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Written by KHRC    Monday, 29 June 2015 10:52   
New call from national and international rights groups on the need to ensure accountability for the U.S. CIA Torture Program

29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council – June 15 - July 3, 2015


Item 4 – Interactive Dialogue

Last December, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released the summary, findings and conclusions of its four-year investigation into the Detention and Interrogation Program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Since then, the international human rights community has reiterated the call for full transparency about and accountability for this unlawful program, in which systematic human rights violations, including the crimes under international law of torture and enforced disappearance were committed. Last March, more than 20 human rights groups called on the Council to take action and demand that the United States fulfill its international human rights obligations on truth, accountability and remedy, including by appointing a special prosecutor to conduct a comprehensive and credible criminal investigation of alleged serious crimes described in the report and to establish a special fund to compensate victims.

Last month, during the United States’ UPR session, a significant number of Member-States joined civil society’s call and raised the issue of accountability and reparations for the use of torture and other human rights violations in the context of U.S. counter-terrorism policies and practices.

They also emphasized the need to end indefinite detention and close the Guantánamo detention facility, one of the remaining examples of the unlawful actions taken in the name of national security since the attacks of 11 September 2001. Delivering justice for the victims and ending indefinite detention in Guantánamo are both issues that still require more decisive and urgent action from the Obama administration.

On 26 June, the world will mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The

U.S. government was a strong supporter of the adoption of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT), which is commemorated every year on this day. The United States is also a generous contributor to the U.N. Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture. But the U.S.’s failure to hold accountable those responsible for the CIA program of torture and enforced disappearance, to ensure the victims’ rights to truth and reparations, and to take other actions to ensure non-repetition of these heinous crimes leaves the U.S. in violation of its own obligations under UNCAT and other international instruments and is a serious blow to the international human rights system, in general, and to the global effort to eradicate torture and enforced disappearance, in particular.

During its next session, the Council will adopt the Working Group report on the U.S. UPR. We call on the Council to send a strong message against impunity for torture and enforced disappearances and demand that the United States take measures to meet the full spectrum of its obligations under international law to ensure accountability, transparency, reparations and non-repetition, including declassification of the full Senate report on the CIA detention program, independent comprehensive criminal investigation, and the issuing of apologies and

compensation to victims of enforced disappearance, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Continued impunity is a dark chapter in the history of the United States that threatens to undermine the universally-recognized prohibition against torture and other abusive treatment, and sends the dangerous message to U.S. and foreign officials that there will be no consequences for future abuses. Other governments implicated in the CIA torture program must also be held accountable and are obligated to conduct independent investigations, hold perpetrators accountable, and provide effective remedies to victims of torture, enforced disappearance and other human rights violations.

We know from the experiences of civil society groups and survivors of torture around the world that the struggle for accountability for human rights violations and the search for truth can be a long and difficult journey. Yet the United States has much to gain from rejecting impunity, returning to the rule of law, and providing adequate redress to the dozens and dozens of people it so brutally abused.

We hope the United States will follow that path.

Submitted by:

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) Conectas Direitos Humanos

Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

Endorsed by

Abogadas y Abogados para la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos, A. C Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo

Acción Solidaria en VIH/Sida Advocates for U.S. Torture Prosecutions

African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies Ágora Espacio Civil Paraguay

Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, Yale Law School Amnesty International

Appeal for Justice

Asociación de Familiares de Presos y Desaparecidos Saharauis Asociación MINGA

Asociación para la Prevención de la Tortura Asociación Pro derechos Humanos

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies Center for Constitutional Rights

Center for Justice and Accountability Center for Victims of Torture

Centre for Human Rights

Centro de Derechos Humanos de las Mujeres, A. C.

Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.” Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos

Centro por la Justicia y el Derecho Internacional

Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos y Justicia de Género - Corporación Humanas

Civilis Derechos Humanos

Colectivo de Abogados "José Alvear Restrepo" Coletivo PESO/Periferia Soberana

Comisión de Justicia y Paz

Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos

Corporación Sisma Mujer

Defensa de Niñas y Niños- Internacional Diyarbakir Bar Association

Due Process of Law Foundation Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights

Four Freedoms Forum & Hawai'i Institute for Human Rights Fundación Myrna Mack

Fundar. Centro de Análisis e Investigación A.C

Gillis Long Poverty Law Center - Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Global Justice Clinic, NYU School of Law

