Thomas Hubert - journalist(e)

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Monday 22 December 2014

Looking back on Africa in 2014

For many Africans, the past year has been marked by hardship caused by the Ebola outbreak and violent conflict in South Sudan, the Central African Republic or Nigeria.

Yet African entrepreneurs worked their way around obstacles, confirming the continent's attractiveness as one of the fastest-growing economic areas in the world.

Tunisia brought a tricky political transition to a close with democratic elections and Burkina Faso started its own peaceful revolution. In both countries, the people have shown that lifelong presidential terms were no longer acceptable.

Listen to the African retrospective

Thursday 13 November 2014

ICC team in Bangui to launch criminal investigation

A team of seven liaison officers and investigators from the office of the International Criminal Court's prosecutor is currently on a week-long visit to the Central African Republic.
The ICC is considering opening a permanent mission in Bangui to investigate crimes allegedly committed in the past two years in the war-torn country, including large-scale murder, rape and conscription of child soldiers.
Pascal Turlan, the prosecutor's judicial cooperation advisor, told RFI's Thomas Hubert that his team had begun to collect documentary evidence and was assessing the security situation before it can start interviewing witnesses.

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South Sudan talks fail to address root causes of conflict - FIDH

A group of lawyers and researchers who spent the past week in South Sudan have warned that tensions there remain dangerously high, almost one year after civil war engulfed the young nation.
The group, who were there on behalf of the International Federation for Human Rights, say militia groups supporting either President Salva Kiir or former Vice President Riek Machar are continuing to organise, arm and commit various forms of abuse against civilians with total impunity.
They also fear that recent efforts by regional mediators to conclude a political settlement will not address the root causes of the conflict.
RFI's Thomas Hubert talked to Arnold Tsunga, the Zimbabwean lawyer who headed the FIDH mission to the country.

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Friday 17 October 2014

At least 26 dead in attack on eastern DRC town of Beni

In the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, gunmen attacked the outskirts of Beni on Wednesday night.
An eyewitness told RFI on Thursday that he had seen the bodies of 26 men and women killed in the attack, between the town centre and the airport.
Violence between competing militias and security forces has increased in the region in recent weeks, but this is the first large-scale attack on a major town for a long time.
Government spokesman Lambert Mende told RFI's Thomas Hubert that the authorities blamed Ugandan rebels battling the army in the hills of Congo's North Kivu province for the raid.

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UN accuses DRC police of unlawful killings during crackdown on crime

According to the United Nations' human rights office in the Democratic Republic of Congo, at least 41 people including children have died or disappeared at the hands of the police during a crackdown on crime a few months ago.
A UN report accuses masked members of elite police units of launching violent night-time raids in the capital Kinshasa between November 2013 and February 2014 as part of operation Likofi, which means "punch" in Lingala.
Scott Campbell is the head of the UN's human rights office in the DRC, and the government has called for his replacement following the publication of the report. Yet he told RFI's Thomas Hubert that the reality was probably worse than what UN investigators were able to establish.

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Friday 3 October 2014

Conservationists to march against elephant and rhino poaching

Nature conservationists are staging marches against the poaching of elephants and rhinos in more than 100 cities across the world on Saturday.

They claim that both species are at risk of becoming extinct soon as thousands of the protected animals are killed each year. Their tusks and horns are traded on an illegal market estimated to be worth 20 billion dollars.

RFI's Thomas Hubert talked to a leading Kenyan environmentalist who will take place in the Nairobi event of the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos.

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Ugandan president says criminalising gays would harm trade

In Uganda, president Yoweri Museveni appears to have drawn the line under repeated attempts to introduce tough anti-gay legislation.

In an opinion column published in daily newspapers on Friday, he argued homosexuality should not be criminalised any further because that would harm Uganda's trade ties with developed nations.

He also acknowledged that some people were born with an attraction to members of the same sex, which could constitute some common ground between the Ugandan authorities and gay rights groups.

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Nine Nigerien UN peacekeepers killed in Mali

In north-eastern Mali, armed men attacked a group UN peacekeepers on Friday morning and killed nine soldiers from Niger.

The United Nations has described the incident as the largest-scale assault on its troops since the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission was deployed to Mali just over one year ago.

Some reports blamed the Islamist group MUJAO for the violence.

MINUSMA's deputy spokesman Olivier Salgado told RFI's Thomas Hubert the attack happened as forty peacekeepers drove on one of the main roads near the border with Niger.

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Friday 4 July 2014

Hope in Pogba's hometown despite France's World Cup defeat

Germany's football team beat France in the quarter final of the World Cup last night, crushing the hopes of millions of French fans.
But a young generation of players wearing the blue jersey in Brazil are giving fans hope, too, with Paul Pogba leading the way. 

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Pakistan human rights defenders oppose new anti-terror law

The Pakistani National Assembly passed new anti-terrorist legislation this week as the government is engaged in violent battles against radical islamist insurgents.
The Protection of Pakistan bill makes it easier for security forces to detain suspects and even shoot on sight.
Human rights advocates say this paves the way for abuse and the repression of political opponents.
Kamran Arif is the co-chair of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
While evidence and confessions obtained by police cannot currently be used in court, he told RFI's Thomas Hubert the lifting of this restriction under the new law was particularly worrying.

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Friday 6 June 2014

Police disperse Sao Paulo striking metro workers

With less than one week to go to the football World Cup, military police used teargas to disperse striking metro workers in central Sao Paulo on Friday.
Authorities in Brazil's largest city told RFI that one trade unionist was briefly detained for disobeying police orders.
Sao Paulo's notorious traffic jams turned into chaos as public transport services were reduced to the minimum.
Officials said the intervention was in application of a court ruling ordering the metro to operate during peak time.
Guilherme Rodrigues, a member of Sao Paulo's Metro Workers Union, criticised the authorities' response to the strike.

