Of Tanzania’s cybercrimes law and the threat to freedom of expression and informationPosted: 25 May, 2015 Filed under: Daniel Marari | Tags: African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights, bloggers, criminal, Cybercrimes Bill, cyberlaw, democracy, democratic society, digital communication, electronic communications, European Court of Human Rights, European Union, freedom of expression, freedom of expression and information, human rights, human rights abuses, human rights defenders, information, international treaties, Jakaya Kikwete, journalists, privacy, right to privacy, Tanzania, Tanzanian Constitution, Universal Declaration for Human Rights 4 Comments
Author: Daniel Marari
LLM, International Human Rights Law, Lund University, Sweden
On May 8th, 2015 a press release revealed that the Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete, has signed the controversial Cybercrimes Bill which seeks to criminalize acts related to computer systems and information and communication technologies and to provide for a system of investigation, collection and use of electronic evidence. The said law has serious implications for constitutional and international human rights, particularly freedom of expression and information online and the right to privacy. The most controversial provisions relate to criminalization of sharing of information, extensive police powers of search and seizure, surveillance without judicial authorization as well numerous vaguely defined offences.
It is important to note that that freedom of expression is one of the fundamental aspects of human life. As human beings, we need freedom to develop and share thoughts or ideas about things that happen and influence the way we live. Freedom of opinion, expression and information encourages free debate and plurality of ideas which is important for development of any society. More importantly, these rights are internationally recognised human rights. They are engrained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 (art.19), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 (art.19) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights 1981 (art.9), all of which have been ratified by Tanzania.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Call for an African Union resolution on the use of drones in AfricaPosted: 5 August, 2013 Filed under: Benjamin Ng’aru | Tags: Africa, African Charter, African Union, Al-Qaeda, Ben Emmerson QC, CIA, CIA's angry birds, constitutive act, Djibouti, drone strikes, Ethiopia, extra-judicial killings, Glomar response, human rights, Human Rights Watch, humanitarian law, International Court of Justice, international human rights, international law, right to fair trial, right to life, right to privacy, Seychelles, Somalia, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions, United States of America, unmanned aerial vehicles 4 Comments
Author: Benjamin Ng’aru
Legal Assistant, Local Authorities Pensions Trust; Volunteer Programmes Assistant, Legal Exchange Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
On 15 March 2013 Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the United States (US) Court of Appeals Circuit in American Civil Liberties Union Foundation v Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) dismissed the CIA’s standard Glomar response to its expanded and clandestine programme to carry out targeted killings on suspected terrorist. Barely two months later, a High Court in Peshawar, Pakistan, held that drone strikes (and their continued use) “are a blatant violation of Basic Human Rights and are against the [United Nations] (UN) Charter, the UN General Assembly Resolution …and a violation of the sovereignty [of Pakistan]”. Whereas not fully specific on the human rights instruments violated, these judicial pronouncements point to an increasing dissatisfaction by the international community on the lack of a concise and regulated use of the “CIA’s angry birds”.
This note seeks to merely highlight possible violations of various rights including the right to life, right to fair trial as well as the right to privacy, which are all enshrined in the African Charter; and call upon the African Union (AU), through its various organs, to promote more transparency on the use of drones and foster the enactment of a continental regulatory framework to govern the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by western nations on African soil.
The use of drones in African’s airspace has been on a steep rise. The latest documented incident was on 27 May 2013 when Al-Shabaab allegedly shot down a UAS Camcopter S-100 near the town of Buulo Mareer, southern Somalia. The London based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that over 200 persons, mostly non-combatants, have been killed by drone strikes in Somalia since 2003. American drone support bases have been reportedly set up in Arba Minch (Ethiopia), Seychelles, Camp Lemonnier (Djibouti) and recently in Somali’s shell-crated international airport in Mogadishu. A 2012 study by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law indicated that there were more civilians and innocent residents killed in the drone strikes than militants throughout the period of the drone program.
Freedom of the press? Not for the Ugandan pressPosted: 20 June, 2013 Filed under: William Aseka | Tags: Africa, African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, African Commission, constitution, Eritrea, freedom of expression, human rights, Human Rights Council, ICCPR, press freedom, right to privacy, Uganda, United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, World Press Freedom 2 Comments
Author: William Aseka
Program Assistant (Human Rights Advocacy for Children with Disabilities), Governance Consulting
The freedom to form opinions and express them without fear of repression is a fundamental tenet for the development of a pluralistic, tolerant, and democratic society. This right represents not only the right to privacy of individuals to hold opinions and formulate thoughts, but also to express them in a public forum, especially as part of exercising the right to political participation. In addition, the right to access information, that is the right to seek and receive information, which also forms an important component of this right and which has added significance in the current age of information technology, is intrinsic to the transparent functioning of a democratic government and the effective and well-informed participation of civil society. In this context, freedom of opinion, expression and information is one of the core civil and political rights as it is essential for the exercise of all other human rights.
The right to freedom of opinion, expression and information is well-established and protected at both international and regional levels both legally and institutionally. The right is enshrined in various international instruments, namely: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 19), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 19), the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (Article 5(d)(viii)), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 13) and the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (Article 6). The main international human rights body within the United Nations system, the Human Rights Council, also provides through its system of special procedures for a Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, which was established in 1993.
Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill in Nigeria – Any human rights implications?Posted: 11 June, 2013 Filed under: Azubike Onuora-Oguno | Tags: African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, anti-discrimination, civil union, dignity, equality, freedom of association and assembly, homosexuality, human rights, Nigeria, right to privacy, same-sex marriage, Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill 10 Comments
Author: Azubike Onuora-Oguno
LLD candidate, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
A same-sex union is known to be a sexual relationship between people of the same sex; namely, between two or more males or two or more females. This relationship often described as unnatural and amongst the Christian and Islamic faiths in Nigeria is general not accepted. Without any intentions of making an ideological or philosophical argument on the issue of the morality of this kind of relationship, I would like to explore the human rights implications of passing of the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill in Nigeria on 31 May 2013.
The new Bill refutes any benefits that may accrue to a marriage and restates that such a marriage will not be recognised, even when contracted outside Nigeria. It further outlaws the gathering of people of the same-sex and provides in very wide terms “directly or indirectly” liability for any person or group that is involved in a same sex relationship. It further stipulates a minimum period of 10 years imprisonment for direct or indirect involvement in issues concerning the rights of people of the same-sex. In enacting the Bill, the House of Assembly of Nigeria propose a $40million internet monitoring project to clamp down on people involved in same-sex unions.