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 17 June 2011

African Commonwealth Human Rights Weekly Update (11/06 - 17/06/2011)


10/06/2011 – Humanitarian emergency as world’s biggest refugee camp runs out of room

Dadaab, a sprawling refugee camp in Kenya, has run out of space, Medicines Sans Frontiers has declared. Situated in the barren desert of Kenya’s north-eastern province, the camp’s population is expected to reach 450,000 by the end of the year.

Three years ago, the UN declared that the camp had no more room for new arrivals, but conflict and the worst drought in years have forced 44,000 Somalis to seek admittance into Dadaab since the beginning of this year.

The refugees – most of whom are women and children – arrive with no money, no food, no water and no shelter. 60% report illness on arrival, having walked through the desert for days. They are left without food or shelter in dry heat of 50C and are said to be vulnerable to attack by animals.

‘More refugees are on their way,’ Nenna Arnold, an MSF nurse, said. ‘We are already at bursting point, but the figures keep growing. This situation is a humanitarian emergency.’


17/06/2011 – Radical Islamist sect claims responsibility for suicide bombing

A radical Islamist sect has claimed responsibility for Nigeria's first suicide bombing, saying the attack that killed two at Abuja's police headquarters was aimed at Nigeria’s police chief.
The group, Boko Haram, stated ‘We are responsible for the bomb attack on the police headquarters in Abuja which was to prove a point to all those who doubt our capability.’
The group had threatened ‘fiercer’ attacks the day before the bombings, declaring their anger at a police declaration that its days were ‘numbered.’
Thursday’s powerful explosion ripped through the car park inside the police headquarters compound, killing a police officer and the bomber, wounding several others and destroying dozens of cars, according to police. The death toll is still to be confirmed.

The event was the first suicide bombing in Nigeria, a country of 150 million people facing a growing threat from Islamic militants. Levels of insecurity are already high in the country only weeks after President Goodwill Jonathan's election late April for his first full term.
Boko Haram, whose name means ‘Western education is sin’, launched an uprising in 2009 which was brutally repressed by the military, leaving hundreds dead. The group advocate for the creation of an Islamic state, and have been blamed for shootings of police and community leaders, bomb blasts and raids on churches, police stations and a prison.
16/06/2011 – Rwandan Parliament admitted to CPA
The Rwandan Parliament were officially admitted as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s 19th member. Rwanda is hosting the 42nd African CPA annual conference under the theme ‘Consolidation Growth and Development.’
Sessions will include issues of food security and sustainable livelihood, and the role of Parliament in mitigating the impact of genetically modified crops on poverty and food security. The agenda also covers the role of Parliaments in promoting democracy and good governance.
16/06/2011 - Uganda's former vice president charged with fraud
Former vice-president Gilbert Bukenya has been charged with fraud.
He is accused of being responsible for the fraudulent procurement of luxury cars, which provided the transport for several heads of state during the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala.
Mr Bukenya chaired the cabinet team in charge of preparations for the event but denies that he benefited from the $3.9m deal.
The former vice president was sacked in May, as part of a reshuffle in the wake of February's elections.

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