Human rights violations in Africa – Congo, Somalia & Zimbawe

10 Nov

10 humanitarian agencies including Human Rights Watch and Oxfam have urged the UN to send more troops to protect civilians in East Congo. According to an AP report, Doctors Without Borders, have  reported an outbreak of cholera in the refugee camp near the capital of Goma.  Shortage of water and proper toilets makes the ‘outbreak “really dangerous” ‘.

The only agency to be working in the that town, Doctors without Borders reported treating 43 patients at the Rutshuru hospital and another 50 at two health centres in the same area on 7 November. The NGO has since then expected more war-related injuries.

Human Rights Watch noted that at least 100 civilians have been killed with more than 200 wounded since fighting between the rebel commander Laurent Nkhunda and Congolese army occurred in August, after the breakdown of ceasefire negotiations that was made in January. At least 150 child soldiers have been recruited since then.  The United Nation’s MONUC troops were reported to have failed in protecting civilians who have fled to Goma, North Kivu’s capital. Humanitarian workers have also been targeted. in this conflict Those working in North Kivu have at least been attacked 35 times since August with the Congolese army believed to be responsible for most of them.

Humanitarian agencies are also targeted in Somalia. At least 40 humanitarian and human rights workers have been killed in Somalia this year, according to Amnesty International. According to the report, “Fatal Insecurity, Attacks on aid workers and rights defenders in Somalia’, ‘the identities and affliations of their killers are increasingly unclear’. However, most of those close to those killed have told the NGO that the majority were ‘members of armed opposition groups, including al-Shabab militias, and the various ARS- affiliated militias (often still called Islamic Courts). Clan militias and clan-affiliated criminal gangs committing acts of banditry or extortion are the second largest group of attackers reported, with a small number of remaining attacks reported to have been carried out by TFG militias or Ethiopian troops’ (p. 14).

The reasons for the attacks have been attributed to financial motives (for example, extorting contractors delivering humanitarian aid); Opposition groups suspecting that humanitarian workers acting as spies for the TFG or Ethiopian military; and increasing division between the armed groups leading to more violence (p.16).

In Zimbawe, the power-sharing agreement has not yielded any progress in enforcing human rights. The latest Human Rights Watch report, ‘Our hands are tied; erosion of the rule of law in Zimbawe‘,  documented the ruling party, ZANU-PF’s lack of commitment in justice reforms. The police has been told not to investigate any violence carried out by ZANU-PF and its allies. At least 163 politically motivated killings, mostly towards Opposition MDC supporters have been perpetuated since the March elections. No arrests nor prosecutions have been made to date. The police has also continued to harass and detain activists even after the power sharing agreement has been signed.


One Response to “Human rights violations in Africa – Congo, Somalia & Zimbawe”

  1. Ben November 14, 2008 at 11:02 am #

    Hi Charles, can you please email me at ben[at] thanks

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