Asia

    Myanmar lacks discussion on post-conflict justice, says expert
    29.03.17
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo.net

    In Myanmar, the start of a democratic transition in 2010 and the arrival in power of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party in early 2016 raised much hope. But the military still holds considerable power. Conflicts in the country are continuing and even escalating. The army is accused of gross human rights abuses, notably against the minority Rohingya population in Rakhine State, and the UN has pledged an international  fact-finding mission, from which the government has distanced itself. So what are the current hopes for peace and justice in Myanmar? JusticeInfo spoke to...

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    Rakhine camps must close, says Myanmar's Annan Advisory Commission
    20.03.17
    Su Myat Mon, Frontier

    The office of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar has accepted the recommendations of an advisory panel led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, which also call for the perpetrators of human rights violations to be “held to account”. YANGON — The Advisory Commission on Rakhine State says the government needs a comprehensive plan to close displacement camps as part of any solution toward the festering communal tensions in Myanmar’s west. Releasing its interim report on Thursday, the commission noted that efforts to return or relocate the more than 120,000 people living in IDP...

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    Nepal : for an alternative route to resist global transitional justice
    15.03.17
    Ram Bhandari

    “When I see the role of NGOs, human rights groups and politics, I think transitional justice is rather an experimental laboratory of various actors, where suffering families’ continue to wait for justice and gain nothing from the false process of political reconciliation and instrumentalisation of interest groups who dominate the victim’s needs and realities in the ground.” says Bhagiram Chaudhary, the district-based victim’s advocate who has been speaking for fellow victims in the Nepal’s countryside for many years.   10 years after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement...

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    Myanmar needs international inquiry on Rohingya abuses by security forces, says UN rapporteur
    14.03.17
    Thomas Kean (Frontier Myanmar)

    As the Human Rights Council session in Geneva gets underway, Thomas Kean of our partner Frontier speaks to UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar Ms Yanghee Lee about her call for a commission of inquiry into alleged abuses in Rakhine State, notably against the Muslim Rohingya minority.  Why have you recommended the creation of a commission of inquiry? Throughout the duration of my mandate, I have been flagging serious human rights concerns pertaining to the situation of the Rohingya and other minority communities in Rakhine State. However, the call for the commission of inquiry...

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    Sri Lanka’s victims demand justice, while government plays for time
    03.03.17
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo.net

    Sri Lanka’s government this week asked the UN Human Rights Council for more time to fulfil its promises under a 2015 Resolution on justice for civil war victims. The international community welcomed the surprise election of President Maithripala Sirisena in early 2015 and his promises of justice and reconciliation, but a new report from international jurists of the Sri Lanka Monitoring and Accountability Panel (MAP) says the government has done little and is acting in bad faith. The civil war, pitting majority Buddhist Sinhalese of the south against minority Hindu Tamils of the north and...

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    In Myanmar, "transition has to be built on the voices of the people"
    23.02.17
    Arnaud Dubus

    From 2009 to 2015, Matthew Mullen, a lecturer at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies of Mahidol University, in Thailand, tracked the diverse and complex pathways through which political change came to Myanmar. Instead of focusing only on the well-known picture of a highly vocal opposition movement confronting an entrenched military regime, he paid attention to more discreet endeavors which were going on in the local communities, where a myriad of small organizations and individuals were working for change, not in a directly confrontational way, but through a wide array of...

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    Preparing for the next peace conference in Myanmar
    16.02.17
    HEIN KO SOE & OLIVER SLOW FRONTIER

    Plans are underway to hold the next Union Peace Conference at the end of this month, but the government and non-signatories of a 2015 peace agreement cannot agree how to tackle the thorny issue of how to bring peace to Myanmar. February 12 marks 70 years since independence hero Bogyoke Aung San met with Shan, Kachin and Chin leaders in the Shan State town of Panglong and signed an agreement that would grant their territories full autonomy within 10 years. But the pact was never fulfilled. Shortly after achieving independence in January 1948, the country plunged into a decades-long...

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    Nepal: the Transitional Justice Commissions and Victims’ Critical Engagement
    16.02.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Transitional justice has been a stated priority throughout Nepal’s peace process following the end of the ‘People’s War’ in 2006, but it took nearly 10 years before the two truth commissions (Truth and Reconciliation Commission TRC and Commission for Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons CIEDP) investigating war-era crimes were established. While these processes have enjoyed nominal support, the Nepali government never prioritized transitional justice in its national agenda, and the Commissions have not been prevented from fulfilling their mandates. The stalled transitional justice process has eroded trust between victims advocacy groups and the two Commissions. While the...

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    Ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas in Myanmar : UN
    03.02.17
    AFP

    Myanmar's military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims has likely killed hundreds of people, with children slaughtered and women raped in a campaign that may amount to ethnic cleansing, the UN said Friday. A report from the United Nations Human Rights office, based on interviews with 204 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, also found it was "very likely" that crimes against humanity had been committed in Myanmar, echoing previous UN accusations. The so-called "area clearance operations" launched by the military in northwest Rakhine state on October 10 "have likely resulted in several hundred...

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    Muslim lawyer's murder an "attack on rule of law and justice in Myanmar"
    01.02.17
    KYAW PHONE KYAW, HEIN KO SOE & HTUN KHAING | FRONTIER

    U KO NI will be remembered for having made a major contribution to Myanmar’s transition towards genuine democracy, friends, family and colleagues told Frontier in the wake of his tragic death. He was shot dead while waiting outside the terminal of Yangon International Airport on January 29, after returning from Indonesia. He was 63. One of the most important acts of his long legal and political career came early last year, when he played a decisive role in establishing the State Counsellor position for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, according to U Win Htein, a senior member of the National...

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    Burma Loses a Key Voice for Tolerance
    31.01.17
    Human Rights Watch

    The murder of U Ko Ni, a longtime rights and democracy activist, respected constitutional lawyer, and legal advisor for the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party, is a grave loss for Burma and for all those who seek to promote tolerance and respect for human rights in the country. As one of the few remaining Muslims with the stature to influence the NLD’s policies, he was a voice of reason amid a rising tide of intolerance.  On Sunday afternoon, U Ko Ni was shot dead outside Rangoon airport while holding his grandson in his arms. He had just returned from accompanying a...

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    Burma: Don’t Prosecute Peaceful Speech
    25.01.17
    Human Rights Watch

    (Rangoon) – Burma’s government should act to end the prosecution of peaceful critics in violation of their right to free speech, Human Rights Watch said today. The National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government should seek to amend or repeal laws that criminalize nonviolent speech. Burma’s donors should press the government to end prosecutions for peaceful expression and to release all those detained in violation of their basic rights. Burma’s government should act to end the prosecution of peaceful critics in violation of their right to free speech. “Though Burma’s new government includes more than 100 former political prisoners, it has done little to eliminate the laws used...

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    Afghanistan orders arrest of vice-president's guards in abuse case
    24.01.17
    AFP

    Afghanistan's attorney general has ordered the arrest of nine bodyguards of Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum for sexually abusing and torturing a rival, an official said Tuesday. Dostum, a former warlord who has a catalogue of war crimes to his name, has been accused of abducting Ahmad Ishchi in November last year during a traditional game of Buzkashi, or polo using an animal carcass, in the northern province of Jowzjan. Dostum allegedly kept Ishchi hostage in his private compound for five days, where he was said to have been tortured and sodomised. The country's attorney general launched an investigation into the allegations after local media said Ishchi underwent a medical...

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    Myanmar: Warrior for peace reflects on troubled times
    09.01.17
    MRATT KYAW THU

    U AUNG Naing Oo spent years in the jungle fighting the government before he become a warrior for peace on the staff of the Myanmar Peace Center after it was established by President U Thein Sein in October 2012. After the 1988 national uprising, he fled to the border with thousands of other students, joining the newly formed All Burma Students’ Democratic Front to wage armed struggle against the military regime. He spent 11 years on the Thai border and joined the MPC as a senior member of its peace dialogue program after returning to Myanmar in 2012. The 24 years he spent in exile...

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    Transitional Justice in Nepal : Road to Justice or collapse ?
    06.01.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    In February 2017, Nepal’s transitional justice commissions will finish their two year mandate. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission for the Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), were established in February 2015 eight years after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed ending the 10 year ‘Peoples War’. The TRC and CIEDP were given a two year mandate to deal with the past human rights violations of armed conflict (1996-2006). The TRC and CIEDP were mandated with the investigation of conflict era cases. They are also mandated to recommend that the Government of Nepal provide reparations to conflict victims, prosecute the guilty and...

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    Journey through a battle zone in Myanmar
    20.12.16
    Mratt Kyaw Thu, Frontier Myanmar

    Fear, rumours and the sound of fighting accompanied Frontier on a precarious journey through the battle zone in Myanmar’s northeastern Shan State. The disruption and fear created when an alliance of ethnic armed groups went on the attack in northeastern Shan State last month was clearly evident during a journey through the battle zone.The fighting began on November 20 when the Alliance of the Northern Brotherhood launched coordinated attacks on government and other targets, disrupting traffic on the main highway to Muse, a busy trading town on the border with China. The alliance,...

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    Two months on, renewed humanitarian access call in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state
    15.12.16
    Oliver Slow

    YANGON — The United Nations has reiterated a call for access to northern Rakhine State, where it says 130,000 people have been cut off from regular aid shipments for more than two months. The government has banned most access to Maungdaw Township for journalists and aid workers while security forces undertake “clearance operations” in the area. The operation was launched after Muslim militants launched attacks on three Border Guard Police outposts on November 9, killing nine officers. The response by security forces has led to accusations of extrajudicial killings, mass rape and the...

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    Nepal : NGOs became neo-liberal business
    07.12.16
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    On December 10th the World will celebrate universal human rights day. The occasion will be recognized in Nepal, but unfortunately democratization and human rights have become more buzzword than practice. The policies that have been implemented since the end of the People’s War have done more to protect powerful interests and hide the truth in the name of human rights than ensure those rights for the economically and politically marginalized. Instead human rights serve as an agent of global capitalism that produces capitalist agents to intervene and destroy the peoples rights movement. It is seen that the human rights movement is becoming a part of problem because of its universalistic...

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    Rebuilding history? Debate rages over lost Afghan Buddhas
    30.11.16
    AFP

    For centuries they stood, two monumental ancient statues of Buddha carved into the cliffs of Bamiyan, loved and revered by generations of Afghans -- only to be pulverised by the Taliban in an act of cultural genocide. It felt like the loss of family for many who live and tend their crops nearby -- but some 15 years on they are hopeful these awe-inspiring relics can be reconstructed. But experts are divided on the value of rebuilding the artefacts, with some insisting it is more important to preserve the remains of the entire crumbling site. Archaeologists and restorers, mostly Afghan,...

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    Week in Review: Looking back in Nepal and Bosnia, ICC trying to look forward
    28.11.16
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    It was once again a week of contrasts for transitional justice, notably in Cambodia, The Hague, South Sudan, Bosnia and Nepal, reflecting how paths to national reconciliation and their difficulties differ from country to country. Towards the end of the week, Colombia also got a revised, still controversial peace deal, which will this time be put to parliament, rather than directly to the people. Nepal, which has been marking 10 years since the end of a cruel civil war and is sometimes seen as a model, continues to struggle on the path to peace, writes Ram Kumar Bhandari, founder of an...

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