Posts tagged as: human

Rwigaras Bail Hearing Finally Begins

Photo: Cyril Ndegeya/The East African

Members of the late Kigali tycoon Assinapol Rwigara’s family when they were taken in for questioning by Rwanda police on September 4, 2017 at their residence in Kiyovu.

The Nyarugenge Intermediate Court on Monday begun pre-trial hearings for three members of the Rwigara family.

The hearing had been postponed on four different occasions.

Mrs. Adeline Rwigara and her two daughters Anne and Diane Rwigara are jointly facing charges related to inciting insurrection.

Diane faces separate forgery charges and her mother divisionism and discrimination charges.

Before the proceedings could begin, the defendants’ lawyers Gatera Gashabana and Pierre-Célestin Buhuru argued that the case should not be heard at Nyamirambo based as it was outside the area of jurisdiction.

The lawyers cited a law that requires defendants to be tried in a court closest to where they were arrested. They then requested their release.

After consultation the panel of judges concluded that it was within their jurisdiction to the try the Rwigaras, and ordered the proceedings to go on.

As part of evidence pinning the Rwigaras, the prosecution presented Whatsapp audio files some of which were heard by the court.

The court also heard that due to security reasons some audios should be played in camera and some witness names not disclosed

A series of 12 audios were then played in open court.

The court heard that some of the people involved in the conversations are wanted by the prosecution as part of investigations into the case.

They cited Thabitha Gwiza Mugenzi believed to be in Canada, Xaverine Mukangarambe and Jean Paul Tuyishimire in the US and a one Edmond Mushayija who said to be in Belgium.

Prosecution says that in their conversations with the Rwigaras mainly Adeline; they propagated hate and intended to incite public insurrection.

In regards to the forgery-related charges faced by Diane, the court heard that the suspect, during the August Presidential elections, forged signatures in an attempt to meet the nomination criteria required the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

Prosecution told court they have interrogated more than 70 people who denied lending their signatures in support of her candidacy.

Diane is also alleged to have included dead people among her signatories.

The defendants denied all charges.

After a nearly eight hour court session, the presiding judge adjourned the Court to Wednesday.

Rwanda

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Police Deny Killing 33 in Nairobi During Anti-IEBC Demos

By Hilary Kimuyu

The National Police Service has denied allegations that police officers have so far killed 33 people in post-election demonstrations.

Human rights watchdogs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had on Tuesday released a report that claimed police were directly implicated in the deaths.

The 33 victims were reportedly killed during police operations in Mathare, Kibera, Baba Dogo, Dandora, Korogocho, Kariobangi, and Kawangware between August 9 and 13.

The 37-page report, titled Kill Those Criminals’: Security Forces’ Violations in Kenya’s August 2017 Elections, documents excessive use of force by police and other security agents against protesters and residents.

But National Police Service spokesman George Kinoti, through a statement on Wednesday, termed the accusations as false.

“The National Police Service attention has been drawn to a sensational report by Amnesty International alleging that, 33 people were killed in the immediate post August poll period,” said Mr Kinoti.

“We wish to refute the claims as totally misleading and based on falsehoods. We are studying the report and will issue a comprehensive report later,” he added.

The report by the two human rights watchdogs reported that as many as 50 people, mainly in perceived opposition strongholds in the capital, could have lost their lives during the protests against President Kenyatta’s win.

“They shot directly at some protesters and also opened fire, apparently randomly, on crowds,” the report says.

“Victims and witnesses told researchers that as protesters ran away, police pursued them, kicking down doors and chasing people down alleyways, shooting and beating many to death.”

Other victims, the rights defenders claim, died of asphyxiation from inhaling teargas and pepper spray, from being hit by teargas canisters fired at close range, or from being trampled to death by fleeing crowds.

Additional reporting by Nation Team.

Kenya

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How Police Tried to Stop Recording of Brutality Against Nasa Supporters – Report

By Sam Kiplagat

Rights groups and journalists were attacked as they documented police brutality in the aftermath of August 8 polls.

In a report, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International on Monday accused police of smashing phones and cameras used to document their brutal acts.

BRUTALITY

The report, titled Kill Those Criminals says, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) documented cases of at least 10 journalists countrywide who reported being harassed and being prevented from doing their job during the election period.

The report notes that threats of arrest after the elections from the Nairobi police chief also played a part in intimidating journalists and disrupting their work.

“Police smashed the camera of well-known international photographer, Neil Shea, in Kibera when he tried to photograph a youth leader being beaten,” the report reads in part.

In Mathare, an activist who tried to capture police on film had his camera snatched and smashed by police.

They then beat him for the attempt.

