Posts Tagged ‘Government’

Ugandan Human Rights Defenders Accuse Government of Illegal On-line Surveillance

December 3, 2013

PC Tech Magazine of 3 December carries a story from the Ugandan Daily Monitor about human rights defenders in the country accusing the government of allegedly recruiting two foreign firms to secretly carry out surveillance on individuals’ private digital equipment such as computers and mobile telephones in a move they say infringes on citizens’ right to privacy. The activists allege that the two firms are doing voice and data surveillance without permission from the telecommunication providers. “We are aware that the surveillance companies operate without permission from the telecommunication providers but have access to do surveillance. This is dangerous because people cannot have quality conversations and yet the government is supposed to protect people’s rights to privacy,” said Mr Geoffrey Ssebaggala, the chief executive officer of the Unwanted Witness- Uganda [UW-U]. He was speaking at the closure of a training workshop for journalists and business operators on the risks involved while using internet in Kampala. Mr Ssebaggala added: “Our preliminary inquiry shows that these companies send surveillance Malware to individual citizens’ computers as long as they have their Internet Protocol address to track peoples’ activities on computer and their telephones,” he said, revealing that UW-U in partnership with the Parliamentary Committee on ICT have started formulating a law to protect privacy. However, the executive director of the Uganda Media Centre, Mr Ofwono Opondo, said he was not aware of the recruitment of the said companies but insisted that whatever is done by the government is within the law. He explained that the move seeks to protect the public from terrorism and other criminal acts such as money laundering.

via Unwanted Witness – Uganda Accuses Government of Illegal Online Surveillance | PC Tech Magazine.

Example of open attitude by Mauritius: side event organised by Government itself

October 18, 2013

The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Mauritius to the UN in Geneva does something special: it organises a side event on its own human rights record in preparation of the Universal Periodic Review. Would other countries please follow? 

“The promotion and protection of human rights in Mauritius” on Tuesday 22 October 2013 from 16.00 to 18.00 hours at Palais des Nations Room XXII in Geneva.


  • Opening Remarks by A. Boolell, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Sharing best practices

–       Presentation of the National Action Plan on Human Rights for Mauritius

–       Presentation on the UPR Preparation Process for Mauritius

  • Role of national institutions in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, by Mr Brian Glover, Chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission.



Special Rapporteur ends visit to South Korea and makes recommendations

June 7, 2013
At the end of a 10-day fact-finding mission to South Korea UN special rapporteur on human rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, said Friday that South Korea’s 65-year-old national security act posed a “seriously problematic” challenge to freedom of expression.  It prohibits the printing, distribution and ownership of any material deemed “anti-state” and outlaws any organisation advocating overthrow of the government.Flag of South Korea
I have been acquainted with the national security act which, despite the fact that it has been amended on several occasions, still appears seriously problematic for the exercise of freedom of expression,Sekaggya said.   Read the rest of this entry »

Bahrain refuses – again – UN Rapporteur on Torture

April 26, 2013

Bahrain’s state news agency reported earlier this week that Juan Méndez, the UNs special rapporteur for torture, had “put off his visit” scheduled for early May following a letter from Salah bin Ali Abdulrahman, Bahrain’s human rights affairs minister. The letter outlined “reasons for the request to postpone the visit”, the agency said. However, Mr Méndez said on Wednesday 24 April (according to the National) that there was no choice in the matter, calling the refusal to play host to his visit “a unilateral decision by the [Bahraini] authorities“. “This is the second time that my visit has been postponed, at very short notice. It is effectively a cancellation, as no alternative dates were proposed, nor is there a future road map to discuss“.

So much for the much-touted Government-commissioned report of 2011 in which the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry found evidence of torture committed by the country’s security forces during a pro-reform uprising and the subsequent Government’s promise to coöperate with the UN to address the issues. Refusal to coöperate may pay again!

via Bahrain shuts out UN torture probe – The National.


