August 28th, 2015
Weekly News Round-up (28/08/2015)
News from HART:
- The HART Team have returned safely from the visit to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. HART partner, Vardan, is doing very well, and has made developments in potential plans for a new centre – watch this space!
- Following our appeal for Dr Sasa, HART raised over £17,000 – thank you to all who contributed.
- It is now two weeks to go until our Charity Fundraiser with TV Celeb Mystery Guest. Find out more here.
- Fighting continues in Shan and Kachin States amid hope for the peace deal to be signed.
- Burma Flood update:
- 6 million people across 12 states and divisions have been affected.
- The number of affected km2 of Burma increased by 45% from the 10th to the 17th of August
- Nearly 400,000 households displaced by the deluge
- With about 3 million acres of farmland inundated, and 690 000 acres damaged at the onset of the planting season.
- The Chin Disaster Response Coordination has held a meeting to determine the distribution of the 100 million kyats donated by the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO). KIO made this large donation to help the victims of flood in Chin State, Magwe Region and Kalaymyo.
- Much of the emergency relief has depended on civil society organisations, and so, it seems will rehabilitation.
- Action for Shan State Rivers has presented 23,717 signatures against Salween dams to Australian consultants in Yangon.
- Religious freedom in Burma is threatened by a new law that will make it harder for people to convert.
- 10 people have been killed and 50 injured in the latest fighting over the disputed border in Kashmir and Punjab regions. The fighting emerged as peace talks between the Indian and Pakistani national security services broke down amid disputes over whether the agenda of the meeting should include the topic of Kashmir.
- Amnesty international has launched an appeal for urgent action calling people to write to authorities in Uttar Pradesh to ensure the safety and protection of two sisters who have been sentenced by an unelected council, to be raped and paraded around their village naked as punishment for their brother’s elopement. Amnesty have also called for protection of the brother’s wife and a full investigation.
- Asbarez news reported on Baroness Cox and the HART delegation’s visit to the President of Nagorno-Karabakh last week.
- Nigerian Ambassador to the United States and former history professor, Adefuye. passed away on Thursday. Before becoming Ambassador to the US, Mr Adefuye served as Ambassador to Jamaica, and deputy high commissioner in the U.K
- President Buhari has announced a list of leadership appointments which have sparked criticism for ‘lacking in gender balance and regional equity’.
- After the threat of UN sanctions and pressure from the international community, on Wednesday South Sudan president Salva Kiir finally signed a peace deal to end the 20 month civil war that has devastated the country. However, questions have been asked over how likely it is that peace can be maintained in such a politically precarious landscape. Kiir has expressed reservations over several aspects of the agreement, particularly around power sharing and the instalment of a transitional government, as Riek Machar is to be reinstated as his vice president.
- Fears for the likelihood of sustained peace have also been magnified by the split in the SPLA-in Opposition, as senior rebel figures have denounced the peace negotiations and stated that they will not recognise any agreement reached between Kiir and Machar. The US have stated that they do not recognise the reservations held by the President or his former deputy, and have warned that if peace is broken or fails to be implemented then they will support heavy sanctions.
- Now that a peace agreement has been reached, it is imperative that both parties ensure a path to justice for atrocities that have been committed, and that due process is granted to all victims of the conflict, according to Sarah Jackson, Amnesty’s East Africa deputy director. 2.2 million people have been forced from their homes, and nearly 8 million people still face food insecurity.
- The conflict in South Sudan has been particularly brutal and violent, with soldiers on both sides targeting civilians and committing atrocities that include the rape women and girls, castration of young boys and burning people alive in their homes. Large scale human rights abuses have been seen in recent months leading up to the signing of the peace agreement on Wednesday, in part of the government’s attempts to win the conflict out right, and have placed grave questions over the likelihood of sustained peace.
- South Sudan has admitted killings of civilians in Unity state by government forces, in an operation against rebels. The government then went on to blame the leader of the rebels, former vice president Riek Machar for starting the war that led to the Unity state massacre.
- After four days detention the former Western Equatoria state governor has been released by South Sudan, without charges.
- Opposition parties and rebel groups in Sudan have agreed to boycott talks that seek to strengthen dialogue and political participation in the country, if the government intends to go ahead. President Omar al-Bashir has insisted, rather ironically, that he will move forward with the dialogue with or without the participation of the opposition groups that have withdrawn from the process. The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and the Alliance of the National Forces (ANF) met in Addis Ababa on Tuesday evening and have released a joint statement saying that current government-led dialogue is not inclusive, will complicate matters further, and therefore they intend to launch their own dialogue.
- Fears over Sudan’s fragile economy have been exacerbated by China’s current market slump. The Asian super power has provided Sudan with financial, diplomatic and military assistance for decades in exchange for access to the African country’s vast oil reserves, but the potential for an economic meltdown in China is sparking fears of a significant withdrawal of aid and support to Sudan.
- Two Darfuri students have been arrested in Khartoum for protesting the trial of a fellow student accused of killing the secretary of the Islamist student’s wing of the NCP. This story is part of a wider issue of violence and discrimination against Darfuris in universities and other institutions across the country. Attacks by militant students supported by security services on Darfuris have increased in the last year.
- Last week the World Food Programme (WFP) distributed 90 metric tonnes of food aid to assist some 9500 people in Guldo, Central Darfur, who were displaced from their homes between March and June of this year due to fighting between government forces and SPLA – Abdul Wahid (SPLA-AW).
- Sudan must answer for crimes against civilians in the Darfur Region, the UN states. There have been serious violations of international law. UNAMID has recorded 411 cases of abuses by all sides in the conflict, affecting 980 people. Last year UNAMID reported 392 deaths of civilians, resulting from the actions of Sudanese police and security forces.
- A new special prosecutor for Darfur crimes has been appointed.
- The government of North Darfur prohibited UNAMID planes to fly over the state without prior permission. The government then went on to deny this ban.
- Pastors Yat Michael and Peter Yein Reith finally arrived home in Juba on Wednesday the 19th August.
- President Omar al-Bashir has appointed a US sanctioned general as his defence minister.
- The EU envoys in Khartoum will visit Blue Nile and East Sudan states. The aim of the trip is to follow up on the implementation of certain development project set in motion, and survey the stability of the region.
- District leaders have been encouraged to promote tourism in their localities in increase incomes.
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