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News from HART
– This week, Anna Cox examines the potential achievements of the Modern Slavery Bill and the ramifications it has for the ongoing fight against global slavery. Read the full article here.
– Additionally this week, Jack Lindsay looks at different ways homophobia and the general mistreatment of the LGTB community in Uganda has been linked with HIV prevalence. The full article can be found here.
– 12th February, Union Day, marked the anniversary of the Panglong Agreement signed in 1947 which promised self determination to states following the end of British colonial rule. Celebrations were attended by many ethnic groups with the exception of those still engaged in fighting. The date was promoted by the government to sign a nationwide ceasefire. While those attending looked over ceasefire proposals, many declined to sign due to lack of ‘concrete details on key issues’.
– KNU stated that they would not be ready to sign a ceasefire on the 12th Irrawaddy reported that ‘the establishment of a federal union and armed forces, repositioning of troops and implementation of a code of conduct need to be addressed before the KNU would be willing to sign the agreement’. They are also calling for agreements made in the bilateral ceasefire to be upheld by the government before they can proceed to sign the nationwide agreement.
– Amnesty International has released a report ‘Open for Business? Corporate Crime and Abuses at Myanmar Copper Mine’. It highlights ongoing human rights abuses surrounding the mining industry in Burma, which Myanmar elites and foreign companies are hugely benefitting from.
– Tens of thousands of local residents and Chinese traders have fled the Kokang region of Shan State into China to escape bombings and heavy fighting between the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Burmese military. The Burmese military are reportedly reinforcing troops.
– Breakthrough! The government has agreed to all 11 of student demands for amendments to the National Education Law. This includes multilingual teaching, allowing the formation of student and teacher unions as well as to decentralize curricular control. This now needs to go through parliament. Students pledge to continue protest and pressure until concrete change is made.
– Following protests, the Burmese government is revoking white cards which would have given Rohingyas the right to vote in the upcoming election, rendering them effectively stateless.
– OSCE Negotiators have declared their readiness to intensify negotiations in an attempt to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
– EU Special Representative Herbert Salber and the Foreign Affairs minister of Nagorno Karabakh have discussed the potential for cooperation between the EU and Artsakh, as well as the possibilities for the Special Representative to visit Karabakh.
– A Karabakh serviceman has been killed at his military position on the North side of Nagorno Karabakh.
– Next Parliamentary election in Nagorno Karabakh set for 3rd May, 2015
– The postponement of Nigeria’s elections until the 28th March has received mixed reactions. While some have been critical of the current government for its inability to deal with the Boko Haram crisis, the US has been specifically disappointed at the government’s interference with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
– Further analysis on the implications of postponement can be found here. Blog entry by International Crisis Group.
– On Wednesday, Boko Haram militants attacked Chadian army positions in the town of Gambaru. Earlier this week, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau vowed to defeat the regional force.
– 30 people have been abducted from two bus hijackings, including girls from Cameroon. This comes amidst continued press coverage of the devastating effects of Boko Haram’s insurgency.
– Allegations of rape and child trafficking have emerged in IDP camps in Nigeria as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency.
– A suspected suicide bomber killed at least 6 in a market in the town of Biu, Borno State.
– Norway has pledged to provide $20 million in emergency aid to civilians affected by the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. Simultaneously, the UN and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development held a humanitarian donor conference in Nairobi earlier this week, regarding the call from aid agencies for further funding to address the situation in South Sudan.
– The US has urged regional sanctions on South Sudan government and rebel leaders hindering the peace process.
– Further 300 children were released on Tuesday from an armed South Sudanese group – a move overseen by UNICEF.
– 3 Sudanese Red Cross workers were killed on Sunday in war-torn Blue Nile, an official at a government humanitarian body said. It is unknown who did it, but their deaths are being linked with armed movements in the region.
– UN Security Council renewed the mandate of a group of independent experts to monitor a weapon embargo in Darfur, in line with Resolution 1591 (2005).
– East Timor’s Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao – who led the nation to independence from Indonesia in 2002 – submitted his resignation letter last Friday. It was accepted by the President on Monday. The president has accepted Mr. Gusmao’s nomination of 50-year-old Rui Maria Araújo as his successor.
– A ‘diplomatic breakthrough’ was hailed with the Sudanese government this week, after Uganda announced it would expel anti – al Bashir rebels hiding in the country. In related news, the Ugandan government denied that they had deployed 7,000 additional troops to South Sudan last weekend to bolster the Kiir Government in its fight against rebel forces.
– There has been growing criticism of the government’s decision to encourage doctors and other health professionals to leave the country and work elsewhere, mainly in Trinidad and Tobago. The Institute of Public Policy Research Uganda (IPPR-U), a local think tank, has gone to the high court to stop the export of health workers and compel the government to encourage them to stay. A ruling is expected on March 2nd
– A group of LGBT Ugandans have launched a magazine to combat the anti – gay hostility found in much of Uganda’s press. The new magazine, Bombastic, will include personal essays, commentaries and poems by “proud” lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Ugandans, some using pseudonyms.