Posts Tagged ‘Horn of Africa’

Attacks on HRDs and Journalists in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and South Sudan

January 26, 2016

At the end of 2015, a violent series of attacks against HRDs took place in the sub-region. In Djibouti, Ethiopia, and South Sudan, state authorities have repeatedly attempted to silence journalists, human rights activists, and NGOs through detentions, physical attacks, and office raids. “2015 was an extremely difficult year for HRDs across the East and Horn of Africa, who are facing increasing challenges and worsening attacks in the sub-region,” said Hassan Shire, Executive Director of DefendDefenders. “DefendDefenders reiterates its commitment to support the work of HRDs and journalists in their struggle to promote human rights and civil liberties.”

In Djibouti, civic space is heavily restricted and on 21 December 2015, during a public gathering in Bouljougo, 27 people were killed and over 150 wounded by government forces, according to the Djiboutian human rights NGO Ligue Djiboutienne des Droits Humains (LDDH). The government responded to the NGO’s advocacy on the massacre with further attacks, and later on 21 December, the organisation’s General Secretary, Said Houssein Robleh, was shot by police forces in the throat and collarbone. [This was the second attack in December on Robleh. On 10 December 2015, Robleh was seriously beaten by the Djiboutian Chief of Police.] Upon leaving the hospital, Said Hossein Robleh and Omar Ali Ewado, one of the leaders of LDDH who had come to collect him, were arrested by Djiboutian authorities. Robleh was released shortly after, however Ewado was taken by the National Gendarmerie and held incommunicado for several days. After his appearance in court on 3 January, he was transferred to Gabode Central Prison without access to his family. He is being charged with public defamation for inciting hatred and spreading false news related to the 21 December massacre and the prosecution is seeking a 12-month sentence. On Sunday 17 January 2016, he was condemned to 3 months imprisonment. Additionally, police raided the offices of LDDH on 29 December, and the organisation archives and computer equipment was confiscated.

In Ethiopia, numerous HRDs and journalists have been targeted in the wake of the Oromo protests, which have resulted in the deaths of at least 140 protestors exercising their right to freedom to assembly. Getachew Shiferaw, Editor-in-Chief of Negere Ethiopia, was arrested on 25 December 2015 and is currently being held in the notorious Maekelawi Prison. The following day he appeared in court and a judge gave police permission to hold him for an additional “28 days for interrogation”. Fikadu Mirkana, news anchor at Oromia Radio and TV, was arrested on 19 December 2015 and is still being held. It has been reported to DefendDefenders that these arrests were the result of their coverage of the protests. In addition, two field investigators working for the Human Rights Council (HRCO), a leading Ethiopian human rights NGO, were arrested and questioned by police. At least one of the investigators was researching the Oromo protests and subsequent crackdown. They have both since been released.

In South Sudan, Joseph Afendy, Editor of El Tabeer, was arrested on 30 December 2015 for writing an article critical of the SPLM a week before. He was reportedly detained at National Security Service in Juba but has not had access to a lawyer or his family. It remains unclear if he is facing any charges. South Sudan is one of the most dangerous countries in the sub-region for journalists attempting to cover the brutal civil war.

https://www.defenddefenders.org/2016/01/djibouti-ethiopia-and-south-sudan-defenddefenders-condemns-attacks-and-arrests-of-hrds-and-journalists/

http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20160117-djibouti-prison-ligue-droits-humains-omar-ali-ewado-balbala-fidh

 

Horn of Africa specialist Martin Hill passes away: great loss to human rights community

January 13, 2015

Martin Hill, for 32 years a senior researcher at AI on the Horn of Africa, has died. He wrote “No redress: Somalia’s forgotten minorities” for the Minority Rights Group and was a founding member of East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network in 2005 in Uganda. Hassan Shire Sheikh, who knew him well personally, published the In Memoriam below:
dr-Hill(Martin Hill on the left, his wife Dawn and the author Hassan Shire Sheikh)

