Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Bekele’

Human rights defender Daniel Bekele now Commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission

July 8, 2019

As a further indication of the chances taking place in Ethiopia [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/05/07/ethiopia-a-progress-report-by-defenddefenders-made-public-on-7-may/], the Parliament approved on 2 july 2019 the appointment of former NGO activist, Daniel Bekele, to serve as Commissioner of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. Daniel served in different organization including as Executive Director of the Africa Division at Human Rights Watch [see e.g.: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2013/11/19/new-laws-are-being-introduced-in-kenya-to-restrict-human-rights-defenders/] and advisor at Amnesty International. Daniel who holds a Master’s Degree in International Law and legal Studies from Oxford university, has also been working as an independent consultant.

(In the 2005 parliamentary elections in Ethiopia, Daniel was actively involved in promoting human rights and independent election monitoring, as well as peace initiatives in the aftermath of the post-election crisis. However, he was arrested by the authorities and spent more than two years in prison. He was recognized as prisoner of conscience and in 2009 received the Alison Des Forges Award)

Ethiopia appoints Amnesty International advisor to lead commission

New laws are being introduced in Kenya to restrict Human Rights Defenders

November 19, 2013

The Information and Communications Amendment Bill of 2013 was passed in Kenya by parliament on October 31, 2013, but has not yet been signed by the president. Another problematic draft law, the Media Council Bill, is due to

HRW_logobe debated in parliament in the coming weeks. Moreover, on October 30 the attorney general also proposed controversial new provisions regulating the work of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including a proposed cap at 15 percent of foreign funding. “These new laws are an attempt to undermine freedoms of expression and association in Kenya,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director of Human Rights Watch on 12 November.Kenya’s leaders should act swiftly to prevent these bills from becoming law and focus on the country’s real challenges, like police reform and accountability.”
The new idea of restricting (foreign) funding follows similar efforts by an increasing number of other countries, signaling a dangerous trend:

On October 30, the office of the attorney published in the official gazette – the mandatory first step before a bill is introduced to parliament – the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill of 2013. This bill includes provisions that would grant broad discretionary powers to a new government body to regulate nonprofit organizations and would limit access to foreign funding for these groups. The amendment would empower a new government body, the Public Benefits Organizations Authority, to “impose terms and conditions for the grant of certificates of registration, permits of operation, and public benefit organization status.” The chairperson would be appointed by the president, increasing executive powers over nongovernmental groups. Critics of the law fear that the wide powers vested in the executive branch could be used to restrict nongovernmental organizations or even penalize organizations that fall out of favor with the Kenyan authorities.

The amendment would also introduce new limits on funding for nongovernmental organizations. It states that “a public benefit organization shall not receive more than 15 percent of its total funding from external donors,” unless otherwise approved by the minister for finance. Funding to nonprofits would be channeled through a new Public Benefits Organizations Federation rather than directly from donors – which could create new operational difficulties for nongovernmental organizations and delays in their projects.

“This new law requiring nongovernmental organizations to raise 85 percent of their funding locally may well have the effect of weakening independent voices,” Bekele said. “As we have seen elsewhere in the region, including in Ethiopia, these laws are an assault on basic freedoms and Kenya’s citizens and leadership should soundly reject them.”

Kenya: New Laws Would Undermine Basic Rights | Human Rights Watch.

Kenya: Human Rights Defenders under attack but continue to speak out against skipping the ICC

October 15, 2013

Yesterday, 15 October, the Kenyan police arrested seven members of Bunge la Mwananchi on suspicion of illegal assembly as they were protesting a tax increase on commodities. Amongst those arrested was human rights defender Ruth Mumbi. Read the rest of this entry »