Myanmar - ReliefWeb News
Arrivals and Departures
On 27 April, Sweden's Migration Agency forecast that Sweden expects between 40,000 and 100,000 people to claim asylum this year (which is a decrease from the original forecast of between 70,000 and 140,000).
Conditions of People
In Greece, Alternate Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas has agreed to the permanent presence of lawyers in two accommodation centers (Elaionas in Athens, and Moria on Lesvos island), following a meeting with the head of the Athens Bar Association. The Ministry said the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) has also expressed an interest in offering legal aid to refugees in Moria.
Speaking to the ANA-MPA news agency on 27 April, following clashes between migrants and riot police at Moria on Tuesday evening which resulted in the injury of 15 people, Minister Mouzalas said the government is “concerned, not proud and not happy, but […]everyone is trying hard”. “There were a few minor scuffles that grew later in the night and necessitated police intervention. Now the situation is looking calm,” he said, speaking from the general hospital at the island’s capital, Mytilene. He also confirmed that 15 minors in their late teens were injured in the clashes; Mouzalas added that they are among some 90 unaccompanied minors being held for processing at the Moria center.
In Eidomeni, where thousands continue to live in dismal conditions at the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Hellenic Police is distributing leaflets among refugees and migrants urging them to leave the informal site for the official accommodation facilities established by the Greek Government throughout the mainland. The spokesperson of the Inter-Ministerial
Coordination Body, Giorgos Kyritsis, announced the transfer of 4,500 people from Eidomeni in the next 10 days to four sites outside Thessaloniki as well as Lagkadikia.
On 27 April afternoon, at the Handover Ceremony of the Olympic Flame from Greece to the Rio 2016 organizers at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, both the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Mr. Spyros Capralos, and the Head of the Rio de Janeiro Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, Mr. Carlos Nuzman, expressed solidarity with the plight of refugees worldwide. He praised the Syrian refugee athlete who carried the Olympic Torch at Elaionas site on Tuesday, as a symbolic gesture to highlight the strength and resilience of all refugees.
This World Immunization Week, we are closer than ever to the target of a world free of polio, with just two remaining polio endemic countries- Afghanistan and Pakistan. Read more about what remains to be done to carry the world across the threshold here.
Around the world, countries that remain vulnerable to polio are continuing to vaccinate children and build immunity, as shown in Jordan through this series of photographs.
Since mid-April fighting between the Myanmar Military and the Arakan Army has displaced approximately 1,100 people in Buthidaung, Rathedaung and Kyaktaw townships in Rakhine State. Those displaced are primarily staying in schools and a smaller number with relatives.
On 25 April, a joint mission by the Rakhine State Government, the UN and INGOs visited four displacement sites in Buthidaung and Rathedaung to assess needs. Local authorities and other local groups have provided food for IDPs.
International organizations will be providing non-food items, including sleeping mats and cooking utensils as well as water and sanitation support.
On 26 and 27 April, another mission visited IDP sites in Kyauktaw where there are around 170 IDPs. Local CSOs have provided some food assistance, but there is a need for additional food assistance, as well as for NFIs and water.
The UN and partners are liaising closely with the government on meeting outstanding humanitarian needs.
State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi told the stakeholders in Myanmar’s peace process on Wednesday to prepare for a national conference within a few months and named a new government mediator to monitor negotiations with the military and armed ethnic groups.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who is also foreign minister and minister of the President’s Office, said she will take the lead on the peace process during a meeting in the capital Naypyidaw with members Myanmar’s military and the state-level Ceasefire Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC), which monitors the cease-fire process.
The JMC was formed by eight armed ethnic groups who signed a nationwide cease-fire agreement (NCA) last October with the country’s army under the former military-backed government led by Thein Sein. His administration had excluded other rebel groups from the NCA because of ongoing hostilities with them, while others opted not to join.
“We have to work on holding a peace conference and including nonsignatories of the NCA in the peace process at the same time,” she said.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who has made national peace and reconciliation the cornerstone policy of the National League of Democracy (NLD) government that came into power at the beginning of the month, said efforts to include rebel groups considered appropriate for inclusion in the cease-fire process should be undertaken at the same time.
“We shouldn’t do one only after the other is done,” she said. “We can persuade the nonsignatory groups to join the peace process by showing them the benefits of joining the NCA.”
General Saw Issac Po, a vice chairman of the JMC, said all the armed ethnic groups that did not sign the NCA should be included in the peace process as part of national reconciliation.
“I also promise that we, the groups that signed the NCA, will cooperate to include them as much as we can,” he said.Maintaining stability
Lieutenant General Yar Pyae, vice chairman of the JMC, emphasized the need to maintain what has been achieved so far in the peace process.
“We have to work to maintain the current stability and implement goals based on the understanding and relationships of leaders from both sides,” he said.
JMC secretary Shwe Kha noted that Aung San Suu Kyi said she wants to rename the Myanmar Peace Center, the government-affiliated organization where peace talks are held, as the National Reconciliation and Peace Center.
“What I understood is that she wants this new peace center not only to have members from the government side, but also to have members from the ethnic groups,” he said.
The JMC has proposed holding a brainstorming meeting during the second week of May to discuss how the stakeholders will organize the national peace conference, Shwe Kha said.
Besides the JMC, the meeting will include government representatives, former Myanmar Peace Center members, and those who serve on the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC), a body formed last November to implement the political dialogue between the government and ethnic armed groups, he said.
