Where to Zimbabwe? Another stage set for flawed elections under Mnangagwa’s leadershipPosted: 3 April, 2023 Filed under: Nqobani Nyathi | Tags: accountability, African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, amendment of the Constitution, by-elections, constitution, Constitution of Zimbabwe, democracy, electoral disputes, Emmerson Mnangagwa, free and fair elections, government-affiliated media, Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa, human rights, Luke Malaba, peaceful resolution, Private Voluntary Organisations Bill, PVO Bill, rise to power, unlawful killings, violence, ZEC, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission 1 Comment
Author: Nqobani Nyathi
Doctoral Candidate and Project Officer, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
In 2018, and perhaps at the peak of his popularity, Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly won a disputed Presidential election in Zimbabwe. In the aftermath, chaos ensued, and soldiers shot and killed people. No one has been held accountable so far, perpetuating an environment of impunity and fear. Mnangagwa’s unconstitutional rise to power the previous year had subverted democracy and as predicted, he has continuously demonstrated an unsettling disregard for the Constitution and the principles of democracy. Zimbabwe’s next general election is scheduled for some time this year, on a date yet to be announced. If Mnangagwa persists on his current path of undermining the Constitution, the election could lack the legitimacy necessary for a functioning democracy.
Transitional Justice and Women in Africa: How the Material Turn is still difficult to be seen?Posted: 28 November, 2022 Filed under: Cristiano d'Orsi | Tags: Africa, African countries, community courts, compensatory assistance, crime against humanity, customary law, domestic instruments, domestic level, gender-based violence, Maputo Protocol, military tribunals, popular culture, rape culture, sexual violence, traditional justice systems, Transitional Justice, violations, violence, violent crime, women, women’s rights Leave a comment
Author: Cristiano d’Orsi
Research Fellow and Lecturer at the South African Research Chair in International Law (SARCIL), University of Johannesburg
As envisaged in the 2003 Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), transitional processes should recognize the gendered nature of conflicts in which women are affected disproportionately, both directly and indirectly, by violence (see, for example, Article 10 –Right to Peace- and Article 11 –Protection of Women in Armed Conflicts-). However, gender concerns in Africa have been rarely incorporated into Transnational Justice (TJ) through mainstreaming gender as a crosscutting issue. The nature of the violations to which women are usually subjected on the continent, and the impact of such violations on them, means that the issue of women and TJ should be treated on its own. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go to comply with this measure. Normally, states emerging from conflicts or authoritarian repression should ensure women’s representation and participation at all stages of TJ processes by writing women’s participation into peace agreements and TJ laws and policies. Nevertheless, seldom has this been the case in Africa.
Ballot or bullet? Time for African youths to make a choicePosted: 17 October, 2022 Filed under: Murithi Antony | Tags: abstain from voting, bad leadership, contemporary African societies, corruption, democratic governance, economic development, good education, human rights, Peaceful elections, physiological well-being, post-election violence, power to refuse, protection, violence 8 Comments
Author: Murithi Antony
LL.B student, University of Embu
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and curse; therefore, you shall choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants…”
– The Holy Bible, Deuteronomy 30:19 (Amplified Version)
The message in the Book of Deuteronomy generally is directed to the new generation that was born in the desert during the 40 years of wandering in which the generation of exodus passed away. The Book puts forward foundational truths, which if the young generation shall abide by, they will succeed. It states that there is life and death, and advises them to choose life, but leaves the option to their discretion. This can to a large extent be equated with the happenings of contemporary African societies whereby the current youth generation, which was born in the desert of problems, neo-colonialism, tribalism, corruption and violence have an opportunity to change the status quo through voting and advocating for peace. Similar to how the Israelites were given choices, the current generation also has a choice to either vote and take charge of their future; or abstain from voting, and choose political, social and economic death. I tell them: “Choose to vote, in order that you may take charge of your destiny, and your generation shall find a better place to live in.”
Contextualising and Advocating for Sexual Minority Rights within Kenya’s Transformative ConstitutionPosted: 27 May, 2022 Filed under: Laureen Mukami Nyamu | Tags: Bill of Rights, dignity, discrimination, equal protection, Gay and Lesbians Human Rights Council, human rights, Kenya, sexual minorities, sexual minority rights, torture, violence 4 Comments
Author: Laureen Mukami Nyamu
Student, Kabarak University School of Law in Nakuru, Kenya
Human rights are inherent to all human beings regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion or other status  moreover they are universal but the universality of human rights is not enjoyed by sexual minorities due to discrimination. This discrimination stems from religious, socio- cultural, institutional and discriminatory laws and policies. These factors hamper the full enjoyment of human rights by sexual minorities.
