Category Archives: Human rights

Sudan: Justice for Noura campaign goes worldwide

Human rights activists worldwide are fighting to defend life of Sudanese young woman Noura Hussein (19), who was forcefully married, and raped by the man assisted by his relatives during the act #JusticeforNoura. The self-imposed “husband” was killed in a second rape attempt in an act of self-defence, Noura’s supporters claim. The incident characterises the dramatic situation of women in Sudan, where the society deprives them of any rights, degrading to a level of commodity. In case of Noura, even a few rudimentary rights given by Sharia law prohibiting forceful marriages were not respected.    

At present jailed Noura is waiting for the second court sitting in an appeal procedure, after losing the first session. A death sentence verdict was received by the cheerful relatives of the defunct ‘husband‘. However the decision of the judge can be overtured in case the defence will be able to proof the marriage procedure was conducted in breach of Sharia law granting women a right to refuse. In case this marriage procedure without a consent is recognised as illegal, and annulated, the killed rapist would be stripped off his legal status of a ‘husband‘, creating a different perception of the cause of events.

In Sudan the engagement is usually arranged between families for their children, and bride price is a common practice,  but Islamic requirement for a legal marriage include an obligation for both parties bride, her guardian (wali), and groom to be consensual. A marriage without consent, under coercion is illegal according to the most reputable Muslim scholars.

As a teenager Noura was forced into a marriage by her father, but she refused and escaped from her family home near Khartoum to stay with her aunt in Sennar 250 km away. After three years in exile Noura was informed that the marriage plans were cancelled, and she decided to return to her father’s home.

At arrival to Khartoum Noura was forced  into the wedding ceremony, arranged by her family, who highly likely received a handsome payment from the groom, according to the tradition of bride price in Sudan, where 10-year girls are sold as commodities.

Noura was married in a Muslim ceremony in spite of her protests, distraught, she refused to consummate the marriage for a number of days, but Noura’s self-imposed husband find a way out of the argument by raping her, with the complicity of his relatives who in a gang pinned her down during the act.

A Sharia court  found Noura guilty of premeditated murder and  sentenced her to death by hanging, however her lawyers have 15 days to appeal.

In Sudan the Personal Status of Muslims Act of 1991 allows children – boys or girls – as young as 10 to marry, 38% of young women were married before the age of 18.

Tanzania bloggers win lawsuit

Tanzanian bloggers and rights activists won a first, although not final, court lawsuit against a government order to register their online platforms that raised concern about a crackdown on free speech.

Tanzania’s communications regulator had given bloggers, as well as owners of other online forums such as YouTube TV channels, until May 5 to heed tough new internet content rules through state registration and a license fee of up to $900.

Six human rights and media organizations, and bloggers filed a joint case in Tanzania’s high court asking the judiciary to block implementation of the regulations, arguing that they violate freedom of expression and privacy of internet users.

In his ruling, Judge Fauz Twaib (pictured) ordered the Information Ministry and the state communications regulator (TCRA) not to enforce the deadline pending another hearing to decide the case.

The new rules also require bloggers to disclose the details of shareholders, share capital, citizenship of owners, staff qualification and training programs, as well as a tax clearance certificate, to obtain an operating license.

Macron launches Slavery Remembrance Foundation

Emmanuel Macron announced his support to the project of Slavery Remembrance Foundation, responsible in particular for education and cultural missions, and the commitment of the V Republic to the abolition of slavery throughout the world.

As conceived  by his predecessor President Francois Hollande  the Foundation will be chaired by former Socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who has been carrying on the idea of the project, and will be housed at the Hôtel de la Marine, where the abolition of slavery was decreed on April 27 1848.

The Foundation will also help to put slavery back into the long history of France, from the first French colonial empire to the present day,” writes the French President Emmanuel Macron in a statement published on the occasion of the 170th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

“Because it is impossible to speak of today’s France without mentioning its colonial past, without saying in particular the unique relationship it has with the African continent, this complex and profound relationship which has become an inalienable part of our identities,” the President continued. Emmanuel Macron added that he supports the project of erecting a national memorial to pay tribute to the victims of slavery in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris.

