lundi 25 mars 2013

#Gabon: Union Nationale: ACHPR recommended immediate rehabilitation

Union Nationale
ACHPR recommended immediate rehabilitation

The Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) has completed the investigation of the complaint lodged on September 23, 2012 by Paulette Oyane Ondo, lawyer (counsel), on behalf of the political party Union Nationale (UN) or National Union. It recommends that the ACHPR to ask the Gabonese government to take immediate action to restore the opposition party's rights.

The Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) has ruled. At the last extraordinary session of this institution of the African Union (AU) held from 19 to 25 February 2013 in Banjul, Gambia, it has passed the ACHPR "Communication 436/2012." In this technical term hides the conclusions drawn by the Secretariat following the analysis of the complaint filed by counsel Paulette Oyane Ondo on behalf of Union Nationale (UN) against the State of Gabon, on September 23, 2012, before the ACHPR which Gabon is a state party since June 26, 1986. This complaint was intended to demonstrate that the State of Gabon, through its Minister of the Interior, Jean François Ndongou, uttering as he did the dissolution of Union Nationale, has deliberately violated the provisions of Articles 7, 11 and 13 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. In fact, counsel asked the Commission "the prescription of provisional measures consisting of the restoration of Union Nationale until there is a decision on merits before the Commission." In other words, it is pleading to the Commission; in this case, to asking the gabonese government to rehabilitate Union Nationale immediately, until the proceedings pending before the Commission are exhausted.

The Secretariat of the Commission (ACHPR) has followed entirely on this point. They asked the Commission to act in the manner requested by the counsel for UN. In the Secretariat’s opinion, after acknowledging that the complaint of counsel Paulette Oyane Ondo was admissible, because in accordance with Article 55 of the Charter and rule 93 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission, is to recommend to the Commission first that this case is admissible and therefore need to be decided on merits, and second to ask the gabonese government to take interim measures until there is a decision on merits about the case by the Commission. "

The recommendations of the Secretariat of the ACHPR, according to many experts met, are "almost equivalent to a condemnation of the gabonese government on merits". To them, this body - the Secretariat - plays a role of filter for all procedures to be known as required by the Commission. Falling between the cracks are only complaints where violations of human and people’s rights appear obvious and non-controversial by the concerned party. "Otherwise, the procedure is automatically rejected," said a prominent lawyer teaching at the University Omar Bongo Ondimba.

What can happen now? The counsel, Paulette Oyane Ondo, reached by phone on Thursday, March 21, 2013, stated that the "commission will probably hold another session in the next few days to translate these recommendations into requirements and send them to the gabonese government for execution as it recommends its obligations vis-à-vis the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights of which it has been a state party since 1986. " If the session does not take place in the coming days, "the issue will not be included in the agenda of the regular meeting of the Committee scheduled for October 2013," continued the lawyer.

From those in power, one is playing a "round back". A senior political adviser at presidency’s palace, surprised and stunned by the announcement, said Ali Bongo Ondimba understands not take any of that into account. After all, he added, "Gabon will not be dictated its domestic policy from outside." This type of analysis, which stings bad faith, forgets that Gabon proclaims in the Preamble to its Constitution, the commitment to the values ​​promoted by the African Charter. As such, this country cannot do without the application of those types of decisions by simply ignoring “notes of order" of the ACHPR.

Counsel Paulette Oyane Ondo did not have much to say, as she simply dismissed this way of seeing things. For her, this argument "does not reflect the current global political context." Counsel states that the Commission's decisions are usually sent to the UN “for endorsement”. We do not see the gabonese government, which is heavily depending on the outside and which is chasing a good image of respectability at the international level, at a point of relying on NGOs like Transparency International and Reporters Without Borders to have some recognition, to try to resist for long, a decision of the UN asking him to rehabilitate Union Nationale ", quipped the counsel as a conclusion.

The imminent comeback of the UN in the political arena could mean insomnia for lots of people in Gabon. The Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), near disintegration, can completely implode on this occasion. Just as small groups who claim to be the opposition - when they are in fact true "Trojan horses" operation controlled by the people in power to blow the opposition from the inside – will have great difficulties to prosper. The scheduled postponement of local elections in this context makes it even a more difficult atmosphere. Because, given the frustrations experienced by the population, it is not excluded that they will punish severely the party in power by throwing themselves into the arms of Union Nationale when rehabilitated.

People in power are well aware of this fact. And they will try to delay any dateline. It will be a waste of time though. In doing so, they risk reinforcing outside Gabon, the image that they have an unfriendly regime, and thus they will find many close doors in democratic regimes around the world. This is a risk "democrat" (sic) Ali Bongo Ondimba will not probably try to take. (To be continued).

Translated from French, "Union Nationale, la CADHP recommande la réhabilitation immédiate", Echos du Nord, No 172, March 25, 2013
by CLG

lundi 11 mars 2013

#Gabon: American diplomacy dragged through the mud by an historian

American diplomacy dragged through the mud by an historian

Translate from French: «La diplomatie américaine traînée dans la boue par un historien», a written text by Marcel Djabioh, March 7, 2013.

