The Commonwealth Wire


Final Report on the ‘Policy and Legal Framework Relating to the Proposed Counter Terrorism Act of Sri Lanka’

Counter-terrorism legislation in Sri Lanka has been used in the past to facilitate human rights abuses including arbitrary arrest and torture of detainees. In response to widespread domestic and international calls to repeal the much-criticised Prevention of Terrorism Act, the Government of President Sirisena has committed to replace it. However, a Report from the Institute for International and Comparative Law, University of Pretoria & Foundation for Human Rights, South Africa, has found that the replacement policy, Policy and legal framework relating to the Proposed Counter Terrorism Act of Sri Lanka (PLFCTA), does not provide for a human rights compliant framework for combating terrorism.

Human Rights Watch wants special unit to look at alleged Sask. police violence against Indigenous women

Human Rights Watch is calling for the creation of a special investigative unit to look at allegations of violence by police in Saskatchewan. During detailed interviews last year with 64 Saskatchewan Indigenous women, the organization says it uncovered dozens of claims of police misconduct, including overly intrusive strip searches, excessive use of force, racial profiling and sexual harassment.

Human rights lawyer rolls out proposal to solve Cyprus property issue

Human rights lawyer Achilleas Demetriades presents a series of proposals to muster funds in the order of €20 bln, in an effort to tackle the property issue, one of the thorniest aspects of the Cyprus problem. The former member of the Technical Committee on Property says that "we need to clearly define the property issue in order to present a ‘turnkey solution’ to the problem." 

Human Rights Watch raps India for '20 internet shutdowns in 2017'

India has received an earful from the Human Rights Watch, who in its recent report stated the nation has shut down the internet in various regions 20 times in the first five months of this year, all in states where violent protests took place. Asserting that arbitrary and overbroad internet shutdowns violate India's obligations under international human rights law, the HRW report highlighted how in July 2016, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning measures by countries to intentionally prevent or disrupt online access and information, and called for free speech protections under articles 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Human rights in Isles need improvement, says judge

Although there have been noticeable achievements in respect to human rights in the country, the Chairperson of the Zanzibar Laws Review Commission, Judge Mshibe Ali Bakari, said more should be done to make the Islands a better place for all to live. "There are many incidents of violation of human rights committed by ordinary people and leaders, yet most of the cases are under-reported or neglected by the media and not included in research reports," Judge Bakari said during the launching of the Human Rights Report (2016).

Call for new Lesotho Government to comply with human rights obligations

Amnesty International has called on the new Lesotho government to comply with the country’s international and regional human rights obligations and commitments. It says the mountain kingdom must end the practice of arbitrary arrests, politically motivated prosecutions and take effective measures to end the practice of torture and other ill-treatments.

Access to information law failing to meet EU minimum standards

Access Info Europe and seven Cypriot civil society organisations have raised concerns with the Cyprus government that a future access to information law would violate European standards if adopted in its current form, as it blocked access to unclassified information. Recent jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights has recognised the right of access to information as an inherent part of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights protection of freedom of expression, which may only be limited in exceptional circumstances.

Senate snubs LGBTI health report

Senators in Swaziland threw out a motion to make a report on access to health facilities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and/or intersexual (LGBTI) people because it was 'discrimination' in favour of them. The Swazi Observer reported on Tuesday, “Senator Phumelela, who was very critical of the motion, said she wanted to know from the mover if people of the LGBTI community suffered sicknesses different from heterosexual people.”

Ghana steps-up efforts to protect rights of older people

Ghana has stepped up national efforts to protect and guarantee the well-being of the elderly persons against the numerous abuses they go through by virtue of their age and its related challenges. Ghana’s endeavour to save the elderly persons from harm includes mainstreaming ageing issues in the socio-economic development of the country in line with the New Patriotic Party’s Election 2016 manifesto.

Evaluating human rights risks for mega-sporting event hosts

Businesses involved in major sporting events will increasingly need to have a more sophisticated understanding of how their activities, products and services might be involved in adverse human rights impacts. In recent months, a number of sports governing bodies, including the IOC, Commonwealth Games, FIFA and UEFA have started to incorporate human rights criteria into their bidding requirements. 

Malaysia must wake up to its human trafficking problem

Two years after the discovery of 28 human trafficking camps and mass graves containing 106 human skeletal remains near the Malaysia-Thailand border, traffickers, and complicit authorities have not been held accountable. Thus, Penang Stop Human Trafficking Campaign and Tenaganita have called on Malaysian authorities to address the corruption that allows Malaysia to be a trafficking hub in the region.  

Evaluating human rights risks for mega-sporting event hosts

Businesses involved in major sporting events will increasingly need to have a more sophisticated understanding of how their activities, products and services might be involved in adverse human rights impacts. UN and ILO literature on UK, Australia, and the Bahamas, all of which are set to host major sporting events over next 2 years, outlines the potential human rights challenges in each country.  

Human Rights outfit condemns trial violations of Anglophone activists

The report released by the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and wales (BHRC) released a new report in which it revealed numerous violations of international law and fair trial protections. It also condemns the broadly-defined imprecise charges, which do not specify which actions by the actions are considered to constitute criminal offences.  

Rights groups urge South Africa to combat xenophobia

Human rights groups have appealed to the South African government to increase its commitment in the fight against anti-immigrant violence which has been plaguing parts of the country as of late.  In a statement released Thursday to mark Africa Day, about a dozen rights groups called on the government to promote social cohesion between citizens and foreigners in order to eliminate xenophobia against migrants.

Human Rights Watch: Manchester arena attack

“The principles of democracy, human rights, the rule of law and tolerance remain the strongest bulwarks against the fear, hate and division that those who commit these attacks seek to sow”, said Human Rights watch yesterday.

Human rights report uncovers Cameroon’s multiple fair trial rights violations of activists

According to the report, Jodie Blackstock, BHRC’s observer who attended the hearings of Felix Agbor-Balla, Fontem Neba and Mancho Bibixy in April 2017 witnessed a number of serious breaches of the defendants’ fundamental rights to due process and a fair trial. Going by the observers’ report, Cameroon’s use of the military tribunal despite the fact that charges listed did not fall under military law, violated the right to an independent and impartial trial.

Cyprus House President meets with ECHR President

Ways to expedite compliance with European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decisions on behalf of Council of Europe member states, especially in cases regarding Cyprus, were discussed on Wednesday between President of the House of Representatives Demetris Syllouris and ECHR President Guido Raimondi.