Fiji: On 11 January 2010 Pacific Islands News Associationreported that a Fiji-based human rights activist says she has been singled out for prosecution because of her outspoken opposition to Fiji's administration. The Fji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), has charged lawyer Imrana Jalal for operating a restaurant without a business license. Although the matter is considered a civil misdemeanour and carries a $20 fine, FICAC has now applied to have the case transferred to the High Court. Ms Jalal says she is being targeted because of her political beliefs.
Sri Lanka:On 11 January 2010 BBCreported that a Sri Lankan Tamil journalist, JS Tissainayagam, sentenced to 20 years in prison last year will be released on bail pending appeal. Tissainayagam was arrested in 2008 and charged with inciting violence in articles for his magazine. He was also accused of receiving funds from Tamil Tiger rebels. He has denied supporting violence. Mr Tissainayagam's case has received widespread attention in Sri Lanka, and international rights groups have been campaigning for his release. Correspondents say that Mr Tissainayagam's sentence was the harshest given to a Sri Lankan journalist in recent years. Last September, Mr Tissainayagam was given an award for courageous and ethical journalism by the Paris-based group, Reporters Without Borders.
Sri Lanka: On 10 January 2010 BBCreported a Sri Lankan minister as saying that the thousands of Tamil Tiger suspects in government custody will not be released soon. Speaking to journalists in Ratnapura, Sabaragamuwa province, Mr Seneviratne said some 14,000 suspected members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, are being held in various detention centres.
Nigeria:On 8 January 2010 Daily Independentreported that a mass protest is likely over the political hiatus since President Umaru Yar'Adua left Nigeria for emergency medical trip to Saudi Arabia. No image of him has reportedly been seen since. However, the President did not handover powers to his deputy to act on his behalf, and since no one else can perform the President's constitutional duties the situation that has thrown Nigeria into a precarious political hiatus. More than once, the Nigerian rumour mill was allegedly awash with news of the President's death, but each time the Presidents office refuted this. The turning point in the drama was when the 2010 Appropriation Bill had to be sent to Saudi Arabia for the President's assent. This was when opposition groups and other concerned Nigerians began to ask questions. Amid the arguments and counter arguments that the President could sign the annual appropriation bill from anywhere in the world, there emerged a strong suspicion that since no evidence was provided showing that the bill was actually signed by the President, that it was possible someone else did. It is reported that the overwhelming demand from vocal groups in the country is that the Federal Government provides convincing evidence of the President's current condition and indeed that he is still alive.
Nigeria:On 8 January 2010 This Dayreported that the European Union (EU), which actively monitored the 2007 general election has released its final report recommending with great emphasis that the 2006 Electoral Act and the constitution be reviewed to provide more details for voting, collation procedures and counting of votes. Reaffirming the general view, the final report said: "The 2007 State and Federal elections fell far short of basic international and regional standards for democratic elections. They were marred by very poor organisation, lack of essential transparency, widespread procedural irregularities, substantial evidence of fraud, widespread voter disenfranchisement at different stages of the process, lack of equal conditions for political parties and candidates and numerous incidents of violence."
Uganda:On 8 January 2010 BBCreported that a Ugandan government minister has said that a proposed law which includes the death penalty for some homosexual acts is "not necessary". Information Minister Kabakumba Matsiko stressed that the government had not yet decided whether or not to back it. His comments are believed to be the first public sign that some members of the government may not support the bill. Meanwhile, Aston Kajara, minister of state for investments, added that the government might put pressure on the MP behind the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to withdraw it.
Zimbabwe:On 8 January 2010 BBCreported that a human rights group says it is concerned about "continuing abuses" at diamond mines in Zimbabwe. This follows a last-minute decision by Zimbabwean authorities to halt a three-day sale of about 300,000 carats of rough diamonds. Global Witness says some mines remain in the hands of the military despite an agreement with international monitors. Insiders have told the BBC that the sale was only halted after "blood diamond" trade monitors intervened. Last November Zimbabwe narrowly missed being suspended from the Kimberly Process and so banned from selling diamonds. It promised to allow monitors to examine all shipments that come from the Marange mines and was given until June to clean up its diamond trade. But Global Witness says those monitors are still not in place. Investigators have found evidence of killings and forced evictions at the Marange field after soldiers moved in, saying they were acting against illegal miners. Activists have accused the military of carrying out widespread atrocities in the mines and say the profits from the stones go to President Robert Mugabe and his allies. The government has always denied these allegations.
Sri Lanka:On 7 January 2010 BBCreported a UN envoy as saying that a video apparently showing extra-judicial killings of Tamils by Sri Lankan troops is genuine. UN special rapporteur Philip Alston said three independent experts had confirmed the video was authentic, renewing calls for a war crime inquiry. The footage - which Sri Lanka says is fabricated - shows men dressed like soldiers shooting a unarmed men in the head. It was allegedly filmed in January during the final stages of the bloody conflict with Tamil Tigers rebels. The government in Colombo said it concluded the video was fake after conducting its own investigation. The video was provided to the BBC and other media organisations by a group called Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, which said it showed "the reality of the behaviour of the government forces during the war".
India:On 7 January 2010 BBCreported that the United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa) has threatened to attack "illegal migrants" from Bangladesh. The announcement came days after its top leaders were detained in Dhaka and handed to India. ULFA rebels have attacked settlers of Bengali origin, including leaders of minority groups, in the past.
Uganda:On 7 January 2010 New Visionreported that approximately 200,000 people are still living in camps for the internally displaced in the north and Teso region. The disaster preparedness minister, Musa Ecweru, said out of the two million who had been displaced by the LRA insurgency and the 2007 floods, 1.8 million had returned to their homes. He observed that those remaining in the camps and the returnees had been hit by drought and famine.
Kenya:On 6 January 2010 BBCreported that Kenyans testifying about the violence that swept the country after the 2007 election have been subjected to death threats and attacks in recent days.
Kenya:On 6 January 2010 Daily Nationreported the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights asked Pre-Trial Chambers of the International Criminal Court to authorise chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to start investigations into post-election violence in Kenya as soon as possible.
Zimbabwe:On 6 January 2010 The Heraldreported that members of Parliament across the political divide have given their nod to the constitution-making process, which is set to begin next week after several postponements last year because of logistical problems.
Zimbabwe:On 6 January 2010 The Heraldreported that the Zimbabwean government has pledged to assist women in all sectors as it intensifies efforts to empower them and promote gender equality. Women Affairs Secretary Dr Sylvia Masango said a lot of women countrywide were involved in small businesses but were lacking financial support to boost their businesses. She said her ministry would soon convene a meeting with women involved in mining to explore ways of augmenting their businesses. Turning to the ongoing constitution-making process, Dr Masango reportedly said that they had lined up programmes across the country to encourage women to participate in the crafting of a new constitution. She urged women to take advantage of the constitution-making process to make significant contributions so that their voices are heard.
Pakistan: On 19 December 2009 BBCreported that Pakistan's government has said it will not resign, following a court ruling which overturned an amnesty for politicians facing corruption charges. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the government had no intention of bowing to opposition demands to stand down. Senior figures including interior and defence ministers are among those affected by the Supreme Court ruling.
