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Nigerian lawyer, Adeola Oyinlade, wins International Bar Association’s Human Rights Award 2018

          Charges  lawyers to use law as “a glue that holds the society together”ROME- A Nigerian human rights lawyer, Mr. Adeola Austin Oyinlade, has been declared winner of the International Bar Association’s Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Legal Practitioner to Human Rights for 2018. The prestigious award was presented to him at this year’s IBA Conference in Rome, Italy. Mr. Oyinlade emerged winner ahead of other finalists from many countries across the world.Each year, the International Bar Association (IBA) presents the award to an outstanding lawyer in the world of human rights law. The IBA has a membership of over more than 80,000 individual lawyers and 195 bar associations and law societies spanning all continents across the world.Mr. Oyinlade has distinguished himself through his courageous stand for human rights and his pro-bono legal services to the poor in Nigeria. As a lawyer advocating equitable, just and fair society over the years, he has taken his human rights empowerment further by simplifying human rights laws and safeguards to the understanding of ordinary people on the street in English and major local languages including Pidgin, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba spoken by over 100 million people in Nigeria.The IBA award winner pioneered human rights empowerment via mobile technology when he created ‘Know Your Rights Nigeria’ app for millions of android, iPhone and web users in Nigeria. The app and the web version of his work simplify all human rights laws in force with safeguards in English, Pidgin, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages alongside platforms where users engage him and his team of over 50 lawyers daily for free legal support on human rights issues.The lawyer and UN Peace Ambassador also created platforms on the app where users report abuse anonymously, get safeguards on what steps to take in the face of assaults, and get connected to security forces for help, thereby pioneering the first ever human rights empowerment innovation with mere push of buttons in the palms in English and major local languages in the era of mobile technological advancement. Since the human right lawyer unveiled the app and web version for human rights empowerment, it has proved very effective for its free access, speedy dissemination of human rights information and free legal advisory with over 200 thousand people as beneficiaries. The rights empowerment app in major local languages has made a real difference for the situation of the defenseless and ordinary people on the street in Nigeria.Earlier this year at the U.S Consulate in Lagos, the U.S Consul General John Bray has commended and “acknowledge Mr. Adeola Oyinlade and the work he has done to strengthen respect and support for the protection of human rights in Nigeria’.While asserting that the US Government have turned to Mr. Oyinlade for his insights on the status of human rights in Nigeria, the Consul-General sees his work in Nigeria very key as according to him, Nigeria is ‘one of the most important countries on the continent, given its large population, thriving commercial enterprises, and strategic geopolitical location Nigeria is critical to Africa’s prosperity and stability".At the continental level, through advocacy, the Nigerian human rights and international law expert has also proffered solutions to human rights issues in Africa including the South Sudan Political Crisis, the Central African Republic Crisis, the Congo Democratic Republic Armed conflict, and the Libyan peace talks among others with relative impact.He worked as a resource person to the African Union Commission on the implementation of African Youth Charters and delivered papers on how AU member states can reform local laws for the implementation of the charter.At the presentation of the award at Roma Convention Center La Nuvola, the conference venue on Friday 12 October, 2018, the IBA stated the prestigious Award is for outstanding contribution by a Legal Practitioner to Human Rights in which Mr. Oyinlade came top among lawyers across the world.The IBA Human Rights Award honoree, while giving his remark, thanked the Global lawyers’ body for the award and said such recognition is a charge to do more. “Recognition of this magnitude brings more responsibilities. Since the task that follows such responsibilities will give birth to deliverables and outcomes that will shape the world for better, I am happier and fully ready to carry on”, Oyinlade said.According to the IBA Human Rights honouree, “As it appears to me, we are not short of preachers against human rights abuse or short of preaching against serial violations of human rights. We are only short of compliance with the rule of law. As the world is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this year, we all have more work to do to make the world fair and just.“The world is looking up to us (lawyers) to consistently use our legal expertise as a tool of social engineering and problem-solving. I believe and hope that we shall continue to apply our knowledge of law as a glue that holds the society together”, he said, while calling on lawyers to take the leading role in expanding the frontiers of human rights.Mr. Oyinlade is the first Nigerian lawyer to have won the IBA award for outstanding contribution by a legal practitioner to human rights and the second from the continent of Africa after George Bizos from South Africa who was recommended by many personalities including Nelson Mandela.LEAGUE OF JUSTICE ONLINE

October 13, 2018, 5:02 am

Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad win Nobel Peace Prize for fight against sexual violence

