October 23rd, 2015
Weekly News Round-Up (23/10/15)
News From HART
- Baroness Cox spoke on violations of religious freedom in Nigeria and Azerbaijan in a debate in the House of Lords.
- The HART Volunteers’ Reception is on Tuesday (27/10/2015) evening. This is an opportunity to learn about the work of our partners and how you can get involved. Everyone welcome! More details can be found here.
- HART intern, Will Side, published a blog on South Sudan entitled ‘Twenty-Eight New States: The Controversy Surrounding President Kiir’s Announcement’.
- View our Summer Newsletter online here!
- Amnesty International calls for the immediate release of two peace activists who were arrested last week.
- Amnesty International calls for the immediate release of an election candidate who was charged for the participation in a peaceful protest that took place 10 months ago.
- Aung San Suu Kyi visited Rakhine state, but avoided the Rohingya internment camps. The opposition leader did however venture a cautiously inclusive statement, saying that “It is very important that all people regardless of religion living in our country must be safe”.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) reaffirmed their commitment to reducing hunger in Burma, through cooperation with the Burmese government.
- Amnesty International released a report, based on over 100 interviews with Rohingya refugees. The report uncovers the extent of persecution and abuse the Rohingya community continues to face.
- A significant part of the Burmese population may be unable to vote in the election coming up in two weeks. Problems include the inability of persons working overseas to register, the errors and omissions on voter lists, the cancellation of polling in areas affected by ethnic violence, and the withdrawal of voting rights from certain ethnic groups.
- Ethnic Shan human rights organisations are calling for the Burma Army to halt attacks, not to undermine prospects of a lasting peace agreement.
- Candidates in the Tanintharyi Region expressed concerns that the ballot boxes to be used for the election are not safe enough.
- The leaders of four main religious groups released a joint statement calling for tolerance and respect of religious freedom as essential conditions for every child to grow and develop to their full potential.
- Former member of State Minorities Commission has stated that caste based oppression of Christian dalits has continued in South India and has accused the government of doing ‘nothing about it’.
- As incidents of intolerance and discrimination against Dalits continue this week, government leaders have made controversial statements seeming to condone the oppression. The opposition have reacted by demanding certain leader’s resignations for the comments.
- A suicide bombing in a mosque in Maiduguri claimed the lives of at least 28 people.
- A Nigerian general is jailed 6 months for failing his duties in one of the army’s worst defeats by Boko Haram back in January in the north-eastern town of Baga.
- Boko Haram storms village in Adamawa State on a Saturday night, killing 12 people. Reports were of gunmen invading the village followed by two female suicide bombers disguised in the bush as fleeing villages who set off explosives.
- Self-defence fighters along with Nigerian soldiers say they have killed 150 Boko Haram militants as well as seizing guns and explosives used for suicide bombings and rescuing 36 women and children.
- Gunmen open fire on four cars outside Jingalta village, 45 miles away from Borno State’s capital Maiduguri. 20 people were shot dead.
- Buhari has finally selected all 36 members of his Cabinet, five months after election, though the Senate still needs to approve the nominees. Selections reflect the government’s high priorities, including counter-terrorism, anti-corruption reforms and stability in the oil-producing Niger Delta.
- The justice minister has tabled the amendment bill on the proposed 28 new states.
- Kiir has ordered the dismissal of a senior lecturer at Juba University for challenging the constitutional legality of the decree to create 28 states.
- Ugandan People’s Defence Forces have begun to remove troops from South Sudan, hoping to complete the withdrawal by Friday.
- The South Sudanese army has rescued 50 police and civilians from a rebel group in Western Equatorial state. The people had been abducted and held in areas around Maridi.
- The SPLM has dissolved its party structures, stating that all positions, except that of the president, are vacant. The government has downplayed the impact of dissolution of SPLM party structures on the peace agreement.
- Government forces have been deployed in the state of Warrap, after 92 people were killed and 140 injured due to “inter-communal clashes” in the Tonj East County.
- The Sudanese government has announced it “is ready to allow international aid groups to access South Kordofan and Blue Nile, provided they don’t offer assistance to the rebels”.
- The Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) has declared a six-month ceasefire to “create a conducive environment” for the upcoming peace talks with the government.
- Al-Bashir has announced there will be a referendum held next year in Darfur, over the administrative status of the region.
- The Sudanese government confirmed that they will resume talks with the SPLM-N in November. The talks will aim to end the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
- Preliminary census data shows the population of Timor-Leste to be 1.16 million, an increase of 9.4% since 2010. It has more than doubled in the past 35 years. It also shows that despite development in recent years and population growth in large cities, Timor-Leste remains a largely rural country.
- Ugandan police are using teargas, rubber bullets and brutality to obstruct opposition meetings and rallies, states Human Rights Watch.
- Uganda’s army has begun to pull-out from neighbouring South Sudan, in line with the peace deal aimed at ending nearly two years of civil war.
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