rights

NGO Criticises Nigeria Over Penalty

A NGO, Human Right Writers Association (HRWAN) has criticised the decision by the Nigerian government to execute all the convicted persons serving death penalties as a way of decongesting prisons.

HRWAN chief operating officer, Emmanuel Onwubiko, calls on the acting president Goodluck Jonathan, and all the state governors not to go ahead with the policy, saying the execution would amount to an abuse of human rights.

Refugees Call on UNHCR to Intervene

A group of refugees facing eviction from Blue Waters Camp, a place of safety outside Cape Town, has called on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to intervene.

The 187 refugees, some with children, have lived in the camp for more than two years. The group has refused reintegration incentives and instead had say if the UNHCR does not protect them, they would rather live on the city’s streets.

NGOs Seek Meeting Over Escalating Violence

A grouping of NGOs, under the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, say they are seeking an audience with mediating President Jacob Zuma, over the rising levels of violence and harassment in Zimbabwe.

Media and Communications Officer, Nixon Nyikadzino points out that they will use the South African Embassy in Harare, or their regional office in South Africa, to request a meeting with Zuma and members of his facilitation team.

OpenOffice Translated into Local Languages

In celebration of Human Rights Day, Translate.org.za, a NGO focused on the localisation, or translation, of Open Source software into South Africa's 11 official languages, has released the OpenOffice software in a range of local languages.

Translate.org.za managing director, Dwayne Bailey, says the release of the software was intentionally timed to coincide with Human Rights Day.

UN Criticises SADC Over Trafficking Convictions

The United Nations (UN) says that no one in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has ever been convicted of human trafficking.

The UN Office of Drugs and Crime regional representative, Jonathan Lucas, points out that, “In the whole of the SADC region there has not been a single conviction for human trafficking.”

Currently, only five of the 15 SADC countries have proposed legislation to deal specifically with human trafficking, with South Africa tabling its draft anti-trafficking legislation to Parliament this week.

HRW Urges Nigeria to End Impunity

United States-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Nigeria to prosecute those behind what it calls a massacre of at least 200 Christian villagers and end a cycle of impunity which has allowed instability to persist.

HRW’s West Africa senior researcher, Corinne Dufka, points out that, "This kind of terrible violence has left thousands dead in Plateau state in the past decade, but no one has been held accountable. It's time to draw a line in the sand."

Displaced Sudanese Return, says IOM

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says that just over half of about four million people who fled the civil war in South Sudan have returned there after the 2005 peace agreement.

IOM spokesperson, Jean Philippe Chauzy, states that the pace of return slowed significantly after more than 1.47 million went home during the first two years, with just 160 000 going back in 2009.

CSOs Warn of Worsening Rights Abuse

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) have warned of worsening human rights abuse at the hands of Zimbabwe’s state security agents. The warning follows an escalation in the number of threats, intimidation and harassment against its members.

ZimRights director, Okay Machisa, explained how he and other members of the ZimRights board last week received a series of threatening text messages and phone calls, warning them against conducting constitutional outreach programmes.

Minister’s Attitude Irks FXI

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) has expressed deep disappointment with Minister of Arts and Culture, Lulu Xingwana’s attitude to freedom of expression.

In a press statement, the FXI argues that, “Her statement that the art exhibition of young female artist and lesbian activist, Zanele Muholi, of naked, black women embracing each other, is ‘immoral, offensive and against nation building’, is highly regrettable and is indicative of a blatant disregard and disrespect for the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.”

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