Asia

    Women's struggle in Myanmar is not a myth
    16.08.17
    Khin Chan Myae Maung, Frontier

    The argument that gender inequality is not an issue in Myanmar is simply not borne out by the facts on the ground.Women’s rights is not a topic that needs a long-winded introduction; it has been a fight that has been taken up by millions across the globe in the hope of achieving basic human rights for women - young and old, born or chosen - everywhere. Despite the protests and movements made in the name of women rights, in this day and age there are still those who believe our struggle is not real. The issue of a lack of gender equality is by no means a myth – as was argued by the author of...

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    Nepal’s Transitional Justice mechanism "a road to nowhere"
    24.07.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The existing transitional justice (TJ) system in Nepal fails to open avenues for social justice as it is envisioned and demanded at the local level. Rather, the current system promotes a gap between the mainstream (i.e. the State) and the margins (i.e. the victims). Such a gap has brought about a polarized line of thinking in which the voices of the margins have been further marginalized and hijacked by the powerful. The State’s mechanisms and the so-called civil society groups, backed by donors, cannot provide a satisfactory solution to the truth-seeking and justice debate or provide real...

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    Thai smuggling crackdown leaves Myanmar's Rohingya in limbo
    19.07.17
    Hla-Hla HTAY,AFP

    Five years have passed since Hla Hla Sein was forced into a displacement camp in western Myanmar for Rohingya Muslims, where disease and deprivation are rife and armed guards patrol a barbed-wire perimeter.  But after a crackdown on the international smuggling routes that once offered a dangerous -- but viable -- escape route, she now sees no way out.  "We have no idea how many years we will have to live like this," the 40-year-old widow told AFP inside the tiny bamboo hut she shares with her son, tugging nervously at her purple headscarf.  "Our lives are worse than animals... we...

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    Myanmar villagers tell of abuses during crackdown in Rakhine
    18.07.17
    Oliver Slow, Frontier

    Residents of villages in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State have told reporters of accounts of human rights abuses by security forces during clearance operations conducted in the aftermath of the October 9 attack on police outposts in the beleaguered region. The accounts, told to reporters from local and foreign media outlets who were in the region as part of a government-sponsored trip, included accusations of extrajudicial killing, arson and arbitrary arrest. The government and military have repeatedly denied that such incidents took place. In Kyar Gaung Taung village, Maungdaw Township,...

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    Myanmar slammed over visa refusal to UN Rohingya probe
    12.07.17
    AFP

    Aung San Suu Kyi's government in Myanmar risks getting bracketed with "pariah states" like North Korea and Syria over its refusal to grant visas to a UN team investigating the plight of Rohingya Muslims, activists said Wednesday. The civilian government of the Nobel peace laureate said on June 30 that the three investigators designated by the UN's Human Rights Council were not welcome, insisting it was conducting its own probe into alleged atrocities against the minority group. That refusal amounts to "a slap in the face to victims who suffered grave human rights violations by Myanmar's state security forces", John Fisher, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch, said in a...

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    Rodrigo Duterte’s first year: a human rights disaster the world prefers to ignore
    11.07.17
    Tom Smith

    Rodrigo Duterte’s first year as president of the Philippines should never be forgotten – for all the wrong reasons. For those directly affected by his brutal and lawless “war on drugs”, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people, the only hope is for an end to the suffering. But in the absence of a clear international declaration against Duterte’s disastrous regime, that hope is in vain. The sad fact is that much of the suffering Duterte is inflicting was entirely predictable. The Philippines’ human rights institutions are fragile, and Duterte came to office with a well-known...

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    Where to now for the UN in Myanmar?
    03.07.17
    Frontier

    The lack of a unified message from the UN has weakened its influence on the Myanmar government in the Rakhine conflict.The battle within the United Nations country team over the direction of its work on human rights, particularly in Rakhine State, was one of the worst kept secrets in Myanmar. It was a bitter struggle between two sides that both believed their approach was the most effective to tackle the myriad challenges. The UN is far from monolithic; its various agencies, by the nature of their work and leadership, have different operating philosophies. In Myanmar, the battle lines went...

