The Commonwealth Wire


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.

International Court of Justice orders Pakistan to stay execution of Indian 'spy'

The UN's top court on Thursday ordered Pakistan to stay the execution of an Indian national convicted of spying, in a decision hailed by New Delhi. Judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in a unanimous and binding decision that Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav must not be executed by Islamabad until they have had time to pass final judgement in the case.

Rights lawyer sues JAMB over alleged extortion of 2017 UTME candidates

Human rights lawyer based in Awka, Anambra state, Francis Gozie Moneke, has dragged the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, to the Federal High Court sitting in Awka, the state capital, for allegedly extorting and grossly violating the fundamental human rights of JAMB candidates who registered for the 2017 Universal Tertiary Matriculation Examinations, UTME.

Women’s group backs Veke in condemning Marau killing

The Women’s Rights Action Movement (WRAM) supports the Premier of Guadalcanal Province, Hon Anthony Veke in condemning in the strongest term, the barbaric killing of a Guadalcanal husband of his Temotuan wife in front of their five children, last week in Marau, South Guadalcanal.

Amnesty International launches new global campaign ‘Brave’

Amnesty International has launched a new global campaign Brave to fight against what it said was a growing wave of attacks against those defending human rights. In India, the human rights group said that activists face repressive laws, surveillance, threats and physical violence while carrying out "legitimate" work.

Attacks on human rights activists reach dangerous levels

Human rights defenders, journalists and protesters in West and Central Africa are facing ever-higher levels of persecution, intimidation and violence, warned Amnesty International today as it launched a new global campaign demanding an end to the onslaught of attacks against brave individuals standing up to injustice. The 'Brave' campaign calls on states in the region to recognize the legitimacy of human rights defenders by respecting their work, giving space for it and protecting them from threats.

PNG police engage private contractors for firearms training after AFP refuses

Police in Papua New Guinea have engaged a private security contractor to give them firearms training, because the Australian Federal Police deployed in PNG will not. The Royal PNG Constabulary (RPNGC) has asked a United States security firm to give officers firearms training ahead of PNG's hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit next year.

Human Rights activist faces prison for not giving up password at UK airport

Muhammad Rabbani, a UK citizen, and director of the CAGE human rights organization, is facing a possible three-month prison sentence for not disclosing his phone and laptop's password at Heathrow airport in London, last year. According to Rabbani's account, UK authorities have stopped him while returning from a trip abroad, where he was investigating a sensitive case of human torture.

SA ministers complete symbolic hunger strike to support Palestinian prisoners

South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies completed the symbolic hunger strike saying, “This is a very small gesture of solidarity with those brave freedom fighters of Palestine struggling for the very same rights many of us now take for granted in South Africa, but which were in fact won through the same spirit of selfless commitment.”

Commission trains security agents on human rights protection

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called on security agents to stop violating the rights of citizens during security operations The Acting Executive Secretary of the commission, Mrs Oti Anukpe, made the appeal on Monday in Yola during a meeting of security personnel and United Nations High Commission on Refugees.

India in appeal to UN court to halt execution of 'spy'

India was to appeal to the UN's top court on Monday to order Pakistan to suspend its planned execution of an Indian national convicted of spying. In an emergency hearing, lawyers for New Delhi will urge the International Court of Justice to halt the execution of Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav.

Save South Africa to stage night vigil outside Constitutional Court

Activists from the Save South Africa campaign will stage a night vigil outside the Constitutional Court on Sunday night in anticipation of the court’s ruling on a secret ballot in the Parliamentary vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.  “A full programme of entertainment and speeches has been developed‚ and a number of activists will be sleeping over in a specially created camp near the court’s Flame of Democracy‚” campaign organisers said.

Save South Africa to stage night vigil outside Constitutional Court

Activists from the Save South Africa campaign will stage a night vigil outside the Constitutional Court on Sunday night in anticipation of the court’s ruling on a secret ballot in the Parliamentary vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma.  “A full programme of entertainment and speeches has been developed‚ and a number of activists will be sleeping over in a specially created camp near the court’s Flame of Democracy‚” campaign organisers said.

India-born activist calls on UN to end caste discrimination

A prominent India-born rights activist and founder of a US-based NGO has urged the UN leadership to work towards ending caste discrimination by 2030. During his address at the commemorative event, Mhaske had said that technological advances in the world will become inclusive only when citizens from all backgrounds are allowed to share in its opportunities.

