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 10 June 2011

African Commonwealth Human Rights Weekly Update (04/06 - 10/06/2011)

09/06/2011 – NGO’s campaign for Mdbede’s release
NGO’s have joined together to demand the release of Jean-Claude Roger Mdbede, sentenced to three years imprisonment for homosexuality.
Entrapment is regularly used by the police in Cameroon to target and arrest gay men under anti-homosexual laws allowing imprisonment for up to five years. In Mbede’s case, he was sent text messages by an ‘acquaintance’ and was arrested by waiting police officers upon meeting him.
Last year a joint report by four human rights organisations said homosexual people in Cameroon face arbitrary detention, scant regard for due process and sentencing without evidence. The report documented abuses in detention, both pre-trial and in prison, by police and prison personnel, including beatings, torture and verbal abuse.
CHRI has covered the legal status of homosexuality in Cameroon here.
10/06/2011 – Government makes financial commitment to police reform
Internal Security permanent secretary Francis Kimemia, speaking during the launch of the Police Reforms Programme Document in Nairobi, stated that the money was to be used in the implementation of the various projects like provision of transport, housing, communication gadgets, and for re-training, capacity building and institutional support programmes for the two police services.
You can find out more about the work CHRI has done on policing in East Africa here.
08/06/2011 – Campaign launched to free president of NUS
A campaign has been launched to free Maxwell Dlamini, the president of Swaziland's NUS (SNUS). Dlamini was arrested, along with political activist Musa Mgudeni, on the eve of the pro-Democracy protests on April 12, and charged with possession of illegal ammunition, although he denies this charge.

His supporters say that the Swazi government is trying to smear Dlamini following the many battles with the government on behalf of the students since he took office.

Dlamini was voted in as president of the NUS late last year. In office he has led campaigns against increased tuition fees and proposed cuts to scholarships. He has also urged the Swazi government to honour its constitutional commitment to introduce free primary school education.

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