Human Rights Watch report paints a bleak picture in over 100 countries, including the jailing of journalists in Turkey

Unabated, human rights abuses continue to hit countries such as Zimbabwe, Turkey and Russia, despite a new broom of leadership in the southern African country.

This was revealed by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) when it released in Johannesburg, South Africa, it’s 2019 World Reports, covering many countries around the world.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office last year after Robert Mugabe was forced to resign.

HRW Southern Africa Director Dewa Mavhinga warned: “Zimbabwean security forces use live ammunition at protestors. About five people are shot and killed daily, according to our records. We also know thousands are being displaced, there has been a crackdown where police and army got into people’s home in Harare, beating up people indiscriminately.

“We speak to people, there is a continued shut down on access to social media, although the internet has partially been distorted to people of Zimbabwe, this censorship adds serious, unprecedented violence was witnessed over the last three days in Zimbabwe, really undermines any attempts that international engagement by Zimbabwe and economic revival. We know that there is a direct connect, link between human rights respect, rule of law and economic revival,” said Mavhinda, addressing local and international media.

Human Rights Watch meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Since the beginning of this week, Zimbabwe has seen protests after a petrol increase of 150%, the highest and most expensive in the world.

Mavhinda shared his fear of failing officials who have no desire to stop killings and abuse of protestors as Mnangagwa is currently in Russia looking for support for an economic revival, and from there he goes to Davos.

“It should be clear there is need to ensure a peaceful environment in Zimbabwe so that investors can come in. No investors will want to come and invest in a country that is burning, these are the challenges we see. Zimbabwe has not met progress towards genuine and sincere reforms despite pronouncement and promise by Mnangagwa and his supporters.

“The new dispensation promised change and to move in Zimbabwe into a new, different direction from that taken by Mugabe in the last thirty-seven years. Mnangagwa is failing to fulfil his promises as human rights violations continue. It is quite worrying there are protests and there is no solution in terms of abuses,” Mavhinda added.

HRW’s Deputy Program Director Babatunde Olugboji, based in the US, is visiting South Africa for the launch of the report, calls on the Kenyan government to respond to terrible killings and help to victims to get reasonable medical treatment after this week’s terrorist attack by Al Shabaab at a hotel centre in Nairobi.

The reports highlight in 2018: “South Africa’s record on respect for human rights and the rule of law remained poor under the new President Cyril Ramaphosa as the corruption, high employment, and violent against crime significantly restricted the country’s enjoyment of their rights.” The report also criticises South African’s government for sending mixed signals about its position on the International Criminal Court as the domestic court rejected the government’s withdrawal notice from the ICC.

Mavhinga also called on eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) to allow multi-democracy. The reports criticise King Mswati II, ruling Swaziland since 1986, and the government for not reviving The State of Emergency degree, which has been in force since 1973 or changed the law to allow the formation and participation of political parties in elections.

There is no press freedom in Turkey, journalists yearn for better conditions

The report also lashed out at Angolan security forces for several extrajudicial killings of young men suspected of crimes and arbitrarily arrests of peaceful protestors and activist. The report praised new President Joao Lourenco for his anti-corruption campaign that led to arrests and investigations of several former government officials, including former President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos’s relatives. The report criticises Angola’s government for violating journalists’ rights, and expelling 400 000 Congolese migrants to prevent “illegal mining and smuggling”.

HRW reports said that Angola has no evidence to back up this claim. The report praised Angola for contributing to LGBT rights.  

In Mozambique, the report criticises President Filipe Nyusi for failing to protect people’s rights as security forces committed serious human rights violations in response to suspected Islamist armed groups in the northern Cabo Delgadi province.  

The 674-page World Report 2019 reviews human rights practices in more than 100 countries. HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth gives a positive message that autocratic rule is facing a powerful counterattack. The report warns uncertainty in Zimbabwe and points out Turkey as the remaining, biggest jailer of journalists. Today a Dutch journalist was deported by Ankara. China President Xi Jinping doubled down on repression as the government has arrested over a million Uighur in “political education” camps in Xinjiang province,  while Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has lifted the state of emergency and released thousands of prisoners, the report says.

Turkey’s worrying brain drain, those who left speak their minds

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