Weekly News Round-Up (04/09/15)

4 September 2015

News From HART:


  • Burma raises minimum wage to £1.82.
  • Photo collection from Burma News International shows the immense destruction caused by the recent floods.
  • Freedom of religion is at stake with the new Bill making conversion more difficult.
  • Due to the recent floods, rice production has been reduced by 400,000 metric tons compared to last year, states a report from the USDA.


South Sudan:

  • Prospects for peace have been further diminished by reports of helicopter attacks in Malakal, Upper Nile, on Wednesday. The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have condemned these attacks as direct violations of the peace agreement between government and rebel forces, signed by president Salva Kiir less than a week ago. A military spokesperson for the SPLM-in Opposition has accused government forces of using gun-ships, tanks and ground troops to attack rebel positions in across Upper Nile.
  • UN officials and other international figures, such as US Secretary of State John Kerry, have warned leading figures from both parties to respect the terms of the ceasefire or face targeted sanctions. The UN Security Council will be meeting today to discuss these violations and appropriate measures of response, as well as sanctions.
  • Sustained peace and the implementation of the post-conflict strategy laid out in the peace agreement are made more uncertain by the fact that leaders on all sides have expressed scepticism and disdain over the terms of the deal. Whilst Salva Kiir believes the agreement is a ‘road map for regime change, Riek Machar argues that Kiir’s government receives ‘the lion’s share of everything’, and senior military officials on both sides refuse to recognise the peace accord.
  • Disease and infection are rampant in internally displaced person (IDP) and refugee camps. Malaria cases have risen significantly in recent weeks in UN Protection sites, especially in Bentiu, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). It is one of many diseases where cases have increased significantly due to poor conditions and lack of resources, like the cholera outbreak in Juba and Bor counties this summer.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have successfully undertaken a 10 day aerial food drop operation, distributing 400 tonnes of food to one of the remotest and hard to reach areas in Jonglei state.
  • Medicin Sans Frontieres (MSF) have completed a targeted cholera vaccination campaign in Juba, reaching 160,000 people.


  • Sudan president Omar al-Bashir has held talks with his South African counter-part, and leading orchestrator of Bashir’s escape from the ICC back in June, Jacob Zuma. Both men have agreed on a plan to ‘confront challenges facing Africa’, with the ICC as the primary issue. In further violation of the Rome Statute, to which South Africa is a state-party, Zuma has accepted an invitation to Khartoum later in the year to discuss inter-continental matters, including the on-going conflict in South Sudan.
  • The Sudanese government continues to heavily restrict civil society and free speech and expression. Four senior members of the Reform Now Movement (RNM) were arrested at a political rally in Khartoum, after large crowds gathered and loudly vocalised their discontent. The RNM splintered from the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) back in October 2013, after protests in Khartoum and elsewhere were violently repressed by security forces, leading to the deaths of approximately 200 people.
  • The ICRC yesterday announced that the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Whadi al-Nur (SLM-AW) released 16 government troops and two civilians after they were held by the rebel group in Darfur. They were accompanied to Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, where they were met by Sudanese authorities.
  • Protests have taken place in South Darfur, over the killing of a student during an armed robbery that took place on Monday night, with people demanding for greater security and protection from local authorities. There has also been strong criticism from doctors and academics regarding the deteriorating conditions in health clinics and displacement camps across the region, accusing the South Darfur Ministry of Health and the Darfur Regional Authority for failing to address the issue.


  • 11 Health Ministers from Southeast Asia are to meet in Timor-Leste’s capital, Dili, next week to agree on health priorities. They will focus on outbreak prevention and eliminating neglected tropical diseases, including a strategy for ending TB.
  • The President of Timor-Leste is currently on a first official visit to China, accompanied by some senior ministers, including the Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister. In a statement by the President’s office, the aim of the visit is to thank China for being the first nation to recognise Timor-Leste’s declaration of independence in 1975, and to establish diplomatic relations when independence was restored in 2002, as well as for its ongoing support for the country’s development.
  • The Jakarta Post published an interview with Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister Rui Maria De Araujo this week, discussing the “mature relationship” the country has developed with Indonesia, as well as outlining the issues still needing resolving.


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