January 22nd, 2016
HART Weekly News Round-up 22/01/16
News from HART
- Read the Press Release from HART’s recent visit to Sudan: “THEY ARE KILLING US LOUDLY BUT NO ONE IS LISTENING”: Civilians speak out about impending attacks and war crimes committed by the Government of Sudan.
- We published previous intern Olivia Rosenstrom’s legal report on the legal implications of large-scale developments in Burma: ‘Humane Commerce’.
- HART intern, Joe Whittaker, has written a blog entitled ‘Four obstacles to a Nagorno-Karabakh peace’.
— HART-UK (@HARTnews) January 22, 2016
- 52 political prisoners were freed in an amnesty on Friday. Nevertheless, AAPP (Burma) have raised some concerns regarding the 408 people still awaiting trial for political actions.
- A Kachin aid worker has been sentenced for 6 months in prison for a Facebook post ‘deemed to defame the Burma Army’.
- An Alliance of women’s rights organisations in Burma have called for ‘greater inclusion of women in Burma’s peace process’. Only approx. 7% of participants in a recent Union Peace Conference were women.
- Kachin Women’s Association in Thailand and Legal Aid Network have released a new report on sexual violence and war crimes in Burma.
- Tony Blair has been in Burma for at least the fifth time since Thein Sein has been in power according to The Irrawwaddy. The purposes of his visits are unclear, leading mark Framer from Burma Campaign UK to say, “Tony Blair should be transparent about what who he is working for and why he keeps visiting Burma”.
- Dalit and Adivasi groups proposed a new approach to the allocation of resources in order to contribute towards a shift towards economic empowerment for these marginalised groups. Both these groups of people are discriminated against in India, the Dalits for their low position in the caste system and the Adivasi for being indigenous to South Asia.
- 16 Dalits were injured in an attack during Pongal festival celebration in Kuruvithurai, Tamil Nadu.
- Rohith Vemula, a Dalit student at the Hyderabad Central University committed suicide on Sunday 17th January, an act which has sparked countrywide protests over his death as he was a member of the Ambedkar Students’ Association, which fights for the rights of Dalit students on the campus. One report states that this is not the first caste-related suicide; eight students from the same university have committed suicide in the last decade, unable to cope with caste discrimination.
- Indian prison reforms announce the establishment of new legal aid centres and improved health care in prisons. Changes will also affect prisoners on death row, who will now be allowed to meet with their families one last time before being executed.
- Reports reveal continuing conflict between the Azerbaijani and Karabakh armed forces both violating the ceasefire. Azerbaijani troops have been reported to violate the ceasefire between January 16th-17th, and again between January 20-21st. Other reports by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry report Armenia violating ceasefire 150 times in 24 hours.
- At the 16th meeting of The Cooperation Council between the EU and Armenia, the EU reconfirmed its commitment to the peaceful settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict as well as stating that it will be willing to provide reconstruction and rehabilitation support once a peace deal is struck.
- A minister has claimed that a group of 55 people, including cabinet ministers, state governors connected to the ex-president’s People’s Democratic Party stole $6.8 billion between 2006 and 2013. The sum includes $2.1 billion meant to fight Boko Haram.
- Over 600 people flee 5 Mafa Villages of the Borno State in the north east of Nigeria to seek refuge in Maiduguri after Boko Haram attacks.
- It has been reported that primary and secondary school pupils and particularly girls, in the north-east have been afraid to go to school for fear of attacks.
- Lassa fever has spread to 17 states including the capital city after its initial outbreak on 8th January. So far, there have been 212 deaths reported, with fatalities steadily rising. Lassa fever outbreaks are not uncommon in Nigeria: in 2012, 1,723 cases were recorded with 112 fatalities. Lassa fever is transmitted to humans through physical contact with objects, eating contaminated food, or infected bodily fluid. Severe symptoms include haemorrhaging and respiratory problems.
- The Federal High Court in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, overturned an earlier decision allowing Nnamdi Kanu, an activist supporting the creation of a breakaway state of Biafra and a leader in the secessionist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to be released on bail. Kanu’s arrest in October on treason and other charges ignited deadly protests in southern Nigeria.
- The leadership of the armed opposition say that South Sudan’s president is using delaying tactics to prevent the implementation of the peace agreement.
- SPLM/A-IO leader Riek Macher says he will not return to Juba unless President Salva Kiir revokes the 28 administrative districts he created unilaterally last year.
- The UN is seeking $1.3 billion in humanitarian aid for South Sudan, where two in ten members of the population have been driven from their homes in the two years of conflict.
- At least five people are feared dead after fresh fighting erupted in Yambio, officials say.
- The United States embassy in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, has issued a statement on behalf of Troika member countries (United States, United Kingdom and Norway), confirming that it will stop by Friday the accommodation in Juba of hundreds of members of the armed opposition faction, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM-IO), under the leadership of former vice-president, Riek Machar. Analyst John Ashworth commented, “While one can understand the Troika’s frustration, they are playing a very dangerous game indeed. In a situation which is so fragile, volatile and lacking in trust all round, trying to enforce arbitrary deadlines through this type of pressure can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It should be remembered that none of the parties are united and within each of them there are strong groups who oppose the implementation of the peace agreement. This type of action by the Troika can strengthen the hand of the spoilers and create more confusion and mistrust.”
- Eight students, belonging to the eastern Sudanese Beja ethnic group, will Sunday stand trial in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan for organizing a demonstration in commemoration of the victims of the September 2013 riots against hikes in fuel prices.
- The Sudanese government’s offensive against the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel El Nur entered its sixth day on Wednesday.
- The joint peacekeeping operation in Darfur, UNAMID, has said it is alarmed by the ongoing fighting between government and rebel forces, confirming the bombing in the Jebel Marra area.
- The EU has said that it will analyse Uganda’s election campaign funding. It has introduced a new criterion in its mission – ascertaining sources and values of funds that candidates are using in the campaign.
- 45% of voters in 89 districts across Uganda don’t know the date of the 2016 presidential election, an opinion poll by Research World International has revealed.
- The budget for procurement of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), which are used to treat patients with HIV/AIDS, saw a shortfall of Shs34.7 billion. According to doctors, if the money is not raised, ARVs will not be available to everyone and will translate into resistance for those already on treatment and increase new infections.
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