Tag Archives: Human rights

Khartoum violence outbreak

Sudanese security forces stormed a protest camp in the capital Khartoum on June 3 in the morning hours and at least nine people were reported killed in the violence outbreak.

Al Hadath and Al Jazeera television showed footage of scenes of people fleeing violence through streets of Khartoum.

The leading protest group accused the ruling military Council of an attempt to break up the camp, defining the action “a massacre”. The Council explained the security forces had targeted “unruly” groups in an adjacent area.

An alliance of protest and opposition groups announced they would halt all contact with the military Council. The two sides had been negotiating for weeks a transitional period following the overthrow of Omar Al Bashir, but without any progress.

The Transitional Military Council (TMC) had offered to let protesters form a governmental body but insists on maintaining overall authority during an interim period. The demonstrators demand the civilians to run the transitional period to ensure construction of democratic state.

After the outbreak of violence a group of medics related to the opposition said nine “martyrs” had been killed in June 3 violence and that the number of casualties was still rising.

EU-Sudan dialogue depends on reforms progress

On 19 November 2018, the Council adopted conclusions on Sudan, which remains crucial for the peace and stability of the wider Horn of Africa. The Council reaffirms the EU’s readiness to engage in an evolving dialogue and cooperation with Khartoum, depending on progress shown by Sudan in committing to internal reforms, including human rights and good governance, facilitation of humanitarian assistance, sustainable peace and a constructive role in the region.

The Council urges the Sudanese authorities to fully respect the right to freedom of expression, press, access to information, association and peaceful assembly, in compliance with international human rights law. The Council underlines that the run-up to 2020 elections should be an opportunity for Sudan to demonstrate its commitment to reforms by allowing the full participation of all its citizens in an inclusive political process and without restrictions to individual rights.

In this regard, the Council expresses its deep concern with the shrinking space for the civil society and the persecutions against human rights defenders, students, political activists, journalists, and other media workers, as well as with the situation for women and girls.

Despite Sudan’s non-ratification of the revised Cotonou Agreement, the EU remains committed to the people of Sudan, and since 2010 has made €196 million available from the European Development Fund to address the needs of people living in conflict-affected areas. As part of this overall support, in March 2016 the EU approved a Special Measure of €100 million, which is channelled through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. The Special Measure will be implemented in Darfur, the Eastern States of Red Sea, Kassala and Gedaref (and, to the extent that access and security conditions allow, in the Southern border areas). It will focus on the provision of basic needs in education and health, livelihoods and food security, and the strengthening of civil society, local governance and peacebuilding. Major beneficiaries of EU support will be vulnerable populations; in particular refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees and the local communities hosting them.

 

MEPs discuss slave trade in Libya

The mistreatment of migrants and refugees in Libya, and arrangements for their resettlement or return, are debated with UNHCR in the European Parliament on Monday, 5/03/2018.

The ways to end the mistreatment of migrants and refugees stranded in Libya, the point of departure of up to 90% of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, will be discussed by Civil Liberties Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs, members of the Delegation for relations with Maghreb countries and UNHCR, Commission and External Action Service representatives.

Following several media reports that migrants have fallen victim to the slave trade in Libya, the EU and the African Union, together with the UN, agreed in November 2017 to set up a joint Task Force to save and protect lives along the African migration routes and in particular inside Libya, accelerating assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin, and the resettlement of those in need of international protection.

Fighting smuggling and easing returns to countries of origin are EU priorities.

Atkinson: South Africa future depends on respect of human rights

Janice ATKINSON MEP OPINION

I am holding the debate on Tuesday, 30th January at 5pm on human rights and the political situation in South Africa after visiting that wonderful country a number of times and being disturbed about the political situation that could see that country descend into chaos after their general elections in 2019.

I witnessed ‘Black Monday’ on my last visit where farmers came together to protest against the brutal murder and torture on farmers, their families and their workers, both black and white. These brutal killings, some encouraged by Marxist political leaders who want to nationalise the banks and mines and forcibly take control of the winelands and farms, are truly horrific. Yet no real statistics are kept by the government, numbers are disputed by the state against the victims. Rapes are off the scale – 41,000 in 2015/16.  What South Africa and the EU’s Sweden have in common is they are at the top of the league table as the rape capitals of the world.

I toured the townships, the winelands, went on safari in two regions, toured the Cape and spoke to many people, black and white. All are very afraid (and optimistic) about their future.  From the woman that lives in a one room shack without running water or a toilet, who lives with her three grown sons, who still votes for the ANC because it is the party of Nelson Mandela. Her faith is interesting.  I am not sure the dream of the Rainbow Nation living together in peace as really reached her or the murdered farmers.

I saw wonderful projects where vineyard businesses were housing, educating and employing whole families from the townships.  Many of my drivers were young, ambitious family men who were grateful for the opportunities afforded to them. This is black and white working together.

But that could all change in eighteen months time.

At the last election the ANC secured 60% of the vote (249 seats in parliament), although their constitution only allows for parties to hold 50% of power (but how can you go against the votes of the people?). The official opposition is the Democratic Alliance with 89 seats in parliament and chillingly, third is the violent Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) who advocate wholesale nationalisation, black empowerment by seizure of land and assets and violence against the whites and other minorities.  

As the ANC loses support, many of their supporters are turning to the EFF. On a more positive note some of them are also turning to the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) party (4 seats) because this party seeks to protect the rights of minorities (amongst other policies). Black minority tribes want to preserve their heritage, culture and language and they see the FF+ as the party to secure those rights.  As in Europe, we on the centre right fight to preserve our culture, heritage, language and identity through securing our borders and having the right to determine who can live in our countries.

If this country descends into chaos in 2019 the winelands will be lost, tourism will dry up, the ecosystems of the coast, sea and the conservation projects in the safari lands will be destroyed.  Everything that the EU says it holds dear will descend into another Zimbabwe, but worse.

Last November, when I returned from my last trip to South Africa, I called on the European Parliament to debate the human rights atrocities and political situation in South Africa. It was declined. I turned to my colleagues and said, this place tries to pride itself on upholding human rights and the rule of law. Unfortunately, the Parliament only recognises certain countries’ humans’ rights when it is safe to condemn individual countries or persons for political reasons. But for a country like South Africa where they are desperate to believe in the Rainbow Nation, to think that those now in power, the unfortunate legacy of Nelson Mandela, it is too difficult and ideologically impossible to question its future, its human rights abuses and the lack of rule of law.

Image: courtesy Janice Atkinson in South Africa,  Franschhoek Wine Valley.

Conference SA