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Updated: 4 hours 13 min ago

Myanmar: No. of Schools and Students in Monastic Education in Myanmar (Township Level) 2015-2016

7 hours 4 min ago
Source: Myanmar Information Management Unit Country: Myanmar

Thailand: Myanmar: Refugee and IDP Camp Populations: December 2016

19 January 2017 - 10:30pm
Source: The Border Consortium Country: Myanmar, Thailand

Myanmar: U.N Rights Envoy Meets With Aung San Suu Kyi to Discuss Volatile Rakhine State

18 January 2017 - 5:59pm
Source: Radio Free Asia Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

The United Nations human rights envoy to Myanmar on Wednesday met privately on Wednesday with the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw to discuss recent violence in volatile Rakhine state, as she nears the end of a 12-day biannual visit to Myanmar.

During the meeting, Yanghee Lee, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, condemned the Oct. 9 attacks on border guard posts in northern Rakhine that left nine officers dead, according to an announcement by the foreign affairs ministry.

She also discussed the security situation in the northern part of the state, which has been under lockdown since the October attacks, and reports of security forces committing atrocities against Rohingya Muslims who live in the region, the ministry said.

Lee and Aung San Suu Kyi, who is also Myanmar’s state counselor and foreign affairs minister, also discussed increasing humanitarian assistance for people displaced by fighting between the government army and ethnic guerilla groups in war-torn Shan and Kachin states, the ministry said.

Later on Wednesday, Lee met with Vice President Myint Swe, chairman of a national-level commission investigating the situation in northern Rakhine state, and asked him about the group’s investigation methods for probing the violence that has occurred there, said commission member Saw Thalay Saw.

The 13-member commission visited northern Rakhine earlier this month and last December to investigate the attacks on border guard stations in Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships and reports of atrocities during the subsequent security operations.

On Jan. 3, the commission issued an interim report of its findings and said its interviews of local Rohingya villagers and women about rape allegations yielded insufficient evidence to take legal action, and that its investigations into accusations of arson, torture, and illegal arrests were still under way.

‘We told her how we did it’

“We talked mostly about the Maungdaw attacks with Yanghee Lee, and she asked us how we investigated them,” Saw Thalay Saw told RFA’s Myanmar Service. “We told her how we did it.”

One Muslim woman who said she was from Khyet Yoe Pyin village alleged that security forces had raped her and had killed her husband, two sons, and two daughters, he said. But when commission members went to the village and asked other residents about the fate of the family, they said that the family did not live there.

Saw Thalay Saw also said that the commission members showed a photo of the woman to the residents, but they said they did not know her.

“We explained to Yanghee Lee all the steps of the investigation we conducted in that case,” he said.

“I feel that she is satisfied with today’s meeting, and I hope we will see a good outcome after she submits her report on Maungdaw to the U.N.,” he said, in a reference to the report on the findings of Lee's visit that she must give to the U.N. Human Rights Council in March.

During her current visit to Myanmar, which began on Jan. 9, Lee did not allow authorities or police to join her when she stopped in villages in Maungdaw township to talk to residents. She also met with Rohingya Muslims in adjacent Buthidaung township and visited the local prison there.

Nearly 90 people have been killed in the violence, which has forced about 65,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, according to the U.N.’s estimate, where some have alleged that security forces carried out indiscriminate killings of civilians, torture, rape, and arson. The government and military have denied the allegations.

U.N officials, including Lee, have been critical of the government’s handling of the Rakhine crisis, specifically the denial of access by independent media and international humanitarian groups to areas affected by the violence.

‘They will submit our demands’

Meanwhile, an advisory commission created by Aung San Suu Kyi and headed by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan to help resolve the religious and ethnic divisions in Rakhine state, met on Wednesday with ethnic Rakhine and Muslim residents in two villages.

The commission members visited Muslims who live in internally displaced persons camps in Kyaukpyu village and ethnic Kaman Muslim camps in Ramree village, whose homes were burned during communal violence with Rakhine Buddhists in 2012.

Tin Hlaing Win, secretary of Kaman National Development Party who met with nine-member commission, said he told the panel that the Muslims have been losing their ethnic rights for the last four years and that they want to return to the land where they previously lived.

“The commission members told us that they will submit our demands to the central government with their recommendations,” he said. “We hope we will get equal rights like other ethnic groups after the commission submits its report [to the government].”

Also on Wednesday, more than 40 Myanmar-based civil society groups issued a statement calling for a “truly independent” international investigation into the situation in Rakhine state.

“Specifically, we recommend a commission of inquiry to fully assess the totality of the situation in Rakhine state and provide clear recommendations for the current government to effectively address and prevent further problems in Rakhine state,” the statement said.

“We believe that a truly independent investigation would help Myanmar overcome the complicated problems in Rakhine state, and help rebalance the world’s focus on the overall human rights challenges faced by all the people of Myanmar,” it said.

Their statement comes a day before foreign ministers of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, an intergovernmental body of 57 member nations, meets in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to discuss the plight of the Rohingya in Rakhine state.

Reported by Kyaw Thu and Kyaw Soe Lin for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

World: Survive & Thrive Global Development Alliance - Progress Report (July 2010 - June 2016)

18 January 2017 - 4:37pm
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Malawi, Myanmar, Nigeria, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Zambia

The Survive & Thrive Global Development Alliance (GDA) is a public-private partnership established by the US Agency for International Development with pediatric, obstetric, and midwifery professional associations, the private sector and civil society to improve the quality of facility-based maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) services in focus countries. The alliance mobilizes and equips volunteers from US, international and national professional associations and champions of MNCH programs to strengthen clinical competencies through training, quality improvement approaches, and the application of effective technologies and innovations. The Survive & Thrive GDA was launched at the 2012 Acting on the Call meeting in Washington DC. In 2014, Survive & Thrive merged with the Helping Babies Breathe GDA that had been established in 2010.

Myanmar: Karen refugee committee newsletter & monthly report December, 2016

18 January 2017 - 5:36am
Source: Karen Human Rights Group Country: Myanmar, Thailand

Monthly Activities Report December – 2016

 01/12/2016 – KRC committee reviewed its 2016 activities and also planned for coming 2017 activities.

 1-2/12/2016 – KRC Education Coordinator attended Education Stakeholder meeting at Mae Sariang in relation to advocacy work for the recognition of students and teachers and at the same time discussed about the future plan for coming year.

 02/12/2016 – KRC and Partner’s NGOs organized bi-monthly meeting at KRC office and discussed about general issues related to camp’s programs.

 03/12/2016 – KRC Education Coordinator met with Karen Peace Support Network and discussed about the issue related to refugee return and at the same time talked about the recruitment of the Network’s coordinators.

 06/12/2016 – KRC Education Coordinator along with KRCEE met with students at Engineering Study Program in Maela camp in relation to further studies program.

