Asia

    This is not Myanmar’s path to peace
    18.01.18
    Frontier

    Myanmar's government runs the risk of ceding so much control to the Tatmadaw (national army) that it simply becomes irrelevant to the peace process. The next 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference is supposed to be just a few weeks away, but you wouldn’t know it from the Tatmadaw’s recent behaviour. Extrajudicial killings, disruption of peace meetings, fresh offensives: if you are trying to get people around a table, it’s a strange way to go about it. In recent weeks, we’ve had the deaths of four Karenni Army soldiers in military custody and the shootout at a Tatmadaw base that left...

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    Nepal's TJ commissions need political will, not just more time
    15.01.18
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    On January 5, 2018, Nepal’s cabinet decided to extend the tenure of the country’s two transitional justice (TJ) bodies for another year. But this was done without consulting primary stakeholders and without evaluating the work of the commissions over the last three years. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) were set up in February 2015 with an initial two- year mandate and a one-year extension to complete the assigned tasks. However, in three years both commissions failed to deliver satisfactory results. They...

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    For Muslims across Myanmar, citizenship rights a legal fiction
    11.01.18
    THOMAS MANCH | FRONTIER

    In Myanmar, members of the Muslim community are facing long delays in citizenship applications unless they acquiesce to officials’ suggestions that they be labelled “Bengali”. Ma Hnin Hlaing, a bright, young Bamar Muslim, cannot become a Myanmar citizen unless she agrees to be called “Bengali”. She finds the label offensive, but without citizenship she cannot complete the business law degree she began in 2014. If she cannot graduate she cannot become a lawyer, her chosen profession. Immigration officials insist she cannot be both Bamar and Muslim and must register as Bengali. She...

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    Nepal: Publish Commission Report on Terai Violence, says HRW
    21.12.17
    Human Rights Watch

     Authorities in Nepal should immediately make public the December 14, 2017 report of a special commission on the Terai violence in 2015, Human Rights Watch said today. The High-Level Inquiry Commission was established in 2016 to investigate alleged excessive and indiscriminate use of force during violent protests that left at least 45 people dead, including nine police officers. While the commission officially handed its report to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, the government has not indicated next steps based on the report’s findings and its recommendations. The victims of the...

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    Reuters journalists arrests a damning reflection on the state of Myanmar's democratic transition
    20.12.17
    Frontier

    These are dark days for journalism in Myanmar. LET’S BE CLEAR: The detention of Reuters journalists Ko Wa Lone and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo is a brazen attack on the media and the principles of democracy. This is not about national security. This is about protecting the interests of the Tatmadaw and silencing those who do not blindly repeat the official line. However, this line – that security forces have not been involved in abuses in northern Rakhine – has already been widely discredited: by satellite imagery, by accounts of refugees, by physical evidence of abuses and even by journalists who...

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    In Myanmar, possibly 'genocide', says UN rights chief
    18.12.17
    AFP

    The UN rights chief told AFP Monday that Myanmar clearly "planned" violent attacks on its Rohingya minority, causing a mass-exodus, and warned the crackdown could possibly amount to "genocide". "For us, it was clear... that these operations were organised and planned," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in an interview. "You couldn't exclude the possibility of acts of genocide... You cannot rule it out as having taken place or taking place." Doctors Without Borders said Thursday that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the first month of a Myanmar army...

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    In Myanmar, women targeted by human trafficking in Kachin
    11.12.17
    SU MYAT MON | FRONTIER

    Women’s groups in Myanmar's Kachin State say understaffed police with inadequate resources are hampering investigations into human trafficking and contributing to a crime wave in Myitkyina, in which women are often the targets. Since the conflict between the Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) and Kachin Independence Army resumed in 2011, bringing to an end a 17-year ceasefire, almost 100,000 people have been displaced.  The majority of those displaced live in camps close to Myitkyina, the state capital, and neighbouring Waingmaw. Women and children comprise more than half of the IDPs, and human...

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    Opinion: More justice needed for war victims in Nepal
    07.12.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    Nepal’s political elites hail the country’s transition from civil war as a success. But commissions for Truth and Reconciliation and on Enforced Disappeared Persons are not independent, and have not so far done their job. Many cases of civil war abuses filed before both national courts and UN bodies have not been adequately followed up, and victims are still waiting for justice.  On this Human Rights Day (December 10), let us call on all political actors in Nepal to respect victims’ right to truth, access to justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition for a peaceful future.The...

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    Possible 'elements of genocide' in Myanmar: UN rights chief
    05.12.17
    AFP

    The UN rights chief called Tuesday for a fresh international investigation into Myanmar's abuses against its Rohingya Muslim minority, warning of possible "elements of genocide". Speaking before a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on the abuses against the Rohingya, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein condemned "widespread, systematic and shockingly brutal" attacks against the Rohingya, as well as decades of discrimination and persecution. An army-led crackdown has forced some 626,000 people to flee from northern Rakhine state and across the border into squalid camps in Bangladesh in...

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    Tepid response to Myanmar-Bangladesh repatriation agreement
    28.11.17
    OLIVER SLOW | FRONTIER

    Bangladesh and Myanmar say they will start repatriating refugees in two months, amid continued global pressure about the ongoing crisis in Rakhine State, in a move that humanitarian groups have called “premature” as refugees continue to cross the border. According to the United Nations, more than 620,000 people – overwhelmingly Muslims who identify as Rohingya – have crossed the border since August after a military crackdown that Washington last week said constitutes “ethnic cleansing”. After lengthy discussions, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Mr AH...

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    Four big challenges to Suu Kyi’s plans for northern Rakhine
    21.11.17
    SITHU AUNG MYINT | FRONTIER

    Myanmar's de facto leader  Aung San Suu Kyi travelled to Rakhine State this month on her first visit there since taking office. The November 2 trip took her to Sittwe, and to Maungdaw Township in northern Rakhine, where she met Rakhine and Muslims affected by the violence that has resulted in more than 600,000 Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh. At a time when the US and European Union are considering targeted sanctions against senior army officers over the operation launched in northern Rakhine after the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked security posts in late August, Suu Kyi is trying to...

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    'Mounting evidence' of Myanmar genocide: watchdogs
    16.11.17
    AFP

    Myanmar security forces slit the throats of Muslim Rohingya, burned victims alive, and gang-raped women and girls, according to two separate reports detailing mounting evidence of genocide against the minority group. Human Rights Watch focused on the use of sexual violence in its report on the military's campaign against the Rohingya, and concluded that the depredations amounted to crimes against humanity. "Rape has been a prominent and devastating feature of the Burmese military's campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya," said Skye Wheeler, a researcher at Human Rights Watch...

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    A book on “Silent Repression in Laos”, five years after activist disappeared
    16.11.17
    Arnaud Dubus, southeast Asia correspondent

    Anne-Sophie Gindroz, an aid worker who was expelled by the Communist government of Laos in late 2012, has just written a book on her experience in that country. “Laos, the silent repression” (see attachment download above) comes five years after the disappearance of Laotian activist Sombath Somphone. The Laotian government has still not provided any information on his fate, despite international pressure. Gindroz worked for the Swiss NGO Helvetas in Laos for three years. Shortly before her expulsion, she had been a member of the organizing committee of the Asia-Europe People Forum, a forum...

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    UN countries must press Sri Lanka on justice, say NGOs
    15.11.17
    Julia Crawford, JusticeInfo.Net

    International jurists of the Sri Lanka Monitoring and Accountability Panel (MAP)  say Sri Lanka’s government has made no credible progress on its transitional justice commitments, and are urging the international community to get tough. This comes as Human Rights Watch also called Wednesday for countries at the UN Human Rights Council to press Sri Lanka on time-bound reforms ensuring justice for serious crimes committed during the civil war that ended in 2009. The war, which pitted majority Buddhist Sinhalese of the south against minority Hindu Tamils of the north and east, left at least...

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    Cambodia's Duch and the analysis of a killer
    14.11.17
    Pierre Hazan, JusticeInfo editorial advisor and associate professor at Neuchâtel University

    Psychologist Françoise Sironi has been working with victims of mass violence for a quarter of a century. She was one of the founders of the Primo Levi Centre in Paris which provides care for torture victims. More recently she provided psychological expertise for the trial in Phnom Penh of Duch, who was director of the infamous S-21 prison during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. Some two million people were killed under the murderous Khmer Rouge regime of Pol Pot. As S-21 prison director, Duch was personally responsible for the torture and deaths of 17,000 people....

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    Religion is not the only reason for Rohingya displacement from Myanmar
    07.11.17
    The Conversation

    Recent weeks have seen an escalation of violence against the Rohingya in Rakhine, the poorest state of Myanmar. A tide of displaced people are seeking refuge from atrocities – they are fleeing both on foot and by boat to Bangladesh. It is the latest surge of displaced people, and is exacerbated by the recent activity of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). Religious and ethnic differences have been widely considered the leading cause of the persecution. But it is becoming increasingly hard to believe that there are not other factors at play. Especially given that Myanmar is home...

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    Opinion: Confronting transitional justice in Nepal
    07.11.17
    Ram Kumar Bhandari

    In Nepal, former parliamentarian and prominent Maoist leader Bal Krishna Dhungel was arrested on October 31, 2017 in Kathmandu and sent to jail. He had been found guilty in 2004 of killing Ujjan Kumar Shrestha of Okhaldhunga district, in the eastern hills of Nepal in 1998, at the beginning of the Maoist “Peoples’ War”. In 2004 the District Court convicted Dhungel of murder and sentenced him to life in prison with confiscation of property, but the Appeals Court cleared him in 2006. In 2010, the Supreme Court overturned the Appeals Court decision and upheld the District Court’s 2004 verdict....

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    ICC Prosecutor targets Taliban and US crimes in Afghanistan
    04.11.17
    Stéphanie Maupas, correspondent in The Hague

    International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is about to ask Court permission to investigate crimes committed in Afghanistan and secret CIA prisons in Europe, she announced on November 3. “In due course, I will file my request for judicial authorisation to open an investigation, submitting that there is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan,” says a statement from Bensouda. It took just four days for ICC President Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi to designate the three judges...

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    Myanmar ‘ready to begin repatriation process’ despite disagreements
    02.11.17
    NYAN HLAING LYNN in NAY PYI TAW & OLIVER SLOW in YANGON

    Myanmar's government says it is ready to begin scrutinising refugees who have fled to Bangladesh in the wake of recent violence in northern Rakhine State – the first step on the path to potential repatriation. Speaking to reporters in Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday, government spokesperson U Zaw Htay said Myanmar is planning to begin the repatriation process as soon as possible. However, in a sign of the tense state of relations between the neighbouring countries, Zaw Htay also accused Dhaka of dragging its feet on repatriation. He said the government is concerned that Bangladesh has not agreed...

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    Myanmar: The forgotten war in Kachin State
    24.10.17
    Dustin Barter, Frontier

    As the crisis in Rakhine grabs headlines, little attention is being paid to blocked aid deliveries, displacement and indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Myanmar's Kachin and northern Shan states. As displacement continues in northern Rakhine State, there is an urgent need for renewed international attention to consider and address broader, systemic conflict issues elsewhere in Myanmar. Blocked humanitarian assistance, mass displacement and indiscriminate attacks affecting civilians are nothing new – they’ve been happening for decades and escalating in the past year. Although Rakhine...

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