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.

Monday 25 April 2011

African Commonwealth Human Rights Weekly Update (16/04 - 22/04/2011)


Monday 18/04: Universal Periodic Review: Mauritius hosted a two-day seminar on the Universal Periodic Review. The event was attended by representatives of the seven African Commonwealth countries who are up for periodic review in the coming two tears (Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia). The seminar aimed to strengthen the ability of the states to implement the recommendations they received from the UN Human Rights Council when they were last under review in 2008 and 2009.

The UPR sets out to review the human rights situation in all 192 UN member states every four years. In the process each national government reports to the UN Human Rights Council on the activities they have undertaken to uphold human rights. After consideration of the report, the UNHCR draws up a list of suggestions which are then discussed with the national government to bring together an action plan for the next four years.


Monday 18/04: Election Results: As it had done in the National Assembly Elections, The Commonwealth declared itself happy with the conduct of the Nigerian presidential elections. Speaking for the Commonwealth Observer Group, former Botswana President Festus Mogae said, "The April 2011 elections marked a genuine celebration of democracy in Africa’s most populous country and a key member of the Commonwealth...Previously held notions that Nigeria can only hold flawed elections are now being discarded and this country can now shake off that stigma and redeem its image.”

Meanwhile, areas in the north of the country witnessed some of the worst post electoral violence in recent memory. The Civil Rights Congress claim that more than 500 people have died since the presidential elections on Saturday the 16th of April. The violence came after it became clear that Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian, had defeated a Muslim candidate from the mostly Islamic north.


Friday 22/04: Arbitrary Arrests: Kizza Besigye, the leader of the Forum for Democratic change, Uganda’s principle opposition party, spent Easter in jail after being arrested for the third time. He was held by Ugandan police for holding another walk to work-protest in Kampala. Besigye was charged for unlawful assembly and will appear in country on the 27th of April.

In the town of Masaka one child was killed and two protesters injured by bullets during protests on Thursday. These two incidents are part of ongoing unrest about rising prices and police handling of protests.

Since the conclusion of the February 2011 general elections, the Ugandan police have maintained a blanket ban against all forms of public assemblies and demonstrations. This ban has been imposed on the pretext of ensuring public security. This blanket ban is in violation to the right to freedom of expression guaranteed in Uganda’s Constitution and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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