Rwanda: On 19 December 2009 New Timesreported that the Minister of Justice Tharcisse Karugarama has condemned and refuted reports that government intends to criminalize homosexual acts saying that sexual orientation is a private matter not state business. His reaction comes after international organizations, including rights groups and gay communities across the world raised an alarm in several reports accusing the government of trying to consider a law against homosexuality and demanding that that the Rwandan Parliament withdraws article 217 of the penal code regarding homosexuality. The Minister accused the 'groups for either acting in total ignorance or intentionally presenting wrong facts for their own political motives.'
Nigeria: On 18 December 2009 BBCreported that a high-profile former Nigerian minister has gone to court to challenge moves to arrest him over corruption allegations. As a close ally of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Minister Nasir el-Rufai used to be one of Nigeria's most powerful people. He is wanted over the alleged disappearance of some $246m of government funds. The warrant was issued after the authorities said he had missed several invitations to answer the allegations against him. He denies any wrong-doing and his lawyer says the charges are politically motivated.
Nigeria:On 18 December 2009 allAfrica.comreported the publication of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) review report. The report, which details Nigeria's key governance challenges and outlines a programme of action to address the problems identified, should have been made available to the public more than six months ago. By and large, the report reveals familiar information about the country's most pressing problems. The report reminds its readers of Nigeria's complex, challenging context of diverse ethnic identities, religious affiliations and economic and other disparities, and of the tensions and conflicts among its states and regions. The report also offers frank criticism of the country's failure to transfer some of the immense power concentrated in its central government to its federal states, while it also candidly discusses well-known challenges, such as rampant corruption, political patronage and a grossly-underpaid and poorly-trained civil service whose inefficiency is legendary. Constitutional reform is earmarked as urgent, as is addressing the crisis of the oil-rich Niger Delta and redefining the role of traditional leaders.
Papua New Guinea: On 18 December 2009 Pacific Islands News Associationreported that there had been a mass jail break at Papua New Guinea's Buimo jail in Lae. About 73 prisoners including convicts and remandees dashed for freedom by using jail commander Samson Jaro as a human shield. Most of the prisoners were classified as high risk. Two have been recaptured and one was shot dead. The Mamose region Assistant Commissioner of police, Giossi said that officers at Buimo were severely understaffed. Commander Labi said that the Government should seriously look at increasing manpower and resources at jails to prevent further breakouts like those at Bomana, Mount Hagen and now in Lae.
Rwanda: On 18 December 2009 BBCreported that the UN Security Council has given the tribunal for Rwanda's genocide until 2012 to finish all its cases. The court, set up to try those most responsible for the genocide, was originally due to close in 2008 but some key suspects remain at large. Rwanda has long complained that the tribunal is too slow and expensive.
Uganda: On 18 December 2009 IPSreported that the Electoral Commission of Uganda has said that if they tightened the noose around parties which fail to declare election funding, all of them would probably be deregistered. Under the Uganda Constitution and the Political Parties and Organisations Act of 2005 (PPOA), political parties must disclose their sources of income to the electoral commission. Parties are also supposed to audit their books of account every year, and the commission appoints independent auditors to verify. But electoral commission chairman Badru Kigunddu says none of the parties - including the ruling NRM - has turned in their books of account.
Pakistan: On 17 December 2009 BBCreported that Pakistan's main opposition has urged President Asif Zardari to resign after the Supreme Court declared an amnesty against corruption charges illegal. The court's move opens the way to possible prosecution for Mr Zardari's political allies, although he is still protected by presidential immunity. Mr Zardari faces several pending court cases against him in Pakistan.
India: On 17 December 2009 BBCreported that India's Supreme Court has admitted a plea to end the life of a woman who has been in a vegetative state since 1973. Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse in Mumbai (Bombay), has been paralysed and considered "brain-dead" since she was attacked by a rapist in November 1973. The plea has been made by a journalist who has written a book on Ms Shanbaug. The court will examine if the plea is "akin to euthanasia". It is being seen as a landmark case in India where euthanasia or mercy killing is illegal.
Mozambique: On 17 December 2009 BBCreported that Mozambique's Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi has declared that the country will co-operate fully with Rwanda to hand over genocide suspects. His comments come after Rwanda accused Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia of being unwilling to help hunt those suspected of involvement in the 1994 killings. He said Mozambique would comply with international law and had sent its justice minister to Kigali for talks.
Nigeria: On 17 December 2009 BBCreported that the former governor of Nigeria's oil-rich Delta State has been cleared of 170 charges of corruption - involving the laundering of millions of dollars. The federal court in Asaba said there was no clear evidence against James Ibori, governor from 1999 to 2007. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which brought the prosecution, described the judgement as hazy and pledged to appeal against it. Correspondents say the government has had to defend itself recently amid growing anger that it is slowing down its anti-corruption drive.
Namibia:On 16 December 2009 BBCreported that opposition parties in Namibia have launched a court challenge to the results of last month's election. Nine out of the country's 14 opposition parties are calling for a recount of the ballot. Before the vote, the electoral commission rejected allegations that the voters' roll included constituencies that had been listed twice, voters who had been listed twice and people who were too young to vote. The BBC's correspondent says the parties are now anxious to match the number of voters on the electoral roll with the number of people eligible to vote.
South Africa:On 16 December 2009 allAfrica.comreported that President Jacob Zuma has denounced attacks on migrants from elsewhere in Africa who are living in the country. He was speaking after continuing xenophobic attacks in which migrants - particularly Zimbabwean and Somali refugees - have been chased out of the poor communities in which they live. He called for "an improved understanding" of the plight of refugees and of why they were in South Africa.
Uganda:On 15 December 2009 New Visionreported that the former traditional surgeons and mentors have said that the Government should conduct massive sensitization about the new law on female genital mutilation among the practicing communities in north-eastern Uganda since most people in the practising communities were not aware of the contents in the Bill.
Uganda:On 15 December 2009 New Visionreported that womens' rights activists have warned that the new law against gender-based violence will not stop abuse against women if the root causes of mistreatment are not addressed. Prof. Sylvia Tamale, the dean of the Faculty of Law at Makerere University, argued that for any law to address violence against women, it must first deal with the powerful sexist cultural values and patriarchal power relations. She urged the Government to sensitise the public on the prejudices, stereotypes, biases, misinformation and myths about women in society.
Rwanda:On 15 December 2009 New Timesreported that years after the Rwandan government sent indictments of nine Genocide fugitives living in Mozambique, the country's Minister of Justice, Levi Benvinda, has vowed that her government will offer support and collaboration in tracking down the suspects and bring them to justice.
Sierra Leone:On 15 December 2009 BBCreported that members of a Sierra Leone traditional group have besieged a woman's house and stopped her from going home after she launched a legal bid to become a chief. Elizabeth Simbiwa Sogbo-Tortu was barred from an election to the chiefdom because she was a woman. She lost an initial appeal against the ban - a ruling condemned by women's rights groups who are vowing to take her case to the Supreme Court. A BBC correspondent says politicians are afraid of angering traditionalists. The BBC's Umaru Fofana in Freetown says the politicians also do not want to antagonise women - making them afraid of the whole issue.
