Posts tagged as: rights

Nigeria: Gay Marriage Ban Threatens Healthcare

A new report finds that 90% of those people surveyed support a controversial Act that now also stands between LGBTI communities and healthcare.

More than half of Nigerians surveyed do not think that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people should have access to basic health services, according new research released on Wednesday by Nigerian human rights organisation, the Initiative for Equal Rights.

As part of an annual report on perceptions of LGBTI communities in the country, the initiative contracted the polling company NOI Polls to interview 2 000 people about their attitudes to LGBTI people. Of those surveyed, 90% also said they supported the introduction of a 2014 Act prohibiting gay marriage – a slight increase over the previous year’s survey.

Violating the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act can carry a 14-year jail sentence. The Act also bans LGBTI people from organising meetings or forming associations. Those who do face 10 years behind bars.

The initiative also found that, although younger Nigerians are more likely than older adults to be accepting of friends or family who are LGBTI, they are more likely than older Nigerians to support the Act.

The director of research and knowledge management of the initiative, Dele Fatunla, attributes this to a wide range of factors, including the influence of evangelical religious beliefs and peer pressure.

He says the organisation has documented an increasing number of cases in which LGBTI people have struggled to get healthcare, including HIV prevention services, since the Act was passed.

“The fear of stigmatisation and prejudice means many LGBTI people who need access to healthcare, particularly sexual health services, do not access them for fear of having to disclose their sexuality,” he says.

About 3.5-million Nigerians are living with HIV, making the country home to the world’s second-largest HIV epidemic after South Africa, according to UNAids’s 2015 report.

A 2013 study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes found that HIV prevalence in men who have sex with men in the country was up to 10 times higher than that in the general population.

Dele says the 2014 marriage ban has also made it hard for health providers to reach LGBTI populations at risk of contracting HIV.

“We know some providers reported stopping their services for fear of falling foul of the law,” he says.

The international organisation Human Rights Watch has recommended that Nigeria overturn the ban to ensure that LGBTI communities have access to HIV services, care and treatment.

Ugandan Soldiers Accused of Rape, Sexual Exploitation in CAR

Photo: The Observer

Uganda People’s Defence Force soldiers in Central African Republic (file photo).

A contingent of the Ugandan soldiers returning from the Central African Republic (CAR) are being accused of having sexually exploited or abused at least 13 women and girls since 2015.

A report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) says at least one rape was registered. In a statement issued by its Nairobi office, HRW says it interviewed 13 women and 3 girls early this year.

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers had been deployed in CAR since 2009 as part of the African Union’s Regional Task Force to eliminate the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.

In April this year, the ministry of defence announced the withdrawal of UPDF troops from CAR, saying the mission to neutralise the LRA had been successfully achieved.

The women and girls claimed the abuse by Ugandan soldiers has been on since 2010 in the southeastern town of Obo, where Ugandan forces were based.

Lewis Mudge, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch says as counter-LRA operations wind down, the UPDF should not ignore allegations of sexual exploitation and rape by its soldiers in the Central African Republic.

He wants Ugandan and African Union authorities to conduct proper investigations, punish those responsible, and make sure that the women and girls who were sexually abused or exploited get the services they need.

Fifteen of the women and girls interviewed according to HRW, said they became pregnant as a result of their involvement with the soldiers. HRW says in each case the soldier who fathered the child left the country and has not provided any support.

The report says in CAR, women and girls often do not report sexual violence or exploitation due to shame, stigma, or fear of retaliation.

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Ugandan Soldiers Accused of Rape, Sexual Exploitation in CAR

