October 3rd, 2014
Weekly News Round Up (3/10/14)
News from HART
• On the HART blog: Edwin O’Connell discusses how Boko Haram’s actions – and the Government’s response – have impacted civilians in northern Nigeria. Brutality by both sides has created a climate of fear amongst civilians, who have no-one left to trust.
• Less than two weeks to go until our next Volunteers’ Reception!
• On September 28th, the national government issued a draft plan that gives the approximately one million Rohingya Muslims in the country a choice: either to accept ethnic reclassification as ‘Bengalis’ (i.e. declaring they are illegal Bangladeshi immigrants) and be given limited citizenship rights, or be allocated to “temporary camps” and thus face detention. In a statement, Human Rights Watch said that “the draft government plan would entrench discriminatory policies that deprive Rohingya Muslims in Burma of citizenship and lead to the forced resettlement of over 130,000 displaced Rohingya into closed camps”
• Violence escalated throughout the week between the army and the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), following the Karen rebel group’s detainment of eight soldiers last Friday. The US Embassy in Rangoon issued a warning on Wednesday to US citizens travelling to Eastern Burma due to its recent escalation.
• The Burma Partnership, a coalition of Burmese human rights NGOs, published a report on the ineffectiveness of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC). The report highlights a lack of effectiveness and transparency of the MNHCR, as it did not mention or investigate violations in Kachin and Rakhine states committed against minorities.
• On Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced that the US would keep Myanmar on the list of nations that are subject to US sanctions over its use of child soldiers.
• It was reported that India leads the list of highest under-5 deaths alongside Nigeria, Pakistan, Congo and China.
• President Bako Sahakyan of Nagorno Karabakh received an Armenian delegation to discuss cooperation.
• On September 30, the OSCE Mission conducted a planned monitoring of the Line of Contact between the armed forces of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan. No violations were registered.
• A French MP and Chairman of the France-Karabakh Friendship Circle met with the Karabakh National Assembly Speaker to discuss the development of future parliamentary relations. This is seen as a great opportunity to present objective information on Nagorno-Karabakh at international parliamentary platforms. According to the MP, France could become Karabakh’s special representative in Europe. Karabakh President Bako Sahakyan also received a French delegation for discussion about the developing cooperation between France and Karabakh.
• October 1st marked 54 years since Nigeria’s independence.
• A new bulletin from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that 1.5 million people have been displaced in the six north-eastern states worst affected by the conflict.
• A report by the UN High Commissioner on Refugees estimates that to date, over 75,000 people have left Nigeria to seek refuge in Cameroon, Chad and Niger. UNHCR estimates this number is expected to reach a total of 95,000 by the end of the year.
• Reports say that a new video has been released by Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, declaring that he is alive – following reports last week that he had been killed by the Nigerian security forces.
• To find out more about the situation, please read this new post on the HART blog.
• Two UN agencies have together reached more than half a million people in remote and conflict-hit areas of South Sudan with food assistance, health support, learning materials, water and hygiene supplies.
• South Sudanese IDPs have urged the international community to pressure warring parties for peace in South Sudan.
• The South Sudanese parliament adopted the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). The adoption enjoyed unanimous support, however, many question whether it is possible to implement it in its entirety.
• The South Sudanese government has expressed optimism about peace talks with rebels. The South Sudanese government has agreed to the installation of federal system of governance during IGAD facilitated peace talks, a system they had rejected previously.
• The United States condemned the Sudanese security forces for arrests of political and human rights activists during the last week of September, shortly before the anniversary of the 2013 protests.
• UNHRC urged Sudan to conduct an independent investigation into the deadly protests of the past 2 years. In a September 24 report, independent expert Mashood Baderin reported continued detentions of political opponents by Sudanese authorities, strict censorship on press and constant violations of religious freedom.
• Leaked minutes of a meeting between senior Sudanese military officials suggest Khartoum has given direct support to South Sudanese rebels, prolonging the civil war in South Sudan. South Sudanese rebels deny receiving such military support.
• The Ngok Dinka leadership in Abyei has formed an advocacy team to appeal to the international community for acceptance of the outcome of the October 2013 referendum to determine Abyei’s final status, over which the Sudanese and South Sudanese sides have failed to reach agreement since 2005. The UN Security Council and the African Union have rejected the unilateral referendum. More information on the situation can be found in our Visit Report.
• According to a French report, the Millenium Development Goals will not be met by the target date 2015 in Timor-Leste despite the fact that many indicators show a significant and sustained improvement in living standards since 2002.
• The international organisation Invisible Children has called for more support for returning LRA captives to be able to reintegrate into society.
• Uganda is reportedly prepared to handle a potential Ebola outbreak. The country says it could cope with the virus effectively and has developed contingency plans, with constant surveillance, alert systems and emergency clinicians at hand.
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