickup truck in her night gown accompanied by a dozen NISS officers in civilian clothes, reports Global Voices Online. Out of the eight months Jalila has served in jail so far, three of them were spent in solitary confinement. She is now under threat of the death sentence as she has been accused of serious charges under the Sudanese criminal law; namely Article 51, of waging war against the state, and Article 50, which entails undermining the constitutional system.

Sudan: Access to Dafur attack site blocked, says UN

2012-11-12, Issue 605

Sudanese government forces have blocked international peacekeepers accessing the site of an alleged attack that killed up to 10 civilians in the western Darfur region, the peacekeepers said. The African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said a team of peacekeepers went to investigate on Saturday after receiving reports of an attack on civilians in Sigili village, some 40km (25 miles) southeast of North Darfur's state capital El Fasher.

Guinea Bissau: Fear amid human rights abuses

2012-11-12, Issue 605

A 21 October attack in Guinea-Bissau - when soldiers stormed barracks near Bissau's main airport, targeting military figures and leaving six people dead - has provoked more fear than the numerous coups and counter-coups of recent years. The transitional government branded the attack a coup attempt, and accused former colonial power Portugal of backing it in an attempt to propel former Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, who is in exile there, back into power. Within days, alleged coup leader Captain Pansau N'Tchama was arrested on the island of Bolama, in the Bijagos archipelago. He is expected to face a military court later in the year.

Zimbabwe: Lawyers protest detention ordeal

2012-11-12, Issue 605

Bulawayo Magistrate Learnmore Mapiye on Thursday 08 November 2012 ended the four-day detention ordeal for three Counselling Services Unit (CSU) representatives who were finally charged with causing malicious damage to property, in contravention of Section 140 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, four days after their arrest. According to State prosecutor Marlvin Nzombe, the three CSU representatives together with some unidentified individuals smeared some MDC graffiti on an information centre located in Mpopoma high density suburb in Bulawayo 07 October 2012.

Libya: Former Libyan prime minister to be tried

2012-11-12, Issue 605

Libya's former prime minister will be put on trial for crimes he allegedly committed during the rule of Muammar Gaddafi. Al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi was extradited from Tunisia, which he fled to in September 2011 after the fall of Tripoli to rebel forces. Along with Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi's most prominent son, Mahmoudi is one of the few remaining keepers of the many state secrets under Gaddafi, who was killed on October 20 last year.

Zimbabwe: WOZA activists arrested over water protest in Bulawayo

2012-11-12, Issue 605

On Monday 12 November police in Bulawayo arrested 79 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) for staging a peaceful demonstration against the water crisis in the city. All the activists were released after police realized the holding cells at police stations were without running water, a scenario that could have made the situation even worse.

Kenya: Kenya elected to UN Human Rights Council

2012-11-13, Issue 605

Kenya was elected on Monday 12 November to one of the coveted seats on the United Nations Human Rights Council. There was no expressed opposition to Kenya in the 193-nation General Assembly, which decides the make-up of the 47-member council. Kenya was one of five countries nominated to fill five open seats on the Geneva-based council that are reserved for African states.

Algeria: Call for ‘frank acknowledgment’ of France colonial crimes

2012-10-31, Issue 604

Algerians want 'frank acknowledgement' of crimes committed against them during the French colonisation of the country, a minister said, ahead of the 58th anniversary of the war for independence. 'In view of the crimes committed by this coloniser against a defenceless people... the Algerians want frank acknowledgement (of them),' Mohamed Cherif Abbas, minister of the mujahedeen (veterans of the war), told news agency APS.

Egypt: Police torture 88, kill 34 under Morsi

2012-10-31, Issue 604

In a recent report published by the Cairo-based Nadim Centre for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, 34 cases of death, 88 cases of torture, and seven cases of sexual assault at the hands of Egyptian police were recorded during Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's first 100 days in office. In the time period cited, the report recorded a total of over 247 cases of alleged police brutality.

Africa: Who's to blame for 'blood diamond' regulation failure?

2012-10-31, Issue 604

The Kimberley Certification Process (KP) was ostensibly designed to keep 'blood diamonds' off global markets. Not only has it failed to do so, but it is actively promoting the human rights atrocities it pledged to wipe out. At least that's the view of Khadife Sharife and Nick Meynen expressed in a strident denunciation of the KP published on 15th October 2012. Sharife and Meynen also claim that the world's largest purveyor of diamonds, De Beers, actively corrupted the application of the Kimberley Process to Angola, at a time when De Beers was majority-owned by Anglo American.

Central African Republic: Victims cry foul over Uganda’s LRA strategy

2012-10-31, Issue 604

Uganda’s practice of pardoning and then integrating into its military captured or surrendered members of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), getting them to hunt down their former comrades-in-arms, has come in for criticism by civilians affected by the rebel group in the Central African Republic (CAR). 'This strategy is a real insult to the victims,' said Gaétan Zangagoumé, chairman of a victims’ association in Obo, capital of Haut-Mbomou Prefecture. The area, in the extreme southeast of CAR, has been heavily affected by LRA activities. Victims there include hundreds of civilians forcibly conscripted into the LRA as well as people from villages repeatedly attacked, torched and now deserted. Fear of further attacks greatly restricts freedom of movement.

Nigeria: Independent investigation into Maiduguri killings vital

2012-11-05, Issue 604

Dozens of men and boys from Maiduguri in northern Nigeria have been reportedly shot by security forces as Amnesty International published a report condemning human rights violations by the security forces in response to the Boko Haram campaign of violence. 'We urge the government to act on its commitment to bring to justice all those responsible for human violations. A vital first step is to introduce a witness protection programme that makes those who are victims of human rights violations feel safe when they call on the police for protection.'

South Sudan: UN human rights officer expelled

2012-11-05, Issue 604

South Sudan said on Sunday it had expelled a UN human rights investigator, accusing her of writing false reports, a move the UN mission said broke the country's legal obligations to the United Nations. UN sources, who named the officer as Sandra Beidas, said the expulsion may have been related to an August report accusing the army of torturing, raping, killing and abducting civilians.

Ethiopia: Ethiopia targeting peaceful Muslim protest movement

2012-11-05, Issue 604

The Ethiopian authorities are committing human rights violations in response to the ongoing Muslim protest movement in the country. Large numbers of protestors have been arrested, many of whom remain in detention. There are also numerous reports of police using excessive force against peaceful demonstrators. Key figures within the movement have been charged with terrorism offences. Most of those arrested and charged appear to have been targeted solely because of their participation in a peaceful protest movement.

Equatorial Guinea: Lawyer detained, denied visits

2012-11-05, Issue 604

Authorities in Equatorial Guinea have arbitrarily detained the prominent lawyer Fabián Nsue Nguema in Black Beach prison in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, and are refusing to allow him visitors, EG Justice and Human Rights Watch said. Nsue’s wife told Human Rights Watch that she was twice refused when she asked to see her husband but that prison authorities had privately confirmed to her that he is being held there.

South Africa: Claim that South African police 'planted weapons' on Marikana victims

2012-11-06, Issue 604

South African police have been accused of planting weapons near the bodies of workers killed during strikes at the Marikana platinum mine. Photographs taken by police suggested large knives had been placed near the bodies after they had been shot, a lawyer told an inquest into the deaths. Thirty-four miners were killed when police opened fire on the striking workers at the mine in August.

DRC: Women's group urges protection for rape doctor

2012-11-06, Issue 604

A women's group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo urged authorities Monday to guarantee the safety of a doctor who founded a rape victims clinic but fled the country after an attempt on his life. Denis Mukwege, an award-winning gynaecologist, narrowly escaped being killed along with two of his daughters on October 25 after armed men broke into his home in Bukavu. The assailants killed an employee who intervened, giving the doctor and his family time to flee.

South Sudan: Calls to end the death penalty, improve prison conditions

2012-11-06, Issue 604

Rights groups are calling for an end to the death penalty in South Sudan and for improvements to the squalid prison conditions where people languish for years, often without due process. A statement on 5 November and an accompanying letter to South Sudan's government, signed by Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and local church and civil society groups, has called for a moratorium on executions, especially as 'South Sudan is currently not able to fully guarantee the minimum safeguards... on the use of the death penalty'.