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In 2016, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reported 14 cases of rape by Ugandan forces in CAR, including cases involving victims who were children at the time.HRW says it has an internal UN report, in which, UN investigators in Obo registered 18 cases of sexual violence or harassment by Ugandan soldiers against women and girls.According to HRW, investigators also obtained information about 44 women and girls with children fathered by UPDF soldiers. Human Rights Watch says it contacted the Ugandan ministry of defence and veterans affairs about the allegations but the ministry is yet to reply.Several women and girls told HRW that Ugandan military investigators had interviewed them over the past year, but that there was no follow-up and they had no information about the investigation.UPDF spokesman, Brigadier Richard Karemire, could not be reached for comment. This is not the first time that UPDF troops deployed outside the country are being accused of sexually exploiting women and girls near their bases.In 2014, HRW said Ugandan and Burundian military personnel from the AU mission in Somalia had exploited and abused women, including raping those who were seeking water or medical assistance from AMISOM bases.In 2000, UPDF soldiers returning from neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are said to have fathered over two thousand children. Some of the women later followed their UPDF “husbands” into Uganda.VICTIMS SPEAK OUTSeven women and one girl said they knew the name of the Ugandan soldier who had paid them for sex, but the others did not. None of the 15 who had a child as a result of the exploitation knew how to contact the soldier who had abandoned them.”Claire,” 25, said that when she was six months pregnant, the Ugandan soldier who had impregnated her told her he was leaving the following day. “He refused to give me his number in Uganda,” she said.”When I insisted he said, ‘What for? You are just going to call and bother me.'””Margaret” said that the Ugandan father of her child, born in early 2015, refused to give her his phone number in Uganda. “No, the child is my gift to you,” she said he told her. “It will be a souvenir to remember me by.”Six women and girls said Ugandan military personnel had promised to take them to Uganda for a better life in exchange for acting as a soldier’s “wife.”A 25-year-old mother of a child from a Ugandan soldier, “Claude,” said a Ugandan soldier convinced her to become his “wife” in 2014. “He said he would marry me and take me to Uganda if I accepted to be his ‘wife,'” she said. “He said he would give me what I wanted and needed as his ‘wife,’ so I accepted.””Rebecca,” 22, said she agreed to be a Ugandan soldier’s “wife” when she was 17. “He fooled me and he said he would take me to Uganda as his own wife – I believed him,” she said.”I was young and stupid. We were together for a year. Sometimes he would come to the house, sometimes I would go to the base.” “Rebecca” had a child with the soldier when she was still 17.A 21-year-old woman, “Alphonsine,” said a Ugandan soldier promised her money, food, and a home in Uganda. Over the course of five years, they had two children together. He abandoned her and the children in November 2015, when he returned to Uganda. “I think about my situation and how I was fooled,” she said. “Now it is very difficult for me to find money for food and soap.”30-year-old “Jeanette,” who had a child from a Ugandan soldier in 2015, said she had sex with him because she needed money and food. “Now I need more money and food because I have to feed and clothe this child, too.”

Envoys, Media Demand Free Access to State Information

By Paul Adude & Joseph Kato

Kampala — As journalists marked the World Press Freedom Day yesterday, the European Union (EU) envoy in Uganda called upon government to respect the rights and freedom of journalists in the country.

Mr Kristian Schmidt, the head of the European Union in Uganda, urged the government to respect the rights and freedom of journalists in the country.

“Free press is a central component of any democracy but we can see from the last press freedom index Uganda having a tendency to slip down. Therefore, we appeal to our Ugandan friends and partner’s to respect the rights of journalists even when the conditions are hard and challenging for the good of all society,” Mr Schmidt told Daily Monitor after addressing delegates at the National Society Security Studies Conference at Nkumba University in Entebbe.

He also called on government to recognise the Judiciary as part of security so as to give people a sense of justice.

The emissary’s remarks come just a day after a report faulted the Uganda Police Force for topping the list of violators of journalist rights in the country. According to the report, 83 of the 135 cases of violations and abuses against journalists recorded by Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda in 2016 were carried out by the police.

In 2015, at least 107 of the 143 cases of violations and abuses against journalists were committed by the police.

The USAID director of Democracy, Rights and Governance, Mr Nils Mueller, said there are already 27 cases of press freedom violations this year, including 11 assaults and 12 arrests.

The Executive Editor of Monitor Publications Ltd, Mr Charles Odoobo Bichachi, said media rights to know and government’s inclination to hide information was as one of the key sticking points that frustrate cooperation between the two entities.

“The contestation between the media and the State on issues of security has always been about the right to know versus the right to hide. In Western democracies, there are laws governing declassification of security information after a given time, but there is no such law in Uganda, giving the State leeway to hide information forever,” Mr Bichachi said.

