Weekly News Round Up (01/05/15)

1 May 2015

News from HART

  • An update from of our South Sudanese partners, the Marol Academy Secondary School is online. Read it here.
  • Read up on some of the selected entries from our HART Prize for Human Rights competition in the blog section of our website.



  • Garment workers in Rangoon have been jailed for asking for a $1 pay rise to make ends meet. Burma Campaign UK are asking people to call for the Government to release political prisoners by signing their letter.
  • Villagers protesting against an illegal gold mine have been harassed, punished and threatened by an Officer from the Burma Army. More information on the negative impacts of mismanaged projects in Burma can be found in our report, ‘Large-scale Developments in Burma: Uncovering trends in human rights abuse’.



  • Last weekend, thousands descended on the capital, New Delhi, to protest against a new land law which, if passed, will ease land acquisition for the rich and deprive poor farmers of their livelihoods, hence why the protesters have dubbed the bill as ‘anti-poor’.
  • In related news, India’s rural poor are in the midst of a ‘suicide crisis’. Vidarbha, in the eastern region of the state of Maharashtra, is known as the epicenter of the suicide, with nearly 3000 cotton farmers have killed themselves since 2013. Rising living costs but falling cotton prices mean that many are becoming overburdened with debt and are being pushed over the edge.
  • On Wednesday, a farmer hanged himself at a rally protesting the new land law. Politicians have been trading blame for his death.



  • 24th April marked the centenary of the Armenian Genocide which killed 1.5 million people. The Young People’s Union marched from Nagorno-Karabakh to the Genocide Memorial (Tsitsernakaberd) in Yerevan and many attended memorials and commemoration ceremonies across Armenia. These commemorations were especially poignant as there has not to date been recognition or apology from the Turkish Government.
  • Parliamentary elections are to be held in Nagorno-Karabakh on the 3rd May 2015 amidst opposition from many external states and international organisations including the EU.



  • In a spate of recent successive rescue operations, Nigeria’s army said on Wednesday it had rescued 293 women, out of which 200 were girls.
  • Separately on Friday, the military said that a further 160 more women and children had been rescued from the Sambisa Forest, considered to be Boko Haram’s last stronghold.


South Sudan





  • UNICEF last week highlighted the issue of child malnutrition in the country where some 50% of children are stunted. The reasons for this are limited access to health care, poor water and sanitation, and a lack of agricultural activity due to the war of independence with Indonesia.



  • Some in the Ugandan Muslim community are feeling scared of persecution in the wake of a government and police crackdown on ‘Islamic extremism’. The crackdown comes in the wake of last month’s killing of a high-profile prosecutor involved in a case against those accused of two bombings at sites where football fans had gathered to watch the 2010 World Cup.
  • A Sydney doctor and presidential hopeful in next years elections is wanted by the police for funding the murder of 7 people in Uganda. Police there have linked the killings to the rebel group Allied Democratic Forces, which they say Dr Kiyingi has funded from Australia. Nevertheless, Dr Kiyingi has pinned the deaths on the Ugandan Government and his rival President Musevani, saying the allegations were designed to prevent him from running.
  • Human rights advocates have expressed outrage over a proposed bill to regulate NGOs, which they argue will “severely curb Ugandans’ basic rights”. If passed, The new Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) bill would grant the internal affairs minister and the National Board for Non-governmental Organisations broad powers to supervise, approve, inspect, and dissolve all nongovernmental organizations and community based organizations, and would impose severe criminal penalties for violations.
  • It’s also feared that the new bill could lead to a further clamp down on LGBT groups and other human rights organisations. Chapter Four Uganda and Human Rights Watch say the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) bill would subject groups to such extensive government control and interference that it could negate the very essence of freedom of association and expression.


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