South Africa:On 15 December 2009 IRINreported that a report released by the Forced Migration Studies Programme has pointed out that the humanitarian nature of the mass movement of Zimbabweans to neighbouring Southern African countries has blurred the distinction between what is a 'refugee' and an 'economic migrant', because such people fit neither category perfectly and fall between the cracks. Monica Kiwanuka, the main researcher for the report said that many Zimbabweans resist the category of refugee, which connotes dependency, and emphasize their ability to work yet given the extent of economic collapse at home they could hardly be considered "voluntary" economic migrants. She drew attention to the fact that there are currently no legal instruments in the region, or in specific countries, that address the needs of this forced, mixed and livelihood-seeking migration. Only recognized refugees and asylum seekers qualify for humanitarian assistance and legal protection in a host state.
Zimbabwe:On 15 December 2009 SW Radio Africareported that a High Court appeal in South Africa could force the state to prosecute known Zimbabwean rights violators who travel to the country, after the South African government's vehicle for criminal prosecution refused to do so, earlier this year. The appeal was brought forward by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and the Zimbabwe Exiles forum in the Gauteng High Court on Tuesday, following a decision by the South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) not to prosecute 18 known Zimbabwean human rights violators.
India:On 14 December 2009 BBCreported that Indian MPs have begun moves to impeach the top judge in the southern state of Karnataka on corruption charges. Seventy-five MPs submitted a petition in the upper house seeking the removal of PD Dinakaran, chief justice of the Karnataka high court. Mr Dinakaran denies allegations of corruption against him.
Papua New Guinea:On 14 December 2009 Pacific Islands News Associationreported that Papua New Guinea's anti-corruption boss has been shot and seriously wounded in an assassination attempt.
Rwanda:On 14 December 2009 BBCreported that a Rwandan journalist who encouraged Hutus to slaughter Tutsis during the 1994 genocide has been jailed for life. During her trial Valerie Bemeriki admitted to inciting violence. She was one of the most prominent voices of Radio Mille Collines - a station which became notorious for its encouragement of the slaughter.
Solomon Islands:On 14 December 2009 Pacific Islands News Associationreported that the head of Solomon Islands' police force has said there are no immediate plans to rearm its officers. Royal Solomons Police Force Commissioner Peter Marshall says the decision of whether to rearm will be made by the Solomon Islands Government. He said there were strong feelings on both sides of the issue but "the Government stance at the moment is that the force is not to be armed and we will await any decision from the Government."
Uganda:On 14 December 2009 New Visionreported that the Inspector General of Police, Major General Kale Kayihura, has made a shake-up in the Police leadership, transferring nearly all the district Police commanders countrywide. The Police boss also transferred a number of criminal investigations officers at both the regional and district level. The reshuffle comes at a time when two district Police commanders are facing charges of corruption and abuse of office. In a related development, Kayihura has created three more Police regions in the north to improve delivery of services and efficiency within the force.
Kenya: On 13 December 2009 BBCreported that The UK government has frozen funding for free primary education in Kenya until an investigation into fraud allegations has been carried out. The Department for International Development reportedly said that no more money would be released until $1m thought to be missing had been accounted for.
Sri Lanka: On 13 December 2009 BBCreported that the Sri Lankan government has accused former army chief General Sarath Fonseka of betraying the nation after he alleged that the defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, had ordered the killing of Tamil Tiger rebel leaders as they were trying to surrender last May. Amidst international allegations of war crimes, the Sri Lankan government had long maintained that they were in fact shot by other rebel fighters.
The UN: On 11 December 2009 Human Rights Watchreported that a United Nations General Assembly panel that met this week broke new ground and helped build new momentum for ending human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The meeting included discussion of discriminatory and draconian 'anti-homosexuality legislation' currently before the Ugandan parliament.
India: On 11 December 2009 BBCreported that every third Indian is living below the poverty line according to a report by economist Suresh Tendulkar. People living in the states of Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh were found to be among the poorest, the report said. It also found that the number of poor in cities had decreased, while those in villages had gone up. Correspondents say that for all of India's impressive economic progress, the number of Indians living in extreme poverty is not declining fast enough. Unless India commits itself to greater social spending and intervention, it will be difficult to reduce poverty, correspondents say.
Kenya: On 11 December 2009 BBCreported that the family of a Kenyan man being held at the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay is suing Kenya's government for $30m. Papers filed at Nairobi's High Court say Abdul Malik was wrongfully detained and tortured after his arrest in 2007. According to reports the Pentagon has said that he admitted his involvement in the 2002 attack on an Israeli hotel in Mombasa and trying to shoot down an Israeli airliner. But his family says he is innocent and there is no evidence against him. The family's lawyer Mbugua Mureithi reportedly told the BBC Somali Service that Kenya's police have provided a sworn affidavit that they have no evidence against him. The case is due to be heard on 14 January 2010.
Solomon Islands: On 11 December 2009 Pacific Islands News Associationreported that Solomon Islands National Parliament has recommended the rearming of certain special units within the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. The Royal Solomon Islands Police has never been rearmed since its disarmament as a result of the 2000 coup.
Sri Lanka: On 11 December 2009 BBCreported that a senior United Nations envoy has asked the Sri Lankan government to release all detained Tamil Tiger child soldiers and reunite them with their families. Mr Cammaert reportedly said that children in government-run camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) were also at risk. The government recently allowed tens of thousands of civilians held in IDP camps to move about more freely from 1 December, but aid agencies and reporters are still barred from entering them and speaking with inmates. Mr Cammaert said that the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Save the Children should be allowed into all camps to help unaccompanied and separated children.
Uganda: On 10 December 2009 BBCreported that a Ugandan MP accused of calling for a 'gay death penalty' says he has been misrepresented and is only trying to criminalise child abusers. David Bahati says the proposed new offence of 'aggravated homosexuality' is a penalty against 'defilement' of under-18s. Homosexuality is already illegal in the country. But the new Anti-Homosexuality Bill tabled by Mr Bahati proposes a widening of the definition of homosexual acts. It would allow the government to fine or imprison anyone found to be promoting homosexuality and to execute those having gay sex with disabled people or under-18s, or when the accused is HIV-positive.
Uganda: On 10 December 2009 BBCreported that Ugandan MPs have voted to outlaw female genital mutilation - also known as female circumcision. Anyone convicted of the practice will face 10 years in jail or a life sentence if a victim dies.
India: On 10 December 2009 BBCreported that India's Supreme Court has asked the government to consider legalising prostitution if it is unable to curb it effectively. The court said legalising prostitution would help in the monitoring of the trade and rehabilitating sex workers. The court's remarks came while dealing with a public interest litigation filed by an NGO about child trafficking. The court said child trafficking and prostitution were flourishing because of poverty. It is estimated that there are more than two million female sex workers in the country. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8405154.stm
Rwanda: On 10 December 2009 The New Timesreported that as the National Gacaca Courts Service prepares to close shop in February next year, a senior official has said that up to 2,261 cases still stand in the way to its winding up. But he said he was confident that the backlog would be cleared before any closure.
Sierra Leone: On 9 December 2009 IRINreported that the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) an NGO monitoring reparations progress in Sierra Leone has said that while the country has made a strong start in compensating war victims only early steps have been made in a long process that needs long-term government commitment and funding. To meet its obligations to eligible war victims - orphans, war widows, amputees and rape survivors - the government must commit financially to long-term health and education assistance, building a sustainable national programme in collaboration with victims and civil society, ICTJ says in a 4 December report.