(CNN)The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.Mukwege, a gynecologist and surgeon, has long worked to treat thousands of women and girls affected by rape and sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.Murad is a Yazidi woman from the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, who was held as a sex slave by ISIS, she told CNN in an interview last year. In 2016, at age 23, she was made a UN goodwill ambassador for the dignity of survivors of human trafficking."Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes," said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, as she announced the award Friday at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo."Denis Mukwege is the helper who has devoted his life to defending these victims. Nadia Murad is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others."Each of them in their own way has helped to give greater visibility to wartime sexual violence, so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions."Congolese gynaecologist Denis Mukwege addresses a press conference in Brussels, March 25, 2015.Mukwege said he was in the middle of carrying out surgery in his hospital when he learned that he had won the award -- and that he dedicated it to all survivors of sexual violence around the world."For almost 20 years I have witnessed war crimes committed against women, girls and even baby girls not only in my country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also in many other countries," he said."To the survivors from all over the world, I would like to tell you that through this prize, the world is listening to you and refusing to remain indifferent. The world refuses to sit idly in the face of your suffering."He added that he was honored to be named alongside Murad, whom he praised for her strength and courage.Mukwege has earned the moniker "The man who mends women" for the work he and his colleagues at Panzi Hospital have done since he founded the clinic in the eastern DRC city of Bukavu 20 years ago."Denis Mukwege is the foremost, most unifying symbol, both nationally and internationally, of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflicts. His basic principle is that 'justice is everyone's business,'" said Reiss-Andersen.Speaking to CNN in 2009, Mukwege described how vital it was for women brutalized in the course of the DRC's long-running conflict to find support and recognition."You just can't imagine how a smile, a simple handshake, to just tell them 'be encouraged' is important to them. To feel they are loved, to feel they can finally find love and affection," he said.Murad becomes the 17th woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and is its second-youngest recipient after Malala Yousafzai.Reiss-Andersen said Murad had "shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims."Speaking to CNN's Fareed Zakaria last year, Murad described how ISIS attacked her community early on August 3, 2014."Nearly 6,500 women and children from the Yazidi were abducted and about 5,000 people from the community were killed during that day," she said. "For eight months, they separated us from our mothers and our sisters and our brothers, and some of them were killed and others disappeared."Murad's mother and six of her brothers and stepbrothers were executed. Murad, along with other unmarried women, was taken as a sex slave and passed around various ISIS militants.'Courage, compassion and humanity'Both winners have "put their personal security at risk by courageously combating war crimes and seeking justice for the victims," Reiss-Andersen said.She added that the Nobel committee had been unable to reach Mukwege and Murad to let them know about their award before it was announced to the world."We have tried to contact the winners and we haven't managed to get through on the phone. If they are watching this, my heartfelt congratulations," she said.European Council President Donald Tusk also congratulated both winners, praising "the courage, compassion and humanity they demonstrate in their daily fight."The UN special envoy for Iraq, Jan Kubis, said Murad had shown "heroism, bravery and resilience in the face of her torturers and abusers" and that the award was a tribute to all Yazidis and other Iraqis who suffered at the hands of ISIS.The US Embassy in Baghdad also congratulated Murad for her work helping to heal survivors of human trafficking and victims of atrocities.Physicians for Human Rights, a US-based group, welcomed the award for both winners. "Dr. Mukwege is not only an extraordinary physician, but a courageous human rights leader who perfectly embodies the critical role that medical professionals play in witnessing abuse and speaking out against injustice," said executive director Donna McKay.There were 331 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 -- the second-highest number ever. Of those, 216 were individuals and 115 were organizations, according to Nobel organizers. The names of the nominees cannot be revealed until 50 years have passed.Other winnersLast year's prize was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) "for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons."The 2016 Nobel Peace Prize went to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos "for his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end," after brokering a deal with the leftist rebel group FARC.The Peace Prize is the fourth Nobel award to be announced this week. The 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded half to Frances H. Arnold and the other half jointly to George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter on Wednesday for their work harnessing the power of evolution to develop new proteins used in drugs and medical treatments. Arnold was the fifth woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.On Tuesday, the Nobel Prize in Physics was given to a woman for the first time in 55 years and for only the third time in its history.Donna Strickland, a Canadian physicist, was awarded the 2018 prize jointly with Gérard Mourou, from France, for their work on generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses. They share the award with an American, Arthur Ashkin, who at 96 becomes the oldest Nobel laureate, for developing "optical tweezers."A day earlier, American James Allison and Japan's Tasuku Honjo won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine for a pioneering approach to cancer treatment, which harnesses the body's immune system to attack cancer cells.Source: CNNLEAGUE OF JUSTICE

October 5, 2018, 4:18 pm

african news


Why Europe should focus on its growing interdependence with Africa

IT IS a peculiarly modern habit to think of the Mediterranean Sea as a boundary. For over two millennia, civilisations bled across it and intermingled. Roman, Carthaginian, Moorish and Venetian empires expanded primarily along maritime routes. It took four days to get from imperial Rome to today’s Tunisia, but 11 days to reach Milan. The Sahara restricted contact between this Mediterranean Eurafrica and the regions to the south, but not entirely. A study of 22 skulls from Roman London found that four were African, for example. The medieval wealth of desert trading cities like Timbuktu and Agadez spoke of extensive north-south commerce. Later European colonialists penetrated, pillaged and parcelled up the continent; African troops fought in the trenches of the first world war; Europeans fought in Africa in the second.Three subsequent events curbed this trans-Mediterraneanism. European powers left Africa with decolonisation; many African states sought to be neutral during the cold war; Europeans turned towards Asia’s booming markets as globalisation took hold. Tellingly, the geopolitical buzzword of the moment is “Eurasia”. Europe and Asia are integrating along old Silk Road routes, especially under China’s Belt and Road infrastructure splurge, yet “Eurafrica” remains relatively little discussed. Europe is too busy rushing into Asia’s arms to embrace a continent on its doorstep which may be even more significant in the long term.Source: The EconomistLeague of Justice

October 13, 2018, 12:49 pm

South Sudan Government Objects to War Crimes Court

JUBA — A top South Sudanese official says the government opposes creation of a war crimes court, a key aspect of the peace deal which the country's warring parties recently reaffirmed.The projected court would be a hybrid of South Sudanese judges and international war crimes experts, tasked with trying those accused of committing atrocities during South Sudan's nearly five-year civil war.Civil society activists say the "hybrid court" should be established without delay to end rampant impunity in South Sudan.But speaking to reporters in Juba this week, Information Minister Michael Makuei labeled the court "a tool of regime change by the troika" — the United States, Britain and Norway.Makuei said anything that presents an obstacle to implementation of the peace agreement is unwelcome, but he argued the troika countries and other regional bodies should prioritize peace."The hybrid court is an instrument they want to use against the people of South Sudan, especially the leadership of South Sudan. They want to use it in a sense that because the agreement gives the hybrid court the right to indict anybody at any time and once you are indicted, you are apprehended and taken to jail," he said.Last month, the U.S. State Department urged the Kiir administration to set up the hybrid court to ensure that the perpetrators of crimes — including widespread killings of civilians — face justice. Human Rights Watch has echoed that call.The troika also raised concerns about President Kiir's recent amnesty offer, which they say could derail the process of accountability.Makuei said the international community should focus on bringing sustainable peace to South Sudan by promoting reconciliation, healing and peaceful co-existence, and worry about accountability later."Instead of you pressing for the establishment of a hybrid court, why don't you go in for compensation and healing process, for reparation and compensation and you go in for the reconciliation? Once you start all these, automatically you will be dismantling whatever plans people have for the hybrid court," Makuei argued.Civil society activists said South Sudanese need accountability now, which goes hand in hand with peace.Jackline Nasiwa, head of the Juba-based Center for Inclusive Governance Peace and Justice, a local NGO that worked on the peace deal, said Makuei's argument does not make sense."This debate of saying peace first and justice later shouldn't have come now, after the peace [deal] is signed, because by virtue that Chapter Five is part of the peace agreement and then it has to be implemented as it is. What citizens are calling for is an end to impunity," Nasiwa told VOA's South Sudan in Focus.Chapter Five of the revitalized peace agreement spells out the establishment of the hybrid court as well as compensation and reparations for the victims of crimes committed during the conflict.Nasiwa said the Kiir administration is trying to create the false impression that the hybrid court is a foreign concept.James Okuk, a political science lecturer at the University of Juba, said the hybrid court is a crucial part of the agreement to which all the parties must adhere."After eight months when the government is formed, this is where we will have the headache of the hybrid court of South Sudan and you will not do away with it because it is part of the agreement," Okuk told VOA's South Sudan in Focus.Source: VOA NewsLEAGUE OF JUSTICE ONLINE

October 9, 2018, 3:33 pm