Force used to crush freedom in Africa - report

2015-02-25 16:57

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Johannesburg - A worrying picture of ongoing human rights abuse, particularly in Southern Africa, was painted by Amnesty International in its 2014/2015 yearly report released on Wednesday.

"The emerging picture we are seeing is of great concern to us," Deprose Muchena, Amnesty's director for the Southern Africa region, told reporters in Johannesburg.

The report highlights human rights abuse in Africa and around the world.

Suppression of dissent has been on the rise in South Africa and its neighbours Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Angola and Mozambique, according to the organisation.

Muchena said people in these countries were being treated as criminals for exercising their freedom of assembly, association, and expression.

He said force was still used by governments in Southern Africa to crush dissent.

Refugees and foreigners

"People are being arrested and sometimes brutalised for doing nothing more than exercising their freedom. This has to stop."

Many African countries saw a significant deterioration of their security situation in 2014, but the underlying causes of much of the violence remained unaddressed.

In South Africa, the Marikana Commission of Inquiry's hearings highlighted the state's use of excessive force. The inquiry heard of how police broke up a miners' protest after shooting 34 protesters dead on August 16, 2012.

"We also saw refugees and foreigners at the receiving end of recent threats and violence in South Africa," Muchena said.

The inaction of government to protect people in South Africa led to the looting and destruction of many small businesses and homes of refugees and foreigners.

Discriminatory violence against sexual minorities continued to cause concern and fear, particularly among black women in townships in South Africa.

Amnesty International was concerned about the harassment, intimidation and prosecution of these people within their communities.

Southern African governments' response to the violation of human rights in their countries was shameful and ineffective, Muchena said.

Read more on:    angola  |  swaziland  |  zimbabwe  |  sa  |  mozambique  |  southern africa  |  human rights

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