News / Africa

Report: Arab Spring Resonates With Sub-Saharan Africans

Malawi police chase protesters. At least 19 people were killed and dozens, including children, were injured after police used live ammunition during demonstrations over bad governance, fuel shortages and human rights abuses in various cities. 22 July 2011Malawi police chase protesters. At least 19 people were killed and dozens, including children, were injured after police used live ammunition during demonstrations over bad governance, fuel shortages and human rights abuses in various cities. 22 July 2011
x
Malawi police chase protesters. At least 19 people were killed and dozens, including children, were injured after police used live ammunition during demonstrations over bad governance, fuel shortages and human rights abuses in various cities. 22 July 2011
Malawi police chase protesters. At least 19 people were killed and dozens, including children, were injured after police used live ammunition during demonstrations over bad governance, fuel shortages and human rights abuses in various cities. 22 July 2011

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Joe DeCapua
Amnesty International says many of the conditions that led to uprisings in North Africa exist in sub-Saharan Africa as well. The group has released its 50th annual human rights report.

The overall theme of the report is No Longer Business as Usual for Tyranny and Injustice.
De Capua report on Amnesty International
De Capua report on Amnesty Internationali
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X



“What we try to highlight is that in 2011 almost globally people took to the streets to demand more of their rights, more freedom, but also to demonstrate against difficult social economic situations. And then certainly also in Africa and sub-Saharan Africa we have seen this inspired obviously by events in North Africa. And although changes may not come as quickly and as dramatically as what we have seen in North Africa and other countries in the Middle East, we certainly saw increased mobilization in sub-Saharan Africa from students, from union representatives, from political opposition,” said Erwin van der Borght, director of Amnesty’s Africa program.

But he said authorities in sub-Saharan Africa often responded quickly and harshly to protests, leading to human rights violations. These include killings, excessive use of force, arrests and torture.

“We saw this, for example, in Senegal and Uganda in the context of the elections last year and the excessive use of force and breaking up demonstrations. And numerous people in Sudan, for example in Khartoum, but also in other cities, were arrested and often ill-treated and then also in other locations, for example in Zimbabwe, where a group of activists came together to discuss events in North Africa. A few of them were arrested and then initially charged under treason charges and then spent considerable amount of time in detention,” he said.

Part of the problem?

The Amnesty report said some African governments were more part of the problem than the solution, failing to address the grievances of their citizens. Instead, it says security forces used live ammunition against antigovernment protesters in Angola, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and South Sudan. Amnesty says authorities usually failed to investigate the incidents.

Angola and South Africa debated legislation in 2011 to limit freedom of expression. On the other hand, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed the Freedom of Information Act.

On the issue of poverty, Amnesty International said, “Africa’s poverty rates have been falling and progress has been made in realizing the Millennium development Goals.” But van der Borght added that millions still live in poverty.

“They certainly live in informal settlements and slums in the bigger cities. Africa has one of the highest rates of urbanization. Many of those people live in precarious situations in the cities. They are exposed [to] a wide range of human rights abuses, including for example forced evictions without giving them any prior notice [or] provide any sort of alternative accommodation or compensation,” he said.
Conflict, violence, discrimination

In 2011 conflict was a major issue in a number of countries, including Somalia, Ivory Coast and Sudan’s Darfur region. There was and is fighting between Sudan and the new nation of South Sudan. South Sudan gained independence last July following a referendum.

“Our analysis is very much that this is a failure of leadership from both Sudan and South Sudan. After the referendum they failed to find resolution for some of the key outstanding issues between the two states, including around sharing of oil revenues, border demarcation, the status of Abyei, the situation of the respective citizens in each other’s country,” said van der Borght

Another threat to human rights, he said, is the increasing violence by armed groups against civilians.

“For example, Boko Haram in Nigeria. We see it with al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb in Mali and Mauritania and Niger and then we have seen it with al Shabab in Somalia.”

Amnesty International also reported refugees and migrants were “particularly affected by human rights abuses in many countries.” What’s more, it said, “Discrimination against people based on their perceived or real sexual orientation or gender identity worsened” in 2011.

The report concluded, however, that “protesters have shown that change is possible…They have thrown down the gauntlet demanding that governments stand up for justice, equality and dignity.”

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid