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Updated: 1 hour 54 min ago

Afghanistan: A Resilient Present and Future are Possible

9 hours 34 min ago
Source: Oxfam Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Viet Nam

Mapping of resilience work in Asia

Asia Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, AMCDRR 2016 ² World Poverty Organization, http://world-poverty.org/povertyinasia.htm Asia is exposed and vulnerable to a wide range of natural and manmade hazards. In many respects, it is the global epicenter for disasters.¹ Its location makes it prone to destructive hazards that are exacerbated by climate change, leading to an increasing number of cyclones, sea level rises, severe drought, and other extreme climate effects. This vulnerability is compounded by poverty. The majority of the world’s poorest today are in Asia,² thus protection and recovery from these disasters remain difficult.

In Asia, Oxfam continues to work with partners and vulnerable communities to promote resilience against existing risks and new risks from natural and human induced disasters that impact disadvantaged poor people in Asia. This map provides an overview of the extensive work in 11 countries in Asia and features different kinds of approaches towards building resilience: small holder agriculture and enterprises; water resilience; urban resilience; natural resource management; working with the private sector to build resilience; and climate finance and gender justice, among others.

Myanmar: UNHCR Bay Of Bengal Situation 2017 Funding Update as of 19 April 2017

22 April 2017 - 11:28pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand

6.8 M required for 2017

0 contributions received

6.8 M funding gap for the Bay Of Bengal Situation

All figures are displayed in USD

Myanmar: Tropical diseases spread in Maugndaw south

22 April 2017 - 2:55am
Source: Kaladan Press Network Country: Myanmar

Tropical diseases such as skin diseases, chickenpox, fever, cough and vomiting have recently spread among the people in Maungdaw south, Fir Ahamed, a local villager from Maugdaw said.

“Mostly children of Kan Hpoo village, Udaung village and Aley Than Kyaw village have been suffering from various diseases in this hot season”, he added.

The health workers from the government hospital of Aley Than Kyaw village tract, were not paying attention the effected children who went to the hospital, said Refan, a father of effected child.

In the health center, most of the staffs are Rakhine community who are not helping to Rohingya community, Refan more added.

Mohin, a Rohingya social worker said that mostly, children (1 to 10 years) have been suffering from diseases such as skin diseases, chickenpox, fever, and cough and vomiting.

Mohin also said that the signs of tropical diseases have been seen in various villages of Rohingyas, but the patients don’t get any help from the government’s side.

However, the Rohingya patients have been taking basic treatment from village quack doctors, Mohin further said.

World: Impact and Causes of Disasters and Migration in Southeast Asia

21 April 2017 - 12:36pm
Source: Aid & International Development Forum Country: Cambodia, Myanmar, Philippines, Viet Nam, World

Last year 574 disasters were reported around the globe and 108 million people have been affected, according to the latest infographic by the Aid & International Development Forum. The vast majority (92%) of natural disasters are due to global warming. Out of 65.3 million displaced people around the world over 14% are being hosted in Asia and the Pacific.

One of the prevailing effects of climate change is water deprivation and drought, caused by the warming of the earth. According to UNICEF, over two million people in Vietnam seek humanitarian assistance due to El-Nino induced drought. Three quarters those in need are women and children. The Emergency Response Plan has prioritised health, WASH, food and nutrition for just more than one half of the total funding required.

In the Philippines El-Nino caused $19.2 million agricultural damage. In Cambodia, 18 out of 25 provinces face food insecurity with 2.5 million people affected.

The infographic explores the causes and impact of migration and disaster in Southeast Asia and was created in time for the 3rd annual Aid & Development Asia Summit. To download the infographic, click here.

Dr Ancha Srinivasan from Asian Development Bank states _“Southeast Asia is a highly exposed area and vulnerable to severe climate change”. _

Myanmar ranks 2nd out of 187 countries in the Global Climate Risk Index. An estimated $190 million funding is required to support over 525,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance across the country.

About 218,000 people are displaced with 70% being women and children. The two key reasons for the displacement are due to internal conflict between states or floods and landslides, both of which have a devastating impact on people’s lives. Displaced are in urgent need of water, food, medical attention and shelter. 90% do not have access to basic health services and three quarters are food insecure.

According to the UN OCHA report “Myanmar is one of the countries at highest risk of natural disasters in South-East Asia and there is an urgent need to strengthen disaster risk reduction activities and to enhance national capacity to prepare for and respond to future emergencies.”

