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11 August 2017
HART News Round Up – 11th August 2017
This week, Baroness Caroline Cox and HART are in Nagorno Karabakh to visit the Lady Cox Rehabilitation Center and meet with the Nagorno-Karabakh Foreign Minister and Parliamentary Speaker. We shall be releasing our visit report next week with updates on HART’s aid and advocacy work in the region.
- Aung San Suu Kyi Criticised by the New York Times – whilst acknowledging that her power is limited, Suu Kyi has been criticised for her acquiescence to repressive measures against the media.
- Namhsan villagers flee as clashes continue between TNLA and Burmese army – More than 200 civilians in northern Shan State’s Namhsan Township fled their homes this week due to ongoing hostilities between Burma’s armed forces and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army.
- Indigenous rights advocates highlight scourge of civil war in Burma – On International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, advocates have highlighted that under the rule of different administrations, the indigenous people have been deprived of their rights.
- Village chief attacked in Buthidaung in Rakhine – Masked attackers assaulted the Kyaungtaung Village chief in Buthidaung Township in Rakhine State with swords, the latest in growing ethnic violence in Rakhine.
- Burma government finds ‘no evidence’ of Rohingya rape, murder and arson – Myanmar Vice President Myint Swe said there is no evidence of crimes against humanity or ethnic cleansing, despite numerous reports to the contrary by the UN and other NGOs.
- Burma army ignores UN and NCA conventions, targets and arrests Shan civilians – The Shan Human Rights Foundation alleged that recent Burma Army offensives have targeted civilians that resulted in disappearances, arrests and human rights abuses, including torture.
- Burma: Authorities must avoid further ‘scorched-earth’ tactics after Rakhine killings – The report by Amnesty international says “While the Burmese authorities have the duty to maintain law and order and investigate these attacks, they must ensure that these investigations are conducted in a fair and transparent manner, in accordance with international human rights law.”
- This week, HART’s founder Baroness Caroline Cox visited Nagorno-Karabakh, meeting with the Foreign Minister and Parliamentary Speaker. They discussed new changes to the constitution, including for the protection of human rights and basic human freedoms.
- ‘The international recognition of the Artsakh independence is just a matter of time’, says Vice-Speaker of Armenia’s parliament.
- Azerbaijan Building Up Forces in Nakhchivan – Azerbaijan is carrying out a substantial military buildup in the exclave of Nakhchivan, as the territory’s strategic significance increases for both Baku and Yerevan.
- An appeal to call for EU to engage with Nagorno-Karabakh – MEP Frank Engel calls for the EU to engage with humanitarian programmes in Nagorno-Karabakh.
- The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed a donation of 5,000 metric tons of rice from the Government of Nigeria. This will help feed nearly half-a-million internally displaced people in the conflict-ravaged northeast of the country, where the threat of famine endures.
- The Nigerian Army said it killed six terrorists in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno during an operation to dislodge the remnant of Boko Haram insurgents in the state.
- Kano State government has concluded the July round of poliomyelitis vaccination of over three million children below five years. According to the executive Secretary, Kano State Primary Health Care Management Board, Dr. Nasir Mahmoud, the state government is on the verge of total eradication of the polio disease at all levels.
- Nigeria’s acting President Prof Yemi Osinbajo has announced the setting up of a judicial commission to review compliance of armed forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement.
- Some parents in the northeast of Nigeria are giving their daughters to Boko Haram terrorists for indoctrination and suicide bombing missions, the country’s military said. Some arrested female suicide bombers have testified that “minors were donated to the terrorists sect’’ by their parents and guardians, as part of their contribution to the Boko Haram insurgency.
- The Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, says the economic impact of Boko Haram activities in the North East is estimated at $9 billion (N274.5b).
- At least 12 people have been shot dead this week at a church in southeast Nigeria, with authorities suggesting the bloodshed was due to a local feud. Witnesses said five gunmen stormed St Philip’s church in Ozubulu, near the city of Onitsha, at 6am local time, and opened fire on worshippers. The police, however, said the killing was the work of a lone attacker and no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
- There is fear in the Akpagodogbo-Otukpa community in Ogbadibo Council of Benue State following a clash on Wednesday between the locals and the Fulani herdsmen which left three people dead and several more injured.
