Human rights

India's National Security Advisor: on cyberspace issues

Vladivostok:  Cyberspace is today the fifth domain of human activity, in addition to land, sea, air and outer space. During the last two decades, the Internet has grown exponentially in its reach and scope. Equally, our dependence upon cyberspace for social, economic, governance, and security functions has also grown exponentially. Unfettered access to information through a global inter-connected Internet empowers individuals and governments, and it poses new challenges to the privacy of individuals and to the capability of Governments and administrators of cyberspace tasked to prevent its misuse.  Our task is complicated by the unique characteristics of cyberspace. These include, as we are reminded every day: its borderless nature, both geographically and functionally; anonymity and the difficulty of attribution; the fact that for the present the advantage is with offense rather than defence; and, the relatively anarchic nature of this domain.

Is there an African resource curse?

Washington:  Many countries in Africa and globally that are rich in oil, gas and other minerals are mired in poverty because the public revenues earned from selling these resources are being squandered through corruption and lack of government accountability. In 2010, the value of exports of oil and minerals from Africa was worth $333 billion, about six times the value of exported agricultural products ($55 billion) and nearly seven times the value of international aid ($48 billion). Such resource wealth has the potential to lift many of the world’s poorest out of poverty and bring about significant development opportunities.

UN seeking to fill $8.6bn emergency funding gap for 2013

New York:  Nearly $13 billion is needed this year – about a third of that amount for Syria and its neighbouring countries – to provide aid to 73 million people, the top United Nations humanitarian official said Wednesday.  “That's an extra $8.6 billion to raise by the end of the year,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos said from Geneva as she gave a snapshot of the Organization's mid-year humanitarian assessment.  Calling 2013 an “extraordinary year,” Ms. Amos, who is also the UN Emergency Coordinator, stressed that millions of people around the world desperately need help feeding their families, treating malnourished children and getting safe drinking water and other essential supplies. “We need to support them.”

Swaziland: Democracy and political participation

A number of noteworthy political anniversaries occur in Swaziland’s historical calendar during 2013. This year marks 45 years of Swazi independence, 40 years since the 1973 Proclamation that repealed the 1968 Constitution and 27 years since King Mswati III’s ascension to the throne. The second national election under the 2005 Constitution is also due this year.

USAID strategy on democracy, human rights and governance

Washington:  USAID’s Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG) Strategy provides a framework to support the establishment and consolidation of inclusive and accountable democracies to advance freedom, dignity, and development. Support for DRG is vital to the pursuit of freedom and national security, and is essential to achieve the Agency’s and the United States Government’s broader social and economic development goals. This new strategy achieves the following:

FIDH: "an opportunity for Kenya to uphold its human rights commitments"

In the perspective of the visit, in Kenya, of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), FIDH and its member organisation, KHRC, call upon the authorities of Kenya to seize this opportunity to uphold their human rights commitments and obligations, especially by guaranteeing effective access to justice for victims of human rights violations. Today, the African Court begins a sensitisation mission to Kenya with a view to enhancing human rights protection in this country. FIDH and KHRC consider this visit as a milestone for Kenya to make the declaration under Article 34.6 of the Protocol establishing the African Court, thus enabling individuals and NGOs in Kenya to have direct access to the Court where domestic remedies, in respect of State responsibility for human rights violations, have been exhausted.

Regional trends papers on enhancing constitutional order, rule of law in Africa

Addis Ababa: The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) calls on State Parties to commit to promote democracy, rule of law and human rights (Art 4, ACDEG). In particular, the Charter calls on Member States to take all appropriate measures to ensure Constitutionalism and Rule of Law (Art 5, ACDEG). Furthermore, the African Union has taken a strong stand on putting a definitive end to incidences of unconstitutional changes in government which undermine the progress achieved in the ongoing democratization processes on the continent and constitute a threat to peace and security in Africa.

Women’s rights in Africa: 18 countries are yet to ratify the Maputo Protocol!

Paris:  On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), the Coalition of the campaign, Africa for Womens' Rights: Ratify and Respect reiterates its call for the continental ratification of this progressive instrument within the African human rights system and for its effective implementation. Adopted on July 11, 2003, to complement and strengthen the articles of the African Charter related to the protection and promotion of women's rights, the Maputo Protocol is an important instrument of reference. Its provisions, with regard to civil and political rights, physical and psychological integrity, sexual and reproductive health, non-discrimination, economic emancipation, among others, symbolise African States' commitments to put an end to discrimination, violence and gender stereotypes against women.

No more refugee status for Rwandans abroad

Nairobi: About 100,000 Rwandans who fled the country have lost their refugee status and must return home, regularise their stay in their host countries, or risk living as stateless individuals. This follows the coming into effect of the cessation clause on June 30, meaning none of these Rwandans can enjoy international protection and assistance as refugees — because the circumstances under which they became refugees have ceased to exist. They can no longer claim assistance from the global refugee body, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. This assistance includes food, medical care, clothing, shelter, seeds and tools, social services, counselling, or help to resettle in another country.

Somalia-South Africa bilateral consultations: statement

Pretoria:  Our briefing today will focus on the outcomes of the bilateral consultation I had with Dr Jamal Barrow, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Somalia earlier today. Once again, it is my pleasure to welcome Dr Barrow on his second visit this year to South Africa. Let me firstly take this opportunity to congratulate Dr Barrow, the government and people of Somalia on the occasion of their national day, celebrated last night in Mayfair, Johannesburg. In this regard, it is also important to inform you that, during his previous visit to South Africa, Dr Barrow attended the inauguration of the Diplomatic Training for Somali Officials, which is a contribution that South Africa has pledged in assisting our Somali brothers and sisters to build capacity in their institutions that will then support lasting peace and development.

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