Find out more about innovations, partnerships and policy updates for disaster and flood risk reduction at the upcoming Aid & Development Asia Summit (14-15 June, MICC2, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar). The agenda will include a panel discussion on building a culture of resilience and strengthening disaster preparedness and roundtables on emergency communication, early warning systems, GIS, data collection and mapping. To view detailed agenda, visit http://asia.aidforum.org/agenda

Join the summit and hear from leading speakers including Giuseppe de Vincentiis, Country Representative, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Dr Aung Kyaw Htut, Deputy Secretary General, Myanmar Red Cross Society and Kieran Gorman-Best, Head of Mission, Myanmar, International Organization for Migration (IOM). They join Atiq Kaiman Ahmed, Programme Director, Climate Change and Climate Risk Management (CCCRM), Asia Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC), Peter Batchelor, Country Director, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Ernesto Castro-Garcia, Director, Regional Programs, Asia-Pacific Region Habitat for Humanity amongst others. To register your participation, click here http://asia.aidforum.org/register/

Bangladesh: New Bangladesh emergency fund will enable rapid response to humanitarian crises

21 April 2017 - 12:15pm
Source: Start Network Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

Emergency aid will be able to reach communities in Bangladesh more quickly through a new local crisis response fund set up by a global network of aid agencies.

The £10 million Start Fund Bangladesh, designed to enabled aid agencies to respond early and fast to under-the-radar emergencies, has been set up by the Start Network and is funded by the UK government.

From this month (April) it can activate funding within 72 hours of receiving a crisis alert, and is accessible to national and international Start Network member NGOs within Bangladesh.

It is modeled on the successful Start Fund, which has enabled quick response to floods, earthquakes, droughts and refugee crises in 51 countries over the past three years.

Start Fund Bangladesh will be collectively owned and managed by its members, expected to extend to a growing number of national NGOs during its initial four-year life span. Over that time, it will gradually devolve to the Bangladesh level with the ultimate aim of it becoming an independent local fund.

The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) Bangladesh office has been working with Start Network to set up the fund. Annemarie Poorterman, Project Manager at the Start Network who has worked with members locally to set it up, said:

“We want national and local organisations to sit with us at the design table from the beginning. The aim is to work towards giving national and local organisations direct access to its funding during the second and third years of the project. That means international, national and local NGOs all working together to respond to crises in Bangladesh within 72 hours. Over these next few months we’ll be designing the Start Fund collaboration in Bangladesh, and thinking about how we can localise it further in the coming years.”

Bangladesh, with its 164 million people, is one of the most crisis-prone countries in the world.  It ranked fifth among the top countries at risk of disaster, according to the UN-affiliated World Risk Report index published last year. Climate change has contributed to shorter cold seasons, to drought and to increasingly frequent and severe cyclones and flooding. The country has also experienced a recent influx of refugees from neighbouring Myanmar.

The global Start Fund has responded to four alerts within Bangladesh over the past three years, making £1,550,000 available to assist communities affected by crisis. The new fund will be able to tackle more such crises, drawing on local expertise and knowledge. It will also draw on work by the global Start Fund on crisis anticipation, aimed at responding to a foreseeable crisis before it hits.

Arshad Muhammad, Head of Programmes for CARE Bangladesh, said:

“We thank Start Network and the British government for finding ways to work more closely than ever before with communities affected by crisis here in Bangladesh. This is an important moment for the development of humanitarian response.”

The new fund is intended to operate along similar lines to the global Start Fund, in which aid agencies take swift collective decisions.

Day 1: Immediately an alert is raised, members are surveyed to gather first-hand information. Results are fed into discussions by a smaller group.

Day 2: If this group activates the fund, members have a further 24 hours to submit proposals to tackle the crisis.

Day 3: Project selection based on peer review is undertaken in country, as close to the crisis as possible, after which disbursement of funds begins. Agencies have a maximum of 45 days to complete their projects.

Helene Daniel, Bangladesh Country Director of Solidarites International, said:

“The Start Fund enables humanitarian organisations already on the ground to intervene rapidly, allowing a fast and effective emergency response for people in need. Straightforward solutions are used - such as in Teknaf, Bangladesh, where people fleeing violence in Rakhine state, Myanmar, since October 2016 have been provided with non-food essentials and drinking water. The fund covers basic humanitarian needs quickly and professionally, in a way that is sensitive to the local context.”

Start Network has recruited a local manager, who will lead a small national team of initially four people.The team will be hosted in Dhaka by Action Against Hunger Bangladesh, which was selected as host (until 31 August 2017) through a competitive process.

ENDS

www.startnetwork.org  | Twitter: @StartNetwork

For further information contact David Wastell: david.wastell@startnetwork.org

M: +44(0)7770 380 804 | Twitter: @davidwastell

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  • Start Network has 42 members spanning five continents. It is leading for change in the humanitarian system and manages aid programmes that contribute to this objective.