Grupo de Mujeres de San Cristóbal de las Casas Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales Human Rights Institute of Columbia Law School

Human Rights Law Network Human Rights Watch

Instituto Braços - Centro de Defesa de Direitos Humanos de Sergipe Instituto Brasileiro de Ciências Criminais

Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales de Guatemala Instituto de Estudios Legales y Sociales del Uruguay

Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Sociedad Instituto Migrações e Direitos Humanos Instituto Pro Bono

International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination International Commission of Jurists

International Federation for Human Rights

International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School

International Human Rights Program, Boston University School of Law International Justice Network


Justice Studies Department -Northeastern Illinois University Kenya Human Rights Commission

KontraS (Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence) in Indonesia Laboratório de Análise Política Mundial

Legal Resources Centre Madres Linea Fundadora

Meiklejohn Civil Liberities Institute Minority Rights Group International Movimiento Autónomo de Mujeres National Lawyers Guild

North Carolina Stop Torture Now Observatorio Venezolano de Prisiones Oficina Jurídica Para la Mujer Partnership For Justice

Paz y Esperanza

PEN American Center Physicians for Human Rights

Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo

Programa de Pós Graduação em Segurança Pública e Direitos Humanos da Universidade Federal de Rondônia

Programa Venezolano de Educación Acción en Derechos Humanos Psychologists for Social Responsibility

Quaker House Reprieve

Santa Clara University School of Law, International Human Rights Clinic Seguridad en Democracia

Sociedade Maranhense de Direitos Humanos

The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights The Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance

Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) International

Unidad de Protección a Defensores y Defensoras de Derechos Humanos de Guatemala

Unión Nacional de Mujeres Guatemaltecas Unitarian Universalist Service Committee US Human Rights Network

Women's Link Worldwide

World Organization Against Torture

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Written by KHRC    Wednesday, 10 June 2015 16:28   
Open letter to the African Union on the resurgence of xenophobic violence in South Africa

To HE Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma

Chairperson of the African Union

Dear Madam,

Open letter to the African Union on the resurgence of xenophobic violence in South Africa

presented on the occasion of the AU Summit in Sandton, Johannesburg, June 2015

10th, June, 2015. We, the undersigned organisations, write to you as concerned organisations and citizens of the African continent to raise concern about the xenophobic attacks in the Republic of South Africa which have recently taken place against migrants and refugees predominantly from other African countries. We approach you as the body responsible for promoting unity and solidarity among African states. We also call on you as the body responsible for the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa.

The objectives of the AU are inter alia:-

  • To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the peoples of Africa;
  • To encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • To promote peace, security, and stability on the continent;
  • To promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance;
  • To promote and protect human and peoples' rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other relevant human rights instruments.

Between 2000 and March 2008, at least 67 people died in what were identified as xenophobic attacks in South Africa. In May 2008, a series of rapid large-scale attacks left 62 people dead and over 600 injured. Twenty-one of those killed were South African citizens, apparently because they were perceived as foreigners. The attacks were apparently motivated by xenophobia, [i] and have continued to occur every year since 2009. And more recently in 2015, another nationwide spike in xenophobic attacks against migrants and refugees occurred in January and again in April. The latter attacks which began in KwaZulu-Natal Province prompted a number of foreign governments to repatriate their citizens. The April 2015 attacks resulted in at least seven verified deaths, but the number is understood to be higher, and at least 5,000 migrants and refugees displaced.

We urge the AU to call upon the South African government to take concrete steps to end these attacks, prosecute perpetrators and protect migrants and refugees living in their territory from violations of their human rights, including the right to life. As organisations operating on the African continent, we are particularly concerned about the loss of lives, injuries to persons, damage to private property and the infringement of dignity of migrants and refugees living in South Africa, which are a grave violation of their rights protected under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter). The right to life, not to be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and the right to strict equality before the law are non-derogable rights – not dependent on a person’s status in a country.

South African President Jacob Zuma during a Freedom Day event in April made a statement that Mozambican national Emmanuel Sithole (aka Emmanuel Josias) who was brutally killed during these attacks was an illegal immigrant using a false name.[ii] The immigration status of foreign nationals who are victims of the attacks in South Africa is irrelevant. South Africa has an obligation to protect all persons within its borders.

We are concerned in particular about the situation of asylum seekers and refugees who should receive special protection but who are in a vulnerable and desperate situation following these tensions.

We are further concerned by comments made by persons in positions of authority and influence which may amount to incitement to violence and the role that these persons play in perpetuating xenophobia and intolerance. While some official statements have been made to condemn the violence, we are concerned that not enough concrete steps are being taken to prevent such attacks, prosecute perpetrators, protect migrants and refugees and prevent the mass coerced exodus of foreign nationals from the country. We call on the AU to ensure that South Africa holds leaders and persons in authority accountable for their role in inciting violence and intolerance, or for the systematic failure since 2008 to implement effective prevention and protection plans for migrants and refugees at risk of attack, property destruction and displacement.

We note statements of several governments, including the South African government, to provide assistance for individuals leaving the country. While those who wish to leave should be assisted to do so, the solution to the violence should not be to repatriate all foreign nationals, but to ensure an environment in the country in which their rights are protected. Furthermore, the acts of those carrying out attacks against foreign nationals should not be rewarded by assisting them to achieve their objective of ridding South Africa of foreign nationals.

Following the xenophobic attacks in April there have been nationwide police raids, with military presence on the streets, apparently intended to combat crime, but predominately involve arresting and deporting migrants alleged to be illegally present in the country. We call on the AU to alert South Africa to the unlawfulness of these actions. According to the Department of Home Affairs, 2767 foreign nationals have been repatriated since the April attacks began.[iii] This includes some 913 Malawians, 637 Mozambicans, 17 Tanzanians and 1098 Zimbabweans. There were also reports that an estimated 400 men and women from Lesotho were deported. These repatriations and deportations are ongoing. We are concerned about the mass raids, rounding up of foreigners and ongoing deportations which do not appear to adhere to any procedural safeguards[iv] such as investigations into immigration status; access to legal representation; ability to make representations to a court and steps taken to ensure that no refugees and asylum-seekers, to whom a duty of international protection applies, are not subjected to forcible returns. In this regard, we remind all States of the provisions of Article 12 of the African Charter which prohibits the mass expulsion of foreign nationals. We are also concerned by the heavy handed approach adopted by the South African authorities in carrying out raids and mass arrests with a view to deporting foreign nationals as a response to xenophobia. This was most recently highlighted in “Operation Fiela” which took place in Johannesburg during May. Despite Cabinet’s statements to the contrary this operation has targeted foreigners at a higher rate than citizens.

We refer the AU to the African Commission’s statement in its decision on mass expulsions from Angola[v] which continue to be highly relevant to the current situation in South Africa:

“The Commission concedes that African States in general … are faced with many challenges, mainly economic. In the face of such difficulties, States often resort to radical measures aimed at protecting their nationals and their economies from non‑nationals. Whatever the circumstances may be, however, such measures should not be taken at the detriment of the enjoyment of human rights. Mass expulsions of any category of persons, whether on the basis of nationality, religion, ethnic, racial or other considerations "constitute a special violation of human rights". This type of deportations calls into question a whole series of rights recognised and guaranteed in the Charter; such as the right to property (article 14), the right to work (article 15), the right to education (article 17 paragraph 1) and results in the violation by the State of its obligations under article 18 paragraph 1 which stipulates that "the family shall be the natural unit and basis of society. It shall be protected by the State which shall take care of its physical and moral health". By deporting the victims, thus separating some of them from their families, the Defendant State has violated and violates the letter of this text…

The Commission does not wish to call into question nor is it calling into question the right of any State to take legal action against illegal immigrants and deport them to their countries of origin, if the competent courts so decide. It is however of the view that it is unacceptable to deport individuals without giving them the possibility to plead their case before the competent national courts as this is contrary to the spirit and letter of the Charter and international law.[vi]

In a later case, the African Commission stressed the importance of due process and access to legal representation which are, in the current scenario, also of significant importance:

Time and again, in communication 71/1992, Recontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme v Zambia [(2000) AHRLR 321 (ACHPR 1996)], the African Commission held that the mass expulsions, particularly following arrest and subsequent detentions, deny victims the opportunity to establish the legality of these actions in the courts. In the present case, there is no indication as to whether the deportees were accorded the opportunity to contact their families, much less attorneys, thereby making the requirement of exhausting local remedies impracticable.”[vii]

It further stated:

