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World: Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 2 - 8 July

8 July 2014 - 7:38am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Uganda, World, Yemen, South Sudan preview

Pakistan: Water, sanitation, and health services are urgent needs among the 780,000 registered displaced from North Waziristan (government figures). The data is being cleaned to check for duplication.

Iraq: Access to areas within the governorates of Anbar, Babylon, Diyala, Salah al Din, Kirkuk, and Ninevah remains difficult due to ongoing violence clashes, disruption of communication and transportation routes, and a widespread shortage of fuel.

Syria: Islamic State has reportedly expelled 60,000 people from the homes in Deir-ez-Zor. In Dar’a and Rural Damascus, barrel bomb attacks were reported. Some 200,000 Syrians are estimated to have died from chronic illnesses since the start of the conflict due to lack of access to treatment and medicines. Water and sanitation systems are deteriorating significantly.

Updated: 08/07/2014 Next Update: 15/07/2014

Global Emergency Overview Web Interface

Myanmar: Flooding threat adds to woes of IDPs in Myanmar's Rakhine State

7 July 2014 - 12:58pm
Source: IRIN Country: Myanmar

YANGON, 7 July 2014 (IRIN) - Recent heavy rain, coupled with the after-effects of a recent aid worker pull-out, is prompting health concerns in Myanmar's western Rakhine State for the more than 140,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) mostly from the persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority.

Riots in March amid tensions over perceived bias towards Rohingya Muslims in the area forced international humanitarian workers to pull out. Aid has trickled back but IDPs displaced by communal violence in 2012 remain in squalid camps. According to the UN, there are also 700,000 vulnerable people outside the camps who were receiving aid from multiple agencies.

"When it rains heavily, some camps are flooded, which make elderly people and children very vulnerable to get sick," said a local health worker who asked not to be named. "The displaced people are also vulnerable to water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea and skin diseases because toilets, where they exist, get flooded and overflow due to the rain," he told IRIN.

According to government figures, Rakhine has received around 46 inches of rain so far in 2014. Historical data indicate that July is traditionally the heaviest rain month there, and it could mean nearly 46 more inches in this month alone.

According to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Rakhine, Myanmar's second poorest state, has historically received less investment in health care than other areas of the country. Before the March withdrawal of aid organizations, there were 47 organizations active in Rakhine, with 16 working in health - the most of any sector. After the departure of internationals the Ministry of Health took over the healthcare response.

Under Burmese law, the Rohingya are de jure stateless. There are an estimated 800,000 Rohingya in Myanmar and human rights groups say they have long faced persecution and discrimination.

A 2014 report by Fortify Rights, a Bangkok-based human rights organization, entitled Policies of Persecution: Ending Abusive State Policies Against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, noted that "Rohingya are prevented from travelling freely to neighboring village tracts or townships for medical treatment," and that such policies, coupled with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the state were leading to "avoidable deaths".

Mobile clinics

Aid agencies are scrambling to get operations in Rakhine back to scale. Some services have improved in the past months, but a humanitarian shortfall and associated risks remain, officials say.

"Displaced people can easily get treatment without delay as there are mobile clinics in a few minute walk from the camps," said a government official speaking on the condition of anonymity due to a gag order on media interviews. He added that there had been diarrhoea outbreaks in some camps but they were controlled.

According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were 15 teams operating mobile clinics for IDPs in Rakhine at the end of May, up from 11 during the previous month.

"As [IDP] camps are packed with people, any communicable diseases can spread easily among the people," the government official admitted, adding that people in camps getting the flu or a cold is a common occurrence.

Humanitarian officials say services remain limited.

"Some critical activities are still taking place at reduced levels," said Pierre Péron, OCHA's public information and advocacy officer in Myanmar. "There are still difficulties with the referral of severely malnourished children who have medical complications from IDP camps to Sittwe Hospital, due to continued limitations on medical referral services," he said, citing reports OCHA had received from organizations operating in Rakhine.

In April the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimated that services for 2,700 malnourished children in Rakhine were suspended by the aid agency pull-out.

"Humanitarian organizations continued to support Ministry of Health medical teams and national health institutions in restoring access to health care for displaced people and vulnerable communities," said Péron, pointing to an increase in the number of staff taking part in the government-led joint Rapid Response Teams from 83 people to 100. However, he explained, "MSF-Holland, [which] prior to March [was] the biggest healthcare provider in the state, remains suspended, leaving a critical gap in services, in particular in Maungdaw and Buthidaung," two towns near the border with Bangladesh.

Slow return of aid workers

"Many organizations are still operating at reduced capacity, with only 60 percent of UN and international NGO staff having been able to return to Sittwe [Rakhine's capital city] by the end of May," explained Péron. The limiting factor in many cases, he said, is available facilities.

During the March riots, offices of at least two UN agencies and a number of NGOs, as well as guest houses accommodating aid workers, were vandalized, damaged, or looted.

In April the government pledged to provide security to aid organizations and "cooperate with them on all levels", and agencies slowly began to return.

"The main constraint is the limited offices and premises available for the UN and INGOs in. a designated area where humanitarian organizations have been told they have to have their premises and where the government is providing additional security," said Péron.

MSF-Holland and Malteser International, have still not yet been allowed to resume their normal operations in Rakhine.

contributor/kk/cb

Bangladesh: Asia: Tdh' projects [EN/FR]

7 July 2014 - 4:40am
Source: Terre des hommes Country: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka preview


Introduction

(EN): In Asia, Terre des hommes (Tdh) uses both action and advocacy in order to protect children from all forms of abuse, trafficking and exploitation. Tdh develops community awareness and informs relevant stakeholders with the aim of better protecting children and respecting their fundamental rights. The Foundation also works towards improving access to basic services (sanitation, schools, etc.) .Finally, during humanitarian crises, Tdh provides emergency aid, as well as technical, material and human support to the local populations.

(FR) : En Asie, Terre des hommes (Tdh) lie actions et plaidoyer afin de protéger les enfants contre toutes formes d’abus, de trafic et d’exploitation. Elle sensibilise les communautés et les acteurs concernés en vue de mieux protéger les enfants et respecter leurs droits fondamentaux. La Fondation travaille aussi à l’amélioration de l’accès aux services de base (infrastructures sanitaires, écoles, etc.). Enfin, lors de crises humanitaires, Tdh apporte une aide d’urgence et son soutien technique, matériel et humain aux populations.

World: State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2014

7 July 2014 - 2:48am
Source: Minority Rights Group Country: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Iraq, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, World preview

Annual survey warns of severe consequences of ignoring global hate crime towards minorities and indigenous peoples

3 July 2014

Hate crime towards minorities and indigenous peoples is a daily reality in many countries across the globe, says Minority Rights Group International (MRG) in its annual report, but is often ignored by authorities.

The international organisation's flagship report, State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2014, focuses on ‘Freedom from hate' and presents compelling evidence showing that hate crime and hate speech are prevalent in all regions of the world.

