May 26, 2024
The authorities have also fined or suspended media outlets for covering politically sensitive topics, including the coronavirus. On July 6, the Communications Authority banned Kwanza TV, an online television station, for 11 months because of its Instagram post reporting on a Covid-19 health alert by the United States Embassy about Tanzania. The authority’s summons letter to Kwanza TV accused the station of being “unpatriotic.”

By Khalifa Hemed
Published January 18, 2019

“The government has consistently let deadlines slip while its forces commit crimes with impunity,” says Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The people of South Sudan deserve justice, not a chain of broken promises, and so the international community should impose consequences.”As clear patterns of repression emerge across eastern Africa, human rights groups are calling upon governments in the region to protect freedoms of expression and association and provide justice for crimes by government security forces.

“We are seeing an alarming backsliding on human rights in East Africa and in the Horn as governments use violence and repression to silence peaceful dissent, while failing to ensure accountability for abuses by their forces,” says Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

RELATED:African Governments Resuscitate Failed Airlines

World Report 2019, a 674-page publication of HRW shows the only eastern African country that seems committed to protecting rights under the period under review is Ethiopia whose new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, is not only revising repressive laws, but has lifted the state of emergency, ordered the release of tens of thousands of political prisoners, overturned bans on opposition political parties, and had some abusive officials sacked.

HRW says that Ethiopia’s southern neighbour, Kenya, cracked down violently on protesters in opposition strongholds in 2017 and 2018, killed more than 100 people, targeted journalists for reporting on sensitive subjects such as corruption and security and silenced rights workers in the capital, Nairobi, and western parts of the country with arbitrary arrests, threats, and raids on their offices and homes.

RELATED:The Future of Work in sub-Saharan Africa

Ethiopia's new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, is not only revising repressive laws, but has lifted the state of emergency, ordered the release of tens of thousands of political prisoners, overturned bans on opposition political parties, and had some abusive officials sacked.Ugandan security forces, HRW says, also violently dispersed protests; beating, arbitrarily detaining, and at times torturing protesters, journalists, and opposition politicians.

Tanzania had a marked decline in respect for free expression, association, and assembly since the election of John Pombe Magufuli as President in 2015. Authorities have harassed and detained journalists, opposition members, and activists.

RELATED:Tanzania Introduces Airport Security Fees

Sudanese government forces attacked and destroyed dozens of villages in Jebel Mara, in Central Darfur, forcing thousands of people to flee, according to World Report 2019. HRW says security forces violently dispersed protests and detained activists, journalists, bloggers, and opposition politicians, bringing trumped up charges carrying the death penalty against activists.

Tanzania had a marked decline in respect for free expression, association, and assembly since the election of John Pombe Magufuli as President in 2015. In South Sudan, fighting between government and rebel forces continued. Government forces carried out abusive counter-insurgency operations in areas west of Wau; killing, looting, and destroying villages, while sexual violence surged in the former Unity state. The country’s leaders, HRW says, have made no progress after its agreement to create an African Union-South Sudanese hybrid court to try the most serious crimes committed since the start of the war five years ago.

RELATED:EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY TO MAKE REGIONAL TRADE FASTER AND SIMPLER

In Somalia, fighting, insecurity, lack of protection by the government, and recurring humanitarian crises had a devastating impact on civilians in 2018, HRW says. Security forces killed and wounded civilians during fighting over land and control of roadblocks, and disarmament operations, particularly in Mogadishu and Lower Shabelle. There were targeted attacks on media, including harassment, and arbitrary detention, with authorities seldom investigating killings or attacks on journalists.

Eritrea, HRW says, has no independent media, organised civil society, political parties, or judiciary, and arbitrary detention remains commonplace. Citizens are forced into national service for indefinite periods, often in the military, and thousands flee Eritrea each month.

RELATED:Eastern Africa Focuses on Strengthening Regional Integration Through Continental Free Trade Area 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap