Sierra Leone: The Jury Is Still Out
(July 11, 2002) -- After ten years of brutal civil war, the people of Sierra Leone went to the polls on May 14 and re-elected President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and his Sierra Leone People’s Party for a further five-year term. That the elections could be held nationwide and were conducted peacefully indicates that Sierra Leone has entered a new, more optimistic phase after the years of conflict, destruction, and abuse. Yet, the peace remains fragile.
The War is Over: The Crisis of Angola's Internally Displaced Continues
A Human Rights Watch Background Briefing Paper
July 3, 2002, (PDF file, 16 pages)
Human Rights in Security and Development
Recommendations for the G8 Summit, June 2002, including the G8's Action Plan for Africa
June 5, 2002
Liberia: The Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in the Mano River Union
United Nations “Arria Formula” Meeting- May 21, 2002
Human Rights Watch Submission on Liberia to the Security Council
A Briefing Paper for the “Arria Formula” Meeting on the Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
A partial power-sharing pact reached on April 19 at the end of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue between the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the rebel Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) and most members of the unarmed opposition and civil society groups excluded the mainstream rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy-Goma (RCD-Goma) and failed to secure peace with Rwanda. More..
Sudan: Slavery and Slave Redemption in the Sudan
Human Rights Watch has long denounced slavery in Sudan in the context of the nineteen-year civil war. In this contemporary form of slavery government-backed and armed militia of the Baggara tribes raid to capture children and women who are then held in conditions of slavery in western Sudan and elsewhere. More..
Attacks on Civilians in Ugandan Occupied Areas in Northeastern Congo
Civilians in northeastern Congo have faced renewed attacks by forces of two Congolese groups supported by Ugandan occupation forces. The Ugandan army and the Kampala government continue to support the rival Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) under Jean-Pierre Bemba and the Congolese Rally for Democracy-Kisangani (RCD-Kisangani—also known as the RCD-ML), led by Mbusa Nyamwisi. Although the two groups control much of the northeast with Ugandan army support, civilians have been targeted by both as their rivalry has escalated into open conflict. More..
Zimbabwe: Submission to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group
January 30, 2002
On September 8, 2001, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), established in 1995 to monitor Commonwealth member states' respect for democracy and the rule of law, brokered an agreement with the Zimbabwe government over the continuing crisis in that country. At a meeting in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, Zimbabwe agreed to end illegal occupations of farms, promoted by the government since February 2000, and respect the rule of law. In return, the United Kingdom and other "international partners" pledged to support the land reform process. More..
Freedom of Association at Risk
The Proposed NGO Bill and Current Restrictions on NGOs in Uganda
October 2, 2001
Uganda's parliament is due to consider a new draft law proposed by the government that aims to increase state control over the country's non-governmental organizations (NGOs), whose existence and activities are already subject to stringent legal restriction. As a party to both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, Uganda has an obligation to promote and protect freedom of association, including the right to form and join human rights and other NGOs. More..
Powell Goes to Africa: A Human Rights Agenda
May 21, 2001
The crisis in Sierra Leone will be a focus of Sec. Powell's stop in Mali. The U.S. was instrumental in galvanizing the U.N. Security Council to support a special court for Sierra Leone, but the process has slowed considerably in recent months. The U.N. Secretary-General has set a deadline of May 23 for interested states to contribute to the U.N. fund for the court. Sec. Powell's visit comes at a critical moment for the U.S. to make a strong and public commitment to the special court. More..
Ethiopia: Targeting Human Rights Defenders
May 19, 2001
On Tuesday May 8, 2001, the police arrested Prof. Mesfin Woldemariam, the founder and first chairman of Ethiopia's Human Rights Council (EHRCO), and Dr. Berhanu Nega, an academic and human rights activist associated with EHRCO, on claims that they instigated student protests that took place in Addis Ababa University in mid April. More..
Rampant Human Rights Abuses and Occupation of the DRC by Foreign Armies
May 17, 2001
The link between rampant human rights abuses and the obviously man-made humanitarian disaster is becoming all too familiar, in particular throughout the areas controlled by the foreign occupying armies of Rwandan, Uganda, and Burundi, and the Congolese rebel groups backed by these regional powers. More..
The Oil Diagnostic in Angola: An Update
Human rights watch believes that should the oil diagnostic be implemented, it could mark a limited, but positive first step toward promoting transparency, accountability, and good governance in angola and, ultimately, greater respect for human rights. But there are pitfalls in the process that could impede the success of this program. This backgrounder details recent developments regarding the oil diagnostic and other issues related to oil and human rights in angola. More..
Sexual Violence within the Sierra Leone Conflict
(New York, 26 February 2001) Throughout the nine year Sierra Leonean conflict there has been widespread and systematic sexual violence against women and girls including individual and gang rape, sexual assault with objects such as firewood, umbrellas and sticks, and sexual slavery. In thousands of cases, sexual violence has been followed by the abduction of women and girls and forced bondage to male combatants in slavery-like conditions often accompanied by forced labor. These sexual crimes are most often characterized by extraordinary brutality and are frequently preceded or followed by violent acts against other family members. The rebel factions use sexual violence as a weapon to terrorize, humiliate, punish and ultimately control the civilian population into submission. More..
