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World: Towards Policy Integration of Disaster Risk, Climate Adaptation, and Development in ASEAN: A Baseline Assessment

6 January 2017 - 1:01am
Source: Nanyang Technological Univ. Country: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, World

By Jonatan A. Lassa and Margareth Sembiring

This NTS Insight attempts to create a baseline assessment of disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) policies in ten Southeast Asian countries. More than 50 per cent of global disaster mortality occurred in Southeast Asia between 2004 and 2014, and four ASEAN member states are ranked in the top 10 countries most affected by climate risk between 1996 and 2015. The integration of relevant existing global mechanisms into national and local regulatory systems, and especially into national development plans, is therefore necessary to ensure the development of adaptive and resilience capacities. Although the region has realised the importance of streamlining DRR and CCA policies in development plans, a baseline of such efforts has yet to exist to date. This is the first series of the NTS Insight on a larger climate change and disaster risk study. The next NTS Insight will look into climate risks in ASEAN.

INTRODUCTION

Effective reduction of losses and risks from natural hazards and climate extremes requires integrated actions at different levels of governance. One of the greatest challenges faced by governments of developing countries today is in creating institutional convergence that integrates global goals emanating from the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), Paris Agreement on Climate Change (PACC) and the World Humanitarian Summit. Disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA) are part of key agendas being considered in all these recent global agreements.

The SFDRR lays down the guiding principles for each state to take on “the primary responsibility to prevent and reduce disaster risk, including through international, regional, sub-regional, transboundary and bilateral cooperation” through four priorities for action. The first priority action is understanding risk which encompasses data collection, risk analysis, risk baseline, regular updates of progress, capacitybuilding, promotion of investment and innovation in risk reduction and dissemination of disaster risk information. The second priority action is strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk through “mainstreaming and integrating DRR within and across sectors” at different levels, empowering local authorities, coordinating with civil societies, formulating relevant policy, and addressing risk reduction needs. The third priority action is investing in risk reduction for resilience by providing incentives and allocating necessary resources at all levels, promoting public and private mechanisms for risk transfer and insurance, and risk sharing and protection. The fourth priority action is to “enhance disaster preparedness for effective response and “to build back better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction”.

The SFDRR seeks to “substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.” It sets the following targets: to reduce global disaster mortality between 2020-2030 compared to 2005-2015 (measured by average per 100,000 reduce the number of affected people globally (measured by average per 100,000) between 2020-2030 compared to 2005-2015,1 “substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030” and “substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030”.2 While the Sendai Framework has set the grounds for DRR efforts, SDG 2030 has now emerged as new global driving force for risk reduction (See Box 1).

At a regional level, Southeast Asian countries have realised the need to address disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in an integrated manner. The Declaration on Institutionalizing the Resilience of ASEAN and its Communities and Peoples to Disasters and Climate Change issued in April 2015 acknowledged the threats posed by climate change and ensuing extreme weather events and called for the mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in overarching development agendas. Multi-sectoral collaborations collaboration in multi-level governance are key to make such integration happen. The ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM) has been identified as the focal point for this cooperation.

The ASEAN Vision 2025 on Disaster Management adopted the SFDRR vision by encouraging ASEAN member states to develop new DRR strategies by 2020. The Vision that states that “AADMER (The Asean Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response) will need to be linked to the integration efforts under the ASEAN Economic Community” could probably credited for the first systematic attempt to integrate both DRR and CCA into wider development policy in ASEAN.3 Thus far, comprehensive baseline information on DRR and CCA policies in ASEAN is not yet available.

The overall objective of this paper is to provide a baseline of existing national and local arrangements that incorporate DRR and CCA into development policy processes. This study uses existing secondary sources including formal policy reports, and relevant grey and peer review literature.

Myanmar: Myanmar to Send Diplomatic Team to Bangladesh to Discuss Rohingya Refugees

5 January 2017 - 10:58pm
Source: Radio Free Asia Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

The Myanmar government said it hopes to send a special diplomatic team led by the deputy foreign minister to Bangladesh later this month amid increasing tension with the neighboring country over the tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar following violence that began in northern Rakhine state in early October.

“It is possible that a Myanmar special diplomatic team will travel to Bangladesh this month when the Bangladesh prime minister and foreign affairs minister are available to meet them,” said Kyaw Zayya, director general of Myanmar’s foreign affairs ministry, on Thursday.