The project is a continuation of the initiative of President Francois Hollande who chaired the signature ceremony for the statutes of the “public interest grouping that will prefigure the foundation”  at the Elysée Palace on 3 May 2017. Hollande also declared that it  headquarters would be at the Hôtel de la Marine, the very place where Victor Schoelcher signed the decree to abolish slavery.

The French Republic recognized slavery and the slave trade as a crime against humanity first time in 1794, when legally the slavery was described as a “crime of lese-humanity”. On 23 May 1998 thousands of descendants of slaves organised a demonstration in Paris to demand this recognition. The movement continued, and it was enshrined by the act of 21 May 2001, named the ‘Taubira law’. The Republic then officially recognized slavery and the slave trade as crimes against humanity.

 

 

Nestlé cancelled campaign in Morocco over sexist complaints

The Swiss food giant Nestlé has cancelled an online publicity campaign in Morocco after  social media users protested against its sexist content.

The mini-series, titled I Want to Get Married, featured five young women competing to win a husband by impressing by cooking skills his mother.

The first episode saw the would-be brides asked to make a dessert using Nestlé condensed milk.

Nestlé says it “sincerely regrets” that the content offended some viewers.

A number of Moroccans had lambasted the campaign, saying it was degrading and outdated to pick a wife as a ‘kitchen slave’.

Ethiopia: hundreds of jailed without trial

More than thousand people have been arrested in Ethiopia since the nation declared a state of emergency following the prime minister’s resignation last month, according to state media reports.

“They were detained for killing peaceful civilians and security forces, setting houses and financial institutions ablaze, illicit movement of firearms, destroying government and public institutions (and) blocking roads,” Fana reported, quoting Tadesse Hordofa, the chairman of inquiry board.

Hailemariam Desalegn‘s abrupt resignation came after more than two years of anti-government protests and increasing schizm in the ruling party.

The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has for the first time picked an ethnic Oromo, Abiy Ahmed, to be its new leader.

Abiy Ahmed  is appointed to be sworn in as prime minister early next week.

The state-affiliated Fana Broadcast Corporate said 1,107 people have been detained for violating the emergency decree, which suspends the constitution and permits the police to hold people without trial.

EU: 39 Nigerian women rescued from traffickers

The Spanish Guardia Civil in collaboration with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) from Nigeria and the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA), dismantled a Nigerian organised crime group in one of the largest operations against Trafficking in Human Beings in Europe. This particular criminal network was active across multiple Member States. The investigation began when one of the underage victims filed a complaint with the police; she reported she was coerced into trafficking by voodoo threats in Nigeria. The victims were transferred from Nigeria to Europe via Libya and Italy. Once in Spain, the women were kept in squalid conditions in cave houses in Almeria, where they were exploited in prostitution to pay off the EUR 30 000 debt they owed to the criminal organisation.

The highly active Nigerian criminal network was linked to the EIYE brotherhood, which is known for being one of the most influential confraternities in Nigeria. They operate in clandestine groups all over the world, funding the brotherhood in Nigeria through both licit and illicit activities, in some cases through organised crime and, in particular, trafficking human beings. One of the most important members of the organisation was a well-known DJ in Nigeria, who was arrested when he was returning from his country where he was recording a music video. His main role was to transfer the victims to Spain and organise sexual exploitation in several Spanish provinces. The crime ring transferred and laundered the money using the Hawala system.

Police officers carried out 41 house searches in Alicante, Almeria, Barcelona, Cantabria, Madrid, Malaga, Murcia, Navarra, Seville, Toledo and Vizcaya in Spain and Manchester, UK. The bank accounts used by the organisation to launder more than EUR 300 000 from the illicit activity have been blocked. In total the operation resulted in 89 arrests and 39 victims were safeguarded.

Europol supported the investigation from the beginning by providing analytical support with cross-match reports, funding several operational meetings and deploying one specialist during the action phase in Spain.

MEPs condemn killings of disabled children in Uganda

The Parliament strongly condemns the practise of “mercy” killings, the unjustifiable and inhumane killings of disabled children and newborns in Uganda. MEPs call on the authorities to protect people with disabilities, provide quality support and benefits to families with disabled children so that they can be raised at home and urge them to strengthen efforts to raise awareness of the rights and dignity of disabled people.

The European Commission and member states should help the Ugandan government, NGOs and civil society in such efforts, urge MEPs, inviting media to play a more active role in “challenging stereotypes and promoting inclusion”.

 

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