John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "Human Rights"

Nigeria’s Buhari Administration, the Chibok Girls, and the ICRC

by John Campbell
Some of the twenty-one Chibok schoolgirls released by Boko Haram look on during their visit to meet President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria, October 19, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Some of the twenty-one Chibok schoolgirls released by Boko Haram look on during their visit to meet President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria, October 19, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

The release of twenty-one Chibok school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram almost three years ago has produced national rejoicing, led by the Anglican primate and a Roman Catholic cardinal. It has also been a popular boost for the Buhari administration, in the midst of an economic recession, ongoing Boko Haram attacks, ethnic conflict in the middle belt, and insurgency in the Niger Delta. The media reports that the freed girls look “emaciated” and that perhaps nineteen were accompanied by babies. Of the still missing girls, it is not known how many are still alive, willing, and capable of being released. One of the released girls says that shortly after their capture, they were separated into two groups – those who would convert and become wives, and those who would not convert and become slaves. Of those otherwise able to return, some of them may choose to stay with Boko Haram. Read more »

New amnesty International Report Profiles Nigeria Police Abuse

by John Campbell
Nigeria's Inspector-General of Police Solomon Arase responds to a citizens advocacy group who called on him to address police violence, in Abuja, Nigeria, September 18, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Nigeria's Inspector-General of Police Solomon Arase responds to a citizens advocacy group who called on him to address police violence, in Abuja, Nigeria, September 18, 2015. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

On September 21, 2016, Amnesty International (UK) issued a report profiling human rights abuses by Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The elite police unit was established to respond to a spike in violent crime. Read more »

The Kimani Murders and the Future of Police Accountability in Kenya

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Kenyan police officers Silvia Wanjiku, Stephen Chebulet (covering their heads) suspected of killing human rights lawyer, Willie Kimani, his client and their driver, cover their heads as they are escorted from the dock at Milimani Law courts in Nairobi, Kenya, July 4, 2016. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya) Kenyan police officers Silvia Wanjiku, Stephen Chebulet (covering their heads) suspected of killing human rights lawyer, Willie Kimani, his client and their driver, cover their heads as they are escorted from the dock at Milimani Law courts in Nairobi, Kenya, July 4, 2016. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

This is a guest post by Claire Wilmot, a former intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program. She is a master of global affairs graduate from the University of Toronto, where she currently researches justice reform. You can follow her on twitter at @claireLwilmot. Read more »

Under the Radar: People with Albinism in Eastern and Southern Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
An albino girl smiles in Mitindo Primary School in Nyawilimilwa, Mwanza region of Tanzania, November 21, 2009. (Reuters/Katrina Manson) An albino girl smiles in Mitindo Primary School in Nyawilimilwa, Mwanza region of Tanzania, November 21, 2009. (Reuters/Katrina Manson)

Nathan Birhanu is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. He is a graduate of Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

Albinism is a hereditary condition from birth where an individual, partially or completely, lacks pigmentation in the skin, hair, and eyes. The condition is found in one in every 20,000 people globally. The topic of albinism is of importance in sub-Saharan Africa where rates can reach as high as one in 1,400 people because of a variety of factors. Read more »

U.S. Congressional Delegation Visits South Africa

by John Campbell
Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE) smiles after being ceremonially sworn in at the US Capitol in Washington, November 15, 2010. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst) Senator Christopher Coons (D-DE) smiles after being ceremonially sworn in at the US Capitol in Washington, November 15, 2010. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s “Ripples of Hope” speech at the University of Cape Town, a congressional delegation (codel) visited South Africa the last week of May. It was led by Representative John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia and an icon of the American civil rights movement; Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware; and Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Senator Kennedy and the president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a U.S. based non-profit organization. Read more »

