World governments vowed on Wednesday to hold Burma's military rulers to account for a bloody crackdown on mass street protests, as the United Nations Security Council prepared to meet in emergency session and European Union officials began drawing up new sanctions.
The United Nations's special envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, was expected in Rangoon on Saturday for talks with the country's ruling generals amid a row over the threatened expulsion of another diplomat. Gambari's visit comes amid conflicting signals from the junta over its willingness to reform, in the wake of street protests against the ruling regime.
Burma or Myanmar? As the military regime has cracked down on pro-democracy protests in the Asian country this week, a war of words has flared again over what to call the troubled nation. The United States and the BBC prefer the old name, Burma, while the United Nations, Japan and other nations have adopted Myanmar.
The United States military presents its new Africa Command as a helping hand offering aid and training to the world's poorest continent, but many Africans fear it could bring double trouble to a conflict-racked region. US officials dress the new regional command to be launched on Monday in a shiny altruistic uniform, saying it is designed to help Africa improve its own stability.
An international rights group has lambasted the Somali government for "systematic harassment" of reporters, closure of media outlets and failure to investigate the killing of eight journalists this year. Few foreign correspondents go into Somalia these days, leaving local reporters to face the risks.
The Central African Republic's President defended his country's efforts to improve human rights at international donor talks on Friday meant to bolster much-needed economic and political reforms in his impoverished nation. Francois Bozize presented a new development strategy to European Union and United Nations officials.
Human rights group Amnesty International accused state security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo of systematic torture and killings in a report published on Thursday. Amnesty blamed two government security forces -- the special services police and the republican guard -- for attacks on opponents of President Joseph Kabila.
Recent conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) Nord-Kivu province has been accompanied by an upsurge in brutal rape and often barbaric mutilations of women and girls, medical workers report. "For the whole of Nord-Kivu we normally treat 250 rape cases each month," said Jane Coyne, mission chief for Médécins Sans FrontiÃ¨res.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Thursday transferred a militia chief to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face war-crimes charges, including sexual enslavement and using child soldiers. Germain Katanga (29), who once led the Forces for Patriotic Resistance in Ituri, was flown out of Kinshasa early on Thursday.
The United States should reconsider funding anti-HIV/Aids strategies in Uganda, where recipients of such money violate the rights of homosexuals, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said. The watchdog group, in a letter to US officials on Thursday, said Ugandan officials and the media have intensified attacks on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) hopes a new biometric identity card (ID) scheme backed by the European Union can help overhaul its undisciplined armed forces, branded by campaigners as the central African state's worst rights abuser. After decades as a tool of repression under former leader Mobutu Sese Seko and a devastating 1998 to 2003 war, DRC's army is bloated, unmanageable and corrupt.
Soldiers in the Central African Republic (CAR) have massacred hundreds of people and burned villages, forcing civilians to flee, during a counter-insurgency campaign, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday. The watchdog group blamed President Francois Bozize's elite guard for atrocities carried out since mid-2005.
The Ugandan army tortured and unlawfully killed civilians while carrying out a disarmament programme in the country's troubled Karamoja region, an international human rights group said on Tuesday. According to a report, Ugandan soldiers opened fire on children, among other charges.
Politics in Nigeria remains mired in violence and corruption eight years after the end of military rule, says Human Rights Watch in a report released on Tuesday. In some states of the federation, unelected but immensely powerful "godfathers" dominate the political scene, having gained control over politicians, the report says.
Guns, machetes and looted public funds are the real instruments of power in Nigeria, where politicians backed by unelected "godfathers" use hired thugs to win office, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday. Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999 after three decades of almost continuous army dictatorship, but civilian governments have routinely abused basic human rights.
A real and unprecedented opportunity for peace in Darfur is emerging after breakthrough talks between Britain and Khartoum this week, according to the United Kingdom's key envoy to the region, Mark Malloch Brown. A new optimism is building ahead of next month's crucial talks between 13 rebel factions and the Sudanese government in Libya.
Rights groups on Saturday accused Egypt of curbing press freedom after a Cairo court this week sentenced four editors each to one year in prison for criticising the president. "Egypt continues to imprison journalists and editors who publish stories critical of President Hosni Mubarak and other high officials," Human Rights Watch said in a statement.