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 8 July 2011

Commonwealth Human Rights weekly update (02/07 - 08/07/2011)

Horn, East and Central Africa
Monday 04/07: Aid agencies launch multi-million pound appeals to address food crisis
Aid agencies launched huge appeals this week in order to tackle the impending humanitarian emergency in east Africa, where severe drought and high food prices have left 10 million people needing help.

The drought in some pastoralist regions of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Uganda comes as a result of the second failed rainy season in the last year. The drought has destroyed livestock, which at a time where cereal prices are soaring has caused hunger levels to increase sharply.

Almost a thousand Somalis refugees per day continue to cross across the Kenyan border to Dadaab, already the largest refugee settlement in the world, as covered in a previous post.  The greatest proportion of people in need are located in Kenya’s northern regions, where cereal prices have risen sharply in recent times. This is partly due to an increase in the global price, however a shortage of the maize has also been attributed to poor planning by the government, who claimed to have a surplus earlier in the year, before declaring a national disaster in May. There have also been allegations that politically connected Kenyans have sold maize meant for domestic consumption to neighbouring countries.

Sub-saharan Africa
Thursday 07/07/2011: Sub-saharan Africa on route to achieve MDG2
Sub-saharan Africa has been recognised as having up the best record for improvement in primary school enrolment, according the UN's annual report card of regional progress towards the eight MDGs.
The report highlighted that the world is far from achieving universal primary education. However Burundi, Madagascar, Rwanda, Samoa, São Tomé and Principe, Togo and Tanzania are among the countries that have achieved, or are nearing the goal of universal primary education. The abolition of school fees has contributed to progress in many of these countries, the UN said.
To achieve universal primary education, children must complete a full cycle of primary schooling. Currently, 87 out of 100 children in poor countries complete primary education.
Monday 04/07: Aid agencies launch multi-million pound appeals to address food crisis
The Commonwealth Secretariat is continuing to help Swaziland in advance of the country’s first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) human rights evaluation through a series of workshops for civil society organisations.

The UPR is a four yearly review of the human rights records of all 192 member states of the Commonwealth.  Swaziland is due to present its report to the Human Rights Council this month, and answer questions on it in October.

Karen McKenzie, Human rights adviser with HRU stated ‘engagement was contructive around a number of the burning human rights issues confronting government currently – some of these issues have been pending for a while.’ CHRI has covered Swaziland’s human rights record in previous posts and official statements.

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