But hate crime is widely ignored, under-reported and often left unchecked by governments, resulting in escalating violence against minorities, says MRG in the report.

'If governments ignore hate crime, the perpetrators see it as a green light to continue,' says Mark Lattimer, MRG's Executive Director. ‘The prevalence of hate crimes against minorities is widely under-estimated and is now being driven across borders by online propaganda, whether by sectarian jihadis or right-wing racists.'

The report finds that targeted violence often has a purpose. Anti-migrant rhetoric in Greece or sectarian violence in India serves to consolidate the power base of extremist organizations. Negative representations of indigenous groups in Guatemala or Uganda may provide justification for further exclusion or eviction from ancestral lands.

The impact of hatred may extend beyond discrimination to more visible extremes, as in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it drives the continuation of inter-ethnic conflicts. In the Central African Republic, hate speech and targeted attacks during 2013 were responsible for fomenting religious violence that has resulted in almost a million people being internally displaced.

Hate crimes send a message not only to the individuals targeted, but also to their communities. This is especially evident in violence against minority and indigenous women, with rape and sexual assault employed as a weapon of war or an instrument of oppression to fragment and humiliate entire civilian populations, says MRG.

In South Asia, for example, Dalit women are regularly subjected to sexual violence as a result of their lower caste status - often in response to their demands for basic rights.

The prevalence of demeaning or inflammatory language in political discourse, sermons, the media and online has very real implications for marginalized communities. The report highlights many countries in 2013 where rumours and incitement led to violence and loss of life.

In Burma, where a slow process of reform has opened up some degree of free expression, the situation for minorities is acute. In addition to reports of ongoing military abuses against ethnic minorities, a large number of Muslim Rohingya were murdered or displaced during 2013 by Buddhist vigilantes.

In Russia, official repression and discrimination of migrants from Central Asia and elsewhere has occurred alongside attacks and intimidation by extremists.

In Pakistan, despite the first democratic transfer of power between two elected governments in the country's history, hundreds of Shi'a were killed in targeted attacks and other minorities such as Ahmadis also singled out.

The 2011 Arab Spring has had mixed implications for ethnic and religious minorities in the region. In Egypt, for example, a new constitution was passed in January 2014 that contained a number of new legal guarantees for minorities. Nevertheless, 2013 was marked by a series of violent attacks against religious minorities.

In Syria, civil conflict took on an increasingly sectarian character during the year. In July, the United Nations estimated that more than 100,000 people had died in the violence and by the end of the year the number of IDPs stood at 6.5 million, while the refugee population grew to 2.3 million.

In Iraq, 2013 saw the country's highest death toll in five years, with smaller minorities such as Sabean Mandeans, Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen and Shabak continuing to be targeted with abductions and killings.

In Europe, the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis and the impact of austerity measures in many countries have played a major role in the rise of right-wing organizations with a strong anti-minority agenda. In Hungary, Jobbik's rhetoric against the country's Roma and Jewish minorities escalated as the party won a major place in mainstream politics, with its share of the national vote rising to more than 20 percent in the April 2014 elections.

Historical patterns of colonialism and segregation continue to be felt in some countries. In the USA migrants, Jews, African Americans and other minorities are still subject to vilification, particularly with the apparent rise of hate groups in recent years, in part due to anxieties over the country's changing demographics.

While the 2014 State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples documents disheartening levels of violence, harassment and verbal abuse across the world, it also includes many examples of how hatred is being countered by legislators, politicians, journalists, and communities, by addressing the root causes. Though there is still a long way to go before minorities and indigenous peoples across the world are able to enjoy freedom from hate, these and other initiatives highlighted in the report show some of the ways forward.

‘The impact on victims of violent crime is well-known, but when such crimes are motivated by ethnic or religious hatred, whole communities are made to feel under attack. Hate crimes need to be recognised as such, and the perpetrators punished.' says Mark Lattimer.

Notes to editors

Interview opportunities:
Mark Lattimer, Executive Director, Minority Rights Group International
Minority rights activists from Kenya, DRC, South Sudan, CAR, Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Burma
Watch a video produced for the launch of the report. Please let the Press Office know if you use the video.
State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2014 is available for free download on 3 July 2014 Find more revealing case studies from around the world on hate crime on MRG's Minority Voices Newsroom
View a photo story about the volume on MRG's Minority Voices Newsroom
Minority Rights Group International is the leading international human rights organization working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples. We work with more than 150 partners in over 50 countries.
To arrange interviews please contact MRG's Press Office:

Emma Eastwood (London) T: +44 207 4224205 M: +44 7989699984 E: emma.eastwood@mrgmail.org Twitter: @MinorityRights

Myanmar: Persecution of Muslims in Myanmar's Rakhine state traps Buddhist minority in limbo

7 July 2014 - 2:44am
Source: AlertNet Country: Myanmar

Author: Thin Lei Win

SITTWE, Myanmar (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The 400-odd Maramargyi ethnic minorities who have been living in ramshackle huts in the Set Yone Su displacement camp since sectarian violence wracked communities here in western Myanmar two years ago ostensibly practice the “right” religion – Buddhism.

Read the full article

Myanmar: Education focus in Burma and Laos

6 July 2014 - 11:18pm
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Australia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Myanmar

During my visit to Burma and Laos I announced that the Australian Government will focus on increasing educational opportunities for primary and tertiary students, and improving teacher quality.

In Burma about half of the country’s five million school aged children do not complete primary school. In some districts of Laos only one quarter of girls complete primary school.

The Australian Government will provide $86 million over four years for education in Laos to help around 450,000 children achieve literacy, numeracy and other life skills for a better future.

In Burma, Australia will boost services in 43,000 schools and strengthen teacher training colleges for tertiary scholars. The funding ($27.8 million) is additional to Australia’s commitment to provide $24.6 million to promote economic growth and community engagement with the peace process.

Education is essential to the success of the Myanmar Government’s broader reform efforts. Improvements in education will help people develop the skills to take advantage of the expanding economic opportunities.

Australia will work with the Ministry of Education and the World Bank to expand the Myanmar Government’s school grants and stipends program that promotes education for all children. Australia’s investment will help strengthen the education system, train school managers and education officials and help the Myanmar Government decentralise its education management to the provinces.

Australia will also provide 50 long-term Australia Awards for Burmese students to study in Australia in 2015 – and we are also exploring opportunities within the New Colombo Plan to provide Australian students an opportunity to study in Burma.

In Laos, Australia will work with the Ministry of Education and Sports to achieve quality primary education for all Lao children, including the most educationally disadvantaged children – girls, children from ethnic minority groups and students with disabilities. The program will also strengthen the quality of training in eight Lao teacher training colleges and provide basic infrastructure, including the construction or rehabilitation of 300 schools.

