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

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

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

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

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

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

Myanmar: UN envoy Lee hears of unsolved Kachin murder cases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Myanmar: Namhsan locals run for cover as gunfire breaks out

12 January 2017 - 8:55pm
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma Country: Myanmar

By KHUN ZAW OO / DVB

The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) has clashed once again with Burmese government forces, this time in Namhsan Township within the Ta’ang [Palaung] Self-Administered Zone.

Residents of Namhsan, which is situated 100 kilometres west of Lashio in northern Shan State, said that gunfire was heard coming from the village of Zayan, just outside the town, on Tuesday evening and continued throughout the next day. A high school, a government office and a sawmill were hit by stray bullets. No casualties have been reported. Schools and shops in Namhsan remained closed on Wednesday as locals hid indoors to avoid being caught in the crossfire.

Burma’s Office of the Commander-in-Chief on Wednesday reported that government troops had been patrolling around a military-owned tea factory southeast of Namhsan town at around 7pm on 10 January when they were ambushed by a unit of around 20 TNLA soldiers. The report from the military chief’s office said that the Ta’ang rebels had attacked the patrol with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, or RGPs.

The report said that, some hours later, a Burmese army outpost in Mongot in neighbouring Kyaukme Township was attacked by 60 Ta’ang rebel soldiers.

The TNLA is part of an ethnic militia coalition, alongside the Kachin Independence Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and Arakan Army. Collectively known as the Northern Alliance, or Northern Alliance-Burma, their combined forces have been engaged in clashes with the Burmese army in northern Shan State since late last year.

Myanmar: Burma – Complex Emergency Fact Sheet #1, Fiscal Year (FY) 2017

12 January 2017 - 6:10pm
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Myanmar, United States of America

HIGHLIGHTS

 UN highlights renewed violence and restricted humanitarian access in Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan states

 Airstrikes near IDP settlements in Kachin temporarily displaced residents

 2017 Burma HRP requests $150 million to meet needs of 525,000 people

KEY DEVELOPMENTS

 The UN reports that renewed violence in Rakhine since early October has displaced an estimated 65,000 people, the vast majority of whom identify as Rohingya Muslim, to neighboring Bangladesh. Conflict resulted in the temporary suspension of humanitarian activities in affected areas and has further limited already restricted access to populations requiring ongoing assistance.

 Intense conflict between Government of Burma (GoB) forces and armed actors, including attacks near internally displaced person (IDP) settlements, has continued in Kachin and northern Shan since late November and displaced more than 20,000 people in northern Shan, according to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the area.

 The Burma Humanitarian Country Team (HCT)—comprising UN agencies, NGOs, and other humanitarian stakeholders—recently released the 2017 Burma Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), appealing for $150 million to address the humanitarian needs of approximately 525,000 people between January and December 2017. The total includes 402,000 people in Rakhine, 104,000 people in Kachin, and 19,000 people in Shan.

Myanmar: Site Profile - Sin Tet Maw Camp - Township: Pauktaw (Rakhine, Myanmar) | Reporting Month, November 2016

12 January 2017 - 1:53am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Site Profile - Khaung Doke Khar Camp - Township: Sittwe (Rakhine, Myanmar) | Reporting Month, November 2016

12 January 2017 - 1:51am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Site Profile - Nget Chaung Camp - Township: Pauktaw (Rakhine, Myanmar) | Reporting Month, November 2016

12 January 2017 - 1:49am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Site Profile - Dar Pai Camp Camp - Township: Sittwe (Rakhine, Myanmar) | Reporting Month, November 2016

12 January 2017 - 1:44am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Site Profile - Kyein Ni Pyin Camp - Township: Pauktaw (Rakhine, Myanmar) | Reporting Month, November 2016

12 January 2017 - 1:41am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Site Profile - Baw Du Pha 2 Camp - Township: Sittwe (Rakhine, Myanmar) | Reporting Month, November 2016

12 January 2017 - 1:38am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Site Profile - Ah Nauk Ywe Camp - Township: Pauktaw (Rakhine, Myanmar) | Reporting Month, November 2016

12 January 2017 - 1:35am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Site Profile - Baw Du Pha 1 Camp - Township: Sittwe (Rakhine, Myanmar) | Reporting Month, November 2016

12 January 2017 - 1:32am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: China Turns Back Thousands of Myanmar Refugees Trying to Cross Border to Safety

12 January 2017 - 1:26am
Source: Radio Free Asia Country: China, Myanmar

About 4,000 Myanmar refugees who attempted to flee across the border to safety in China after mortar shells fell in two internally displaced persons camps in Kachin state’s Waingmaw township on Wednesday were turned away by Chinese authorities, leaving them with nowhere to go in the conflict zone, a Kachin religious official said.

Samson Hkalam, General Secretary of the Kachin Baptist Convention, a Myanmar Baptist denominational organization that assists refugees in the northern state, said the internal refugees from the Zai Awng and Hkau Shau camps are still on the road with no place to stay.

