Category Archives: Human rights

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.”

EU for immediate release of Dr.Mudawi

“The EU closely follows the human rights situation in Sudan” – says the statement of the European External Action Service spokesperson.

“The recent presidential pardon of two pastors in Sudan is an encouraging step regarding religious freedom in the country. Jan Figel, the Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU, was able to meet with human rights defender Dr Ibrahim Mudawi in his place of detention in March 2017, yet the length of detention and delays in due process remain a source of concern. The EU supports the recent call by UN Independent Expert, Aristide Nononsi, for the immediate release of Dr Mudawi and of Hafiz Idris, another human rights defender.”

“Despite progress in the national dialogue, space  for civil society is shrinking in Sudan, as demonstrated by delays in registration of NGOs, and the arrest, detention and court cases of human rights defenders. All human rights defenders need to be able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities openly, free of restrictions and without fear of reprisals.”

 

Egypt new law to burden NGOs

Brussels. “The new NGO law in Egypt is bound to put additional burden on NGOs’ activities and restrict the space of debate and discussion in the country” – says the statement by the spokesperson of the European External Actions Service (EEAS) on the new NGO law in Egypt.

“It risks making civil society’s contribution to political, economic and social development more difficult”.

“Some provisions, such as the ones related to the registration process, the activities NGOs are allowed to perform and the procedure for receiving domestic and foreign funding, are also likely to directly affect European cooperation assistance to Egypt. Indeed, a large part of our cooperation relies on non-governmental organisations as important implementing partners.”

“A flourishing civil society, able to work in good conditions, is important for democratic and economic development and to help build political stability. We therefore expect the Egyptian government to fully implement and uphold all the guarantees stipulated in the Egyptian Constitution and in international law and standards regarding freedom of expression and association, and the Egyptian authorities to apply the new law in a way that does not intimidate, restrict or criminalize peaceful human rights civil society organizations and their members.”

“Egypt is an important partner for the EU, and we stay committed to strengthening our bilateral cooperation and pursuing a constructive dialogue in all fields of our cooperation.” (Photo: President Al-Sisi)

EU measures against Congo officials

The Council has adopted restrictive measures against 9 individuals who hold positions of responsibility in the State administration and in the chain of command of the security forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with immediate effect. They join the 7 people on whom the EU imposed sanctions as of 12 December 2016 in response to the obstruction of the electoral process and related human rights violations.

The European Union remains seriously concerned by the deterioration of the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), – says the text of the EU declaration on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“The crisis in Kasai Province has reached an exceptional level in security and humanitarian terms and as regards human rights. While strongly condemning all acts of violence irrespective of their origin, the EU is concerned about reports of disproportionate use of force by State bodies, especially the security forces, in managing the crisis.  It urges the DRC authorities to act in compliance with human rights and fundamental freedoms and to initiate, without delay, credible and transparent investigations, flanked by high-level international expertise to enhance their credibility and independence,  to identify those responsible for acts of violence and massacres. It stresses the need for MONUSCO to be able to exercise its mandate in full and for humanitarian access to the areas affected by the crisis to be guaranteed.”

“The EU also remains concerned by the continuing restrictions on the democratic space and fundamental rights, including restrictions on the media and the prohibition of demonstrations.”

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