As a member of the Global Partnership for Education, Laos will also benefit from Australia’s $140 million pledge as part ofthe Government’s new aid policy framework, and our overall investment in education this year of over $1 billion. Creating opportunities for children to obtain a quality basic education is an important part of creating a skilled labour force, necessary for economic prosperity and poverty reduction.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500

  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555

Myanmar: Australia’s support for peace and prosperity in Burma

6 July 2014 - 11:15pm
Source: Government of Australia Country: Australia, Myanmar

Today I announce the Australian Government will provide further support to boost economic growth, stability and development in Burma. This follows my constructive discussion with senior Myanmar Government figures, including President Thein Sein and Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin. Our support will assist Burma in its period of unprecedented change and development.

From the total package of $24.6 million, Australia will provide $5 million to the World Bank to support the Myanmar Government’s reforms to modernise Burma’s public financial management systems, to efficiently collect revenues and allocate resources for an equitable distribution of public services. A further $600,000 will support the International Finance Corporation to oversee regulatory reforms that will boost private sector development in Burma.

Australia will also provide $9 million to support the peace process in Burma, bringing our total contribution to $12 million since 2012. Peace and security is essential for the country to achieve long-term stability and economic growth, which could improve the lives of millions of people.

While progress is being made towards sustained peace, around 640,000 people in Burma remain displaced by conflict. Australia will provide an additional $10 million to support the urgent humanitarian needs of people affected by conflict across the country, including provision of food, water, sanitation and hygiene.

Our assistance will promote greater community engagement in the peace process by working with the Myanmar Peace Centre to support the participation of women and also effective ceasefire monitoring.

Australia was one of the first nations in the developed world to constructively engage with the Myanmar Government as it embraced economic, political and social reform.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500

  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555

Myanmar: Ceasefire accord unlikely to be finalised this month, says MPC

6 July 2014 - 8:00pm
Source: Mizzima News Country: Myanmar

Written by

Tin Zar Aung

The Myanmar Peace Center says it is unlikely that talks between the government and armed ethnic groups to finalise a draft ceasefire agreement will take place in late July.

A senior adviser to the MPC, U Hla Maung Shwe, said it had proposed that the talks take place late this month when it met members of the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordinating Team, a coalition representing armed ethnic groups, in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai on July 6.

“We proposed a meeting to be convened in the last week of July but the minority ethnic groups will only be able to confirm their participation once they have held their summit conference,” said U Hla Maung Shwe, who participated in the Chiang Mai meeting.

The summit of armed ethnic organisations, including the 16 groups groups in the NCCT, is expected to be held in Chiang Mai from July 24 to 26, he said.

If the next proposed meeting between the government's Union Peace-making Work Committee and the NCCT cannot take place late this month it will represent a delay in finalising negotiations on a ceasefire.

“We had initially proposed the last week of July as a date for the signing of the agreement, however that now seems unlikely,” U Hla Maung Shwe said.

The two sides reported progress towards finalising a ceasefire accord at the end of the last round of negotiations that ended in Yangon on May 23.

Myanmar: Ethnic, Political Groups Hold Talks on Thai Border

5 July 2014 - 2:13am
Source: Irrawaddy Country: Myanmar

By LAWI WENG & KYAW KHA / THE IRRAWADDY|

RANGOON — Ethnic armed groups and opposition political parties met on the Thai-Burmese border on Friday for the second day of talks organized by the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), an alliance of ethnic armed groups in Burma.

According to a statement issued by the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society, one of the participants in the talks, the gathering brought together various political forces for discussions about the government’s push to reach a nationwide peace accord, and opposition calls for amendments to the military-drafted 2010 Constitution.

Besides the UNFC and the 88 Generation group, the meeting was attended by representatives of the United Nationalities Alliance (an umbrella group of ethnic political parties) and the National League for Democracy, the country’s main opposition party.

Nai Hong Sar, head of the UNFC’s National Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that his group planned to present a report on its ongoing negotiations with the Burmese government at today’s meeting.

“We will discuss what we have done so far, and ask other people for their ideas. We will also ask them what they see as the obstacles to the peace process and how we can overcome them,” he said.

Ko Ko Gyi, a senior 88 Generation leader, said he urged the ethnic armed groups not to repeat the mistake they made in the past of signing separate ceasefire agreements without first getting guarantees that an inclusive political dialogue would follow.

“We should all be able to participate in this political dialogue together. We should all be united,” he said, adding that the process should also be transparent.

“We need to learn from the past, and also from the example of peace negotiations in other countries. This political dialogue should also be related to the issue of changing the Constitution,” he said.

Since taking power in 2011, President Thein Sein has introduced a series of political reforms and reopened negotiations with the country’s ethnic armed groups, urging them to sign a nationwide peace agreement as a first step toward a political dialogue.

The NCCT, which represents 12 ethnic armed groups, says a key stumbling block to reaching an agreement is the Burmese government army’s rejection of a federal union system.

World: Les pays d’endémie palustre s’unissent pour étendre la lutte contre la maladie afin de toucher les populations peu accessibles des migrants et des communautés mobiles

5 July 2014 - 12:33am
Source: International Organization for Migration, Roll Back Malaria Country: Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, World

L'OIM et RBM collaborent pour améliorer l'accès aux interventions essentielles de lutte contre le paludisme

Victoria Falls, ZIMBABWE, le 5 juillet 2014: - Le partenariat Roll Back Malaria (RBM), en collaboration avec l'Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM), a invité les ministres de la Santé d'Afrique du Sud, l'Asie et d'autres régions d'endémie palustre, ainsi que le secteur privé à discuter de l'impact des migrations sur la lutte contre le paludisme afin de traiter conjointement le défi de fournir des services de santé adéquats aux communautés transfrontalière, mobiles et migrantes.

Avec 215 millions de migrants internationaux dans le monde entier, les gouvernements des pays d'endémie palustre reconnaissent de plus en plus l'importance d'adopter des solutions qui reflètent la réalité de la mobilité humaine aujourd'hui. Alors que la communauté internationale se prépare à l'agenda du développement pour l’après 2015, les délégués à Victoria Falls pourront discuter des solutions innovantes et durables afin d’intégrer les questions de la migration et de la mobilité humaine dans les politiques nationales, régionales et mondiales de santé, les stratégies et programmes, y compris dans la lutte antipaludique.

Le paludisme demeure un problème mondial de santé publique. On estime que 3,4 milliards de personnes sont à risque de paludisme dans le monde. En 2012, 207 millions de cas ont été enregistrés dans le monde, 90% des décès dus au paludisme se sont produits en Afrique subsaharienne. Au cours des quinze dernières années, les pays d'endémie palustre en Afrique australe et dans le monde ont cependant réalisé des réductions substantielles du fléau du paludisme. Si le paludisme est désormais limité à des zones éloignées, frontalières et forestières dans certains pays, les migrants et les populations mobiles représentent encore un pourcentage élevé du nombre total de cas de paludisme.