“This needs to be addressed as the citizens have a right to know about what the State, in the name of security, does on their behalf,” he added.

Mr Simon Mulongo, a security analyst, while addressing the conference said: “The Fourth Estate is a fundamental component in a functioning democracy and nobody should undermine it, because the media connects the population and the State.”

State of security

Mr Schmidt cited current security threats to the country as the issue of oil in the Albertine region, ethnic tension, the South Sudan conflict, historical grievances, the disconnect between citizens and government, land conflicts and population growth that need to be addressed.

He urged leaders to take ownership of their conflicts in their regions and not tag the blame on Western powers, saying the era of Europe deploying troops in Africa was history.

Maj Charles Aine from the Office of the President said the new national security policy that is in the offing aims at streamlining the work of intelligence organs in compliance with the national security and legal framework.

Dr Livingstone Sewanyana, the executive director of the Foundation For Human Rights Initiative, called for more involvement of the public in security matters to promote transparency and democracy. He said providing civilian oversight of the security agencies and ensuring transparent exercise of power was critical.

Dr Solomon Asiimwe, the head of Public Administration and Political Studies at Nkumba University, while launching his book, “Security studies: Principles and Practices” cautioned government on excessive military expenditure resulting from inability to deal with wider threats to security.

Meanwhile, speaking at the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME)’s media conference yesterday, Ms Deborah Malac, the US envoy, said there was increasing violation of the constitutional rights to expression and thought.

This, Ms Malac said, was being reflected in the incarceration of Makerere University research fellow Dr Stella Nyanzi, who she said, was being punished for expressing her opinion.

Freedom of speech

Earlier on, Mr Mogens Pederson, Denmark’s ambassador, in his speech cited Dr Nyanzi’s case and arrest of journalists reporting violent activities, including last year’s violent clashes in Kasese District, as indicators of gaps in freedom of speech and expression.

Dr Nyanzi is being tried in court over charges of abusing the Computer Misuse Act through her repeated Facebook posts, one of which described President Museveni as “a pair of buttocks.” Her criticism originated from government position that it had no money to buy sanitary towels for school girls; a pledge President Museveni had made during last year’s presidential campaign.

In a related incident, Kampala Central police commanded by Mr Joseph Bakaleke intercepted a journalists’ procession, beating, arresting, and detaining seven of the journalists for more than three hours.

Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, Emilian Kayima, said the journalists’ procession was intercepted because they had no clearance from the police.

South Africa: #DataMustFall – R2K KZN to Protest Outside MTN Tomorrow!

press release

R2K KZN will protest outside MTN offices in Umhlanga Drive tomorrow, 03 May 2017 at 10AM. To mark World Press Freedom day, the Right2Know Campaign calls on all network providers to ensure that the cost of data and airtime is affordable to all people of South Africa.

Our call to bring down the cost of communication is a continuous campaign that is aimed at all networks. Last year on International Right to Know Day, R2K KZN marched to Vodacom and during youth month we will be targeting/marching to Cell C.

Right2Know is a movement centred on freedom of expression and access to information. We are a democratic, activist-driven campaign that aims to ensure the free flow of information necessary to meet people’s social, economic, political and ecological needs and live free from want, in equality and in dignity.

One study of poor rural South Africans found that they had to spend more than a fifth (22%) of their monthly income on communications. In relative terms South Africa has some of the highest data/airtime costs in the world. It is outrageous that in a country where so many struggle to put bread on the table, the telecoms companies are given free rein to rip us off.

Our right to know will remain incomplete if our struggle is limited to securing access to information alone. We must struggle to ensure that information flows across society and that information forms the basis of a social dialogue that deepens our democracy and advances social, economic, and environmental justice. Our right to communicate – to receive and impart information and opinions – is central to our right to know.


