November 21st, 2014
Weekly News Round Up (21/11/14)
- Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, told reporters that most of the 15,000 Rohingyas who have left Burma in the past month have not yet reached their destinations, raising fears that their boats have not been allowed from reaching shore.
- The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) fought with the Burmese Army on Sunday in Hka Shang village, Manje Township, as government troops entered rebel-held territories. The KIA declares that the fight took the life of 80 Burmese troops.
- On Monday, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) of Burma released a report highlighting that there are still currently 75 political prisoners and another 121 people awaiting trials for their activities.
- The Burmese army told Parliament that it opposed any change in the constitutional clause that bans Aung San Suu Kyi from running in a high political office, after the chamber discussed the issue on Tuesday. On the same day, the parliament’s house speaker, Shwe Mann, told a press conference that any amendments to the constitution would only be enacted after the 2015 general election.
- The NKR Defence Ministry registered 800 ceasefire violations by Azerbaijani armed forces between 9 and 15 November, including the downing of a helicopter of Nagorno-Karabakh on a training flight near the line of contact. Azerbaijan keeps shooting the site of the crash, thus preventing any further investigations and the search for the bodies of the crew.
- On November 18 the OSCE conducted a planned monitoring of the line of the line of contact between the armed forces of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan. No ceasefire violations have been reported. According to a TV report the OSCE mission attempted to monitor the Karabakh-Azerbaijani contact line near the site where the helicopter was shot down but did not receive security guarantees from Azerbaijan.
- A friendship declaration was signed between the city of Askeran in Nagorno-Karabakh and the French Bouc-Bel-Air. It is aimed at strengthening the friendly relations between the two cities and establishing cooperation in the educational, cultural, and sports spheres. A similar declaration will be signed between the French city of Valence and Stepanakert, capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, as it was leaked from a meeting between NKR Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs and Mayor of Valence, whereby the Mayor of Valence declared he would join the French-Karabakh Friendship Circle.
- Last Friday, a suicide bomb attack at a petrol station in Hotoro area of Kano, Kano State, left six civilians and three police officers dead. Security forces blame Boko Haram.
- Following their ousting from Mubi town in Adamawa, Boko Haram insurgents seized Hong town, the administrative headquarters of Hong Local Government Area, and the Gombi Local Government Area, of Adamawa State on Saturday. A security force source told Thisdaylive that the insurgents burnt down a police station and killed an undetermined number of civilians in Hong. No details are known about the attack in Gombi.
- The Nigerian army said that it had recaptured Chibok town, Borno State, on Sunday after Boko Haram took it over last Thursday.
- At least 10 people were killed and 60 others wounded on Sunday when a suicide bomber blew herself up in a mobile phone market in Azare town, Bauchi State. The suicide bomber was accompanied by two men, one of whom was lynched by an angry mob and the other is currently in custody. This is the second suicide attack in Azare in less than a month.
- On Monday, the National Defence Council of Nigeria approved the extension of emergency rule that has been applied in three north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. President Jonathan then asked the National Assembly to approve this extension, which would be the fourth round of six-month emergency rule in the three states. Opposition lawmakers have been criticising the emergency rule calling it a failure with Boko Haram making massive gains since May last year. On Thursday, following a closed meeting the House of Representatives spokesman Zakaria Mohammed said the emergency rule was over.
- The Institute for Economics and Peace ranked Nigeria fourth in its Global Terrorism Index report for 2013, just below Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- A training program on the implementation of South Sudan’s cessation of hostilities agreement between the South Sudanese army and the SPLM rebel group was launched on Saturday in Addis Ababa organised by IGAD. The two warring parties delegated 6 military officers to the workshop, who were believed to have led forces responsible for previous clashes. The week-long workshop aims to educate military officers on how to monitor and uphold the implementation of the ceasefire agreement. IGAD is also planning to provide training for ground forces
- Sudan’s National Election Commission announced the end of voter registration period for the 2015 elections, rejecting the petition by the Council for the Parties of National Unity Government (CPNUG) to extend it for the second time saying it would create a constitutional vacuum and cause chaos in the country. Elections are set to be held in April 2015, but opposition parties have expressed their intention to boycott it saying the environment is not conducive for fair and free polls and have instead called for the formation of a transitional government and convening a national conference to be held with the participation of rebel groups to discuss a peaceful solution to the long-running conflicts in the Darfur region, as well as South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
- UNAMID was refused permission by the Sudanese government to visit the village north of Darfur for a second time to investigate mass rape allegations. UNAMID has visited the village already and issued a statement denying the rape allegations. However, the villagers were reported to have been threatened to talk about rape. A first team of UNAMID monitors was sent to the area of the alleged rape in Tabit in North Darfur on November 4, but the Sudanese military blocked them on the outskirts of the village. Upon arriving at the village five days later, the team found there was a heavy presence of Sudanese soldiers who followed the monitors and recorded the interviews with the villagers, according to the UNAMID report obtained by AFP.
- The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) has denied allegations from South Sudan that its planes bombed a village in the Upper Nile state sheltering Sudanese refugees wounding six civilians.
- A recent analysis of Sudan’s conflict with the ICC by Open Democracy highlights the importance of the realisation that referring to the country’s sovereignty is not a viable defence against ICC action in Sudan. “Exploiting the people and deceiving them through zealous speeches and empty slogans cannot sustain sovereignty” The analysis also argues that even though “strictly speaking Sudan only signed, and did not fully ratify the Rome Statute, this signature still indicates an intention to eventually be bound by its rules.
- Peace talks between Sudan’s government and rebels ended on Monday regarding the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. African Union chief mediator Thabo Mbeki expressed optimism about the talks, claiming that this time leaders from both sides spoke more positively, with each thanking the other. Leaders are now given time to reflect and consult on the proposals – then negotiations will resume. Meanwhile negotiations regarding the situation in Darfur region will resume on 23 November.
- President Museveni has asked for the Church’s and civil society’s to support in the government’s fight against homosexuality, saying it has become a danger among the young generation and contributed to the rise of HIV/AIDS. Any clergy who performs a wedding ceremony for gays shall be blacklisted and isolated from the church, he insists.
- It is feared that the revenue the increasing involvement of the LRA in illicit gold and ivory trafficking generates is used to fund the expansion of weaponry and strengthens the LRA’s relations with other rebel groups, such as the Seleka in the CAR. Many worry that it would lead to its renewed operation, despite officials, including some senior LRA commanders, having recently reported that the group is no longer the fighting force it once was.
- On 17 November Human Rights Watch published a Sumission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Among other issues it expressed concerns over discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the healthcare sector; mandatory HIV testing and the disclosure of medical information without he patient’s consent, the criminalisation of HIV transmission and ‘attempted transmission’; the limited efforts to supports vulnerable children in getting to school; as well as widespread corruption.
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