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    Film festival reflects state of Myanmar transition
    29.06.17
    Sing Lee, Frontier

    Myanmar's fifth Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival was an insight into how far the country has progressed in its political transition, with some liberalizatation but a film on conflict in Rakhine state still banned.  Four years can seem a long time. In 2013, the Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival was launched amid an uncertain political transition. The term “human rights” had until very recently been taboo; the country’s prisons still housed scores, if not hundreds, of political inmates. For organisers and participants, the fifth incarnation of the...

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    Myanmar journalists face jail for meeting rebel group
    28.06.17
    Nyan Hlaing Lynn, Frontier

    NAY PYI TAW — Three journalists detained by Myanmar's military in northern Shan State have been transferred into police custody in Hsipaw and formally charged with Section 17(1) of the Unlawful Associations Act, Frontier has been told. Ko Lawi Weng of The Irrawaddy, also known as Thein Zaw, along with DVB reporters Ko Aye Naing and Ko Pyae Bone Aung, will appear before a judge in Hsipaw on July 11 after being arrested on suspicion of meeting members of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army in Namhsan Township, near the Chinese border. If convicted, the trio face a maximum sentence of three...

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    Top Khmer Rouge leader denies genocide at close of UN-backed trial
    23.06.17
    AFP

    One of the top surviving leaders of Cambodia's ruthless Khmer Rouge regime on Friday denied genocide charges and rejected the label of "murderer" in forceful closing remarks at a lengthy UN-backed trial. The Khmer Rouge's former head of state, 85-year-old Khieu Samphan, spoke angrily to the Phnom Penh chamber trying him and another senior leader, 90-year-old Nuon Chea, for the regime's killing of ethnic Vietnamese and Muslim minorities, forced marriage and rape. The men are the two most senior living members of the radical Maoist group that seized control of Cambodia in 1975 and...

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    The challenge of forging a new army in Myanmar
    20.06.17
    Sithu Aung Myint, Frontier

    One of the greatest challenges of the peace process in Myanmar will be to decide what kind of national army ("Tatmadaw") will be most compatible with the people’s aspirations for a future democratic federal Union. During the second 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference that ended on May 29, delegates discussed 45 topics under four headings dealing with politics, the economy, the social sector and land and the environment. Agreement was reached on 37 topics and in an official statement, the six-day event was described as a success. Frankly speaking, the statement was not complete...

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    Nepal: Transitional uncertainty
    19.06.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Over the past two decades, Nepal has suffered greatly, seeing minimal progress on social transformation, transitional justice, criminal accountability, and access to justice. The cyclical nature of Nepali politics and lack of progress has placed the transformative agenda squarely in the hands of few elites who have full control of the state apparatus. The return of Sher Bahadur Deuba as Prime Minister (the 25th in the past 27 years, after 1990s Peoples movement) clearly shows the instability of the Nepali state. On June 6th, 2017, Sher Bahadur Deuba was elected Prime Minister of Nepal...

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    Mixed results at Myanmar peace conference
    31.05.17
    NYAN HLAING LYNN & OLIVER SLOW | FRONTIER

    Myanmar's second 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference in Nay Pyi Taw last week ended with some signs of progress but also highlighted the huge challenges the country faces to finally achieve peace.It began with a good-cop, bad-cop routine: State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s optimistic speech followed by a threat from the commander-in-chief towards armed groups rejecting the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. But the outcome of the second 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference was similarly mixed – there was disagreement over the right to “secede” from the Union, but also...

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    ICRC chief pleads for humanitarian access in Myanmar
    31.05.17
    Frontier Myanmar

    The International Committee of the Red Cross works to provide relief to people within conflict zones. During a recent visit to tour ICRC projects and meet Myanmar officials, committee president Peter Maurer sat down for an interview with Frontier’s Jared Downing and reporters from several other outlets. Your first visit to Myanmar was in 2013. What has been your biggest surprise, coming back this time? From a relatively small operation of the ICRC, [ICRC Myanmar] has become the second largest in Asia, among the top 20 operations of ICRC worldwide. It has now a US$34 million budget, more...

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    UN rights council names team to probe Myanmar abuses
    30.05.17
    AFP

    The UN rights council on Tuesday named a three-person team to probe alleged atrocities against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims, a key step in an investigation already rejected by the country's government. The Geneva-based human rights council voted in March to create a Myanmar fact-finding mission, in a politically sensitive move that faced fierce resistance from the civilian-led government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The mission was ordered to "urgently" investigate abuses reportedly committed by the security forces, particularly in Rakhine state where troops have been accused of raping,...

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    A "stirring documentary about ethnic cleansing on Myanmar's 'Buddhist Bin Laden'
    24.05.17
    AFP

    Barbet Schroeder spent months with Ugandan dictator Idi Amin at the height of his power, when corpses would wash up every morning on the shores of Lake Victoria and Kampala was rife with rumours that he was eating his opponents. But in his decades of documenting evil, the veteran Swiss filmmaker says he has never been as scared by anyone as he was by a Burmese Buddhist monk named Wirathu. "I am afraid to call him Wirathu because even his name scares me," the highly acclaimed director told AFP. "I just call him W." "The Venerable W", his chilling portrait of the monk who has been...

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    Nepal : Politicisation of the supreme court and its impact on justice process in transition
    23.05.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    The first women chief justice of the Supreme Court, Shushila Karki, was an independent and strong chief justice who was against the political influence or unwanted interference in judiciary. She has challenged the powerholders through judicial process openly such as declared chief of Commission on Investigation of Abuse of Authority, Nepal anti-corruption body, Lokman Singh Karki an incompetent in her verdict, who was appointed by then government in a ‘political consensus’. On 30 April, Justice Karki made a verdict to prosecute three former Chiefs of Nepal police on corruption charges....

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    Can Memorialisation Generate Public Demand for Transitional Justice in Sri Lanka?
    09.05.17
    Gehan Gunatilleke

    Sri Lanka’s three-decade civil war in the North and East of the country, along with an insurrection in the South, witnessed the death and disappearance of thousands. Despite these egregious events, the Sri Lankan state has failed to provide public spaces for memorialisation. In this context, transitional justice practitioners in Sri Lanka have advocated for state-sponsored promotion of memorialisation. Scholars and victims are, however, divided on the issue.  This article offers an alternative perspective on the importance of ‘victim-centred’ memorialisation in Sri Lanka. It argues that...

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    Myanmar: The life of a Kachin soldier
    09.05.17
    Steve Tickner/ Frontier

    Conflict between the Myanmar army and the rebel Kachin Independence Army (KIA) continues in Kachin State, near the Chinese border. Despite recent fighting around the town of Laiza, morale remains upbeat for the KIA soldiers on the frontline – but many still dream of returning to a normal life when the guns of war eventually fall silent.  A FEW kilometres southwest of Laiza, Kachin State, a mere stone’s throw from the border with China, a group of soldiers from the Kachin Independence Army, the armed wing of the Kachin Independence Organisation, begin their daily fitness training session in...

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    Transitional injustice in Nepal
    24.04.17
    Gopal Krishna Siwakoti, PhD President, INHURED International

    The Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) of 2006 ended a decade of armed conflict in Nepal between the State security forces and the CPN (Maoist). With the end of the conflict that caused more than 13,000 deaths, 1,000 disappearances, displaced hundreds of thousands of people and victimized many others through torture and other human rights violations by both sides,[1] the Peace Accord spoke of a ‘new Nepal’ promising a set of transitional mechanisms to take forward political, social and economic transformation with an acknowledgement that it is necessary to address past violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. [2]   As the government introduced an Ordinance in 2013...

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