Category Archives: Human Rights


PRETORIA, South African Public Service and Administration Minister Ayanda Dlodlo has left for Tblisi, Georgia, to participate in the 5th Open Government Partnership Global Summit which began there on Tuesday.

The OGP is a multi-national initiative dedicated to strengthening the principles of open and transparent government, strengthening co-creation and citizen engagement, fighting corruption, as well as fostering innovation in public service delivery, the Public Administration Department says.

Dlodlo will address a high-level panel on rebooting the public service in which she is expected to focus on the successes of South Africa’s innovations, which are designed to bring the government closer to the people and improve public service delivery performance.

The OGP is an important platform to gain meaningful citizen engagement strategies which can bring citizens closer to government and to also include them in important government decision-making platforms, from local to national levels.

The people’s government must be open, it must be transparent and it must be inclusive for it to truly be a government by the people, for the people, said Dlodlo, who is accompanied by GovChat chief executive officer Eldrid Jordaan at the three-day OGP Summit.

GovChat is South Africa’s largest civic engagement platform, which enables citizens to speak directly to government and their elected public representatives at no cost, while also allowing government to receive critical service delivery related feedback in real time.

Source: NAM News Network

45 Dead in Attack on Nigerian Village, Police Say

At least 45 people died in an attack on a village in northern Nigeria, a police official told reporter on Sunday, the latest in a string of incidents underscoring insecurity in parts of the country.

President Muhammadu Buhari won Nigeria’s 2015 elections partly on promises to bring security to Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation, but has struggled to fulfil those pledges. He is now seeking a second term in February 2019.

His critics and opponents question his track record tackling the multitude of conflicts that plague Nigeria, from Boko Haram and a thriving Islamic State West Africa insurgency in the northeast, to clashes between farmers and herders in the hinterlands that have left hundreds dead.

It was not immediately clear why the Gwaska village in the northern state of Kaduna was attacked on Saturday.

“Yesterday, we recovered 12 corpses and today we retrieved 33,” Austin Iwar, Kaduna’s commissioner of police, told reporter by phone.

The village, in the Birnin-Gwari area of Kaduna, lies near an area known for banditry, where thick forests provide remote hideouts from law enforcement.

Those groups of bandits have for years frustrated authorities’ attempts to apprehend them, and in some cases have amassed thousands of stolen cattle and fought off security agent task forces sent to deal with them.

Source: Voice of America

Escalation of fighting in South Sudan puts thousands of civilians at risk and compromises peace process

A surge in violent clashes in Unity, Jonglei and Central Equatorias is having a devastating impact on thousands of civilians and on humanitarian agencies trying to provide desperately needed assistance to vulnerable people. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) is deeply concerned at the intensification of fighting in areas such as Nhialdiu, Mayendit, Rupchai, Thaker, and Mirinyal, in the vicinity of Leer and Bentiu in the Unity region, as well as around Motot and Akobo in Jonglei.

Innocent civilians are being caught in the crossfire, including many women, children and elderly people,rdquo; said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, David Shearer. Our teams on the ground are reporting incidents of killing, sexual violence, homes being burnt to the ground, cattle raiding, and the looting of hospitals and schools.rdquo;

There has been gunfire overnight near UNMISS’ temporary operating base at Leer and Ghanaian peacekeepers are on high alert to protect an influx of 600 internally displaced people who have sought sanctuary from the violence in recent days. This brings the total number of IDPs at the Leer base to around 1100. A small number of displaced people have also arrived at the UN protection site at Bentiu and more are expected.

More than 30 humanitarian workers have been relocated over the past two weeks because it is too dangerous for them to operate in the midst of the escalating conflict. Thousands of people have fled into swamp and bush areas without access to much-needed aid, including food, clean water and medical care.

This surge in violence is causing immense suffering and harm to civilians and the ability to provide humanitarian support,rdquo; said David Shearer. It is at odds with the cessation of hostilities agreement that was signed just a few months ago. We urge the warring parties to lay down their guns, put the interests of the people first, and work together to build lasting peace.rdquo;

The success of the upcoming round of peace talks at the High Level Revitalization Forum is dependent on all parties committing to stop the fighting and to come together in good faith. Political leaders must demonstrate they are willing to compromise and resolve this conflict which is causing terrible harm to their people,rdquo; he said.

Source: United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)


CAPE TOWN, A resolution adopted by the National Assembly, the lower house of the South African Parliament to amend the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation will be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee, which must report back to Parliament by Aug 30 this year.

This follows Tuesday’s resolution by Members of Parliament to assign the Constitutional Review Committee to review Section 25 of the Constitution, which addresses the issue of the right of property ownership and which currently states that property may be expropriated only in terms of law of general application for a public purpose or in the public interest, and subject to compensation being paid.

Section 25(3) makes clear that the amount of the compensation and the time and manner of payment must be “just and equitable”, reflecting an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected, having regard to all relevant circumstances, in the current use of the property; the history of the acquisition and use of the property; the market value of the property; the extent of direct State investment and subsidy in the acquisition and beneficial capital improvement of the property.

Opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led a debate on this motion, which the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), amended before it was later adopted following a vote in the National Assembly.

The ANC amended parts of the motion to read: With the concurrence of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), [we] instruct the Constitutional Review Committee to review section 25 of the Constitution and other clauses where necessary to make it possible for the State to expropriate land in the public interest without compensation.

The motion was adopted following a vote where 241 MPs voted for the amended motion, with 83 MPs voting against it. The land issue also formed part of a significant shift in the ANC, as its national elective conference in December last year marked the first time the ruling party adopted the policy of land expropriation without compensation.

In his maiden State of the Nation Address to Parliament last month, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised to ensure that national government moves ahead with the policy to redress a grave historical injustice.

Source: NAM News Network

Despite Stigma, Nigerian Parents Demand Justice in Child Sex Cases

Mercy Philip will never forget January 12, 2017.

That’s the day she says her 8-year-old daughter walked up to her and asked if she could wash her panties.

Philip asked her daughter why she needed to wash her panties and her daughter said a male neighbor had “climbed on her body” and then told her to wash her panties afterward.

The mother immediately took her daughter to a clinic. And on the same day, Philip and her husband went to the police. The neighbor, who was arrested based on the medical report, was released from jail and is awaiting trial.

Yet the family’s life has been upended.

They have been ridiculed by people in the community, pressured to drop the charges, and condemned for trying to ruin a man’s life, Philip said. When her daughter goes outside, people stare, laugh or throw stones at her, the mother said.

Social stigma

The shame and social stigma attached to sexual abuse stops most families in Nigeria from seeking justice. They usually end up settling cases of child sexual abuse through cash payments often quietly negotiated by religious leaders.

To settle means to forget about it … let sleeping dogs lie, said Bukola Ajao, the Philips’ lawyer. Please, we are sorry, but this kind of matter is not something that you just apologize for.

The most recent data available on child sex abuse in Nigeria is from 2014. That study � from Nigeria’s National Population Commission, the U.N. Children’s Fund and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention � revealed that 1-in-4 girls and 1-in-10 boys in Nigeria experience sexual violence before the age of 18.

The Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital at Kaduna State University in the Kaduna state capital handles requests to provide evidence for suspected child sex abuse. At the time VOA visited the hospital, in the space of 30 minutes, more than five women with children had entered the ward.

All are new cases of suspected child abuse, according to Dr. Musa Shuaibu, a pediatrician.

Nearly on a daily basis, there would be one form of abuse or the other. And that is quite alarming in view of the fact that quite a negligible fraction, actually get reported to the hospital, Shuaibu said.

Activists seek new law

Activists are lobbying Kaduna state to approve the federal Child Rights Act of 2003 that mandates a 14-year jail sentence for a child sex abuse conviction and life imprisonment for rape. Eleven states in the north, including Kaduna, have not ratified it. Instead, those states rely on Sharia courts and a colonial-era penal code to prosecute child sex abuse.

Kaduna State Minister of Women and Social Development Hajia Hafsatu Mohammed Baba told VOA the state government is committed to passing it. But the Supreme Sharia Council has said that the federal statute is a Western import and an attempt to restrict Sharia courts.

Meanwhile, families are often left with only difficult choices.

You know how things are around here. Things like this can never be buried, said Asabe Musa, whose daughter was molested when she was 5 years old. “This is the kind of story that goes around maybe when the girl does find someone to marry, someone will go and tell his family what happened to her.”

After hearing about the abuse, relatives of Musa’s husband, who live in northern Nigeria, traveled to Kaduna to speak with Musa about settling the case. Afterwards, they took the child with them, hoping that she would be less stigmatized in a community where she is unknown.

Musa, whose face is lined with sorrow, said she wants her daughter back.

Few go to court

At one orphanage in the center of town, children dance around together in a circle. A slender young woman clenches the hand of her little girl. The woman, who asked to be identified as Ladi, said she can’t go to court as it was her father who raped her young daughter.

My daughter was covered in blood. I picked her up and just stood there. He was someone I had always respected, so I didn’t say anything to him. I picked her up and went to town with her in the morning, she said.

She has been running ever since. Going back to her village is not an option, she said, as her father is a chief there.

For the past decade, Hauwa Hassan, the owner and manager of the orphanage, has worked with about 20 families dealing with child sex abuse. She says only three of them took her advice to go to court. Those cases were never concluded.

One 7-year-old orphan said he was walking to school when an old fruit seller offered a pear to lure the boy into the back of his shop. The abuse went on until the boy complained to his uncle about pains in his body.

When it happened, the first thing we did was we stopped him from going out and even from school and kept him at home, the boy’s uncle, Anas Umar, said, blinking hard to stop the tears.

“I wrote the police statement myself. A lot of my friends first suggested we all go and beat him up, but I didn’t because of what could follow. I can’t take the law into my own hands I can’t just go and take his sins upon myself,” he added. “Other people were telling me to just leave the matter because the man is too old, but what he did was seriousThe judgment passed was not enough, but still, I thank God there was some sort of judgment.”

The court found the fruit seller guilty under a colonial-era sodomy law. He couldn’t pay the 80,000 naira � about $200 � fine so he is serving a 3-year jail sentence.

That is what he deserved. That will scare others like him,” Umar said. “The judgment passed was not enough but still, I thank God there was some sort of judgment.

Source: Voice of America