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Archive for July 17th, 2014

Kenya Business Center Interview: Eye on the Money

Posted by African Press International on July 17, 2014

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Registering a company in Kenya

Posted by African Press International on July 17, 2014

Business Center Interview: Registering a Company

 

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Uganda: Ruling Against LGBT Activists Violates Rights / Sets Dangerous Precedent; Inhibits Advocacy, HIV Outreach

Posted by African Press International on July 17, 2014

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The decision of the Ugandan High Court published on July 9, 2014, endorsing the government closure of a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights workshop violates the right to freedom of assembly, Human Rights Watch said today. Justice Stephen Musota ruled against four LGBT rights activists who had sued the ethics and integrity minister, Simon Lokodo, for shutting down a February 2012 workshop.

The judge ruled that the workshop participants were “promoting” or “inciting” same-sex acts. “Carnal knowledge against the order of nature” is criminalized under Uganda’s Penal Code. Justice Musota rejected the activists’ argument that the purpose of the workshop was to develop human rights advocacy and leadership skills, finding that such objectives were simply a cover for promoting same-sex acts. The judge reasoned that human rights training on LGBT rights is itself a form of incitement to engage in prohibited same-sex practices. The plaintiffs are appealing the ruling to the Appeals Court.

“The deeply flawed High Court decision in this case sacrifices freedom of expression and assembly in the pursuit of a discriminatory political agenda,” said Neela Ghoshal, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “By the court’s logic, educating people about the law would incite them to commit crimes.”

At the time of the workshop, the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014, which criminalizes the so-called “promotion of homosexuality,” was not yet in effect.

Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG), a group that works for the rights of lesbian and bisexual women and transgender people, held the workshop at a hotel in Entebbe, on February 12, 2012. Minister Lokodo personally participated in the raid with his police escort, confiscating materials and threatening to arrest participants.

In March 2012, the workshop organizer, Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, and three participants – Frank Mugisha, Pepe Julian Onziema, and Geoffrey Ogwaro – filed a civil lawsuit against Minister Lokodo and the attorney general, contending that closing down the workshop violated their constitutional rights. After a series of postponements, the High Court heard the case in December 2013.

The judgment, orally delivered on June 24 and published in full on July 9, relies on an affidavit by one alleged “ex-gay,” who said that the organizations were “training homosexual youths to safely engage in the same-sex practices by distributing condoms.” Justice Musota relies on this claim to support his judgment, finding that “[a]ll these activities amount to direct or indirect promotion of same-sex practices.”

“From the High Court judgment, it could be inferred that it is now illegal in Uganda to conduct HIV prevention activities, targeting men who have sex with men, including the distribution of condoms,” Ghoshal said. “Such an outrageous position should rightly scare anyone who cares about the prospects for public health in Uganda, and about issues as basic as saving lives.”

The judgment notes as justification for closing down the workshop that article 43 of Uganda’s constitution and article 27 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights permit limitations on the rights to freedom of expression and of assembly in the public interest or on grounds of “morality.” However, it ignores the requirement for such limitations to be necessary, proportionate and non-discriminatory.

Limitations to protect “morals” are also permitted under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Uganda is a state party. But the UN Human Rights Committee, which interprets the covenant, has advised governments that, “limitations … for the purpose of protecting morals must be based on principles not deriving exclusively from a single tradition. Any such limitations must be understood in the light of universality of human rights and the principle of non-discrimination.”

Human Rights Watch has documented that the Ugandan government is deploying hostile rhetoric and an array of tactics to intimidate and obstruct the work of nongovernmental organizations on sensitive issues such as governance, human rights, land, oil, and the rights of LGBT people. Tactics include not only closing meetings, but also forcing representatives of independent groups to issue apologies, suspensions of activities, as well as occasional physical violence, threats, harassment, and heavy-handed bureaucratic interference in the registration and operation of nongovernmental groups.

“The court’s judgment is yet another blow to activism and advocacy, essential elements of any human-rights-respecting democracy,” Ghoshal said. “Uganda’s international partners should speak up about the threats to LGBT and other nongovernmental groups, particularly the ongoing escalation in government hostility toward freedom of expression and association.”

 

SOURCE

Human Right Watch (HRW)

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Sudan: Humanitarian Needs Reach US$982 million

Posted by African Press International on July 17, 2014

KHARTOUM, Sudan, July 16, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A significant increase in humanitarian needs in Sudan during the first six months of 2014 has necessitated a revision of the Sudan Response Plan. Aid agencies in Sudan now urgently require $982 million to assist 6.9 million people in need of humanitarian assistance (roughly 20% of Sudan’s population). Humanitarian needs vary to include shelter, protection, nutrition, health, and potable water.

The first half of 2014 saw more people displaced in Darfur than in any single year since the height of the crisis in 2004. Conflict in South Sudan has driven over 85,000 people across the border to seek refuge in Sudan, particularly in White Nile State. And, following a comprehensive Sudan-wide survey, revised the planning figures for malnutrition showed an increase in people suffering from acute malnutrition especially children.

Given these new needs, aid agencies in Sudan have reassessed their priorities and refocused primarily on the immediate delivery of life saving assistance. Although many of the conflicts generating humanitarian needs in Sudan are protracted, the vulnerabilities faced by affected communities are acute. For example, the water and sanitation services for newly displaced people who have fled to Darfur’s camps are now severely overstretched, giving rise to the spread of diseases such as jaundice and hepatitis E.

“Saving lives is a priority. The humanitarian needs generated by new displacement in Darfur come in addition to the needs of some 2.2 million people in Darfur who live in camps, displaced by a conflict that has gone on for over 11 years. Due to the scale of this new displacement and the declining capacity of relief agencies, the delivery of basic humanitarian services in Darfur is inadequate. This revised appeal pivots on ensuring people at immediate risk are prioritized for assistance,” said the Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Ali Al-Za’tari.

“The Sudan humanitarian response plan has been revised to reflect the deteriorating situation in Darfur, the influx of new refugees from South Sudan, and Sudan’s acute malnutrition crisis,” said Mr. Al-Za’tari. “To ensure that people made vulnerable by these crises get the assistance they need, I call on the donor community to support the Plan and help aid agencies obtain the humanitarian space needed to deliver relief where it is needed most”.

 

SOURCE

UNITED NATIONS

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Unacceptable consequences for the civilian population

Posted by African Press International on July 17, 2014

 ‘The dramatic escalation of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is having completely unacceptable consequences for civilians. In my talks with Foreign Minister Lieberman and President Abbas, I have urged all parties to stop the attacks and resume efforts to bring about a political solution,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende. 

A large number of Palestinians, many of them children, have been killed or wounded in the Gaza Strip since the massive Israeli military operation was launched on Monday evening. The situation in Gaza is now extremely critical following hundreds of air strikes, and many homes have been destroyed. There are also reports of direct attacks on journalists. During the past few days, several hundred rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel, fortunately without loss of life so far.

‘Norway condemns the rocket attacks on Israel, which threaten civilians indiscriminately. Israel has the right to defend itself within the framework of international law. However, international humanitarian law sets out stringent rules on the protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict. One of these rules is that the parties involved are to actively take precautions to avoid civilian losses. I emphasised this point in my conversation with Israel’s foreign minister. As the strongest military power in the conflict, Israel has a particular responsibility here,’ said Mr Brende.sour

‘There is no alternative to a political solution to the conflict. The first step must be a ceasefire. Restrictions must be lifted so that it is possible for the people of Gaza to live normal lives. But only a final agreement on a two-state solution and an end to the occupation of the West Bank can create lasting peace,’ said Foreign Minister Brende.

 End,

Source.mfa.norway

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