India: On 9 December 2009 BBCreported that a new report by Human Rights Watch alleges that the ongoing conflict between Maoists and government forces is disrupting the education of India's most marginalised children. The report has urged the rebels to stop attacking state-run schools. It has also asked the government to instruct its troops not to use school buildings as part of their operations. A total of 14 schools have reportedly been attacked in the states of Jharkhand and Bihar alone over the past month.
Kiribati: On 9 December 2009 PacNews reported that nearly 70% of the women in Kiribati experience abuse by their husbands, close relatives and others.This was revealed in a recent study conducted by the Ministry of Internal and Social Welfare. Women's organisations, churches and other concerned bodies have challenged the government to remedy these problems.
Nigeria: On 9 December 2009 Amnesty International published a report on the shocking level of unlawful police killings in Nigeria. It alleged that: 'Police don't only kill people by shooting them; they also torture them to death, often while they are in detention'. It further stated that 'The majority of the cases go un-investigated and the police officers responsible go unpunished. The families of the victims usually get no justice or redress. Most never even find out what happened to their loved ones'. Police frequently claim that the victims of shootings were 'armed robbers' killed in 'shoot-outs' with the police or while trying to escape custody.
South Africa: On 9 December 2009 Cape Argusreported that Cape's provincial leadership says there has been "a clear escalation of political intolerance" in the Western Cape recently - a trend which, the party says, has culminated in three of its members being shot dead during the past 10 days.
Dominica: On 9 December 2009 Carribbean Net Newsreported that following a request from Prime Minister Roosavelt Skerrit the Organization of American States (OAS) is sending an electoral observation mission for the general elections in Dominica, scheduled for 18 December 2009.
Fiji: On 9 December 2009 Fiji Sunreported that Japanese leaders will continue to engage with Fiji's leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama's administration. They believe it is imperative that Japan engages with Commodore Bainimarama on critical good governance and human rights issues to encourage the country to make the transition to democracy.
Fiji: On 9 December 2009 PacNewsreported that Fiji's administration has imposed the Public Emergency Regulation (PER) for another month. The public emergency regulation provides for the 'control of broadcast and publications from all media outlets in the island nation'. Section 16 of the Regulations stipulates that the State has the authority to stop any broadcast or publication it believes could cause 'disorder', 'undue demands on security forces', 'promote disaffection or public alarm' or 'undermine the Government and the State of Fiji'.
St Kitts and Nevis: On 8 December 2009 Caribbean Net News reported that Prime Minister Denzil Douglas used the opportunity of his attendance at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago to meet with officials of the Georgetown-based CARICOM Secretariat and the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat to update them on the ongoing electoral reform process in St Kitts and Nevis. The process to date has resulted in several initiatives including a new Voters List and issuance of an identification card to registered voters. The final phase includes the report from the Constituency Boundaries Commission.
Tanzania: On 8 December 2009 The Citizenreported that President Jakaya Kikwete's leadership has continued to be attacked by leaders from various quarters of the country. At the opening of a meeting of the Civic United Front (CUF's) Party's leadership council in Dar es Salaam the CUF national chairman, Prof Ibrahim Lipumba reportedly told delegates attending the conference that as the President continues to spend billions of shillings of taxpayers' money for his trips, poor Tanzanians continue to live in abject poverty, in some cases, dying of hunger. He also reportedly claimed that grand corruption has gone untouched even in instances with sufficient evidence. The state of politics in the country will be one of 13 agendas that the CUF Party leaders will deliberate on during the two-day meeting.
Uganda: On 8 December 2009 New Visionreported that the African Report on Child Wellbeing 2008 has classified Uganda as a 'fairly child-friendly' country and ranked it 21st among 52 African countries. According to the report, the child-friendliness index assesses the extent to which African governments respect and protect children and ensure their wellbeing. The article praised the Universal Primary and Secondary Education programmes but said their implementation and the high student drop-out rate were still cause for concern. It reported that defilement and child abuse dominate court cases in the country and there are large numbers of street children.
Kenya: On 8 December 2009 Daily Nationreported that Kofi Annan has said Kenya is making progress on reforms but there is still more to be done. He reportedly said that the publishing of the harmonised draft constitution and the adoption of the Sessional Paper on Land Reform by the National Assembly were major achievements. But he added that he was "concerned by the increasing ethnic divisions and lack of cohesion within government and across Kenyan Society," saying that they "undermine efforts to promote national healing and reconciliation".
Kenya: On 8 December 2009 Daily Nationreported that the new voter registration process is set to start in February next year. The country has no voter register following the disbandment of the Samuel Kivuitu-led Electoral Commission of Kenya last year. The Interim Independent Electoral Commission chairman Isaack Hassan reportedly said that the commission requires Sh6.4billion to set up a secretariat for the registration exercise. He added an additional Sh3.6 billion is needed to carry out a referendum for the new constitution.
Kenya: On 8 December 2009 Daily Nationreported that the Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende has said that sentences meted out in court should be upheld to end impunity. The Speaker reportedly said the current law enforcement system is lax and does not deter law offenders. He further expressed concern that many death row convicts are yet to be executed.
Nigeria: On 8 December 2009 BBCreported that the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu is overwhelmed by the number of corpses being bought to them by police. The Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Anthony Mbah, says his staff are being forced to carry out mass burials. Records reportedly show 75 corpses were delivered to the morgue by police between June and 26 November this year. Mbah reportedly alleges that his staff were forced to carry out a mass burial of between 70 and 80 bodies some weeks ago. He says that another mass burial is planned to take place soon. The BBC has reportedly established that at least seven people were last seen alive in police custody before being brought in dead.
Solomon Islands: On 8 December 2009 Pacific Islands News Associationreported that the Chairman of the Solomon Islands Foreign Relations Committee, Peter Boyers believes the situation in Solomon Islands still remains fragile despite the return of law and order. "There is no doubt in most Solomon Islander's minds that if the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) leaves before the root causes of the ethnic tension are addressed, frustrated groups will take up arms again and this time, it would be a bigger conflict," he said.
Kenya: On 7 December 2009 Daily Nationreported that Kenya could face an unprecedented food crisis next year besides higher costs of electricity and severe water shortages due to poor rains. Already, farmers in some parts of the Rift Valley have reportedly started to complain of failing crop and dying livestock.
Mozambique: On 7 December 2009 AIMreported that Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Mozambique's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, has insisted that he will press ahead with organising demonstrations against the results of the 28 October general elections, which Renamo regards as fraudulent. Dhlakama claimed he hoped for peaceful demonstrations in each of the 128 districts he intends to submit notifications of demonstration for. However, last week, Deputy Interior Minister Jose Mandra reportedly warned that the police would not tolerate any disturbances of public order. According to reports Dhlakama responded that: "if the police open fire on the demonstrators, we shall respond to defend the people, and we shall respond well".
Namibia: On 7 December 2009 The Namibianreported that eight political parties - the RDP, RP, UDF, Nudo, All People's Party (APP), CoD, Namibia Democratic Movement for Change (NDMC), and the Democratic Party of Namibia (DPN) - do not accept the results of the National Assembly and presidential elections and will take the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to court for allegedly contravening the election law. In a joint statement the eight parties said that 'accepting this supposed election's outcome will be tantamount to undermining democracy in Namibia'. The ruling Swapo Party won the parliamentary election with 75.27% or 602580 votes. The opposition parties jointly collected 208543 votes, with the RDP getting the highest number of votes, namely 90556 votes or 11.31%.