The Constitution of Kenya 2010 is transformative in the realm of human rights by recognising the bill of rights as an integral part of Kenya’s democracy, social, economic and cultural policies and by having an elaborate Bill of Rights that remedies the subversion of human rights which was a characteristic of the repealed constitution.  This article will contextualise and show advocacy of sexual minority rights within the constitutional framework and provide a way forward as regards sexual minority rights. Read the rest of this entry »
The right to food and housing for Internally Displaced Persons in Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): geographical distance does not forcibly mean different situationsPosted: 2 November, 2021 Filed under: Cristiano d'Orsi, Juan Pablo Serrano Frattali | Tags: (DRC), Africa, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African supervisory bodies, basic rights, Colombia, Colombian Constitution, Colombian Housing and Habitat Law, conflict, conflict hotspots, Democratic Republic of Congo, drug-trafficking, ethnic tensions, food and housing, internal migration, internally displaced persons, Kampala Convention, national food law, natural disasters, South America, sustainable access, sustainable food systems, violence 1 Comment
Author: Cristiano d’Orsi
Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer at the South African Research Chair in International Law (SARCIL), University of Johannesburg
Author: Juan Pablo Serrano Frattali
Member of research group Social Anthropology of Motricity of the University of Granada
Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are the countries with the largest population of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in South America and Africa, respectively, the third, and the second in the world (Syria heads the world ranking). Internal displacement in Colombia constitutes a widely recognized phenomenon, having become an essential reference point for internal migration studies. At the end of 2020, Colombia counted the highest number of IPDs in South America because of conflict and violence (4.9 million). In 2020, however, while Colombia counted 170,000 new IDPs, 106,000 of whom resulted from conflict and violence, Brazil counted 380,000 new IDPs, all due to natural disasters. Violence continued in Colombia notwithstanding Covid-19 restrictions. Many combatants with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) disbanded and reintegrated into society after the 2016 peace deal, but dissident factions have since emerged, and paramilitary groups continue to exercise significant territorial control. The department of Nariño, close to Ecuador, has been historically a hotspot of conflict and displacement given its strategic location on drug-trafficking routes.
Time to consider decriminalising homosexuality in EthiopiaPosted: 1 October, 2021 Filed under: Rehim Baharu Elala | Tags: anti-gay sentiment, child abusers, consensual same sex relations, conversation, decriminalise, Dr. Daniel Bekele, Ethiopia, Ethiopian values, federal legislation, freedom of expression, gender identity, harassment, homosexuality, Human Rights Watch, imprisonment, no study, political leaders, religion, religious influences, societal influences, societal norms, stigmatisation, violence, Zenebu Tadesse 1 Comment
Author: Rehim Baharu Elala
Intern, Ethiopian Community Development Council
LGBT data in Ethiopia
Ethiopia revised its Criminal Code in 2004 and criminalised homosexual or indecent acts both between men and women, with those convicted facing terms of imprisonment. Same-sex acts will be punished with imprisonment of not less than a year, or in ‘grave’ cases, rigorous imprisonment of up to 15 years. The justifications for criminalising the acts are mostly associated with the strict societal norms and religion.
There is no study or research conducted to know the exact number of LGBTQ people in Ethiopia. I interviewed two members of the LGBTQ in Ethiopia who are working in legal and health professions when I was writing a Seminar Paper for my LGBTQ Health Law and Policy class. My informants told me that the estimate data shows that there are around 50,000-60,000 people who identify themselves as LGBTQ in the capital Addis Ababa alone. They also stated that the major source of the anti-gay sentiment originates from the religious authorities. This is because homosexuals are always portrayed in a dangerous manner by the religious institutions as child abusers and destroyers of Ethiopian values. An Ethiopian law professor states the influence of religious groups in the following words:
“There is complete silence around LGBT experiences because there is no forum for stories about the violence meted out by the state and family members on a day-to-day basis… My biggest fear is that these religious organisations are monopolising the conversation and perpetuating a fear that is becoming impossible to combat.”
Towards eradicating female genital mutilation in NigeriaPosted: 3 September, 2021 Filed under: Dunia Mekonnen Tegegn | Tags: abuse, abuse of women, Africa, child marriage, clitoris, cultural relativism, domestic violence, federal law, female genital mutilation, fgm, FGM/C, fistula, GBV, gender-based violence, Harmful practices, harmful traditional practices, human rights, indigenous areas, international call, maternal mortality, Nigeria, protection, psychological violence, sexual violence, socioeconomic violence, traditional circumcisers, Type II, vagina, violence, women's rights Leave a comment
Author: Dunia Mekonnen Tegegn
Human Rights Lawyer and Gender equality advocate
Nigeria is home to over 180 million people, 49.4% of whom are female. Along with the rest of the population, the Nigerian female population will experience dramatic increases in size by 2050. As far as violence against women is concerned, federal law addresses sexual violence, physical violence, psychological violence, harmful traditional practices, and socio-economic violence. The law also cites spousal battery, forceful ejection from the home, forced financial dependence or economic abuse, harmful widowhood practices, female genital mutilation/cutting (“FGM/C”), other harmful traditional practices, substance attacks (such as acid attacks), political violence, and violence by state actors (especially government security forces) as offenses.
A 2019 survey on domestic violence found that 47% of respondents had suffered from domestic violence or knew someone who had; 82% of respondents indicated that violence against women was prevalent in the country. Police often refused to intervene in domestic disputes or blamed the victim for provoking the abuse. In rural areas, courts, and police were reluctant to intervene to protect women who formally accused their husbands of abuse if the level of alleged abuse did not exceed local customary norms.
The promises and limitations of law in guaranteeing freedom in Africa: The right to a RevolutionPosted: 30 June, 2021 Filed under: Eduardo Kapapelo | Tags: African Charter, Christof Heyns, crimes against humanity, democratic order, dictatorial governments, fair elections, genocide, human rights, human rights violations, international crimes, Lome Declaration against unconstitutional changes of government, peace and security, political violence, post-indepedence, recourse, revolution, State violence, struggle approach, violence Leave a comment
Author: Eduardo Kapapelo
Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
One of the main objectives of international and regional law is to maintain peace and security. It has been reasoned that where there is peace and security, humanity stands a better chance to protect individual rights and freedoms. On account of the importance of peace and security at national, regional and international level, States agreed to criminalize those who engage in violent conduct or seek to change governments through the use of violent force. Yet, is it a coincidence that in many dictatorial governments with atrocious human rights records, opposition leaders are often charged of attempting to unconstitutionally change the government of the day? This contribution seeks to discuss the right to a just-revolution and how existing laws promise freedoms but is limited in delivery when it comes to dictatorial governments. In this contribution, a just-revolution is defined as a revolution to overthrow a government of the day whose rule is characterised by gross human rights violations or international crimes such as crimes against humanity and genocide. Do citizens have a right to a just-revolution?
Critical analysis of Pan-African Parliament’s resolution on peace and security in AfricaPosted: 10 October, 2020 Filed under: Masalu Masanja | Tags: Africa, African Court, African People, African Union, Article 17, AU Constitutive Act, CEWM, conflict, Continental Early Warning Mechanism, economic integration, lack of expertise, Pan African Parliament, Pan-African Parliament, PAP, peace and security, Peace and Security Council, PSC, stumbling blocks, violence, war 2 Comments
Author: Masalu Masanja
LLM (HRDA) student, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is among the nine organs of the African Union (AU) established with the aim of ensuring the full participation of African people in the development and economic integration of Africa. This purpose is anchored under Article 17 of the of the AU Constitutive Act. One of the objectives of PAP is the promotion of peace and security on the continent. In terms of its mandate, PAP is limited to consultative and advisory power within the AU. Its full-fledged legislative power is provided for under the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union on the Establishment of the Pan-African Parliament (Malabo Protocol), which is yet to come into force. This opinion piece seeks to examine critically the resolution on peace and security with a specific focus on the Continental Early Warning Mechanism (CEWM).
War and violence in Africa are among the stumbling blocks to economic development and integration in Africa. Consequently, the PAP passed a resolution on the promotion of peace and security in Africa at its Second Session of the Fourth Parliament held from 5 to 17 October 2015. This opinion piece specifically focuses on PAP’s recommendation on the need of reinforcing CEWM in conflict prevention in Africa and the establishment of an African centre for conflict and arbitration focusing on providing training and capacity building on alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in the five sub-regions of Africa, under the oversight of African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.