En 2007, la Communauté de développement d'Afrique Australe (CDAA) s'est engagée à éliminer le paludisme de la région, divers efforts ont été déployés pour réduire les décès et les cas de paludisme, tels que l’initiative "Malaria elimination 8". Bien que la transmission du paludisme dans ces pays ait été réduite de façon spectaculaire, la réintroduction du paludisme dans des pays à faible transmission reste un défi majeur. Le nombre croissant de mouvements internes et transfrontaliers en Afrique australe complique la tâche de l'élimination du paludisme dans la région.

" Nous sommes réunis aujourd'hui afin d’identifier les moyens efficaces pour élargir les interventions de lutte contre le paludisme pour les migrants et les populations mobiles. La lutte contre le paludisme nécessite une collaboration renforcée entre les gouvernements, les organisations internationales, la société civile et le secteur privé afin d’assurer l'accès universel aux services de santé pour les migrants vulnérables peu accessibles dans la région d'Afrique australe.", explique le Dr Parirentyatwa, Ministre de la Santé du Zimbabwe.

"Pour éliminer le paludisme de nos pays et du continent, nous devons non seulement renforcer les programmes existants de lutte contre le paludisme, mais aussi soutenir les mesures antipaludiques dans les régions éloignées et transfrontalières," ajoute-Mr James Macharia, Ministre de la Santé du Kenya.

"Les interventions de lutte antipaludique sont un bien public dont tous les gens dans le besoin devraient pouvoir bénéficier" a déclaré Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Directeur exécutif de RBM. "Les services de santé adéquats pour les populations mobiles est un investissement pour la santé en Afrique."

"Tous les efforts de lutte contre le paludisme devraient prendre en compte les flux migratoires, la vulnérabilité des processus de migration et l'accès aux soins de santé pour les migrants vulnérables et les populations mobiles. Le paludisme est évitable et traitable. Cependant, la réalité est que le paludisme est une maladie mortelle qui ne connaît ni ne respecte les frontières ", a déclaré le Dr Erick Ventura, le coordonnateur régional pour la santé et les migrations pour l'Afrique australe de l'OIM.

Les interventions ciblant le paludisme doivent tenir compte des comportements favorables à la santé de la population migratoire dans la région. Les migrants, les réfugiés et les populations mobiles sont souvent à la recherche d’un traitement dans le marché informel auprès de fournisseurs privés, ce qui augmente le risque d'exposition à des médicaments de qualité inférieure ou à des monothérapies à base d'artémisinine par voie orale, ce qui peut contribuer à l’émergence de résistance aux médicaments. La région de l'Afrique du Sud peut bénéficier des expériences particulières qui ont déjà été mises en place dans les pays asiatiques comme le Cambodge, le Myanmar, la Thaïlande et le Viet Nam, dans le cadre de leurs programmes de confinement de la résistance à l'artémisinine. Ces mesures comprennent des campagnes de distribution de moustiquaires imprégnées d’insecticide, la mise en place de points de contrôle et la mise à disposition de tests de diagnostic et de services de soin sur les chantiers. Dans la région de la CDAA, une récente initiative de plaidoyer du partenariat RBM "Racing Against Malaria" a plaidé en faveur d’interventions antipaludique ciblées pour migrants, les populations mobiles et isolées. L'initiative a mis en évidence la nécessité d'un dépistage actif de parasites, de notification et de réponse rapide grâce à la surveillance basée sur les cas. RBM a plaidé pour que les dirigeants politiques montrent leurs engagements et à accroissent leurs efforts en mobilisant un financement national pour le paludisme.

Une lutte efficace contre le paludisme et son élimination nécessite un effort extraordinaire et une action mondiale concertée. Cette réunion de haut niveau devrait se traduire par une déclaration officielle d'engagement en vue d’atteindre les objectifs de lutte contre le paludisme liés aux objectifs du millénaire pour le développement (OMD) et d'accélérer les progrès vers l'élimination du paludisme dans les pays de la CDAA.

Contacts pour les médias :

Pour l'OIM :
- Gaone Dixon, Cell: +27 72 127 7094, Email: gdixon@iom.int

Pour RBM :
- Pru Smith, Cell: +41 79 477 1744, Email: smithp@who.int (Anglais)
- Michel Aublanc, Cell: +33 6 08719 795 – Email : michel.aublanc@orange.fr (français)

A propos du Partenariat Roll Back Malaria (RBM)

Fondé en 1998 par l’Organisation mondiale de la santé (OMS), le Fonds des Nations Unies pour l’enfance (UNICEF), le Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement (PNUD) et la Banque mondiale, le Partenariat RBM est un cadre mondial visant à mettre en oeuvre une action internationale coordonnée contre le paludisme. Aujourd’hui, le RBM est un partenariat mondial public-privé regroupant plus de 500 organisations de différents secteurs, qui fournissent une plateforme neutre pour la recherche d’un consensus en vue de l’élaboration de solutions aux défis posés par la mise en oeuvre des interventions et stratégies de lutte contre le paludisme. Il assure la promotion d’un engagement politique à haut niveau afin que la lutte contre le paludisme reste au coeur des priorités de l’ordre du jour mondial et suit les progrès accomplis vers la réalisation des objectifs universels établis.

A propos de l'OIM

L'Organisation internationale pour les migrations (OIM) est une organisation inter-gouvernementale dynamique et en pleine croissance, avec 151 Etats membres, engagés dans le principe que la migration humaine et ordonnée bénéficie migrants et de la société. Fondée en 1951, elle opère maintenant dans plus de 440 bureaux sur le terrain à travers le monde, l'OIM travaille avec des partenaires, le gouvernement et la société civile pour aider à répondre aux défis de la migration et de la mobilité, promouvoir la compréhension des questions de migration, favoriser le développement économique et social à travers les migrations; et respecter la dignité humaine et le bien-être des migrants et des populations mobiles.

L’accès à la santé est l'un des défis qui affectent les migrants et les populations mobiles. Les Initiatives de OIM "Migration et santé" visent à réduire les vulnérabilités et les défis rencontrés par les migrants et les communautés touchées par la migration de répondre à leurs besoins en matière de santé à travers toutes les phases du processus de migration.

World: Malaria-Endemic Countries Unite to Extend Malaria Control to Hard-To-Reach Migrant and Mobile Communities

5 July 2014 - 12:28am
Source: International Organization for Migration, Roll Back Malaria Country: Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, World

IOM and RBM collaborate to improve access to key malaria interventions

Victoria Falls, ZIMBABWE, 5 July 2014: - Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM), together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), has invited Ministers of Health from Southern Africa, Asia and other malaria-endemic regions, as well as the private sector to discuss the impact of migration on malaria control and elimination and address jointly the challenge of providing adequate health services to crossborder, mobile and migrant communities.

With 215 million international migrants worldwide, governments in malaria-endemic countries increasingly acknowledge the importance of adopting solutions that reflect the reality of human mobility today. As the global community prepares for the post 2015 development agenda, delegates in Victoria Falls will discuss innovative and sustainable interventions that will see migration and human mobility mainstreamed into national, regional and global health policies, strategies and programmes including in malaria control.