“We will arrange it through discussions with their government,” he said. “The deputy foreign affairs minister will possibly lead the team. The team will have only three or four members, but it is difficult to say the exact date of the travel.”

A previous trip arranged in December failed to materialize after it was postponed for security reasons.

Bangladesh’s foreign affairs ministry has complained several times to Myanmar about the influx of 50,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled violence in Rakhine after deadly attacks on Myanmar border guard stations in Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships on Oct. 9, and sought refuge in Bangladesh.

Members of the stateless minority group have left northern Rakhine in droves since soldiers and police locked down the area after the attacks, which the Myanmar government has blamed on Muslim insurgents.

On Dec. 30, the Myanmar government said it would take back 2,415 of its citizens living in Bangladesh—a small number of the 300,000 people who Bangladesh says are Myanmar citizens who have taken refuge there and should return home, Reuters reported.

Bangladesh has refused to grant the Rohingya refugee status because it considers them citizens of Myanmar, while Myanmar considers the Rohingya illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and has denied then citizenship and access to basic services for decades.

Proper channels for aid

In a related development, Myanmar’s foreign affairs ministry has informed the embassies of some member states of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that their countries should submit proposals to provide for cash and in-kind support for Rakhine through proper diplomatic channels.

A statement issued on Thursday by Myanmar’s State Counselor’s Office said the ministry will work with the Rakhine state government and its ministry of social welfare, relief and resettlement to distribute supplies that should be meant without any distinction for both Rohingya Muslim and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists living in the western state.

“The Rakhine state government will distribute the assistance to both communities,” the statement said.

Indonesia and Malaysia—both predominantly Muslim countries and ASEAN members— called on Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, to allow unimpeded humanitarian access to the areas affected by violence when they and other ASEAN states met with her on Dec. 19 to discuss the crisis in northern Rakhine.

The government’s statement appears to be directed, however, at a Malaysian Muslim organization that plans to send boats laden with 200 metric tons of rice, medical aid, and essential supplies for Rohingya Muslim communities on Jan. 10.

The Myanmar government opposes the flotilla because the organization has not obtained permission to enter its territory to deliver supplies, and has said that such plans should be made between the governments of each country.

Government spokesman Zaw Htay said last Wednesday that the Muslim group from Malaysia had to obtain permission to enter Myanmar when its boats arrived or risk being stopped or attacked by Myanmar security forces, and its crew deported.

Myanmar’s home affairs minister Lieutenant General Kyaw Swe on Dec. 30 called the plans for the food flotilla an “insult.”

The Indonesian government has already sent 10 shipping containers of food, baby food, and clothes for Rohingya affected by the violence.

The statement issued by the State Counselor’s Office said the Indonesian government had officially proposed the delivery of humanitarian aid according to the policies of the Myanmar government, and that the two nations are undertaking necessary distributions.

Security forces make arrests

In Rakhine, authorities arrested one militant trainer and three trainees and seized 14 homemade guns on Wednesday in Maunggyitaung village in northern Rakhine’s Buthidaung township, the State Counsellor’s Office said.

The men, who had completed an insurgent military training course, were carrying weapons near the village when security forces blocked entry routes to intercept them, said a statement issued by the office.

Security forces detained Mamad Karat, the trainer, and the three trainees—Kumuru, De Mamud, and Mardular—it said.

“After an interrogation that resulted in confessions, security forces searched for weapons and captured 14 handmade guns in a field of betel palms which belonged to De Mamud at about 2 p.m.,” the statement said, adding that legal action would be taken against the men.

Authorities have detained roughly 600 people in connection with the raids during which nine officers were killed and subsequent violence between security forces and armed men in northern Rakhine. Nearly 90 others have been killed in the crackdown.

Meanwhile, rights groups, including New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW), have accused Myanmar of attempting to cover up abuses against Rohingya villagers allegedly perpetrated by security forces in northern Rakhine, a day after an investigation commission said it found no evidence to support accusations of genocide or repression.

Rohingya from the areas affected by violence have accused security forces of executions, arbitrary arrests, rape, and arson during their security operations in search of attackers. The government of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has denied the allegations, but formed the commission to investigate them in response to pressure from the international community.

Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy Asia director, said on Wednesday that the government “remains curiously intransigent” concerning allegations of serious abuses in northern Rakhine state, which has been largely closed to outside observers since the October attacks.

“[N]umerous other rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, rape, and the destruction of villages await proper investigation and appropriate prosecution,” he said in a statement. “Ultimately, this case may be yet another attempt to keep the lid on crimes being committed by security forces in locked-down northern Rakhine state.”

There was no immediate response from the Myanmar government to the latest criticisms.

Reported by Thiri Min Zin for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Myanmar: Myanmar Humanitarian News Digest - December 2016

5 January 2017 - 10:49pm
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Myanmar

The Humanitarian News Digest is a monthly compilation of links to reports, web stories, press releases, and other public products published online by organizations with humanitarian operations in Myanmar. The content and views expressed in these publications do not necessarily reflect the views of OCHA.

Myanmar: Govt Releases Findings on Northern Arakan Amid Further Arrests

5 January 2017 - 10:36pm
Source: The Irrawaddy Country: Myanmar

By Moe Myint

RANGOON — Security forces arrested four militants and confiscated 14 homemade guns near Maung Gyi Taung village in Arakan State’s Buthidaung Township on Tuesday evening after a tip off, according to the State Counselor’s Office information committee.

An investigation will be carried out in line with Burma’s laws, according to a statement released Wednesday.

The arrests and seizure is the first in Buthidaung Township, which has seen less police action than neighbouring Maungdaw, according to head of Buthidaung Township police Maj. Tun Wai.

‘‘The situation is calm down here despite some rumors spread by the residents,” he told The Irrawaddy, refusing to provide more information but stating that counter-insurgency operations are currently handled by the border police.

Buthidaung resident U Aung Ko told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that the arrests had not disturbed residents.

The government released a statement on Tuesday saying that eight Muslim residents had been found killed in northern Arakan State since Oct. 8, while three are missing and two have reported receiving death threats.

An interim report from the Vice President U Myint Swe-led Arakan State Investigation Commission claimed that villagers who cooperated with government departments and organizations were at risk of violence from “terrorists” for being government informers.

Since attacks on police border posts by suspected militants on Oct. 9, 10 government border police and eight soldiers have died in security operations, according to the report. Meanwhile, 80 suspected militants have been killed.

The report states that 485 individuals were detained in 49 separate cases, of whom 10 have been released. Twenty-eight cases have gone to court, with convictions being handed down in three cases so far.

The 13-member commission made “special investigations into the allegations” of Burma Army human rights abuses by international organizations, including accusations of rape, torture, extrajudicial killings, and arson.

Referring to the self-identifying Rohingya community as “Bengali,” the Arakan State Investigation Commission reported that the group’s presence in Maungdaw Township, in addition to “the increasing population of Mawlawi, mosques and religious edifices,” served as “proof that there were no cases of genocide and religious persecution in the region.’’

The commission reportedly interviewed local women in regard to rape allegations and found “insufficient evidence to take legal action.” The report stated that accusations of arson, illegal arrests, and torture were being investigated.

The commission reported that 26 village bazaars and two township markets in the region had reopened, along with 171 schools of the 183 that were closed. The report claims there were “no cases of malnutrition in the area due to the area’s favorable fishing and farming conditions.”

The commission concluded that recent attacks in northern Arakan were designed to draw the attention of the international community and is harming the sovereignty of the State.

It also described the situation as more “complicated” than previous incidents in northern Arakan State, as it alleged that area “militants” have connections with overseas organizations.

World: Zika virus, Microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome Situation Report, 5 January 2017

5 January 2017 - 6:30pm
Source: World Health Organization Country: American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba (The Netherlands), Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba (The Netherlands), Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curaçao (The Netherlands), Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana (France), French Polynesia (France), Gabon, Grenada, Guadeloupe (France), Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Jamaica, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Martinique (France), Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Myanmar, New Caledonia (France), Nicaragua, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico (The United States of America), Saint Barthélemy (France), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin (France), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Singapore, Sint Maarten (The Netherlands), Solomon Islands, Suriname, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States of America, United States Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, World

KEY UPDATES

 Countries and territories reporting mosquito-borne Zika virus infections for the first time in the past week:

o None

 Countries and territories reporting microcephaly and other central nervous system (CNS) malformations potentially associated with Zika virus infection for the first time in the past week:

o None

 Countries and territories reporting Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) cases associated with Zika virus infection for the first time in the past week:

o None

 This is the last weekly situation report. Going forward, the reports will be published every two weeks. The next report will be issued on 19 January.

ANALYSIS

 Overall, the global risk assessment has not changed. Zika virus continues to spread geographically to areas where competent vectors are present. Although a decline in cases of Zika infection has been reported in some countries, or in some parts of countries, vigilance needs to remain high.