Pakistan: On 7 December 2009 BBCreported that Pakistan's Supreme Court has begun hearing challenges to a controversial Bill that would grant senior politicians and others amnesty from corruption charges. The law lapsed last week after failing to win parliamentary approval. If it is ruled invalid, President Asif Zardari could face challenges to his rule. Mr Zardari still has court cases pending in Pakistan against him. Previously he had also spent years in jail after being convicted on corruption charges which he says were politically motivated. His office currently provides him with immunity from prosecution. But any court decision against the Bill may increase pressure on Mr Zardari and his Pakistan People's Party for him to step down to face the charges.
South Africa: On 7 December 2009 Human Rights Watchreported that South African health care professionals are endangering the health of the country's large foreign population by routinely denying health care and treatment to thousands of asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants. South Africa's foreign-born residents, who are particularly vulnerable to disease and injury, face xenophobic violence as well as systematic discrimination in obtaining basic care. The 89-page report, 'No Healing Here: Violence, Discrimination and Barriers to Health for Migrants in South Africa', describes how harassment, lack of documentation, and the credible fear of deportation prevent many newcomers from seeking medical treatment even though South African law and policy state that asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants have a right to care. Those who do seek treatment are often mistreated and verbally abused by health care workers and denied care or charged unlawful fees. The report recommends four categories of reforms to improve the situation: protection from deportation; protection from attacks; protection from discrimination; and better information.
Kenya: On 7 December 2009 Daily Nationreported the money (Sh5 million +) raised by ministers and MPs in Nairobi a fortnight ago to help Mau forest evictees will be given out starting this week. This announcement was made as the humanitarian crisis in their makeshift structures reportedly escalates. The evictees feel the aid is taking too long to rescue them out of the humanitarian crisis they are facing in camps. Discrepancies over the number of victims in the camps had reportedly delayed the disbursement and MPs had to order a fresh head count.
Central Africa: On 7 December 2009 The East African reported that signatories to the 11-member International Conference on the Great Lakes (including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zambia) have agreed to commit military officers suspected of crimes against humanity to the Hague. The representatives said they would compile evidence for prosecution at the Hague and other international courts of all leaders of illegal armed groups and government forces suspected to have committed war crimes. It is expected to spark a renewed hunt for leaders of dissident groups that have found a safe haven in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Grenada: On 7 December 2009 Grenada Net Newsreported that Finance Minister Nazim Burke has described a draft report on poverty assessment in Grenada as "quite disturbing". The Country Poverty Assessment, carried out over a period from 2008 to 2009, was undertaken by the Trinidad & Tobago firm, Kari Consultants Limited, with support from the Caribbean Development Bank. It revealed that the poverty rate in Grenada rose from 32.1% in 1998 to 37.7% in 2008. Burke claimed that the report reflected the policies of the previous administration which left office last year. He expressed the determination of the current National Democratic Congress government to address poverty and other social problems confronting the nation.
Zimbabwe: On 7 December 2009 SW Radio Africareported that the United Nations has launched a US$378 million appeal to help Zimbabwe bolster health, education, sanitation and food security, with officials explaining that an alarming number of people are still set to face hunger next year. The UN assistant Secretary General for humanitarian affairs and deputy humanitarian coordinator, Catherine Bragg, said priority would be given to rehabilitation of water facilities in urban and rural areas, where an estimated six million people have no access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services. Bragg also stated that more than 1.9 million people are likely to remain food-insecure in the first three months of 2010, while about 650,000 communal farmers would require agricultural inputs. The UN appeal is half as large as in 2009 when the UN asked for US$718 million. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has explained that the reduction in the appeal is partly as a result of 'improved' agriculture and other economic improvements in the country. The group however noted that humanitarian assistance was still critical as millions of Zimbabweans still remain vulnerable from the erosion of basic services and livelihoods.
Malaysia:On 24 August 2009 'BBC' reported that Islamic officials in Malaysia have unexpectedly freed Kartika Sari Dewa Shukarno, who would have been the first woman to be punished by being caned six times for drinking beer. She reportedly pleaded guilty to the offence under Islamic law committed in 2007 and has not appealed against her sentence, therefore the reason for her sudden release remains unclear. A senior Shariah court judge and some lawyers have reportedly said that she cannot be caned unless she is in jail, and as she was not given a jail sentence, she cannot be caned. The case has reportedly provoked controversy in a nation where Malays are subject to Islamic law, while the large Chinese and Indian minorities are not.
Pakistan:On 24 August 2009 'BBC' reported that unidentified gunmen have shot dead Janullah Hasimzada, a 40 year old Afghan journalist, in north-west Pakistan. Hashimzada was the bureau chief in Peshawar for Afghanistan's Shamshad television channel. He was reportedly returning from Afghanistan in a passenger bus when militants ambushed the vehicle near Jamrud, the main town in Khyber tribal district, a stronghold of the Taliban.
Hasimzada was reportedly known to be an outspoken critic of the militants and worked as a freelance, supplying video footage to various organizations around the world. A number of journalists have reportedly been killed in north-west Pakistan in recent years. Media freedom groups say the region is one of the world's most dangerous for journalists to work in.
Uganda:On 21 August 2009 'The Monitor' reported that Members of Parliament have suggested that HIV/Aids testing and counseling be made compulsory in order to control new infection rates in the country. Population Action International organized a workshop aimed at increasing awareness about the scourge where the MPs suggested that compulsory HIV testing would prevent the infected couples from passing it on to other partners out of wedlock. The Uganda Aids Commission Director General, Dr Kihumuro Apuuli, reportedly alerted MPs that high infection rates are linked to a culture of extramarital sex in the country as he noted that out of every 100 new HIV infections, 43 are carried in marriage.
India:On 21 August 2009 'BBC' reported that at least 38% of Indians live in extreme poverty, according to a new report by a government committee headed by economist SD Tendulkar, which considered education, health and sanitation indicators to arrive at the new figure. The figure is more than 10% higher than the current official poverty estimate of 27.5% and if the new estimate is accepted, government spending to alleviate poverty may have to greatly increase. The Indian government has currently not accepted the report. According to the current estimates, the number of poor in India is approximately 297 million yet the new estimate will classify an additional 110 million people as living in poverty.
Kenya:On 20 August 2009 'Daily Nation' reported that the government is putting together a team of security officers from three agencies for expected settler evictions in Mau Forest. The mandate of the team, which is composed of officers from the General Service Unit (GSU), the Administration Police (AP) and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), reportedly will not forcibly evict the settlers from Kenya's largest and most important water tower, but will provide logistical support. The team is reportedly waiting for instructions from Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who is coordinating the forest's reclamation.