Canadian Human Rights Commission says children left behind on basic rights

The Canadian Human Rights Commission says more attention must be paid to the rights of children, who it says are being left behind when it comes to basic rights of dignity, safety, education and family.T he agency said it aimed to shine a light on the problems of children in its 2016 annual report to Parliament, released Wednesday.

Kenya's pastoralists look beyond patriarchy to property rights for women

Traditionally, among the pastoral Kipsigis and Maasai communities, men are the decision-makers and managers of land and stock. But over-grazing and the sub-division and privatisation of land and its transfer to agricultural use has forced herder communities to accept and adopt new land strategies, including applying for security of tenure and women in land transfer and inheritance.

HRW: Suspend military sales to Saudi Arabia

The Australian government should immediately halt military sales to Saudi Arabia following numerous unlawful Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Human rights of Sonshi villagers violated

A complaint has been filed with the Goa State Human Rights Commission on Tuesday. The complaint highlights the fact that over 350 residents of Sonshi in Sattari have been denied fresh air and water for the past few months due to the ongoing mining ore transportation.

Opinion: Human rights and detention of the mentally ill

It is estimated that 16 percent of the population of Bangladesh suffer from mental disorders. Bangladesh has no mechanism for supervision and protection of the rights of patients with mental disorders. Less than 0.5 percent of the governmental health budget is spent on mental health, one of the lowest allocations in the world.

'Dangerously overcrowded' prison risk closure

Prisoners in Karonga feel unsafe and are at kept at seriously overcrowded degrading inhuman and life threatening conditions, officials have confirmed. This was revealed on Sunday when a district business tycoon, Leonard Kiyombo visited the cells and donated assorted items worth K500,000.

Armidale Class Act: A right to defend our rights

Last year, Australia was visited by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defence. While the final report of this visit is not available yet, the preliminary report argues that every individual in Australia has the right to defend human rights for all. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure that not only can everyone be advocates, but that throughout their lives they all are able to enjoy rights and freedoms.

LGBTQ activists in Caribbean ask Canada for support, not salvation

Canada should remember that as it promotes LGBTQ rights on the world stage, it should also listen to — and support — those fighting on the ground. This was the message that Jason Jones, from Trinidad and Tobago, and Nigel Mathlin, from Grenada, brought to a meeting with officials at Global Affairs Canada this week, as they shared their views on how the Liberal government could support them and other LGBTQ activists in the Caribbean region.

Amnesty International honours Canada’s Indigenous-rights movement

Canada’s Indigenous-rights movement has been named a recipient of a prestigious award from Amnesty International, drawing attention to persistent inequality in one of the world’s wealthiest countries. In announcing the award, Amnesty underlined the fact that although they live in a prosperous country, Canada’s Indigenous peoples are “consistently among the most marginalized members of society.”

St Lucia police said to still be committing human rights abuses

A former Saint Lucia government minister claimed last week that officers of the Royal St Lucia Police Force (RSLPF) are still engaged in human rights abuses, despite the fact that in 2013 the United States imposed sanctions against the island’s security forces following a number of unresolved extrajudicial killings by the police.

MP introduces bill targeting forced human organ harvesting

Garnett Genuis, MP, is targeting China’s alleged practice of taking organs from criminals and political dissidents in re-introducing a private-member’s bill once proposed by former Liberal Irwin Cotler. Bill C-561 would also deny entry into Canada for foreigners who participate in these types of transplants.

Legislative reforms for child protection must continue

The Malaysian Bar welcomes the passing of the Sexual Offences against Children Act 2017 by the Dewan Rakyat in the recently concluded Parliament session. This new law marks progress for child protection in Malaysia by bringing our laws closer in line with international standards, and towards fulfilling our obligations as a State Party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Human rights group petitions against Dolezal visit

A local human rights group has started a petition to stop US race activist Rachel Dolezal from speaking at a South African anti-racism event. Dolezal, who is known for identifying as being black despite being born white, is expected to visit the country to talk about her experience.

Offshore detention may hurt Australia’s bid for UN Human Rights Council seat

Controversies over abuses in Australia’s offshore detention regime could harm its multimillion-dollar bid for a seat on the UN’s Human Rights Council. Nauru whistleblowers have told a global women’s event in New York that Australia should be blocked from winning a seat on the influential UN body, because of systemic physical and sexual abuse in the island camps, and the international law violations of its indefinite detention regime.