Malaria remains a major global health issue. An estimated 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria worldwide. In 2012, there were 207 million cases reported worldwide, with 90% of all malaria deaths occurring in Sub Saharan Africa. Over the past fifteen years, malaria-endemic countries in Southern Africa and around the globe have achieved substantial reductions in their malaria burden. While malaria is now limited to remote, border and forested areas in some countries, migrants and mobile populations still represent a high percentage of the total number of malaria cases.

In 2007, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) pledged to eliminate malaria from the region and diverse efforts have been deployed to cut malaria deaths and cases such as the 2009 Malaria Elimination 8 initiative. Although malaria transmission in these countries has been reduced dramatically, reintroduction of malaria from high-transmission to low-transmission countries remains a major challenge. The increasing number of internal and cross border movements in Southern Africa complicates the task of eliminating malaria from the region.

"We are here today to identify efficient ways to extend malaria control interventions to migrants and mobile populations. The fight against malaria requires strengthened collaboration between governments, international organizations, civil society and private sector to ensure universal access to health services for vulnerable and hard to reach migrants in the Southern Africa region," says Dr Parirentyatwa, Minister of Health, Zimbabwe.

"To eliminate malaria from our countries and the continent, we need to not only strengthen our existing malaria control programmes but also bolster malaria control measures in remote areas and crossborder regions," adds James Macharia, Minister of Health, Kenya.

"Malaria control interventions are a public good that all people in need should benefit from," said Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, RBM Executive Director. "Adequate health services for mobile populations are an investment in Africa's health."

"All efforts to address malaria should take into account migration flows, the vulnerability aspects of the entire migration process and access to health care for the vulnerable migrants and mobile populations. Malaria is preventable and treatable. However, the reality is malaria is a fatal disease that neither knows nor respects borders," says Dr. Erick Ventura, IOM Migration and Health Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa.

Interventions targeting malaria need to consider the health-seeking behaviors of the migratory population in the region. Migrants, refugees and mobile populations often seek treatment from unregulated, private vendors, increasing their risk of exposure to substandard drugs or oral artemisininbased monotherapies, which can be a factor in emerging drug resistance. The Southern Africa region can learn from special interventions, focusing on migrants that have already been put in place in Asian countries such as Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam, as part of their artemisinin resistance containment programmes. These measures include insecticide-treated bed net distribution campaigns, the establishment of screening points, and the provision of diagnostic testing and treatment services at work-sites.

In the SADC region, a recent RBM advocacy initiative - Racing Against Malaria (RAM) 2 – has called for targeted malaria interventions for migrant, mobile and remote populations. The initiative highlighted the need for active screening and parasite detection, notification and rapid response through casebased surveillance. It also called on political leaders to show their commitment and increase the engagement in mobilising domestic funding for malaria.

Achieving effective malaria control and elimination requires an extraordinary effort and global action. This high-level meeting is expected to result in a formal statement of commitment to reach the MDGrelated malaria targets and speed up progress towards malaria elimination in the SADC countries.

Media contacts:

For IOM: Gaone Dixon, Cell: +27 72 127 7094, Email: gdixon@iom.int For RBM: Pru Smith, Cell: +41 79 477 1744, Email: smithp@who.int (English)

Mr Michel Aublanc, Cell:+33 1 69 286 286 (French)

About the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM)

The Roll Back malaria Partnership was founded by UNICEF, WHO, UNDP and the World Bank in 1998 as a global framework to coordinate global action against malaria. Today, RBM is a global publicprivate partnership made up of more than 500 organizations across sectors that provides a neutral platform for consensus-building, developing solutions to challenges in the implementation of malaria control interventions and strategies, promotes high-level political commitment to keep malaria at the top of the global agenda, and monitors progress towards universal goals.

About IOM

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is a dynamic and growing inter-governmental organization, with 151 member states, committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.

Established in 1951 and now active in over 440 field locations worldwide, IOM works with partners, government and civil society to assist in meeting the operational challenges of migration and mobility, advance understanding of migration issues, encourage social and economic development through migration; and uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants and mobile populations.

Access to health is one of the challenges that affect migrants and mobile populations. IOM Migration and Health initiatives are aimed at addressing the health vulnerabilities and challenges faced by migrants and migration affected communities by responding to their health needs throughout all phases of the migration process.

Myanmar: Urgent need to improve the situation of children in Myanmar's Rakhine State

4 July 2014 - 11:09pm
Source: UN Children's Fund Country: Myanmar

NEW YORK, 4 July 2014 - More than 105,000 children in Myanmar’s Rakhine State have been affected by inter-communal violence, including 78,000 displaced children living in rural camps in appalling conditions. They, and other vulnerable children, cannot wait. Their needs demand an urgent response.

Rakhine State is one of the poorest areas in Myanmar, with some of the lowest social and development indicators in the world. Half of all children under five in Rakhine State suffer from stunting; nearly 90 per cent are born outside of a health facility; and one in three children is not attending primary school.

Over the past year UNICEF has reached hundreds of thousands of children in Rakhine State with lifesaving assistance – including provision of therapeutic food and nutrition supplements to prevent and treat malnutrition, and support for water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives to stop the spread of pneumonia, diarrhoea, and malaria. In 2013, 300,000 children across Rakhine State were immunized against polio, with UNICEF aiming to reach 236,000 people with measles, polio, tetanus toxoid and other vaccines this year.

UNICEF will continue working with local and government authorities and our partners to meet the needs and promote the rights and well-being of all vulnerable children in Rakhine, regardless of their ethnicity, origin, religion, or language. But much more must be done to address the alarming conditions affecting so many children across the State, and to create the stable environment all children need to grow up safe, healthy and educated.

#

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For further information about UNICEF and its work, visit: www.unicef.org

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

For further information, please contact:

Georgina Thompson, UNICEF New York, Mobile: +1 917 775 3874, gthompson@unicef.org

Myanmar: Mob burns school in riot-hit Myanmar city

4 July 2014 - 8:00pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

07/05/2014 19:50 GMT

MANDALAY, July 5, 2014 (AFP) - Muslims in Myanmar's second-largest city accused police on Saturday of standing by as a Buddhist mob went on a rampage, torching a school and other buildings.

Angry mourners, some carrying crude weapons, rioted in Mandalay after the funeral of a 36-year-old Buddhist victim of the country's latest eruption of religious unrest, witnesses said.

A school and dormitory in the Muslim area of a cemetery on the outskirts of the city were seen charred and damaged on Saturday.

"More than 70 police were here but did nothing," said Win Naing, a Muslim donor to the school, who watched the attack from his hiding place in the home of a Buddhist friend.

He said some of the rioters were armed with sticks, metal pipes and even saws.

No children were believed to be in the school at the time and nobody was thought to have been injured in the attack.

Several days of violence, sparked by an accusation of rape, have also left a Muslim dead and 14 other people injured.

"Police could have stopped the mob but they did not," said Zaw Zaw Latt, a Muslim member of an interfaith group in the city.

Police said they did not provide extra security for the crowds because they did not believe they would turn violent.

"Yesterday we did not stop the mob because we thought they were just taking part the funeral, not an attack," said Ye Htut of the Myanmar regional police office.

At least 250 people have been killed across Myanmar since 2012 in Buddhist-Muslim clashes that have cast a shadow over the country's political reforms.

Police have been accused of inaction in the past and the government has deployed soldiers in some cases to restore order.

A night-time curfew has been imposed in Mandalay and nine people have been arrested in connection with the recent violence.

Police said they were boosting security measures as a precaution in other cities, including the main city Yangon which has a diverse population of religious and ethnic minorities.

Social media users were unable to access Facebook for the second straight evening Friday, amid speculation that Myanmar had blocked the site to curb the spread of inflammatory comment online. The website was working normally on Saturday.

Radical monks have been accused of whipping up religious tensions, with fiery warnings that the country's main religion is under threat from Islam.

A friend of the slain Buddhist man told AFP that a Muslim gang had used a "sword" in the attack.

The dead Muslim man, a popular local bicycle shop owner, was later killed while on his way to attend early morning prayers.

nan/klm/dr/jom

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Myanmar: Angry mourners mass in riot-hit Myanmar city

4 July 2014 - 2:38am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

07/04/2014 14:25 GMT

MANDALAY, July 4, 2014 (AFP) - Thousands of people, some wielding sticks, flooded Myanmar's second-largest city Friday as tensions spiked during the funeral of a victim of Buddhist-Muslim clashes that have raised fears of spreading violence.

Mandalay was on edge as darkness fell with police blocking access to some Muslim neighbourhoods in a tightening of security for the central Myanmar city's second night under curfew, as anger grew following unrest that left one Buddhist and one Muslim dead.

It was the latest in a string of deadly religious clashes that have plagued the former junta-run nation for two years, prompting warnings that the country's fragile transition to democracy could be imperilled.

Earlier Friday, scores of motorcycles took part in a procession carrying the coffin of the 36-year-old Buddhist man through the heart of the city.

While Mandalay has a sizeable Muslim minority and also plays host to a group of nationalist Buddhist monks accused of stoking tension, it has not suffered religious unrest on this scale in recent years.

Police sources told AFP they were boosting security measures as a precaution in other cities, including the commercial hub Yangon which has a diverse population of religious and ethnic minorities.

Social media users were unable to access Facebook for the second straight evening, amid speculation that Myanmar had blocked the site to curb the spread of inflammatory comment online.

No one from the authorities was able to comment on the issue and the official spokesman, who posts his official updates via Facebook, did not respond to requests for information.

The violence on Tuesday and Wednesday saw mobs wielding airguns, swords, rocks and other weapons go on a rampage through the central metropolis.

The wife of the Buddhist victim, who was attacked on Wednesday evening, told AFP that she could not understand why the father of her three children was targeted.

"They killed him brutally," she said as she prepared for the funeral.

A friend of the dead man, who was with him at the time of the attack, showed AFP injuries on his hand that he said were slash marks from a "sword" used by a group of Muslims to kill his friend.

"I will hold a grudge for the rest of my life. If anything happens like this again I will not hesitate to be involved," said Htwe.

A funeral for the dead Muslim man, a popular local bicycle shop owner, was held Thursday, hours after he was killed while on his way to attend early morning prayers.

The unrest broke out Tuesday after an accusation of a rape of a Buddhist woman by two Muslim men from a local tea shop was spread on the Internet, prompting a crowd of hundreds to gather near the business, hurling stones and damaging property.

"The violence happened because of hate speech and misinformation spread online," an official from the president's office, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

Authorities imposed the curfew on Thursday to quell the riots, which left 14 people injured. Police arrested nine people in connection with the unrest.

  • Fears of more riots -

Buddhist-Muslim clashes have left at least 250 people dead and tens of thousands displaced since fighting first broke out in Myanmar's western Rakhine state in 2012.

Most of the victims have been Muslim and clashes have often erupted as a result of rumours or individual criminal acts.

Prominent hardline cleric Wirathu, who is based in Mandalay, posted a link to online allegations against the tea shop owners on his Facebook page just hours before the latest unrest flared up.

But in an interview with AFP he dismissed suggestions that his online posts were inflammatory.

"Muslim organisations are the ones responsible for this and are more able to stop it from happening again," he said, accusing the community of shielding the two men from the tea shop.

Kari Hasan, the head of downtown Shaeshaung mosque, said the Muslim community had become a target of hate speech and had been let down by the authorities.

"If something happens they suddenly say it is because of Islam. With the new government we expected good things but we only get bad things," he said.

Myanmar's President Thein Sein, who has seen his regime's reformist drive overshadowed by the sectarian violence, said the country could only maintain stability if people live "harmoniously" in his monthly radio address aired this week.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi blamed the authorities for the worsening violence.

"The authorities should properly handle those people who are spreading rumours. Without rule of law, more riots will come," she told Radio Free Asia, according to remarks posted on the broadcaster's website.

nan-hla/klm/pdh

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Myanmar: Tensions simmer in riot-hit Myanmar city

4 July 2014 - 2:38am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

07/04/2014 05:58 GMT

MANDALAY, July 4, 2014 (AFP) - Police patrolled tense streets in Myanmar's second-largest city on Friday as anger and disbelief rippled through violence-hit communities following deadly Buddhist-Muslim clashes that raised fears of spreading unrest.

Calm returned to Mandalay after the city was placed under curfew Thursday to quell violence that saw mobs wielding airguns, swords, rocks and other weapons go on a rampage, leaving one Buddhist and one Muslim dead.

It was the latest in a string of deadly religious clashes that have plagued the former junta-run nation for two years, prompting warnings that the country's fragile transition to democracy could be imperilled.

Violence broke out on Tuesday after an accusation of a rape of a Buddhist woman by two Muslim men from a local tea shop was spread on the Internet, prompting a crowd of hundreds to gather near the business, hurling stones and damaging property.

"The violence happened because of hate speech and misinformation spread online," an official from the president's office, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

He said the situation was now under control and the government so far had no specific plan to tackle inflammatory remarks posted on the Internet.

Friends and relatives of the Buddhist man killed on Wednesday, a 36-year-old father of three, expressed their shock and outrage as they prepared to hold his funeral.

"He was like a brother to me," said Htwe, who was with the dead man on the night of the attack.

He showed AFP injuries on his hand that he said were slash marks from a "sword" used by a group of Muslims to kill his friend.

"I will hold a grudge for the rest of my life," he said of the attack.

A funeral for the dead Muslim man, a popular local bicycle shop owner, was held Thursday, hours after he was killed while on his way to attend early morning prayers.

Kari Hasan, the head of nearby Shaeshaung mosque, said the Muslim community had become a target of hate speech and had been let down by the authorities.

"If something happens they suddenly say it is because of Islam. With the new government we expected good things but we only get bad things," he said.

