HART News Round-up 19/02/16

February 19th, 2016

HART News Round-up 19/02/16

News from HART

  • We have a new job vacancy for the position of Finance Manager at HART. Application deadline is on 7th March.
  • Read the visit report from HART’s most recent visit to Sudan and South Sudan.
  • HART will be at the London International Development Conference 2016 this Saturday – come and say hello if you are there!
  • Do you have 2 minutes to help us out? Please complete this very quick feedback form to let us know how we can improve our communications.
  • The deadline for the HART Prize for Human Rights is next week! If you’re aged 13-25 and passionate about human rights then you may be interested in a chance to win a number of prizes, including a trip to Nagorno-Karabakh. Deadline: 26th February.

 

Burma

 

India

  • Indian women in Pune are fighting for the right to enter temples that they have not been able to enter before. In the southern state of Kerala, women are also fighting tradition for the right to enter temples when menstruating, using social media to launch a #HappyToBleed campaign.
  • Indian farmers resort to selling their own blood for money as persistent drought and unusually warm weather has left land unusable and farming unviable as a way to earn money.
  • A $4 smartphone was launched in India this week. The phone is heavily subsidised by the Indian government and will have pre-installed apps for women’s safety. This phone has the potential to empower rural areas of India with new digital technology.
  • Protests started at one of India’s top universities following the arrest of the president of the student union on charges of sedition.
  • The Supreme Court of India has condemned the act of dedicating young girls as ‘devadasis’.

    Getty images/BBC

    Getty images/BBC

 

Nagorno-Karabakh

  • The NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, has expressed concerns on behalf of the organisation over the tensions on the line of contact of the troops. NATO has also expressed their support of the Minsk Group’s efforts.
  • An Armenian official has claimed that Armenia plans to adopt a more aggressive and active deterrence strategy in its standoff with Azerbaijani troops in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
  • Other claims made today by a Russian government Internet portal have stated that Moscow has granted Armenia a $200 million loan for the purchase of Russian arms, to include Smirch rocket launchers, Igla-S air-defence systems, radar-jamming systems, sniper rifles, and armoured vehicles. The purchase of these types of weaponry would certainly fall in line with an active deterrence strategy.

 

Nigeria

bad blood

South Sudan

South Sudanese civilians flee fighting in a UN base in Malakal. Almost 50,000 civilians had been sheltering there from the country’s civil war. Photograph: Justin Lynch/AFP/Getty Images

South Sudanese civilians flee fighting in a UN base in Malakal. Almost 50,000 civilians had been sheltering there from the country’s civil war. Photograph: Justin Lynch/AFP/Getty Images

Sudan

 

Uganda

  • On Thursday 18th February, Ugandans voted in presidential, parliamentary and local elections for the third time since the restoration of multiparty politics in 2005.
  • There has been a lot of unrest in Uganda this week in light of these elections underway, where President Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, faces his biggest challenge yet. While Museveni eyes to extend his 30-year rule, he faces, for the first time since his rise to power, not just one but several political opponents.
  • In particular, Kizza Besigye who is the representative of the main opposition, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), has become Museveni’s main challenger at the polls.
  • Earlier this week, violence erupted in the Ugandan capital of Kampala, where police and opposition supporters clashed after Besigye was arrested and briefly detained on Monday evening, justified as “he did not stick to an authorised route” during a march with his supporters in Kampala that day.
  • Besigye was then arrested again on polling day, as he went to investigate alleged ballot-stuffing in a house run by the intelligence agencies.
  • Meanwhile, Ugandans waited hours to cast their votes in the presidential elections after lengthy delays, which are claimed to be due to the late arrival of voting materials, although some claim this was deliberately done to favour Museveni and frustrate voters, especially in urban areas where  Besigye has proven to be particularly popular.
  • Scepticism over the fairness of these 2016 elections heightened as social media was banned on polling day following a government-ordered shutdown of all social media apps and sites, to include Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp. When questioned, Museveni claimed it was to stop people “misusing them” and “telling lies”. Social media has played an important role in these elections, as a number of trends on Twitter for example, such as #UgandaDecides, became a form of empowerment in the people’s fight for fair elections. Yet, despite these attempts to ban social media, Ugandans looked to bypass these blockages with free internet tools, including proxies and the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN), in an inspiring effort to fight for their right to freedom of expression.
Goran Tomasevic/ Reuters Some areas were experiencing a delay of up to five hours to vote as people were forced to wait in the blistering heat

Goran Tomasevic/ Reuters
Some areas were experiencing a delay of up to five hours to vote as people were forced to wait in the blistering heat


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