Weekly News Round Up (19/9/14)

19 September 2014

News from HART

• A team from HART met the Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan to discuss HART’s projects and current issues relating to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Hannah Todd reflected on HART’s approach to aid and development, and the implications of this for larger aid organisations. “HART’s partners know how society works in their country and can achieve things that outsiders cannot. They are both the recipients and distributors of the aid HART sends them and this makes them more able to lay a sustainable foundation for the work that they do. The ‘partner model’ restores local agency”.

• Gemma Heard invited readers to join her as she learns more about Burma, in the first of a series of blogs.


Myanmar’s “Rohingya” – what’s in a name? Humanitarian news agency IRIN released an excellent briefing on the plight of the Rohingya, a group of around 800,000 Muslims who have been called “one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.” 

• SWAN reported on a recent protest by over 3000 villagers in Shan State. Villagers are concerned by the lack of protection against deeply destructive mining techniques, which are polluting rivers and destroying crops.


Floods in India and Pakistan offer a chance for peace-building. India’s northern state of Kashmir has been hit by the worst floods in 50 years, while on the Pakistani side, flooding has left more than 300 dead and 2.3 million people affected. Youth on both sides of the border have been working together to foster cross-border cooperation to combat climate change.


• Between September 7th and 13th Azerbaijan violated the ceasefire about 220 times, firing over 1300 shots at Armenian positions, according to the press service of the NKR Defense Army.

• A further 45 ceasefire violations by Azerbaijan were reported in 24 hours over September 18th – 19th. • An Armenian soldier has been killed in Nagorno-Karabakh in fresh clashes with Azerbaijan. This follows the deaths of 20 soldiers during clashes last month.

The Scotland Effect: De Waal discusses the mood in Armenia and Karabakh prior to the Scottish Referendum. He reports great excitement about the vote, based on the simple premise that a vote for separatism in Scotland legitimizes the case of Karabakh Armenians for independence. Highland Karabakhis are expressing highland solidarity with pro-independence Scots.


• At least 15 people have been killed and 34 injured in an attack on a teacher training college in Kano, suspected to have been carried out by Boko Haram.

• Amnesty International released a report exposing the institutionalized use of torture by the Nigerian police and military. The torture is routine and committed with impunity. The report is based on hundreds of testimonies and evidence gathered over 10 years. “Across the country, the scope and severity of torture inflicted on Nigeria’s women, men and children by the authorities supposed to protect them is shocking to even the most hardened human rights observer” said Amnesty’s Research and Advocacy Director. “Soldiers pick up hundreds of people as they search for those associated with Boko Haram, then torture suspects during a ‘screening’ process that resembles a medieval witch hunt.”

South Sudan

• A group of South Sudanese women held a silent protest on the streets of Juba against the war and the failure of leaders to end the fighting. “We just do not want to hear any guns anymore,” said Jane Gordon Sworow, chairperson of the Grassroots Women’s Network for Peace. “What we need is peace.”

• Peace talks in Addis Ababa between the warring parties have been delayed over agenda disagreements.


• “Beats of the Antonov”, a documentary film about Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains by Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka, has won the People’s Choice Documentary Award at the International Film Festival of Toronto in Canada. “Beats of the Antonov focuses on the everyday survival of people who have lost kin, homes, and livelihoods in the ongoing conflict, but instead of devastation and defeat, we discover communities emboldened to celebrate their heritage, and to improvise creative ways to continue harvesting crops and herding cattle.”  Watch a trailer here.

• Nuba Reports have released a powerful new video entitled “Khartoum’s War On Sudan: When Civilians Are The Enemy”, which has been screened at the UN Human Rights Council this week. The video, and a comprehensive accompanying report, can be found here.

• The United States, the United Kingdom and Norway have released a joint statement on National Dialogue in Sudan. The statement emphasises that “there is no military solution to the conflicts in Sudan”.


Links between peacebuilding, conflict prevention and durable solutions to displacement: the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement have just released an excellent case study analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of responses to mass displacement in Timor Leste over the past 12 years.


• The Global Information And Early Warning System On Food And Agriculture (GIEWS) have reported acute levels of food insecurity in the Karamoja region of northern Uganda. Food stocks are likely to be exhausted by January. GIEWS also reported that of the 125,800 South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, half are children under 12.

A Lonely Journey To Uganda For Unaccompanied Children: Save The Children discuss the plight of the many thousands of unaccompanied South Sudanese children who have fled to Uganda. For regular news from HART, and to learn more, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter or explore our website.

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