New York: The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Leila Zerrougui, is deeply concerned at the findings of the report released today by MONUSCO (Mission de l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en République démocratique du Congo), indicating that child recruitment by armed groups is systemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). “All of us involved in the protection of children must ensure that everyone understands that recruiting children is not only unacceptable, it is against the law,” said Leila Zerrougui. “While the DRC authorities have made significant progress to protect children affected by armed conflict, it is crucial that they step up their efforts to ensure that all perpetrators are held accountable."
Johannesburg: Few people may have noticed but a potentially game-changing decision was taken on Tuesday in the Tanzanian town of Arusha by the Southern African Development Community-Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) – when its Plenary Assembly unanimously adopted the Southern Africa Resource Barometer. Developed over the past three years by the SADC-PF and the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW), the Barometer is a set of clear principles for measuring transparency, accountability and equity in the exploitation of the region’s vast natural resources – principles that will empower parliaments and parliamentarians to play a more constructive role in the oversight of the extractive sector.
New York: United Nations standards for the treatment of prisoners were outdated and required revision in the areas of solitary confinement and investigation, the Special Rapporteur on torture said today, as the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) began its discussion on human rights. “Solitary confinement could amount to torture if used intentionally,” said Juan Mendez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, referring to cases in which isolation was used as a means of punishment, intimidation and coercion, or as a way to obtain information or a confession, resulting in pain or suffering.
Kampala: The government of Uganda has failed to hold to account senior officials implicated in the theft and diversion of public funds, Human Rights Watch and Yale Law School’s Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic said in a joint report released today. No high-ranking government official, minister, or political appointee has ever served a prison sentence despite investigations into numerous corruption scandals over many years and an impressive array of anti-corruption institutions. Activists fighting corruption face arrest and criminal charges. The 63-page report, “Letting the Big Fish Swim: Failure to Prosecute High-Level Corruption in Uganda,” documents Uganda’s failure to hold the highest members of its government accountable for large scale graft, despite repeated pledges to eradicate corruption and good technical work from investigators and prosecutors.
Lagos: Nigeria will today present a progress report on the situation of human rights in the country before the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The occasion, which is the 17th Session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group, of the Human Rights will afford other countries opportunity to ask questions on the situation of human rights from the Nigerian delegation likely to be led by the Minister for Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke (SAN). Investigations by THISDAY yesterday, which is covering the session, indicated that Nigeria would among other issues state what it had done with respect to reducing poverty, decongesting prisons and strengthening of the judicial system.
New York: Building on the momentum created during their latest round of talks in Kampala, Uganda, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the 23 March Movement (M23) armed group needed to reach a peace accord based on the principles of sustainability and accountability, and must not allow amnesty for the perpetrators of war crimes, or crimes against humanity, the Security Council heard today.
Dar es Salaam: Recently, the African Union called a special session to address the African position with relation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and particularly, the on-going case against the President of the Republic of Kenya and his Deputy. At this meeting, it was, inter alia, alleged that the ICC has been targeting African countries and avoiding other who should be prosecuted as well. It was eventually agreed that no sitting head of state should be arraigned in any court. The relevant authorities should wait until the ruler has completed his or her tenure. This is an interesting proposition because Africa does not only have feudal monarchs with life tenures, but also ‘democratically’ elected presidents who have amended the constitutions of their countries to allow them to rule forever. In such a situation, how long will ICC and victims of serious violations of human rights wait? Forever?
The brutal crackdown in late September by Sudan's security forces and militias, resulted in over 200 deaths and hundreds of protesters wounded and arrested, according to Sudanese and international human rights organisations. The largest anti-government demostrations in many years saw protesters who sought a reversal of the government's decision to reduce fuel subsidies. The incident also resulted in the detention of a number of political opponents, a crackdown on journalists, and restrictions on freedom of expression and organisation, thus violating the fundamental and constitutional rights of the Sudanese people. Notwithstanding the crackdown of Omar al-Bashir's brutal regime, the African Union (AU) has failed to act according to the requirements of its founding documents, including the AU'S Constitutive Act of 2002 and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
New York: The UNSC will, next week, debate a report by Christof Heyns, the UN's special rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The Special Rapporteur focuses on the use of lethal force through armed drones from the perspective of protection of the right to life. Although drones are not illegal weapons, they can make it easier for States to deploy deadly and targeted force on the territories of other States. As such, they risk undermining the protection of life in the immediate and longer terms. If the right to life is to be secured, it is imperative that the limitations posed by international law on the use of force are not weakened by broad justifications of drone strikes.
Dalkeith: It is estimated that 16.36% of the estimated total 29.8 million people in modern slavery are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is the largest of the regions measured for the Global Slavery Index, and also holds the greatest diversity in terms of the risk of enslavement. Mauritius leads the region in stability and the protection of human and worker rights, but is eclipsed by South Africa and Gabon in terms of the extent of policies on modern slavery.