Nigeria:On 20 August 2009 'Leadership' reported that the Programme Officer of Gender Awareness Trust (GAT), Miss Linda Sidi, spoke at a one-day town hall meeting in Kano for stakeholders on African Union women protocol on violence against women for Women Rights Advancement Protection Alternative (WRAPA) in collaboration with Gender Awareness Trust. Sidi addressed the issues of gender-based discrimination and violence against women as the hindrance for women's participation in public spheres, which limits democracy in Nigeria. Sidi reportedly stated that women are mostly absent from public forums, leadership positions and decision-making processes in which has aggravated inequality and poverty of women in the country.
Uganda:On 20 August 2009 'The Monitor' reported that The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) re-opened its files containing allegations of violence and intimidation carried out by government soldiers during the 2001 elections against opposition supporters in the Acholi sub-region. Complainants have reportedly been waiting for nearly nine years for the hearings to commence and their alleged tormentors to be brought to justice.
Kenya:On 19 August 2009 'Daily Nation' reported that Central Rift Valley religious leaders have condemned alleged political incitement over the potential Mau settler evictions. They reportedly said the political debate on whether the government should evict hundreds of settlers from the critical water tower was so emotive it could spark chaos in the province. The clerics, under the auspices of the Likia and Beyond Peace and Conflict Resolution Council, reportedly asked the government to handle the issue in a humane manner to avert more land conflicts.
Nigeria:On 19 August 2009 'This Day' reported that stakeholders have called for complete implementation and domestication of the Child Rights Acts 2003 of Nigeria, which has been ratified in about 17 Nigerian states. A Senior Programme Officer of the Defence for Children International (DCI) Nigeria Section, Busola Bababola, reportedly made the call in reaction to a recent incident involving a nine-year old girl, who was reportedly raped by her 39-year-old teacher in Ayobo area of Lagos State. Sections 31 and 32 of the Child Rights Act 2003 reportedly state that 'no person shall have sexual intercourse with a child' and anyone who contravenes the provision of this 'is liable to conviction to imprisonment for life.'
Nigeria: On 18 August 2009 'Daily Trust' reported that a Federal Government delegation was in Geneva, Switzerland to apologize to the United Nations for the alleged extra-judicial killings of Boko Haram sect leaders last month, says head of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Ronald Ewubare. The delegation reportedly comprised Attorney-General of the Federation Michael Aondoakaa, the NHRC boss and the state house counsel. Aondoakaa, who confirmed the Geneva trip, reportedly said the Federal Government would punish members of security forces found to have perpetrated the alleged extra-judicial killings. Hundreds of Boko Haram followers were allegedly summarily executed in Maiduguri, Borno State, where violence that started with attacks on police and other establishment formations left more than 700 dead. Though the police claimed to have killed the Boko Haram leaders in combat, video evidence later showed that the sect leader Mohammed Yusuf and alleged financier Buji Foi were shot dead in captivity.
Nigeria:On 17 August 2009 'Leadership' reported that The House of Representatives has challenged the Presidency to properly investigate the alleged execution of some Nigerians in Libya and stop depending on internet sources. Chairman of the House Committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, who reportedly gave this advice challenged the Special Adviser on Communications to the President, Mr. Segun Adeniyi, to stop using internet information as a means of arriving at decisions that affect the lives of Nigerians in Diaspora.
Guyana: On 17 August 2009 'Caribbean Net News' reported that the Population Reference Bureau's 2009 World Population Data Sheet shows that a significant number of nationals in three Commonwealth Countries in the Caribbean (Guyana 17%, St. Lucia 41%, Trinidad and Tobago 14%) live on less than US$2 a day. http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/stlucia/stlucia.php?news_id=18281&start=0&category_id=20
India: On 17 August 2009 'BBC' reported that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has urged the country's judiciary to address the massive backlog of pending cases, which he says is the biggest in the world. Official figures show that more than 30 million cases are pending in Indian courts - some since 1950. Mr Singh reportedly said that clearing the cases was the biggest challenge facing the country's judiciary and that the backlog has been blamed on the number of vacancies for judges and on archaic laws.
Bahamas:On 15 August 2009 'The Washington Examiner' reported that lawmakers are debating a bill that would make marital rape a crime in the Bahamas, overturning the current system in which consent to sexual intercourse is presumed in a legal marriage. Minister of State for Social Development Loretta Butler-Turner reportedly introduced the landmark amendments to the Sexual Offences Act in the House of Assembly. Currently, marital rape is only recognized in the Bahamas if the couple is separated or in the process of getting a divorce therefore, if a couple is married and there has been no separation, no rape can occur under Bahamian law.
Kenya:On 15 August 2009 'Daily Nation' reported that the Orange Democratic Movement will support Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara's bill seeking to set up a local tribunal to try Kenya's post election violence suspects. The party's secretary general and Medical Services minister Prof Anyang' Nyong'o reportedly told a fundraiser in Mr Imanyara's constituency on Saturday that the party will back his efforts to end impunity by voting in support of the bill in Parliament.
Kenya:On 13 August 2009 'Daily Nation' reported that the national population census will determine the new electoral boundaries in Kenya. The work of the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission will reportedly be determined by whether Kenya adopts a centralized or federal form of government while mapping experts from South Africa, India, Canada and Kenya said population would be a major factor that would determine how the country will divide its constituencies and other administrative areas.
Nigeria:On 13 August 2009 'Leadership' reported that the House of Representatives has protested plans by the Libyan government to go ahead and execute about 200 Nigerians in Libya. The Diaspora Committee Chairperson, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa reportedly pointed out reports that suggest "between 32 and 40 blacks, mostly Nigerians, have been quietly executed, while the Libyan government has concluded arrangement to execute another 200 Nigerians who have been held in various detention camps since last year." The Chairman of the Special Duties Committee, Hon. Samson Osagie, lamented that until now, there has been no visible evidence by the Federal Government to intervene.
Nigeria:On 13 August 2009 'Leadership' reported that to ensure the success of the amnesty programme, the Federal Government said it would sign an agreement of commitment with all the militants who have embraced the project and surrendered their arms at the end of the 60- day grace period which expires on October 4, 2009. This will reportedly follow a stock taking of all the camps, infrastructures such as boats ,arms and other facilities put in place by the militants in their various places of abode.
Nigeria:On 13 August 2009 'UN News Service' expressed its concerns at the mass evictions planned by the River State Government which, in February, reportedly announced plans to demolish all waterfront settlements in Port Harcourt as part of an urban renewal strategy. The authorities have allegedly carried out demolitions at various sites throughout Port Harcourt in violation of a stay order issued by the Federal High Court to stop the evictions. UN Special Rapporteur Raquel Rolnik reminded the Government that, according to international human rights standards, people affected by forced evictions have the right to compensation and to procedural protection, including genuine consultation, adequate and reasonable notice, and the provision of legal remedies. According to local sources, Port Harcourt's military forces arrested over 1,000 residents on 5 August 2009, who were protesting against the demolition of their homes.
Nigeria:On 13 August 2009 'This Day' reported that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on the Nigerian Armed Forces to respect the 1949 Geneva Convention which demands the upholding of life and dignity in armed conflict to protect civilians, prisoners and detainees, injured military and humanitarian workers. ICRC Head of Mission, Jocques Vilettaz believes achieving this entails a restructuring of the training of the Nigerian Armed Froces to incorporate the universal law of armed conflict.