  • Members operational in Bangladesh are: Action Against Hunger (ACF), ActionAid, CARE, Caritas Bangladesh, Catholic Relief Services, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide, Handicap International, HelpAge International, Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid, Oxfam, Plan, Relief International, Save the Children, Solidarites International, Tearfund, World Vision.

  • The Start Fund is the first multi-donor pooled fund managed exclusively by NGOs and was created in April 2014 to fill a gap in humanitarian funding. Since then it been activated 102 times and reached nearly six million people in 51 countries, with assistance totalling more than £19 million. It aims to begin disbursing funds to “below-the-radar” emergencies within 72 hours of a member sending an alert.

  • The global Start Fund is financed jointly by UK aid (DFID), Irish Aid (Government of Ireland), the Government of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Department.

  •  **Start Network** members agree to put long-term humanitarian goals above any short-term financial benefit to their individual aid agency.

-Other Start Network initiatives include Start Labs, developing new ways to fund crisis response; Start Engage, helping communities in disaster-prone areas to prepare for future crises; and Start Response, organising multi-agency interventions in larger and more enduring crises.

Myanmar: WFP Myanmar Country Brief, March 2017

21 April 2017 - 7:16am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Myanmar

Highlights

  • In the northern part of Rakhine State, WFP assisted 25,500 food-insecure and vulnerable people. The majority of displaced people returned to their villages of origin.

  • WFP successfully completed the second round of disbursements for the e-wallet pilot project in Kachin State, which included three additional camps in March.

  • WFP conducted a mission assessing the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for humanitarian preparedness and response.

Operational Updates

  • In the northern part of Rakhine State, WFP delivered food to 25,500 food-insecure people who had either been displaced or lost their homes or livelihoods during the recent security operations in the area. A majority of displaced persons in the area returned to their villages either as a result of the Government’s authorisation or on their own individual initiative.

  • In Kachin State, WFP successfully completed the second round of disbursements for its e-wallet pilot project. In addition to the three camps in Myitkyina, the project was expanded to include three additional camps in Waingmaw, thus targeting a total of 284 households or 1,400 displaced people. All participants received their monthly cash assistance through accounts on WFPprovided mobile phones without major technical issues.

  • On 17-24 March, WFP carried out a mission in preparation for the development of a coordination model for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for humanitarian preparedness and response. Fully funded by the Government of Belgium, the mission identified local actors currently working with UAVs and conducted assessments to gather information on current developments, activities and plans from humanitarian actors in Myanmar related to the potential use of UAVs for large-scale humanitarian emergency operations. The novel technology holds the promise of a diverse portfolio of rapid strategic planning applications that are already being effectively used in humanitarian response operations around the globe.

  • In order to support the Government of Myanmar in realising its own first-ever national school feeding programme, WFP and representatives from the Government went on a study tour to Brazil to visit WFP’s Centre of Excellence against Hunger. The purpose of the trip was to enable Government officials to enhance their knowledge on the development of multi-sector and sustainable school feeding models, and included representatives from the Ministries of Education, Health,
    Agriculture and Border Affairs.

  • In the framework of South-South and triangular cooperation, WFP sponsored a study tour for staff members from the Government of Myanmar to the Philippines. The objective was for the two Governments to share best practices in the area of logistics preparedness and response and for the Government of Myanmar to learn from the experiences of the Philippine emergency preparedness and response model, which is considered the best in Southeast Asia.

  • The results of an external evaluation of WFP’s Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) in Myanmar, conducted in August-September 2016, were finalised and published. The evaluation assessed WFP’s assistance across its main activities as well as capacity strengthening in Myanmar. Overall, the evaluation team found the PRRO to be a well-implemented programme that was being delivered in a challenging and dynamic environment. The operation was relevant and appropriate to the needs of the target groups, although some outcomes were constrained by factors including funding shortfalls. To read the full report, please use the following link: https://www.wfp.org/content/myanmarprro-200299-supporting-transition-reducing-foodinsecurity-and-undernutrition-among-

Bangladesh: WFP Bangladesh Country Brief, March 2017

21 April 2017 - 6:17am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

Highlights

  • The WFP Bangladesh Country Strategic Plan for 2017 to 2020 was approved by the WFP Executive Board in February in its First Regular Session of 2017. It will replace the Country Programme and Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation starting on 01 April 2017.

