November 28th, 2014

Weekly News Round Up (28/11/14)

News from HART:

  • We will hold a reception for our partner in Nagorno-Karabakh and Director of the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Centre on December 9th at Fielden House. Click here for more information.
  • The HART Prize for Human Rights is now open for entries! Read more here.
  • On the HART blog: Olivia Christian argues that geopolitical interests are given precedence over human rights, hindering the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

 

Burma

  • Last Friday, the UN General Assembly adopted a non-binding resolution urging the Burmese government to ensure free elections “allowing all candidates to fairly contest the elections” and to allow the Rohingya Muslims “access to full citizenship on an equal basis”.
  • On Monday, The Burmese Army released 80 child soldiers who had been illegally recruited in the troops. In 2014 alone, according to Unicef, a total of 376 have been released so far from the armed forces.
  • The Women’s League of Burma released a report on Tuesday highlighting that Burmese soldiers “continue to engage in acts of sexual violence on a widespread scale, and women and human rights defenders in ethnic communities face harassment and persecution.” The group also stated that “to achieve sustainable peace and help safeguard  the rights of ethnic women, the government of Burma must immediately stop its military offensives in the ethnic areas, pull back its troops and begin political dialogue with the ethnic armed groups towards genuine federalism.” The full report can be accessed here.
  • Burma’s Senate adopted a draft nationwide referendum law on constitutional amendment on Thursday. The referendum is to be held in May 2015, but will changes will only come into act after the 2015 elections.
  • Physicians for Humans rights released a report on Thursday accusing Burma of violating international standards in the displacement of families to create a special economic zone 23 km south of Yangon. The full report can be accessed here.
  • The Foreign Affairs Committee of the British Parliament published a report on Thursday that calls on the British government to support the re-imposition of European Union sanctions on Burma in 12 months’ time if there is no improvement in the situation of the Rohingya, and if all political prisoners are not unconditionally released. Access the full report here.
  • Following the Burmese army’s attack on a training camp last week near the headquarters of the KIA, the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team’s Vice-Chairman Nai Hongsa said it would now be “completely impossible” to sign an agreement by the end of the year.

 

Nagorno-Karabakh

  • Despite the proposal of a bill envisaging the recognition of independence of Karabakh two weeks ago, Nagorno-Karabakh’s Heritage Party now announced it would not raise the question anymore, as “unfortunately, neither Armenia not Nagorno Karabakh are yet ready for Yerevan’s recognition of the ‘Nagorno Karabakh Republic” – the party leader said.
  • The remains of the 3 crew members of the helicopter hit by Azerbaijani troops, as well as some parts of the helicopter, have been evacuated, Armenpress reported. During the special operation to evacuate the remains, two Azerbaijani troops were killed. The President of Artsakh Republic, Bako Sahakyan, posthumously awarded the crew.
  • Between November 16 and 22 the NKR Defense Ministry recorded about 1,200 cases of ceasefire violation at the Line of Contact between the troops of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan with over 13,000 shots fired by the Azerbaijani side, to which the NKR Defense Army gave adequate response.

 

Nigeria

  • Last Friday, Boko Haram militants raided the village of Doron Baga, Borno State, leaving at least 50 people dead. According to Maina Ma’aji Lawa, a senator for northern Borno State in Nigeria’s upper chamber, the group is in now in full control of the town.
  • Boko Haram militants took control of the town of Damasak in Borno State, near the Niger border, on Monday. The group found no resistance as all adult males and soldiers had left the town following an attack a few days earlier, according to Maina Ma’aji Lawan, who represents northern Borno state in Nigeria’s Senate
  • According to a Nigerian civil defence officer, suspected Boko Haram militants attacked two villages on the outskirts of Chibok (Borno State), Kamtahi and Galtimari, on Monday leaving 20 people dead and forcing hundreds to flee.
  • The capital of Borno State, Maiduguri, was the scene of an attack by two teenage girl suicide bombers on Tuesday that left at least 78 people killed.
  • An explosive was detonated in the village of Maraba, on the outskirts of Mubi, Adamawa State’s second largest city, leaving at least 10 soldiers and 35 hunters dead. Although no one has claimed responsibility, Boko Haram remains the prime suspect.

 

South Sudan

  • A new UN Organisations for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report estimates that 1.91 million people have been displaced by the conflict since December 2013. Moreover, UNOCHA estimated that 3.8 million people will need to be assisted by the end of the year. The full report can be accessed here.
  • UN aid workers reported that eleven containers of children’s textbooks that were to be distributed were burned in Malakal, capital of government-controlled Upper Nile State. An investigation into the perpetrators is ongoing.
  • On Tuesday, the UN Security Council extended the UN Mission in South Sudan for an additional six months “maintaining the operation’s mandate to focus on civilian protection, facilitation of relief assistance, and human rights monitoring.” The mission is now extended until 30 May 2015.
  • South Sudanese rebels have accused government troops of renewing violence on Wednesday as the military had allegedly attacked several rebel defensive positions.
  • The Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC) Professor Abednego Akok Kacuol said that elections must be held within six months but do not need to be free and fair according to international standards, because following these standards would hinder the process itself.

 

Sudan

  • Tribal conflict resumed in West Kordofan State this week as Awlad Omran and al-Ziyoud groups of the Mesiria tribe clashed again over a land dispute. No government troops were protecting either side, and 100 people were left dead.
  • The joint United Nations-African Union (UNAMID) peacekeeping mission’ human rights office in Darfur confirmed on Tuesday that it has received a formal closure request from the Sudanese government. The move comes as rebels accused soldiers of carrying out a mass rape on Novmember 10th against 200 girls in the town of Tabit, Darfur.

 

Timor-Leste

  • Partners in the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) announced a $107 million grant to five countries to support country-led initiatives aimed to increase agriculture productivity, improve food security and reduce poverty. Timor-Leste is to receive $21 million to support sustainable commercialization of smallholder agriculture, hoping to reach about 20 percent of the population living in rural areas.

 

Uganda

  • The drafters of the recently revised anti-gay law want Ugandan Parliament to pass it before Christmas, a lawmaker said on Friday. “The draft is ready and we have strengthened the law, especially in areas of promotion and luring children. Next week we expect to meet the speaker to fix a date for the re-tabling to parliament”. Meanwhile, the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law (CSCHRCL), Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), Rainbow Health Foundation (RHF), and Support Initiative for Persons with Congenital Disorders (SIPD) released a report on violations based on Sex Determination, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in Uganda, which can be read here.
  • A recent analysis on the Independent highlights the significance of the 2016 elections in Uganda for the country’s post-conflict recovery in the long-term. : “It will set a new tone for the electorates to choose between a new breed of leaders who are capable of peacetime leadership through social innovation and population based resource mobilisation to revitalize the rural and urban economies in the Northern Uganda region, and those stuck in conflict mind-set.”


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