Aung San Suu Kyi also said Tin Myo Win, her personal physician, will be the government’s new peace mediator, replacing Aung Min who led the peace process under the previous administration.Protesters want end to war
In the meantime, conflicts between the Myanmar army and armed ethnic groups continue to rage in the country’s north and west.
On Wednesday, about 1,500 protesters in the town of Kyauktaw in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state called for an end to the fighting there between the national army and Arakan Army (AA) soldiers, which has forced about 1,000 residents to flee their homes.
“We are demanding that the fighting be resolved by political means because it is a political problem,” protester Maung Aye Saw told RFA, adding that the protesters are also calling for the release of AA members who have been jailed.
In March, a Kyauktaw court handed down jail sentences for unlawful association with the AA to 11 men who were arrested in connection with the clashes between government troops and rebel forces in the area.
The day before, the same court sentenced 12 others to three to five years in jail for their involvement with the AA.
The protestors also objected to government soldiers who have forced villagers to perform work for them.
Last week, army troops abducted five residents from Yasoechaung village of Rathedaung township in Rakhine state, and forced other villagers to serve as porters.
“The villagers were taken by the government army to be porters,” Maung Aye Saw said. “Many villagers are suffering from this. We are demanding that the army not do this again.”
Reported by Win Ko Ko Latt, Tin Aung Khine and Min Thein Aung for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Reported in English by Roseanne Gerin.
By TIN HTET PAING / THE IRRAWADDY
RANGOON — Some 6,000 outstanding complaints of farmland seizure from the previous parliamentary body are slated to be investigated by the current legislative body, the Upper House’s farmer affairs committee said on Wednesday.
“About 6,000 letters of complaint [out of an estimated 18,000] are to be handled this parliamentary term,” committee chair Ba Myo Thein told The Irrawaddy, adding that since early April alone, the new committee had received over 80 additional letters.
Among those accused of farmland confiscation are the Burma Army, government ministries and private development companies. According to the letters of complaint, the land was allegedly seized for the development of infrastructure and industrial zones, with most incidents occurring in Mandalay Division and Karen State, Ba Myo Thein said.
He added that the Parliament’s first move will be to form a commission with relevant MPs to review the complaints and conduct field investigations. He also told The Irrawaddy that the issue of farmland confiscation could not be avoided in a country where development and infrastructure are considered essential for growth.
“These complaints are a consequence of neglecting our country’s existing laws,” he said. “We will try to solve this problem in accordance with land use laws.”
On Wednesday, the state-owned Global New Light of Myanmar said that, to date, the committee had revealed that some 200,000 acres of farmland had been confiscated nationwide, although Ba Myo Thein was unable to confirm this figure for The Irrawaddy.
From a legal standpoint, Ko Ni, a lawyer, does not think that the handling of the issue will be so straightforward.
“There’s no such distinction within existing laws between military-owned land and ministry-owned land. There’s only state-owned land,” he said.
He explained that under Burma’s military regime, hundreds of thousands of acres of land were confiscated by the military, government ministries and private companies for multiple reasons. There is not yet a law in place to address these particular cases.
“A specific law should be created that includes relevant references [to military-owned and ministry-owned land] so that there will be no controversy [going forward] in regards to how to effectively [and legally] handle land grab issues,” Ko Ni said.
By Lawi Weng
RANGOON — Authorities in Arakan State have imposed new restrictions on the Rohingya minority’s access to medical treatment in Rangoon, after local sources reported that many patients did not return to the region after traveling to hospitals in the commercial capital.
Authorities including police, immigration officers, and the border affairs minister hosted a meeting with approximately 40 Rohingya community leaders in the Arakan State capital of Sittwe on Tuesday. Chief regional immigration officer Wai Lwin reportedly informed those at the meeting of the stricter regulations to be imposed on the Muslim minority, who are denied citizenship in Burma.
According to Aung Win, a Rohingya rights activist who participated in the meeting, the new rules state that Rohingya who are sick must now first visit the public hospital in Sittwe for an assessment of their condition; if further treatment is needed, they can apply for permission to travel to Rangoon.
Patients would now be required to obtain a recommendation from the head of the Sittwe hospital in order to make such a trip.
Aung Win estimated that up to 80 percent of those who had previously traveled to Rangoon for medical care did not return to the displaced people’s camps in Arakan State where over 100,000 Rohingya have been confined since ethnoreligious violence broke out in the area in 2012.
“They went to work in Ruili [on the Chinese border], Malaysia and Thailand,” he said.
Before the new restrictions came into effect, community leaders said that the Rohingya had avoided going to hospitals in Sittwe, where they reported experiencing discrimination. The medical care they received, they alleged, was not equal to that provided to the local Buddhist Arakanese population.
Maung Maung Sein, another Rohingya representative present at the meeting, told The Irrawaddy that the new rules would place extra financial strain on those in the camps.
“We need security to travel to the hospital in Sittwe. We have to pay at least 20,000 to 30,000 kyats (US$17 to $26) to rent a car to travel from the camp to the town,” he said, adding that patients would need food and accommodation in order to be able to stay in the hospital away from their homes. Paying for this expense is made particularly difficult by limitations placed on the Rohingyas’ ability to seek employment in the region.
Maung Maung Sein explained that Rohingya who could afford to do so once sought treatment in Rangoon, reportedly after obtaining permission from an immigration officer for the journey; without the correct paperwork, Rohingya attempting to travel outside of the region can be imprisoned.
“There were brokers who could help get recommendations from Immigration. We had to pay a lot of money to get the recommendation,” he said.
