2017 African Human Rights highlights: The journey so far

January 3, 2018, 3:28 pm

The year 2017 has been arduous and filled with controversies on one hand and progress on another for Human Rights in Africa.

These are highlights of major Humanitarian issues of the year 2017 in Africa:

1. Child soldiers in Nigeria: A landmark agreement between the UN and the Civilian Joint Task Force was reached to end the use of children in the conflict against Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria.
According to the UN, between October 2015 and August 2017, more than 360 children were used by the 23,000-strong armed taskforce, some as young as nine.
Minors have been recruited by Boko Haram since its inception in 2013, often for search operations, to guard outposts and to perform night patrols.

2. Mali's rival Tuareg Group signs Peace Deal: After years of fighting which broke out in 2012, the Tuareg group of Mali signed a cease fire peace deal.

3. Southern Cameroon's Right to Self Determination: There were nationwide protest among the English-speaking Cameroonians. Schools were shot down for over 10 months, due to marginalization issue and the people of the Anglophone regions of Southern Cameroon declared the 1st of October 2017 as their independence day celebration.

4. Jungle Jabbah: Liberia’s War Criminal sentenced: A jury of 12 in a U.S. Federal Courthouse found former Liberian rebel commander Mohammed Jabbateh, aka “Jungle Jabbah,” guilty of two counts of fraud and two counts of perjury for lying to U.S. government officials about his role as a combatant in the Liberian Civil War.

5. Attack on UN mission base in DR Congo: Attack on a peacekeeping mission base in North Kivu that resulted in the deaths of two blue helmets and 14 injured. This attack was seriously condemned by the UN.

6. Mogadishu bomb attack: A huge truck bomb blast in Somalia's capital which killed 276 people and wounded roughly 300 more, It is believed to be the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation.

7. Jammeh 2 Justice campaign: Victims of the former Gambian government of Yahya Jammeh and Gambian and international activists announced the formation of a campaign to bring Jammeh and his leading accomplices to justice. Jammeh fled The Gambia in January 2017 for exile in Equatorial Guinea after losing presidential elections to current president Adama Barrow. In 22 years of autocratic rule, Jammeh’s government used killings, “disappear, sexual violence, and arbitrary arrests to suppress dissent and preserve its grip on power.

8. Burundi leaves the ICC: Burundi became the first country to withdraw from the Rome Statute (RS) of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

9. ICC judges authorises opening of an investigation regarding Burundi situation, despite the fact that Burundi had already left the ICC, the court still had jurisdiction to investigate atrocities committed while Burundi was under the ICC's jurisdiction.

10. Arrest warrant for Major Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli: The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Major Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf al-Werfalli, a commander in the Al-Saiqa Brigade accused of murdering 33 people in the context of the ongoing conflict in Libya.

11. Libya slave market: Cable New Network (CNN) investigation which discovered the secret slave auction sale of African migrant in Libya was one of the major highlight of 2017. This situation created a worrisome circumstance for the African continent as it is seen as one of the most discriminatory and inhuman circumstances in modern African history.

12. Continous attacks on peace keepers in Central African Republic: In 2017 over 13 peace keepers lost their lives to attacks by armed militant groups in Central African Republic.

13. DR Congo’s President Hired Rebel Fighters to Crush Protests: As President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo tried to extend his rule beyond the constitutionally mandated two-term limit, senior Congolese security force officers secretly recruited former rebel fighters to violently crush protests against him. At least 200 former rebels from the M23 rebel group from neighboring Uganda and Rwanda were recruited and given orders to kill protesters if necessary and suppress any threat to Kabila’s rule. At least 62 people died in the resulting crackdown.

14. UN Mission welcomes agreement to revive South Sudan's peace pact:  Agreement on cessation of hostilities and improving humanitarian access in South Sudan was signed  and the United Nations Mission in the country (UNMISS) urged all parties to work collectively to ensure durable peace in the nation.

15. Uganda killed over 100 ADF rebels in eastern DR Congo: Over a hundred rebels killed in Eastern Congo as the airstrike and artillery operation, code-named "Tuugo," targeted eight ADF camps in Eringeti triangle in the DRC's North Kivu province.

These are the few major highlights of Africa's Humanitarian situation in the year 2017. It was filled with progressive development on some issues relating to the fight to bring International criminals to justice and also the struggle to make Africa a stable region.

We can not really say 2017 was a outstanding in terms of International humanitarian fight for justice but we can only do better in 2018.

The League of Justice uses this medium to thank every humanitarian player and participator in and out of the field of combat who risk their lives daily in terms of securing the lives,property and heritage of the people within the violent regions of Africa.

In 2018, the fight for peace, stability and quest for international justice must not stop but rather we must work hard to ensure that perpertrators of violence are brought to Justice.