Geneva: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has appealed for greater global support to assist the almost 30 million people around the world who are forcibly displaced in their own countries. Opening an annual discussion on protection challenges, António Guterres warned that internal displacement was on the rise, with a 50 per cent increase in numbers over the past 15 years and amid indications that 2013 could break new records with millions more people having becoming internally displaced in Syria and elsewhere.
Nairobi: The crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been deteriorating for the best part of this year. In the words of UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, the international community has “watched from a distance” as the country descended into “virtual melt-down.” He called the decision to act “a profoundly important test of international solidarity and of our responsibility to prevent atrocities.”
New York: A group of independent United Nations human rights experts have urged the Kenyan Government to reject legislation that would impose severe restrictions on civil society. The bill, which was presented to Parliament on 30 October, would amend Kenya’s Public Benefit Organization Act of 2012 and grant the Government “sweeping and potentially arbitrary powers” to deny registration for such organizations, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), according to a news release issued by the experts. “The bill is an evidence of a growing trend in Africa and elsewhere, whereby governments are trying to exert more control over independent groups using so-called ‘NGO laws’,” the experts warned.
On 6 and 7 December 2012, at a conference convened by the Centre for Human Rights in collaboration with the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, a group of interdisciplinary academics, policymakers and practitioners in the areas of international peace and security with a special focus on Africa, considered and affirmed the Pretoria Principles on ending mass atrocities pursuant to Article 4(h) of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, set out below.
New York: The agreement signed earlier this month between the United Nations refugee agency and the Governments of Somalia and Kenya supports the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees, a UNHCR spokesperson has stressed, reiterating that the parties are not forcing anyone to return to Somalia. “UNHCR does not support forced returns,” UN Refugee Agency spokesperson, Adrian Edwards, told journalists today in Geneva. “This understanding was reaffirmed last Friday,” said Mr. Edwards, when the Kenyan and Somali refugee commissioners Badu Katelo and Ahmed Nur visited Dadaab refugee camp.
The African Union-European Union Dialogue on Human Rights provides an important opportunity to highlight crucial human rights developments in both Africa and Europe. Progress is being made on a range of human rights issues in an array of countries, but daunting challenges remain. Human Rights Watch is concerned by some of the negative trends, particularly in Africa regarding the respect for human rights defenders and violations of the rights to freedom of association, expression, and peaceful assembly, and in the EU in relation to the rights of migrant and asylum seekers, and discrimination and intolerance towards migrants and minorities.
New York: An almost evenly divided Security Council, lacking the requisite nine affirmative votes, today failed to adopt a resolution seeking a one-year delay in International Criminal Court proceedings against the President and Deputy President of Kenya. Seven Council members voted in favour of the text (Azerbaijan, China, Morocco, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Togo), none voted against, and 8 abstained (Argentina, Australia, France, Guatemala, Luxembourg, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, United States). The draft was, therefore, not adopted.
The General Assembly elected 14 States to serve on the Human Rights Council, the United Nations body responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe. Those elected were Algeria, China, Cuba, France, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom and Viet Nam. All would serve three-year terms beginning on 1 January 2014.
New York: Latin America remains the most unequal and most insecure region in the world, the United Nations reported today, calling for inclusive economic growth and enhanced security and justice institutions as the most efficient ways to reduce insecurity. According to the 2013-2014 Regional Human Development Report (HDR), Citizen Security with a Human Face: evidence and proposals for Latin America, the region experienced both economic growth and increased crime rates over the past decade, with more than 100,000 murders per year during that time.
Pretoria: A groundbreaking study into the threats likely to confront southern African communities over the next decade has been released. Titled Humanitarian Trends in Southern Africa: Challenges and Opportunities, the study identifies regional and global factors that may impact the lives and livelihoods of southern Africans and, as importantly, the available capacities to address these challenges. The study found that, contrary to perceptions that southern Africa has a homogeneous and ‘low-risk’ profile, the region is exposed to a range of environmental and social pressures, with 47 defined international humanitarian emergencies between 2000 and 2012.