Accra, Ghana
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent non-governmental organisation created to ensure the practical realisation of human rights in the countries of the Commonwealth. We push for an adherence to the Commonwealth's Harare Principles and the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CHRI was established in 1987 after several Commonwealth countries voiced their concern about a lack of focus on Human rights within the Commonwealth organization. CHRI currently has three offices; in Delhi, London and Accra. The Africa office was opened in Accra in 2001 and is at the forefront of the fight to uphold basic human freedoms in the region. We work in three main areas of human rights: Human Rights Advocacy; Access to justice and The Right to Information.

Friday 29 April 2011

African Commonwealth Human Rights Weekly Update (23/04 - 29/04/2011)


Wednesday 27/04: Freedom of Expression: The British High Commissioner, Mr Cochrane-Dyet has been expelled from Malawi after he described President Bingu wa Mutharika as "becoming ever more autocratic and intolerant of criticism" in a leaked cable.

Since its election in 2004, the government of Bingu wa Mutharika has been criticised for harassing opposition and human rights campaigners. Mr Cochrane-Dyet said that civil society organisers were scared to campaign after receiving threatening phone calls.

Malawi has been party International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights since 1993 which guarantees the right to hold opinions without interference the right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly .


Tuesday 26/04: Protest: A Commission of Inquiry set up by the Mozambican Interior Ministry to investigate the brutal attack by members of the riot police on unarmed security guards who were demonstrating against their employer, Group Four Securicor (G4S) on the 6th of April, has reached the preliminary conclusion that they "acted in bad faith in the use of excessive force”.
Riot police were filmed repeatedly beating unarmed protesters with truncheons. The UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials states that "Law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force". This basic principle was not adhered to by Mozambican riot police.   See the video below...

Sierra Leone

Wednesday 27/04: Celebration of Independence: Sierra Leone Marked its 50th anniversary of independence from Britain. The president Koroma called on Sierra Leone to draw upon the lessons of the past.

Nine years ago the Country emerged from an eleven year civil war that killed 50,000 people. Since the end of the war Sierra has shown tentative signs that it is beginning to turn a corner. It has been particularly encouraging that the 2007 elections have been conducted in a free and fair manner. Former president Kabbah stepped down after serving a maximum two terms and Koroma successfully defeated the incumbent Vice President Solomon Berewa. Sierra Leone is due to go for presidential elections again in 2012.


Thursday  28/04: Arbitrary Arrest: For the third week running Kizza Besigye was detained by the police for attempting another walk to work protest. Beigye is being denied his freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly.

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