Weekly News Round Up (20/03/15)

20 March 2015

News from HART

– This week, Anna Cox has published a report compiling evidence from different investigations to highlight trends in Human Rights abuses being committed to make way for large-scale development projects in Burma. Read it here.

– Yesterday, members of the House of Lords questioned the Government on escalating violence in the crackdown of peaceful protests by students in Burma. Read our coverage here.

– In another blog entry this week, Edwin O’Connell looks at the terror and mistrust in Boko Haram’s homeland.



– SHRF report that after being told by the Burmese army that it is now safe to return home, refugees who had been sheltering on the Chinese border to escape fighting in the Kokang region followed the advice. However, having returned two days earlier, fighting broke out and two boys were killed and an 80 year old women suffered attacks when escaping from Burmese soldiers ransacking her home.

– Karen River Watch and local villagers have arranged protests against proposed hydropower dam projects on the Salween River due to lack of consultation with local populations and fear of militarisation of the area leading to increased conflict.

– Controversial marriage and population control bills have been approved to go through Parliament today under the package of four bills known as the Race and Religion Laws package. These will punish husbands who convert Buddhist wives to another religion and limit one baby per mother every three years. The package has been viewed as ‘an attempt to subjugate and control the Muslim community in Burma’.

– Two journalists have been jailed for defamation. The latest ruling that is raising concerns about freedom of press in Burma.

– A photo essay on the release of child soldiers from the Burmese Army has been published by photographer Spike Johnson. It details examples of children being abducted into the army, and the process for release. Unfortunately, many children still remain as soldiers in the Burmese Army.



– A derailed passenger train has killed nearly 30 people and left 46 injured after it failed to stop at the station.

– The government has announced a 33% quota for women in police forces of union territories. This is aimed at making the force more gender sensitive and less threatening to women.



– The Armenian President has given a speech expressing a desire for Armenians and the Turkish to commemorate the Armenian genocide together to herald ‘a new haven of the rapprochement of the two of the two nations and normalization of their relations.’



– The BBC has gained rare access to previously held Boko Haram territories. Watch their video material posted on Tuesday 17th March here. Meanwhile Nigeria’s military says it has retaken the north-eastern town of Bama from Boko Haram. There remain only three major areas that are under Boko Haram’s control right now.

– Morale amongst the coalition forces fighting Boko Haram is high as they celebrate advances against the militant organization.

– The head of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said on Monday that they are ready to conduct free, fair and credible elections in two weeks time.


South Sudan

– The UN has expressed concern over renewed fighting of the warring parties in South Sudan. This comes amidst other reports of 13 government soldiers killed by rebels in an ambush at Unity State’s Nyabol Kubur.

– UNHCR has begun the relocation of 50,000 flood-affected South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia.



– Sudan’s dialogue preparatory meeting will be held before the 30th March ahead of the presidential elections. The meeting is a roadmap aiming to support peace and democratic reforms in Sudan.

– The ICRC has asked donors for more money and support to finance its assistance and protection work for people affected by conflict in Sudan.



– The prime minister of Timor Leste, Rui Maria De Araujo, says that as part of a push for membership in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), ‘legal mechanisms and a policy framework have been put in place to help investors and the local economy’.

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