Despite his term ending in December 2016 and even in the face of rampant opposition and disapproval from the international community, President Joseph Kabila managed to keep his grip of power in Congo and persist as ruler beyond the constitutionally mandated limit of two terms. Thereafter, since 2016, political violence and governmental oppression consistently exasperated in the country with the authorities and security forces consistently imposing restrictions, repressions and intimidation on the opposition groups demanding free and credible election process. Furthermore, they banned demonstrations, fired bullets and teargas at protestors, closed down media and curbed the free movement of oppositional leaders and conducted arbitrary arrests thereof. As a matter of fact, there are many armed groups that are active in the eastern part of the country, which are responsible for ethnic cleansing, civilian killings, pillages and war crimes in general. Ultimately, in 2016 the Minister of Communications put forward a law that imposed rigid restrictions on foreign radio and TV stations to conduct their activities in Congo (Human Rights Watch 2016).
Recently, the human rights crisis that took a hold of Burundi has exasperated to unprecedented levels – the state forces and security authorities have chased down opponents of the government inflicting unscrupulous violence. Intelligence services in close cooperation with the youth league ruling party members – Imbonerakure, have engaged in indiscriminate killings, enforced disappearances, rape, ruthless torture and abductions. In addition to that, opposition groups that obtained significant amount of weaponry have conducted violent attacks and massacred members of the ruling party (Human Rights Watch 2016).
Since 2016 human rights violations in Uganda, such as freedom of expression, assembly and association have been prevailing and particularly exerted by the Ugandan security officials who systematically attempted to thwart the oppositional movements during the 2016 election campaigns and in the aftermath thereof. The police have taken it upon themselves to arrest, detain and imprison people without a legitimate reason, and curb the free movement of oppositional leaders. They also attacked and injured many journalists, with instances occurring even during live broadcasts. What is more, the security forces of Uganda persistently employ excessive and violent force in their following through with legal enforcement procedures and policing demonstrations. In fact, in Uganda, same-sex conduct is strictly criminalized under its colonial law, that is still in place and forbids ‘carnal knowledge’ between same-sex people. In that regard, a newly established Non-Governmental Organizations law points to the pressing issue of criminalization of legitimate advocacy pertaining to LGBTQI people’s rights and well-being (Human Rights Watch 2016).
Similar to the situation in other Great Lakes Region countries in Africa, Rwanda has experienced an excessive tightening of freedom of expression during political demonstrations and election rallies. That was the case for the referendum held in 2015 and aimed at putting in place amendments in the constitution that would permit the then-ruling President Paul Kegame to qualify for a third term through 2017 and get a grip of power over the following ten years with allowed additional two terms. There were few people that managed to raise their voices against such a move as the government meticulously suppressed any opposition. The state of Rwanda persistently restricts the free, independent and unhindered operations of international human rights organizations, civil society groups and media outlets, and prohibits critical voices thereof against governmental policies, the recording and reporting on human rights records and state practices. As a matter of fact, the civil society sector in the country is not particularly strong and has gradually grown weaker specifically as a result of governmental interferences and intimidations. Moreover, many journalists are pushed to apply restrictions on their freedom of expression, thereby engaging in self-censorship (Human Rights Watch 2016).
Fundamental human rights such as the right to free expression, association and assembly have been significantly undermined over the past few years in the state of Kenya. The authorities have persistently failed to secure an adequate degree of human rights protection and have obstructed efforts to investigate the scope of various human rights abuses underpinning the situation in the country. In fact, human rights organizations and activists are presented with growing obstacles and endure consistent harassment and hindrances to their work. These organizations continuously point at the military and police in Kenya as the primary actors holding the responsibility for forced disappearances and indiscriminate killings of people ostensibly related to terrorist organizations such as Al-Shabab. Furthermore, NGOs active in the country have faced constant hostility on part of public officials and the authorities and have been subjected to immense administrative restriction and attempts at curbing and obstructing their work via the introduction of repressive amendments in the law concerning the conduct of NGO work in Kenya (Human Rights Watch 2016).