human rights watch urges vigilance in africa amidst electoral challenges
Last updated on January 16th, 2024 at 08:06 am
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has issued a Stern Critique of Southern Africa’s approach to Elections in its 2024 World Report Calling out the Region for its Failure to Uphold Free and fair Elections and Protect the Rights of its Citizens. The Comprehensive 734-page Report Highlights Disturbing incidents including fatal Attacks on Parliamentary Members, Political Activists and Human Rights Defenders who were Abducted, Tortured and Killed for expressing dissent against their Respective Governments.
During the Report’s Launch in Johannesburg, HRW’s Africa advocacy Director, Allan Ngari, Emphasized the need for Leaders in the Region to address the Escalating Cases of Abductions, Arbitrary Detentions, Torture and Killings of Opposition Political activists. Ngari Expressed Concern over the Shrinking Space for Political Plurality, Freedom of Expression and Association, Signaling a Regression in Citizens’ Human Rights Guarantees.
The Report’s Special focus on Elections, Given that Africa is set to Witness 18 Elections in the Current Year, Underscores HRW’s Call for African Leaders to Safeguard Citizens’ Rights and ensure the free Exercise of their Voting Rights. South Africa Hosting General Elections this year, Received Specific attention from HRW urging the Government to investigate Reported abuses against Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees Emphasizing the need for Accountability.
The Report Singled out South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Zambia, Malawi and Eswatini as Countries of Crucial Concern. It Raised Alarms about Human Rights Violations, including Political Assassinations, Suppression of Political Movements and Excessive use of force During Protests.
Despite Constitutional Commitments to Human Rights Protection HRW Found that many African Countries fell Short of Regional and international Standards in their 2023 Elections. Incidents in Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Mozambique, Angola, and Zambia were Particularly Highlighted, Showcasing a Pattern of Electoral Malpractices, Violence and Restrictions on Freedom of Assembly and Association.
HRW’s Report Serves as a Poignant Reminder of the Pressing need for African Nations to Uphold Human Rights Principles, Particularly during Electoral Processes and to address the Various Challenges that Undermine these Fundamental Rights. The Report Concludes that 2023 Witnessed not only Human Rights Suppression but also a Disturbing trend of Selective Government outrage and Transactional Diplomacy with Profound Costs for the Rights of those left out of such Deals.