News Updates, 2/12/14

Burma

TIME story about how Women and civil society are coming together in Kachin state to demand an end to rape as a tool of war and abuses by military and police, and to hold perpetrators accountable in civilian court.

National Geographic Released a “Dreams of Burma” app that allows you to view photos on a virtual tourist trip of the country.

Human Rights held their annual board of directors event in Burma this past week and called for more media freedoms and a transparent investigation into the violence in Arakan State.

Mining by multi-naitonal companies threatens traditional livelihoods in remote areas of Burma.

Sudan

New peace talks

  • New peace talks to resolve crisis in South Sudan began in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Tuesday
  • 2 weeks since ceasefire signed
  • Peace talks will be on political dialogue and national reconciliation
  • Rebels agreed to continue talks with agreement that detainees would be released and Ugandan troops aligned with Salva Kiir will withdraw
  • Detainees are allies of Machar from SPLM

Opposition Threatens Boycott

  • Opposition had threatened Monday to boycott talks unless the following demands were met :
    • Withdrawal of government troops from UN camp in Juba
    • Release of four political detainees
    • Withdrawal of Ugandan troops fighting alongside Kiir army
  • The agreements already signed in January were for a cessation of hostilities and release of eleven other detainees

Humanitarian Crisis

  • World Food Program estimates 3.7 million people are in urgent need of food
  • WFP does not have guaranteed safe access to all areas of the country
  • Many checkpoints, frequent looting
  • WFP expects to reach fewer than half sites in need in Jonglei state (where 70% of population is suffering from “acute and emergency food insecurity”)
  • Worry about rainy season starting in April means that many parts of the country will become inaccessible

Syria

Russia wants “pragmatic” not humanitarian resolution

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  • Russian envoy is opposed to UN resolution on more humanitarian aid to Syria
  • Think that a security council resolution would be “politicized”
  • Without minimizing the “quite horrific” situation in Homs, Churkin claimed that “it is not a large-scale kind of a siege of the kind we’ve had in the course of history.” Asked about much-delayed efforts to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, Churkin praised Damascus for its efforts.” –Basically Russia is still being very supportive of the regime

New Round of Syria Talks Off to a Slow Start

  • “Faisal Mekdad, called Tuesday’s meeting a “lost day” because the opposition had refused to discuss terrorism, the Syrian government’s priority for the talks.”
  • two sides “talking past each other”
  • U.S. says the regime needs to stop evading questions

Three Day Humanitarian Ceasefire
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  • Ceasefire in Homs to last through today
  • People evacuated, but many worried about leaving
  • Humanitarian aid allowed in but snipers have attacked aid convoys
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