We have lost a figure-father, mentor, a dear friend, and an admired advocate who consistently shed light on human wrongs in the Horn of Africa and sided with those whose rights were violated. Dr. Martin Hill passed away on Friday 9 January 2015. Dr. Hill worked at the Amnesty Secretariat office in London, as a researcher and a campaigner on the Horn of Africa in the human rights field for over 32 years. I first met Dr. Hill in 1989 when he led the first Amnesty International delegation to Somalia during the period of military dictatorship. At sub-regional level where many human rights violations and suffering for the past three decades and lack of attention globally, Dr. Hill brought human rights issues and concerns in the limelight and earned the admiration and love of many people particularly Ethiopians, Eritreans and Somalis. Dr. Hill was a friend to me and to my late uncle, Dr. Ismail Jumale Ossoble, (the only human rights lawyer who consistently defended prisoners of conscience in the dreaded national security court). Dr. Ossoble was a prisoner of conscience himself and was Amnesty International’s principle research contact in Somalia during the 80s and 90s. We subsequently established Dr. Ismail Jumale Human Rights Centre in 1996 and I co-directed the centre for 6 years starting in 1996 before I went into exile. During this period, I was the principle Somali contact for Amnesty International and I worked very closely with Dr. Hill. Dr. Hill worked with us on the protection and promotion of human rights for Somalis including a sign up campaign during the 50th UDHR anniversary celebrations where Dr. Ismail Jumale Centre was able to garner over 1.5 million signatures including first signature by the founding first President, the late Aden Abdulle Osman at his farm in Shalambood District of lower Shabale region, former Prime Ministers, faction leaders, and civil society groups among others. I particularly remember the first human rights defenders training for Somalis that Dr. Hill organized in 1997 in Kenya and I was part of that training. He was instrumental in organizing sub-regional networks consultation meetings to the run up of the All Africa Human Rights Defenders Conference I 1998 and subsequently the global human rights summit in Paris in December 1998. He also supported our research initiative during our initial mission, Africa Human Rights Defenders Project in the East and Horn of Africa while I was at York University. Dr. Hill was present as founding member of East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network in 2005 in Entebbe, Uganda. Dr. Hill will be remembered for his ardent support to human rights in the Horn of Africa. He inspired and mentored so many human rights activists who are now working with prominent human rights organizations around the world. He contributed to the fight against human rights violations and ending the culture of impunity in the sub-region. Our thoughts, and those of the wider human rights community, are with his family and many friends around the world. The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project staff, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network and the Pan Africa Human Rights Defenders Network, extend our sincerest condolences to his wife, Dawn Hill and children.”

Great Loss to the Human Rights Community as Legendary Dr. Martin Hill Passes On | Mareeg Media.

Chehem Gadito: a case of arbitrary detention in Djibouti

December 22, 2013

ODDH

Djibouti is not the best covered part of the world. Therefore I forward this case of Mohamed Chehem Gadito, brought to my attention by the Djibouti Observatory for the Promotion of Democracy and Human Rights [ODDH in its French abbreviation]. According to the ODDH this is a glaring example of the situation of human rights in Djibouti. The young activist was arrested at a meeting of the opposition on Friday 6 December 2013 and officially released 12 December by the Chamber of flagrante delicto, the court of first instance in Djibouti. Unfortunately, he was again arrested by the police at the threshold of the Gabode prison. Placed in illegal detention he was again presented to the court on 17 December  which again ruled in favor of an immediate release. Unfortunately, Chehem Gadito was once again placed back into custody. Several members of his family who were waiting outside the Gabode prison were also arrested and forcibly shipped to Nagad, an administrative detention center intended for illegal aliens. Faced with this denial of justice, Chehem Gadito began a hunger strike. This case highlights the failure of the judiciary in its role as guardian of individual freedom and for ensuring compliance with this principle as provided by law.

Countries in the Horn of Africa, are Eritrea, ...

Countries in the Horn of Africa: Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia

via Djibouti: Chehem Mr. Gadito, a typical case of arbitrary detention | Somalilandpress.com | Somali News Online from Somaliland – Somalia and Horn of Africa.

Human rights defenders describe lack of freedom of expression in Africa

November 2, 2013

A three-day Forum on the participation of African NGOs at the 54th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights [ACHPR] and also the 28th African Human Rights Book Fair concluded on Sunday, 20th October, 2013 in Kololi. The forum brought together stakeholders dealing with various human rights issues from different parts of Africa. Various reports were presented that touched on media freedom and freedom of expression as well as on laws and principles governing media practice such as defamation, sedition and other draconian laws that prevail in many African countries. Kebba Jeffang reports in the Foroyaa newspaper of 21 October on the results:

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Murder of Somali human rights defender Mohamed Mohamud Tima’adde

October 27, 2013

Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped reported that on 22 October 2013, unidentified gunmen shot Mohamed Mohamud Tima’adde six times on his way to work. Three people were subsequently arrested trying to access the Medina hospital ward where Mohamed Mohamud was being treated. Initially it was reported that he was responding well, but on 27 October AP reports that according to the Somali journalist Ahmed Nor Mohamed his colleague has died of his wounds on Saturday night.

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Human rights group says sentencing of 21 Oromos in Ethiopia politically motivated

August 19, 2013

On 15 August 2013 the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa [HRLHA] called for reversal of the sentencing of 21 Oromo students by the Federal High Court of Ethiopia on 7th August.  

Gadaa.comThree of the Sentenced Oromo Students

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