Rwanda - President Paul Kagame's Washington Visit
February 1, 2001
President Paul Kagame will be in Washington today to present his government's program of democratization, justice and reconciliation. He and his supporters claim substantial progress in restoring a nation devastated by a genocide that killed at least half a million Tutsi and thousands of Hutu opponents of the genocide. In fact, the situation is less impressive than it seems and any advances on the domestic front must also be put in the context of the government's record of egregious violations of the laws of war. More..
Backgrounder on the Democratic Republic of the Congo
January 31, 2001
Joseph Kabila, newly installed president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has inherited an intractable war, a near void of civil institutions, and a legacy of human rights abuses committed under the rule of his father, the late President Laurent Kabila. The new president has tried to spark renewed peace discussions and has stirred hope for improvements on the domestic political front. More..
Background to the Hema-Lendu Conflict in Uganda-Controlled Congo
January 22, 2001
In the past two years, Ugandans have recruited and trained both Hema and Lendu to serve in the forces of the Congolese Rally for Democracy-Liberation Movement (RCD-ML), a rebel group which is backed by Uganda and which nominally controls this area. Within the last year, however, at least some Ugandan officers have reportedly favored the Hema: More..
Ivory Coast: Election Violence in Abidjan: October 24-26, 2000
December 20, 2000
(New York, December 20, 2000) A Human Rights Watch fact-finding mission in Abidjan in the aftermath of the presidential elections found that violence was perpetrated against civilians by all sides in Abidjan between October 24 and October 26, 2000. Human Rights Watch uncovered overwhelming evidence of state-sponsored human rights violations, with a clear ethnic and religious focus.
Update on Human Rights Violations in the Niger Delta
December 14, 2000
(New York, December 14, 2000) The restoration of civilian rule in Nigeria has not seen a reduction of human rights violations in the country's oil-producing regions, Human Rights Watch said in a backgrounder released today.
Human Rights in Nigeria: A Briefing for the Visit of President Clinton - Summary
August 22, 2000
The human rights situation in Nigeria has improved a good deal since President Olusegun Obasanjo came to power in May 1999. Civil and political rights, which were substantially eroded under fifteen years of military rule, have been reestablished. The Nigerian media, possibly the largest and most diversified in sub-Saharan Africa, played a critical role in the reestablishment of democracy and have flourished in the more liberal environment.
The Need for Human Rights Benchmarks
A Human Rights Watch and Afronet Memorandum
July 14, 2000 Zambia, once promoted as a model for democracy in Africa, has in recent years been distinguished by a pattern of ongoing human rights abuses targeting the independent media and the political opposition.
The International Monetary Fund's Staff Monitoring Program for Angola: The Human Rights Implications
On April 3, 2000, as part of a larger agreement between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the government of Angola to reform the economy, the IMF and government reached an agreement to monitor oil revenues that would be supervised by the World Bank. Human Rights Watch believes that this is a positive first step in establishing transparency and accountability within the government of Angola. This backgrounder explains several of the provisions within the oil monitoring agreement, their relevance to human rights, and provides detailed recommendations to ensure maximum transparency and accountability in the agreement in order to foster a climate that can lead to greater respect for human rights.
The U.N. Sanctions Committee on Angola: Lessons Learned?
April 17, 2000
On April 18, the United Nations Security Council will debate the U.N. Panel of Experts report on the sanctions regime against the rebels of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), which was submitted to the Security Council on February 28. The Security Council is expected to issue a resolution that will shape the future of the sanctions regime in Angola.
Ethiopian Dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam
November 24, 1999
Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam headed the junta which in 1974 overthrew the government of Emperor Haile Selassie in a bloody coup. Known as the "Derg" or "Dergue," the "committee," the junta consisted of about a hundred junior officers drawn from all regions of Ethiopia.
Testimony of Bronwen Manby, Human Rights Watch to the House Subcommittee on Africa
August 3, 1999
The situation in Nigeria has substantially improved over the last year. Following the death of Gen. Sani Abacha in June 1998, the unprecedented repression he visited on the Nigerian people was relaxed during the interim government of Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. The inauguration of President Olusegun Obasanjo on May 29, 1999, brings some hope that the long series of military governments in Nigeria may be over.
HRW Background Paper on Slavery and Slavery Redemption in the Sudan
Human Rights Watch has long denounced the contemporary form of slavery practiced in Sudan in the context of the fifteen-year civil war. This practice is conducted almost entirely by government-backed and armed militia of the Baggara tribe in western Sudan, and it is directed mostly at the civilian Dinka population of the southern region of Bahr El Ghazal.
| || ||
2001 2000 1999
Backgrounders By Region
Europe and Central Asia
Middle East and Northern Africa