Beyond the advantages of telecommunication and technology in general, one of the realities of the world being a “global village” is that state boundaries are reduced to the minimum, and citizens of different countries are able to move from one “village” to another with fewer hassles. One main factor in achieving that is the strength of one’s national passport.
Thus, the establishment of the Henley Passport Index (HPI). The index is a global ranking of countries according to the travel freedom enjoyed by holders of that country’s ordinary – as opposed to diplomatic – passports. Simply put, the passport index considers what travel benefits accrue to the holder of a particular passport.
The Index compares the visa-free access of 199 different passports to 227 travel destinations. If no visa is required, then a score with a value = 1 is created for that passport. The same applies if you can obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA) when entering the destination.
The Henley Passport Index (HPI) for the year 2022 has been released and African countries have not fared too well.
Japan and Singapore are joint top at number one with 194 Visa-free scores. What that means is that holder of Japanese and Singaporean passports can access 194 countries across the world. Germany and South Korea and joint second with 190 Visa-free scores while Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain occupy the third position with 189 Visa-free scores.
In Africa, South Africa passport is the strongest in Africa, occupying the 53rd position and 104 Visa-free scores. Botswana is second in Africa with 86 Visa-free scores while Namibia is third in Africa with 78 Visa-free scores.
Lesotho is next with 77 Visa-free scores; Malawi is next with 73 Visa-free scores. Kenya and Tanzania are joint 72 globally with 72 Visa-free scores.
Meanwhile, Nigeria, one of Africa’s biggest economies occupies 40th position in Africa and joint 99 globally with Ethiopia with 45 Visa-free scores just one position above war-ridden South Sudan in 100 on the global index.
UN investigators concerned over likely ‘future atrocities’ in Ethiopia
United Nations-appointed investigators in Ethiopia Thursday warned about the likelihood of further humanitarian crises in the country.
The UN chief called for continued scrutiny of Addis Ababa’s human rights record as their work faced termination amid strong African-led opposition.
The Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the northern region Tuesday agreed to a permanent truce to cease hostilities following the conclusion of a peace deal brokered by the African Union in South Africa.
Both sides accused one another of crimes against humanity, such as killings, rapes, and arbitrary detentions, but neither admitted to any systematic wrongdoing.
International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, in a report earlier in the week, said there had been attacks by the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) against civilians in Tigray that were “grave and ongoing.”
With the ongoing Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, its two-year term is up for renewal, but no proposal has been made thus far due to what diplomats describe as considerable resistance, particularly from African members
In light of continued violations in the region, Mohamed Chande Othman, the chair of the Commission, warned the 47-member council that it would be “premature” to conclude its work.
“Failure to do so would not only be an abdication of the Council’s responsibility, it would send a devastating message to the victims and survivors of this conflict,” he said.
He told the Council that “…the situation in Ethiopia exhibits most of the indicators for future atrocities…” and accused Ethiopia of conducting “a deliberate effort to evade regional and international scrutiny”.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s ambassador, Tsegab Kebebew stated the commission had “grossly mischaracterized the good and largely acclaimed democratic advances in Ethiopia”.
The Tigray Region is the northernmost regional state of Ethiopia. The region is the homeland of the Tigrayan, Irob, and Kunama people.
Mozambique: UK Supreme Court okays suit against Privinvest in London
A United Kingdom’s Supreme Court has ruled that Mozambique can sue shipbuilder, Privinvest in Britain for alleged bribery connected to the $2 billion “tuna bond” scandal.
The ruling on Wednesday, just weeks after a London High Court ruled that the Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, cannot be sued in Britain for bribery in his country’s lawsuit against Credit Suisse and others over the $2 billion “tuna bond” scandal.
Mozambique is bringing a lawsuit against Privinvest, its owner, Iskandar Safa, Credit Suisse, and others for government-guaranteed loans raised in 2013 and 2014, hundreds of millions of dollars of which disappeared.
The scandal’s notoriety began with the borrowing of $2.2 billion by three newly formed firms in 2013 and 2014, the majority of which was done without the legislature’s knowledge or authorization. Mozambique alleges that Privinvest and Safa conspired against it and distributed more than $130 million in bribes to dishonest government officials and Credit Suisse employees.
Despite that,the Mozambican government served as a guarantee for the loans, ensuring that it would return the money in the event of a problem.
The “hidden debt” or tuna bond issue has sparked criminal investigations from Maputo to New York, as well as a string of related litigation in London involving Credit Suisse, shipbuilder Privinvest, its owner Iskandar Safa, and many other parties.
Privinvest has suggested that arbitration be used to resolve any disputes with Mozambique. A setback to Mozambique’s attempts to recover the funds it claims it lost came in 2021 when the Court of Appeal ruled in the company’s favour.
But on Wednesday, the Supreme Court unanimously accepted Mozambique’s appeal against that decision, allowing the republic’s allegations against Privinvest to be heard in a trial that would last for months and begin on October 3.
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