African Commission urged to take Action on Human Rights Issues

By MUHAMMED Sailu BAH

Nestsanet Belay, Amnesty International Africa Director for Research and Advocacy has said that it is high time for them to putAfrican Commission urged to take Action on Human Rights Issues African leaders to task on the abuse of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

He stated that some African governments use arbitrary powers to detain, abduct or even kill some of the Human Rights defenders and media personnel.

Mr. Belay made this remark during a Panel discussion on Update from Sub-Regional Focal Points of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Africa.

According to Belay, there are lots of recommendations and resolutions in place but nothing is happening on the ground.

He also highlighted some of the brutalities people in power cause to private media such as closing them and muting freedom of expression. He cited Burundi as an example where police closed a lot of private media houses making freedom of expression go to Zero.

Attack on media personnel, killings, torturing, abducting, arresting of Journalist and media personnel are issues they feel need to be looked at.

He also cited Boko Haram in Nigeria as a major issue which needs to be addressed in the African continent.

He said, “more than 700 civilians and thousands of people have been killed, raped and abducted. It is time to take action in exposing African governments in causing Human Rights violations and to stop them from their rhetoric actions?”

On the issue of election, he noted that free and fair elections should be looked at from a broader perspective such as voter education to be provided by government prior to the elections among many other things.

He stressed the need for them to come up with good recommendations in putting governments under pressures to act on these issues.

He also emphasised the importance of them making the commission to be more active, responsive and how it can make African governments to recognise Human Rights issues.

They cited Egypt as an example saying that, in Egypt political activists and Human Rights defenders are being subjected to arrest and detention without any proper trial. In Libya, he said people are unable to access lawyers as a result people spend a longer time in jail.