  • Fears of more riots -

Sectarian clashes have left at least 250 people dead and tens of thousands displaced since fighting first broke out in western Rakhine state in 2012.

Most of the victims of the violence have been Muslim and clashes have often erupted as a result of rumours or individual criminal acts.

Radical monks have been accused of stoking religious tensions, while the security forces have been accused of failing to prevent attacks.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi blamed the authorities for the worsening violence and warned of the dangers of unsubstantiated reports.

"The authorities should properly handle those people who are spreading rumours. Without rule of law, more riots will come," she told Radio Free Asia, according to remarks posted on the broadcaster's website.

In a monthly radio address broadcast this week, Myanmar's reformist President Thein Sein said the country was a "multi-racial and -religious nation" that could only maintain stability if people live "harmoniously".

"For the reform to be successful, I would like to urge all to avoid instigation and behaviour that incite hatred among our fellow citizens," he said, according to an official transcript.

nan-hla/klm/dr/mtp

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Myanmar: Ending sexual violence in conflict through the establishment of Women and Girl Centres in Myanmar

4 July 2014 - 1:14am
Source: UN Population Fund Country: Myanmar

Myanmar became the 150th country to endorse the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in the run up to a landmark Global Summit to end Sexual and Gender-based violence on the 6th June 2014. The declaration contains a set of practical and political commitments to end the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war. Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister, Thant Kyaw and representatives from Myanmar’s civil society joined government ministers, military officials, aid workers and civil society leaders from more than 100 countries at the “End Sexual Violence in Conflict Summit,” in London from the 10th - 13th June, 2014.

In parallel to the Global Summit in London, the British Embassy, Yangon, hosted a series of activities to raise awareness of the need to establish a survivor centered approach, break the culture of impunity and hold perpetuators accountable for acts of sexual violence. As part of these activities, Mi Mi Thin Aung, UNFPA’s National GBV Coordinator, participated in a round table national radio programme, hosted by BBC Media Action, with fifteen young people. Mi Mi Thin Aung said, “We discussed what sexual violence is in conflict and why it happens. We explored concrete examples about how young people can help to prevent it. This radio discussion is really important for young people in conflict areas as many of them are not aware or know very little about this issue.”

The activities concluded with a Technical Expert Panel Discussion chaired by the British Ambassador, Mr. Andrew Patrick, with UNFPA International GBV Coordinator, Elizabeth Pender, Hkawng Gan – case worker from Metta Development Foundation working in a Women and Girls Centre in Kachin and Professor Than New - a member of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission. The audience was made up of members from civil society, international NGOs, UN representatives and the diplomatic community.

In recognition of the need to address sexual violence in conflict, UNFPA over the last 8 months, has been instrumental in setting up services for victims in Kachin and Rakhine states. In these conflict affected areas, women and girls have identified rape as the primary reason for leaving their homes. In Kachin, UNFPA has partnered with the Metta Development Foundation (in Government controlled areas) and the Kachin Women’s Association (in Non-Government controlled areas) to establish 8 Women and Girls Centres (WGCs). Over 2,000 women and girls have accessed support through WGCs and outreach activities in Kachin since January 2014. In Rakhine state, UNFPA supports the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to operate 6 WGCs. IRC will also work with national CSO partners.

The WGCs provide a safe and supportive environment for women and girls to access confidential psychosocial and case management services. The WGCs are a critical safe space as victims of GBV are often stigmatised by both their families and communities when seeking services for GBV. Elizabeth Pender, UNFPA International GBV Coordinator said, “It is really dangerous for a victim of violence to come forward, which is why these centers offer a safe space for woman and girls.”

Each WGC includes a centre manager, case workers, response officers and prevention officers. “In Kachin state we have already seen the number of women and girls visiting the centres double between February and March 2014, and quadruple between March and April. I think this indicates that there is a demand and need for these centres, but we also have to build trust and relationships. We have to demonstrate to women and girls that their safety and security is our priority,” said Elizabeth Pender of UNFPA.

Myanmar: Two dead in Buddhist-Muslim unrest in Myanmar

3 July 2014 - 12:07am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

07/03/2014 08:24 GMT

YANGON, July 3, 2014 (AFP) - Buddhist-Muslim clashes have left two dead in Myanmar's second-largest city, authorities said Thursday, after a rape accusation triggered a new round of sectarian rioting in the former military-ruled nation.

Angry mobs rampaged through Mandalay for a second straight night in the latest of several waves of sectarian unrest that have exposed deep religious tensions in the Buddhist-majority Southeast Asian nation.

Inter-communal violence has overshadowed widely praised political reforms since erupting in 2012. It has largely targeted Muslims, leaving at least 250 people dead and tens of thousands homeless.

Buddhist rioters, some armed with sticks and knives, attacked a Muslim teashop on Tuesday and surrounding property in downtown Mandalay after an accusation of rape, according to local police.

Security forces fired rubber bullets in the early hours of Wednesday to try and disperse the crowds.

Unrest then broke out again late Wednesday despite an increase in security, with pockets of violence flaring across the centre of the city of some seven million people.

"Two men were killed" in attacks late Wednesday and into Thursday, Zaw Min Oo, a senior police officer in Mandalay, told AFP.

He said one of the victims was Buddhist and one was Muslim. About 10 other people were injured.

In a monthly radio address, Myanmar's reformist President Thein Sein called for an end to religious hatred.

"As our country is a multi-racial and -religious nation, the current reform process will be successful only when stability is maintained through the co-operation of all the citizens by living harmoniously with one another," he said according to an official transcript.

"For the reform to be successful, I would like to urge all to avoid instigation and behaviour that incite hatred among our fellow citizens," he said.

The former general has been credited with pushing through dramatic reforms since the ex-junta handed power to a nominally civilian government in 2011.

But the sectarian conflicts have provided a major test for his administration and prompted warnings that the country's fragile transition towards democracy could be at risk.

Muslims in Myanmar account for an estimated four percent of the roughly 60 million population.

  • Radical monks -

Sectarian clashes flared up two years ago in western Rakhine state, with fighting that has displaced about 140,000 people, mainly stateless Rohingya Muslims.

It has since broadened into sporadic attacks against Muslim communities across the country, with violence often provoked by rumours or individual criminal acts.

Radical monks have been accused of stoking religious tensions with fiery warnings that Buddhism is under threat from Islam.

A prominent hardline monk, Wirathu, posted a link to online allegations against the teashop owners on his Facebook page just hours before the latest unrest flared up.

He has since posted only about Buddhist victims of the violence, ramping up the tension with allegations that Mandalay's mosques have issued a "jihad" with hundreds of people poised to launch an attack after receiving "military training".

A Mandalay resident, who was a friend of the slain Muslim, said the victim was beaten to death by a group of five or six men early Thursday.

"He did not have anything to do with the violence. He was just going to the mosque to pray," he told AFP, asking not to be named for fear of reprisals.