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Saturday 5 April 2014

Businessmen and Russia to weigh in on Ukrainian presidential campaign

Campaigning for next month's Ukrainian presidential election has begun for the 23 candidates who have successfully registered with the electoral commission.
Petro Poroshenko, a powerful industrialist backed by the leader of pro-European demonstrations, former boxing world champion Vitali Klitschko, has a strong lead in opinion polls.
Volodymyr Yermolenko is a Ukrainian philosopher and analyst who he teaches at Mohyla university in Kiev. He told RFI's Thomas Hubert that Poroshenko was not the only businessman willing to pour money into the presidential race.

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Friday 4 April 2014

Angry Guinea crowd attacks MSF ebola clinic

In Guinea, angry residents of the town of Macenta attacked a clinic of the medical organisation Médecins sans Frontières on Friday.
The treatment centre was set up to fight the epidemic of the deadly ebola virus, which flared up in the area in the past few weeks.
No one was injured in the violence, but it has disrupted efforts to contain the disease.
MSF's spokesman in Guinea, Sam Taylor, told RFI's Thomas Hubert what happened.

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Wednesday 2 April 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry to visit Algeria and Morocco

The US Secretary of State John Kerry is due to visit Algeria this Thursday and continue on to Morocco later this week.
The two countries that remained stable through the Arab Spring are crucial relays for US efforts to maintain security in North and West Africa in the wake of Islamist insurgencies in the Sahara and the Sahel.
Relations between Algeria and Morocco remain difficult, and John Kerry's role is also to help them talk to each other.
RFI's Thomas Hubert asked former US diplomat William Jordan to explain the goals of the Secretary of State's visit. He also asked the former US deputy chief of mission in Algiers and former director of the Maghreb office at the State Department whether Kerry's visit was an endorsement of Abdelaziz Bouteflika's controversial bid for re-election as Algerian president.

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Monday 10 March 2014

Will the diplomatic row between Rwanda, South Africa and Burundi affect their trade relations?

After South Africa, Rwanda and Burundi expelled several of each others' diplomats last week, the future of growing trade links between their economies is in the balance.

The row was triggered by repeated attacks on opposition Rwandan figures living in South Africa, whom Kigali accuses of being terrorists.

Yet South African companies hold the largest amount of foreign investments in Rwanda, and South African exports to Rwanda have trebled in the past six years.

Elizabeth Sidoropoulos is the head of the South African Institute for International Affairs. RFI's Thomas Hubert asked her whether the latest diplomatic spat posed a threat to the development of business between the three countries.

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Sunday 9 March 2014

DR Congo to ration electricity for mining companies

The Democratic Republic of Congo is again looking at ways of exploiting its largely untapped hydro-power potential, with the World Bank expected to make a decision next week on a fresh round of funding to enlarge the Inga dam on the Congo river.

In the meantime, power shortages could seriously slow down the country's growing mining industry. The government has even ordered a ban on new mines, according to documents released in the past few days.

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US slams Sudanese government for latest Darfur violence

The United States publicly condemned the latest violence in Darfur at the weekend, and called on the government of Sudan to prevent further violence.

A State department spokesman accused the Sudanese authorities of supporting a militia calling itself the Rapid Support Force and of blocking peacekeepers from investigating its alleged exactions against civilians.

Damian Rance, a spokesman for the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian aid in Sudan, told RFI's Thomas Hubert that the latest attacks drove tens of thousands of people from their villages.

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Saturday 8 March 2014

DR Congo human rights defender reacts to ICC conviction of Germain Katanga

The four-year-long trial of the former Congolese warlord Germain Katanga ended in a conviction as accessory to war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court on Friday.

He was tried for a brutal attack on the village of Bogoro in the Ituri district of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2003.

Katanga is only the second person to be convicted since the Hague-based court was inaugurated 11 years ago. Charles Taylor of Liberia was the first.

Armel Luhiriri is a criminal lawyer in Bukavu and a member of the local human rights group Héritiers de la Justice.

He was formerly the liaison officer for cases in French-speaking African at the Coalition for the ICC, a group of NGOs supporting the court.

RFI's Thomas Hubert asked him how people reacted to the verdict in eastern DRC.

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The religious side of King Mohammed VI of Morroco's African tour

King Mohammed VI of Morocco ended an 18-day tour of West and Central Africa in Gabon on Saturday.

The royal trip was seen as a prime opportunity to boost Moroccan economic and political influence in the region.

Yet, there is lesser-known side to the king's connections across Africa, according to Ismaïl Regragui, a researcher at the Paris Centre for International Studies and Research and author of a book on Morocco's religious diplomacy.

He told RFI's Thomas Hubert that Mohammed VI's status as the spiritual leader of Maliki Islam, a moderate school of Sunni Islam, helped him strengthen international business and diplomatic ties.

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Wednesday 29 January 2014

Egypt Morsi trial aims to discredit Muslim Brotherhood: Expert

In Egypt, another high-ranking police officer was killed Tuesday. Tensions have been flaring again between supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi and supporters of the military.

Morsi appeared in court yesterday alongside Palestinian and Lebanese Islamist militants on new charges related to a jail break during the 2011 revolution. Political scientist Bruce Rutherford, the author of Egypt After Mubarak, told RFI's Thomas Hubert that the authorities' decision to lump Morsi's case together with those of foreign jihadists was politically motivated.

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