Attempts at constitutional reform in The Gambia: Whither the Draft Constitution?Posted: 26 October, 2020 Filed under: Satang Nabaneh | Tags: Adama Barrow, Constitution Promulgation Bill, constitution-drafting process, Constitutional Reform, Constitutional Review Commission, CRC, dictatorship, Draft Constitution, Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Final Draft Constitution and Report, National Transitional Justice Programme, New Constitution, The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh 1 Comment
Author: Satang Nabaneh
Post-doctoral Fellow, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
The Gambia’s constitution-drafting process, aimed at ushering in a third Republic, has reached an unfortunate dead-end. More than two years after the constitutional review process began, and after a highly acrimonious and polarised debate in the National Assembly, Parliament, one week ago (on 22 September 2020), rejected the proposed Constitution Promulgation Bill, 2020 (‘the Bill’). The Bill would have enabled the eventual promulgation the Constitution of the Gambia, 2020 (‘Draft Constitution’) and the repeal of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia, 1997 (‘1997 Constitution’). Twenty-three lawmakers in the National Assembly voted against the Bill, while thirty-one supported it. This was, however, not a big enough majority to meet the threshold requirement of three-quarters of members needed to effect constitutional change. The Draft Constitution could, therefore, not be put to a referendum.
Dealing with statelessness in sub-Saharan Africa: The way forwardPosted: 13 May, 2015 Filed under: Michael Addaney | Tags: ACRWC, African Union, armed conflicts, Burundi, citizenship, civil society, conflicts, Cote d'Ivoire, CRC, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), economic migration, education, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Global Trends Report, health services, Kenya, Madagascar, statelessness, strategic advocacy, sub-Saharan Africa, Tanzania, UNHCR, United Nations, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Zimbabwe 1 Comment
Author: Michael Addaney
Student (MPhil Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa), Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria
‘Statelessness is a profound violation of an individual’s human rights. It would be deeply unethical to perpetuate the pain it causes when solutions are so clearly within reach.’
– Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Statelessness as a legal problem has far reaching political and economic challenges which have attracted rising attention from scholars, human rights activists and international organisations in recent years. Officially, statelessness means a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law. The UNHCR started collecting data on stateless persons in the world in 2006 and confirmed in 2011 that the number of stateless persons around the world is in excess of 10 million despite conceding that obtaining the actual statistics is difficult.
The most affected are regions that have suffered or are experiencing armed conflicts or economic migration. Large numbers of stateless population are largely due to policies and laws which discriminate against foreigners despite their deeper roots in the states concerned. For instance, more than 120 000 persons in Madagascar are stateless on the basis of discriminatory citizenship laws and administrative procedures. Moreover, about 170 000 Burundian refugees who fled their country in 1972 are recognised as stateless in Tanzania despite cogent attempts by international and local organisations to have the situation rectified.
Survival rights of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia: The Shimelba refugee camp casePosted: 8 July, 2013 Filed under: Kbrom Alema Germay | Tags: ACHPR, African Refugee Convention, CEDAW, CRC, Eritrea, Ethiopia, ICCPR, ICECSR, refugee camp, refugees, right to food, right to housing, Shimelba, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 4 Comments
Author: Kbrom Alema Germay
Candidate Judge at the Aga’ezi Justice Organs Professional Training Center and Legal Research Institute
Currently, Ethiopia is among the developing countries that are hosting thousands of refugees from Eritrea, Kenya, Somali and Sudan, and that mandates refugee to reside in camps. Some of the refugees in Ethiopia live in the northern parts of the country in a camp called the Shimelba refugee camp. Refugees in this particular camp lived in Eritrea and fled to avoid military service, religious persecution and ethnic discrimination. This camp is situated is in a place widely recognised for its diverse settings and agro-ecosystems, displaying a wide array of environmental problems and vulnerabilities. To this end, the lands are fragile and vulnerable to both natural and human generated calamities, ranging from the shortage of or unpredictable rainfall to species and resource base depletion and degradation rendered more acute by the effects of drought. The location of the camp site is isolated. The environmental conditions are difficult, with temperature ranging up to 42 degree Celsius. The Ethiopian government in collaboration with the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), oversight and manages Shimelba.
Ethiopia is signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its Protocol. Regionally, Ethiopia is also a party to the 1969 Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (African Refugee Convention). Besides these refugee-specific instruments, Ethiopia is also a party to most of international and regional human rights instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); the International Convention on Torture, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women; and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, therefore reinforcing the protection for refugees.
The State’s ineptitude or indisposition to deal with Eastern Cape education is a continuous violation of children’s rightsPosted: 16 May, 2013 Filed under: Akho Ntanjana | Tags: ACERWC, children's rights, constitution, Constitutional Court, CRC, Eastern Cape, education, empowerment, human rights, ICESRC, Kenya, Nubian children, President Zuma, right to education, schools, Section 100, Section 26, South Africa, UNICEF, United Nations, women Leave a comment
Author: Akho Ntanjana
Legal intern, Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), Banjul, The Gambia
Without citing any empirical evidence, it is known that the quality of school facilities has an indirect effect on learning and ultimately on its output. For instance, in a study carried out in India (1996), out of 59 schools in a region, only 49 had structures. Of these 49 schools, 25 had a toilet, 20 had electricity, 10 had a school library and four had a television set. In this study, the quality of the learning environment was strongly correlated with pupils’ achievement in Hindi and mathematics.
Further, a research study was conducted in Latin America that included 50 000 students in grades 3 and 4, it was found that learners whose schools lacked classroom materials and had inadequate libraries were significantly more likely to show lower test scores and higher grade repetition than those whose schools were well equipped (see the United Nations Children’s Fund’s paper ‘Defining Quality Education’). There are many other studies done even in Africa, for example in Botswana, Nigeria and Papua New Guinea, indicating similar outcomes.
There seem to be a correlation between good school infrastructures, other quality dimensions (inter alia the quality of content, psychological aspects, quality processes involved) and the achievement of higher grades by learners. In this opinion piece, I examine the state of education in the Eastern Cape, and the failure by the South Africa government to meet its constitutional and international obligations to provide basic education.
Right to food: A ‘black and white’ choice?Posted: 25 April, 2013 Filed under: Bereket Kefyalew | Tags: ACHPR, Africa, African Commission, CEDAW, civil society, Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), CRC, democracy, Ethiopia, food security, human rights, ICCPR, ICESCR, NGOs, right to food, UDHR 3 Comments
Author: Bereket Kefyalew
Freelancer based in Copenhagen, Denmark
The Ethiopian government often associates its developmental ideology with the East Asian model, while at the same time defining itself as a progressive democratic government. Paradoxically, the government defends itself from prodemocracy critics by arguing that food security comes first, then slowly comes democracy. Within this context, I analyse the right to food as a legal concept and how it can be used as a means to achieve food security in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia has ratified and adopted the main instruments establishing the right to food such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Covenant on the Rights of the Child; the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women; and the African Charter on Peoples’ Rights. Ethiopia is also bound by international humanitarian law, having ratified the Geneva Convention of 1999 and the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977.