He said the police told him: “If you film us, it can be used as evidence; we can lose our jobs.”

PERMIT

Such experiences were common during the protests, the HRW and Amnesty International researchers say.

In Kibera, police obstructed and ejected from the area journalists who were covering protests.

KTN journalist Duncan Khaemba and cameraman David Okech were arrested for not possessing a permit for their protective clothing, while Wall Street Journal correspondent Matina Stevis was hit with a stick and told to leave the area along with others.

Police also threatened human rights defenders.

Independent Policing Oversight Authority (Ipoa) said officers were not cooperating with them in their investigations into police actions in the post-election period.

Kenya

Police Killed Over 33 During Demo – Report

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Rights Groups Say 33 Killed in Poll Aftermath, Demand Probe

By Margaret Njugunah

Nairobi — Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for investigations into police brutality following protests after the August 8, 2017 elections.

In a new report, the organisations say Kenyan police have killed at least 33 people, although the figure is being disputed by Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet.

Dubbed Kill Those Criminals’: Security Forces’ Violations in Kenya’s August 2017 Elections, the report documents excessive use of force by police, and in some cases other security agents against protesters and residents in some of Nairobi’s Opposition strongholds after the disputed elections.

“Researchers found that although police behaved appropriately in some instances, in many others they shot or beat protesters to death,” the organisations say in a statement.

The report comes two days after three protesters were shot dead in Bondo as Opposition supporters clashed with police in Western Kenya, with hundreds defying a ban on rallies to express their anger over the October 26 presidential election.

President Uhuru Kenyatta earlier Sunday warned Opposition leader Raila Odinga that he will face the full force of the law if he continues to cause violence in the pretext of demonstrations.

He said the Opposition should stop playing with the lives of Kenyans pretending to hold demonstrations while his actual intention is to cause chaos so that he can get to power through the back door.

Kenya

Police Killed Over 33 During Demo – Report

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Govt Urged to Abolish Death Sentence

By Deogratius Kamagi

Pressure is mounting for Tanzania to abolish the death penalty.

That follows President John Magufuli’s remarks that he would not sign any death warrant during his term in office.

Legal and Human Rights Centre official Fulgence Massawe said during an event to mark International Day Against Death Penalty here that Tanzania should end capital punishment.

During a ceremony to swear in Prof Ibrahim Juma as chief justice, President Magufuli said last month that he would not sign any death warrant under his presidency.

“It’s high time Tanzania repealed the law on capital punishment because it is against human rights,” Mr Massawe emphasised.

Former Prisons commissioner John Nyoka urged Tanzania to join other Commonwealth countries to abolish the death penalty as its execution had not proved successful in ending murders.

“We can change the punishment to life sentence but not hanging them to death,” said Mr Nyoka, who also worked in Namibia for 17 years to restructure that country’s former apartheid correctional system.

Earlier, French ambassador Malika Berak said the country abolished death penalty in 1981 after realising that it was contrary to principles of human rights.

“The decision did not come overnight. Since the French Revolution in 1789, people debated the matter. In fact it took us two centuries to reach to conclusion that that type of punishment should end it,” she said.

She is happy that Tanzania has not carried out capital punishment since 1994 and hopes that the country will join the long list of countries which have voluntarily adhered to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and to fully implement its article 3 on the right to life.

Tanzania

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Aim Higher Than Eliminating Extreme Poverty, Kagame

By Collins Mwai

President Paul Kagame has said that investment in the development of human capital remain a top priority for Rwanda in a bid to empower citizens and unleash human freedoms.

Kagame was speaking at the World Bank Human Capital Summit in Washington DC as part of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund Annual meeting.

The president said that investment in human capital is a precondition of high income growth and prosperity.

Continuously developing human capital through investment in healthcare, education and creativity, he said is with the aim of turning citizens into individuals with the ability to think and act for themselves and for the benefit of their communities.

“Human capital is without doubt the driver of high-income growth and the foundation of prosperity. This is not an abstraction. We are talking about people in real terms… .. By investing in health, education, and creativity, we turn our people into individuals who have the ability to think and act, not just for themselves but also for the benefit of their communities,” he said.

It is that reasoning that Kagame said drives Rwanda to aim beyond elimination of extreme poverty to achieve prosperity and well-being for everyone.

“Unleashing human freedom and ability is a force multiplier that creates limitless potential. For that reason, I would like to challenge us all not to limit our ambitions to “eliminating extreme poverty”. That just doesn’t sound good enough. Our aim is prosperity and well-being for everyone. That is the essence of what keeps bringing us together here, time after time,” he said.

In Rwanda’s approach, government’s role in developing human capital is beyond provision of funds as it has involved ensuring a secure, stable environment.

