Category Archives: Human rights

EU calls Cameroon to act with restraint

Tensions in North-Western and South-Western Cameroon have risen over recent weeks, with a risk of further escalation.

“All the stakeholders need to act responsibly and with restraint, abiding by the rule of law, and to abstain from any acts of violence” –  says a statement of the spokesperson of the EU External Action Service on the situation in Western Cameroon.

The EU encourages the Cameroonian authorities to pursue their efforts to bring about sustainable solutions in response to the concerns of the Anglophone citizens.

Only an open and inclusive dialogue can lead to a solution which is in the interest of all Cameroonians while respecting the unity and integrity of the country.

 

Gabon’ dangers of human rights abuses

“One year after the heavily contested presidential elections in Gabon, the situation has reached a stalemate, with no prospect of a political solution to the country’s divisions and to the crisis” – said the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini, addressing September plenary of the European Parliament.

“It is quite clear to us that the new restrictive and repressive measures imposed on the opposition escalate the political and social tensions. In a moment when tempers are running high, also because of the downward economic trend, this is a very dangerous path to follow” – Mogherini continued.

“We expect all parties to refrain from any statement or action that may fuel further tension. Gabonese law guarantees freedom of expression, assembly, movement and access to media for all the citizens of the country. This means that no one should be subject to arbitrary and legally unjustified arrests and restrictions.”

“…Truth must be established and those responsible for any violations must be brought to justice. The session of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances on Gabon was an opportunity for the government to take more seriously the numerous and well documented allegations of human rights abuses.”

 

EU response to MSF on Libya migrants

The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders, or MSF, on accused the European Union and national governments of funding the criminal abuse of migrants in detention centers in Libya.

Libya’s EU-sponsored coast guard is picking up migrants trying to flee to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea and sending them back to Libya’s detention system, which is “a thriving enterprise of kidnapping, torture and extortion,” MSF International President Joanne said in an open letter to EU governments:

“European governments have chosen to contain people in this situation. People cannot be sent back to Libya, nor should they be contained there,” she wrote.

The EU’s executive Commission denied the allegations on cruel treatment of migrants in Libya and said that its priority is in fact to end the “vicious cycle” that sees people brought to the conflict-torn country by smugglers and then trapped in camps or detention centers.

Lifting state of emergency in Ethiopia

The lifting of the State of Emergency, which was established ten months ago following violent protests throughout the country, by the Ethiopian Parliament is a step in the right direction, particularly in the run-up to the 2018 local elections, European External Action Service (EEAS) statement says.

“Continued efforts on all sides are still required to address the grievances that led to the protests. Sustainable solutions require inclusive, constructive dialogue and political reform, as well as a peaceful and democratic environment in which criticism and shortcomings can be constructively addressed in Ethiopia. Further violence would only hamper this process, ” EEAS.

Tunisie: la loi protège les femmes

“L’Assemblée des représentants du peuple tunisien a franchi un pas majeur dans le processus de transition démocratique en adoptant à l’unanimité des députés présents une ambitieuse loi contre les violences faites aux femmes. Ce texte très attendu est une nouvelle étape cruciale vers le plein respect des droits humains et l’égalité des chances entre hommes et femmes. Il traduit la mise en œuvre de la Constitution tunisienne et le respect des engagements pris par la Tunisie au niveau international pour le respect et la promotion des droits de l’Homme” – a dit le texte de déclaration du porte-parole sur l’adoption par le Parlement tunisien de la loi contre les violences faites aux femmes.

“L’Union européenne soutient pleinement ce processus et restera engagée aux côtés du peuple tunisien pour la mise en œuvre effective de cette loi.”

Sex-traffic from Nigeria at raise

The International Organisation for Migration reports a sharp raise in the number of African girls being trafficked to Europe, especially from Nigeria.

Over the past three years, IOM Italy has seen an almost 600 per cent increase in the number of potential sex trafficking victims arriving in Italy by sea. This upward trend has continued during the first six months of 2017, with most victims arriving from Nigeria.

This is one of the key findings of a new report published by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, Human Trafficking through the Central Mediterranean Route, which was released in Italian this week (21 July) by IOM’s Coordination Office for the Mediterranean in Rome. A translation from Italian to English will be available soon.

Among other findings, the report states that sexual exploitation increasingly involves younger girls – often minors – who are already subject to violence and abuse on their way to Europe. IOM estimates that 80 per cent of girls arriving from Nigeria – whose numbers have soared from 1,454 in 2014 to 11,009 in 2016 – are potential victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

The report is based on data collected by IOM at landing sites and in reception centres for migrants in the regions of southern Italy, where the Organization carries out identification of potential victims and assists those who, once identified, decide to escape their exploiters and accept IOM support.

“Trafficking is a transnational crime that devastates the lives of thousands of people and is the cause of untold suffering,” said Federico Soda, Director of the IOM Coordinating Office for the Mediterranean. “This is a theme we have been working on for years, committing to protect, prevent and collaborate with the authorities dealing with organized crime.”

“The report describes the organization’s activities in the face of this phenomenon: the difficulties in protecting victims and the main vulnerabilities identified among several cases of people who were assisted by the Organization. We also wanted to tell some of the stories of people who have been assisted by IOM staff to highlight the true nature of this painful and hateful form of slavery. We also feel that it is increasingly urgent that data analysis be accompanied by an examination of the market these girls supply, and the growing demand for paid sexual services,” – IOM Project Manager Carlotta Santarossa concluded.

 

Guinea Bissau – news media suspension

 

On 30 June the Guinea Bissau government announced the suspension of activities of RDP-Africa and RPT-Africa in Guinea Bissau.

“The freedom of expression and the access to information by citizens are an essential part of accountable governance.  Particularly in periods of political tension, the unhindered work of media are essential for the constructive debate that strengthens society” – says the statement of the European External Action Service spokesperson on the recent suspension of news media in Guinea Bissau.

“It is at the core of EU values and external action.  It is also in  accordance with the Constitution of Guinea Bissau and its international commitments on Human Rights.”

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