They are afraid to return to their internal refugee camps near which mortar shells have exploded from fighting between government troops and ethnic armed soldiers from the autonomy-seeking Kachin Independence Army (KIA), he told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

The KBC, which has its headquarters in the state capital Myitkyina, will discuss these refugees’ plight with officials from the Kachin state government as well as with Chinese authorities, he said.

A Joint Strategy Team (JST) for Humanitarian Response in Kachin and Northern Shan States, which was formed by nine Kachin civil society organizations, including the KBC, to support the internally displaced persons (IDPs), released a statement on Wednesday saying that most of those who left the camps are women, children, and the elderly, who don’t have enough food.

The statement also said they fled from their camps when government troops attacked the KIA’s Battalion 3 with heavy weapons and airstrikes on Tuesday.

Mortar shelling by the Myanmar army late last December forced more than 2,000 IDPs to flee their camps. One IDP living at the Zai Awng refugee camp told RFA that she had heard the fighting for the past three months and that the hostilities had intensified.

The IDP camps at Zai Awng, Hkau Shau, and Magayang, which provide shelter for about 7,000 people, are located near the conflict areas, according to a report by the online journal The Irrawaddy.

The fighting intensifies

The KIA and three other ethnic militias teamed up to launch coordinated attacks on 10 government and military targets in three Shan state townships and the 105-mile border trade zone between Myanmar and China on Nov. 20.

Government soldiers have seized various KIA outposts and battalions during the clashes, which have resulted in an increase in the number of internal refugees and civilian deaths as well as thrown a wrench into the government’s efforts to bring warring ethnic militias to the negotiating table.

On Tuesday, authorities would not allow Yanghee Lee, the United Nations human rights envoy for Myanmar, to visit the towns of Laiza and Hpakant in Kachin state, citing safety concerns.

That day the Myanmar army carried out air strikes near the border town of Laiza, which houses camps for the internally displaced and the headquarters of the KIA.

Lee began a 12-day visit to the country on Monday to examine the human rights situation in volatile areas of Myanmar.

Ethnic armies at odds in Thanintharyi

Fighting between the army of the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the Karen National Union (KNU) broke out on Wednesday in Thechaung village, Yayphyu township, in Thanintharyi region in the narrow southern part of Myanmar, but no casualties have been reported, a KNU official said.

The KNU said that it will report today’s situation to the top leaders from both sides and will work toward a solution to the hostilities

“To make it short, it is a territory problem,” said Phado Saw Win Khine, the KNU’s communication official based in the town of Dawei, which lies about 60 miles (97 kilometers) from Thechaung village.

“We haven’t solved the territorial disputes between two groups very well,” he said.

The NMSP was not among the eight ethnic armed groups that signed the government’s nationwide cease-fire agreement (NCA) in October 2015, because it was opposed to the exclusion of other ethnic militias from the accord.

The KNU, which has fought to carve out an independent Karen state from large swaths of land in lower Myanmar, is an NCA signatory.

In a related development, the ethnic armed groups that have signed the NCA formed a liaison committee during an emergency meeting on Wednesday to prepare to meet with key government leaders, including de facto leader and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing.

The emergency meeting was held for two days at KNU headquarters in Law Khee Lar Camp in Hpa-An district of southern Myanmar’s Karen state along the Myanmar-Thailand border.

The committee’s five members—the KNU’s chairman General Mutu Say Pho, Khine Soe Aung from the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) chairman Than Ke, adviser Khun Sai from Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS-South), and Colonel Khun Okkar from Pa-Oh National Liberation Organization (PNLO)—will meet with government leaders before February peace talks.

“It is important to talk with decision makers who can solve the current problems we are facing,” said Than Ke of the ABSDF. “That’s why we have formed this representative group that will be sent to [meet with] government leaders.”

The government, which has put national reconciliation and peace at the top of its agenda, expects to hold its next round of peace talks with the military and armed militias in February.

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

Myanmar: Site Profile - Ohn Taw Chay Camp - Township: Sittwe (Rakhine, Myanmar) | Reporting Month, November 2016

12 January 2017 - 1:15am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Site Profile - Taung Paw Camp - Township: Myebon (Rakhine, Myanmar) | Reporting Month, November 2016

12 January 2017 - 1:13am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Site Profile - Maw Ti Ngar Camp - Township: Sittwe (Rakhine, Myanmar) | Reporting Month, November 2016

12 January 2017 - 1:11am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Site Profile - Ohn Taw Gyi (North) Camp - Township: Sittwe (Rakhine, Myanmar) | Reporting Month, November 2016

12 January 2017 - 1:06am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Site Profile - Ohn Taw Gyi (South) Camp - Township: Sittwe (Rakhine, Myanmar) | Reporting Month, November 2016

12 January 2017 - 1:02am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees, CCCM Cluster Country: Myanmar