“Government does not just provide funds, it also creates public goods through an environment of security, stability, policy predictability, and the rule of law,” the head of state said.

Filling the void of human capital created in pre-genocide Rwanda, Kagame said had enabled the country to achieve security and stability over the last 23 years.

“Twenty-three years ago, as you know, Rwanda was utterly devastated. It is no accident that human capital was a low priority in the years before the Genocide. As we worked to rebuild the nation, we had no choice but to put our people at the centre of our strategy. It was simply a question of security and survival,” the president said.

Among the top investments and efforts in development of human capital has been through ensuring access to quality education for all citizens as well as universal healthcare coverage.

Due to these efforts, over 90,000 Rwandans complete tertiary education annually while national healthcare insurance covers close to 90 per cent of the population.

“In the decades before 1994, access to secondary and higher education was a political favour subject to ethnic quotas. The country produced only about 2,000 university graduates in that period. Today, around 90,000 Rwandans complete tertiary education every year. Our national health insurance programme covers nearly 90 per cent of Rwandans, and tens of thousands of volunteer Community Health Workers are deployed across the country,” he told the audience.

This has consequently seen an 80 per cent reduction in maternal mortality and a 70 per cent reduction in infant and child mortality since the year 2000.

The government has also made equality of access and opportunity for girls and women in schools, in the workplace, and in front of the law, a cross cutting requirement further ensuring economic resilience.

Other efforts have been through rollout of broadband and expansion of technical and vocational education to ensure relevance to the labour market needs.

Other efforts by the government and stakeholders have involved setting up sector working groups constituting national agencies to coordinate Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme focused on nutrition, sanitation, and pre-school education.

As a result, the rate of stunting has dropped drastically from over half of children in 2010 to closer to one-third today with targets of reducing it further to 15 per cent by 2020.

Kagame commended the partnership between the World Bank Group and the government developing human capital saying that with the joint efforts there is optimism that targets will be achieved.

“Rwanda still has a long way to go to reach high-income status. Given our starting point, we are accustomed to difficult journeys, so there is no doubt that eventually we will get there. But we cannot derive full benefit from our natural resources or seize the opportunities of globalisation without first making the inherent potential of our people a reality,” he added.

World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim called on countries to invest in their citizens, saying that there was evidence that it would lead to a high Gross Domestic Production.

Kagame spoke alongside other leaders including World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim and Cote d’Ivoire Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly among others.

Senegal: Senegal Makes Strides On Palliative Care

press releaseBy Diederik Lohman

When it comes to end-of-life care and pain treatment, Francophone Africa has a long way to go. But, Senegal is one country working to change this.

A 2012 study found 16 of 22 countries in Francophone Africa have no healthcare providers specializing in palliative care, which focuses on pain treatment and quality of life. Yet, each year about 912,000 people there, including 214,000 children, require palliative care. That number is likely to grow.

In countries with limited resources, where death from malaria or respiratory infections is common, palliative care is often viewed as a luxury. However, our work in Senegal with local partners and the health ministry shows progress can be made.

In 2013, Human Rights Watch found that only a few hospitals in the capital, Dakar, provided palliative care for patients with end-stage cancer. Also, the amount of morphine the country used was enough to treat just 179 patients with advanced cancer or AIDS – although about 70,000 people there required palliative care each year.

At the root of the issue was the absence of a national policy, a lack of training and education for healthcare workers, and challenges with the procurement and prescription of morphine.

Since 2014, however, the Senegalese government has taken steps to improve access to palliative care. It boosted its national estimate for morphine from 1,180 grams in 2012 to 40,329 grams. It has begun buying oral morphine tablets for public hospitals. It changed regulations limiting the prescription of morphine to seven days at a time – forcing patients at the end of life to travel long distances to get a new prescription – to 28 days. The World Health Organization (WHO) has worked with the ministry to train physicians, pharmacists, and health workers on using morphine. The hospital with the country’s largest adult cancer unit hired a palliative care specialist. The health ministry has worked with Human Rights Watch on a needs assessment study, the result of which are forthcoming.

Despite this progress, much remains to be done. Most hospitals do not offer palliative care services to incurable patients. Most health workers have no training in palliative care. And morphine is available almost only in the capital. But with leadership in the health ministry, pressure from civil society, and assistance from international actors like WHO, significant progress in addressing these challenges is within reach.

Hopefully, other West African countries will also take these steps.

Govt Rubbishes Report on Military Torture Claims

Photo: HRW

Military torture.

By Edmund Kagire

Rwanda has dismissed the latest report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) that accuses its military of using torture to force confessions, terming it as yet another witch hunt.

