Human rights: Nine of the best and worst in Africa

Each year various organisations release reports on the word’s best and worst countries and alongside the Middle East, a multitude of African countries continue to hold their baton of the world’s worst.

We took a look at Africa’s worst human rights violators as well as the organisations fighting to change that.

According to US-based rights group Human Rights Watch, many African governments regularly impose new restrictions on opponents, journalists and rights activists, often to suit electoral goals.

It said the worst situations of this nature were in Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda, where freedom of speech, particularly during an election is severely restricted with journalists and protesters regularly killed or jailed.

Their report added that countries including Ethiopia, Angola, Zimbabwe and Swaziland, chose to ignore calls to reform draconian laws and policies meant to suppress any potential opposition.

Human Rights Watch also accused the Sudanese military of using rape as a weapon of war in the Darfur region.

It added that Somalia’s government is still unable to provide basic security in the areas under its control, as al-Shabaab militants continue to attack both government and civilian targets.

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance scores 52 African nations on areas like human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and rule of law. The most recent results saw Mauritius coming out on top with Somalia at the bottom. The good news is that forty-six countries have improved over the past twelve years, according to the index.

The scoring is as follows:

With that being said, here is a list of the worst human rights violators in Africa:

9: Rwanda

8: Angola

7: Ethiopia

6: Congo-Brazzaville

5: Zimbabwe

4: Central African Republic

3: Sudan

2: DR Congo

1: Somalia

Organisations fighting for human rights in Africa:

1. Human Rights Watch

Focus area: Opposing violations of what it considers basic human rights, which include capital punishment and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Human Rights Watch advocates freedoms in connection with fundamental human rights, such as freedom of religion and of the press.

2. International Committee of the Red Cross

Focus area: Its focus is on national relief societies for wounded soldiers, neutrality and protection for wounded soldiers and the utilisation of volunteer forces for relief assistance on the battlefield.

3. Global Rights

Focus area: To promote and protect the rights of marginalised populations through capacity building.

4. Amnesty International

Focus area: To conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.

5. International Federation for Human Rights

Focus area: To protect human rights defenders, ensure effective human rights, and justice for all, globalisation with due respect for human rights.

6. Refugees International

Focus area: Advocating for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people and promoting solutions to displacement crises. Media attention, advocating, research through missions to locations of displacement.

7. UN Watch

Focus areas: Monitoring the United Nations, promoting human rights

8. Human Rights Foundation

Focus area: To ensure that freedom is both preserved and promoted. To promote and protect human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

9: Protection International

Focus area: To enhance the security and the protection of threatened civil society actors with non-violent means, especially those who fight for their legitimate rights and for the rights of others as they are guaranteed by the international humanitarian law and the human rights conventions.

By: Jess Mouneimne

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