Burmese government authorities have allowed some clinics to open in the displaced people’s camps, but challenges regarding staffing and patient access remain ongoing.
Doctors and nurses from the camp hospitals will not be eligible to provide the recommendation needed for travel to Rangoon to seek more advanced treatment.
Nearly 60,000 people were affected by extreme weather conditions that hit many parts of Burma over the past week, including 17 who were killed and thousands more who were left homeless, according to government figures.
Information released by the government on Wednesday showed that a total of 59,239 people were affected by gale-force winds and hailstorms that hit Sagaing, Mandalay, Pegu, Magwe and Tenasserim divisions and Shan, Chin, Arakan and Kachin states between 21 and 26 April.
Nine people were killed in Sagaing Division, seven in Mandalay and one in Shan State.
In total, 1,862 houses were completely destroyed by strong wind and hailstorms, while 19,739 suffered extensive damage to their roofs. The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement in cooperation with regional governments is carrying out relief work in the affected regions, the government said.
Myint Htwe, a Sagaing Division MP, said that in Ye Oo, where he lives, many roofs were damaged were damaged by the recent hailstorms, but conditions have returned to normal
“The weather is clear now, though we had a bout of heavy wind the other day that lasted about 20 minutes,” he said.
“The Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement is providing relief in the area out of government emergency funds. It might not be enough to cover all the repairs as many houses were left with their roofs destroyed,” he added.
Meanwhile, many parts of the country continue to experience extremely hot and dry conditions, straining efforts to provide drought relief to rural areas where water for drinking and irrigation is in short supply.
The unusually severe weather conditions this years have been blamed on the El Niño effect, which is expected to last until June. Similar conditions two years ago resulted in widespread crop failures, raising fears of a repeat of the same problem again this year.
The deputy-governor of Thailand’s Tak Province said preparations are underway to repatriate more than 100,000 refugees living in camps along the Thai-Burmese border.
Speaking to reporters at the end of a meeting relating to refugee issues, Tak Deputy-Governor Suttha Saivanid said the Thai government has been taking steps to repatriate the refugees since a new government took office in Burma earlier this month.
The governments of the two countries, together with the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, are set to brainstorm a road map for the repatriation, he said.
According to Suttha, Thai officials expect to repatriate over 100,000 people from three refugee camps within two to three years’ time. He added that the UNHCR will assist with their rehabilitation in Burma for a period of time after their return.
The meeting at the hall of the Mae Sot Special Economic Zone was joined by representatives of the UNHCR and leaders of the Umpium, Mae La and Nupo refugee camps situated in the province.
Saw Honest, the chairman of Mae La refugee camp, told DVB he was not present at the meeting, but said two Thai government officials visited the camp the evening before and discussed a plan to inspect locations for refugee resettlement across the border in Karen State’s Hpa-an Township.
There are a total of nine refugee camps along the Thai-Burmese border, including the three in Tak Province.
Arrivals and Departures
According to the media, 49 people were returned to Turkey from the Greek islands of Chios, Kos and Lesvos on Tuesday. 5 people were readmitted to Turkey from Chios in the morning followed by 31 (18 Bangladeshi, 4 Pakistani and 9 from Myanmar) from Kos at midday and 13 people (8 from Afghanistan, 4 from Iran and 1 person from Jordan) from Lesvos. On Wednesday, 12 Syrian nationals who expressed their will to return to Turkey boarded a plane at the airport of Mytilini. Frontex officials escorted the group onto the plane, airport formalities were conducted smoothly and UNHCR verified the composition of the group. The plane is expected to depart at midday, and land in Adana, Turkey. 387 people have been transferred to Turkey since 4 April.
Conditions of People
At Piraeus Port, efforts to decongest the port are on-going. All those previously located at the E2 Gate were transferred. Refugees and migrants who did not move to official sites established by the Greek authorities were transferred to the stone warehouse at the Port. According to the Greek Government, the number of people remaining at E1 Gate and the stone warehouse is estimated at 2,707. Those remaining at E1 Gate will be transferred by the end of next week.
UNHCR supported the transfer of 53 people from the EKO gas station and 47 from the Eidomeni informal site, to Lagkadikia accommodation site. Those at the site are mainly Syrian and Iraqi families with children.
According to media, the Director of the Greek Asylum Service announced that people are now able to lodge asylum claims directly at temporary accommodation centres following difficulties in obtaining an appointment via Skype. As of 25 April, authorities will examine 50 applications per day on the islands. So far (as of 20 April), the Asylum Service registered 3,870 applications for relocation, of which 1,570 were accepted by EU Member States.
In Turkey, during the period between 22 to26 April, sources reported that some 270 people were apprehended, intercepted, or rescued at Turkey’s land and sea borders. Their countries of origin include Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan, Palestine and Syria.
In a letter to the European Commission sent on Tuesday, 26 April, the Turkish government pledged to bolster legal protection to non-Syrians upon return to Turkey as part of the EU-Turkey Agreement. This follows previous assurances concerning Syrians and the fact that all returned Syrians could be granted or re-avail themselves from temporary protection. These pledges aim to support the implementation of the EUTurkey agreement by addressing the remaining legal concerns hampering its full implementation.
Le présent rapport, qui porte sur la période allant de janvier à décembre 2015, est soumis en application de la résolution 63/282 de l’Assemblée générale, dans laquelle celle-ci a prié le Secrétaire général de lui présenter chaque année un rapport sur le Fonds pour la consolidation de la paix.