The African Commission is of the view that the actions of the respondent state as shown in the preceding paragraphs not only denied fair treatment of the victims with opportunity to challenge their deportation but also failed to allow them opportunity to deal with their belongings. The complainant argues and the African Commission concurs that the type of deportations involved in the present case (ie mass expulsions without due process) challenge a series of rights and protections afforded by the Charter, including the right to property, and, as such, the measures taken by the respondent state in its arrest, detention and subsequent deportation of the victims ‘called into question a whole series of rights recognized and guaranteed in the Charter’, including the right to property. While the right to property under the African Charter is not absolute, the respondent state has not provided evidence to prove that its actions were necessitated either by public need or community interest. Without such a justification and the provision of adequate compensation determined by an impartial tribunal of competent jurisdiction, the African Commission finds the respondent state’s actions in violation of the right to property under article 14 of the African Charter.”[viii]

We further draw the AU’s attention to the resolution of the African Commission in April 2015 condemning the xenophobic attacks in South Africa[ix] and request the African Union to call upon the government of South Africa to:

  1. Protect migrants, refugees and other vulnerable foreign nationals from further attacks, including by increasing impartial and effective police presence in high-risk areas and immediately implementing conflict resolution initiatives in these areas involving the Department of Home Affairs;
  2. Provide humanitarian and other social assistance to those affected by the xenophobic attacks in the country, including counselling for trauma and access to information on services and on durable solutions for refugees and asylum-seekers;
  3. Bring perpetrators of violence against foreign nationals to justice. To facilitate such prosecutions the Department of Justice should set up special courts, as was done during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, to deal with all cases of violence against foreign nationals in a bid to ease the burden on the courts. Information on accessing these courts should be widely disseminated;
  4. Investigate and bring to justice the instigators behind the perpetration of the violence;
  5. Condemn unequivocally comments by persons in positions of authority and influence which may amount to incitement to violence;
  6. Effectively engage the broadest possible South African public, in order to curb and eradicate xenophobia and xenophobic violence. These messages should be repeated, constantly re-iterated and not only heard after crises moments. They should be accessible, in local languages, should be expressed directly to communities, and should involve local leaders;
  7. Advise and assist all those who have been victims of violence to seek redress;
  8. Assist refugees and asylum seekers who have lost their permits to have these re-issued and put in place concrete plans for their reintegration into communities.

As stated above, in 2008, the xenophobic attacks left at least 62 dead, hundreds wounded, and contributed to the displacement of 100,000 people or more. Following those attacks the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) prepared a report with their findings and recommendations[x]. We call on the AU to remind the South African government of this report and call upon the government and the SAHRC to immediately take steps to implement the recommendations found therein.

In addition, we request you to call upon governments of other countries to ensure steps are taken to prevent reprisals against South African nationals in their territories.

Signed by the following organisations:

  1. Southern Africa Litigation Centre
  2. Amnesty International
  3. Lawyers for Human Rights - South Africa
  4. Sonke Gender Justice – South Africa
  5. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) – South Africa
  6. Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA)
  7. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  8. Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA)
  9. Open Society Foundation for South Africa ( OSF-SA)
  10. Oxfam, South Africa
  11. Youth Engage - Zimbabwe
  12. Centre for Youth and Children Affairs (CEYCA) - Malawi
  13. Panos Institute Southern Africa (Psaf)
  14. Aids Foundation of South Africa (AFSA)
  15. The Scalabrini Centre Of Cape Town – South Africa
  16. Positive-Generation - Cameroon
  17. Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (CYECE) – Malawi
  18. Khulumani Support Group – South Africa
  19. Women and Law in Southern Africa-WLSA MOZAMBIQUE
  20. Centre for Girls and Interaction (CEGI) – Malawi
  21. Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA) – South Africa
  22. Missão de Beneficência Agropecuária do Kubango, Inclusão, Tecnologias e Ambiente (MBAKITA) – Angola
  23. Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
  24. United Action for Democracy, Kano – Nigeria
  25. Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (ZACRO)
  26. Media Rights Agenda (MRA) – Nigeria
  27. Association of Human Rights Organizations (AHURIO) - Uganda
  28. Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) – Nigeria
  29. Service For Peace - Sierra Leone
  30. MenEngage Network – Tanzania
  31. MenEngage- Namibia
  32. Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) – South Africa
  33. Development Dynamics – Nigeria
  34. Ndifuna Ukwazi – South Africa
  35. Women’s Legal Centre – South Africa
  36. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
  37. Initiative for Rural Development – Uganda (IRD - U)
  38. Sisonke Sex Worker Movement – South Africa
  39. The Wentworth Arts and Culture Organisation – South Africa
  40. Men’s Association for Gender Equality (MAGE SL) - Sierra Leone.
  41. Congo Men's Network (COMEN) - DRC
  42. The khuphuka Project – South Africa
  43. International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI)
  44. Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP) – South Africa
  45. Empowered at Dusk Women's Association (EADWA) – Uganda
  46. Positive Men's Union (POMU) – Uganda
  47. State of the Union Coalition
  48. Men and Boys for Gender Equality (MBGE) – Botswana
  49. Collectif Sénégalais des Africaines pour la Promotion de L'Education relative à l'Environnement (COSAPERE) – Senegal
  50. Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) – Malawi
  51. Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV and AIDS (MANERELA+) - Malawi
  52. Maphunziro Foundation (MAF) - Malawi
  53. Women Environmental Programme (WEP) -Nigeria
  54. Charles and Doosurgh Abaagu Foundation (C&DAF) - Nigeria
  55. Community Emergency Response Initiative (CERI) – Nigeria
  56. Lawyers for Human Rights (Swaziland)
  57. Transbantu Association Zambia (TBZ) – Zambia
  58. Zambia National Women's Lobby (ZNWL)
  59. Boys Empowerment International - Zambia
  60. Bus and Taxi Association of Zambia
  61. Community Support for the Needy - Zambia
  62. Office of the Grand Mufti - Zambia
  63. Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) - Zambia
  64. Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ)
  65. Volunteers Welfare for Community Based Care of Zambia(VOWAZA)
  66. Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) - Zambia
  67. Young Women in Action - Zambia
  68. Kenya MenEngage Alliance (KEMEA)
  69. Uganda MenEngage Network (UgaMen)
  70. FEMNET - African Women's Development and Communications Network
  71. Omunga – Angola
  72. Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) – South Africa
  73. International Commission of Jurists, Kenya (ICJ-Kenya)
  74. Africa Legal Aid (AFLA)
  75. Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health (TICAH) – Kenya
  76. Masimanyane Women’s Rights International
  77. People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) – South Africa
  78. Africa International Development and The Environment in XXI century (AIDE21)
  79. African Woman and Child Feature Service (AWC)
  80. Coalition for Action on 1325 – Uganda
  81. African Sky
  82. Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC)
  83. Forum for Women in Development, Democracy and Justice (FODDAJ) - Kenya
  84. Corruption Watch – South Africa
  85. Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (CHR) -South Africa
  86. Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)
  87. Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre (HIFC) - Zimbabwe
  88. Echoes of Women in Africa Initiative (ECOWA) – Nigeria
  89. Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) - Nigeria
  90. Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA)
  91. Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE) – Uganda
  92. Women and Youths Environmental Safety and Empowerment Organisation (E-WAY for Development) - Nigeria
  93. Akina Mama wa Afrika
  94. solidarité des femmes pour le développement intégrale (SOFEDI) - DRC

100. Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC) - Zambia

101. Uganda Network of Young people living with HIV/AIDS (UNYPA)

102. Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

103. Communities’ Initiative for Holistic Social Advancement (CHISA) – Malawi

104. Action Locale pour un Développement Participatif et Autogéré (ALDEPA) – Cameroon

105. Voice for Change (VFC) – Nigeria

106. Centre for Youth and Children's Affairs (CEYCA) – Malawi

107. Community Health And Information Network (CHAIN) – Uganda

108. First Lady's Save Our Youths Campaign – Nigeria

109. Coalition Ivoirienne pour la Cour Pénale Internationale (CI CPI) - Cote d'Ivoire

110. Réseau Equitas Côte d'Ivoire (REQCI) - Cote d'Ivoire

111. Groupe de Travail sur les Instruments Internationaux (GT2I)

112. Temba Community Development Services- South Africa

113. Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA)

114. International Community of women living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA)

115. International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) – Nigeria

116. Media Institute of Southern Africa – Botswana (MISA Botswana)

117. Media Institute of Southern Africa – Lesotho (MISA Lesotho)

118. Media Institute of Southern Africa - Malawi (MISA Malawi)

119. Media Institute of Southern Africa – Namibia (MISA Namibia)

120. Media Institute of Southern Africa – Zambia (MISA Zambia)

121. Media Institute of Southern Africa – Zimbabwe (MISA Zimbabwe)

122. Media Institute of Southern Africa – South Africa (MISA South Africa)

123. Associação Justiça Paz e Democracia (AJPD) – Angola

124. Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)

125. Liga Moçambicana dos Direitos Humanos (LDH) – Mozambique

126. Pan African Positive Women's Coalition-Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands (PAPWC-SAIOI)

127. Katswe Sistahood – Zimbabwe

128. Economic and Social Rights Centre, Nairobi – Kenya

129. Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA)

130. Gay & Lesbian Network, Pietermaritzburg - South Africa

131. Love Life – South Africa

[i] See L.B. Landau (ed), 2011. Exorcising the Demons Within: Xenophobia, Violence and Statecraft in Contemporary South Africa. Johannesburg: Wits University Press; Tokyo: United Nations University Press.

[ii] This is repeated in the official communication dated 28 April of the Inter-ministerial committee issued by Minister Jeff Radebe.

[iii] http://citizen.co.za/371626/close-to-3000-foreign-nationals-repatriated-after-xeno-attacks/ According to Chief Director of Immigration Inspectorate, Modiri Matthews

[iv] In terms of Sections 34 of the Immigration Act 12 of 2002 (as amended)

[v] Union Inter Africaine des Droits de l’Homme, Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme and Others v. Angola, African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Comm. No. 159/96 (1997). Communication 292/2004, Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa v Republic of Angola

[vi] Union Inter Africaine des Droits de l’Homme, Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme and Others v. Angola, African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Comm. No. 159/96 (1997), paragraphs 16, 17 and 20

[vii] Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa v Angola (2008) AHRLR 43 (ACHPR 2008), paragraph 40

[viii] Ibid, paragraph 73

[ix] Resolution Condemning The Xenophobic Attacks In The Republic Of South Africa - ACHPR/Res.304 (LVI) 2015

[x] Report on the SAHRC Investigation into Issues of Rule of Law, Justice and Impunity arising out of the 2008 Public Violence against Non-Nationals, http://www.sahrc.org.za/home/21/files/Reports/Non%20Nationals%20Attacks%20Report_1-50_2008.pdf

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 June 2015 16:30 )
Written by KHRC    Wednesday, 10 June 2015 15:20   
AU: ICC Members Should Lead on Justice

For Immediate Release

AU: ICC Members Should Lead on Justice

Groups Cite Progress, Concerns Ahead of African Union Summit

(Johannesburg, June 10, 2015) – African governments should provide leadership to build on important steps during 2015 to ensure justice for grave international crimes, African and international organizations said in a letter< http://bit.ly/1GrGD9h > to African International Criminal Court (ICC) members that was released today.

African governments are meeting at the 25th summit of the African Union (AU), from June 7 to 15 in Johannesburg and Pretoria. The groups that signed the letter are among the most active partners of an informal group of African and international organizations based in more than a dozen African countries that seek to promote justice for serious crimes that violate international law.

“Progress in the case against Hissène Habré, Chad’s former president, and the surrender of Lord’s Resistance Army leader Dominic Ongwen to the ICC have been important developments this year, but justice is undermined by the lack of accountability for grave crimes committed in South Sudan and other conflict areas,” said Penny Mbabazi of Uganda’s Foundation for Human Rights Initiative.

While the majority of AU members are also members of the ICC, most of those countries lack domestic laws that fully incorporate the crimes of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and cooperation with the ICC, as key pillars of justice, the groups said. Victims of serious crimes may feel betrayed when their government does not take steps to remedy the harm done to them.

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, the AU rotating chair for 2015, threatened in January to push for African ICC members to withdraw from the court at the June summit. In the days leading up to the summit, Malawi officials told reporters that it would not consider withdrawal<http://www.nyasatimes.com/2015/06/01/malawi-rebuffs-mugabes-call-for-icc-withdraw/>. Botswana has consistently stressed its support<http://mg.co.za/article/2009-07-06-botswana-says-albashir-must-stand-trial-at-icc> for the ICC when the court has come under attack at the AU.

“More states should follow Malawi’s recent move to publicly oppose calls for ICC withdrawal and Botswana’s strong public backing of the ICC,” said Timothy Mtambo of Malawi’s Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation. “The ICC is a crucial court that should be supported and strengthened.”