The right to communicate is a basic human right. Section 16.1b of our Bill of Rights gives everyone the freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;

For many people our rights only exist on paper, but 82,9% of South Africans have cell phones that could make our right to communicate real;

SA has the 6th highest mobile phone charges in the world. Profiteering by the cell phone companies makes communication expensive for the majority of people;

The cost of sms is about 2.6c, so companies are making up to 3000% of profit on a sms;

Prepaid users are often charged more than contract users, thus deepening inequality in SA;

Cellphone services have been privatised. The market is dominated by MTN and Vodacom and they set the terms of trade for the rest of the industry;

There is no transparency in the cost of communications, and it is nearly impossible to compare prices of different packages across networks;


We demand affordable data and airtime for all South Africans.

Communications must be universal. Everyone has a right to communications that are available and affordable;

All SMS’s should be free as they cost the operators almost nothing to transmit;

Everyone should get a free basic amount of airtime and data in the same way that we have free basic water and electricity;

ICASA must regulate the cost of airtime and data to stop profiteering;

Pre-paid communication users should not cross subsidize post-paid users;

Data bundles should not expire if they are unused;

Cell phone companies must improve the quality of service, including network outages, dropped calls, calls that don’t connect, and data coverage, etc;

The range of numbers that are free to call (like police and ambulance) should be increased to include our children’s schools and hospitals.

The Right to Leisure, Recreation and Cultural Activities

columnBy Elizabeth Buhungiro

Do you have time to take a break, relax and play with your friends? Do you get an opportunity to learn and enrich your knowledge about your culture? The answer should be yes because it is your right to have time to do all the things mentioned above.

Article 12 paragraph one of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) says that countries which signed the charter should “recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.”

Resting has very many benefits. For example, scientists have found that during sleep, your body releases somatotropin, a hormone that promotes growth. Additionally, during sleep, your cells are repaired and your muscles are strengthened. Sleeping also improves your immune system.

This means that the right to leisure, reaction and cultural activities naturally supports your right to grow. Article 10 of law no. 54/2011 of 14/12/2011 relating to the rights and the protection of children says, “Every child shall have the right to be provided with special protection by his/her family, the Rwandan community and the Government for his/her physical, mental, spiritual, moral, psychological and social growth according to the human dignity.”

By participating in leisure, recreation and cultural activities, you achieve a high level of physical, social, psychological, mental, spiritual and moral growth. Article 12 paragraph two of the ACRWC says that countries which signed the charter shall “respect and promote the right of the child to fully participate in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activities.”

The right to participate in cultural activities is also stated in article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Participating in cultural and artistic activities helps you to discover your true identity, and to develop new skills such as artistic abilities and to make new discoveries. When you make new discoveries, you have copyrights to the new material you have produced. This is according to article 27 paragraph two of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

So if your parents are making you sleep early, if your school is organising cultural galas and if you are being asked to participate in games and sports, it is for your own good.


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Pro-Government People Protest Against UN Human Rights Commission Report On Burundi

By Lorraine Josiane Manishatse

Communication officer within the ruling CNDD-FDD launched a campaign to protest the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report on Burundi. She accuses these UN officials of politicizing this UN body.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, issued on 18 April a report condemning the behavior of Imbonerakure-youths affiliated to the ruling CNDD-FDD party. He focused on the chilling video that circulates on social media where youth call for the impregnation of pro-opposition women in order to give birth to Imbonerakure babies. According to the UN official, these young people are supported by some government authorities and ruling party officials.

After the appearance of this video, Nancy Ninette Mutoni, CNDD-FDD National Secretary in charge of Information and Communication, said these young people violated the morals and the ideology of the party. She promised thorough investigations to identify the culprits.

After the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mutoni launched a campaign calling on Burundian women to condemn this UN official. She accused Zeid of producing a biased report. “He wants to politicize this UN body,” said Mutoni.

On 22 April, the people in power staged a rally to protest the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. They accused Zeid Hussein of participating in conspiracy against Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Imbonerakure perpetrated rape

Marina Barampama, one of the leaders of UPD Zigamibanga party, condemns the campaign launched by the CNDD-FDD party communication officer. “It is a shame to see a country that does not respect women’s rights,” she says.

She says the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights did his job. “What he said is a reality. Even the governing party CNDD-FDD condemned these Imbonerakure”, says Barampama.

She urges the government to bring these Imbonerakure to justice.