  • School feeding assistance will be expanded to the learning centres established by UNICEF and IOM in the makeshift sites of Cox’s Bazar. Distribution of fortified biscuits is expected to start 09 April, initially targeting 1,843 children in 27 learning centres, and gradually increasing to 21,000 children as more learning centres are established in 2017.

Operational Updates

  • WFP Bangladesh’s Country Strategic Plan (CSP, 2017-2020) was approved by the WFP Executive Board in February in its First Regular Session of 2017. The CSP will be operational beginning 01 April 2017.

  • School feeding assistance will be expanded to the learning centres established by UNICEF and IOM in the makeshift sites of Cox’s Bazar. The School Feeding Unit, in partnership with UNICEF, has determined training of trainers for the Government, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the Learning Centre Management Committees and school teachers on implementation strategies, and monitoring and reporting mechanisms. Distribution of fortified biscuits is expected to start on 09 April with an initial target of 1,843 children in 27 learning centres, gradually increasing to 21,000 children as more learning centres are established in 2017.

  • The National Plan of Action for Nutrition formulated by a Task Committee of which WFP has been part was approved. It is currently with the Prime Minister’s office for signature.

  • On 12-15 March, a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission visited Shyamnagar, Kaliganj, Koyra and Dacope sub-districts to observe a range of Nobo Jatra project activities.
    Nobo Jatra/New Beginning is a Food for Peace project of World Vision, WFP and Winrock International that aims to achieve improved gender, equitable food security, nutrition and resilience of vulnerable people within Khulna and Satkhira districts in Bangladesh.

  • On 12-16 March, the Country Office supported the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) regional nutrition expert on a field mission to Cox’s Bazar. The mission focused on the influx of new arrivals, with the primary objective of assessing their food and nutrition needs, current gaps in response and capacity in ongoing programmes to address increased needs.

Myanmar: Myanmar: Humanitarian Snapshot (20 April 2017)

21 April 2017 - 5:57am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

Over the past seven months Myanmar has experienced a surge in new displacement in four states, while humanitarian organizations simultaneously faced severe constraints on access. Border post attacks on 9 Oct 2016 and subsequent security operations triggered a new humanitarian crisis in northern Rakhine. Intensified conflict resulted in new displacement in Kachin and northern Shan. Thousands were also relocated in Kayin State due to fighting in Sep 2016.

Myanmar: Kachin, Myanmar: families displaced countless times

21 April 2017 - 5:24am
Source: Solidarités International Country: Myanmar

After a 17-year-long cease fire, fighting erupted again in Kachin State, northern Myanmar, since 2011. The resumption of hostilities provoked large population displacements, in both government-controlled areas (GCA) and non-government controlled areas (NGCA). In 2011 alone, more than 90,000 were displaced across 142 camps. Due to the intensification of violence since April 2016, 30,000 men, women and children have been newly displaced.

Through its Rapid Response Mechanism, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has been responding in emergency to the water, sanitation and shelter needs of the numerous displaced populations in Southern Kachin State. The newly displaced people since April 2016 add to the 87,000 individuals already settled in the 142 camps and host sites of the country.

Daw Ngwar Ma Lu – 78-years old Lisu woman from Pen Se village – lives in Sadung temporary camp with her grandson’s family. On 27th December 2016, the area surrounding her village was bombed. At first, she temporarily fled with her family to China. Soon after, they moved to Sadung camp, in the non-government controlled areas.“I heard very loud bombings and the ground started to shake. My grandson picked up some family items and we all fled the village by motorbike,”Daw Ngwar Ma Lu describes with a trembling voice. “I am old and suffer from severe pain in my whole body, especially my back. There has been so much fighting in Kachin, I have forgotten how many times I have had to flee from battle”.

Provide for people’s needs

Active in Kachin State since 2012, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL intervenes to respond to the needs of conflict-affected communities in Southern Kachin, by providing hygiene, shelter and NFI kits to displaced families. In Sadung temporary camp, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has also provided sanitation access and treatment for the water supply.

“I am very thankful to SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL for providing us with humanitarian aid. There used to be a lot of open defecation in the bush near Sadung temporary camp, because of the lack of latrines. Now we have latrines and also access to drinking water!” Daw Ngwar Ma Lu explains. “The items distributed (blanket, mat and cooking pot) are also very useful, as we could not bring our own when we fled”.

Myanmar: Nearly 170 Houses Relocated As Irrawaddy River Bank Erodes

21 April 2017 - 12:57am
Source: The Irrawaddy Country: Myanmar

By SALAI THANT ZIN 20 April 2017

ZALUN, Irrawaddy Division — Nearly 170 houses and a high school have been relocated in two villages in Zalun Township because of erosion to the banks of the Irrawaddy River.

A total of 126 houses and a high school in Gone Nyin Tan village and 43 houses in Atut village have been moved, said the township’s administrator, U Kyaw Naing Tun.

“The banks have been steadily eroded by the river since the last rainy season,” he told The Irrawaddy.

People who were forced out of their homes are staying at their relatives’ houses or at makeshift tents in paddy fields. The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement stated it has provided cash and supplies for the victims.

U Kyaw Naing Tun said he had instructed authorities to find suitable land for the resettlement of victims, adding he would ask the divisional government for financial help.

Locals in several nearby villages have also reported bank erosion, caused by a change in the course of the Irrawaddy River.

“The erosion was slow before, but this week the bank eroded rapidly day and night,” said U Tin Aye, the administrator of Thadu Chaung village-tract. “Part of the bank about 700 feet long disappeared in Gone Nyin Tan.

“As it happened so fast, we had to remove and relocate the houses quickly. Almost half of the village is gone now.”

“We are building an embankment to prevent erosion,” said U Hla Moe, the director of the Irrawaddy Division Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems.

“We’ve presented our plans to the divisional government to prevent further erosion within the budget of this and the next fiscal year.”

Locals said, however, that building embankments would not stop the erosion and only diverting the course of the river would help solve it.

Myanmar: Myanmar Allows Regional-Level Political Talks to be Held in Volatile Shan State

21 April 2017 - 12:36am
Source: Radio Free Asia Country: Myanmar

The Myanmar government will allow ethnic organizations in Shan state to hold regional-level political discussions on April 23-25 in the run-up to national-level talks, a military official said on Thursday.

But the government has decided not to permit preliminary talks among ethnic Shan groups in the volatile state where some local militias are engaged in hostilities with the national army, said Lieutenant Colonel Sai Nyin, spokesman of the RCSS.

The government military originally decided that the talks could be held in Mangpan, Monehtaw, and Nantpankhon townships, but the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), one of the dominant ethnic organizations in the region’s north, requested that they be held in the state capital Taunggyi because of difficulties in traveling to the others areas, he said.

“We requested that the government hold national-level political talks [for Shan State] in Taunggyi, but we haven’t received a response yet,” he told RFA’s Myanmar Service. “But the government invited us for the regional level talks in Taunggyi.

“The RCSS’s Peace Working Committee will hold a meeting today, and we will decide on whether we will participate in these talks or not, and how many representatives we will send if we attend,” Sai Nyin said.

Sai Nyin insisted that national-level political talks among Shan ethnics must be held first before the regional talks can take place, he said.

He also said he believes it is the country’s powerful military rather than the civilian government of de facto national leader Aung San Suu Kyi that is not permitting Shan ethnic discussions, because it fears that the RCSS will dominate the talks.

The RSCC has been involved in recent clashes with the government military as well as hostilities with another ethnic militia—the Ta’ang National Liberation army (TNLA)—in northern Shan state.

“But the RCSS alone can’t lead the talks,” he said. “All Shan groups and organizations together will hold them,” he said.

“We are thinking that it could be difficult to participate in regional-level talks without holding ethnic-level talks [first],” Sai Nyin said.

Five topics—politics, the economy, security, social issues, and land and environmental issues—must be hammered out among the Shan people before starting regional discussions, he said.

“We will know what Shan people want on these topics only after we hold ethnic political talks,” he said.

“The government won’t allow Shan ethnic-level political talks, only regional-level ones,” he said. “It is not good for the Shan people.”

It will also be difficult for Shan representatives to attend the second round of the government’s nationwide peace talks known as the 21st-century Panglong Conference without holding ethnic-level political talks beforehand, he said.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been preparing for the second round of talks, which the government has postponed twice since February, in a bid to end decades of ethnic separatist civil wars that have plagued the country and prevented it from further political and economic development.

Eight armed ethnic groups, including the RCSS, signed a nationwide cease-fire agreement with the government in October 2015, but the RCSS has been accused of violating the pact’s terms.

Clashes in Shan state and neighboring Kachin state have resulted in an increase in the number of internal refugees and civilian deaths and have stymied Aung San Suu Kyi’s efforts to bring warring ethnic militias to the negotiating table.

Reported by Thiha Tun for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Khet Mar.

Myanmar: Ethnic Militias in Myanmar Form New Committee to Handle Talks With Government

21 April 2017 - 12:36am
Source: Radio Free Asia Country: Myanmar

Seven of Myanmar’s ethnic armed groups formed a new committee on Wednesday to hold collective talks with the government in anticipation of the next round of nationwide peace negotiations.

Representatives from the Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA), Arakan Army (AA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), National Democratic Alliance Army- Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS), and United Wa State Army (UWSA) attended the meeting in Pangkham, the administrative capital of the UWSA-controlled territory in Myanmar.

The militias changed the name of the Political Dialogue Committee they had formed to hold talks with the government to the Union Political Negotiation Dialogue Committee, according to a statement issued by the groups after their five-day meeting.

The ethnic armed groups also agreed not to hold individual talks with the government, but rather to hold them through the new committee.

The statement also said that the militias had approved a general policy and position on peace negotiations during the meeting.

The UWSA—the largest nonstate army in Myanmar—submitted a report at the meeting on resolving difficulties in the peace process, the statement said.

The Union Political Negotiation Dialogue Committee will send the report, which all seven militias approved, to the central government, it said.

The government under de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi held the first round of nationwide peace talks, known as the 21st-century Panglong Conference, late last August in an effort to end decades of ethnic separatist civil wars.

But the government has twice postponed the second round of talks originally scheduled for February as fighting between ethnic militias and the national army continue in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

Eight other ethnic armed groups have already signed a nationwide cease-fire agreement with the government, which wants all ethnic militias to sign the pact in order to participate in political dialogue.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

World: The Column AHA Centre News Bulletin Volume 27, March 2017

20 April 2017 - 9:54am
Source: Association of Southeast Asian Nations Country: Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, World

Editors Note

Greetings fellow ASEANers!

This month’s edition of The Column covers a workshop that the AHA Centre conducted for the Familiarisation of DELSA Stockpile and THE ACT, where we provided training and simulation exercises at the WFP/UNHRD warehouse in Subang, Malaysia. It is the responsibility and function of the AHA Centre to continuously strengthen and deepen the ASEAN’s thinking of disaster management, to ensure that the region has a collective response to disasters.

Along with this concern, this issue will provide useful information towards the Impact of Disasters on Livelihoods. We also spoke with Ms. Grace Endina, DELSA Programme Assistant, for an edition of The Other Side as she shared her ambition in the disaster management field and her hopes towards the DELSA Programme.

Further on the 27th Edition of The Column, a series of meetings were conducted throughout the month. Relevant events include the 3rd PSC Meeting for the ICT System of the AHA Centre – Phase III, the 7th Meeting of the ACDM Working Group on Prevention and Mitigation, as well as the 12th Meeting of the ACDM Working Group on Preparedness and Response.

If you wish to share your suggestions, comments or anything, please do not hesitate to contact us at comm@ahacentre.org and we will do the rest.

Sincerely,

The Column Editor

Indonesia: The Column AHA Centre News Bulletin Volume 27, March 2017

20 April 2017 - 9:54am
Source: Association of Southeast Asian Nations Country: Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam

Editors Note

Greetings fellow ASEANers!

This month’s edition of The Column covers a workshop that the AHA Centre conducted for the Familiarisation of DELSA Stockpile and THE ACT, where we provided training and simulation exercises at the WFP/UNHRD warehouse in Subang, Malaysia. It is the responsibility and function of the AHA Centre to continuously strengthen and deepen the ASEAN’s thinking of disaster management, to ensure that the region has a collective response to disasters.

Along with this concern, this issue will provide useful information towards the Impact of Disasters on Livelihoods. We also spoke with Ms. Grace Endina, DELSA Programme Assistant, for an edition of The Other Side as she shared her ambition in the disaster management field and her hopes towards the DELSA Programme.

Further on the 27th Edition of The Column, a series of meetings were conducted throughout the month. Relevant events include the 3rd PSC Meeting for the ICT System of the AHA Centre – Phase III, the 7th Meeting of the ACDM Working Group on Prevention and Mitigation, as well as the 12th Meeting of the ACDM Working Group on Preparedness and Response.

If you wish to share your suggestions, comments or anything, please do not hesitate to contact us at comm@ahacentre.org and we will do the rest.

Sincerely,

The Column Editor

Myanmar: Cyclone Maarutha Track

20 April 2017 - 4:50am
Source: Myanmar Information Management Unit Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Ethnic Militias in Myanmar Form New Committee to Handle Talks With Government

20 April 2017 - 1:20am
Source: Radio Free Asia Country: Myanmar

Seven of Myanmar’s ethnic armed groups formed a new committee on Wednesday to hold collective talks with the government in anticipation of the next round of nationwide peace negotiations.

Representatives from the Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA), Arakan Army (AA), Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), National Democratic Alliance Army- Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS), and United Wa State Army (UWSA) attended the meeting in Pangkham, the administrative capital of the UWSA-controlled territory in Myanmar.