SITUATION

 Seventy-five countries and territories (Fig. 1, Table 1) have reported evidence of mosquitoborne Zika virus transmission since 2007 (69 with reports from 2015 onwards), of which:

o Fifty-eight with a reported outbreak from 2015 onwards (Fig. 2, Table 1).

o Seven with having possible endemic transmission or evidence of local mosquitoborne Zika infections in 2016 or 2017.

o Ten with evidence of local mosquito-borne Zika infections in or before 2015, but without documentation of cases in 2016 or 2017, or with the outbreak terminated.

 Thirteen countries have reported evidence of person-to-person transmission of Zika virus (Table 2).

Myanmar: MEC to check earthquake resistance of Bagan pagodas in 2017

5 January 2017 - 3:21pm
Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar Country: Myanmar

The Myanmar Earthquake Committee (MEC) will check that pagodas in ancient Bagan, Nyang U District, Mandalay Region can withstand future temblors.

“Earthquakes shook Myanmar ancient pagodas last year, causing extensive damage. We take measures that the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) will renovate the damaged pagodas. And we will check the earthquake resistance of Bagan pagodas. We are currently assessing how to conduct these activities,” said U Myo Thant, the secretary of MEC.

“We will submit our suggestion on which pagodas need to be renovated based on the assessment to the department concerned.”

The earthquake on 24th August damaged 258 vaunted temples, 104 pagodas and 13 brick monasteries. MEC will lead the assessment activity in cooperation with Myanmar Engineering Society (MES).

World: Food Insecurity and Climate Change

5 January 2017 - 12:24am
Source: Government of the United Kingdom, World Food Programme Country: American Samoa, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Kiribati, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, New Caledonia (France), Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue (New Zealand), Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Suriname, Swaziland, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Vanuatu, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

This website allows you to explore how different scenarios of global greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to climate change could change the geography of food insecurity in developing and least-developed countries. By altering the levels of future global greenhouse gas emissions and/or the levels of adaptation, you can see how vulnerability to food insecurity changes over time, and compare and contrast these different future scenarios with each other and the present day.

Myanmar: Myanmar commission finds no cases of genocide, religious persecution of Rohingya in Rakhine

5 January 2017 - 12:19am
Source: Radio Free Asia Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

A Myanmar government-appointed commission investigating recent violence that has occurred in northern Rakhine state said it has found no cases of genocide or religious persecution of Rohingya Muslims in the wake of deadly border guard attacks in October.

The commission’s interim report on the situation in Rakhine was issued on Tuesday, days after a video surfaced showing policemen beating members of the Muslim group. Human rights experts criticized the report as an effort to put a gloss on atrocities and blunt international criticism.

The 13-member commission was created by presidential order on Dec. 1 to probe the Oct. 9 border guard attacks in Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships as well as subsequent violence in Muslim villages in Maungdaw on Nov. 12 and 13, when armed men are said to have ambushed police and soldiers deployed to northern Rakhine to conduct security operations.

“The Bengali population residing in Maungdaw region, the increasing population of Mawlawi [Muslim religious scholars], mosques, and religious edifices are proof that there were no cases of genocide and religious persecution in the region,” the report said, using a derogatory name for the stateless Rohingya who are and are discriminated against as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

The report went on to say that the commission conducted special investigations of allegations of rape, torture, arson and illegal arrests in Rohingya villages.

The commission said it interviewed local villagers and women about the rape allegations, but found insufficient evidence to take legal action.

Investigations into allegations of arson, torture, and illegal arrests are still under way, the report said.

“Responsible security personnel performing their duties in those villages submitted that they have been ready to take legal action against those who committed crimes if there was sufficient evidence,” it said.

Some of the roughly 50,000 Rohingya who fled northern Rakhine, mostly to Bangladesh, have accused security forces of extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, and arson, though the Myanmar government has denied the charges.

The commission said the violent armed attacks in Maungdaw were carried out by members of the Islamic terrorist organization Aqa Mul Mujahidin that operated in Maungdaw region in conjunction with the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), a local extremist group that was believed to be defunct.

Authorities have taken legal action against 485 suspects in 49 cases so far, of which 28 have gone to trial with three convictions, the report said. Authorities released 10 detainees found innocent of committing any crimes.

Havid Tuhar, a 45-year-old religious extremist who lived in Maungdaw’s Kyaukpyinseik village and uses the alias Arpu Hamad Zooluni, had participated in a six-month training program conducted by the Taliban, the report said.

