HERE IT IS:
At least 21 protesters and four police officers have been killed during anti-government protests in Sierra Leone on Wednesday. The protests targeted inflation and the rising cost of living, while the government has sought to describe the protesters as “terrorists.” (CNN) (background from Al Jazeera). There was calm on Thursday, but violence broke out again on Friday, and the government imposed a nationwide curfew on Friday. (New York TImes). Sierra Leone’s president has called the protests an attempt to “overthrow” the government. (Reuters). UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet promptly issued a statement expressing “alarm” at reported deaths and calling on the government to conduct “prompt, impartial, and thorough investigations.” (UN OHCHR Press Release). Amnesty International has also called for a “robust” and impartial investigation. (Amnesty International).
Secretary Blinken made headlines in his comments on Rwanda’s human rights situation:
Following Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s Africa tour, U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken visited South Africa, the DRC, and Rwanda this week, and spoke by phone with other African leaders. (AP via Washington Post) (The Guardian) (BBC) (The East African) (Readout of Meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa) (Readout of Meeting with DRC Prime Minister Jean-MIchel Sama Lukonde) (Readout of Phone Call with Republic of the Congo President Denis Sassou N'Guesso) (Readout of Phone Call with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta). During an interview in the DRC, Secretary Blinken discussed the conflict in the easter part of the country, where Congolese authorities have accused the Rwandan government of backing M23 rebels. (The Monitor Uganda). In advance of the trip, Human Rights Watch called on Secretary Blinken to address Rwanda’s human rights record, including its support for “abusive operations” by M23 in the Eastern DRC. (HRW). Secretary Blinken did so at a press briefing in Kigali, the last stop of his tour, where the Associated Press reports that he also lobbied the Rwandan government for the release of Paul Rusesabagina. (AP).
There were also widespread protests in Somaliland, where opposition groups have accused the government of maneuvering to postpone elections scheduled for November. Somaliland police opened fire on protesters, and at least five have been killed and many more injured in clashes with the police. (Reuters) (Al Jazeera) (VOA).
The Ugandan government has suspended Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), the country’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group. The group has characterized the suspension as a “witch hunt.” Human Rights Watch has called on the Ugandan government to allow SMUG to operate freely and without harassment. AHRC
Human Rights Watch has issued a report on summary executions carried out by Cameroonian soldiers in the country’s Northwest Region between April 24 and June 12. (HRW). The report has been picked up by the press. (VOA) (Deutsche Welle) (AFP via Barron's).