The Rescued Chibok Girl and the Victims Support Fund

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Amina Ali Darsha Nkeki, a Nigerian schoolgirl rescued after over two years of captivity with Boko Haram militants, presents her child to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria, May 19, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde) Amina Ali Darsha Nkeki, a Nigerian schoolgirl rescued after over two years of captivity with Boko Haram militants, presents her child to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria, May 19, 2016. (Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde)

This is a guest post by Sherrie Russell-Brown. She is an international human rights lawyer, who writes about issues of gender, security, international justice and humanitarian law, with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Read more »

Kicking the Western Sahara Question Down the Road

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic flag flies in Boudjdour desert refugee camp in Tindouf, southern Algeria, March 4, 2016. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra) The Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic flag flies in Boudjdour desert refugee camp in Tindouf, southern Algeria, March 4, 2016. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

Tyler Falish is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program, and a student in Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

On April 29, ten of the fifteen UN Security Council members voted to renew the mandate for the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO), one day before its expiration. Prior to the vote, Angola, a non-permanent member, requested an informal, confidential Security Council meeting held outside the Security Council room, to allow Joaquim Chissano, Special Envoy of the African Union (AU) for the Western Sahara, to brief the council. NGOs were barred from attending and no translation services were provided. Morocco, which is the only African country without AU membership and considers the AU biased toward the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), opposed the meeting with Chissano on the grounds that the UN is the sole intergovernmental organization legitimately involved in the issue. Angola—along with Russia and New Zealand—ultimately abstained from the vote, while Venezuela and Uruguay voted in opposition. Read more »

Boko Haram Resurgence in Northeast Nigeria

by John Campbell
Soldiers are seen on a truck along a road in Maiduguri in Borno State, Nigeria, May 14, 2015. (REUTERS/Stringer) Soldiers are seen on a truck along a road in Maiduguri in Borno State, Nigeria, May 14, 2015. (REUTERS/Stringer)

Over the weekend, Boko Haram attacked the village of Dalori, only three kilometers away from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital and the headquarters of Nigerian military forces in the fight against the jihadist insurgency. According to the New York Times, citing Nigerian official sources, at least sixty-five were killed, and women and children were kidnapped. Boko Haram’s actions at Dalori constituted a complex attack that included armed fighters, some wearing military uniforms, and female suicide bombers. Nearby, Boko Haram raided a camp for internally displaced persons. Read more »

What to Watch: Africa 2016

by John Campbell and Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney) Boys play on the roof of the entrance to a football stadium in Gao February 20, 2013. (Reuters/Joe Penney)

While western governments are currently transfixed on events in Iraq and Syria, it is important that they do not forget Africa. Boko Haram has become the world’s deadliest terrorist organization and Libya is increasingly becoming a base of operations for the Islamic State. Below, CFR’s Africa program outlines six African issues to watch in 2016. While they could certainly affect the lives of millions of Africans, these issues could also have serious implications for international politics. Read more »

South Africa President Jacob Zuma on Libya and the European Migration Crisis

by John Campbell
South African President Jacob Zuma (R) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) at the Great Hall Of the People in Beijing, China, September 4, 2015. (Reuters/Lintao Zhang/Pool) South African President Jacob Zuma (R) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) at the Great Hall Of the People in Beijing, China, September 4, 2015. (Reuters/Lintao Zhang/Pool)

Jacob Zuma’s anger and poor understanding of the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya apparently still shapes his approach to the West.

On September 15, President Zuma briefed the foreign diplomatic corps accredited to South Africa on the country’s foreign policy. According to the South African media, the speech was prepared by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (the foreign ministry). But, the South African media reports that at one point Zuma departed from the text to say, inter alia, “Before the Arab Spring and before the killing of Gaddafi there were no refugees flying or flocking to European countries. It was all quiet….Things were normal in the north of Africa…. Those who were part of destabilizing that part of the world don’t want to accept refugees. It is their responsibility. They caused it. They must address it.” Zuma appears to be mixing together the migration from and through Libya with the much larger flow of migrants from countries like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Eritrea. Read more »