Time for Ghana to end inhumane practice of shackling on World Mental Health Day; fabricated terrorism charges against rights defenders in Turkey; opposition threatened with dissolution in Cambodia; violence against Rohingya in Burma could spread; first democratic transfer of power in Liberia.
Rwanda’s military has repeatedly tortured detainees – beating them, asphyxiating them, using electric shocks and even staging mock executions, a new Human Rights Watch report has found. Most of the people detained were civilians suspected of working with armed groups. All were held in secret military detention centers whose existence Rwanda denies. Judges and prosecutors have ignored complaints, and victims have given up any hope for justice.
On World Mental Health Day, a coalition of non-governmental groups has asked the government of Ghana to ensure adequate funding for mental health services as a crucial step to eliminating the widespread practice of shackling, and other abuses against people with psycho social disabilities.
A Turkish prosecutor has called for prison sentences of up to 15 years on fabricated terrorism charges for a group of rights defenders, among them the local head of Amnesty International. But even a superficial examination of the allegations confirms they are unfounded, contradictory, and politically motivated, and nothing but an attempt to silence the activists.
Cambodia has engaged in an intensified crackdown against the country’s political opposition, the independent media, and human rights groups. In an obvious grab for total power, the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen has now filed a lawsuit to dissolve the main opposition party ahead of 2018 elections.
Villagers in relatively peaceful parts of Burma’s Rakhine state are enforcing a system of local apartheid that punishes people trading with Rohingya Muslims, fueling fears that violence in the far northwest could spread to new areas, Reuters reports. Over half a million Rohingya have already fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape a campaign of ethnic cleansing carried out by Burmese security forces.
And, in what will lead to the first transfer of power from one democratically elected leader to another in more than seven decades, Liberians head for the polls today. After 12 years in office incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is stepping down, urging voters to respect the outcome of the hotly contested elections.