General

Amnesty International – Not a Good Time for Human Rights [analysis]

Amnesty International released its annual report on Wednesday, noting a pattern of abuse and force being used to crush dissent in Southern Africa. There were positives, but as 2015 has already seen a rise in the activity of armed groups and state force on the continent, the pattern is worrying. By GREG NICOLSON.
“On any given day I would usually say good morning but today I’ll just say ‘hello’,” said Amnesty International Southern Africa regional director, Deprose Muchena, at Constitutional Hill, as he introduced the global non-government organisation’s latest annual report. Muchena said the findings were “pretty grim”.
The report describes human rights abuses in 160 countries. A fact sheet lists some of the key numbers for 2014. In more than 20% of the countries studied, armed groups committed abuses. There were 18 war crimes or violations of the laws of war recorded in 18 countries. In 62 countries, prisoners of conscience had been jailed and in 82 of an investigated 131 countries, people had been tortured or ill-treated.
In South Africa, there is hope for improvement but rights abuses remain. Looking at how refugees and asylum seekers are treated, the report notes, “In the first four months of the…