Asian Human Rights Commission calls on India to ensure safety of HRDs in Madhya Pradesh

March 8, 2013

The local NGO Samaj Chetna Adhikar Manch has been working in 20 villages in Madhya Pradesh, India, and has been in the forefront of the struggles to end malnutrition from the area as well as widespread corruption in welfare schemes that defeats all attempts of snatching the children away from the death trap of absolute poverty induced malnutrition. The organisation has earned the ire of the local goons because of its complaint to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) that led to an enquiry and consequent dismissal of those responsible for irregularities. The relatives of those dismissed are now harassing and threatening the activists with dire consequences.

The continuing harassment and brazen attacks on the activists of the organisation despite the local administration being aware of the threats is akin to criminal negligence and points to complicity with the accused. T

A call for action and further details you can find in: Urgent Appeal of 8 March 2013


Angolan journalist and HRD António Capalandanda in trouble

January 11, 2013

One month after being physically assaulted, human rights defender and journalist  António Capalandanda continues to be subjected to threats and acts of surveillance and intimidation. António Capalandanda is a journalist at on-line news and radio site Voz da América (Voice of America) in Angola. His work has focused on human rights and political violence in the country, as well as investigation of corruption cases involving public officials.

On various occasions in early January 2013, António Capalandanda was reportedly followed by unidentified men in a vehicle, who parked close to his residence and followed him as soon as he left for work. During the same period the email of António Capalandanda was hacked by unknown individuals according to his email service provider, which registers the time and Internet Protocol (IP) address when his account is accessed.

On 7 December, 2012, two unidentified men on a motorbike assaulted the journalist and stole his camera, a voice recorder and two notepads. One of the men also attempted to take his backpack, unsuccessfully. On the same day, António Capalandanda filed a complaint at Huambo Provincial Police Directorate for Criminal Investigation. The officer who registered the case stated that this type of assault was unusual in the region and added that it seemed the human rights defender was being subjected to surveillance.

António Capalandanda has previously received a number of death threats from individuals identified as state security agents and has been offered to work for the Government in return for the ceasing of his journalism work. The human rights defender’s family members and friends have also been reportedly subjected to acts of harassment.

On 5 December 2012, two days prior to the abovementioned assault, António Capalandanda was approached by a man who identified himself as an agent of the state security services, and issued death threats against the journalist.

Front Line Defenders expresses serious concern at the continued acts of threats, surveillance and intimidation directed at António Capalandanda, as well as his family members and persons close to him, and believes that these acts are motivated by the legitimate and peaceful activities of António Capalandanda as an investigative journalist and human rights defender in Angola.  Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

Sudan sets tone for ‘legal’ repression of Human Rights Defenders in 2013

January 2, 2013

The new year starts with a report on Sudan where the Government is confirming a worrying trend – observed already in 2012 by several NGOs in a growing number of countries including recently Russia  – of hitting dissident voices and Human Rights Defenders with more sophisticated but equally effective measures such as stopping foreign funding or using this kind of funding as a reason to simply close the institution or revoke its license.

Based on information in the Sudan Tribune of 25 and 31 December, and Bakhita Radio of 1 January 2013 this is what happened to the Sudanese Studies Center (SSC) on Monday 25 December and hardly a week later the Al Khatim Adlan Center for Enlightenment and Human Development (KACE), which were forced to close.

Sudan’s ministry of information cites activities aiming to overthrow the regime and financial support from outside the country. Aiming to promote peace, democracy and diversity, KACE organized workshops on the Darfur and South Kordofan crises, elections, and South Sudan and Abyei referendums as well as projects on violence against women and youth. Many of its different activities are indeed funded by foreign embassies in Khartoum, and international foundations. KACE is also working on a project about the reform of school curriculum funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and another one related to the civil society participation in public affairs supported by the Open Society Institute.

Albaqir Alafif (director of KACE) and Haydar Ibrahim Ali  and Abdallah Abu Al-Reesh (respectively the founder and director of the SSC) have denied the government accusations against their centers saying this support is free of any political agenda and aims to promote the different activities of the organizations.

To show that the ‘old’, crude methods of repression are still functioning, Sudanese security on Monday arrested the executive director of Sudanese Studies Center Abdallah Abu Al-Reesh, following a gathering of Sudanese activists outside the National Human Rights Commission in Khartoum to deliver a memo against its closure. Abdallah’s family said security agents came in the early morning of Monday and conducted him to unknown destination. His family members said they are concerned for his health as they refused to allow him to bring his medications.