Bleak picture of human rights on the African continent: HRW report

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Africa is rising against dictatorial and weak governments. This is the conclusion of the 2019 World Report launched by Human Rights Watch in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Citizens in countries such as Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya and Zimbabwe engaged in protests against their governments despite high risks of personal harm in 2018. Human Rights Watch says in some of the countries this was unheard of in the past.

The Human Rights Watch’s 2019 World Report paints a bleak picture of human rights on the African continent.

The organisation says despite a number of countries changing leadership, there has not been a change in the plight of citizens and South Africa is no exception.

“There is no comprehensive national strategy to combat high rates of violent crimes against women and that is an area where we are asking the government of South Africa to focus in terms of  improving the enjoyment of rights for women in SA,” says Southern Africa Director, Dewa Mavhinga.

Mavhinga says although there have not been concrete moves, South Africa has said that they will be aligning their foreign policy including their stance in the United Nations, with Constitutional principles.

The organisation is watching how and if South Africa will keep to its word.

Zimbabwe, however, is in the spotlight following riots over fuel hikes this week.

Mavhinga says Zimbabwe is burning while the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) keeps silent.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has also been in the news following their contested election.

The organisation says about 800 people were killed in so-called ethnic clashes in 2018. There have also been violence and oppression against activists. However, Human Rights Watch says there have been some promising developments.

“Probably for the first time on the continent in these years, we see a third party that is the Catholic Bishop Conference that has been able to use its legitimacy to actually work and operate as a neutral party during elections. We have seen boycotts and mass protests on the continent. Today, we see a local association taking a step forward in terms of asking for changes,” says Africa Advocacy Director, Carine Nantylya.

Mozambique was also flagged for violence in its northern region. This has resulted in thousands of people being displaced.

Burundi’s humanitarian situation remains dire. Rwanda has also been intimidating, silencing and arresting opposition leaders.

Angola which also has a new leadership, has not proved itself but has rather given a mixed picture.

E-Swatini – previously known as Swaziland – also did not fare so well, while Sudan is in the spotlight particularly now with protests calling for President Omar Al-Bashir’s removal.

Watch a related video below:




BREAKING NEWS: Govender brothers sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for attempted murder, 3 years for grievous bodily harm and 12 months for assault common. For more visit http://sabcnews.com