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UN experts condemn Hong Kong security law in letter to China | China News

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United Nations human rights experts have written to China to warn the national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong at the end of June is a serious risk to the territory’s political and civic freedoms, urging Beijing to review and reconsider the law.

China has faced intense criticism over the legislation, which was imposed at the end of June following a year of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests.

The law “poses a serious risk” to fundamental freedoms and due process protections, the 14-page letter said.

Dated September 1, it was signed by seven special rapporteurs led by Fionnuala Ni Aolain, the special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, and published on the website of the UN’s Human Rights Office on Friday.

“In particular, we express concern at the broad scope of the crimes defined as secession and subversion; the express curtailment of freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association; the implications of the scope and substance of the security law as a whole on the rule of law; and the interference with the ability of civil society organisations to perform their lawful function,” it continued.

“We underscore that security and human rights are intertwined and not separate.”

Hong Kong Protests: Unpacking the Movement

China imposed the security law on the territory on the night of June 30, after months of protests that began when the Hong Kong government tried to push through legislation that would have allowed suspects to be sent to the mainland for trial. 

The law, under which anyone China considers to have committed subversion, secessionism, terrorism or collusion with a foreign power, can be sentenced to life in prison, has drawn condemnation from the United States, the United Kingdom and other Western powers which have imposed sanctions, withdrawn bilateral agreements and opened up new migration routes for Hong Kong people.

Human rights groups have also criticised the legislation, which has already been used to arrest dozens of people, including media tycoon Jimmy Lai who has been accused of “colluding with foreign powers”.

The UN experts, who provided an analysis of the law from a legal perspective, noted that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was part of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, and stressed that laws related to security and threats from terrorism needed to be “properly and precisely defined”.

‘Political crime’

Hong Kong was a British colony for more than 100 years until it was returned to Chinese rule under the so-called “one country, two systems” framework, which afforded the territory substantial autonomy and guaranteed rights and freedoms unknown on the mainland for at least 50 years. 

The UK has said the security law contravenes the promises that were laid out in the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984, a view that was echoed in the letter.

The UN experts said the security legislation risked criminalising activity that went far beyond the Security Council’s definition of terrorist conduct.

“China’s counter-terrorism efforts must be necessary and in proportion to the actual threat of terrorism it faces,”  they said.

“The use of the National Security Law’s terrorism measures should be strictly limited to address conduct which is genuinely terrorist in nature and should not be used to restrict or limit protected fundamental freedoms, including the rights to opinion, expression, and of peaceful assembly.”

The letter noted that subversion was generally understood as a ‘political crime’ deployed to punish individuals for their thoughts or what they are thought to think.

Hong Kong media tycoon arrested under new security law

It said that the terms subversion and secession also appeared to be used interchangeably, which could  lead to potential misuse against human rights defenders, journalists and other members of civil society. 

Soon after the legislation was imposed China opened its first law enforcement office in Hong Kong, while a special unit in the police force was established to deal with cases related to the law. The legislation also allows for cases to be transferred to the mainland for trial, in a move the rapporteur warned could jeopardise a fair trial. 

It urged the Chinese government to review and reconsider the law, stressing that national security legislation without proper definitions and limitations could severely curtail civic space.

“Empowered civil society and its participation is essential to building secure societies and leaving no one behind,” they said. “Conversely, restricting civil society undermines the security that builds healthy and vibrant societies.”



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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