Carine Kaneza, the spokesperson for the Women and Girls’ Movement for Peace and Security in Burundi, says Mutoni contradicted herself because she changed her mind.

“When the chilling video appeared on social media, Mutoni condemned the Imbonerakure who were chanting the violent slogan. The ruling party is conscious of the gravity of offense committed by the Imbonerakure because we are in a context where many women have been raped. That is the reason why Mutoni says one thing and its opposite, “Kaneza says.

For Kaneza, these Imbonerakure are well organized and prepared. The slogans they sang are not part of the Burundian folklore. They were not calling for rape. They had already done it, she says.

For Kaneza, Mutoni’s reaction is not surprising because what is happening in Burundi is very serious. “We are in a situation of massive crime,” she says. This woman activist says that anthropologists who have investigated the case of genocide admit that the denial of crimes is an intrinsic part of the process of mass killings. “Given the political attitude of the Bujumbura regime, we do not expect the government to recognize its mistakes,” says Kaneza.

Participants in pro-government rally in Bujumbura


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Uganda: Tobacco’s Ill Effects Surpass Terrorists’ Threats

opinionBy David Kabanda

Tobacco is a leading cause of preventable death globally. After realising this ‘pandemic’, the World Health Organisation adopted the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) treaty on May 21, 2003.

This became one of the most quickly ratified treaties in the United Nations history. The FCTC seeks to “protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke” by enacting a set of universal standards stating the dangers of tobacco and limiting its use in all forms worldwide.

The treaty’s provisions include rules that govern the production, sale, distribution, advertisement and taxation of tobacco. FCTC standards are, however, minimum requirements, and signatories are encouraged to be even more stringent in regulating tobacco.

Kenya signed and ratified this treaty in 2004, and the guidelines for the implementation of the convention, while Uganda signed the same in 2004 but ratified it in 2007.

Tobacco use is associated with increased risk of several cancers. It is the single most preventable cause of death in the world. Tobacco smoking caused an estimated 27 per cent of all cancer deaths in 2015. Active smoking and environmental tobacco smoke cause 19 per cent of all cancer cases each year.

In 2015, British American Tobacco’s Kenyan subsidiary filed a High court civil suit claiming that Kenya’s Tobacco Control regulations were unconstitutional.

The court ruled in favour of health, and the tobacco industry appealed. On appeal, again court ruled against the tobacco company; it upheld nearly all elements of the regulations, which are designed to implement the Tobacco Control Act, including a two per cent annual contribution by the tobacco industry to help fund tobacco control education, research, and cessation; graphic health warnings; ingredient disclosure; smoke-free environments in public places; disclosure of annual tobacco sales and other industry disclosures; and regulations limiting interaction between the tobacco industry and public health officials.

These same provisions are in Uganda’s Tobacco Control Act of 2015. The court of appeal in Kenya discussed at length the importance of implementing the WHO FCTC, concluding that the implementation of the convention or the guidelines was not in conflict with the Constitution or national legislation on tobacco control.

The court, while throwing out BAT’s claims, considered the overall constitutional and social context in which the allegations of violation were made. It emphasised the need to balance the rights of the petitioner against the rights of others. It considered the rights of those people who want to trade in tobacco, those who want to smoke, therefore consumers of tobacco products, and the general public exposed to tobacco products.

BAT has not denied that tobacco products have negative effects on the consumers and on innocent persons who become passive smokers by inhaling second-hand smoke. Therefore, there are public health needs that have to be balanced against the intellectual property rights of tobacco industry.

Every Ugandan has a right to a clean and healthy environment. This is not only provided for in the Constitution but also in the Tobacco Control Act 2015. It is also our in law that, in the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms, no person shall prejudice the fundamental or other human rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.

It was also considered that BAT’s argument of being a heavy taxpayer is diluted by the fact that what it pays in taxes is cancelled out by the fact that the health sector uses up to three times the amount to mop up the negative effects of tobacco use. BAT was told to be alive to the ‘polluter pays’ principle.

The appellate court discussed that BAT is in a peculiar position as its products have already been associated with a multitude of serious diseases as well as posing serious health risks to the partakers of the tobacco products and the addictive nature of the products.

