Friday, October 15, 2010

Asia-Pacific Briefing September 2010

Some good news:

  • The relase of the AI IS report "Don't Mine Us out of Existance: Refinery and Bauxite Mine Devestate Lives in India" formed the basis of the government’s decision to axe the mine. The authorities also stalled plans for six fold expansion of the alumina refinery in Lanjigarh, at the base of the hills, and raised questions over pollution.

  • Pazilat Akeniyaz, a Uighur asylum seeker in the UK who had participated in the 5 July 2009 riots in Urumqi, was recognised as refugee on appeal by the Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber on 21 September after a letter of support was issued by Amnesty UK which the China Team assisted in drafting. The determination holds that "there is much evidence from a wide spectrum of sources about the risks faced by who took part or are suspected of having taken part in the event of 5 July 2009" and is likely to set a precedent in similar asylum cases in the UK.

Some Emerging Situations:

  • Peace talks with the Taleban: President Karzai named a 70-member Peace Council on 28 September. The Peace Council was approved by the Peace Jirga held on earlier this year in Kabul, and its role is to facilitate the reconciliation process with the Taleban and broker the peace deal. Most of the Council members are the same factional leaders and warlords who have dominated the wars and politics of Afghanistan in the past 30 years, and who have been fighting the Taleban and are widely accused to have committed human rights violations and war crimes. Among the Council nominees there are eight women, at least seven of them are known of having links to Jihadi leaders. The composition of the Council is likely to damage the reconciliation process and undermine human rights of the victims

  • Conflict IDPs: Reports from Arghandab district of Kandahar province claimed that about 950 fmailes (6,500 - 7,000 people) have fled the mose active combat areas of Zhari and Arghandab districts and settled in Kandahar city. These figures have not been confirmed yet by the UNHCR.

  • Pakistan flood displaced and relief: According to new estimate following the most recent flooding in Sindh province at lease 10 million people are currently without shelter. The number of those flood affected in 55 relief camps had reached 76,869. Poorly handled relief efforts, corruption, and favouritism have added to the distrust that many Pakistanis already feel for their civilian politial leaders, while the armed forces hae improved their image performing rescue and relief mission in the flooded areas.

  • The politburo of the Chinese Communist Party leaders wil meet from October 15 to 18 for their most important annual gathering.

  • In Nepal there has been a continued failure to elect a PM, leaving the caretaker's government in charge. The unstable political situation makes lobbying difficult as decision makers may not be in office in a couple of months time.

  • In Myanmar (Burma) a monk was sentanced to 15 years in prison, allegedly for "anti-election" activities. He is believed to have had leaflets criticising the 2008 constituion and calling for the release of political prisoners.

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