July 15th, 2016
News Round-Up 15/07/16
News from HART
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- This week, we have been closely monitoring the escalating conflict in South Sudan. See below for our news updates.
- Human rights groups have accused Aung San Suu Kyi of failing to make significant progress on the multitude of human rights issues within the country. This criticism has come after the deadline of 100 days to enact change, given by Yanghee Lee. The International Federation for Human Rights and its member organization ALTSEAN, have called on the government to establish a national human rights agenda and immediately address the key issues.
- This week has seen violent protests and unrest in Indian-administered Kashmir sparked by the death of a popular rebel leader, Burhan Wani, at the hands of Indian security forces. At least 36 people are reported to have been killed and about 1,500 others injured.
- President Muhammadu Buhari has deployed a special military task force to combat armed gangs of cattle rustlers in the north-western state of Zamfara. These gangs are considered the country’s third most significant security crisis, behind Boko Haram and militant groups in the Niger Delta region.
- Médicins Sans Frontières have accused the UN of failing to respond quickly enough to the food crisis in Borno state, north-east Nigeria, where hundreds of people are dying each day. It is likely to be the worst famine in decades.
- The Niger Delta Militants, operating in the South of the country, have given President Buhari a two-week ultimatum to face their demands and commence talks.
- After five days of heavy fighting the guns are silent in South Sudan. A ceasefire come into effect on Tuesday 17:00 GMT after President Salva Kiir announced it on Monday evening which was quickly reciprocated by Vice President Rieck Machar on Tuesday. The fighting started last Thursday when five government soldiers were killed at a roadblock. It then escalated rapidly with tanks, artillery and helicopter gunships between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and Vice president Riek Machar. Both leaders admitted in a press conference on Saturday that they could not understand the conflict casualties – indicating a lack of control over their troops. Especially on the opposition side, lines of control have exhibited the same level of flux they exhibited during most of the war. Many soldiers have followed senior opposition officials rather than Vice President Riek Machar. According to Edmund Yakani, a prominent civil society leader, the next challenge will be whether the military leadership accepts the cease-fire or not.
- The death toll is thought to be more than 300, including scores of civilians and two Chinese peacekeepers. According to aid workers the situation in the country’s capital Juba is dire and deteriorating with random shooting and heavy mortar fire. Furthermore, an UN camp and hospital have been shelled, food supplies running low and further 36.000 people displaced. Even though it stayed calm after the announcement of the ceasefire many civilians preferred to sleep in the UN compounds in case of any further attacks.
- On Tuesday, UNHCR representatives in Geneva called on armed parties to protect civilians and demanded that neighbouring countries to keep borders open for people fleeing the violence. Inside of South Sudan up to 7000 internally displayed people sought shelter in the UN base in Juba. The agency noted that there are reports of indiscriminate attacks against civilians who took buses from Juba to the Uganda border. Furthermore, the security at the Uganda border had been tightened which restricted the number of individuals crossing to seek asylum.
- According to Casie Copeland, Senior Analyst from International Crisis Group, the return of conflict was a growing danger. In the nine months since the signing of the peace agreement in last August 2015 the warring parties have simply paused hostilities while remaining in close proximity. The peace agreement came into power with tremendous external pressure of neighbouring countries Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya, as well as China and the U.S. After the signing, regional as well as international powers reduced their focus on South Sudan and the mediation process became inactive. There was no move toward unification or de-mobilisation. Hence, South Sudan’s warring parties backtracked to their uncompromising positions.
More than 300 dead as South Sudan capital is rocked by violence https://t.co/2ei65yBeYG
— HART-UK (@HARTnews) July 11, 2016
- Head of Sudan’s parliamentary committee on defence and security Ahmed Imam al-Tuhami demanded the concerned government organs to take the necessary measures to receive a new wave of refugees expected to flee fighting in South Sudan.
- Sudanese government and the UN launched the Humanitarian Response Plan. The plan seeks US$952 million to address the humanitarian needs of up to 4.6 million people out of which US$581 million is designated for IDPs; US$225 million for refugees, and US$146 for vulnerable residents.
- Ugandan opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change has been granted bail after serving two months on charges of treason. Besigye has urged his supporters not to give up the fight for a better Uganda. Many Ugandans fear that the judiciary is corrupt, and that the reasons for Besigye’s arrest stems from his popularity amongst voters.
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