Because of this, the tobacco industry cannot be compared to manufacturers of other products; the state is under obligation to protect the health of its citizens, both consumers and non- consumers of tobacco.

The court concluded that the ill effects of tobacco products cannot even be equated with the threat of terrorism. This ruling sent a strong message that BAT’s legal claims are without merit and that tobacco industry interference in laws to improve public health will not be tolerated.

The author is a Health Law specialist at the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development.

Digital Education for Schoolchildren Will Promote the Right to Internet

columnBy Fred K. Nkusi

A famous quote by Rodgers says “it’s not enough to know something; it’s more important to know why and how”. This adage tallies suitably with the government’s agenda to introduce a new system of teaching that emphasises the use of computers and internet to impart knowledge in schools.

This is a tailored programme that will enable students to access computers and basic Microsoft software installed in them such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and PowerPoint, among others, to digitise subject content delivered in schools, and to help students get access to internet in their schools.

The Internet has become not only the wealthiest information resource in the world, but the most rapid means of communication. In addition to equipping school children with information technology skills and knowledge, typologies of internet application in education is understood as the usage of internet technologies to solve various routine educational tasks, most notably teaching, learning and management of the educational process.

By using web application, it will enable teachers to conduct teaching with such technologies, which for the contemporary generation of students present an integral part of their lifestyle. To school children, the usage of internet-connected computers in classrooms will encourage self-learning and students’ motivation.

Again to the school children, if the changed model of teaching becomes a reality it will profoundly re-shape the students’ behavior to accommodate to the digital age. Giving up the reproductive model and onsetting the creative pedagogy implies an emphasis on the development of independent students’ activities and their critical thinking and skills in fixing real problems that affect society.

Furthermore, when school children are helped to access information and communication technology, it will promote digital literacy in society as a whole. As a result, it will embolden the careers in the science and information communication technology, which tallies very well with national priority areas.

However, a counter balance ought to be done to avoid students using the internet in a manner that is abusive and unorthodox. Arguably, educators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and cybercafé owners must be alert to protect children’s safety when using ICTs and promote their positive use.

As noted in this column previously, internet is not, however, a panacea. Therefore, no reluctance to pre-empt possible cyber abuses, such as cyber-sexting, cyber bullying and other online harmful content.

A paradigm shift to internet usage in education will not only revitalise education-related aspects but will also be a means of promoting the human rights on the internet, as envisaged in numerous national and international norms. Under Rwandan media law, for example, everyone has the right to receive, disseminate or send information through internet.

Understandably, a person has the right to create a website through which they can disseminate information or their opinions, and this doesn’t require the netizen to be a journalist. Like adults, school children have the right to freedom of expression through any media channels of one’s choice, including new communication technologies such as the internet.

Internationally, the same rights people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Aside from recognising the right of the Internet, open nature of the Internet is a driving force in accelerating progress towards development in its various forms, including in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Returning to education, no doubt the Internet bolsters quality education that plays a pivotal role in development, and therefore calls for all stakeholders to contribute to this awesome undertaking designed to produce resourceful youth. Equally, it promotes the right to education, which encourages individual freedom and empowerment and yields important development benefits.

Enjoyment of human rights on the Internet by school children is an important tool for fostering citizen and civil society participation, for the realisation of development in their communities and the country at large. However, the promotion and protection of the “digital individual” in a human rights perspective is currently a topic of great concern and some urgency.There’re challenges as to make the protection of human rights effective in the online realm, especially with regard to the privacy.

The right to the Internet enjoyment by school children is inextricably linked with the requirement for privacy protection. The right to privacy is a human right and the need for privacy is universal and deep-seated in each human being. Privacy is essential to human dignity and autonomy in all societies, enabling individuals to create barriers to protect themselves from interferences in their lives, such as their information and communications.

In closing, the Internet is an issue of growing interest and importance as the rapid pace of technological development which enables individuals all over the world to use new information and communication technologies. Thus, training school children in information communication technologies will be catalyst to their future role in bridging many forms of digital divides that remain between developed and developing countries, between men and women, and between boys and girls.

The writer is an international law expert.