Nigeria:On 13 August 2009 'Daily Independent - Lagos' reported that American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has offered her country's assistance to Nigeria in the implementation of electoral reforms, but urged it to take a firmer stand against corruption. Clinton voiced US support of Nigeria's efforts to increase transparency, reduce corruption, provide support for democratic processes in preparation for the 2011 elections and added that the two countries are preparing for the development of a "binational commission" to tackle a range of issues from Niger Delta violence to electoral reforms.
India:On 12 August 2009 'BBC' reported that India's water use is unsustainable. According to results from NASA gravity satellites, the Grace mission discovered that in the northwest - including Delhi - the water table is falling by about 4cm (1.6 inches) per year. Rainfall amounts have not necessarily changed too drastically from year to year but the use of water is too high, especially for farming. NASA's results were published two days after the Indian government released a report stating that access to water was one of the main factors governing the pace of development. Despite the fact that areas of India are experiencing drought since the monsoon has been weaker than usual, according to NASA's rainfall records of the current decade, the situation is not out of the ordinary. NASA hydrologists believe that the cause is excessive stress on the groundwater levels due to people pumping too much water.
Nigeria:On 12 August 2009 'Leadership' reported that there are currently 735 Nigerian prisoners on death row worldwide. Amnesty International disclosed this and also expressed concern over the execution of foreign nationals in Saudi Arabia, the latest being the beheading of a Nigerian, Qorbi bin Mussa Adam, last week, who was convicted of murdering a Saudi national. Adam was reportedly the second Nigerian to be executed in the oil-rich kingdom this year. The other Nigerian, Jamil 'Abbas Shu'ayb, was beheaded in May 2009.Amnesty has reportedly called on the Saudi government to establish an immediate moratorium on executions and to commute all outstanding death sentences as a first step towards abolition.
Uganda:On 12 August 2009 'New Vision' reported that officials have extended the deadline for the voluntary repatriation of Rwandan refugees in Uganda from May 31 to August 31. UNHCR says there are 6,000, while other agencies say there are still 15,000 Rwandan refugees in Uganda. The Rwandan state minister for community development and social affairs, Christine Nyatanyi, said only 5,500 refugees were repatriated between May and July 2009 and reportedly blames the slow response to repatriation to land-related problems, Gacaca traditional genocide courts and security.
Uganda:On 12 August 2009 'New Vision' reported that the Uganda Human Rights Commission tribunal has commenced hearings after seven months of recess. The commission reportedly last had its hearings in November last year before the term of office for the former commissioners, led by Margaret Sekaggya, expired. According to the officials, the commission has registered over 500 cases countrywide since January, while others were carried forward from the previous years. The commission reportedly plans to hear 191 cases this month.
Kenya:On 9 August 2009 'Daily Nation' reported that a human rights organisation has called on the government to improve security in northern Kenya to avert killings and cattle rustling. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) reportedly said on Sunday that 70 people have been killed and more than 5,000 livestock stolen since December 2007 in Isiolo, Samburu, Tigania, Igembe, Garbatula and Laisamis. KNCHR vice-chairman Hassan Omar Hassan is deeply concerned over the government's inaction on the security situation in the region as last week, tension was high in Natu area following killings on Wednesday carried out by about 15 armed cattle rustlers, who also made away with 250 camels. The Kenya Red Cross reportedly said tension was also high between two communities in Gambela, Isiolo District, where close to 10 people lost their lives and more than 1,700 families were displaced last month.
Sri Lanka:On 8 August 2009 'BBC' reported that initial results from the first post-war elections in northern Sri Lanka show the governing party has taken Jaffna, the region's biggest city but it suffered a defeat in Vavuniya, the other town where polling took place, where the Tamil National Alliance a coalition supportive of the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels won. Turnout in Jaffna was reportedly low as correspondents say people felt the vote took place too early, with thousands still displaced. Elections were also reportedly carried out in the absence of independent monitors or journalists. The local elections reportedly came a day after the defence ministry said it had arrested the new head of the Tamil Tigers, Selvarasa Pathmanathan.
Uganda:On 8 August 2009 'New Vision' reported that the parliamentary committee on public accounts has ordered prison authorities to stop hiring out inmates to work on private people's farms. This is after discovering that the practice was responsible for the rampant torture and exploitation of inmates. Some prison officials have been reportedly conniving with state attorneys to keep able-bodied inmates on remand for long, in order to exploit their labour. The prisoners who often trek long distances from prison to the work site and back, end up hating the activities meant to transform them into responsible citizens, 'New Vision' reports.
Uganda:On 7 August 2009 'The Monitor' reported that the Jinja District is experiencing severe child labour, a senior District Probation Officer, Mr Opio Owuma has revealed. Mr Opio reportedly said child labour is on the rise because many children are neglected by their parents, forcing them to work in sugar plantations and private companies where they are exploited and their rights are abused. "Over 15 cases of child labour have been taken to court and investigations are ongoing to stop child exploitation in the district," Mr Opio has reported.
Kenya:On 7 August 2009 'Daily Nation' reported that the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit in Kenya has denied holding a terrorism suspect arrested on July 31st. Mr Boniface Mwaniki, the deputy commandant of the unit, reportedly told the court that Mr Ahmed Abdullahi is not at Inland Deport Police Post yet admitted that the suspect was arrested alongside four others and detained in police custody. He reportedly disclosed to Lady Justice Jean Gacheche that police laid ambush in a house at Eastleigh then nabbed the landlady, Najima Sharrif, and four others Adan Ibrahim Abdullahi, Badrudin Ayub and Mohammed Gelle. Mr Mwaniki said Mr Abdullahi, Mr Ayub and Mr Gelle were arraigned before a Kibera Court for being in the country unlawfully and were released on bond by Kibera Chief Magistrate Mrs Uniter Kidula. He also reportedly divulged that Najima Shariff was released without any charges being preferred against her.
Gambia:On 7 August 2009 'AllAfrica.com' reported that Six Gambian journalists have been sentenced to two-year jail terms and each fined about U.S. $10,000 on sedition and criminal defamation charges. If the journalists are unable to pay the fine, they will reportedly face an additional two years in jail, according to the Gambia Press Union (GPU). The convicted journalists are Sarata Jabbi Dibbi, the GPU vice president; Pa Modou Faal, GPU treasurer; Pape Saine, publisher of the Point; Ebou Sawaneh, editor of the Point; Sam Starr, editor of Foroyaa; and Emil Touray, the GPU secretary-general. The journalists were charged for their role in printing a GPU press release critical of President Yahya Jammeh on 11 June 2009. In another television interview on 22 July 2009, after the journalists were arrested and charged, President Jammeh reportedly said: "So they think they can hide behind so-called press freedom and violate the law and get away with it... They got it wrong this time. We are going to prosecute them to the letter."
Kenya:On 7 August 2009 'Daily Nation' reported that the newly constituted Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission may not conclude its work owing to its broad mandate and the time limit. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights reportedly said that the two years in which the commission was expected to conclude its work in addressing the human rights abuses experienced since independence was not enough. KNCHR chairperson Florence Jaoko reportedly said the time was too short in regard to the broad mandate given to the Bethuel Kiplagat-led team and that uncovering the human right violations including the deaths of politicians Robert Ouko and JM Kariuki and other killings was a huge task that required ample time.
