Africa.com recently interviewed Zimbabwean lawyer and human rights activist Arnold Tsunga at the Human Rights Summit in Washington D.C. In a current climate one international human rights activist called a “global backlash against civil society”, we asked Arnold about the situation in Africa.
Archive for February, 2010
This story from TheRoot.com, written on the eve of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing China, documents the incursion of Chinese investors onto the African continent. State-run corporations in China have come to Africa in equally hot pursuit of valuable natural resources such as oil and copper—and customers for its exports, particularly electronics and cheap manufactured goods. China’s trade partnerships have only multiplied in the several months since the Olympics. And despite United States’ protestations about China’s humanitarian and labor rights violations, other Asian powers such as India, South Korea, and even Russia have begun to see the same opportunity in Africa. It seems the Indian Ocean century—which could remake the world order—has only just begun.
Freedom of expression is under assault in many regions of the world. The right of citizens and media to openly express opinions without fear of retribution is increasingly under threat from repressive regimes and non-state actors. Sadly, parts of the East and Horn of Africa, specifically Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda are no different. With upcoming elections looming, there have been increased efforts to repress or restrict voices of opposition, including legislation aimed at thwarting the rights of the media, as well as more traditional forms of restrictions namely threats, increased surveillance and censorship of key actors. Next week, Freedom House and Human Rights First, two U.S. based human rights watchdogs are bringing together, human rights defenders, dissidents, NGOs and government officials from all over the world to Washington, DC for the 2010 Human Rights Summit, to address these growing threats and come up with an action plan for the Obama Administration and other democracies.