"We cannot say the situation in Mandalay has calmed down yet. We are living in fear. We do not know what will happen."

Mandalay, which is about a three hour drive from the capital Naypyidaw, has large Muslim and ethnic Chinese populations.

But it is also known as the country's monastic heartland and is home to tens of thousands of monks, including Wirathu.

His radical Buddhist nationalist movement has proposed boycotts of Muslim businesses and backed suggestions for a series of controversial laws -- due to be debated by parliament -- that would restrict religious freedoms.

Police in Mandalay said they were aware of the rape allegation but had not yet made any arrests.

nan-hla/klm/dr/ac

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Myanmar: Curfew imposed after two killed in Myanmar riots

3 July 2014 - 12:07am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

07/03/2014 14:02 GMT

MANDALAY, July 3, 2014 (AFP) - Myanmar's second-largest city was put under curfew on Thursday after two people were killed in the latest outbreak of Buddhist-Muslim violence to convulse the former junta-ruled nation.

Dozens of armed police were seen patrolling the tense streets of Mandalay where shops were shuttered after angry mobs rampaged through the normally bustling central metropolis for two consecutive nights.

Two men, one Buddhist and one Muslim, were killed in violence that continued into Thursday morning, police said.

It is the latest of several waves of sectarian unrest that have exposed deep religious tensions in the Buddhist-majority nation as it emerges from decades of military rule.

"We do not want the situation getting worse," senior Mandalay police officer Zaw Min Oo told AFP, explaining that the 9:00 pm to 5:00 am restrictions were for "security reasons".

Inter-communal violence has overshadowed widely praised political reforms since erupting in 2012. The unrest has largely targeted Muslims, leaving at least 250 people dead and tens of thousands homeless.

Buddhist rioters, some armed with sticks and knives, attacked a Muslim teashop on Tuesday and surrounding property in downtown Mandalay after an accusation of rape, according to local police.

Security forces fired rubber bullets in the early hours of Wednesday to try and disperse the crowds in violence that left at least five hurt.

Unrest then broke out again late Wednesday despite an increase in security, with pockets of violence flaring across the centre of the city of some seven million people.

Authorities said the two men were killed in separate attacks overnight which also injured 14 people. The information ministry said local police have arrested four people in relation to the violence.

In a monthly radio address, Myanmar's reformist President Thein Sein said the country was a "multi-racial and -religious nation" that could only maintain stability if people live "harmoniously".

"For the reform to be successful, I would like to urge all to avoid instigation and behaviour that incite hatred among our fellow citizens," he said, according to an official transcript.

The former general has been credited with pushing through dramatic reforms since the ex-junta handed power to a nominally civilian government in 2011.

But the sectarian conflicts have prompted warnings that the country's fragile transition towards democracy could be at risk.

The US embassy in Yangon issued a message on its official Twitter feed urging calm.

"Rule by law not rumour and mob action (is) essential for justice, stability and development," it said.

Muslims in Myanmar account for at least four percent of the roughly 60 million population.

  • Radical monks -

Sectarian clashes flared up two years ago in western Rakhine state, with fighting that has displaced about 140,000 people, mainly stateless Rohingya Muslims.

It has since broadened into sporadic attacks against Muslim communities across the country, with violence often provoked by rumours or individual criminal acts.

Radical monks have been accused of stoking religious tensions with fiery warnings that Buddhism is under threat from Islam.

A prominent hardline cleric, Wirathu, posted a link to online allegations against the teashop owners on his Facebook page just hours before the latest unrest flared up.

He has since ramped up the tension with allegations that Mandalay's mosques have issued a "jihad" with hundreds of people poised to launch an attack after receiving "military training".

Mandalay residents expressed surprise and dismay at the violence.

"I don't understand what is happening. We have been living peacefully for a long time," Buddhist businessman Myo Min Thein told AFP after reading the curfew announcement stuck on a roadside lamppost.

A Mandalay resident, who was a friend of the slain Muslim, said the victim was beaten to death by a group of five or six men early Thursday.

"He did not have anything to do with the violence. He was just going to the mosque to pray," he told AFP, asking not to be named for fear of reprisals.

"We are living in fear. We do not know what will happen."

A funeral for the Muslim man, a popular local bicycle shop owner, was held Thursday.

A service for the Buddhist victim is due to be held on Friday.

Mandalay, which is about a three hour drive from the capital Naypyidaw, has large Muslim and ethnic Chinese populations.

But it is also known as the country's monastic heartland and is home to tens of thousands of monks, including Wirathu.

His Buddhist nationalist movement has proposed boycotts of Muslim businesses and backed suggestions for a series of controversial laws -- due to be debated by parliament -- that would restrict religious freedoms.

nan-hla/klm/kjl

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Myanmar: Two dead in Buddhist-Muslim unrest in Myanmar: police

3 July 2014 - 12:07am
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Myanmar

07/03/2014 04:44 GMT

YANGON, July 3, 2014 (AFP) - Two people have been killed during Buddhist-Muslim violence in Myanmar's second-largest city, police said Thursday after security forces fired rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of rioters.

Myanmar has been shaken by several waves of sectarian conflict in recent years that have cast a shadow over its emergence from decades of repressive military rule.

At least 250 people have been killed and tens of thousands left homeless since 2012 by inter-communal violence that has largely targeted Muslims.

Police fired rubber bullets during the night on Tuesday into Wednesday to disperse hundreds of rioters, some armed with sticks and knives, who took to the streets and attacked a Muslim teashop after an accusation of rape, the authorities said.

"There are two dead," a police officer, who did not want to be named, told AFP by telephone from the central city of Mandalay, without providing further details.

In a monthly radio address, Myanmar's reformist President Thein Sein called for an end to religious hatred.

"As our country is a multi-racial and -religious nation, the current reform process will be successful only when stability is maintained through the co-operation of all the citizens by living harmoniously with one another," he said according to an official transcript.

"For the reform to be successful, I would like to urge all to avoid instigation and behaviour that incite hatred among our fellow citizens," he said.

The former general has been credited with pushing through dramatic reforms since the former junta handed power to a nominally civilian government in 2011.

But the sectarian conflicts have provided a major test for his administration and prompted warnings that the country's fragile transition towards democracy could be at risk.

Radical monks have been accused of stoking religious tensions with fiery warnings that Buddhism is under threat from Islam.

A prominent hardline monk, Wirathu, posted a link to online allegations against the teashop owners on his Facebook page just hours before the latest unrest flared up.

Rioters smashed or set fire to several cars and threw bricks and bottles at some houses, according to the state-controlled New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

It said that about 450 rioters with sticks and knives took to the streets, despite an increased security presence.

"We are investigating this riot and will take action against those involved in the mob attack," Mandalay police chief Zaw Win Aung was quoted as saying.

He said extra security forces would be deployed to restore order.

Myanmar's Muslims account for an estimated four percent of the roughly 60 million population in a country where for many people Buddhism forms an intrinsic part of national identity.

nan/dr/jah

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse