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Archive for the tag “East Africa”

South Sudan: Dr. Aleu Garang Aleu Anyang statement as a civil servant in IGAD (19.09.2018)

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Uganda: Courts to close Friday as Judiciary holds Benedicto Kiwanuka Day (19.09.2018)

Commission on Human Rights Urges South Sudan to make peace and justice a reality (18.09.2018)

South Sudanese civilians continue to live in complete insecurity as the violence is ongoing, arbitrary detention and torture at the hands of the National Security Service are on the rise, some 6 million people – around 60 per cent of the population — live under “emergency” food insecurity and humanitarian assistance convoys are routinely attacked.

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 18, 2018 -The Commissionto use the opportunity created by the renewal of the peace agreement to ensure justice and accountability for the victims of the many crimes committed against its population.

While welcoming in its oral update before the Human Rights Council the “Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan” signed on 12 September, the Commission expressed doubts that the peace deal would endure as deadly fighting between opposing parties and attacks on United Nations peacekeepers had resumed less than 24 hours later.

South Sudanese civilians continue to live in complete insecurity as the violence is ongoing, arbitrary detention and torture at the hands of the National Security Service are on the rise, some 6 million people – around  60 per cent of  the population — live under “emergency” food insecurity and humanitarian assistance convoys are routinely attacked.

The many victims of the five-year conflict need justice if communities are to heal and rebuild the fabric of their society. The ongoing sexual violence against women and girls in South Sudan is pervasive and requires a sustained commitment to holding perpetrators accountable and addressing impunity.

“South Sudan is at war with its citizens and currently stands at the crossroads between hope and peace, on the one hand, and more missed opportunities, on the other hand,” said the Commission’s Chairperson Yasmin Sooka.  “Sustainable peace requires justice and accountability for serious crimes”

Timeline

The Commission in particular urged the African Union and the Government of South Sudan to agree on a timeline to fast-track the long-awaited Hybrid Court for South Sudan, the Commission on Truth, Healing and Reconciliation and the Compensation and Reparations Authority, all set out in Chapter V of the Peace Agreement to render justice and facilitate national reconciliation.

“Six months later, we are still waiting for this signature [by the President of South Sudan or his foreign Minister], which is required by the African Union to set up this court,” stressed Ms. Sooka.

The Commission, which includes two other international human rights law experts Andrew Clapham and Barney Afako, was mandated by the Council to monitor and report on violations, establish their circumstances, identify perpetrators and collect and preserve evidence that could be used to try perpetrators of serious crime. It recently visited South Sudan to meet with senior government officials, UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), humanitarian workers, civil society, the religious communities, as well as internally displaced persons. It also visited refugee camps in Eastern Darfur in Sudan, Arua in Uganda and Kakuma in Kenya, to talk with refugees from South Sudan as well as representatives of the opposition parties. The Commission is due to submit its report to the Human Rights Council in March 2019.

New attacks

Just hours after the revitalized peace agreement, government forces (SPLA) were alleged to have attacked Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) forces in Yei River State, South of Juba, resulting in the deaths of 17 members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). Moreover, two days ago, on 15 September, a SPLA soldier shot in the leg a UN peacekeeper in Yei about 1.4 km from a UNMISS base. Yei town experienced heavy shooting throughout the night, prompting the UNMISS to put it on security alert.

South Sudan is considered to be one of the most dangerous places in the world for humanitarian workers, with more than 13 aid workers killed this year alone.  In April, 10 aid workers were abducted and a UN peacekeeper killed in an ambush targeting a humanitarian convoy. In Wau, between June and late August, access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance was denied “for security reasons”, the Commission’s Chair noted.

Despite the stated commitment of the Government of South Sudan to address sexual violence, little has been done. According to a 2017 study by the Global Women’s Institute and the International Rescue Committee more than 65 per cent of women and girls in South Sudan have reportedly experienced physical and/or sexual violence at least once in their lives. Women in South Sudan have been treated by government soldiers and armed actors to the conflict including local militias as spoils of the conflict. They also experience sexual violence during inter-communal violence between rival ethnic groups clashing over land and cattle and live with the threat of sexual violence on a daily basis which is fuelled by the lack of accountability and justice for these crimes.

And yet the Commission noted that, under pressure by the international community, the Government of South Sudan could muster the political will to combat impunity, as evidenced by the recent judgment in the Terrain Case, in which a Military Tribunal handed down jail sentences to ten soldiers for murder, rape, sexual harassment, theft and armed robbery.

Terrain case

While the victims in the Terrain case have welcomed the verdict, they have expressed their disappointment that only the foot soldiers were prosecuted while those with command responsibility have gone unpunished.

The Commission recalled that UNMISS in 2017 investigated and documented that more than 217 South Sudanese women were gang raped by government security forces including at SPLA checkpoints in Juba in the same cycle of violence of July 2016. To date, none of the perpetrators have been held accountable and nor have any of these women received any compensation from the government.

“The plight and suffering of South Sudanese women and girls can no longer be ignored; they urgently deserve justice, compensation and medical and trauma support services. The Terrain trial verdict should not be the exception, but the rule in South Sudan from now on,” declared Ms. Sooka.

Unaccompanied minors

The appalling living conditions have displaced 1.7 million people inside South Sudan. Another 2.5 million South Sudanese have fled the country, including more than 65,600 unaccompanied minors who crossed the border into neighbouring countries since the outbreak of South Sudan’s civil war in 2013, according to UNCHR.

Amongst the refugee population are a number of unaccompanied minors — 65,600 of them according to the UN Refugee agency (UNHCR) — who crossed the border into neighboring countries since the outbreak of South Sudan’s civil war in 2013. These unaccompanied minors are vulnerable to child-soldier recruitment, sexual abuse and exploitation, child labour, drug abuse, criminality, and poverty. They experience intense anxiety and trauma due to separation; they do not know where their family members are, or whether they are alive or dead; in addition they are left to fend for themselves.  UNHCR, UNICEF and the ICRC are doing incredible work in dealing with unaccompanied minors. UNHCR ought to have more resources to carry out their work, declared the Commission.

Given the acute levels of food insecurity in the country, the Government of South Sudan would be expected  to do its utmost to facilitate unimpeded access to UNMISS and humanitarian organizations. Instead the authorities resort to constant bureaucratic stalling which denies access and more alarmingly. Targeted attacks against humanitarian convoys together with these obstructions make it almost impossible to deliver emergency relief.

Death penalty

Finally, the Commission deplored that the Government of South Sudan has not abolished the death penalty or put in place a moratorium on executions despite calls from civil society and the international community to do so, with three executions taking place in May alone this year. A further 40 death-row prisoners have been transferred from state and county prisons to Wau and Juba central prisons, which are the only prisons equipped with execution chambers.  The Commission said it feared that the next few months could see many more executions among the 345 death-row prisoners detained across the country.

 

UNHCR calls on South Sudan parties to deliver a lasting peace (17.09.2018)

UNHCR reiterates its call that all parties fully implement and uphold the deal for South Sudan to maintain a sustainable and permanent peace.

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 17, 2018 – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the signing of the Revitalized Peace Agreement on 13 September in Addis Ababa between the South Sudan warring parties. This is a crucial milestone towards permanent ceasefire and lasting peace for millions of war beleaguered South Sudanese.

UNHCR reiterates its call that all parties fully implement and uphold the deal for South Sudan to maintain a sustainable and permanent peace.

UNHCR stands ready to support all parties who genuinely strive to achieve an inclusive peace process, which includes a provision in the signed accord requiring the agreement be disseminated to the 2.5 million South Sudanese living in exile across six countries.

“The peace process must include the voices of refugees and those displaced inside of South Sudan to bring an end to more than five years of senseless suffering” said Arnauld Akodjenou , UNHCR Special Adviser on the South Sudan situation. “It’s important that refugees participate, understand and support the peace agreement for it to be fully effective.”

Representatives of South Sudanese refugees came face-to-face with their leaders in a meeting in Khartoum on 4th September, pressing upon their demands for inclusion in peace building efforts.

South Sudan continues to generate the largest refugee crisis on the African continent. The credibility of the unfolding peace process rests on its ability to end nearly five years of violence and suffering for the people of South Sudan, and to meet the aspirations of over four million mostly women and children forcibly displaced by the conflict.

South Sudan Civil Society Forum – Press Release (17.09.2018)

South Sudan: Statement by H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit on the Singning of the final Peace Agreement (15.09.2018)

Rwanda: P5 welcomes the release of political prisoner Mrs. Ingabire Victorie Umuhoza (16.09.2018)

South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA): Press Statement (16.09.2018)

Opinion: Victorie Ingabire Umuhoza is freed, but Kagame’s impunity still continues!

It is sort of welcoming that President Paul Kagame has released 2000 political prisoners. However, there is no reason to really celebrate it. Not like Kagame is reforming his ways or trying to open up for multi-party democracy, even as there is one Opposition MP in the Parliament after the recent election. Not like that person’s voice will cause a revolution.

We should know that the freedom of Victorie Ingabire Umuhoza, the opposition leader and President of FDU-Inkingi, which was arrested and detained on terrorism charges, because she challenged Kagame before the August 2010 Presidential Elections. She was later arrested in October 2010, since then she was detained on the charges explained below.