Le Fonds pour la consolidation de la paix a franchi plusieurs étapes importantes en 2015, notamment en mettant en oeuvre sa première initiative transfrontière, le long de la frontière entre le Kirghizistan et le Tadjikistan, et en allouant plus de 15 % de ses investissements à la promotion de l’autonomisation des femmes. Grâce à une gestion souple des ressources du Fonds dans des pays en situation de crise, notamment au Burundi, au Mali et au Yémen et dans les pays touchés par le virus Ebola, des projets essentiels pour les droits de l’homme et la sécurité ont été maintenus dans des lieux qui ne bénéficiaient plus de l’appui de la plupart des donateurs. Malgré ces avancées, la baisse des financements signifie que les fonds disponibles commencent à ne plus correspondre aux besoins.
Ainsi que cela a été établi dans le cadre d’examens mondiaux indépendants, il faudra consacrer des ressources suffisantes et prévisibles à la consolidation de la paix pour que le Fonds puisse continuer à s’acquitter de son rôle universellement reconnu, qui consiste à appuyer la consolidation de la paix dès ses premiers stades et dans des situations présentant des risques élevés et à promouvoir la cohérence à l’échelle du système des Nations Unies.
- Le présent rapport annuel, qui porte sur la période allant du 1er janvier au 31 décembre 2015, est le sixième établi en application de la résolution 63/282 de l’Assemblée générale. Il sera complété par un rapport financier que le Bureau des fonds d’affectation spéciale pluripartenaires publiera le 1er mai 2016 au plus tard. On trouvera des renseignements complémentaires sur le site du Fonds pour la consolidation de la paix (www.unpbf.org) et des informations détaillées concernant les différents projets mis en oeuvre sur le portail du Bureau des fonds d’affectation spéciale pluripartenaires (http://mptf.undp.org).
II. Résultats mondiaux et enseignements tirés de l’expérience
2. L’année 2015 a été marquée par d’importantes analyses du rôle que l’Organisation des Nations Unies joue en matière d’établissement et de maintien de la paix, à savoir l’examen du Groupe indépendant de haut niveau chargé d’étudier les opérations de paix, l’examen du dispositif de consolidation de la paix des Nations Unies et l’examen de haut niveau de la mise en oeuvre de la résolution 1325 (2000) du Conseil de sécurité, qui ont confirmé l’importance que le Fonds pour la consolidation de la paix revêt en encourageant une mobilisation engagée sur le plan politique à l’échelle du système et en promouvant l’unité d’action en situation de crise. Principal pilier du dispositif de consolidation de la paix, le Bureau d’appui à la consolidation de la paix se félicite des recommandations issues de ces examens et a déjà commencé à en mettre en oeuvre un grand nombre.
3. La nécessité d’une collaboration accrue entre la Commission de consolidation de la paix et le Fonds pour la consolidation de la paix, soulignée lors de l’examen du dispositif de consolidation de la paix, a été exprimée dès le mois de juin lors de la session annuelle de la Commission, au cours de laquelle les participants ont fermement mis en garde contre les dangers d’un système de financement fragmentaire et ne disposant pas des moyens nécessaires. Ces préoccupations ont également été évoquées lors d’une réunion informelle sur la Somalie – l’un des pays bénéficiaires du Fonds − organisée par la Commission en novembre, au cours de laquelle les participants sont convenus de l’importance cruciale de disposer d’un financement prévisible et cohérent. À la faveur de cette dynamique, à compter de 2016, le Fonds demandera à la Commission d’organiser des discussions informelles sur les ambitions pour les cinq années à venir des nouveaux pays admis à bénéficier de ses projets.
4. Les appels en faveur du renforcement du partenariat avec les institutions financières internationales qui ont été lancés dans le cadre des examens reconnaissent implicitement l’importance de la cohérence, pour ce qui est non seulement des projets de consolidation de la paix mais aussi de l’élaboration des stratégies de développement ultérieures. Dans cette optique, le Bureau d’appui à la consolidation de la paix et la Banque mondiale ont accru leur coopération en 2015, la Banque ayant accueilli en novembre la réunion semestrielle du Groupe consultatif du Fonds. En plus d’ouvrir la voie à des évaluations communes de la situation en République centrafricaine et en Somalie, cette réunion a également mis en relief les progrès accomplis en ce qui concerne l’examen thématique de l’emploi et de la consolidation de la paix, une initiative réunissant le Bureau d’appui à la consolidation de la paix, la Banque mondiale, le Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement (PNUD) et l’Organisation internationale du Travail (OIT). À l’issue de cette réunion, le Fonds et la Banque mondiale ont tenu leur première réunion trimestrielle visant à planifier des approches communes de la conception, du suivi et de l’évaluation de projets, l’objectif étant de mieux harmoniser leurs travaux à l’avenir.
The present report, which covers the period from January to December 2015, is submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 63/282, in which the Assembly requested the Secretary-General to submit an annual report on the Peacebuilding Fund.
The Peacebuilding Fund celebrated a number of milestones in 2015, including the launch of its first cross-border initiative along the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border and the allocation of over 15 per cent of investments to support women’s empowerment. Flexible management of the Fund in crisis-affected countries, including Burundi, Mali and Yemen and Ebola-affected countries, ensured that critical human rights and security initiatives were maintained in settings from which most donors had withdrawn their support. Despite these gains, waning finances have begun to limit the availability of funds to match demand.
As recognized by independent global reviews, sufficient and predictable resources for peacebuilding will be needed for the Peacebuilding Fund to continue to realize its universally recognized role of supporting early, high-risk peacebuilding and promoting system-wide coherence.