The militias changed the name of the Political Dialogue Committee they had formed to hold talks with the government to the Union Political Negotiation Dialogue Committee, according to a statement issued by the groups after their five-day meeting.

The ethnic armed groups also agreed not to hold individual talks with the government, but rather to hold them through the new committee.

The statement also said that the militias had approved a general policy and position on peace negotiations during the meeting.

The UWSA—the largest nonstate army in Myanmar—submitted a report at the meeting on resolving difficulties in the peace process, the statement said.

The Union Political Negotiation Dialogue Committee will send the report, which all seven militias approved, to the central government, it said.

The government under de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi held the first round of nationwide peace talks, known as the 21st-century Panglong Conference, late last August in an effort to end decades of ethnic separatist civil wars.

But the government has twice postponed the second round of talks originally scheduled for February as fighting between ethnic militias and the national army continue in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

Eight other ethnic armed groups have already signed a nationwide cease-fire agreement with the government, which wants all ethnic militias to sign the pact in order to participate in political dialogue.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin

Myanmar: Myanmar: Establish an independent prisoner review mechanism to end politically motivated imprisonment

20 April 2017 - 12:52am
Source: Amnesty International, Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de I'Homme, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, Fortify Rights Country: Myanmar

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
PUBLIC STATEMENT

Index: ASA 16/6090/2017
20 April 2017

Joint statement by 22 national and international non-governmental organizations

On the occasion of the third anniversary of the death of U Win Tin, 22 organizations are calling for the immediate release of all individuals detained or imprisoned on fabricated, politically motivated charges, and for the establishment of an independent and effective prisoner review mechanism to bring about an end to arbitrary arrests and detentions in Myanmar.

U Win Tin, who served nearly 20 years in jail as a prisoner of conscience, famously pledged to wear a blue shirt, the same colour shirt he had to wear in prison, until all political prisoners in the country were released. On 21 April, people around the world will be wearing a blue shirt or blue clothing in solidarity with U Win Tin’s call, which is unfortunately still relevant today.

One year after the NLD-led government took power, and despite a series of prisoner releases, there are still scores of people behind bars as a result of politically motivated arrest and imprisonment.

Repressive laws which arbitrarily restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly remain in place, and authorities continue to use them to intimidate, arrest and jail human rights defenders, other peaceful activists, and members of ethnic minorities.

In addition, the civilian-led government has yet to take effective action to address the country’s long history of politically motivated arrest, detention and imprisonment.

We note that in her most recent report to the UN Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar has recommended that the government undertake by October 2017 “a comprehensive review of all cases, based on broad and public consultations with all relevant stakeholders in view of the discrepancies in the numbers of remaining political prisoners.”

Our organizations believe that the establishment of an independent, effective and properly resourced prisoner review mechanism with a clear mandate and procedures to address both short and long-term issues relating to spurious politically motivated prosecution would be an important step to address the decades-long problem of political imprisonment in Myanmar.

Such a review mechanism should:

  1. Review the cases of all those who may have been charged or deprived of their liberty simply for the peaceful exercise of their human rights or as a result of unfair, politically motivated trials. All those charged or detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights should be immediately and unconditionally released and all charges against them dropped. Other individuals detained on politically motivated charges should also be released, unless they are promptly charged with a recognisably criminal offence and remanded by an independent court, and those imprisoned after unfair trials should be retried in proceedings which meet international standards of fairness;

  2. Review all laws used to arrest, prosecute and punish political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and recommend to Parliament the repeal or amendment of all such laws to bring them into line with international human rights law and standards;

  3. Formulate and present recommendations to the relevant authorities aimed at ending the abuse of the criminal law to fabricate criminal charges against individuals for politically motivated reasons;

  4. Ensure that all conditions attached to the release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience are lifted;

  5. Provide support and assistance to former political prisoners and prisoners of conscience and their families by ensuring that they have effective access to restitution, compensation, assistance in gaining access to education and employment opportunities and other forms of reparation to enable them to resume a normal life;

  6. Share with the public its mandate, its terms of reference, and operational procedures, and publish regular activity reports;

  7. Be properly resourced, receive appropriate support and co-operation from government agencies, and be given access to all prisons and prisons’ records, as well as the authority to question relevant state officials;

  8. Be comprised of members who are selected according to objective and relevant criteria, including their independence and expertise in human rights, as well as have adequate gender and ethnic representation, expertise on gender issues and children’s rights. The Committee should be comprised of a wide range of stakeholders, including former political prisoners, prisoners of conscience and their representatives;

  9. Be provided with sufficient resources to ensure its functioning and human rights capacity and for it to be able to seek technical assistance and advice from external experts in this regard;

  10. Develop its programme of work in consultation with former political prisoners, their families and representatives, and takes into account the different experiences of women, men and children. The greatest tribute to the memory of U Win Tin would be to achieve his dream of the release of all prisoners of conscience in Myanmar. We believe that establishing such a review mechanism would be a positive step towards achieving that goal.