In its one-paragraph conclusion to the interim report, the commission said: “The commission is carrying out its duties, being ever mindful that, as per the nature of these conflicts, illegal activities and fabricated rumors and news can appear occasionally.”

‘Pre-baked political conclusions’

New York-based Human Rights Watch called the report “methodologically flawed” and “a classic example of pre-baked political conclusions to assert the situation is not so bad, designed to push back against international community pressure.”

“Their astonishing finding that there was no religious persecution against the Rohingya because they saw mosques is methodologically flawed,” Phil Robertson, the group's deputy Asia director, told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.

Meanwhile, Myanmar rights activists reacted to a written appeal by a group of 23 Nobel laureates politicians, philanthropists, and activists to the United Nations Security Council on Dec. 28 to end “ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” in Rakhine state.

Mie Mie, a prominent member of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society Group, suggested that outside forces not press Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader and herself a Nobel laureate, to resolve the issue

“Because Daw [honorific] Aung San Suu Kyi is also a Nobel laureate, she doesn’t need to be pressured to stop human rights violations or to be sent an open letter,” she said.

“This country’s problems are those of the citizens and the government,” she told RFA’s Myanmar Service. “We will work together to resolve them.”

Mie Mie pointed to the efforts of Aung San Suu Kyi’s special Rakhine Advisory Commission, headed by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, to help resolve the religious and ethnic divisions in Rakhine state.

“We are going to work on our country’s issues with the help of international experts as we are doing right now,” Mie Mie said. “So please don’t pressure her or us.”

Wai Wai Nu, a Rohingya activist for peace and women’s rights and founder of the Women’s Peace Network Arakan, an organization that conducts training to promote relations between the Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine people, agreed with the Nobel laureates that the government must work on resolving the Rohingya crisis.

“Although she [Aung San Suu Kyi] has been speaking out about the attacks in Maungdaw, the situation in Rakhine state hasn’t settled yet, so it’s still difficult to assume what will happen next.”

“Reporters still don’t have freedom to cover news in the area, so people can’t know the actual situation there,” she said, adding that it is likely that the Rohingya women who said they had been raped by security forces are telling the truth.

“According to my experience as a female activist, women usually keep silent even though they have been sexually abused because they can face social problems in the future,” she said.

Aung Myo Min, executive director of Equality Myanmar, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to human rights education and advocacy programs, said Aung San Suu Kyi, who also holds the titles of state counselor and foreign affairs minister, has been working on trying to resolve the Rakhine issues as much as she can.

He pointed out that in addition to forming the Rakhine Advisory Commission late last August in response to calls from the international community, she voluntarily met with foreign affairs ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to discuss the Rohingya issue.

“The Nobel laureates have urged her to do something about the Rohingya, but what they don’t notice is that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is not only a Nobel laureate right now, but also a government member,” he said.

“I believe she is frustrated because she has many things to do and also has limitations and restrictions placed upon her as to what she wants to do,” he said. “But the international community doesn’t see that point.”

Different assumptions

President’s Office spokesman Zaw Htay said the government’s work to address and resolve the crisis in northern Rakhine must refute the many different reports and other information that have been disseminated—some of which the government has called fake news—to change the different assumptions that various countries have about the issue.

“We think that these Nobel laureates wrote the letter based on the information they got, so we are going to release truthful information,” he said. “We will punish those who violate laws and human rights.”

On Tuesday, Aung San Suu Kyi told officials attending a meeting on the stability and development of Rakhine state in the capital Naypyidaw that the situation in Maungdaw has grown worse since the Oct. 9 attacks because the government has placed an emphasis on the stability of the area and the rest of Rakhine state in the long run, according to state-run Myanmar News Agency.

She also warned that a new crisis could develop in the region once stability has been restored and that current problems should be resolved properly and accusations should be refuted with the truth, the agency’s report said.

Reported by Kyaw Zaw Win for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Syrian Arab Republic: Middle East & North Africa: Humanitarian Funding Update 2016 (as of 2 January 2017) [EN/AR]

4 January 2017 - 9:48am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Afghanistan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Myanmar, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Turkey, World, Yemen
  1. IN 2016, HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE PLANS (HRPs) in the MENA region requested US$7 billion and have received $4 billion. In total, MENA HRPs are 56 per cent funded. Three new FLASH APPEALS address specific situations: in Iraq where the humanitarian impact of the Mosul operation requires $284 million; in Afghanistan where $152 million is needed to assist returnees from Pakistan; and in Libya where $10 million is needed for Sirt.

  2. The SYRIA REGIONAL REFUGEE AND RESILIENCE PLAN (3RP) requested US$4.55 billion. The total amount received is $2.6 billion (58 per cent), which leaves a shortfall of $1.9 billion (42 per cent).

  3. Nine countries from the MENA region have made pledges and contributed funds in 2016 for humanitarian appeals worldwide.The amount totals $1.4 billion, with contributed funds going to 45 countries. The donors have committed $1.3 billion and pledged a further $154.3 million. The largest recipients of all donations are Yemen and Syria.

  4. The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) distributed US$11.98 million3 funds to Libya in 2016. Two countries from the MENA region, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, made contributions of $1 million4 each to the CERF.

Myanmar: Myanmar - 3W Dashboard - Technical Assistance Initiatives

4 January 2017 - 4:19am
Source: Myanmar Information Management Unit Country: Myanmar

The 3W Dashboard reflects Technical Assistance activities (i.e. to or through Myanmar’s Government) to State/Region and Township level based on information received from implementers reporting to the MIMU 3W and from Development Partners reporting to the Mohinga Aid Information Management Platform - http://mohinga.info/en/

Myanmar: Myanmar - 3W Dashboard by Village Tract

4 January 2017 - 4:17am
Source: Myanmar Information Management Unit Country: Myanmar

This dashboard gives an interactive view of “Who is doing What, Where” at Village Tract level based on the information reported to the MIMU 3W as of September 9, 2016. The activities of agencies which did not report to village tract level cannot be shown on this map.

Select the area, sector, agency etc of interest to see the customised view. Use the buttons at the bottom of the page to RESET or to DOWNLOAD the data/webpage in image, csv, pdf.

Myanmar: Myanmar - 3W Dashboard by Township

4 January 2017 - 4:13am
Source: Myanmar Information Management Unit Country: Myanmar

Interactive visualization of all Myanmar 3W data by State/Region and Townships. Hover over segments for additional data and click to filter by selected criteria.

World: Dix sujets d’actualité humanitaire à ne pas manquer en 2017

4 January 2017 - 12:22am
Source: IRIN Country: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen

2 janvier 2017

Si 2016 nous a appris à nous attendre à l’inattendu, les collaborateurs d’IRIN sur le terrain nous ont donné une bonne idée de ce que la nouvelle année nous réserve. Nous ne pouvons pas garantir que tous les médias couvriront ces sujets, mais en voici dix auxquels nous serons attentifs :

En lire plus sur IRIN

Myanmar: UNHCR Myanmar Situation 2016 Funding Update as of 3 January 2017

3 January 2017 - 10:10pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Myanmar, Thailand
  • 71.9 M required for 2016 
  • 16.7 M contributions received, representing 23% of requirements 
  • 55.2 M funding gap for the Myanmar Situation 

All figures are displayed in USD

Myanmar: UNHCR South East Asia 2016 Funding Update as of 3 January 2017

3 January 2017 - 10:07pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand
  • 139.7 M required for 2016

  • 45.1 M contributions received, representing 32% of requirements

  • 94.6 M funding gap for South East Asia

All figures are displayed in USD

Thailand: UNHCR encouraged by Thailand’s latest efforts to reduce statelessness

3 January 2017 - 10:04pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Myanmar, Thailand

BANGKOK, 29 December.– In a move welcomed by the UN Refugee Agency, some 80,000 stateless children and young adults in Thailand could benefit from a recent government resolution to reduce statelessness in the country.

Earlier this month, the Thai Cabinet approved a resolution on “Guidance and Measures to Address Legal Status Problems and Problems of Stateless Persons in Thailand”, which is pending official proclamation.

As explained by Mr. Grisada Boonrach, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, under this resolution children are eligible to apply for Thai nationality if: 1) They were born in Thailand to parents from ethnic minority groups, were registered by the Ministry of Interior and have lived in Thailand for not less than 15 years; or 2) They were born in Thailand to other groups of aliens and have graduated from university or the equivalent. If they have not graduated yet, the Ministry of the Interior shall examine the case on an individual basis.

Abandoned children whose parents are unknown can also apply if they are certified as such by the relevant agency under the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and have lived in Thailand for not less than 10 years.

Eligible children can hand in their applications – together with supporting documents such as birth certificates, household or profile registrations, and ID cards showing their 13-digit identification number – at the district registration office in their area of domicile as recorded in civil registration.

“This recent resolution builds on measures announced in the past few years by expanding the scope of eligibility and clarifying the criteria and procedures involved,” said Ruvendrini Menikdiwela, UNHCR’s Representative in Thailand. “They show the Royal Thai Government’s strong political will to reduce statelessness among children.”

Thailand has endorsed UNHCR’s #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness by 2024 and its goal of achieving zero statelessness, becoming a leader among the "Group of Friends" of the Campaign.

“The international community welcomes the assurances given by the Thai government to pursue nationality solutions,” said Menikdiwela. “We look forward to strengthening our collaboration and working together with the Royal Thai Government to translate these important commitments into practical action and results.”

UNHCR has been working with the NGO Adventist Relief and Development Agency (ADRA) to open service points in different schools in Chiang Rai’s Mae Fah Luang and Mae Chan districts. There, stateless students and their families have been able to obtain nationality-related information and eventually lodge applications for birth registration, nationality, permanent residency and related civil status documentation.

The project has engaged government officials in the district levels, school principals, community leaders as well as local civil societies, who have also been working on the issue of statelessness. So far, ADRA has completed approximately 10,000 individual applications. In 2017, UNHCR and ADRA will enhance their community outreach strategy and continue supporting stateless populations to prepare and submit nationality applications.

UNHCR has been mandated by the General Assembly to help to reduce the incidence of statelessness, which affects an estimated 10 million people worldwide. In November 2014, it launched a Global Campaign to End Statelessness by 2024(#I Belong Campaign) by raising awareness on the plight of stateless people and offering a platform to support governments in reforming nationality legislation and adjusting policies aiming at reducing statelessness.

For more information, please contact UNHCR Thailand: thaba@unhcr.org

Myanmar: Advocates push for more women’s voices in peace process

3 January 2017 - 8:35pm
Source: Democratic Voice of Burma Country: Myanmar

By LIBBY HOGAN / DVB

Women’s rights groups are hopeful that the Ministry of Defence’s words of goodwill to include more women in peace talks at a conference on Friday will result in greater female representation at future dialogues.

About 200 people attended panel discussions in Naypyidaw last week involving women’s rights organisations, INGOs and members of the ministries of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, and Defence, discussing the strengths and challenges of women’s participation in the peace process and democratic reform in Burma.

Nang Phyu Phyu Lin of the Alliance for Gender Inclusion in the Peace Process (AGIPP) told DVB the most notable commitment to come out of Friday’s meeting was from the Ministry of Defence, which “did make mention of committing to following international conventions and taking action when violence against women [VAW] cases occurs. He [Myo Win Aung, Ministry of Defence representative] also noted the need for more transparency within the military system.”

The event was organised by AGIPP in collaboration with the Gender Equality Network, Women’s Initiative Network for Peace (WIN-Peace) and the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, at the request of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

Women’s organisations and human rights groups have documented cases of rape and sexual violence against women in conflict areas committed by the Burmese Army and submitted them to the committee charged with reviewing the government’s commitment to Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). However, no law protects women from violence except under the penal code and very few cases make it to court.

But Nang Phyu Phyu Lin said the talks were “highly successful” in her view. She is hopeful that the military is genuinely committed to preventing violence against women and punishing soldiers who commit these crimes.

“He [Myo Win Aung] requested that reporting on violence against women be proactively taken by the community and CSOs, and he repeatedly opened the door for collaboration with CSOs.”

Ensuring women have more seats at the table for peace talks was also an emphasis at the conference. Gender Equality Network (GEN) Director May Sabe Phyu and AGIPP’s Thandar Oo recommended that a 30 percent quota system be implemented for women to participate at all levels of peace talks. At the 21st Century Panglong Conference, an underwhelming representation of women comprising just over 13 percent and many other representatives from women’s rights organisations invited as “observers.”

Ph.D. candidate Jenny Hedström, who recently published a paper on gender, peace and security issues in Burma, emphasised that the 30 percent quota should be a minimum requirement, not a ceiling.

Hedström said “women and girls are systematically excluded from participating in both local and national level decision-making processes. This in turn exacerbates the insecurity that women and girls face by marginalising their voices and ability to call for redress, creating an environment of impunity.”

She points to the lack of a legal framework identifying, addressing, and preventing gender-based discrimination and violence in Burma, coupled with decades of entrenched militarisation that has effectively served to exclude women from decision-making positions.

“Experience from other countries shows that when women are brought on board, opportunities for sustainable and lasting peace improves,” Hedström said. “Women participate in conflict as both active soldiers and as tacit supporters, and it is important to bring these women on-board as supporters, rather than as spoilers, for peace.”

During a second panel discussion focused on prevention and planning for VAW survivors in conflict zones, a number of panellists representing a range of interests including civil society organisations to the United Nations emphasised the need for legal aid and psycho-social support for victims.

The lived experiences of women as internally displaced persons (IDPs), their needs and safety concerns were also raised by rights campaigners. “Civilians in IDP camps want peace,” Nang Phyu Phyu stated simply, before explaining that women continue to be seen as only victims.

Their voices should be heard, she said, to reverse this cycle of violence: “They want to be able to return to their homes in safety, security and health, and panelists said that without sustainable peace, women will continue to suffer.”

According to a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, women and children make up about 80 percent of the country’s 218,000 IDPs.

The 21st Century Panglong Conference is due to reconvene in February, with women’s groups looking to the event as a barometer for whether their emphasis on female inclusion has borne fruit.

Myanmar: UNHCR Bay Of Bengal Situation 2016 Funding Update as of 3 January 2017

3 January 2017 - 3:16pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand
  • 4.2 M required for 2016
  • 809,938 contributions received, representing 19% of requirements
  • 3.4 M funding gap for the Bay Of Bengal Situation

All figures are displayed in USD

Myanmar: The roots and risks of Myanmar’s new Rohingya insurgency

3 January 2017 - 11:16am
Source: IRIN Country: Myanmar

Jared Ferrie

Proghyananda Vikkhu stood in his purple monk’s robe in front of gleaming gold statues of the Buddha, recalling the night that a mob of nationalist Muslims attacked his monastery in eastern Bangladesh.

“This monastery is 300 years old and it was totally demolished on that night in 2012,” he said. “Within one year, the Bangladesh government totally rebuilt it with help from the army.”

Read more on IRIN

World: Humanitarian Funding Update December 2016 - United Nations Coordinated Appeals

3 January 2017 - 9:12am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, World, Yemen, Zimbabwe
  • As of 30 December 2016, the inter-agency coordinated appeals and refugee response plans within the Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) require US$22.1 billion -- an increase of 10 per cent since it was first launched twelve months ago -- to meet the needs of 96.2 million humanitarian crisis-affected people in 40 countries. By the end of 2016, $12.6 billion were raised towards the coordinated appeals -- more than ever before. Despite immense donor generosity, it is only 57 percent of the requirements committed, leaving a short fall of $9.5 billion. In comparison to 2015, the year closed with 53 percent coverage receiving $10.7 billion). In 2016, the bulk of the global requirements were for just four humanitarian crises: Iraq, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- all man-made conflicts.

  • On 5 December, the 2017 Global Humanitarian Overview consolidated appeal was launched requiring $22.2 billion to meet the needs of 92.8 million most vulnerable people in 33 countries affected by crisis. New requirements for half of the appeals/response plans have increased, and are likely to increase throughout 2017.

  • Two and an half months after Hurricane Matthew, reported funding for the Haiti Flash Appeal has increased over the last month with 62 per cent funded, leading a shortfall of $52.5 million still needed. There are limited resources to meet the basic needs of those evicted from temporary shelters, as well as the most vulnerable people in zones of return. The Flash Appeal requires $139 million to assist 750,000 people in need. Some sectors – protection (11%), early recovery (18%) and shelter (25%) – have been particularly poorly funded. Health is 18 % funded.

  • In 2016, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has so far disbursed $437 million to 47 countries. In December, $18.4 million was allocated for immediate life-saving assistance to displaced families and host population in Mosul, Iraq. In addition, $3.5 million was approved to support 31,000 people facing forced eviction from temporary shelters following Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. In 2016 as reported so far, CERF received an income of $426.3 million, which is 95 per cent of the annual target. For 2017, at the CERF High-Level Conference on 13 December, thirty-three donors pledged approximately $273 million for next year, already close to 60 per cent of the annual target of $450 million. Some donors are yet to make announcements due to internal budgetary processes but are expected to pledge in early 2017.

  • 2016 was a record year for Country-Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) with 21 Member States contributing more than US$691 million for operations in 17 countries. The Iraq and Yemen Humanitarian Funds each received more than $100 million. The 17 CBPFs disbursed $662 million, enabling 370 organizations working across all clusters to deliver life-saving assistance targeting almost 100 million crisis-affected people. International NGOs received the most (46 per cent), followed by UN agencies (35 per cent), national NGOs (18 per cent) and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement (1 per cent).