From the last of my mother’s uncles, I learned that "it is by gesticulating with too much force that the bird is released from the trap, and it is also by gesticulating too much that the bird’s neck tightens more in the trap".

For a diplomat, Sir Eric D. Benjaminson is actually doing more than it should. And the image of the world's greatest power is found tarnished by an individual with questionable diplomatic skills.

Indeed, Gabon’s distinguished lawyer Paulette Oyane-Ondo, who was, at the invitation of the U.S. State Department, supposed to be going to the United States to receive the distinction of "Female political leader" awarded by that department and stay from March 2 to 22, has just learned that this invitation was canceled by the will of a clumsy and impetuous diplomat who obviously does not hide his relationship with the corrupt regime in power in Gabon. As an excuse, his argument stands flat and empty as an empty sack can do. According to this historian of the University of Oregon, this invitation was «politicized» by the press. But damn! How can he take the Gabonese for less than nothing brandishing an argument as fallacious and contradictory? Is it not to receive the distinction of "Female Political Leader" that Ms. Paulette Oyane Ondo was invited? Who really politicized this issue? The press or the «seaside palace» (Bongo’s presidence palace in Libreville) in which his excellence does not miss an opportunity to make allegiance with whom he teams up well?

From the last of my mother’s uncles, I learned that: "roosters with ringworms on their crests often contaminate healthy roosters with ringworm." And now a diplomat representing one of the most democratic state in the world spits on the values upheld by his Republic. Suffering from ringworm, the man still believes he lives in the era when slave ships poured black slaves on the american coasts where, by auctioning, each slave master chose his negro of service.

People who understood knew it well with the press release of the Embassy of the United States, just a few weeks after his presentation of credentials to Rais, Ali Bongo.

In fact, born March 2, 1960, and holding a degree in history from the University of Oregon, it is in December 2010 that Sir Eric D. Benjaminson, presented his credentials, accrediting him in quality of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Gabonese Republic, replacing Sharon Eunice Reddick, born 21 August 1951 in New York, has a bachelor of arts from New York University, also holding a Masters degree in International Relations from the University of Columbia, former Director of East African Affairs Office at the U.S. State Department, before being promoted as Ambassador of the United States of America in Gabon, where she presented her credentials on 6 November 2007 to late president Omar Bongo Ondimba, and held this position until December 2010.

Once in office, following the swearing in of Mr André Mba Obame, Eric D. Benjaminson who barely followed the presidential elections in Gabon in August 2009, had this statement published on his behalf by the U.S. embassy: "The United States recognizes Ali Bongo Ondimba as President of Gabon. We encourage all (political) parties to respect the law and the Constitution of Gabon (he had not even had time to read it), to exercise restraint and to encourage dialogue"; a statement of two paragraphs, without details and inoportun, already betraying his choice for one side. For him, democracy, human rights and good governance and the welfare Gabonese account for cat pee.

The man who does not like things to be politicized has not bothered to address some of the opposition parties as "Violent Parties", closing his eyes as a crocodile biting its prey, on the violence of regime in power which began at before the «Cité de la démocratie» (Gabon’s Conference center, so-called City of Democracy), against presidential candidates, before continuing with cruelty to Port-Gentil where the dead were counted by dozens and wounded by bullets.

How many died due to the violence of the unarmed opposition, His Excellency has counted since December 2010? What does he think about the victims of violence of the PDG’s (ruling party) system following attacks of red berets (loyal army of the regime) to UNDP office (where opposition leaders where barricaded) and «Cocotiers» square? Does this man read the press that he accuses of having shamelessly politicized the invitation to Paulette Oyane Ondo, to know about the number of Gabonese found dead and decapitated, and for which no investigation has been done since he is in Gabon? Can he objectively and with intellectual honesty say that the 2011 elections of members of the national assembly that took place under his eyes, had been conducted according to the rules of art (democratically)? And His Excellency defends the interests of his former university which will use gabonese taxpayer money, for we don’t know what real utility, through an agreement of fooled, signed on the back of the Gabonese Parliament, sorry, the «pédégiste» parliament.

And violation of academic freedom; and violence suffered by students who have had as only fault that they demand better treatment or studying conditions; His Excellency obviously doesn’t care.

Overall, it is necessary to thank the Ambassador of the greatest world power and one of the largest democracy for allowing us to reveal to the whole world, what the regime in power in Gabon could have hidden, namely, its autocracy and perpetual violation of the human rights. Long live the «Erico-Alian» (Eric and Ali) friendship and long live USA-Gabon relations. Congratulations to Mr «Quality» Ambassador. President Obama can maintain him at this position until the end of his term and recommend him to his successor to the benefit of the influence of the USA foreign policy.

We are far from the time of great diplomats like Henry Kissinger!

Translation by CLG

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