Weekly News Round Up (17/10/14)

17 October 2014

News from HART:

  • Thursday 16th October was World Food Day 2014. For this annual event, which aims to heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world, and strengthen international and national solidarity, Agnes Magyar has prepared a briefing on malnutrition, with a focus on Timor-Leste and the work of our partners, HIAM Health. Please download it here to read more about these crucial issues:


  • On Monday, the government rejected a parliamentary request to close the country’s 46 hard labour camps, where 10,000 prisoners currently live. Deputy Home Affairs Minister Brig. Gen. Kyaw Kyaw Tun justified the rejection by declaring that there was nothing inhumane about the treatment of inmates who served hard labour sentences in Burma’s labour camps. However the Deputy Minister did acknowledge that over 1,000 inmates have died in the past 10 years in these camps due to weather conditions amongst other factors.
  • Ethnic leaders from Mon, Shan and Kachin State told The Irrawaddy that the Union government will provide a stipend for schoolteachers who are teaching ethnic minority languages in Burma. This would be the first time since 1962, when the military regime took power, that the government allows and directly funds the teaching of ethnic languages in schools.
  • On Tuesday, the upper chamber approved a draft Television and Broadcasting Bill that would allow private and, within a certain limit, foreign ownership of TV broadcasters. Burmese journalists have criticized the bill as it also stipulates the creation of a council to regulate TV and radio broadcasting.
  • On Wednesday, the Burmese Army ordered more than 1,000 Kachin villagers to leave their homes by 6 PM in three villages (Kanzihall, Aung Bar Lay and Tang Kaw) near Hpakant, a jade mining town, due to the possibility of conflict with the KIA. Tensions rose recently near Hpakant as the KIA allegedly asked for greater revenues from mining activities in Kachin State.
  •  On Wednesday, Police Captain Min Naing of the Anti-Human Trafficking Corps told news agencies that since January 2014, a total of 85 people have been victims of human trafficking. Of these 85, 58 women were forced to marry foreigners, 16 became forced labourers, and a further 11 were trafficked into prostitution.


  • The first international Nagorno-Karabakh Group was presented in the European Union with the aim to bring together people with interest about Karabakh and support its democratic values and civil society. Mr Engel, head of the group, explained: “We want to create awareness towards an unrecognized piece of territory, which, at the end of the day, is a Democratic Republic and behaves like that.”
  • The NKR Defence Ministry reported 400 ceasefire violations along the line of contact, with 3300 shots in Karabakh’s directions.
  • National Assembly Speaker Galust Sahakyan reaffirmed when asked about the possibility of customs service on the border of Armenia and NKR after joining the EEU that any step was unacceptable that would harm the security of NKR, be it checkpoint or another issue. “Without Artsakh Armenia tries neither to profit from anywhere nor goes to steps that will harm Artsakh.”



  • More reports of torture and extrajudicial killings on behalf in the Nigerian military came on Monday when Ali Ibrahim told reporters that he and other internally displaced peoples had been tortured on suspicions that they were Boko Haram members.
  • National Security Advisor Col. Sambo Dasuki has said that more than 10,000 have been killed by Boko Haram since the insurgency began in 2009.
  • On Thursday, President Goodluck Jonathan proposed a bill through the senate that would increase funding to the police force with the aim of ameliorating working conditions especially at the lower ranks. The move came following calls from the CLEEN Foundation, a local NGO, saying that underfunding in the police force was a main source of corruption.
  • Reports came in early on Friday that the Principal Private Secretary to President Jonathan, Ambassador Hassan Tukur, had met with representatives of Boko Haram in a meeting that took place in N’Djamena, Chad, and overseen by the Chadian Government. Topics of discussions included the Chibok girls and allegedly a possible ceasefire. Later on Friday Nigeria’s military announced it had agreed a ceasefire with Islamist militants Boko Haram and the schoolgirls the group had abducted would be released. Boko Haram has not made a public statement.


South Sudan

  • Frustration is growing as negotiations have been set to resume between South Sudanese government and rebel forces until at least the 20th of October. The parties have so far failed to reach agreement on questions around the shape and power structure of a planned transitional government.
  • A South Sudanese national working for the United Nations was kidnapped from Malakal airport by men in uniform on Thursday, president of the UNMISS National Staff Association reported.



  • 3 UN peacekeepers were killed in Darfur by unidentified gunmen this week, said the UNAMID spokesman, Ashraf Eissa.
  • Authorities are expected to impose a State of Emergency in the entire state of East Darfur following an incident whereby a train got stopped and searched for weapons by militias and a Sudanese army commander was abused in the state capital Ed Daein last Thursday. There are serious tensions between the warring Ma’aliya and Reizeigat in East Darfur these day. No weapons were found.
  • The UN Security Council extended the mandate of its Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) until 28 February 2015. The Council repeatedly urged the two Sudans to, in fulfilling their obligations under their 20 June 2011 agreement, establish an Abyei Area administration, a legislative council, and a police service. The extension is supported in Abyei, as several Ngoka Dinka have expressed, however, the the extension period is criticised for being too short, noting that Abyei has never witnessed any kind of stability despite deployment of UNISFA forces.



  • Deputy Defense Minister Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin claimed that Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao was misquoted when reported to have made a statement saying that his country wanted to reunite with Indonesia.



  • Ugandan President Museveni described the ICC as a biased instrument of post-colonial hegemony after the Court summoned Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta over alleged crimes committed in the 2007 post-election violence, and called on African countries to review their status with the ICC treaty.
  • According to a recent FAO report despite global progress Uganda and other Sub-Saharan countries lag behind the 2015 target of reducing malnutrition. In Uganda it is largely due to food access and distribution constraints and the growth in food production failing to keep up with the exceptionally high annual population growth rate of 3.2%.
  • A new report by Amensty International discussed that repressive and discriminatory legislation enacted over the last 18 months in Uganda had led to increasing state repression, violence and homophobic and gender-based discrimination. Police fails to investigate abuses. The organisation urged to revise these laws, which threaten the core human rights in Uganda.
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