Clinton urged to promote human rights on Africa tour

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must press African leaders to address human rights violations during her seven-nation tour next week, Human Rights Watch said on Friday.

“The US rightly wants to promote Africa as a place of great opportunity, but Africans will be unable to realise their potential if their human rights are denied,” said Georgette Gagnon, the group’s Africa director.

“Secretary Clinton should make this connection clear.”

Clinton begins her tour on August 5 in Kenya, birth place of President Barack Obama’s father, where a unity government is struggling to find ways of aiding the victims of deadly violence which broke out after the December 2007 elections.

“Kenyans are losing faith in their politicians,” Gagnon said in a statement. “The government’s failure to ensure justice for the victims of the post-election violence threatens to undermine Kenya’s stability and impede its economic development.”

After Kenya, Clinton travels through South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Liberia and Cape Verde.

While in Kenya, she is also set to meet the president of Somalia’s transitional government.

In South Africa, the watchdog urged Clinton to press President Jacob Zuma to take a tougher line on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, warning that his military continues to act with impunity, notably in the eastern diamond fields of Marange.

In Angola, she should call on the government to end arbitrary detention and torture in Cabinda, an oil-rich northern enclave, it said.

She should also urge for the prosecution of all military personnel who committed sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the group added.

In Nigeria, Clinton should focus on corruption and mismanagement of natural resources, while in Liberia she should stress the importance of prosecuting the most serious crimes committed during the civil war, Human Rights Watch said.—Sapa-AFP

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