Monday, August 30, 2010

Crisis Response Update

Welcome to the latest crisis response update. The purpose of these updates is to keep staff, volunteers, interns and key activists in the loop about potential or actual human rights crisis situations that are on our radar. Please note that this update and some of the information contained in it is not public and therefore should not be sent around to general email lists. If you have any questions about the information below and how it can be shared, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would also welcome suggestions and feedback on the format of this update so that we can continue to develop it to meet your needs. Thanks, Jenny.

The two-minute summary

Preparations for ramping up the campaigning around the elections in Burma continue with some exciting 'first to market' initiatives to be rolled out over the coming months. A more detailed update on what the Burma campaign will look like over the coming months will be sent next week.

We are closely monitoring the Death Penalty cases for Scott Rush, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the three members of the ‘Bali 9’ facing the death penalty in Indonesia. If you are considering doing any work around this, or you have any questions or enquiries please contact me directly (mobile: 0434 359 138). As always, all media enquiries should be directed to the media team (Roxanne: 0423 280 658).

We are also tracking developments in the Solomon Islands elections held almost three weeks ago. After a period of uncertainty over election results and fears of bribery allegations which may potentially destabilise the nation, a new PM was announced on 25 August 2010. Apolosi Bose, our Pacific Researcher is on the ground in the Solomon Islands.

The more detailed summary

BURMA The headline and key message of the campaign will revolve around the Three Freedoms of Expression, Association and Assembly.

Recent Developments:
1. Amnesty International has called for a Commission of Inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma. Members of the international community who have shown support for a Commission of Inquiry include Australia, UK, Czech Republic and most recently the USA. There is also increasing pressure on the EU to support a Commission of Inquiry.
2. In July 2010 India promised Burma millions of dollars in assistance and has signed several pacts including a pact to reduce arms smuggling, a sign of growing ties with the Burmese military government. The Government of India as a regional leader should use its influence to improve the human rights situation in Burma in advance of the upcoming elections. For further information please refer to

The current global, multilingual action site - which allows you to send an email to 9 foreign ministers in their preferred language with the click of a button is now online at

A podcast of crisis briefing event held on 16 June 2010 detailing the latest situation inside Burma by AI’s Burma expert Benjamin Zawacki and Burma Campaign Australia spokesperson Dr Myint Cho is now available here:

Recent Amnesty International Reports and Public Statements:
1. ‘Myanmar elections will test ASEAN’s credibility’ – 16 July 2010
2. ‘Myanmar: Submission to the Universal Periodic Review: Tenth session of the UPR working group of the Human Rights Council January 2011’ – 5 July 2010

We have been monitoring the lead up to and the outcome of the Solomon Islands elections in August 2010. This year’s election has seen a record 508 candidates vying for seats in the nations 50 seat parliament with reports of unqualified individuals and criminals having been allowed to participate. Furthermore post election riots such as those in 2006 has seen a visible increase in police presence and a higher level of security during the elections. In 2006 an Australian-led peacekeeping force i.e. the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) were deployed to contain the violence. RAMSI have also been working closely with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) during the 2010 elections. However there were growing fears that the lack of a clear outcome three weeks after the elections would destabilise the nation.

The situation
Three weeks after the general elections there still hadn’t been a clear winner. However on Wednesday 25th of August Danny Phillip has emerged as the new Prime Minister beating his only rival Steve Abana by three votes. Mr Phillip has indicated that his government’s priority will be constitutional reform. There are also fears that allegations of election bribery and corruption may destabilise the country. Apolosi Bose, our Pacific Researcher, is on the ground and may potentially provide a blog on the situation for crisis pages.

Recent Amnesty International Reports and Public Statements:
1. AIA – ‘Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission a historic opportunity’ - 8 March 2010 -
2. AIA – ‘The dark side of the Solomon Islands’ - 18 August 2010 -

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