Namibia:On 7 August 2009 'The Namibia Economist' reported that the Zero Tolerance Campaign for Gender Based Violence and Human Trafficking ( a collaboration between the US and Namibian governments) was unveiled at Oshikango Border Post last week. A US expert on human trafficking with funding from USAID led a team of regional and local researchers in producing a Baseline Assessment of Human Trafficking in Namibia. The objective of this assessment was reportedly to identify the scale and scope of the problem in Namibia. The report identified a small number of cases of human trafficking, including instances of labour exploitation and sexual exploitation, and additional cases of suspected trafficking, the Namibia Economist reports.
Nigeria:On 7 August 2009 'Daily Trust' reported that at the inauguration of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board in Abuja, President Umaru Musa Yar'adua said that the ongoing amnesty program for Niger Delta militants will not succeed unless all stakeholders in the region are sincerely interested in ending the crisis and that leaders must avoid parochial or political considerations in their pursuit of resolution of the crisis.
Zambia:On 7 August 2009 'Times of Zambia' reported that Vice President George Kunda has challenged media bodies in the country to come up with a draft Bill for self-regulation within six months failure to which the Government will introduce one in Parliament. During a meeting with some media representatives in Lusaka, Mr. Kunda reportedly said that the Government already had a draft policy on the matter, as it could not sit idle while some journalists were violating their professionalism. He reportedly said that currently, there was a lot of irresponsible reporting in Zambia and, therefore, there was need to change the scenario.
India:On 6 August 2009 'BBC' reported that Judge MR Puranik of the special anti-terrorism court has sentenced Haneef Sayyed, his wife Fahmeeda and Ashrat Ansari to death. The three were convicted last month of murder and conspiracy for carrying out bombings that killed more than 50 people in Mumbai in 2003. The three convicted bombers were reportedly found to have links to a Pakistan-based Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which investigators believe, was involved in the November 2008 attacks on Mumbai.
Uganda: On 6 August 2009 'New Vision' reported that a survey has shown that battering wives remains the leading form of violence against women in Kiboga district. About 90% of the residents in Kiboga are ignorant about their rights, the study carried out by the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) in partnership with Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation revealed. FHRI reported that out of every 10 women, eight are physically battered by their husbands weekly and that they do not report it to any authority. A European Union-funded survey aimed at promoting access to justice for socially deprived women and children will reportedly also be carried out in the districts of Busia, Kalangala, Kasese, Lira and Sembabule.
Uganda:On 5 August 2009 'The Monitor' reported that the minister for Labour has directed all companies arranging for Ugandan women to work as housemaids in other countries, to halt their operations pending investigations into allegations of sexual abuse and harassment of the women in various Arab countries. Minister Emmanuel Otaala who is scheduled to meet the owner of one of the companies allegedly involved in such arrangements reportedly says that the government is taking measures to protect the women. The directive comes a few weeks after a 24 year old Ugandan woman, Ms Rachael Malagala, reportedly gave her testimony in parliament saying that she was allegedly tortured by her bosses after being decoyed by a private company to work in Iraq in May 11, 2009.
India:On 5 August 2009 'BBC' reported that the government in the north-eastern state of Manipur has ordered a judicial inquiry by the Guwahati High Court into the killing of former separatist rebel Chungkham Sanjit. Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh reportedly said that the six policemen linked to the killing had been suspended. Initially the police claimed Mr Sanjit had fired on them when he was being chased, but television footage and newspaper photos point to an unprovoked killing, BBC reports.
Nigeria: On 5 August 2009 'BBC' reported that an amnesty for militants in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta region has come into effect. In recent months the violent struggle in the region has worsened, but analysts have reportedly suggested that the amnesty offer is one of the most significant efforts so far. To end the unrest, the government hopes that about 10, 000 rebels will exchange weapons for a pardon and retraining but so far, reports suggest few rebels have surrendered on the amnesty's opening day, and it is unclear how many armed groups will take part in the amnesty. Officials said gunmen who accept amnesty would be given 65,000 naira ($433; £255) a month for food and living expenses during the rehabilitation program, which runs from 6 August to 4 October, BBC reports.
Nigeria: On 5 August 2009 'Vanguard' reported that activists connected with Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has condemned police arrest, detention and brutalization of pupils of some secondary schools in Kogi State who were protesting alleged state government's insensitivity to the welfare of teachers in the state which has made the teachers to embark on series of strikes thereby disrupting academic activities. ERC, in a statement, said that according to available reports of the sad event that took place last week, Police opened fire without provocation on thousands of pupils from various schools in the area.
Nigeria:On 5 August 2009 'This Day' reported that The Federal Mortagege Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) disclosed that the country would require the sum of N45 trillion to deliver comfortable shelter for its large population and for the nation's housing challenges to be effectively tackled, the capital base of the FMBN must have to be increased from its current low of N50 billion to as high as N900 billion. Given the shortfall in the housing sector, Nigeria reportedly requires an average of 700,000 units of houses annually to meet the demands of the populace on shelter.
South Africa:On 5 August 2009 'Business Day' reported that the question of whether access to electricity is a constitutional right will be argued in the Constitutional Court later this month when six residents of an apartment block in Ennerdale, Johannesburg, ask the court to declare that the disconnection of electricity to their block without notice was unlawful. The residents had reportedly been without electricity since July last year after City Power disconnected the supply because the building's owner was R400000 in arrears.
India: On 5 August 2009 'BBC' reported that the UN has withdrawn a high-energy food relief treatment for children in India after the government said it had been distributed without permission. A senior official from UNICEF told BBC that malnourished children would now be given a locally available product yet said that food provided locally in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh was not sufficient for children in critical condition. India is home to the greatest number of malnourished children in the world and it is reportedly estimated that more than half of them are in the two states. According to BBC, UNICEF has now re-exported the therapeutic food to Afghanistan and Madagascar, where it has been used for a long time. Indian officials say that the treatment consisting of imported peanut paste is expensive and that they are not convinced about its effectiveness and want approval by the Indian health ministry.
Kenya:On 4 August 2009 'Daily Nation' reported that suspects of the Kenya post election violence might soon be barred from entering the UK. British High Commissioner to Kenya Robert Macaire reportedly revealed that the UK was reviewing its policies to conform to emerging international trends that ban perpetrators of war crimes and genocide from entering foreign countries. Mr Macaire reportedly confirmed that over 20 Kenyans had been barred from setting foot in UK or passing through its country's airports on transit to other countries since 2006.
Nigeria:On 2 August 2009 'Inter Press News Service' reported that according to religious experts and Muslim groups, the sectarian violence which broke out in several parts of northern Nigeria at the end of July has more to do with popular anger and frustration with prevailing economic conditions than religion. Murtalal Muhibbu-Din, head of the department of religion at Lagos State University, reportedly explained that the rate at which the violence spread across the north showed that many people, especially unemployed youth, are frustrated and angry with the government over their dire economic situation.
South Africa:On 1 August 2009 'Cape Argus' reported that the newly Police Commissioner believes that the Police force needs to revisit section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act which provides grounds for justifiable homicide-the new Commissioner's philosophy on shooting before being shot, which he reportedly practiced in KwaZulu-Natal leading the province to have more deaths in police custody under review than any other province in the past year) There were 258 deaths in custody in KwaZulu-Natal during 2008/2009, 83 more than the previous year.