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News from HART
• A group of 71 organisations, including HART, have written to the UN Security Council about Sudan’s grave human rights violations and links to terrorism. The letter reminds the UN of its statements and commitments regarding Sudan. Read the letter here.
• A HART team have just returned from Nagorno-Karabakh after a productive visit – watch this space for their report!
• Our Volunteers’ Reception is coming up fast – find out more here.
• Sana Ahmad has written a blog reflecting on her experience volunteering with the Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN)in Burma
• On Monday, Burma granted 209 displaced Muslims, including Rohingya, citizenship.
• The case of an ethnic Kachin girl’s alleged rape by a Burmese Army soldier in northern Shan State has gone before a civilian court in a rare instance of civilian judicial reckoning for a member of Burma’s military.
• On Thursday, the Burmese military formally discharged 108 child soldiers – this is the largest release of child soldiers to date.
• A damning report was release by Burmese civil society groups reviewing the performance of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC). The report suggests that the MNHRC had not successfully investigated “any case submitted to it” since it was formed by President Thein Sein in 2011.
• Aid agencies report that millions of children in India and Pakistan are at risk of trafficking following flash floods, in which at least 450 people have been killed and more than 700,000 made homeless.
• A team from HART have just returned from Nagorno-Karabakh. They have encouraging reports from the Rehabilitation Centre, to be released shortly. They also met with the President and Foreign Minister of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Prime Minister of Armenia, the British Ambassador to Armenia and a number of other senior figures, to discuss both current advocacy issues and the future direction of the Rehabilitation Centre.
• The Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan have met with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group in New York. They are preparing for a summit in October, at which the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan will discuss key elements of a settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Government of Nagorno-Karabakh is not included in the talks.
• One of the school students kidnapped from Chibok by Boko Haram has escaped and is receiving medical attention. Reports of how many girls remain in captivity range from 216 to 276. Previous escapees interviewed by the Guardian spoke of multiple rapes, mutilations and forcible conversions.
• The Nigerian military have reported that Abubakar Shakau, the leader of Boko Haram, has been killed, and that 130 members of the group have surrendered. There have been previous claims reporting Shakau’s death by the military in 2009 and 2013.
• According to the UN, the number of civilians forced to flee the violence is nearing 2 million “with no likelihood that people will return to their homes soon.” They report that the scale and severity of violations has declined, but that “civilians have continued to bear the brunt of the ongoing armed conflict and of their leaders’ failure to stop the fighting”.
• The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that the food security outlook in South Sudan remains grim for early 2015, especially in conflict affected states.
• The IRC note that many of the 2.5 million people predicted to be severely affected by severe food insecurity in 2015 are in locations that have not been accessed yet by any nutrition services.
• Authorities in South Sudan’s Warrap state – one of the regions where HART’s partners are located – are deploying additional security forces to help curb sectional fighting.
• Leaked minutes of a meeting of senior Sudanese military and security officials reveal a determination to continue bombing agriculture and food supplies as a means of waging war against the people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, with an explicit, declared goal of starvation. Regime officials also emphasize that there will be no lifting of the humanitarian embargo banning relief efforts from desperate civilians in rebel-held territories.
• The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies reports that ten men in Blue Nile State remain detained incommunicado and without charge by the Sudan Armed Forces and are at serious risk of ill-treatment. They were detained during attacks in August. During attacks in September, ten women and girls were raped including two girls aged 13 and 14.
• Refugees fleeing war in Sudan, who risk their lives to reach safety, often face distrust, detention and years in limbo after seeking asylum in the UK. “Many Sudanese who come to the UK are escaping the very worst kinds of human rights abuses in their home country,” said Olivia Warham, director of Waging Peace. “This forces them to take desperate measures to seek sanctuary here.”
• One year on from the killing of hundreds of peaceful protestors by Sudanese government forces, there has been no justice. Human Rights Watch are calling on the UN to press for an inquiry.
• The Prime Minister of Timor-Leste has made a statement to the General Assembly calling for a more active UN. The UN was deeply involved with Timor-Leste’s journey to independence. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão said world crises must not be exacerbated by the desire to end war by waging war. “Instead, they must be based on the desire to build a world of peace, supported by dialogue and by an effort – herculean, if need be – to respond to the root causes of problems that lead to terrorism, racism, extremism and intolerance.”
• We are delighted to announce that the PAORINHER Centre has just completed the construction of a borehole, funded by HART, which will provide clean drinking water to the children at the centre and the surrounding community. The borehole will serve a population of around 600.