The organizations called on African ICC members to:

• Enhance the capacity of the AU to respond to conflict situations to avoid international crimes and to facilitate accountability;

• Call for and support credible national proceedings to hold to account those responsible for serious crimes, such as in the Central African Republic;

• Reconsider and revise their stand on immunity for sitting heads of state and government, as well as for senior government officials brought before the jurisdiction of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights; and

• Promote victims’ participation in domestic proceedings on grave crimes.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 June 2015 15:24 )
Written by KHRC    Thursday, 28 May 2015 15:45   


Nairobi, 28th MAY 2015 | KHRC is deeply disturbed by the 27th May 2015 decision by the Non-Governmental Organizations Coordination Board (NGOs Board), to de-register MUHURI and the Agency for Peace and Development (APD). The three organizations were among the five organizations that were enumerated by the Inspector General of Police via a Gazette Notice 2326 of 7th April 2015 under the ‘List of Terrorist Organizations’. Consequently, their accounts were arbitrarily frozen, their activities restricted and other services to the organizations and staff unjustifiably suspended1. There have been failed attempts by the government to force grant makers to stop funding these organizations.

This was followed by undue intimidation and interrogation of the staff and board members of the said organizations as well as the confiscation of their crucial records, data and information by officers drawn from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) under the guise of tax evasion. The affected and targeted organizations have continued to cooperate with the relevant state authorities while seeking redress from courts. They seek conservatory orders lifting the suspension of their bank accounts and restraining the government from declaring them as ‘terror organizations’ until the hearing and determination of this petition.

Despite this cooperation, Yusuf Mahamad Fazul, the Executive Director of the NGOs Coordination Board wrote to the said organizations on May 12, 2015, giving them 14 days’ notice of intention to cancel their registration certificates on the alleged grounds of violating the provisions of the NGO Cordination Act of 1990, the attendant regulations and the terms and conditions attached to the certificate of registration.

MUHURI wrote back on May 15, 2015 requesting for details on the areas and provisions of the law and regulations violated. Seeing no response from the Board, MUHURI dispatched a follow-up letter to the Board on Monday, May 25, 2015. Owing to the non-response by the NGO Board, MUHURI came to Nairobi on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 when they met with the NGO Board. Here the Director to the Board clarified the areas alleged violated and requested MUHURI to have the same rectified, minuted and come for another meeting two days later (on Friday, May 29, 2015).

Thus it is shocking to learn from the media about the purported devious deregistration of the targeted organizations. Such tactics expose a state that is operating in bad faith and driven by the unbridled quest to curtail the operations of civil society organizations under the guise of accountability. It further shows a repugnant trend of abuse of authority of the NGO Board, CID, KRA and other apparatus to intimidate the operations of MUHURI and APD among other civil society organizations2 without due regards to the existing constitutional, legal, administrative and judicial process.

These actions are ill advised and in clear contravention of various Constitutional provisions, chief among them the right to fair administrative action enshrined under Article 47. The action to allegedly deregister the organizations is unlawful and unreasonable. 2

Consequently, we urge the NGO Board and the Presidency to:

1. Issue an urgent official response by the NGO Board, explaining the reasons and circumstances under which MUHURI and APD were de-registered without regards to due processes.

2. Provide an immediate public apology from the Board owing to the inconveniences and embarrassment suffered by the three organizations arising from its irregular and illegal actions.

3. Provide a written and concise response to the letters by the three organizations on the clarification sought.

4. Undertake unconditional and immediate removal of said organizations from the terrorism list published via Gazette Notice 2326 of 7th April 2015, lift any and all freezing of their activities and services.

5. Stop arm-twisting, harassing and intimidating the civil society, development partners, media, citizenry and other independent voices and instead purpose to manage public affairs within the provisions of the Constitution in the governance of state affairs.

6. Convene a consultative meeting with key stakeholders to discuss the ever increasing tension between the state and civil society and agree on the best way of responding to the security challenges facing our country.

The civil society is keen to participate in the fight against terrorism within the provisions of the Constitution of Kenya. The current attempt by the government to create a dichotomy between national security verses human rights is unacceptable and unsustainable since security is equally a fundamental right and freedom for all.

Signed by:

Prof. Makau Mutua, on behalf of the KHRC Board,

Davis Malombe, Ag, Executive Director.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 28 May 2015 15:48 )
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