Guinea Bissau: Troops beat up politicians

2012-10-24, Issue 603

Two politicians allied to Guinea-Bissau's ousted regime were severely beaten by soldiers after their arrest in the wake of an alleged coup, government and family members said. Yancuba Djola Indjai and Sylvestre Alves were "left for dead" about 50km from the capital one day after being seized by soldiers, a family member told AFP.

Ghana: Human rights under review

2012-10-24, Issue 603

The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCR) is currently reviewing Ghana's human rights record over the past four years mainly under late President John Evans Atta Mills' administration. Under its Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the UNHCR began the process on Tuesday October 22 with submissions from civil society groups such as the Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC) and the Amnesty International, Ghana. Although the report highlighted a number of different human rights abuses in Ghana, it also acknowledges significant advancement made in the quest for abolition of the death penalty.

Malawi: Ex-ruling party officials arrested in Malawi over student death

2012-10-25, Issue 603

Police in Malawi's commercial capital, Blantyre, Wednesday arrested a number of former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials in pre-dawn raids of people fingered in an inquiry into the mysterious death of a 25-year-old Malawi university student. Robert Chasowa, a fourth-year engineering student at the Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi, was found dead on campus on 24 September last year. Police immediately dubbed it suicide and produced two suicide notes and a post-mortem report to buttress their claims. But pathologist, Dr. Charles Dzamalala, who conducted the autopsy on Chasowa's remains, contradicted them and said the student was in fact bludgeoned to death.

Equatorial Guinea: Rights lawyer Nsue 'missing'

2012-10-25, Issue 603

A top human rights lawyer in Equatorial Guinea has gone missing, fuelling concern that he has been illegally detained, a rights group has said. Fabian Nsue Nguema was last known to have visited a jail on Monday to see a client, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said. Equatorial Guinea's government has not yet commented on his alleged detention.

Kenya: End police reprisals in Northern Region

2012-10-25, Issue 603

The Kenyan government should ensure a speedy and transparent investigation of alleged police attacks on villagers in Kenya’s North Eastern province, Human Rights Watch said. Numerous witnesses have told Human Rights Watch that the police beat and mistreated villagers following attacks by suspected al-Shabaab supporters on Kenyan security officers. Officials implicated in abusing villagers should be brought to justice, Human Rights Watch said.

Kenya: ICC prosecutor visits Kenya violence victims

2012-10-25, Issue 603

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has visited victims of the violence that followed Kenya's 2007 election. Fatou Bensouda says she was concerned about ICC witnesses being intimidated ahead of a criminal trial at The Hague in the Netherlands. In her first official visit to Kenya, Bensouda sat surrounded by some of the 350,000 people displaced by the deadly violence in 2007-2008, still living in a camp of tightly packed tents known as 'Pipeline Camp' in the Rift Valley, one of the hardest-hit areas.

Rwanda: Opposition leader jailed for 'denying genocide'

2012-10-30, Issue 603

Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire was jailed for eight years Tuesday after a court found her guilty of terror charges and denying the genocide. 'She has been sentenced to eight years for all the crimes that she was found guilty of,' judge Alice Rulisa told the court, adding however that she was innocent of another charge of 'calling for another genocide.' Rulisa said the leader was found guilty of the 'crime of conspiracy in harming authorities through terrorism and war' as well as denial of Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

Zambia: Legal Defense Alliance denounces violations by Zambian government

2012-10-29, Issue 603

President of Zambia Michael Sata and the ruling Patriotic Front party must halt their violations of civil rights and threats of violence against the political opposition or face international legal action, says the Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR). According to a letter from the CDDR addressed to President Sata, Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba, Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito, and Inspector-General of Police Stella Libongani, the ruling party has abused state institutions in a campaign of persecution against opposition parties and political figures, alleging that their rights to freedom of expression and free association have been violated.

DRC: Doctor flees murderers

2012-10-29, Issue 603

An award-winning doctor, renowned for his work for women who have suffered sexual violence, was 'evacuated' from a town in eastern DR Congo a close aide told AFP. Gynaecologist Denis Mukwege's whereabouts were not immediately known. Rights activists have called on the DR Congo government to protect the doctor.

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