- The present annual report, which covers the period from 1 January to 31 December 2015, is the sixth report submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 63/282. It will be complemented by a financial report to be issued by the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office no later than 1 May 2016. Additional information is available from www.unpbf.org, and complete information on individual projects is available on the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office Gateway (http://mptf.undp.org).
II. Global performance and lessons learned
2. The year 2015 was dominated by key reviews of the role of the United Nations in making and sustaining peace, namely, the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, the review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture and the High-level review of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), which validated the Peacebuilding Fund’s role in incentivizing a system-wide, politically engaged response and in promoting coherence in crisis settings. As a central pillar within the peacebuilding architecture, the Peacebuilding Support Office welcomes the recommendations of those reviews, many of which it has already begun to implement.
3. The call by the review of the peacebuilding architecture for greater engagement between the Peacebuilding Commission and the Fund was advanced as early as June at the Commission’s annual session, during which participants issued a strong warning about the dangers of a fragmented and underresourced funding system. Those concerns were echoed during an informal meeting on Somalia — a Fund-recipient country — hosted by the Commission in November, at which participants agreed on the critical importance of predictable and coherent funding. Building upon that momentum, starting in 2016, the Fund will approach the Commission to host informal discussions on the five-year vision of newly eligible Fund-recipient countries.
4. Calls by the reviews for strengthened partnership with international financial institutions implicitly recognize the importance of coherence, not just in relation to peacebuilding initiatives, but also to the development strategies that follow. In that spirit, the Peacebuilding Support Office and the World Bank solidified their cooperation in 2015, with the Bank hosting the semi-annual meeting of the Fund’s Advisory Group in November. In addition to mapping the way forward on joint evaluations in the Central African Republic and Somalia, the meeting also highlighted progress on the thematic review of employment and peacebuilding, an initiative bringing together the Peacebuilding Support Office, the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Following the meeting, the Fund and the World Bank held their first quarterly meeting to plan joint approaches to project design, monitoring and evaluation to better align their work in the future.
World: ECHO Factsheet: Forced displacement - refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) - April 2016
The number of forcibly displaced people (refugees and internally displaced people) has continued to rise alarmingly in 2015 and 2016, calling for increased humanitarian assistance worldwide.
The EU is a leading international donor for refugees. It gave €1.064 million for humanitarian assistance dedicated to refugees and IDPs financial year 2015, as well as €200 million in ongoing projects from development assistance. The funding covers projects that help in access to shelter, protection, food and other basic services such as health, nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene and education.
Humanitarian aid aims at upholding basic human rights and protecting children and adults against violence, abuse and exploitation through protection and advocacy activities.
In April 2016, the European Commission, in association with the European External Action Service (EEAS), adopted a new development-led approach to forced displacement, aimed at harnessing and strengthening the resilience and self-reliance of both the forcibly displaced and their host communities. Political, economic, development and humanitarian actors should be engaged from the outset and throughout displacement crises to work with third partner countries towards gradual socio-economic inclusion of the forcibly displaced. The objective is to end forced displacement and make people's lives better and more dignified during displacement.
At a glance:
We directly assisted 2.3 million people across 23 countries.
89 cents of every dollar we spent went straight to our programs overseas.
We responded to 11 emergencies.
94 per cent of our staff are nationals of the country they work in.
CARE Australia 2010-2015
Over the past five years we have introduced important new approaches to enhance our programs. Our projects are designed within the framework of long-term programs, which helps ensure individual projects are clearly linked together under specific long-term goals for lasting change for those we seek to assist.
Our Women’s Empowerment Framework is applied in our programs so that we work with women and men, boys and girls, to bring about change at the individual, social and structural level. The purpose of this framework is to ensure women and girls enjoy the same economic, social and health freedoms and opportunities as their brothers. We have seen a steady increase in the proportion of our projects setting women’s empowerment as explicit objectives, from 30 per cent in 2010/11 to 63 per cent in 2014/15.
Through our Program Quality Framework we have established clear processes and roles for more effective programming. We worked with CARE International on a major assessment of CARE’s impact in the Asian region over five years, and we have updated our approach to evaluations in order to better capture information on project results.
Our Staff Leadership Development Program provided training to 81 staff from Australia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
We made significant progress against our Information and Communication Technology Strategy, refreshing IT infrastructure in Timor-Leste, Laos and Papua New Guinea. The stability of Country Office email systems has been significantly improved after moving to a centralised hosting environment and we established an IT disaster recovery site in our Melbourne office.
We increased productivity across our accounts, cash management and travel processes by implementing system guides and better use of IT resources.
Safety and security self-assessments were undertaken in all Country Offices, and specific training has been undertaken for Country Office Safety and Security staff to develop skills and share best practice. Critical incident/crisis management training was also undertaken with the Senior Management Team and other key staff in Australia.
Over five years our objective was to double our funds raised from $10 million to $20 million restricted and unrestricted cash donations from the Australian public, per annum. We didn’t reach this goal but gratefully achieved a 62 per cent increase between 2010 and 2015 to $16.2 million.
It should be noted that the funds received shown above differs to the total revenue from the Australian public shown in our financial statements due to the timing of the recognition of restricted donations under our accounting policies.
CARE Australia has a longstanding relationship with, and is fully accredited by, the Australian Government. We are one of ten Australian Non-Government Organisation (NGO) Cooperation Partnership agencies and one of six Humanitarian Partnership Agreement agencies.
