October 16th, 2015
Weekly News Round-Up (16/10/15)
News From HART
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office – Sudan – Cluster Munitions (13 Oct 2015)
Baroness Cox: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they plan to make to the government of Sudan following the findings by the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor that Sudanese armed forces used air-dropped cluster bombs in Darfur and South Kordofan’s Nuba Mountains in the first half of 2015.
Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State: We have brought this issue to the attention of the Government of Sudan. We have also raised the use of cluster munitions in Darfur through the UN Security Council and will continue to do so. Most recently, the UK-drafted Security Council resolution 2228 called for the Government of Sudan to immediately investigate evidence on cluster munitions presented by the Secretary General. The UK is clear that cluster munitions should in no circumstances be used to target civilians, and urge all States to act in accordance with international humanitarian law.
- For World Food Day 2015, HART Intern Natasha Self highlights the pioneering work of HIAM Health in Timor-Leste. Read her blog here!
- The Burmese government has signed a ceasefire with 8 of the 15 armed minority groups.
- One month before elections, Amnesty International launched a new campaign to free political prisoners in Burma.
- Amnesty Report “Back to the Old Ways” exposes increased repression by the Burmese government over the last two years.
- The Burmese Border Guards have been charging a discriminatory toll since October 1st. Rohingyas travelling from Maungdaw North-side to central Maungdaw are required to step out of their vehicles and pay 500 kyat, while other ethnicities pass.
- Skin problems have been reported among population of Rakhine state, following the floods.
- Use of social media in relation to the upcoming elections is soaring. The percentage of the population with internet access has significantly increased in the last few years.
- It remains uncertain to what extent the ongoing fighting in Kachin state will affect the November elections. For parts of the region, it will prevent voting, but it also affects access to transportation and information in a more general manner.
- There is a lack of arrangements for disabled people to access polling stations in the Sagaing Region.
- There is a significant increase in female election candidates in Chin State, compared to the 2010 elections.
- Karen News reported an increased number of arrests of political opposition and protesters.
- Voters in Shan state are facing difficulties as the Election Commission has not informed them at which ballots they may cast their votes. Voting lists are also reported to be inaccurate.
- India has downplayed a US report on lack of religious freedom in the country. The report states that India has recently witnessed ‘religiously motivated killings, arrests, riots and coerced religious conversions’.
- A senior minister in India’s ruling party has prompted a storm of criticism from liberals and minorities after suggesting that Muslims are second class citizens and should leave the country if they do not abide by Hindu customs.
- India has strongly dismissed Pakistan’s raising of the Jammu and Kashmir issue in the UN, asserting that the references constitute a ‘clear interference’ in its internal affairs. India also stated that Kashmir is, has always been and will remain an integral part of India.
- Further ceasefire violations by the Azerbaijani troops have been reported.
- Fighting in the border area has claimed the lives of six Armenian soldiers.
- A new video by an unidentified member of Boko Haram purports to show the beheading of a captured soldier, reaffirms the organisation’s allegiance to IS as well as denying claims that 200 of its members have surrendered.
- Amnesty International have opened a new national office in Abuja as part of a drive to increase its impact in the country and to better investigate claims of abuses from the Nigerian military. Responsibilities have moved over from the London office. Nigeria giving permission to open an office is a marked contrast from the rocky relationship of Amnesty and the previous government.
- Schoolgirl Victoria Yohanna (15) spoke to the House of Lords about her ordeal being abducted by Boko Haram.
- Nigeria and Cameroon welcomed a US decision to send up to 300 military personnel to Cameroon to help fight Boko Haram militants. 90 personnel have already been sent.
- A twin suicide bombing at a mosque on the outskirts of Maiduguri killed at least 26.
- At least 36 people have been killed in multiple suicide attacks outside Maiduguri in Borno state, including another mosque.
- The Ugandan Army has announced it will finally withdraw from South Sudan, in accordance to the South Sudanese peace agreement signed in August.
- The South Sudanese cabinet has approved the expansion of federal states. The creation of the new states will soon be presented before parliament and lawmakers. At the same time opposition groups have taken the issue to court.
- Around 600 people have been internally displaced in Mundri Country due to fighting between the SPLA and unknown militias.
- The UN has insisted that unarmed drones should be used for the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. However, the South Sudanese government has objected, saying it will increase “hostilities”.
- Despite the ongoing civil war, South Sudan is to start exporting coffee for the first time. This is in conjunction with a campaign run by Nespresso. The coffee will, at first, only be available in France.
- A government-led National Dialogue conference began in Khartoum on Sunday.The conference has been boycotted by many opposition parties and rebels, citing “dissatisfaction with the process”.
- There have been reports of ongoing clashes between Sudanese troops and Ethiopian gangs since Sunday. The violence is occurring along the border between the two countries, where land ownership has been disputed by farmers from both nations.
- Services take place to remember the Balibo Five, journalists reporting Indonesia’s attack at Timor-Leste’s border killed 40 years ago today, as well as Roger East, killed two months later during the Indonesian invasion.
- Today on World Food Day, HART celebrate the pioneering work of its partner HIAM Health including a visual depiction of their methods.
- Mixed blessings for Uganda on World Food Day; whilst indicators show that hunger, stunting and mortality among Ugandan children is decreasing, the undernourished population of Uganda has increased.
- Police brutality is on the rise against opposition supporters ahead of elections, says Human Rights Watch.
- The deadline has passed for Ugandan army withdrawal from South Sudan. The UPDF remain in Jonglei State, in spite of committing to withdraw when the Ugandan government signed as a guarantor of the recent peace agreement between South Sudan’s warring parties last August.
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