October 31st, 2014

Weekly News Round Up (31/10/14)

News from HART:

  • Human Rights Watch researcher Mausi Segun, who spent months tracking down the few girls who escaped from Boko Haram, has released a report on the condition of Boko Haram female abductees. The report can be found here.
  • “Every day, millions of victims of modern-day slavery are forced to work in appalling conditions for derisory or no pay.” – Baroness Cox. Yesterday, the House of Lords discussed the issue of modern-day slavery in supply chains. Read the summary of the debate here.
  • Yesterday, Baroness Cox raised a question at the House of Lords on the recent developments in Northern Nigeria. Read the summary of the question and debate here.

 

Africa (Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda)

  • Global and regional institution leaders pledged to deliver a package of more than $8 billion to the Horn of Africa, following their visit to the region. The support is aimed at improving the polity and development of the entire region, as well as utilisation of unused and hidden potentials of these countries. These projects are of special importance to make sure people get access to clean water, nutritious food, health care, education, and jobs.

 

Burma

  • According to Chris Lewa, Director of Arakan Project, more than 100,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled by boat since the 2012 Rakhine State riots. Lewa estimates that an average of 900 people per day have fled on cargo ships since October 15th.
  • The seven Buddhists who killed 10 Muslims on a passenger bus, following the rape and murder of a girl blamed on Muslims, were sentenced to seven years in jail on Saturday.
  • Burma Campaign UK has accused Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire of trying to avoid questions on human rights problems in Burma during a debate in Parliament. The full text of the debate can be found here.

 

Nagorno-Karabakh

  • The NKR Defense Ministry reported 300 ceasefire violations by Azerbaijani armed forces between 19 and 25 October.
  • This year’s third meeting between Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, initiated by French President Francois Hollande, was held on 27 October in the presence of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group. The summit was characterised as positive, with reinforced commitment to finding a peaceful way to settle the conflict and to continue dialogue within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairman and confidence-building efforts. The parties also exchanged information on persons who disappeared under the auspices of the ICRC. The spokesman of the President of Nagorno-Karabakh welcomed the recent dialogue, however, expressed his opinion that talks would only be effective if Stepanakert was represented and included in negotiations.
  • The Director of the Institute of CIS states claimed that Armenia’s affiliation to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) would lead to the exclusion of a military solution to the Karabakh conflict, as Armenia would have closer relations to Russia and other EEU states.

 

Nigeria

  • Last Friday, the number two official in Chad’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Moussa Mahamat Dago, revealed details of Nigeria’s deal with Boko Haram and expressed his belief in the deal’s validity despite the ceasefire has been broken.
  • Between Friday night and Saturday morning, a successful operation by the Multi National Joint Task Force to reclaim Abadam town from Boko Haram left at least 24 militants dead.
  • On Sunday, the Chief of Mafa village (about 30 miles east of Maiduguri, Borno) told reporters that suspected Boko Haram militants had abducted around 30 adolescents in his village over the weekend. He also told reporters that his own and surrounding villages are targeted on a quasi-daily basis.
  • Villagers in Kukawa town, Borno State, report Boko Haram to have attacked their village on Monday, killing three people and burning some government buildings.
  • Suspected Boko Haram militants successfully seized the towns of Uba, Borno State, and Mubi, Adamawa State, in a series of attacks on Wednesday. Several people were killed and thousands had to flee.

 

South Sudan

  • Last Friday, international aid organisations from South Sudan’s NGO Forum working to stem chronic disease and hunger in war-torn South Sudan, wrote a letter highlighting increased harassment, surveillance and threats of expulsion from the government.
  • 60 civilians were injured as fighting broke out on Monday near a UN site in the outskirts of Juba. The cause of the rioting is still under investigation. The following day, a fight erupted at a UN site in Malakal killing one and injuring 8 others.
  • According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ 59th South Sudan Crisis Situation Report, the security situation remained largely stable during the week, though tension remained high in Bentiu and Malakal towns. It was also reported that relief organisations providing water, sanitation and hygiene support had reached 3.5 million people, 90% of those the aid community is aiming to assist for the year. The full report can be downloaded here.

 

Sudan

  • Sudan is to reopen its border with South Sudan to facilitate free movement of goods and services disrupted by the eruption of instability in South Sudan last December.
  • South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir Mayardit, will arrive in Khartoum on Saturday to discuss outstanding issues between the two countries and to discuss the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.
  • Sudan’s ruling party has given final approval to President Omar Hassan Al Bashir as its candidate in next year’s presidential vote, despite the President’s promise in January to redraw the constitution, bring opposition parties into government, and launch a national dialogue.
  • Talks between SPLM-N rebel group and the Sudanese government, postponed earlier this month, are to resume on November 12th.
  • Al-Nour Ahmed al-Nour, a journalist who was detained without charge, was freed on Wednesday. The head of media committee in the Sudanese parliament described the journalist’s arrest as political and suspicious. The journalist, reporting for Al-Hayat from Sudan on politics and human rights, among other topics, had previously been threatened and suspended from his position as editor-in-chief of an independent daily for an alleged insult against the security apparatus.

 

Timor-Leste

  • A recent article has drawn attention to how the problem of malnutrition in Timor-Leste is similar to that of obesity in the USA.
  • Negotiations between Timor-Leste and Australia on the issue of a maritime boundary between the two countries have begun. There has long been a dispute over where the exact border would be. The dispute revolves around a 40 billion dollar worth oil field lying under the water, a vitally important resource for Asia’s second poorest country: Timor-Leste.

 

Uganda

  • Pope Francis met Ugandan President on 27 October. They discussed certain aspects of life in Uganda and highlighted the importance of the peaceful coexistence of different religions in the country.
  • A child rights advocacy partnership was created between UNICEF and Uganda Child Rights NGO Network (UCRNN). There are unprecedented children’s rights violations in Uganda, that include child labour, corporal punishments and child trafficking.
  • A Ugandan court dropped the case of the Head of the LGBT rights group Spectrum Uganda.


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