September 18th, 2015
Weekly News Round-Up (18/09/15)
News from HART
- Baroness Cox asked a supplementary question in the House of Lords. She asked Her Majesty’s Government what actions they are taking to support the National Ceasefire Agreement and electoral process in northern Shan and Kachin states.
- Vice President Nyan Tun opened a 1 billion pound manufacturing complex on Wednesday. The Special Economic Zone has an approximate capacity of hosting 100 companies. The opening is expected to attract increased investment, and opportunities for work. With elections coming up, timing could not be better.
- The National League for Democracy (NLD) issued their election manifesto on Monday, detailing the policy priorities of the opposition party as Burma moves towards the elections set for 8th November.
- John Kirby, US State Department Spokesperson, released a statement highlighting the United States’ concerns over the disqualification of approximately 100 (almost all Muslim) candidates.
- The Restoration Council of Shan State has called on political parties to suspend campaigning in over a dozen townships in Shan State as renewed fighting that flared in August continued this week.
- Indian and Sri Lankan Prime Ministers declare that cooperation between the two countries will be intensified, regarding both trade and defence.
- On 13th September, Nagorno-Karabakh held their local government elections in which 52,765 voters cast their ballots. Nagorno-Karabakh continues to operate as a de facto independent republic; however, their elections are not internationally recognised.
- Buhari spent three days this week on an official visit to France, where discussion included restoring investor confidence, trade, defence, security and Boko Haram.
- President Buhari and the Nigerian government are in talks with Boko Haram and mulling over an amnesty deal to exchange prisoners in return for the release of the kidnapped Chibok girls, special advisor to the President Femi Adesina tweeted on Tuesday.
- The Deputy Secretary-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and scholar Adam Idoko has been released by kidnappers after a week-long abduction (17/9/15).
- A recent survey revealed that half of Nigerian children experience some form of violence and a quarter of girls suffer sexual violence. Over 4000 individuals between 13 and 24 were surveyed.
- An Islamic primary and secondary school in Jos collapsed on Sunday following heavy rain. Death toll is now at least 10, with more than 24 injured.
- Authorities have confirmed 9 deaths from a cholera outbreak at an internally displaced camp in Maiduguri, Borno state. MSF call for help.
- 16th October marked 40 years since a group of Australian journalists known as the Balibo Five were gunned down by Indonesian forces in Timor-Leste. Ceremonies across Australia and Timor-Leste mark their deaths.
- Ugandan police are abusing the law, says U.S. Ambassador. The Ambassador stated that the police are applying the law in partisan manner which will contribute to people losing faith in the government and next year’s elections.
- The President of Uganda, South Sudan and Sudan had a series of meetings this week, in which they discussed the IGAD-PLUS peace agreement and President Museveni pledged to withdraw his troops from South Sudan.
- The EU has rewarded Uganda with $24.5m for it’s progress in socio-economic development.
- On Wednesday a crashed oil tanker exploded near the town of Maridi in Western Equatoria, killing 182 people according to latest estimates.
- Independent monitors from the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have officially confirmed that government forces attacked rebel positions in Upper Nile state using helicopter gun-ships, therefore violating a peace agreement intended to bring an end to the conflict, that President Salva Kiir had signed just days before. The United States and other western nations have accused both Kiir and his newly re-instated vice president and rebel leader Riek Machar of squandering goodwill since peace had been agreed. Machar’s rebel troops also violated the agreement by attacking government positions in Unity state on the 23rd August, although this was before Kiir had signed.
- Senior officials from Russia, Angola and Venezuela have opposed the UN Security Council, and denounced the proposal of sanctions on South Sudan’s Army Chief Paul Malong and rebel General Johnson Olony.
- The Juba Monitor, an independent South Sudanese print newspaper has reportedly been ordered to cease publication by security forces late on Thursday. Chief Editor and veteran journalist Alfred Taban has been called to attend a meeting with the Office of National Security, after he published an article criticizing government actions in Wunduriba Payam, Central Equatoria, which consisted of random shootings at civilians and led to the displacement of around 80,000.
- Ugandan president Yoweri Musevini is currently on a two-day visit to Sudan and has held bilateral talks with president Omar-al Bashir, with particular focus on the still volatile situation in South Sudan that has had a heavy impact on both countries. Although the two countries have a history of poor relations, their leaders have come together to resolve the crisis and agreed that they must cooperate in order to stabilise the region.
- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has stressed concern over the continuation of human rights violations carried out against civilians in Sudan, particularly in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan which, he states, are carried out with impunity by perpetrators. The Committee for Solidarity, set up in response to the September and October 2013 demonstrations in which approximately 200 people were killed, has also accused the parliament security committee of spreading propaganda, as it has denied violations by security forces and accused ‘unknown persons’ for firing on demonstrators.
- The opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCP), has welcomed a road map for peace issued by the rebel group the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF). It has been described as ‘historic’ by the SCP for identifying the requirements for negotiations and eventual peace between the government and rebel forces, including the cessation of hostilities, as well as a description of the requirements for inclusive and comprehensive dialogue.
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