We actively engaged with the following CARE International groups: Program and Operations Committee; Finance Directors Group; Human Resources Working Group; ICT Working Group; Transition Planning Team; Program Team; Communications Working Group; Brand Working Group; South Sudan Crisis Emergency Response Advisory Committee; Gender Network; Advocacy Committee; and Poverty, Environment and Climate Change Network.
CARE Australia has co-convened the ACFID Gender Equity Working Group, leading this sectoral constituency of gender experts. We also hold secretariat responsibilities for the Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, a valuable cross-party forum involving parliamentarians with interests in issues around reproductive health and empowering women to have the same social, economic and educational freedoms as men around the world.
Over the past five years we expanded our donor base and connected with thousands of new supporters across Australia. Key relationships with major brands – from The Body Shop to Qantas, Thankyou Group to Target – helped CARE Australia connect with new audiences and build our supporter network.Over the past three years, CARE Australia secured 20 per cent of media coverage for the aid sector, ensuring the voices of those in poor communities were heard over 127 million times. Throughout the last five years, we continued to ensure the significant majority of our funds went to our overseas programs.
HAILSTORMS on 22 and 23 april in Mandalay Region damaged about 12,815 acres of 13 different kinds of crops, mostly in Kyaukse township, according to the Mandalay Region agriculture Department.
Myittha township suffered catastrophic damage after Kyaukse with about 4,000 acres of land damaged. The most damaged crops were summer sesame and green gram. Some mango farms were also damaged with growers suffering greatly. To cover the loss of the crop growers the president established a fund of K174 million to provide them with seeds and cultivation loans.
During the 2013-14 fiscal year, Mandalay Region experienced drought which hit mostly Myingyan District with over 30,000 acres of crops damaged. The region also suffered from floods which destroyed nearly 4000 acres of crops in 20142015. —Aung Thant Khaing
• Severe weather, including heavy rain and extreme high temperatures, has been affecting several parts of the country over the past weeks, causing casualties and damage.
• In the state of Odisha, 30 people are reported to have died as a heatwave continues to worsen, as of 14 April.
• In the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, local media reported at least 15 people dead, thousands affected and several homes damaged due to floods and landslides, as of 25 April.
• Heavy rain has been affecting the southern and south-eastern areas of the country over the past week causing floods. Approx. 91 mm of rain in 24 h were recorded in Gaoyao (Guangdong province) and 91 mm in Zhang Ping (Fujian province) over 24-25 April.
• National authorities reported that eight people were killed, seven were missing, 11 000 were evacuated and over 8 000 houses were partially or fully damaged in the provinces of Hubei, Anhui,
Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangxi, Yunnan, Guangdong and Hainan, as of 25 April.
• Severe weather, including heavy rain, strong winds and hail, has been affecting the central, eastern, north-western and southwestern areas of the country causing casualties and damage.
• Local media report 13 people dead, several injured and over 15 000 houses damaged, in the regions of Mandalay, Sagaing, Magway, as well as in the states of Shan and Arakan, as of 25 April.
• TC AMOS passed north of the islands of Savai'i and Upolu (Samoa) on 23 April with approx. max. sustained wind speed of 167 km/h. GDACS estimates that 170 000 people were exposed to winds of 120 km/h or more. The Cyclone then moved away from the islands and dissipated.
• As of 25 April, national authorities reported several families evacuated, several homes with minor damage and power outages in the islands of Savai'i and Upolu, due to heavy rain and strong winds.
By SU MYAT MON
RANGOON —Five lawmakers, representing the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the Arakan National Party (ANP), on Monday led an historic delegation to groups of Arakanese, an ethnic minority in western Burma, who were displaced by recent fighting. This marks the first time sitting parliamentarians have visited areas of internally displaced Arakanese.
Fighting has been ongoing between Arakanese armed groups and government forces since Burma’s independence from Britain, and, after government forces threatened their villages in the last two weeks, over 800 Arakanese were displaced, leaving many homeless or living in monasteries.
The ANP and NLD lawmakers provided the displaced people with rice, oil, medicine and noodles. Some NGOs and other civil society organizations are supplying water and necessities like mosquito nets.
“This is the first time the government has visited displaced Arakanese,” Khin Saw Wai, ANP member of Burma’s Parliament, told The Irrawaddy. “But there are still people who are displaced in other townships, and they also need help. The government needs to make sure that all displaced people receive the same amount of support.”
“[This area] is my home constituency,” Khin Saw Wai said. “They elected me to parliament, so I have a responsibility to them.”
UN officials also traveled with the joint ANP-NLD group, and discussed plans for providing the internally displaced Arakanese with drinking water and other supplies.
“With the rainy season approaching, things will get more difficult for the displaced Arakanese, and the future of the conflict between the Arakan Army and the Burma Army remains unclear,” Khin Saw Wai said, adding that since April 16, the Burma Army had kidnapped dozens of people and forced them to serve as porters.
“To handle displaced populations, all of the government agencies and civil society groups have to cooperate,” Khin Saw Wai said. “We hope that the government will start paying more attention.”
Khin Saw Wai’s NLD colleague agreed.
“The government is responsible for helping citizens who are in difficult situations,” Min Aung, an NLD member of the Arakan state parliament who is traveling with the group, told The Irrawaddy.
Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi will begin a new round of nationwide peace talks on Wednesday with the Ceasefire Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC), the first such meeting since the new government pledged to work for peace and reconciliation among the country’s various ethnic groups, an official from the group said.