 06/12/2016 – KRC Social Coordinator along with four staffs participated in SGBV activity at Maela camp and shared information to meet students and patients, KWO, UNHCR and NGOs at Bible school chapel hall.

 12/12/2016 – KRC Social Coordinator and other three staffs went to participate with SMRU’s thirty years of border program and other organizations also reported about their activities and future plans.

 13/12/2016 – KRC Joint Secretary attended IOM meeting at IOM office, Maepa on the issue, Suicide, Understanding, Identification and Prevention and Dr. Pramond was given lecture on the suicide prevention.

 15/12/2016 – KRC Joint Secretary attended the closing ceremony of DARE rehabilitation activity attended by 15 addicts, religious leaders, leaders from section and zone respectively.

 26/12/2016 – KRC Joint Secretary provided information of KRC position on return during the meeting organized by Karen Student Network Group, in Maela Oon camp.

Myanmar: Rights Groups Call on Myanmar For Details About ‘Disappeared’ Kachin Christians

17 January 2017 - 11:29pm
Source: Radio Free Asia Country: Myanmar

Human rights groups called on Myanmar authorities on Tuesday to provide information about two Kachin Christian leaders they fear have been forcibly “disappeared” in northern Shan state for taking reporters to a Catholic church allegedly damaged by airstrikes in clashes between the government army and ethnic guerillas.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), Southeast Asia-based Fortify Rights, and London-based Amnesty International want authorities to disclose the whereabouts and conditions of Langjaw Gam Seng, 35, and his cousin Dum Daw Nawng Lat, 65, both of whom have been missing since Dec. 24, 2016, when they were heading to a military base.

HRW and Fortify Rights also called on authorities to allow Yanghee Lee, the United Nations human rights envoy for Myanmar, and other rights monitors to visit conflict zones in Shan state. Lee, who is currently on a 12-day visit to Myanmar, has been denied access to violence-affected areas in Shan state.

Langjaw Gam Seng is a youth leader with the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) in the town of Mong Ko in northern Shan state, and Dumdaw Nawng Lat, is an assistant pastor with the KBC, according to statements issued on Tuesday by HRW and Fortify Rights.

The Baptist-denominated evangelical organization headquartered in Myitkyina, Kachin state, has been helping internally displaced people who have fled fighting between the government army and ethnic militias in both Kachin and Shan states.

Someone claiming to be a member of Myanmar’s armed forces called Langjaw Gam Seng on the evening of Dec. 24 and requested that he and Dumdaw Nawng Lat go to the Byuha Gon military base in the town of Mong Ko in Muse township near the border with China to help with the release of detained civilians, according to the press releases.

Local residents reported last seeing the two men, who were helping reporters document the destruction of civilian structures in Mong Ko during hostilities between a coalition of four ethnic armies and government forces last in November and December, traveling by motorbike to the base where Myanmar army battalion numbers 99 and 55 are located, the statements said.

“The apparent enforced disappearance of these two Christian leaders has created a climate of fear and terror in northern Shan state,” said Matthew Smith, chief executive of Fortify Rights.

HRW and Fortify Rights noted that civil society organizations in Kachin and Shan states “have documented unlawful killings, torture, rape, forced labor, and other abuses committed by Burmese military forces against civilians” in the two states.

Amnesty International weighs in

In a separate statement, Amnesty International urged people to write to Myanmar authorities to order an immediate investigation into the men’s disappearances, to release them if they are in custody, and to stop violating international human rights law against ethnic civilians in conflict and cease-fire areas.

“The nature of the two men’s disappearance means the military has some serious questions to answer,” said Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy Asia director. “This is a crucial case for [Myanmar’s de factor leader] Aung San Suu Kyi and other government leaders to demand cooperation from the army, which has continued to resist civilian authority.”

The two men’s family members and KBC representatives filed a missing persons report at Myo Ma police station in Muse township on Jan. 3.

Seven days later, Zaw Htay, spokesman of the President’s Office, said that a ground report from the government army indicated the pair had been arrested by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which is engaged in hostilities with Myanmar soldiers in northern Shan state.

Armed conflicts in Kachin and Shan states intensified last November when the Northern Alliance of four ethnic militias—the KIA, Arakan Army (AA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA)—launched coordinated attacks on government and military targets in northern Shan state.

The government has reported that 10 civilians have died in ground and air strikes, while thousands of others have fled over the border into southwestern China.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that the fighting in Kachin and Shan states has displaced more than 100,000 people.

More civilians flee

Meanwhile, more than 100 people have fled the town of Namhsan in Tawngpeng district, northern Shan state, on Tuesday to the central city of Mandalay to escape ongoing fighting between TNLA troops and the government army, a Mandalay official said.

Win Naing Zaw said 113 people from 32 households have sought refuge in the Myinwun Mingyi monastery in Myanmar’s second-largest city.

“As far as I know, 93 people arrived first, and then 20 people from five households arrived yesterday,” Win Naing Zaw, Mandalay district administrator, told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

“CSOs and the regional military headquarters helped them yesterday by providing rice, cooking oil, clothing, mosquito nets, blankets, and other goods they need,” he said.

Altogether, more than 2,000 people have fled to Mandalay and the towns of Lashio, Kyaukme, Thibaw, Naungcho, and Pyin Oo Lwin to escape the clashes that have killed two people and injured 10 others, he said.
** Reported by Thiri Min Zin for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.**

Myanmar: China: Protect ethnic Kachin refugees fleeing war in northern Myanmar

17 January 2017 - 11:11pm
Source: Fortify Rights Country: China, Myanmar

(YANGON, January 13, 2017)—The Government of China should ensure protection for thousands of ethnic Kachin civilians fleeing ongoing armed conflict in Myanmar and prevent forced returns, Fortify Rights said today. Chinese state security forces reportedly forced back to Myanmar approximately 4,000 Kachin civilians on January 11, a day after they fled to China to escape fighting in Myanmar’s Kachin State.

“China should provide asylum seekers with sanctuary, not send them into the line of fire,” said Matthew Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Fortify Rights. “The Myanmar military is effectively forcing civilians out of the country while China pushes them back in.”

On January 10, an estimated 4,000 civilians—the majority of whom are women, children, and the elderly—fled Myanmar military air strikes and heavy artillery attacks in the Nagyang area, which is close to Zai Awng/Mungga Zup and Hkau Shau IDP camps in Kachin State. The Joint Strategy Team (JST)—a collective of nine local organizations—reported that villagers from Hkau Shau and displaced civilians from the two nearby internally displaced person (IDP) camps began to cross the border into China at approximately 4 a.m. on January 11. Fortify Rights received reports that Chinese state security forces initially allowed some families seeking asylum to cross into Chinese territory. Shortly after dawn on January 11, Chinese state security forces began turning back refugees at the border and forcibly returned all who had crossed earlier.

