Posts Tagged ‘anti corruption’

Ebola used as threat against human rights defender in Sierra Leone

August 29, 2014

Frontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped reports that  on 28 August 2014, human rights defender Mary Conteh [national coordinator for Women’s Centre for Good Governance and Human Rights (WOCEGAR) in Sierra Leone] received a call from an unknown number where the caller threatened to spread false information that she contracted Ebola if she does not stop her human rights work. This comes just two days after she recorded a statement  with the police denouncing threats pronounced against her as a result of her recent investigation on reports of misuse of public funds.  On 24 August, she had visited the office of Mr. Osman O. Sesay, who represents the constituency in which WOCEGAR is located, to inquire about reports suggesting that the grant assigned to his constituency had not been used for its original purpose. The member of parliament reportedly argued that the fund was placed on a personal account and that he was not accountable to any member of the local human rights groups. As the discussion proceeded, he reportedly started hurling insults at her and eventually threatened that he could make her disappear.

(In early August 2014, Mary Conteh and her colleagues received information that members of the Sierra Leonean parliament had each received from the government a grant estimated at US$20,000 for the purpose of fighting the outbreak of Ebola in their respective constituencies.)

DRC: Human Rights Defender shot and NGO office closed

May 30, 2014

The Democratic Republic of Congo remains a terrible place for human rights defenders. These two recent events reported by Front Line make it abundantly clear:

1. Attempted murder of human rights defender Mr Leonard Lusimba 

On 22 May 2014, human rights defender Mr Leonard Lusimba was shot in an attempted killing by a member of the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo – FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo). He underwent surgery on 25 May, and a second operation will be necessary in the coming days. Leonard Lusimba is the regional representative of Collectif d’Actions pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme – CADDHOM, an organisation which, since the 1990s, has worked to promote human rights and peace education in different regions of the DRC, in particular in the Eastern provinces of the country where a number of armed groups are still active.

[Over recent years, numerous Congolese human rights defenders have been killed as a result of targeted attacks. In the rare cases where serious investigations have been undertaken, they have often failed to lead to results, favouring impunity.]

2. Closure of the office of human rights organisation Solidarity for Social Advancement and Peace 

On 21 May 2014, the Congolese human rights organisation Solidarité pour la Promotion Sociale et la Paix – SOPROP (Solidarity for Social Development and Peace) was closed by the Direction Générale des Impôts – DGI in relation to an investigation into allegations of tax fraud. The DGI declared that it needed time to reach a compromise with SOPROP, and proposed a settlement to SOPROP of 20% of the amount it allegedly owed in unpaid taxes. SOPROP rejected the proposal on the grounds that there was no basis for the amount originally demanded. The same day, SOPROP brought a complaint to the local Prosecutor’s Office, which identified irregularities in the procedure and ordered that the medical centre be reopened. The office, however, remains sealed, and it is unknown when it will be reopened

[SOPROP is an organisation which, since its foundation in 1994, has supported victims of torture and other violence through medical, social and legal assistance. The organisation is also known for its activities in human rights education, particularly in schools, as well as for its investigations into human rights violations and corruption. In 2011, SOPROP had published a report on the corrupt practices of state companies in Kinshasa, which highlighted agencies of the DGI, amongst others.]

For previous posts on DRC: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/tag/congo-drc/

Xu Zhiyong’s Closing Statement to the Court: a remarkable document

January 24, 2014

This is the full text of Xu Zhiyong’s closing statement to the Court on January 22, 2014, at the end of his trial in China. According to his lawyer, he had only been able to read “about 10 minutes of it before the presiding judge stopped him, saying it was irrelevant to the case.” For historical reason the full text of his long statement (translated by a group of volunteers) “For Freedom, Justice and Love” follows below: Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese prosecutors charge Human Rights Defender Xu Zhiyong with disturbing public order

December 15, 2013

On 15 December the Latin American Herald reported that the founder of a Chinese civil rights group known as the New Citizens’ Movement has been formally charged with disturbing public order and could face trial this month. The charges against Xu Zhiyong, whose group promotes upholding the Chinese constitution and reigning in the power of Communist Party leaders, were filed at the recommendation of the Beijing police, according to the China Human Rights Defenders organization.Dissidents who attempt to mount protests in China are frequently charged with disrupting public order. Xu’s attorney, Zhang Qingfang, said it was suspicious how quickly the prosecutor’s office filed the charges after receiving the police’s recommendation, adding that authorities may want the trial held over the Christmas holidays so there is less international media attention. Beijing police said Xu, who was arrested in August, “used tactics to organize and carry out a series of criminal activities, including distributing prohibited pamphlets in public places and organizing disturbances outside government installations.” The charges against Xu come shortly after another activist from that same movement, high-profile businessman Wang Gongquan, pleaded guilty to “disrupting public order” a few months after his arrest. The former close associate of Xu’s said he would cut ties with the founder of the New Citizens’ Movement, the South China Morning Post reported earlier this month, citing two sources familiar with the case.

via Latin American Herald Tribune – Chinese Prosecutors Charge Activist with Disturbing Public Order.

Kazakhstan: Human rights defender Zinaida Mukhortova released from psychiatric confinement

November 4, 2013

On 1 November 2013, human rights defender, Zinaida Mukhortova, was released from Astana Medical Centre for Psychological Health in Kazakhstan. As reported in this blog earlier she had been detained in psychiatric confinement since 9 August 2013 in Balkhash and was transferred to Astana on 30 September 2013 for psychological testing. Since her detention, Zinaida Mukhortova  has been subjected  to forced psychiatric confinement and treated against her will.  Zinaida Mukhortova is a human rights lawyer with more than 10 years’ legal practice. Through her work, she has denounced cases of corruption and interference of political interests in the judiciary.

To find out more about the legal proceedings taken against Zinaida Mukhortova, please see update of 9 October 2013, http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/23924 byFrontline NEWlogos-1 condensed version - cropped

 

Cynthia Gabriel, HRD working for Suaram, harassed in Malaysia

August 20, 2013


Cynthia-Gabriel

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), draw attention to the following situation in Malaysia.

According to the information received, on 7 August 2013, at 3.00pm, Cynthia Gabriel,  Read the rest of this entry »

China continues harsh line on dissent but one jailed HRD smuggles out video

August 11, 2013

Reuters reports that China has arrested an activist on a charge of subversion and the latest sign that the authorities are hardening their stance toward dissent. Yang Lin, 45, Read the rest of this entry »