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 20 May 2011

African Commonwealth Human Rights Weekly Update (14/05 - 20/05/2011)

Tuesday 17/05: Bizimungu convicted if War Crimes: Former Rwandan army chief Augustin Bizimungu has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in the 1994 genocide. Until his capture in Angola in 2002, Bizimungu was the most wanted man in connection with the 1994 genocide.
The 59-year-old was on trial in a specially commissioned court in Tanzania. The judge ruled that he had control of forces that carried out the widespread rape and killing of Tutsis and Hutu moderates.
In the 100 days of genocide an estimated 800,000 Rwandan’s lost their life

The Seychelles
Monday 15/05: Observer Group to be dispatched: Commonwealth Secretary Gereal Kamalesh Sharma announced on Monday that a commonwealth observer team will be dispatched to the Indian Ocean state for the Presidential election which take place between the 19-21 of May.
The team will be headed by the former foreign minister of St Lucia, Dr Julian Hunte.

Saturday 14/05: Political Activists Arrested: The Swaziland Democracy Campaign, a South Africa based organisation pushing for greater political freedoms in Swaziland, report that a number of trade unionists have been arbitrarily arrested. They report that on Saturday members of the new democratic trade union federation, The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) were arrested and detained by police after attending a meeting in the Lubombo Region.
TOCOSWA was launched on May Day of this year and brings all trade unions in Swaziland into a single organisation. Political parties are banned in Swaziland and trade unions remain the main source of organised opposition to King Mswati’s autocratic state.
On Sunday the funeral of political activist Sipo Jele ended in ugly scenes when police ripped a flag of the banned political party, People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) and arrested three mourners wearing PUDEMO T-shirts.

Saturday 14/05: Bushfire Festival Boycott Still on: The Swaziland Solidarity Network, reiterated that it will boycott the Bushfire Music Festival which will be held in Malkerns between 27-29 May. The event is due to feature artists from USA, Canada, South Africa, Mozambique, Mali, Zimbabwe, Botswana and France as well as local acts from Swaziland.

The Swaziland Solidarity Network has asked called artists to refuse to attend and has called on Swaziland to be isolated from the cultural mainstream (similar to what happened to Apartheid South Africa). However, Swazilands other large civil society campaign group, The Swaziland Democracy Campaign has called off its boycott after meeting with event organisers. They claim that the the event provides an opportunity for young Swazi musicians to get international exposure.

Sunday 15/05: Swaziland Referred to the African Court on Human People’s Rights: The Sunday Times an independent newspaper in Swaziland, reported on Sunday that the African NGO Forum has referred Swaziland to the African Union’s African Court on Human People’s Rights (ACHRP).
The Swazi Government is accused of violating nine separate articles of the African Charter. In particular the ACHPR is being urged to call on Swaziland to stop police brutality, arbitrary detentions and torture. Swaziland is being urged to amend the Suppression of Terrorism Act and repeal the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act.

Thursday 19/05: Besigye Under House Arrest: Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye has been prevented from leaving his house by police as the new parliamentary session opens. The police claim his was planning to cause unrest and call his detention “a preventative arrest”.


  1. So SD is falling apart but some want the party to go on..............BOYCOTT IS ON!

  2. Hamba kahle Swaziland!!!!

  3. That's an enlightening post. Very nicely put together.