January 16th, 2015
Weekly News Round Up (16/01/15)
News from HART:
- On Friday, HART published a press release into life in Sudan’s war-torn Blue Nile State: a contemporary, condoned Genocide.
- On January 12th, five-party talks between government, parliament, political parties (including ethnic minorities), the military and the Union Election Commission took place to discuss major issues in the country. President Thein Sein earlier this month expressed his hope to have a cease-fire accord signed by February 12th, Burma’s Union Day.
- On Thursday, Burma’s National Human Rights Commission ruled that the recent killing of a farmer at the Letpadaung copper mine in Sagaing Division was the result of mistakes made by the police when they tried to suppress a protest against the project.
- Fighting erupted again between the KIA and the army on Thursday near Aung Bar Lay and Tagaungs village in Hpakant, forcing more than 1,000 people to leave their homes.
- At the end of her visit to the country, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Burma, Yanghee Lee, highlighted on Friday that “in some areas [she has] not observed progress since [her] last visit.” She also highlighted that “the rights of Rohingya people must be protected, promoted and upheld.”
- Tension declined at the line of contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani troops following the massive surge in ceasefire violations on the 7th of January. On January 14 the OSCE Mission conducted a planned monitoring of the Line of Contact between the armed forces of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan. The monitoring was, however, disrupted by a shot from the Azerbaijani side and suspended for safety reasons. On the night of 14 January over 150 instances of ceasefire violations with over 1500 shots fired by Azerbaijani forces were registered at the line of contact with the Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces. In the following days increasing tension was anticipated again along the line of contact. The Azerbaijani side reportedly violated the ceasefire about 200 times. Front troops of the NKR Defense Army took response actions.
- Ivica Dacic, new OSCE Chairman, First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Serbia, noted that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would be a priority for Serbia’s presidency in the OSCE.
- Last Saturday, a female suicide bomber killed at least 20 and injured 18 others in an attack on the Maiduguri Monday Market, Borno State.
- On the next day, another female suicide bomber killed three people and injured at least 40 in Potiskum, Yobe State.
- Despite uncertainty about the number of victims in Boko Haram’s attack on Baga and neighbouring towns, on Monday the Defence Ministry estimated the death toll to be 150, instead of 2,000.
- Forty-two Boko Haram militants, including 15 Chadians, were killed when the military repelled insurgents in Biu, Borno, on Tuesday, Mike Omeri, Coordinator, National Information Centre, said on Thursday.
- A new round of peace negotiations opened on Monday the 12th in Khartoum between the warring factions in South Sudan. The meeting, facilitated by China, was part of the IGAD-mediated peace talks since January last year between the SPLA-Juba led by President Salva Kiir and SPLA-In Opposition of Riek Machar. Agreement was announced on Wednesday, after separate consultations between the Chinese Foreign Minister and the parties to the conflict. It called for an immediate cease-fire between the SPLA-Juba and SPLA-In Opposition, and for the formation of a transitional government to run the country’s affairs.
- The United Nations is concerned that an African Union report on human rights violations in South Sudan since violence erupted over a year ago won’t be discussed at this month’s AU summit. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic told a group of reporters that the UN expected the report to be taken up at the 23-31 January summit in Addis Ababa and then released publicly.
- More than 50 fighters from both sides of South Sudan’s year-old conflict were killed in clashes last week in Upper Nile state. SPLA spokesman blamed the fighting on rebels loyal to former vice president Riek Machar. IGAD-led talks are set to resume on January 30 and 31 in Addis Ababa, to try to finally pressure the government and rebels to end more than a year of conflict.
- Last Friday, Nuba Reports recorded more than 450 bombs, rockets and shells dropped on civilians in the month of December 2014 – the most in a single month since war began.
- The Sudanese Armed Forces claims to have recaptured four areas in South Kordofan and North Darfur. An SAF spokesperson announced that it managed to “expel the remnants of the SPLM-Minnawi from Abu-Liha area, east of Kutum, [and Abu-Qamra] in North Darfur State,” and in S. Kordofoan to recapture the areas of al-Qneziah (NE of Kadougli) and Oanagarto (E of Kauda). The military’s assessment conflicted with Jan 11th statement by the SPLM-N, who said they had successfully repelled army incursions.
- The National Election Commission announced that it has formally accepted President Bashir bid for re-election in April’s elections. So far, the Umma Party, Reform Now, Muslim Brotherhood and members of the DUP have decided to boycott the upcoming elections.
- According to a source, the NISS has filed a request to dissolve the Umma Party and ban its activities.
- Timor-Leste has improved access to basic health services in most rural areas but access to medical supplies is still a challenge. Support from WB to develop a new system and better management of medical supplies
- Dominic Ongwen, captured Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army rebel chief, will be sent to the International Criminal Court to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Uganda’s military and the United States announced on Tuesday, following long negotiations. He will be conveyed to The Hague by CAR authorities. This solution is beneficial for the US and Uganda as well. While the US wants to see Ongwen handed over to The Hague, they would not want to do it by themselves since they are not signatories to the Rome Statute that resulted in the formation of the ICC. At the same time handing over Ongwen to the ICC would possibly be a diplomatic embarrassment for Uganda following recent criticisms President Museveni expressed against the ICC. In a message first broadcast on CAR radio, Ongwen called for other LRA fighters to surrender and said Museveni had promised to grant amnesty, which Uganda denied.
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