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Human Rights

Human Rights (15)

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) 43rd Ordinary Session begins from October 31 to November 18, 2016 at Arusha, Tanzania.   The eleven member judges will examine about 70 applications and four requests for advisory opinion, Justice Sylvain Oré, AfCHPR President, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview.   He said judges will also hold the Seventh Extra-Ordinary Session from November 28 to December 2.   The court meets four times a year on Ordinary Sessions.   Justice Sylvain Oré said with the rapid growth of International Human Rights in recent years there has been a growing international trend of setting up regional and sub-regional human rights mechanisms such as the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter -American Court of Human Rights.   “On the African continent, this trend has resulted into the creation of human rights bodies not only at the sub-regional levels but also at the continental level,” he said.   The African Court President said the creation of the Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Court) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights was part of the international trend.   The AfCHPR is made up of eleven judges, nationals of Member States of the African Union elected in their individual capacity.   The President and Vice President are elected for a term of two years and are eligible to be re-elected for another final term of two years.   The AfCHPR has adopted a progressive communication module which seeks to publicise its mandate to protect human rights on the Continent.   It forms part of the African Court’s Communication Strategy to ensure that Information and Communication policy forms part of its comprehensive strategy and must be placed at the heart of its work and not as an add-on to its activities.   The Court is also building on its media network for improved coverage and public awareness of its activities; and established a specific pool of journalists tagged as “Champions of AfCHPR’’.   Source: GNA
Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection has official lodged a complaint against the found and General Overseer of the International God’s Way Church, Bishop Daniel Obinim, at the Accra Regional office of the Domestic Violence and Victims’ Support Unit (DOVVSU) for openly flogging two youngsters in his church for fornication. Bishop Daniel Obinim has defended his unlawful act. He had explained that, he did so to serve as a deterrent. Nana Oye Lithur in a Facebook post  wrote, “We have been informed that the police have commenced investigations into the matter and a complaint has also been filed against him [Obinim] at the Tema Regional Police. We will keep you posted on further developments.'' The victims, are said to be his adopted children. The male is a student while the lady is a beautician apprentice.  
The attack against sexual 'minorities' has been widely condemned by the One Hear Foundation (OHF). According to the foundation, the Orlando attack calls for concern especially among human rights advocates.  In a statement issued by the foundation, they said, ''One Heart Foundation Ghana (OHF) edge all human rights advocates around the globe to speak against such abuses and discrimination against the LGBTIQ community or else LGBTIQ will or may continue to suffer such attacks, however we continue to stay optimistic that one day together we shall overcome bigotry, religious differences and atrocities that come with human rights.'' The statement added, ''Not quite long, the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando resulting in the killing of 49 innocent people and wounded 53 more in an attack was shock to other countries who share the same concern with the LGBTIQ around the world.  ''With my heartfelt grievances, I call upon the law enforcement, stakeholders, security agencies, opinion and political leaders to address the abuses the LGBTIQ communities face.'' Omar Mateen, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, shot his way into Pulse nightclub at 2 a.m. Sunday with an assault rifle, Orlando Police announced Sunday. Mateen reportedly took hostage several patrons who were hiding in a bathroom. A SWAT unit entered the club at 6 a.m. and killed Mateen in what was described by law enforcement as a sustained gun battle.  The deadliest mass shooting in modern American history killed 49 people after a gunman attacked a gay dance club in Orlando, Florida.     Below is the full statement: HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AGAINST LGBTIQ COMMUNITIES (ORLANDO ATTACK)… A concern to all human right activists and advocates A human rights abuse against LGBTIQ persons around the globe has increased and that makes the livelihood of an individual’s difficult to live as humans with regards to freedom and rights.  LGBTIQ community should enjoy as ordinary citizens in the world without fear of intimidation and abuses. Not quite long, the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando resulting in the killing of 49 innocent people and wounded 53 more in an attack was shock to other countries who share the same concern with the LGBTIQ around the world. One Heart Foundation Ghana (OHF) edge all human rights advocates around the globe to speak against such abuses and discrimination against the LGBTIQ community or else LGBTIQ will or may continue to suffer such attacks, however we continue to stay optimistic that one day together we shall overcome bigotry, religious differences and atrocities that come with human rights.  With my heartfelt grievances, I call upon the law enforcement, stakeholders, security agencies, opinion and political leaders to address the abuses the LGBTIQ communities face. My deepest condolence to all LGBT fraternity, especially the families of all those who lost their brothers, sisters and friends. ‘’ it takes no compromise to give people their rights… it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to remove repression.’’ Harvey Milk    