Background:

U Win Tin, a journalist and founding member of the National League for Democracy, was one of Myanmar’s longest serving political prisoners, describing his time in jail from 1989 until 2008 as “living in hell”.

On 7 February 2013, then President Thein Sein announced the establishment of the Committee for Scrutinizing the Remaining Prisoners of Conscience “to scrutinize the remaining political prisoners serving their terms in prisons throughout the country so as to grant them liberty”. However, it quickly became clear that the Scrutinizing Committee had serious shortcomings. By the end of 2014 it was unclear whether the Scrutinizing Committee was even operational, leading to increasing national and international criticism.

On 5 January 2015, then President Thein Sein announced the reconstitution of the Scrutinizing Committee into the Prisoners of Conscience Affairs Committee, which was to comprise 28 members and which would “promptly [carry] out prisoners of conscience affairs at the grassroots level.” However, it appears that the Committee never even met and no information has been made publicly available regarding its mandate, procedures or activities. The lack of information and action appears to justify concerns that the Committee had been reconstituted merely to deflect growing national and international criticism, rather than to resolve the issue of remaining political prisoners.

Signed by

Actions Birmanie (Belgium)
ALTSEAN-Burma
Amnesty International
ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)
Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma)
Association Suisse-Birmanie
Burma Campaign UK
Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
Burmese Muslim Association
Christian Solidarity Worldwide
FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights
Fortify Rights
Free Burma Campaign (South Africa)
Free Burma Coalition-Philippines (FBC-P)
Info Birmanie (France)
Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
Korean House for International Solidarity
Odhikar (Bangladesh)
Progressive Voice
Swedish Burma Committee
US Campaign for Burma

Thailand: Thailand Border Operation: RTG/MOI-UNHCR Verified Refugee Population, 31 March 2017

20 April 2017 - 12:51am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Myanmar, Thailand

World: ACTED Newsletter, January - March 2017, N°94

19 April 2017 - 9:37am
Source: ACTED Country: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Lebanon, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, World, Yemen

ACTED has been mobilised in the Sud and Grand’Anse departments since hurricane Matthew hit the region on 4 October 2016 to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to affected populations. In all sectors, needs reached high levels: Matthew caused terrible damages, casualties and losses, destroying houses, infrastructure and crops, and leaving 1.4 million Haitians in need of humanitarian assistance. In January 2017, after three months of unremitting emergency operations, ACTED teams launched the first recovery programmes: A review of six months of emergency operations and what comes next.

Improving access to water, hygiene and sanitation, and fighting cholera

Hurricane Matthew left some 750,000 people without access to safe water. ACTED teams rehabilitated water points and set up water treatment plants and chlorination points, especially beside rivers or stagnant waters, to prevent the consumption of water that may be contaminated and bring diseases like cholera. Also, with support from Veolia, the teams installed six Veolia water treatment units in the affected areas and trained populations on how to use them. The lack of access to safe water is one of the major causes of cholera and one of the top priorities for ACTED. Since October, the teams have been distributing over 520,000 Aquatabs for the disinfection of water as well as over 8,000 hygiene kits and some 10,000 soaps to tackle the sanitation crisis.

Heavy rains, floods and mudslides following hurricane Matthewled to new cholera outbreaks reaching alarming levels. Right after the hurricane in October, some 5,500 cholera cases were reported, up from only 2,377 in September, with half of the reported cases located in the Sud and Grand’Anse departments. ACTED cholera teams have been ramping up their activities to contain the epidemic and tackle its causes. This includes epidemiologic monitoring and investigation, rehabilitating health centres, identifying the areas of origin and vectors of cholera, improving access to safe water by testing and treating it, and raising awareness on the risks of cholera among populations to avoid the spread of the disease, changing mentalities, and ensuring best hygiene practices are established as a habit. Since October 2016, the teams rehabilitated four health centres and alerted over 60,000 people on the risks of cholera and how to avoid the disease

World: Asia Pacific Regional Reference Map: OCHA Regional Office for Asia-Pacific: Countries and Territories (As of 2017)

18 April 2017 - 8:00pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, China - Taiwan Province, Christmas Island (Australia), Cocos (Keeling) Islands (Australia), Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Norfolk Island (Australia), Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Viet Nam, World