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15 May 2015
News from HART
- New HART Newsletter has been released! This edition focuses on the situation in Sudan South Sudan. Find out more information and how to download it, here.
- Anna Cox has published a blog on the persecution of the Rohingya community and how that has turned into a refugee crisis. You can read the full blog entry, here.
- Fighting in the Kokang region continues and those seeking refuge in China fear return following reports of killing, beheading and disappearance of villagers who have attempted to return to their villages. The Shan Human Rights Foundation has documented evidence and personal testimonies in a recent report.
- Rohingya refugees escaping persecution by boat are being towed back out to sea. Tun Khin from Burmese Rohignya Organisation UK (BROUK) says that ‘Rohingya are fleeing Burma because the government is using twin tactics of impoverishment and repression against them. ASEAN should work with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to negotiate open humanitarian access to the Rohingya in Burma, and they should support a UN investigation into the government policies and human rights violations against Rohingya. Until ASEAN start to address the root causes of why Rohingya people are fleeing Burma, they won’t solve this problem.’
- BROUK have released a press statement calling for ‘ASEAN member states to launch an urgent rescue operation for thousands of Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi’s stranded in boats off the coasts of Thailand, Malaysia, and to address the root causes of the crisis by pressuring the government of Burma to end its policy of trying to drive the Rohingya out of Burma.’
- India’s government wants to make the country a manufacturing hub – but for that it needs to increase power production. The villagers of Mahan, helped by Greenpeace, recently blocked attempts to mine coal in their forest.
- ‘On the border and in the crossfire: Cameroon’s war with Boko Haram’ – the Guardian reports from the frontline on the difficulty of fighting Boko Haram in northern Niger.
- The Nigerian army has repelled a Boko Haram attack on its base in Maiduguri. Amidst a 24-hour curfew “to protect lives and property of innocent and law-abiding people”, the insurgents were pushed back. Regrettably, many villagers were killed by shells that hit the outlaying village of Kayamla.
- At least 28 children have been confirmed dead in an outbreak of lead poisoning from what the government calls ‘illegal mining activities’ in central Nigeria’s Niger state.
- South Sudan’s parliament has passed a bill, requiring relief agencies and other NGOs to have a minimum of 80% South Sudanese staff employed on the ground while working in the country. A closer analysis of the new bill identifies it as being ‘catastrophic’ to the people who most need the humanitarian assistance provided by relief agencies.
- The head of the UN Mission in South Sudan, Ellen Margrethe Loj, has decried the suffering of people in South Sudan from the devastating effects of the conflict that erupted in 2013.
- EU diplomats in Khartoum have raised concerns by the resumption of tribal clashes in East Darfur and have called for humanitarian access to the affected civilians.
- Australia will give up documents detailing espionage activities in Timor-Leste during negotiations over a contentious Timor Sea oil and gas treaty. The Timor-Leste government has praised a decision by the Australian government to return documents about past spying that were at the centre of raids by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio) in 2013. But Timor-Leste said there had still been a lack of progress on resolving a dispute between the two countries over a contentious oil and gas treaty, and warned it was “reserving its rights” on that issue.
- The army has launched a ‘de-radicalisation campaign’ aimed at countering the recruitment drives of terrorist groups, such as Somali-based militant Islamist group Al-Shabab and the Allied Democratic Front, who are believed to be recruiting youths on behalf of Al-Quaeda.
- In related news, the Ugandan President met with the U.S security chief, Susan Rice, last week to exchange views on regional issues such as the ongoing crisis in South Sudan and the increasing level of conflict in Sudan. They also discussed the important cooperation between the USA and Uganda to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism in the region.
- Museveni last week called for a re-structuring of the United Nations during his keynote address at the United Nations High Level Thematic Debate on Strengthening Co-operation between the United Nations and regional organisations in the maintenance of peace, security, human rights and development in their respective areas. He argued that the U.N. should place a greater emphasis on regionalism, calling on the U.N to work more closely with regional bodies such as the African Union. He called for ‘African solutions to African problems’.