The Union-level JMC was formed by eight armed ethnic groups who signed a so-called nationwide cease-fire agreement (NCA) with the government military last October under the former military-backed government led by Thein Sein. His administration had held four previous meetings to discuss peace.
“The new government has said many times that it will work to prioritize national reconciliation and peace as its policy,” said Lieutenant General Ya Pyayt, vice chairman of the JMC, following a meeting on Tuesday in the capital Naypyidaw to discuss the group’s future agenda and the formation of state-level joint monitoring committees in southern Myanmar’s Mon and Karen states.
The government excluded other rebel groups from the NCA because of ongoing hostilities with them, while others opted not to join.
“The groups that have signed the NCA should work [as examples] for achieving national reconciliation and peace,” Ya Pyayt said. “We will work to stop fighting by connecting with each other, because we have networks.”
Continue the process
Aung San Suu Kyi, who also holds the titles of foreign minister and minister of the President’s Office, said last week that her ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party seeks to create a federal democratic union under President Htin Kyaw that includes all ethnic groups in order to bring peace to the Southeastern Asian nation racked by decades of civil war.
“I’m happy to hear that President Htin Kyaw and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi said they will continue working on the peace process that we began during [former] President Thein Sein’s term,” said General Saw Issac Po of the Karen National Union (KNU), a political organization with an armed wing, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), that represents the ethnic Karen people.
“I wish the other groups that didn’t sign the NCA participate in working towards peace,” he said referring to the new round of discussions beginning on Wednesday.
But Saw Issac Po, who also a vice chairman of the JMC, pointed out that the new government’s attitude toward the JMC remains unknown, and that there is speculation that Aung San Suu Kyi will set up another organization dedicated to working on the peace initiative.
“We don’t know if it will be formed with only new members or include some people from the Myanmar Peace Center,” he said, in reference to the government-affiliated organization in Yangon where peace discussions are held. “It will depend on Daw [honorific] Aung San Suu Kyi’s decision.”
Rebel groups decline meeting
In the meantime, three rebel groups that did not sign the NCA have rejected a proposal by the military to hold informal peace talks.
The Arakan Army (AA), Kokang/Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) issued a joint news release on Tuesday, declining an invitation from former Lieutenant General Khin Zaw Oo to hold informal peace discussions in Chaing Mai, Thailand.
Retired Lieutenant General Khin Zaw Oo wanted to meet with the three groups in May along with leaders of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an alliance of nine ethnic armed groups that did not sign the NCA.
“We discussed the current situation and decided not to meet them this time because we have questions as to who they would be representing and how they would meet with us, said Mine Phone Kyaw, general secretary of the TNLA. “That’s why we released a statement and said we can’t meet them right now.”
“[But] if the new government offered to meet us—the TNLA alone or as part of a group—we would welcome it,” he said.
Mine Phone Kyaw also said that if military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing or his representatives offered to meet with the TNLA, the group also would agree.
“If we want peace, we have to talk,” he said.
Reported by Win Ko Ko Latt and Kyaw Thu for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.
World: Asia-Pacific Human Development Report 2016 - Shaping the Future: How changing demographics can power human development
People are the real wealth of nations. The opportunities they have and the choices they make determine the course of human development—nowhere more so than in Asia-Pacific, home to half the world’s population. Asia-Pacific’s future, to a large extent, shapes the world’s future.
This ‘demographic destiny’ is not one with fixed outcomes, however. Beyond the sheer size of its population, Asia-Pacific is in the midst of a historic demographic transition. All countries are at some stage along a continuum where the shares of younger, older and working-age people have begun to shift.
The process builds on human development gains, but also stands to advance them. Making the most of it requires people to be healthy, educated and productive, enjoying well-being at any stage of life.
This Asia-Pacific Human Development Report considers the challenges and opportunities of demographic changes from a human development perspective. It explores how ‘demographic opportunity’ invariably occurs when there is a greater share of people who can work, save and pay taxes compared to lower shares of dependent young and older people. In economic terms alone, the region’s so-called ‘demographic dividend’ is already significant, varying among subregions, but accounting for about 42 percent and 39 percent of economic growth in developed and developing Asia-Pacific countries, respectively, between 1970 and 2010.
These gains have been accompanied in many cases by significant leaps forward in human development.
Fully capitalizing on demographic changes depends greatly on how proactive countries are in steering the process across many arenas—among them, labour markets, economic growth, savings and investment, education, health and nutrition, social protection, migration, the provision of public services and the pace of urbanization. Countries that fail to plan ahead may fall short, as when inadequate investments in education shackle a growing economy since people are poorly equipped for the labour market.
Squandering the demographic opportunity can result as well in losses to human development, as in the failure to invest new resources in pensions so older people can live in dignity.
Today, Asia-Pacific has countries with some of the youngest and oldest populations in the world. But the majority of nations have entered or are on the cusp of a period where working-age people comprise a significant population share. This puts the region as a whole at a favourable juncture to reap the demographic dividend and advance human development—although not for long. Demographic transition in Asia-Pacific not only involves large numbers of people, but also a pace of change more rapid than seen anywhere before, with particular consequences for societies that will be old long before they will be rich.
The implications are increasingly urgent in light of the recently agreed Agenda 2030, which maps an ambitious global vision for sustainable development that must be translated into action within each country. Countries will have to marshal all available resources, consider the most strategic mix of public investments, and explore all possible avenues—including those opened by demographic transition—to achieve the Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These largely reflect the culmination of thinking that emerged in 1994 at the International Conference on Population and Development.