The last surviving member of Nkrumah's cabinet, Franklin Jantuah has been sued by some six members of the Ghana Disability Forum for “scandalous” statements he is said to have made against Convention People’s Party’s flagbearer Ivor Kobina Greenstreet. Franklin Jantuah in an interview to the media after the candidate was declared as presidential candidate of the CPP said,  Ivor Greenstreet won't be able to lead the party to victory because he is crippled. “I don’t think a cripple can lead a political party. If you have a CPP with a leader who is a crippled…I wonder how he is going to rule,” he stated. The comments the plaintiffs namely Alex Tetteh, Francis Adjetey Sowah, Jonathan Agbesi, Kwame Afaglo, Johnson Mahama and Clement Hammond says is contrary to the Ghana Disability Act 715. In their statement of writ filed at the Human Rights Court, the forum accused Mr Jantuah of breaching not only the 1992 Constitution but also the Disability Act of 2006. A statement issued by the forum has also cautioned the general public to treat persons with disability with respect, inclusion and offer them equal opportunities for a better world. The statement added, ''we wish to advice the general public to desist from making mockery, stereotyping and discriminating against persons with disability, as any of the above mentioned acts is contrary to the Ghana Disability Act 715.'' The plaintiffs are seeking the following reliefs: a) A declaration that the statement breaches the non-discrimination provisions in Article 5 (2) of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability b) A declaration that the statement made by the defendant is discriminatory, abusive or degrading of Persons with Disability in Ghana contrary to Article 29(4) of the 1992 Constitution c) A declaration that the statement by the defendant is contrary to Article 17 (2) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana on non-discrimination on grounds of social status d) A declaration that the statement made by the defendant amounts to calling Disabled Persons with derogatory name contrary to section 37 of the Persons with disability Act 2006 Act 715 e) An order for the defendant to retract the statement and render an unqualified apology to Mr. Ivor Greenstreet as well as the Disability Community in Ghana F) Legal fees and cost    
Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik has won part of his human rights case against the Norwegian state. The court upheld his claim that some of his treatment amounted to "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". The right "represents a fundamental value in a democratic society" and also applied to "terrorists and killers," judge Helen Andenaes Sekulic said. Breivik, a right-wing extremist, killed dozens of centre-left young political activists in an attack in July 2011. Earlier that day, he set off a car bomb in the capital in Oslo, killing eight people. Breivik had challenged the government over his solitary confinement as well as treatment including what he said was the excessive use of handcuffs, repeated strip searches and being woken up during the night. In its judgement, the Oslo district court noted that Breivik had been kept in solitary confinement for almost five years. However, the judge ruled his right to a private and family life had not been violated The court also ordered the Norwegian state to pay Breivik's legal costs of 330,000 kroner ($40,000; £28,000). Source: BBC
Private legal practitioner, lawyer Maurice Ampaw has alleged that, any lawyer who defend the rights of gays themselves are gays. According to him, the constitution of Ghana frowns on homosexuality hence anyone who defends the rights of gays could be one. Speaking in an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem, the lawyer said he do not know any lawyer in person to be one, but he was of the conviction that only gays can defend gays. His comments follows the dismissal of three alleged gay students of the Opoku Ware Senior High School who according to some students were caught in the act of having sex. He disputed claims by some Ghanaians that the rights of the students, was violated by school authorities. Lawyer Ampaw opined that the students should have been handed over to the police since their action was criminal and punishable by law. He explained the action by the school should be commended since the negative behaviour of the alleged gays can influence other students.  
Private legal practitioner, lawyer Foh Amoaning has dared President Mahama to boldly say no to gay rights irrespective of the international threats or effects. Speaking in an interview with Kwame Tutu, host of frontline on Rainbow Radio, the lawyer chided President Mahama for failing to show leadership by saying no to gay rights when he interacted with the press two days ago. The president answering a question posed to him by a journalist on his stance on gay rights, President Mahama said ‘’ ‘’…We have a constitution and it has an elaborate provision in the directive principles of state policy and human rights. I swore an oath to respect that constitution. And so the rights of Ghanaians that are written into that constitution are what I am obliged to respect and uphold… ‘’…Go into our constitution and read through the rights and if you define rights there as gay rights then I will uphold them.’’ But lawyer Amoaning explained the answer by the president was deceptive, unclear and lacks leadership. President Mahama failed to show leadership unlike the late Prof. Mills who forcefully said no to gay rights at a time when the International community pressured many African countries to uphold the rights for same-sex relationships, the lawyer explained. According to him, President Mahama is a very good leader who should defend the constitution of Ghana which frowns on same-sex. Ghana will not continue to be pressured by this so-called advocacy for gay rights because we will not bulge, we the Christian community, Islamic and all other religious bodies resist this call. We don’t care who is involved, he stressed. Lawyer Foh Amoaning who is also the spokesperson for National Coalition for Proper Human Sexual Rights and Family Values noted they will pressure all political parties to declare their stance on this matter as we prepare towards the 2016 elections. President Mahama should be categorical and say no, lawyer Amoaning emphasized. Meanwhile he has warned advisors of President Mahama to desist from  ill advising him on the matter or risk being exposed to the public.    