Representatives of the JST told Fortify Rights that an additional 2,500 IDPs residing in Maga Yang IDP camp near the Myanmar-China border are also preparing to flee in light of recent attacks. The JST will hold an urgent briefing on the humanitarian situation at 1 p.m. today in Yangon.

Given the escalating conflict in Myanmar and the lack of protection in China, there is a growing sense of insecurity among Kachin communities living in the conflict zone.

“We are not allowed to go into China,” a 20-year old displaced Kachin man living in Pa Kahtawng IDP camp near Maijayang town in Kachin State told Fortify Rights. “If a mortar falls in this camp and there is fighting around us, where will we flee? There will be nowhere for us to run. I’m afraid the Chinese government won’t accept us. Whenever there is fighting around here, the border is full of Chinese soldiers and they won’t allow anyone to pass.”

Fighting between the Myanmar military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA)—the primary ethnic armed opposition group operating in Kachin State—has displaced more than 23,000 people during the past several weeks. The JST reported that an estimated 2,560 IDPs fled Zai Awng IDP camp, north of Laiza, on December 27 after several mortar shells landed nearby. Similar attacks forced several hundred other displaced civilians to move from Mung Lai Hket IDP camp to Woi Chyai IDP camp in Laiza, the administrative capital of the KIA. In early December, the Myanmar military reportedly bombed churches, schools, and other non-military targets in northern Shan State during counter attacks against the Brotherhood of the Northern Alliance (BNA)—a coalition of four non-state ethnic armed groups, including the KIA. These attacks displaced 15,000 Kachin and Shan civilians, who likewise fled into China.

Myanmar authorities, including the civilian-led government, continue to effectively restrict humanitarian aid groups from operating freely in Kachin State and northern Shan State, resulting in avoidable deprivations of food, healthcare, and other humanitarian provisions for displaced communities.

“This is an abusive strategy. The Myanmar military is putting the squeeze on civilian populations, bombarding them with attacks while cutting off humanitarian aid,” said Matthew Smith. “Chinese authorities should do the right thing and provide protection.”

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee is currently in Myanmar on a 12-day monitoring mission and was in government-controlled areas of Kachin State while attacks continued closer to the China border. The Government of Myanmar denied the Special Rapporteur access to certain conflict-affected areas of Kachin and Shan states.

Fortify Rights calls on the Government of Myanmar to immediately grant the United Nations and international humanitarian aid groups free and unfettered access to all conflict-affected areas in Myanmar. Fortify Rights also calls upon the United Nations, international aid groups, and donor governments to redouble their support for Kachin-led relief efforts.

Armed conflict has raged in Kachin and northern Shan states since June 2011, when the Myanmar Army attacked several KIA outposts near a hydropower dam financed and operated by a Chinese company, breaking a 17-year-long ceasefire agreement. More than 120,000 ethnic civilians are now displaced and residing in more than 170 displacement sites in Kachin and northern Shan states.

In February 2015, more than 50,000 ethnic Kokang fled into China from Myanmar military attacks in Shan State, and Chinese authorities provided them with food, medical supplies, and shelter. Since 2011, however, Chinese authorities have denied entry and forcibly returned thousands of ethnic Kachin civilians fleeing fighting between the Myanmar Army and KIA.

Returning asylum seekers to a conflict zone without properly assessing the risks is a violation of China’s obligations under international law, Fortify Rights said.

China is a state party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. As a party to the Refugee Convention and Protocol, China is legally bound to facilitate the right to asylum and ensure protections for refugees. However, China has yet to enact legislation to properly assess asylum claims and ensure protections in line with international standards. China is further obligated under the principle of nonrefoulement, which is protected by customary international law, not to forcibly return refugees to places where their lives or freedom would be threatened.

“In the past few years, Chinese authorities pressured Myanmar to deny the U.N. and aid groups access to border areas, and Myanmar obliged,” said Matthew Smith. “Denying a sizable civilian population access to protection and aid is not only legally problematic, it’s also against the interests of Beijing and Naypyidaw.”

For more information, please contact:

Amy Smith, Executive Director, +66 (0) 87.795.5454, amy.smith@fortifyrights.org; Twitter: @AmyAlexSmith, @fortifyrights

Matthew Smith, Chief Executive Officer, +66 (0) 87.795.5454, matthew.smith@fortifyrights.org; Twitter: @matthewfsmith, @fortifyrights

Myanmar: Myanmar: Civil Society Calls for International Investigation in Rakhine State

17 January 2017 - 11:08pm
Source: Fortify Rights Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

(YANGON, January 18, 2017)—More than 40 Myanmar-based civil society organizations today called for a “truly independent” international investigation into the situation in Rakhine State, where state-sponsored attacks against Rohingya Muslim civilians have escalated in recent months. Muslim and Buddhist communities in Rakhine State have faced human rights violations with impunity for decades.

Today’s statement recommends the establishment of a “commission of inquiry to fully assess the totality of the situation in Rakhine State and provide clear recommendations for the current government to effectively address and prevent further problems.”

“This initiative is important for the entire country," said Matthew Smith, chief executive officer at Fortify Rights. “It’s time for the government to get on board and support the establishment of an impartial and independent inquiry.”

The statement comes a day before Foreign Ministers of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC)—an intergovernmental body of 57 member states—will meet in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the situation of Rohingya in Rakhine State.

The diverse signatories to the statement include women-led organizations, human rights groups, academic institutions, and development organizations working throughout the country and with various ethnic communities.

Today’s statement follows an open letter to the United Nations Security Council on December 28 by a group of Nobel Laureates and global leaders—including Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and member of the international advisory board of Fortify Rights—calling for “an independent, international inquiry to establish the truth about the current situation” in Rakhine State. A Burmese language version of the statement was circulated widely in Myanmar.

The call for an international commission of inquiry also gained momentum in the country following the recent publication of the preliminary findings of an investigation led by Vice President Myint Swe—a former military general and known “hardliner”—into the situation in northern Rakhine State. The government established the commission after militants attacked three police outposts, killing nine and prompting the Myanmar military to initiate an indiscriminate “clearance operation.”

Tens of thousands of civilians have since fled attacks by the Myanmar military in Maungdaw Township. In an ongoing investigation, Fortify Rights documented how the Myanmar military razed villages, killed unarmed civilians, and raped Rohingya women, among other abuses in several villages in Maungdaw Township.

On January 3, state-run media published the interim findings of the government-appointed, 13-member commission led by Myint Swe, which reported no human rights violations and denied allegations of the crime of genocide. The commission cited the presence of “the Bengali population” as well as religious leaders and mosques as “proof that there were no cases of genocide and religious persecution in the region.”

Myint Swe’s commission also denied allegations of malnutrition among the local Rohingya population, apparently based on visual observations of “the area’s favorable fishing and farming conditions.” The commission failed to note available empirical data and internal U.N. reports that suggest malnutrition rates in Maungdaw Township have long been at crisis level and are worsening.

Since October, Myanmar authorities have blocked access to affected areas in Maungdaw Township, denying life-saving humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of Rohingya while also restricting access for human rights monitors and journalists. Despite Myanmar authorities’ repeated promises to diplomats and others to open humanitarian access to the area, aid operations remain extremely limited.

More than 65,000 Rohingya men, women, and children have fled to Bangladesh since October, joining a longstanding Rohingya refugee population of an estimated half a million people.

In August 2016, before the most recent violence in Rakhine State, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi appointed a nine-member “advisory commission” chaired by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to provide recommendations to the government on “challenges identified jointly by the Commission and the Government of Myanmar” with regard to Rakhine State. The commission comprises six Myanmar nationals and three foreigners.

In September 2016, Mr. Annan publicly clarified that his commission would not conduct a “human rights investigation” in Rakhine State. Fortify Rights confirmed the Annan Commission is not collecting evidence of human rights violations in Rakhine State.

In late October 2016, the Rakhine State Parliament also appointed its own “investigative commission,” comprising 11 state-level legislators who purported to look into the situation in Maungdaw Township with a view to “help the indigenous people who fled from the clashes”—a reference to ethnic-Rakhine Buddhists affected by the situation. On December 27, it issued its findings, reporting no abuses by state security forces.

“In three months, we’ve seen the formation of an advisory commission, a whitewash commission, and a discriminatory commission,” said Matthew Smith. “None of these bodies are conducting a serious, impartial investigation into ongoing human rights violations. The international community needs to wake up to the fact that domestic remedies have been exhausted and the situation of the Rohingya is worsening by the day.”

In October, state-run media in Myanmar alluded to Rohingya as “thorns,” and in November as “detestable human fleas.” The office of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi has also waged a propaganda campaign, denying wrongdoing by the state and explicitly denying rape and other human rights violations against Rohingya, despite mounting evidence.

The Government of Myanmar revoked Rohingya citizenship in 1982 and now denies them the right to self identify, instead labeling the population of approximately one million as “Bengali” interlopers from Bangladesh.

Fortify Rights called on Yanghee Lee, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, OIC member states, and members of the U.N. Human Rights Council to support the establishment of a U.N.-mandated independent investigation when the Human Rights Council convenes in March.

In October 2015, Fortify Rights and the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School called on the U.N. Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution mandating an international commission of inquiry to assess the totality of the situation in Rakhine State, including human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists. The clinic at Yale Law School found “strong evidence” to establish the elements of the crime of genocide in Rakhine State.

The U.N. Human Rights Council, Security Council, General Assembly, Secretary General, and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights all have authority to establish independent international investigations, also known as commissions of inquiry.

The U.N. has established inquiries into serious human rights violations in Libya, the occupied Palestinian territory, Syria, North Korea, Sri Lanka, and the Central African Republic, among others.

A U.N.-mandated investigation in Rakhine State could objectively evaluate the facts, identify perpetrators, and provide clear recommendations for action. Potential commissioners could include professional investigators, legal practitioners, forensics experts, and gender specialists from Asian countries and internationally. Fortify Rights recommends that such a commission also conduct fact-finding outside Myanmar, in countries such as Bangladesh and Malaysia, to ensure a complete and comprehensive investigation into abuses that took place in Rakhine State.

“If there were ever a situation in which an independent investigation is needed, it's now in Rakhine State,” said Matthew Smith. “The international community has an opportunity to take up the call of Myanmar civil society, and it should act without delay.”

Myanmar: Myanmar: Sectors Indicators Matrix: CCCM Site Monitoring Tool (Camp Site Profiles Summary Table), November 2016

17 January 2017 - 1:18pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster, Shelter Cluster Country: Myanmar

World: Aperçu de la situation humanitaire mondiale 2017

17 January 2017 - 11:23am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Haiti, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

Avant-propos

“La Résolution 46/182 des Nations Unies reste aussi pertinente et fondamentale aujourd’hui qu’en décembre 1991 et les principes d’humanité, de neutralité, indépendance et d’impartialité qu’elle contient continuent de guider une assistance humanitaire stratégique, coordonnée et efficace aux personnes qui en ont besoin”

À travers le monde, un écosystème croissant d’acteurs humanitaires allant des communautés locales aux gouvernements nationaux, des organisations internationales au secteur privé, dispense une assistance et une protection vitales aux personnes qui en ont besoin. Leur travail est plus nécessaire et plus courageux que jamais. Plus de 128,6 millions de personnes ont besoin actuellement d’une assistance humanitaire dans 33 pays. En 2017, la communauté internationale a besoin de 22,2 milliards de dollars pour répondre aux besoins des 92,8 millions de personnes les plus vulnérables. Au cours des 12 derniers mois, les acteurs humanitaires ont sauvé, protégé et soutenu plus de personnes que les années passées depuis l’avènement des Nations Unies. En 2016, les appels de fonds ont été plus importants que jamais auparavant. Mais aussi, au moment où nous parlons, plus de personnes ont des besoins humanitaires, essentiellement en raison des crises prolongées qui durent de plus en plus longtemps. Il est déplorable qu’avec l’escalade persistante des besoins humanitaires, l’écart se creuse davantage entre ce qui doit être fait pour sauver et protéger un plus grand nombre de personnes actuellement et les financements que les humanitaires reçoivent pour le faire et pouvoir y accéder.

Cet Aperçu de la situation humanitaire mondiale 2017 coïncide avec le 25ème anniversaire de la Résolution 46/182 de l’Assemblée générale qui a posé les fondements de l’écosystème humanitaire d’aujourd’hui. Ce système résulte d’une série continue de catastrophes subites, de conflits, de sécheresses et d’autres situations d’urgence illustrant la nécessité d’organisations humanitaires internationales qui répondent de manière collaborative, stratégique et efficace en faisant le meilleur usage des ressources disponibles. La Résolution 46/182 des Nations Unies reste aussi pertinente et fondamentale aujourd’hui qu’en décembre 1991 et les principes d’humanité, de neutralité, indépendance et d’impartialité qu’elle contient continuent de guider une assistance humanitaire stratégique, coordonnée et efficace aux personnes qui en ont besoin. Cette résolution a marqué une étape décisive pour les Nations Unies et leurs partenaires. Elle reste aussi pertinente et fondamentale aujourd’hui qu’en décembre 1991 et les principes d’humanité, de neutralité, indépendance et d’impartialité qu’elle contient continuent d’orienter le travail humanitaire.

Les structures, les responsabilités et les outils qu’elle a créés, comme les appels consolidés, demeurent capitaux pour notre travail. Les États membres ont fondamentalement compris qu’une coordination effective a un effet multiplicateur sur la force de l’action humanitaire. Cette année, le Sommet humanitaire mondial a témoigné de l’immense effort déployé par toutes les parties prenantes pour faire avancer cette vision en la faisant mieux répondre aux besoins humanitaires et réduire la vulnérabilité. Ce Programme d’action pour l’humanité annonce un changement, une transformation et une plus grande détermination des humanitaires à ne laisser personne de côté. Cette tâche est cruciale puisque les besoins humanitaires continuent d’augmenter et que les efforts humanitaires sont entravés par la réduction de l’accès, l’irrespect croissant des droits humains et les violations flagrantes du droit international humanitaire. Les travailleurs humanitaires sont de plus en plus exposés à un risque d’attaques ciblées. Avec le changement climatique, les catastrophes naturelles devraient devenir plus fréquentes, plus violentes et plus graves ; et les crises causées par l’homme pourraient se prolonger davantage. Il y a tout de même des changements positifs: le nombre croissant d’acteurs locaux, nationaux et internationaux, les ressources financières et concrètes plus importantes, les nouvelles technologies de communications et de cartographie et un plus grand nombre de pays ayant la volonté politique et des mécanismes en place pour se préparer à une réponse aux catastrophes. Nous devons accélérer les changements positifs pour relever les défis de 2017 et au-delà.

Le « Grand Bargain» et la «nouvelle manière de travailler» impliquant un engagement global et collectif dans la réponse aux crises sont des composantes essentielles du Programme d’action pour l’humanité. Nous mettons tout en œuvre pour l’amélioration des évaluations des besoins et de l’analyse conjointe. Nous accélérons certaines dispositions existantes pour les Plans de réponse humanitaire (HRP) pour 2017 avec, par exemple, la planification et le financement pluriannuels des crises prolongées en alignant ainsi les besoins humanitaires immédiats sur le droit de survivre et de prospérer. En août, l’Equipe humanitaire pays de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) a conçu un plan triennal venant compléter les éléments de l’action humanitaire, du développement et du maintien de la paix. La République centrafricaine (RCA), le Cameroun, la Somalie, le Soudan et le Tchad présentent également des plans triennaux pour 2017.

Bangladesh: Bangladesh: Population Movement Plan of Action (EPoA) DREF Operation n° MDRBD018 (17 January 2017)

17 January 2017 - 5:23am
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

During the last quarter of 2016, an upsurge of violence in Myanmar northern area of Rakhine state has led to mass displacement amongst the local population. Until a comprehensive assessment is completed, it is not possible to say how many people remain displaced within the northern part of Rakhine. These population movements are not a new event in this area. Historically, some Muslim communities from Rakhine have been migrating to Bangladesh over the past three decades, particularly in the coastal upazilas (sub-districts) of Teknaf and Ukhia in Cox’s Bazar district where they live as either refugees or without status.

Presently 32,7132 people are living in two official camps managed by the UNHCR in Nayapara camp (Teknaf Sub-districts) and Kutupalong camp (Ukhia Sub-districts) of Cox’s Bazar district.
Apart from the official refugees in registered camp, there are thousands of people living in makeshift camps or in host communities. The expansion of these settlements creates extra pressure on host communities and humanitarian upon limited resources and service provision.

By the first week of January 2017, estimates from several sources, including NGO’s and international organization working in the field, are stating figures ranging between 43,000 up to 65,0003 people. Since the current assistance is not sufficient to meet the humanitarian needs of the new influx, humanitarian actors on the ground felt the need to trigger commensurate support. On 29 December, BDRCS had a subsequent meeting with Government of Bangladesh (GoB) authorities where they requested RC support. This support was agreed in early January 2017 after the rapid assessments teams returned on 1 January and their findings validated the severity of the situation, prompting a decision by BDRCS on 2 January to scale up the humanitarian assistance beyond their regular support.

Myanmar: Fearing Intensified Fighting, More Than 100 Ta’ang Flee Namhsan

17 January 2017 - 1:33am
Source: The Irrawaddy Country: Myanmar

By LAWI WENG 16 January 2017

RANGOON — More than 100 ethnic Ta’ang have fled from their town in northern Shan State’s Namhsan and took refuge in monasteries in Lashio, after fighting between the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Burma Army broke out nearby.

Ashin Nyarnika, a Lashio abbot, reported that 90 people arrived at Aung Mingalar Namhsan monastery over the weekend and 20 other displaced people (IDPs) were staying at the nearby Mann Su monastery.

Fifty IDPs first arrived first on Saturday, and others came on Sunday, the abbot explained, with more are expected to arrive in the coming days due to the ongoing instability. The monasteries are supporting the displaced people with the help of local donations, but Ashin Nyarnika said more funds are needed.

De De Poe Jaing, joint secretary of the Ta’ang Women’s Organization (TWO), said that some IDPs had also traveled to Mandalay to stay with relatives.

Residents of Namhsan town are reportedly shaken after fighting between the Burma Army and the TNLA led to two deaths and eight injuries after an artillery shell hit a nearby village house on Jan. 12. The TWO issued a statement over the weekend condemning Burma Army abuses including the use of air strikes, the destruction of locals’ property, and the actions that led to the shelling which killed the two individuals, including one eight-year-old boy.

Ethnic Ta’ang—also known as Palaung—have blamed the shelling on the Burma Army, but the Ministry of Defense reported that the shell was fired by the TNLA.

Local sources have said that the deteriorating security in the town has also reportedly led to Namhsan’s high school teachers leaving the area.

Ba Taung, a leader from Ta’ang Literature and Culture Organization, said on Monday, “Students went to schools this morning, but there were no teachers there. The teachers fled from the town as they were afraid of the fighting.”

The Ta’ang Literature and Culture Organization and lawmakers from the Ta’ang National Party (TNP) issued a joint statement on Sunday asking people not to leave Namhsan, and to respond to rumors critically.

According to Mai Win Htoo, a TNP lawmaker, the Burma Army fired artillery shells on Sunday, despite requests from the TNP to cease the strikes.

The Ta’ang Literature and Culture Organization also asked the TNLA not to engage in combat in or near the town. Ba Taung said, “They [the TNLA] told us that they would not fight in the town. But, they are all based in villages. The fighting will break out if the Burmese army comes.”

Myanmar: Burma: Kachin Christians Feared ‘Disappeared’

17 January 2017 - 12:55am
Source: Human Rights Watch Country: Myanmar

Urgently Report on Whereabouts, Well-Being; Allow UN Expert Access

(Yangon, January 17, 2017) – Burmese authorities should urgently provide information on the whereabouts and well-being of two ethnic Kachin Baptist leaders who were apparently forcibly disappeared in Northern Shan State, Human Rights Watch and Fortify Rights said today. Langjaw Gam Seng, 35, and Dumdaw Nawng Lat, 65, who had guided journalists reporting on Burmese airstrikes that allegedly severely damaged a Catholic church, were last seen on December 24, 2016, traveling to a military base.

The disappearances raise grave concerns for the safety of the two men and witnesses to the incident, the two organizations said. The Burmese government and military should immediately address these issues and allow the visiting United Nations human rights expert to visit the area.

“The apparent enforced disappearance of these two Christian leaders has created a climate of fear and terror in Northern Shan State,” said Matthew Smith, chief executive officer of Fortify Rights. “The government should urgently investigate and report on this case and ensure protection for those with information.”

On December 24 at about 5:30 p.m., Langjaw Gam Seng, a youth leader with the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) in Mong Ko, reportedly received a phone call from a person representing himself as a member of the Burmese military. The caller requested that Langjaw Gam Seng and his cousin Dumdaw Nawng Lat, an assistant pastor with the KBC, go to the Byuha Gon military base in Northern Shan State’s Mong Ko town, in Muse Township near the Myanmar-China border, to assist with the release of civilians detained there. Local residents last saw the two men that evening traveling by motorbike towards Byuha Gon base, where Burmese Army Battalions Nos. 99 and 55 are located.

On January 3, representatives of the KBC and family members filed a missing persons report at Myo Ma police station in Muse Township. The KBC’s repeated inquiries to local government authorities have failed to elicit any information on the whereabouts of Langjaw Gam Seng and Dumdaw Nawng Lat.

The government has subsequently denied that the military detained the two men. On January 10, presidential spokesperson Zaw Htay stated that, “According to our ground report, they were taken by the Kachin Independence Army, not the military.” However, he provided no further information to substantiate that claim or the basis for his assertion.

“The nature of the two men’s disappearance means the military has some serious questions to answer,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “This is a crucial case for Aung San Suu Kyi and other government leaders to demand cooperation from the army, which has continued to resist civilian authority.”

Prior to their disappearance, Langjaw Gam Seng and Dumdaw Nawng Lat helped journalists document the destruction of civilian structures in Mong Ko during clashes in November and December 2016 between the Burmese military and the Brotherhood of the Northern Alliance (BNA), a coalition of four ethnic armed groups. On December 3, a journalist with The Irrawaddy, with the assistance of the two religious leaders, photographed serious damage to the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Mong Ko after it had allegedly been bombed by Burmese military airstrikes. The journalist reported that the Mong Ko township administrator subsequently contacted him and asked him not to publish the photographs of the church. However, the photographs surfaced on the internet several days later.

On December 18, the Burmese defense ministry issued a statement denying allegations that military airstrikes were responsible for the damage to the church, saying it was “fabricated news.” The ministry instead claimed that “the rebels” had hidden explosives and ammunition in the church.

Catholic Bishop Philip Za Hawng then published a letter stating that the Burmese military called members of the church to their outpost on December 8 and claimed responsibility for the bombing, agreeing to rebuild the church. Bishop Za Hawng described the church as “badly destroyed by bombs… when the government military planes carried out several sorties of airstrikes,” and rejected the defense ministry’s suggestion that the damage was due to weapons “stored up” in the church, fearing the public might believe the church is “collaborating” with “the rebels.”

Yanghee Lee, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, who is on a 12-day monitoring mission to the country, has been denied access by the government to conflict-affected areas of Shan State.

Human Rights Watch and Fortify Rights called on the government to grant Lee and other human rights monitors unfettered access to Shan State and all other conflict-affected areas.

Under international law, an enforced disappearance occurs when state officials or agents arrest or detain someone and refuse to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or conceal their fate or whereabouts, placing them outside the protection of the law. Enforced disappearances violate various rights protected under international law, including prohibitions against arbitrary arrest and detention; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; and extrajudicial execution. The authorities have a legal obligation to investigate alleged enforced disappearances and fully and fairly prosecute those responsible.

Armed conflict in Kachin and Shan States has intensified since June 2011. In Mong Ko town, fighting increased between November 20 and December 4. On November 20, the BNA – comprising the Kachin Independence Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Ta-ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and Arakan Army – carried out attacks against the police in Mong Ko and reportedly fired unguided rockets into surrounding civilian areas. The Burmese government reported that 10 civilians died in the attacks, but that could not be confirmed. The BNA seized the town of Mong Ko for several days before the military drove them out in early December with airstrikes from helicopter gunships and warplanes as well as heavy artillery.

For many years, Kachin and Shan civil society organizations have documented unlawful killings, torture, rape, forced labor, and other abuses committed by Burmese military forces against civilians in Northern Shan and Kachin States. In 2014, Fortify Rights documented the systematic use of torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment of more than 60 civilians by government forces during fighting in northern Myanmar from June 2011 to April 2014. In 2012, Human Rights Watch documented how army soldiers attacked Kachin villages, razed homes, pillaged properties, and forced the displacement of tens of thousands of people.

On January 20, 2015, the bodies of two female teachers with the Kachin Baptist Convention – Maran Lu Ra, 19, and Tangbau Khawn Nan Tsin, 20 – were discovered in a room they shared in Kaungkha village, Northern Shan State. The Burmese military subsequently threatened legal action against anyone alleging that the military was involved in the killings. A report issued by the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand and Legal Aid Network in January 2016 contended that the women’s bodies showed signs of torture and sexual violence, implicating the army’s Light Infantry Regiment No. 503 in the killings. No one is known to have been arrested or prosecuted for the killings.

“Perpetrators of grievous abuses in Kachin and Shan States need to be brought to justice,” Robertson said. “Atrocities won’t stop so long as the military can commit them against civilians with impunity.”

Myanmar: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (10 - 16 January 2017)

16 January 2017 - 4:46am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Bangladesh, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines

MYANMAR

On 13 and 14 January, WFP distributed food to 4,690 people in villages of Maungdaw north which had been mostly inaccessible since the border post attacks in the northern part of Rakhine State three months ago. For about half of those reached, it was the first time they had received assistance since 9 October. Needs in Maungdaw north include food, blankets, cooking utensils, medical kits and shelter. The harvest has been severely disrupted and children are not attending school. As a result of the attacks and subsequent security operations, thousands of people, mostly Muslims, are believed to remain displaced inside Rakhine.

Around 3,900 people have been relocated from IDP camps in Kachin State amid intense fighting between the Myanmar Military and the Kachin Independence Army. A further 4,000 people have also been temporarily displaced by continued fighting between the Myanmar Military and ethnic armed groups in northern Shan. Two civilians, including a six year old boy, were killed and eight others injured when artillery shells landed in a village in Namshan Township in northern Shan on 12 January.

PHILIPPINES

As of 13 January, 116 families (753 people) remain displaced as a result of Typhoon Nock-Ten, which hit the Philippines on 25 December, and damaged over 340,000 houses. In Agusan del Norte and Surigao del Norte provinces in Mindanao, an additional 438 families (1,931 people) remain in nine evacuation centres after having been displaced by Tropical Depression 01W. Local and regional authorities have provided relief assistance to the affected families.

BANGLADESH

As of 12 January, an estimated 66,000 new arrivals from Myanmar have arrived in Cox’s Bazar since October 2016. While the number of people crossing the border has reportedly decreased compared to previous weeks, movement towards makeshifts camps, adjacent areas and city areas have increased. Water and sanitation needs are increasing in the makeshift camps. Aid agencies continue to distribute food and non-food items to the new arrivals.

66,000 new arrivals from Myanmar

MONGOLIA

Severe winter conditions continue to affect an estimated 157,000 people (37,000 herder households) across 17 out of 21 provinces in Mongolia. A drought during the summer of 2016 has depleted herders’ reserves of hay and fodder in the eastern part of the country putting at risk livestock which are a vital source of food, transport and income for thousands of people. Multipurpose cash grants to support life-saving basic needs, emergency agricultural inputs and veterinary first aid kits have been identified as priority needs. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has established a task force (from January to May) to coordinate the response to the harsh winter conditions.

157,000 people affected

Myanmar: Myanmar: Two civilians killed by artillery strike in Namhsan

16 January 2017 - 12:39am
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma Country: Myanmar

By LAWI WENG

RANGOON — Two people were killed and eight were wounded when an artillery shell landed on a civilian house in Namhsan Township, Shan State on Thursday morning, according to local sources.

One of the dead was an eight-year-old student who lived in the house, and the other was a dance instructor who had traveled from Mandalay to teach. The two deceased victims were killed instantly, according to Namhsan Township lawmaker Mai Win Htoo.

“They were giving dancing lessons at the house” when the shell landed, Mai Win Htoo told The Irrawaddy. “A group of cultural dancers from Mandalay organized it.”

The wounded were taken to Lashio Hospital. The body of the dance instructor was returned to Mandalay on Thursday, the lawmaker said.

Local sources blamed the artillery shelling on the Burma Army. But the Ministry of Defense denied responsibility for the deaths, saying the shell was fired by soldiers from the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).

“This was a Burma Army artillery shell, type 82-millimeter,” said Col. Tar Phone Kyaw of the TNLA. “We don’t even have 82-millimeter [shells].”

No other military clashes took place on Thursday near Namhsan town, according to both Mai Win Htoo and U Ba Taung, a leader of the Ta’ang Literature and Culture Organization who is based in the town. But a nearby Burma Army base often fired shells close to Namhsan, the two sources said.

“They [the Burma Army] fired the shell. There was no other fighting yesterday,” said U Ba Taung.

The explosion happened around 10:00 a.m.

“If we examine the shell nuts, then we can prove exactly who this artillery shell belonged to,” said Mai Win Htoo.

The TNLA celebrated their annual revolution day on Thursday. During the celebration, some TNLA soldiers were positioned outside of Namhsan town in order to block Burma Army soldiers from departing the town and disrupting the events.

The Burma Army intended to strike these same TNLA soldiers with artillery, the TNLA alleged. Then one shell went astray and killed civilians.

The defense ministry reported that TNLA soldiers fired at the Burma Army outside of Namhsan, causing the civilian deaths.

“Bombs and artillery fell four times in total on this village,” the ministry’s report said. “Two innocents were killed, and five men and three women were wounded.”

Myanmar: Myanmar: Kachin IDPs return to camps after being denied entry at Chinese border

16 January 2017 - 12:37am
Source: The Irrawaddy Country: China, Myanmar

By LAWI WENG

RANGOON — More than 4,000 Kachin IDPs returned to Zai Awng, Magayang and Hkau Shau camps after China denied them entry at the border, according to the Joint Strategy Team (JST) supporting the internally displaced people.

“China is a big nation. They need to respect human rights on an international level. They should protect the people who have no protection from fighting,” JST spokesperson Gum Sha Awng said at a press conference in Rangoon on Friday,

But according to Kachin aid workers, China may be under pressure from the Burmese government not to accept IDPs at the border.

“China will not accept IDPs from Burma without having an agreement from the Burmese government,” said Maran Jaw Gun, from the Nyein (Shalom) Foundation, at the press conference.

The IDPs were in critical condition after spending days trekking to and from the Chinese border, according to JST members.

“Our first concern was their safety and security. The second concern was food, and the third was for their health,” said Gum Sha Awng.

Among the 4,000 IDPs were about 800 children who had put their studies on hold in order to get to the border.

“They slept on the ground during winter, which is very cold. There were elderly people and pregnant women in the group as well,” said Gum Sha Awng.

The JST provides support for more than 100,000 Kachin IDPs, often bringing aid from China.

The Burma Army has blocked the transportation of humanitarian aid for Kachin IDPs from the UN and Kachin aid groups since last year, according to the aid workers.

The JST includes members from Bridging Rural Integrated Development and Grassroots Empowerment (BRIDGE), the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC), Kachin Relief and Development Committee, Kachin Women’s Association, Kachin Development Group, Karuna Mission Social Solidarity, Metta Development Foundation, Nyein (Shalom) Foundation and Wunpawng Ninghtoi.

Fighting intensified between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army after the Union Peace Conference was held in August. The Burma Army has seized at least seven mountain bases since December, according to the Ministry of Defense.

Rights activists condemned the actions of the Burma Army at the press conference.

“If the military had not launched an offensive in the KIA area, there would be no fighting. The KIA is acting defensively,” said Maran Jaw Gun.

A short video clip of IDPs evacuating their camps and being ousted at the Chinese border was shown at the press conference.

The video shows IDPs in makeshift shelters, cooking food on the side of the road, and using fire as a heat source. The people had no motorized transportation and traveled on foot all the way to the border.

One female IDP spoke in the video clip and accused Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of cooperating with the Burma Army, and bullying the ethnic Kachin and other ethnic groups.

Some IDPs raised the question of whether they were citizens of Burma or just temporary residents, as the government did not protect them.

“The government has a duty to care for its citizens, but Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s government ignores Kachin IDPs,” said one of the displaced individuals.

Myanmar: Myanmar: Yanghee Lee visit brings increased humanitarian access in northern Maungdaw

16 January 2017 - 12:30am
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

By KIMBERLEY PHILLIPS / DVB

Humanitarian access to tightly restricted villages in northern Maungdaw has been granted, coinciding with a visit to Arakan State by the United Nations human rights envoy that began on Friday.

The lifting of the blockade should come as a great relief to aid organisations, which have been unable to attend to scores of villages beyond their reach, **despite an announcement** by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi last month that all assistance was now welcome.

The UN World Food Programme told _DVB _it had received permission to distribute supplies to more than 150 villages as of late Friday afternoon.  The villages had remained effectively off-limits since violence erupted on 9 October, leaving thousands without access to healthcare and nutrition support.

“The majority of those who will receive assistance are people newly affected by recent events. Distributions have resumed today [Friday], initially targeting 30,000 of the most affected people subject to continuous needs assessments,” said Silke Buhr, the WFP communications officer for the Asia and Pacific bureau.

At the time of publication, _DVB_ was unable to independently confirm the extent to which other areas in northern Arakan State remain restricted.

The UN and other rights groups had been forewarning a drastic spike in malnutrition rates in the region, contradicting reports in state media that hunger was a non-issue due to Arakan State’s “favourable fishing conditions.”

More than 65,000 Rohingya Muslims fled conflict-torn northern Arakan State in recent months, seeking shelter across the border in Bangladesh, according to startling figures released by the United Nations earlier this week.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), one-third of the 65,000 had been tallied in the last week, with the bulk of new refugees registering in camps in Cox’s Bazar. The data comes from monitoring done by the International Organization for Migration operating in Bangladesh.

Coordinated attacks on police outposts on 9 October sparked a furious crackdown by Burmese security forces, in what the government termed “clearance operations” aimed at hunting down the alleged perpetrators, but human rights groups have said that Rohingya civilians have borne the brunt of the consequences.

The United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund has allocated $3 million to support the displaced population, many of whom suffer malnutrition and other preventable illnesses.

An International Organisation for Migration spokesperson, who requested anonymity, said it was the “increased ability” of humanitarian agencies to carry out their work in Cox’s Bazaar that accounted for the dramatic jump in the number of Rohingya refugees.

“Initially the new arrivals were dispersed amongst the host community, mostly hiding in the forests and little villages in and around Cox’s Bazar district, too scared to make themselves known in case there would be repercussions. Also many were not aware of the services available in the district, nor the agencies providing assistance and did not know who they could trust,” the spokesperson said.

“As time has gone by and we have been able to extend our humanitarian assistance to the new arrivals without discrimination or negative consequences, people are more trustful to come to the areas where services [in particular food assistance, shelter and healthcare] are available. That is not to say that daily border crossings are not taking place also, but the numbers are a trickle in comparison.”

Allegations of gross human rights violations have marred the Burmese government’s claim that police and the military are behaving lawfully in the course of their clearance operations.

Satellite imagery released by New York-based Human Rights Watch showed scores of Rohingya homes were burnt to the ground, and **women and girls** have told rights organisations they were systematically raped by the military.

Last week a government-appointed commission tasked with investigating the allegations published an interim report of its findings, claiming its inquiries revealed no evidence to support accusations of abuse.

State media has repeatedly denied all allegations of human rights violations, barring leaked footage in which police beat detained Muslim villagers. An investigation into the beatings was announced by the President’s Office early this month, amid claims the incident was a one-off.

The government, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, insists the insurgency is being combated in accordance with the rule of law and without risk to the local Muslim population.

Despite Suu Kyi’s announcement welcoming aid to the region in December, rights and health groups maintained that access to northern parts of Maungdaw was completed restricted.

Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, began a 12-day visit to the country on 9 January, in part to probe the alleged human rights abuses in Arakan State.

Meetings in Naypidaw and Rangoon were also on the agenda, as well as visits to Kachin and Mon states.

The UN envoy has not enjoyed a warm reception in past visits. The Buddhist nationalist group Ma Ba Tha has staged rallies against her, with the extremist movement’s most prominent figurehead Wirathu going so far as to **brand her a “whore”** for her criticism of a four-piece legislative package endorsed by the group in 2015.

Syrian Arab Republic: R2P Monitor, Issue 31, 15 January 2017

16 January 2017 - 12:16am
Source: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect Country: Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen

R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the Responsibility to Protect lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 31 looks at developments in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Myanmar (Burma), South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Philippines, Central African Republic and Nigeria.

Syrian Arab Republic: R2P monitor - 15 January 2017 Issue 31

16 January 2017 - 12:16am
Source: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect Country: Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Yemen

R2P Monitor is a bimonthly bulletin applying the Responsibility to Protect lens to populations at risk of mass atrocities around the world. Issue 31 looks at developments in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Myanmar (Burma), South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Philippines, Central African Republic and Nigeria.

Myanmar: UN envoy Lee hears of unsolved Kachin murder cases

12 January 2017 - 8:57pm
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma Country: Myanmar

During a visit to the Kachin state capital yesterday, United Nations’ Special Human Rights Rapporteur to Burma Yanghee Lee was briefed on the unsolved cases of two young Kachin schoolteachers who were raped and murdered in Muse two years ago; and about two Kachin pastors were mysteriously disappeared on Christmas Eve.

Sam Sun, the general-secretary of the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) in Myitkyina, told DVB that Lee had been made aware of the situation of on-going human rights issues in Burma’s northernmost region. He said that KBC had also explained in detail the case of Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Khawn Nan Tsin, the young volunteer teachers who were brutally murdered in a church compound in Muse, northern Shan State, in January 2015, as well as the disappearance of Baptist priests Dom Dawng Nawng Latt and La Jaw Gam Hseng just over two weeks ago. The clergymen are now feared dead. In both cases, Burmese military units are suspected of involvement.

“Ms Yanghee Lee enquired about the living conditions for IDPs [internally displaced persons] and other human rights issues, such as [the aforementioned cases],” said Sam Sun, adding that KBC had reaffirmed to the UN rapporteur that nearly 10,000 people had been compelled to flee their homes due to recent hostilities in the region.

“She noted down the information we gave her and remarked that the situation has not improved from her last visit. She said she wanted to go to Laiza and Hpakant to meet with Kachin Independence Army (KIA) leaders, but was denied access by Burmese authorities,” he added.

The KIA, alongside its allies Ta’ang National Liberation Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and Arakan Army, staged coordinated attacks on police and military positions on November 20 in Muse and Kutkai townships. The Burmese army sent in reinforcements to take back their positions; fighting has continued around several key town and border trading points. The four ethnic militias have now rebranded themselves as the Northern Alliance, or Northern Alliance-Burma.

Sam Sun said the KBC representatives expressed a wish that Yanghee Lee be allowed to visit IDP camps outside government controlled areas to witness the “real situation”. According to the Kachin group, many IDPs remain hidden in the jungle without adequate shelter and only have enough food for about a month.

Meanwhile, the Myitkyina-based Shan Ethnics Affairs Organisation said they were not informed about Yanghee Lee’s arrival or invited to meet with her, which has left them feeling discriminated against.

Yanghee Lee is on a 12-day fact-finding visit to Burma to assess developments within the various human rights situations across the country. She headed straight to Kachin State after arriving in the country on Tuesday, and was scheduled to visit IDP camps in Myitkyina and Waingmaw later that day.