By Adotei Akwei and Miho Mitobe
At the end of 2016 Amnesty International published a report titled Ethiopia Offline: Evidence of Social Media Blocking and Internet Censorship in Ethiopia. This report documented how social media and networks in Addis Ababa and the Oromia region were being blocked by the Ethiopian government. Among the more alarming findings is that AI and the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), who co-authored the report, detected the use of Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology, which can be used to monitor and filter internet traffic. The Ethiopian government appears to be using the technology for “mass surveillance internet censorship.” The government’s actions constitute a violation of Ethiopia’s obligations to protect freedom of expression under the African Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and also drastically restricts access to information for the Ethiopian people. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Protestors gather in Nkpor, Onitsha on 30 May 2016, Nigeria.
By Adotei Akwei and Miho Mitobe
In late November AI released a report on human rights violations committed by Nigerian security forces in the southeast of the country. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had conducted largely peaceful marches as part of an effort to establish an independent state, and the response was brutal and depressing in its familiarity. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Next month Congress will get to interview nominees for the incoming Trump administration. These cabinet nominees are important indicators as to whether his administration will be uphold and protect human rights or whether the inflammatory rhetoric from the campaign will become policy. The implications for human rights – here in the United States and internationally could not be more stark and hard as it may be to remember the incoming administration will have a huge impact globally as well as here in the United States.
So far President-elect Trump’s nominees to lead foreign policy raise more alarm than confidence. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Protesters call on the Ethiopian government to respect human rights, Washington DC, USA, 23 September 2006
By Adotei Akwei and Nicole Southard
On June 29, 2016 Ethiopia secured a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC) (see the full report here). The position requires that countries garner at least a two-thirds vote to win the position, and Ethiopia ran without competition, resulting in a win of 183 out of 195 necessary votes. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Adotei Akwei,Managing Director for Government Relations and Kayla Chen, Government Relations and Individuals at Risk Intern at Amnesty International USA
Sub-Saharan Africa is facing a growing trend of evaporating political space. Non-governmental organizations are being heavily and often violently restricted, and newspapers, bloggers and other voices of dissent or criticism are being silenced or intimidated into exile.
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Egyptian human right activist with chained hands during a protest against torture in police stations. KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
Following last week’s release of the 2016 Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Amnesty International USA conducted a review of the reports and offered an analysis of the reports.
The annual, Congressionally-mandated reports are meant to highlight abuses such as human rights defenders being killed, detained or hounded in to exile, along with draconian restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association, often imposed in the name of national security.
Unfortunately, this year’s report continues the practice of using diplomatic language to understate human rights violations. The report also continues to bury some cases of abuse by failing to refer to them in the summary section of the report. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
A student stands in a burnt classroom burnt by the Islamist group Boko Haram to keep children away from school in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, May 12, 2012. (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/GettyImages)
Last week’s announcement that the US plans to deploy military advisors to assist the Nigerian government fight Boko Haram and is considering restarting the training of an infantry battalion, despite the lack of investigation by Nigerian authorities in to possible war crimes and possible crimes against humanity by the Nigerian military should raise alarm bells. In the absence of concrete action to investigate possible atrocities the Obama administration risks giving its seal of approval to impunity. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Hundreds of Rohingya refugees arrived in Indonesia on May 15, 2015. Thousands more are believed to still be stranded at sea reportedly with no country willing to take them in. Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images
We all have an obligation to help
The right to flee from danger and seek safe haven ought to be something we all innately understand. And yet, one need only turn on the television, browse the Internet or pick up a paper to find arguments against it. Under international law, states have an obligation to help people fleeing persecution by not sending them back in to danger. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
(Photo Credit: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images).
By Adotei Akwei and Larissa Peltola*
After months of anticipation by the global community, the Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2014 finally arrived on June 25, a mere six months into 2015. This beguiling page-turner, which provides us with a summary of the state of human rights around the world, highlights virtually every country yet somehow manages to gloss over, or omit altogether, the human rights violations occurring in the United States (#closeGuantanamo).
Amnesty International USA, along with several other human rights groups, continues to welcome the reports as a potentially valuable roadmap to guide U.S. foreign policy. They offer a detailed look at the human rights situation in particular countries and often indicate developing political and human rights crises, but sadly, they have historically been ignored by the very government that produces them.
The Obama administration has repeatedly stated that human rights are a priority of its foreign policy. If that is the case, then we urge the administration to look at the reports of the countries flagged below and assess whether those countries should be receiving security or financial assistance, or whether supporting governments that treat people so poorly is a sensible investment of U.S. taxpayers’ dollars.
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by Adotei Akwei and Bridget Duru
March 28, 2015 was a huge turning point for Nigeria. For the first time in the country’s history, the incumbent did not win the presidential election. General Muhammadu Buhari, the man who defeated President Goodluck Jonathan, was sworn in on May 29.
The largely peaceful political transition set an important benchmark for the rest of the continent’s democratic aspirations and of course it has also triggered hopes in Nigeria that the country is embarking on a new chapter and a political, economic and diplomatic renaissance. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST