Category Archives: Human rights

Uganda LGBTI: MEPs express deep concern

MEPs express their deep concern at the possible resurgence of the anti-homosexuality law in the Ugandan political debate, which would, if introduced, include the death penalty for “aggravated acts of homosexuality”.

They take note of the statement made by Ugandan President Museveni’s spokesperson denying that the government has any intention to propose such a new bill, and call on the Ugandan government to stand by this statement .

The European Parliament regrets emphatically the use of the death penalty under any circumstances and reminds the Ugandan government of its obligations under international law and the Cotonou Agreement, which calls for universal human rights to be respected. MEPs also call on the EU delegation in the country to continue to monitor the situation for LGBTI people closely and to actively support civil society organisations and human rights defenders on the ground. The resolution was adopted by 521 votes in favour, 4 against and 110 abstentions and will be available here (24.10.2019).

Angola against death penalty

In October Angola became party to the Optional Protocol aiming to the abolition of the death penalty, to the Convention against Torture and other cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and to the Convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.

The European Union welcomed Angola’s alignment with these three significant international treaties on human rights. The EU diplomacy underlined that Angola reinforces the global trend towards the abolition of the capital punishment, the eradication of torture and the elimination of all forms of racism.

“These accessions by Angola should encourage other countries to follow this example” said the statement of the European External Action Service.

“The European Union reaffirms its strong commitment to the universal abolition of the death penalty, to combatting torture and other ill-treatment worldwide as well as all forms of racism“.

US curbs Marange diamonds import

Zimbabwe denounced a U.S. administration decision to curb imports of diamonds from its Marange field, branding the claim the country uses forced labor at the operations “a shameless lie.”

Invoking the repulsive prospect of alleged forced labor is a new nomenclature for seeking to bar Zimbabwe’s diamonds from the international markets,” said in a statement issued by officials in Harare. “This move constitutes a grave and serious attack on Zimbabwe’s interests and is no less than a manifestation of undeclared sanctions.”

Nigeria: 16 people killed in Katsina

Armed groups have killed 16 people in separate attacks on remote villages, an area plagued by cattle-rustling and kidnappings, in northern Nigeria‘s Katsina state, officials announced. (Image above: illustration).

In separate attacks gunmen on motorcycles stormed the Dantakuri, Tsayau, Barza and Zakka villages on August 19-20, shooting residents and stealing cattle, local authorities reported.

The worst attack happened in Dantakuri, the area’s political administrator Sanusi Dangi Abbas told AFP news agency.

The bandits killed 11 people in Dantakuri. One person was killed and another injured in nearby Barza,” Abbas said. “In all, we lost 12 people in the attacks which began around 17:00 (16:00 GMT) on Sunday,” he said.

Community of Barza identified the victim as the chief imam of the village.

Katsina state police spokesman Anas Gezawa confirmed the attacks but said he was only aware of casualties from Tsayau, where four people were murdered and several herds stolen.

“I can confirm the killing of four people in Tsayau but we are awaiting reports from the other areas,” Gezawa clarified.

The bandits carted away some livestock and the villagers pursued them into the forest to reclaim their animals which led to the death of four people from the village,” he added. “We didn’t put up a fight and no one was hurt but we are still taking stock of the animals the attackers took away,” he said.

Katsina state, the birthplace of President Muhammadu Buhari, has been ravaged by kidnappers and cattle robbers in recent months, prompting villagers to form vigils groups to defend themselves.

 

Pope Francis calls to assist migrants

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the VI anniversary of his visit to Lampedusa on July 8, a small Italian island 90 miles off the coast of Tunisia.

Pontifex called for an end to the rhetoric which views migrants as ‘other,’ saying they are human beings and among those Christ has commanded his disciples to love and assist.

“They are persons; these are not mere social or migrant issues!Pope continued “This is not just about migrants,’ in the twofold sense that migrants are first of all human persons, and that they are the symbol of all those rejected by today’s globalized society.”

These least ones are abandoned and cheated into dying in the desert; these least ones are tortured, abused and violated in detention camps; these least ones face the waves of an unforgiving sea; these least ones are left in reception camps too long for them to be called temporary,Pope stated.

“In the spirit of the Beatitudes we are called to comfort them in their affliction and offer them mercy,” he urged, “to sate their hunger and thirst for justice; to let them experience God’s caring fatherliness; to show them the way to the Kingdom of Heaven.”

At present the numbers of Christians in Africa are at rise, by 2025, one-sixth – 230 million of the world’s Catholics are expected to be Africans. Half of the African population lives in poverty without access to basic human needs, such as nutrition, clean water, shelter and more.

While Africa is globally the poorest continent, it is also home to the highest birth rate: by 2050, a quarter of the world will be African, with the continent’s population likely to rise from 1.2-billion today to 2.5-billion in 2050.

MEPs condemn Cameroon use of force

Cameroon authorities must end the use of force against the political opposition, say Members of the European Parliament in a resolution adopted on April 17 in Strasbourg plenary.

As this year, Cameroon’s security forces violently supressed opposition protests and arrested around 200 opposition supporters, including political leader Maurice Kamto,

MEPs condemn the use of such force, call for an independent and transparent investigation into the conduct of the police and security forces against protesters and the immediate release of all detainees held on politically motivated charges. They also want the country’s government to confirm that it will not seek the death penalty for political activists and protesters, while recalling that such punishment has not been used in Cameroon since 1997.

Parliament also urges the government in Cameroon to initiate a consensual review of the country’s electoral system, with the aim of ensuring a free, transparent and credible electoral process. Cameroon’s current President Paul Biya has been in power since 1982, which makes him one of the longest ruling presidents in the world. Since the last presidential elections in 2018 were marked by suspicions of fraud and the reporting of irregularities, MEPs insist that a review of the electoral system takes place before any further elections are held, in order to promote peace and avoid post-electoral crisis

BBC journalists arrested in Uganda

Police arrested a team of the BBC journalists in Uganda for illegal possession of prescription drugs, but the country’s government spokesman said the reporters had been helping to expose corruption, and demanded their immediate release.

Patrick Onyango, the police spokesman, said five suspects had been detained overnight. They included two Ugandans and one Kenyan, the wife of a local journalist from NBS Television who was working with them, and a driver.

Fourteen boxes of tablets had been seized, along with other vaccines.

Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said the journalists had been cooperating with the State House Health Monitoring Unit to investigate the theft and sale of Ugandan government drugs in  South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I am yet to find out the logic why police arrested these journalists, who in my view were helping government to unearth the rot which is in the system,” said Opondo. “They should be released unconditionally.”

The BBC confirmed it was in contact with the authorities over the case.

AMENDED: 8/02/2019 

Uganda police frees BBC journalists arrested over possession of drugs.

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