The Minister of Justice, who is also the Attorney-General, Johnston Busingye said Wednesday that the rights group has over the years been running a campaign to discredit the government.

“There is no truth to the HRW report. Rwanda is party to, and observes the Convention Against Torture as well as domestic laws,” Mr Busingye wrote on Twitter, adding that: “HRW has recycled old, discredited and baseless allegations, for which they have no credible evidence. They will, in time, be exposed.”

In its report published on Tuesday, HRW accused Rwanda’s military of using asphyxiation, electric shock and mock executions to torture confessions out of detainees.

The watchdog said it documented at least 104 cases of people who were illegally detained, and in many cases tortured or ill-treated, in military detention centres between 2010 and 2016.

It further said that the widespread and systematic torture was often ignored by judges and prosecutors whenever complaints were made.

The 91-page report follows closely two others, from HRW, accusing Rwandan government of cracking down on political opponents and extrajudicial killings over petty offences.

“The Rwandan government has every right to protect its citizens from armed groups like the FDLR, but allowing the military to commit heinous crimes only creates mistrust in the government,” Ida Sawyer of HRW said in the new report.

“To demonstrate its respect for the rule of law, and to put an end to these horrible practices, the government should immediately investigate and prosecute those responsible for unlawful detention and torture,” Ms Sawyer said.

The government however maintains that the New York-based group has a “vindictive agenda against Rwanda” and often publishes reports that are false.

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Rwanda Rubbishes Report on Military Torture Claims

By Edmund Kagire

Rwanda has dismissed the latest report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) that accuses its military of using torture to force confessions, terming it as yet another witch hunt.

The Minister of Justice, who is also the Attorney-General, Johnston Busingye said Wednesday that the rights group has over the years been running a campaign to discredit the government.

“There is no truth to the HRW report. Rwanda is party to, and observes the Convention Against Torture as well as domestic laws,” Mr Busingye wrote on Twitter, adding that: “HRW has recycled old, discredited and baseless allegations, for which they have no credible evidence. They will, in time, be exposed.”

In its report published on Tuesday, HRW accused Rwanda’s military of using asphyxiation, electric shock and mock executions to torture confessions out of detainees.

The watchdog said it documented at least 104 cases of people who were illegally detained, and in many cases tortured or ill-treated, in military detention centres between 2010 and 2016.

It further said that the widespread and systematic torture was often ignored by judges and prosecutors whenever complaints were made.

The 91-page report follows closely two others, from HRW, accusing Rwandan government of cracking down on political opponents and extrajudicial killings over petty offences.

“The Rwandan government has every right to protect its citizens from armed groups like the FDLR, but allowing the military to commit heinous crimes only creates mistrust in the government,” Ida Sawyer of HRW said in the new report.

“To demonstrate its respect for the rule of law, and to put an end to these horrible practices, the government should immediately investigate and prosecute those responsible for unlawful detention and torture,” Ms Sawyer said.

The government however maintains that the New York-based group has a “vindictive agenda against Rwanda” and often publishes reports that are false.

Rwanda

Government to Pay Preschool Teachers

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Tanzania:Exim Bank Tanzania Opens New Branch in Dodoma

By Valentine Oforo

Dodoma — Exim Bank Tanzania opened another branch in Dodoma Municipality in its bid to expand its network that now boasts of 33 branches countrywide.

The branch becomes the second in the rapidly expanding municipality.

Speaking during the inauguration at the University of Dodoma’s (Udom) College of Informatics, Exim Bank Tanzania’s Human Resources head Frederick Kanga said the bank has decided to add another branch in the municipality in order to more conveniently carter to the banking needs of various people following the decision by the government of shifting its seat to Dodoma from Dar es Salaam.

He added the branch has been strategically located at the university given the huge banking needs of the 25,000 population there.

“The target also is to provide wider financial services to the Udom community which is made up of students, staff and even government servants,” he said.

For her part, Dodoma District Commissioner Christine Mndeme, who graced the inauguration, challenged the bank to assist the government in speeding up the pace of investments in the capital city.

She also underscored the need for the banks to play key role at assisting individual, and small and medium-sized entreprises in the region by enabling them access to affordable loans.

Branch manager Faiton Samwel assured that through the bank’s corporate social responsibility, the institution will play a key role on boosting varied social services in the region ranging from health, education and agriculture.

“We are a fast growing and innovative digital bank with more interesting products and services like travel and salary pre-paid cards, USD denominated Debit and Credit cards as well as Mobile Wallet,” he expressed.

He said that last year the bank, which has branches also in Djibout, Comoro and Uganda, posted a pre-tax profit of Sh83.3 billion making it the fourth biggest lender in terms of assets in Tanzania.

Tanzania

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