- South Sudan rebel chief of general staff, Gen. Gatwech Dual has warned the armed opposition movement supporters against posting on social media information relating to their operations without seeking prior approval from the military spokesperson’s office. Dual said posting such information on social media could endanger their lives and strategies of their armed forces operating in the fields.
- Heavy fighting between South Sudan’s warring factions broke out in South Sudan’s Pagak town, the main rebel headquarters located at the Ethiopian border. South Sudanese rebels say they launched the attack after government forces refused to surrender or vacate their stronghold of Pagak.
- The German Foreign Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel has urged South Sudan President Salva Kiir to involve the armed opposition faction in the country’s national dialogue process. Launched in May this year, the national dialogue initiative is both a forum and process through which the people South Sudan shall gather to redefine the basis of their unity as it relates to nationhood, redefine citizenship and belonging, as well as restructure the state for national inclusion.
- Earlier this year a group of 54 Israelis filed a High Court petition requesting a criminal investigation into the Israeli officials involved in selling weapons to South Sudan just before the outbreak civil war. Israel insists that no laws were broken by alleged arms sales to militias belonging to the government of South Sudan.
- At least 38 people were killed this week when the Apuk and Aguok clans clashed in the north-west of the country, an official has disclosed. Ethnic violence in South Sudan has a long history among its varied ethnic groups. South Sudan has 64 tribes with the largest being the Dinkas, who constitute about 35% of the population and predominate in government.
- South Sudan opposition groups have retaken the town of Maiwut. Last week the South Sudanese government took the control of the town, and announced that it was moving towards the rebel’s stronghold, Pagak. Later reports stated that South Sudan’s army had indeed captured the main rebel stronghold of Pagak near the Ethiopian border, forcing thousands of people to flee.
- The Head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has insisted that the mission maintains a “zero tolerance approach” to the militarization of camps for people displaced by conflict and that the camps remain civilian in nature.
- As the rainy season progresses in South Sudan, rapid responses are critical to stemming the cholera outbreak that has affected the country for over a year. The outbreak has compounded already dire humanitarian needs. Since 18 June 2016, over 18,000 cholera cases—including 328 deaths—have been reported in South Sudan.
- Sudan needs to address racial tension to build sustainable peace – Obscured by the war and political instability, this institutional exclusion and racial tension persists in Sudan.
- Sudan: SPLM-N Condemns Execution of Rebel Commander in Sudan – The SPLM-N considers the execution of Koumi a war crime and a violation of the Treatment of Prisoners of War as agreed in the Geneva Convention. The rebel movement will officially request the International Committee of the Red Cross and human rights organisations “to independently investigate the crime”.
- Cholera spreads in northern Sudan – Since the first reports of infections in Blue Nile state in September 2016, the Sudanese authorities have refused to make any reference to the disease being cholera, in disagreement with doctors, medical volunteers and civil society initiatives.
- Sudan imposes security clearance ahead of citizenship for Syrian refugees – According to SRSC data, Sudan currently hosts 250,000 Syrian refugees, most of whom live in the capital Khartoum
- Timor Leste’s politics remains in a post-election limbo as the parties elected to parliament just over a fortnight ago negotiate to form government. Despite early optimism that the broad outlines of a new administration might be known quickly, the recent developments suggest an outcome is at least a week away, and possibly longer. There are concerns about the urgent need for political stability in this post-conflict democracy, as well as the need for Timor Leste to diversify its economy.
- Hundreds of Kenyan nationals have been fleeing to Uganda on daily basis ahead of the general elections which took place on Tuesday, fearing a repeat of the 2007/08 post-election violence that took the country by surprise.
- An 18 month long investigation by Global Witness has exposed endemic corruption and mismanagement in the country’s fledgling mining sector that means crooked officials, and international investors are profiting at the expense of Uganda’s people, environment and economy.
- A group of teenagers in Uganda are making it their mission to celebrate their menstruation and are performing songs about periods and hygiene for their classmates. The group of teens are keen to smash the taboo around periods so fewer girls their age skip school.