Zimbabwe: Econet Major Shareholder Grabs 26 Percent

By Bernard Mpofu

ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe’s majority shareholder has snapped up 26% of the rights issue shares, increasing its shareholding in the country’s largest mobile phone company to nearly 40% as cash-strapped local shareholders followed their rights after the relaxation of the payment terms, results of the capital raising initiative have shown.

In January, Econet announced it was seeking shareholder approval for a capital raise of US$130 million by way of a rights offer of ordinary shares and linked debentures in order to facilitate the servicing of its foreign debt.

Shareholders were expected to vote for or against the rights offer on February 3.

According to the results, the capital raise had a subscription rate of 74,6%, a development analysts attributed to an attractive offer price and the relaxation of payment terms. Over 1,3 billion ordinary and treasury shares were on offer during the capital raise.

The weighted average interest rate on long-term borrowings for the company as at February 29 2016 stood at 7,1% (2015: 7,3%).

In addition to the all-inclusive rate of borrowing of 7,1% the group pays guarantee fees of 6% per annum to Econet Global Limited for the guarantee provided on the multi-creditor loan facilities.

The rights offer will be fully underwritten by Econet Global Limited which holds 30,02% shareholding in Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.

EWG is registered in Mauritius and has operations and business interests in more than 17 countries around the world, including Zimbabwe. EWZ operates only in Zimbabwe, and has no businesses, operations or investments outside Zimbabwe.

Investment in the shares of EWZ are with respect only to the businesses and activities of EWZ.

The rights offer was almost called off after the country’s capital markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe, raised the red flag over the initial payment terms of the exercise which it feared would prejudice local shareholders.

A standoff between Econet, SECZ and the ZSE board resulted in the suspension of ZSE chief executive Alban Chirume.

Analysts had also raised eyebrows over the urgency of the capital raise, saying it comes well before the due date of the debt with some saying this could be a plot to buy out minority shareholders given the current foreign currency shortages in the market.

They also queried why Econet Global did not bail out EWZ given that the debt was secured and the group was receiving guarantors’ fees which are above market rates.

This ended after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe ordered Econet to accept subscription of the rights issue into a local account and using bond notes, a controversial fiat currency introduced last November.


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Human Rights Situation Two Years After Crisis

analysisBy Diane Uwimana

“About 720 people were killed, over 80 others tortured since Burundi has plunged into the current situation in April 2015,” says Jean Baptiste Baribonekeza, Chairman of the National Commission for the Human Rights-CNDIH. He also says that between 700 and 800 people have been arbitrarily arrested in different areas of the country. “Thanks to our intervention, some of them have been released”, he says.

The chairman of CNDIH says the human rights situation deteriorated at the beginning of 2015 but has improved day after day. “Considering the situation between 2015 and 2016, there has been some improvement in 2017”, he says.

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, Chairman of the Association defending the Human Rights and the detainees’ rights-APRODH, says his associations estimated the death toll of 2000 Burundians, imprisonment of 8000 people, flight of thousands of Burundians to other countries , torture of hundreds of people including women who have been sexually abused before their children and the disappearance of hundreds of people. “All this was caused by Pierre Nkurunziza when he violated the Arusha Agreement and Burundi Constitution”, he says.

The same view is shared by Léonce Ngendakumana, Deputy Chairman of Sahwanya Frodebu party. “The violation of the Arusha Agreement and Burundi Constitution caused many killings, tortures, sanctions against Burundi government, corruption, economic embezzlement, and the deterioration of the education system,” he says.

Ngendakumana says Burundi has moved into recession since 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a controversial term in office. Ngendakumana says the government and its allies must engage in an inclusive dialogue with the opposition to restore democracy in Burundi. “The only option to end the crisis is the inclusive dialogue”, he says.

Jean De Dieu Mutabazi, chairman of RADEDU party says Burundi was in trouble for three years but the situation has improved day after day. “The efforts by the troublemakers and opposition to destabilize the country have been undermined year after year. Today, the security situation is good”, he says.


UN Rights Chief Alarmed By Rape Chants in Burundi

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has expressed outrage at an apparent widespread pattern… Read more »

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