President John Mahama says he will not uphold gay rights in Ghana because it is not entrenched in the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana. The president has being challenged by the clergy to state his stance on the debate to approve of gay rights by the international community. But answering a question posed to him by the press at his at the Flagstaff House yesterday, President said he was only elected as President of Ghana to uphold and defend the constitution which has nothing like gay rights in it, so he will not uphold it. ‘’…We have a constitution and it has an elaborate provision in the directive principles of state policy and human rights. I swore an oath to respect that constitution. And so the rights of Ghanaians that are written into that constitution are what I am obliged to respect and uphold… ‘’…Go into our constitution and read through the rights and if you define rights there as gay rights then I will uphold them,’’ President Mahama said. He emphasized that as President he has and will continue to do his duty as the constitution enjoins him to protect, defend and uphold the constitution with respect to all the universal declaration of human rights.    
A 15-year-old boy was arrested by ISIS militants on charges of homosexuality and then threw him from the top of a building in central Deir ez-Zor, Syria, reports Syrian news agency ARA. Following the gay teen’s execution, ISIS demoted the man who raped him and sent him to the front lines. “The horrific execution took place in front of a large crowd,” a local media activist who witnessed the killing told ARA. The teen was captured “in the house of an ISIS leader” on Thursday. “The boy was accused of being engaged in a homosexual relation with the prominent ISIS officer Abu Zaid al-Jazrawi,” said Sarai al-Din. The Sharia Court in Deir ez-Zor demanded Abu Zaid die for being homosexual, but ISIS commanders stepped in and demanded he be spared and instead be sent to fight in Iraq. “Abu Zaid was forced to leave Syria and join the fighting fronts in northwestern Iraq. The decision has been taken by the ISIS leadership,” al-Din said. The United Nations now estimates that ISIS has executed at least 30 people for being gay. The UN Security Council held its first discussion on ISIS attacks against LGBT people in the Middle East last month. The executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, Jessica Stern, said Islamic State’s homophobic violence was inspiring other militias and ‘private actors’ to attack gay people too. She also said that persecution of LGBT people in Iraq and Syria began long before the emergence of ISIS. Stern said: “In addition to men perceived as gay, trans-identified people and lesbians are among those who have been raped and killed,” she added.   She called on special strategies to combat attacks against gay people, including specific UN action to relocate those most in need. Source: gailygrind
Malawi has imposed a moratorium on anti-homosexual laws pending a decision on whether to repeal the legislation, Justice Minister Samuel Tembenu has said. A review of all colonial-area sodomy laws will be launched in consultation with the people of Malawi, he added. Mr Tembenu also ordered the release of two men charged with having sex "against the order of nature". One human rights activist describes the move as a step in the right direction. However, many Malawians are not happy with the decision and religious leaders have asked the government not to relent to pressure from Western donors by allowing same-sex relationships. Since 2012, the US government has put more than $350m (£230m) into supporting gay rights groups in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the New York Times. The arrest of the two men earlier this month was condemned by the United States and leading international human rights organisations. Malawi is one of the poorest countries of the world and relies heavily on international aid. Mr Tembenu said the country was a signatory to international treaties which allowed homosexual acts, the local Nyasa Times newspaper reports. But he wants the international community to appreciate the "sensitiveness of the matter". As in several African countries, homosexuality is widely seen as taboo in Malawi. Both the Catholic Church and Muslim leaders have in the past described it as un-Godly. Malawian human rights activist Billy Mayaya told the BBC that before the law was changed, the government should explain its new position. "It is on the right track to abolish sodomy laws but the public needs to be sensitised to understand the secular nature of our country," he said. "Many people here thought Malawi is a Christian country which is not true, we are a secular state," Mr Mayaya added.   The government announced a similar suspension of anti-homosexuality laws in 2012, however this did not prevent the two men being arrested. Source: BBC
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