A socio-legal analysis of Nigeria’s Protection from Internet Falsehoods, Manipulations and Other Related Matters Bill

Author: Tomiwa Ilori
HRDA Alumni Coordinator/Researcher: Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria

Introduction

 

The curbing of information disorder online has become one of the most contentious areas in platform regulation. Not only do states struggle with the best approach to fulfill their responsibility to safeguard human rights, non-state actors, especially social media platforms are stepping in with self-imposed rules that may reflect scale but struggle with context on regulating free speech. The most prevalent challenge facing social media regulation, especially outside the United States whose free speech regime is regarded as liberal, is the varying degrees of the protection of free speech in other jurisdictions. Social media platforms also face the challenge of protecting free speech on one hand and catering to national contexts on the other. These variations are often due to the different socio-political local context of each country.

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Infringement on democracy, human rights and the rule of law through constitutional amendments: What mechanisms exist to restore Zambia?

Author: Juliet Nyamao
Human Rights Attorney, Kenyan Bar

The first Constitution of the Republic of Zambia (1964) established a multiparty system of government. However, increasing tensions between the ruling party and the opposition parties compelled the first president of the Republic of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, to institutionalise a one-party rule through the enactment of the Constitution of Zambia Act, 1973. The presidential rule in Zambia was reinforced, with the president as the sole player on the political scene. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war in the early 1990s, a wave of multiparty democracy swept across the African continent leading to emergence of political pluralism. Many countries in the Southern African region adopted constitutional dispensations that allowed political pluralism and cemented the roles of the different branches of governments. Zambia, a former British colony, was no exception to the wind of change; they adopted their new Constitution of Zambia, 1991 that restored multiparty democracy. Thereafter, the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 spelt out the roles and mandates of the different branches of government and directed that all State organs and State institutions abide by and respect the sovereign will of the people of Zambia. This Constitution ensured separation of powers between the various branches of the government, which is crucial to uphold democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
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African Court ruling: Mali’s child marriage laws violate human rights

reprohealthlaw blog

Many thanks to George Sakyi Asumadu, an LL.M student in Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa at the Centre for Human Rights in the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Law, for summarizing and commenting on the significance of this landmark decision on age of marriage, gender discrimination, and violations of rights through customary law. We are pleased to excerpt this overview of the Court ruling and provide links to the full Case C.

APDF & IHRDA v Republic of Mali(Association pour le Progrés et la Défense des Droits des Femmes Maliennes (APDF) and The Institute For Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) v. Republic Of Mali), Application No. 046/2016, African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights. (2018)  Decision of May 11, 2018  PDF.  Decision online . Case Comment by George Sakyi Asumadu.

COURT HOLDING: The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (The…

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Botswana High Court decriminalizes homosexuality

reprohealthlaw blog

Many thanks to Kutlwano Pearl Magashula, an LL.M. student in the Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa program at the University of Pretoria’s Centre of Human Rights, for her summary and analysis of the recent judgment in Letsweletse Motshidiemang v Attorney General [2019] MAHGB-000591-16 (High Court of Botswana)Decision of June 11, 2019, in which the Court struck down sections of the Penal Code that criminalized same-sex sexual intercourse.

(Cite as:) Kutlwano Pearl Magashula, “Botswana High Court decriminalizes homosexuality: Letsweletse Motshidiemang v Attorney General, 2019” online at: “Legal Grounds: Reproductive and Sexual Rights in Sub-Saharan African Courts” 5-page case summary and comment

We are pleased to excerpt her comments about the significance of this ruling:

The case made a watershed finding that recognized the rights of LGBT persons in Botswana. The Court found that sodomy laws do not serve any useful public purpose and in fact ‘deserve archival…

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Extending sexual health and reproductive rights through the Court: Analysis and lessons from FIDA – Kenya & Ors v The Attorney General & Ors High Court Petititon No 266 of 2015

Author: Nimrod Muhumuza
Lawyer and LLD candidate, Dullah Omar Institute, University of Western Cape

On 3 December 2013 and 24 February 2014, the Kenyan Director of Medical Services respectively withdrew the 2012 Standards and Guidelines for Reducing Morbidity and Mortality from Unsafe Abortion in Kenya, and the National Training Curriculum for the Management of Unintended, Risky and Unplanned Pregnancies.

In June 2018, JMM, at just 18 years of age, died as a result of a botched abortion in an attempt to terminate a pregnancy resulting from rape. Activists and JMM’s mother petitioned the High Court of Kenya linking the withdrawal of the guidelines to JMM’s death which they argued was a violation of her right to life, and her right to health. It would be first time under the new 2010 Constitution of Kenya that Court would flesh out the application of sexual and reproductive health rights, particularly the right to abortion, to a particular demographic: teenage girls from economically and socially impoverished backgrounds. The Court also had to determine, if it found that JMM’s rights had been violated, the appropriate remedies available to the petitioners. Read the rest of this entry »


The Global Compact on Refugees: A breakthrough opportunity in addressing the protracted refugee crises in East Africa

Author: Juliet Nyamao
Human Rights Attorney, Kenyan Bar

In recent years, the world has witnessed an explosive increase in the number of refugees and internally displaced persons. The upsurge in forced displacement has increased the demand for humanitarian assistance and strained the limited resources of host nations, majority of which are developing economies. The resulting economic strain compelled the international community to develop sustainable mechanisms for protecting refugees and displaced persons in alignment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Read the rest of this entry »


A human rights approach to internet taxes in Africa

Author: Tomiwa Ilori
HRDA Alumni Coordinator/Researcher: Democracy, Transparency and Digital Rights Unit, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria

Due to increasing underdevelopment in sub-Saharan Africa, many governments have looked towards several means to make up for deficits in domestic fiscal planning. One of the means through which governments have financed their budgets is by levying higher taxes on companies and individuals to be able to raise revenue.

While there may be legitimate reasons for states to levy taxes, in order for a tax system to be regarded as good and effective it needs to comply with at least five basic conditions: ensure a beneficial system; transparent in collection and use; less bureaucratic and equitable – every person should pay a fair amount of taxes not injurious to their well-being. While Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) potentially impact the global economy, not all economies have thrived equally. In most sub-Saharan African countries, the impacts of ICTs have been least felt which damages the prospects of democratic development in the region. Read the rest of this entry »