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29 July 2016
News from HART
- Read Charlie Hart’s account of the Modern Slavery Garden that won Gold at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show here.
- Volunteer and fundraise for HART this summer! See here for ways you can get involved.
- A summit this week brought together seventeen leaders of different rebel groups in the war ravaged town of Kachin, close to the border of China. They meet as they prepare for a major peace conference which will be held by the end of August and aims to restart full peace talks.
- Aung San Suu Kyi met several senior ethnic rebel leaders that have been fighting for autonomy for some 60 years in a effort to secure their participation in her planned national peace summit scheduled for the end of August. The Union Peace Conference aims to lay the foundation for a re-invigorated peace process aiming to create a democratic and federal state.
- The United States will provide an additional 21 million dollars to promote economic growth and capacity building for long-term development in the Burma. Ben Rhodes (US deputy national security adviser) says the initiative will support the government’s goal of tripling exports in five years, strengthen the ability of the government and the legal system to provide accountable and transparent oversight and modernize the agricultural sector.
- A couple from India’s Dalit community have been hacked to death in Uttar Pradesh state by an upper caste grocer following a row over a debt of 15 rupees (16 pence). The Dalit community in the village have blocked roads in protest over the incident.
- Indian authorities have re-imposed a curfew in the city of Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir to prevent a protest march called by separatist leaders after the killing of a popular rebel commander by Indian security forces earlier this month. Since the death of Burhan Wani on 8th July the region has seen considerable violence and unrest.
- The United Nations has temporarily suspended aid deliveries in Nigeria’s north-eastern state of Borno after a Unicef convoy was attacked on Thursday, injuring 2 people. UNICEF reported earlier this month that nearly a quarter of a million children in Borno state are suffering from life-threatening malnourishment.
Today a humanitarian convoy with staff from UNICEF, @UNFPA & @IOM_news was attacked in northeast #Nigeria https://t.co/bh7dhL77xv
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) July 28, 2016
- It has been reported that a multinational task force fighting Boko Haram has recaptured the town of Damasak in Borno. This is the latest success in ongoing military operations against the Islamist militants.
- A recent report by the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee has found that Britain has not been doing enough to help Northern Nigeria. The report warns of the growing regional inequality between the conflict-stricken North and the more prosperous South, which UK aid should be directed to fighting.
- Riek Machar has claimed that his temporary replacement as vice-president was ‘illegal’. On Monday, Kiir replaced Machar with mining minister Taban Deng Gai after Machar failed to meet a 48 hour ultimatum to return to the capital, Juba. His whereabouts is still uncertain. The UN has since warned Kiir that political appointments must be consistent with the peace deal signed last August. The move threatens to widen political divides in the country.
- The UN has reported at least 120 cases of sexual violence and rape against citizens in Juba since fighting broke out earlier this month between troops loyal to Riek Machar and Salva Kiir. On Thursday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon demanded “accountability for all atrocities” and a renewed commitment to the peace agreement, saying that South Sudan stands ‘on the brink of an abyss’. In response to the worsening crisis in the country, the EU has released €40 million in emergency humanitarian assistance to South Sudan.
- The United States has proposed a 10-day renewal of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan whilst the UN Security Council continues to consider imposing an arms embargo on the country.
- President Salva Kiir has vowed to expedite the implementation of the peace deal in a meeting with his two deputies on Thursday during which the three leaders agreed to undertake measures to “strengthen the protection of civilians”.
- South Sudanese forces loyal to President Salva Kiir have been accused of carrying out fresh attacks against forces of the opposition (SPLA-IO) led by the former Vice President Riek Machar.
- Police have re-established a presence in the locality of Ambro in North Darfur for the first time in 13 years. Last month, North Darfur state governor Abdul-Wahid Yousif acknowledged existence of security problems in the state particularly in the capital, El-Fasher.
- Former Indonesian military chief General Wiranto has been appointed as Indonesia’s top security official despite his alleged responsibility for human rights crimes in East Timor in 1999. In 2003 he was indicted by a United Nations panel for overseeing atrocities in Timor-Leste . Amnesty International have condemned the appointment as showing ‘contempt for human rights’.
- Aid agencies in Northern Uganda are struggling to cope with the huge influx of South Sudanese refugees since fighting broke out in Juba on 8th July. According to UNHCR, the influx is putting serious strain on its capacity in the region.