Human Rights Watch is calling upon the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her trip to Africa to promote freedom of expression and association and encourage countries to address police and security force abuses. Mrs Clinton is scheduled to visit six African countries including Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, South Sudan, Uganda and South Africa. Her visit began yesterday and is expected to on until 10th August 2012. The Africa director at Human Rights Watch Daniele Bekele says: “While some of the countries on secretary Clinton’s agenda engage in serious human rights violations, others have made notable progress in promoting transparency and accountability.”
Bekele adds that human rights protection is essential to good governance and development. In a public letter released Wednesday, HRW identifies cases of reported abuses in the countries where Mrs. Clinton is scheduled to visit. The rights body says numerous abuses in Uganda should be stopped and “those responsible should be held accountable.” It says in Uganda, over the last two years, government officials have intensified their intimidation of non-governmental organisations working on controversial issues such as transparency in the oil sector, compensation for land acquisition and the rights of sexual minorities.
Human Rights Watch says “these threats and occasional violence obstruct Ugandans’ rights to free expression, association and assembly.” Calls for observance of human rights and exposure of corruption, mismanagement, accountability and decriminalizing homosexuality (in Malawi) have been called for by the rights body in the countries where Mrs Clinton will visit. “Advancing human rights is partly a matter of political will,” Bekele said. “Some African leaders have shown that they are capable of inspired rights-based leadership, and there is no legitimate reason that others can’t follow suit.”
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