The Applicant avers that on 10 February, 2010, she received a summons requiring her to appear before a judicial police officer at the Criminal Investigation Department (ClD). According to her, she was accused of committing the offence of aiding and abetting terrorism, punishable under Article 12 of Law No. 45/2009 of 9 September, 2008, on the punishment of the offence of terrorism. She states that the allegations were “exclusively based on contacts she is said to have had with some defectors of the Forces Ddmocratiques de Liberation du Rwanda (FDLR), with a view to establishing an armed branch of the political party called Forces Democratiques Unifiees, of which she is President”. She further submits that she was also charged with “spreading the ideology of genooide, sectarianism and divisionism” (African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights – ‘In the matter of Ingabire Victorie Umuhoza V. Republic of Rwanda – Judgment’ (24.11.2017).

Even if Ingabire Umuhoza now is released and allowed to do political work for FDU-Inkingi, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) still owns the Republic and Kagame is not limiting his powers. He still controls it all and everyone else, he does this for brownie points and making him look better. Even as that is not the reality. If it was so, the torture, the treatment of Ingabire and everything that happen to her while incarcerated. There was even reports of lacking of food and other acts of ill-treatment of her. She is certainly not alone in those acts of impunity against citizens behind bars. That is why, we cannot just celebrate the 2000 liberated political prisoners.

That is because we cannot give this away and give Kagame the props. Because then I am playing in the hands of him and I cannot do that. His able to play around the board of Arsenal, but the rest of us knows Red Cards, when we see them.

She was arrested for eight years on forged charges, that was the rest of them too. If not, why could Kagame suddenly show mercy to them all? If he didn’t know that he was the man behind their demise and the reason for their pain. Kagame knows this and trying to get positive news behind him. Even if they are not saying he is the reason for their demise. Which all of the pardoned prisoners should say, as the political prisoners most of them was.

Ingabire was the biggest one of the pardoned prisoners, there are still plenty of them behind bars. The other one that has challenged Kagame for Presidential Elections was Diane Rwigara, that is currently still behind bars and the state has sold of the properties of the family. While also arrested several of her relatives. So, it is not like the RPF and Kagame have changed, because they are still acting with impunity. That should never be forgotten, it is not like these pardons has changed the reality of what the Kagame regime is. Peace.

Museveni: He inherited the Republic in 1986, but in 2018, its his Civil Service!

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni must have misspoke or said something that wasn’t particularly true on Friday 14th September 2018, when he was donating funds at NAADS in Kawempe, Kampala. I will show why I am claiming he is lying, because the Civil Service of 2018 is all his. This isn’t what he got from Milton Obote or Idi Amin Dada. True, some parts of the institutions and the protocols that is not revised is still there, but the people are there are most likely another generation, than when he came to power. In a country where the 48% of the public is between 0-14 years old, also 28% is between 25-65 years old. Lastly, only 2%, which is over 65 years old. That means, the ones that he inherited is in the range of the 2 % and most of them isn’t working anymore. As life expectency in the Republic is about 58 years old. When you been ruling for 32 years it is only the young part of the brigade that is still working and it should be very few that is inherited.

Claims he inherited Civil Service:

““I inherited thugs. These are your children that you put in the civil service and I found them there,”Museveni said in Kawempe on Friday afternoon. “Don’t blame me for corrupt civil servants. I inherited them from past governments. Since you have now disowned them, I can now sack them for being rebels inside my government.”” (Kenneth Kazibwe – ‘Don’t blame me for corrupt officials, I inherited them – Museveni’ 15.09.2018 link: http://nilepost.co.ug/2018/09/15/dont-blame-me-for-corrupt-officials-i-inherited-them-museveni/).

That is why I have hard time believing he inherited the Civil Service as it is, because most of them has only served his government and under his reign. As most of the citizens are born while he ruled. Therefore, the will be minority of civil servants that also served under Obote or Yusuf Lule. That is just a mere reality, that the President knows, but he has to blame the dead to give himself life. Just like a Dracula.

By statistics alone between 2012 and 2016, the whole civil service employed from 281,000 to 308,000, this is stats from the UBOS 2017 report ‘ STATISTICAL ABSTRACT’. In all margins of error, I doubt all advance aged people are working as civil servants, especially when only 60,000 of 2016 was working in Local Government for instance. That, is why I have hard time believing his Civil Service is inherited at this point. If we’re talking mid-1990s or 1980s. He could have gotten away with it, but this time.

All the Commissions, all the Ministries and all the created districts are all his creations, combined with the Universal Primary Education and all the other government organizations created since the inception of his rule. That is why President Museveni is lying, not only by the default of the age of the workforce in the civil service, but also in the state creation of organizations since 1986. If he uses history against the public. I will use basic math and common sense against him.

He didn’t inherit the civil service as it is in 2018. That is the civil service that is following his guidelines and his rules, they are enacted because of him and his legislation. This is all resembling the system and government he has promoted for three decades. The ones that was there in 1986 are most likely drinking waragin in a village somewhere, if not already dwelling in a grave. Therefore, it is sinister to say he inherited thugs in the civil service. When most of them is gone and the ones there is his grand-kids and the post-1986 generation. Peace.

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