Posts Tagged ‘sectarian violence’

Sergio Vieira de Mello Prize 2015 goes to CAR Interfaith Peace Platform

July 28, 2015

The 2015 Sergio Vieira de Mello Prize goes to the Interfaith Peace Platform for the work achieved to reconcile religious groups in the hope of reaching a lasting peace in Central African Republic (CAR), a country devastated by a war between fractions.

The award [see:] was established in Sergio Vieira de Mello’s memory, who was killed in the UN compound bombing in Bagdad on 19 August 2003.

The Interfaith Platform promotes dialogue as a preventive measure against religious violence and a means to pursue peace across CAR. It was established in 2013 by representatives of the three most important religions in the country, the Catholic Archbishop of Bangui, Mgr. Dieudonné Nzapalainga, the President of the Islamic Council in CAR, Imam Oumar Kobine Layama and by the President of the Evangelical Alliance, Pastor Nicolas Guérékoyaméné-Gbangou. Read the rest of this entry »

Threats and intimidatory acts against human rights defender Jean Pierre Muteba in DRC

April 22, 2013

On 17 April 2013, human rights defender Jean Pierre Muteba reported to the Katanga provincial office of the ANR (National Intelligence Agency), a day after receiving a written notice signed by the new director of that agency in Katanga, DRC. The notice followed incidents in which the human rights defender noted being followed by members of the same agency and complained to colleagues of receiving several threatening telephone messages from anonymous callers. However, on this occasion he was not questioned and left after two hours.

Jean Pierre Muteba is the spokesperson for the “Cadre de Concertation de la Société Civile du Katanga” (Coalition of Civil Society Groups of Katanga), a network of civil society organisations active on issues related to human rights and justice as well as social accountability for extractive industries in the DRC’s copper-rich Katanga region.

On several different occasions after 23 March 2013, the day on which a group of Maï Maï fighters known as “Bakata Katanga” invaded Lubumbashi (Katanga’s regional capital), Muteba reported receiving anonymous intimidatory messages on his mobile phone. Three days after this invasion, which caused up to thirty-five deaths according to UN sources, ten organisations affiliated with Muteba’s coalition issued a report on the incident in which they accused certain personalities within Katanga’s security, business and political spheres of being behind the violent incident. It is believed that the threats and intimidatory acts that Muteba has faced since are closely related to the role his organisation played in denouncing those who are suspected of being behind the attack on Lubumbashi and in demanding an independent investigation of the violence.

Front Line Defenders believes that the threats against Jean Pierre Muteba are directly related to his human rights work with the Coalition of Civil Society Groups of Katanga.Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

Two more human rights lawyers assassinated in Pakistan

February 9, 2013

The Asian Human Rights Commission (regional NGO) reports that two prominent lawyers have been assassinated in targeted killings on 2 February 2013.

Mr. Malik Jarrar 47, a Supreme Court lawyer, was shot dead in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Paktoonkha province by unknown persons, riding a motorcycle. He was on his way to pick up his two sons from school. Mr. Jarrar was the former vice chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Another prominent lawyer, Mr. Mian Muhammad Tariq 55, was also shot dead in similar manner in Karachi, the capital of Sindh province. He was shot dead by unknown assailants when he was parking his car inside his apartment building.

Mr Malik’s was probably a sectarian killing as he was from the Shia sect, the second largest sect of Islam which is under attack by the Taliban and other fundamentalist Sunnis who had declared them as Kafir (infidel) and liable to be killed. In the recent days four prominent Shia were assassinated by unknown persons in Peshawar.

The legal fraternity of the whole country organised a two-day boycott of courts in protest of killings. The lawyers see in the killings of their colleagues the total failure of the government to for maintaining the rule of law in the country.

In the last week four workers of one NGO, HANDS, working to provide health facilities and food rations to poor fisherfolk, were abducted by unknown persons but the government has failed to recover them. Persons who work in favour of human rights, which is deemed contrary to the interests of radical Islamist groups face considerable threat, as may be noted in the killings in 2011 of the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, and the Federal Minister of Minority Affairs, Shabaz Bhatti, who were targeted for their efforts to protect minorities, and their opposition to Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws.

So far 87 journalists had been killed in Pakistan since 2000. In the year 2012, eight journalists were killed while performing their official duty.

The irresponsible attitude of the government towards the security and protection of the human rights defenders and the appeasement policy towards the Muslim fundamentalists groups can be judged by the government’s refusal to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders to visit the country. The government, after ratifying the UN ICCPR has accepted a recommendation to do so.