It explicitly drew attention to the interplay between population and human development, and the potential for unleashing progress by upholding human rights, developing people’s capabilities and protecting dignity throughout the human lifetime.
This report is roughly organized around different stages of demographic transition: at the middle, with a large share of working-age people; at the onset, where societies are very young; and at the end, with an ageing population. Some countries in Asia-Pacific will need to consider all of these stages at the same time, because they bridge different periods of transition within their own populations.
National paths forward will vary widely, but based on the findings of the report, some common priorities apply:
All countries need to factor demographic changes into diverse public policy areas. To leverage opportunities from demographic dynamics and accelerate human development, demographic considerations need to be integrated across core national development plans and strategies. They also should be factored into policies related to economic management, education, health, gender equality, youth, ageing and urbanization, among other issues. This would be consistent with Agenda 2030, where countries commit to take population dynamics into account in national development strategies and policies.
Increased investments in human capabilities are essential. These should be planned carefully against the stage of demographic transition—to help initiate it, to make the most of the dividend and to sustain human development momentum as societies age. Different priorities may be informed by principles of generational balance and fairness, and there should be a focus on enhancing education, health and other capabilities among those who are most vulnerable or marginalized, in line with Agenda 2030. The overarching aim should be to work, over time, towards the universality of services essential to human well-being.
Decent and productive work is fundamental for greater well-being. As the 2015 global Human Development Report argues, decent and productive work is a fundamental driver to enhance human development, and should be readily available to all. Despite 20 million new jobs every year in the last decade in Asia-Pacific, employment still falls short of the needs of burgeoning working-age populations, both in numbers of jobs and their quality. Creating more work opportunities requires strategies such as setting employment targets, formulating an employment-led development plan, building a supportive macroeconomic framework, advancing regulations to protect workers’ rights and safety, and fostering employment-intensive sectors. Targeted actions should reach out to excluded groups, towards realizing the promise of Agenda 2030 to leave no one behind.
Without fully unleashing the power and potential of women, the demographic dividend will remain marginal at best. The region’s generally poor record on gender equality is a loss in terms of meeting internationally agreed human rights standards, and a serious impediment to making the most of the demographic transition and advancing human development. Gender equality should be understood as an immediate policy priority of central importance for women, and for societies and economies as a whole. Achieving the 4th Sustainable Development Goal on gender equality is a top priority—whether that involves political leadership, economic participation, education, public resource allocations, prevention of gender-based violence or any other area of life.
Cooperating more as a region on demographic changes would recognize that many relevant issues transcend borders. One priority might be easing imbalances in migration, since ageing societies may struggle to find workers, while those in the earliest stages of transition face a surplus.
Another could be financial integration. Older populations have savings to invest, while younger ones need to attract capital given large labour pools and the need to boost productivity.
More and better data is needed to gauge and manage demographic changes. High-quality data needs to be geared towards monitoring the demographic profile overall, as well as the impacts of public policy measures aimed at youth, workers, older people and migrants, and related issues such as urbanization. More data and research are necessary on upcoming challenges due to changing epidemiological profiles and technology. This would be consistent with—and might build on—the data revolution called for as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The 2015 Foreign Office Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy shows that human rights remain at the heart of British foreign policy.
The Foreign Office has issued its Annual Human Rights Report for 2015. The report, published on 21 April 2016, illustrates the priority attached to human rights across the FCO network.
The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, said:
"The promotion of human rights is a core part of the everyday work of the Foreign Office and is the responsibility of British diplomats around the world. This year we are doubling the funding available for human rights projects to £10 million, through the Magna Carta Fund – a true measure of the importance we attach to this agenda."
The report focuses on three human rights themes: democratic values and the rule of law; human rights for a stable world; and strengthening the rules-based international system. It shows how these themes are embedded across UK’s foreign policy, and are integral to tackling the root causes of human rights violations. The report designates 30 Human Rights Priority Countries, where the FCO will prioritise engagement for the duration of this Parliament.
The report illustrates how the FCO can make a positive difference and deliver lasting change. Examples include the UK’s support – through the Human Rights Council – for peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka; and the UK’s continuing leadership against sexual violence in conflict.
World: 2015–2016 El Niño: Early action and response for agriculture, food security and nutrition - Update # 7
Background and purpose
The impact of the 2015‒2016 El Niño weather phenomenon has been one of the most intense and widespread in the past one hundred years. The agriculture, food security and nutritional status of 60 million people around the globe is affected by El Niño-related droughts, floods and extreme hot and cold weather. While the El Niño itself has passed its peak and is now declining, its impact is still growing. Harvests in several parts of the world have already failed and are forecast to fail in other areas.
This report provides a global analysis of the current and expected evolution of El Niño-related disasters and their impact on agriculture, food security and nutrition. It aims to give a consolidated outlook of the situation and the early actions being taken by governments, partners and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Analysis in the report is divided between FAO high priority countries and other countries at risk. Countries were selected based on a combination of analysis of the El Niño event and FAO priorities for strengthening the resilience of livelihoods to threats and crises.
In view of the rapid evolution of the El Niño phenomenon, this report is updated regularly. It is part of a more general effort by FAO to increase the resilience of rural populations threatened by crises, including extreme climatic events such as El Niño. Given the high degree of exposure and vulnerability of populations to such events, the need for a focus on resilience building is clear. A recent ten-year analysis led by FAO’s Climate, Energy and Tenure Division showed that 25 percent of all damage caused during natural disasters is in the agriculture sector. For drought, agriculture is the single most affected sector, absorbing around 84 percent of all the economic impact.