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Showing posts from November 3, 2013

Bangladesh update

Violence erupted late-month as opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) activists clashed with police and supporters of ruling Awami League (AL), after PM Sheikh Hasina 14 Oct said session of present parliament would continue after 24 Oct, rejecting deadline set by BNP for transfer of power to caretaker govt ahead of Jan 2014 elections. Reportedly over 100,000 BNP supporters rallied in Dhaka 25 Oct; at least 6 people reported killed by security forces. BNP leader Khaleda Zia 25 Oct called for 60-hour nationwide strike starting 27 Oct; in rare direct contact, PM Hasina telephoned Zia 26 Oct in partially televised call in attempt to cancel strike, but no deal reached. Strike saw violent street fights across country, at least 20 people killed, hundreds wounded. Local BNP leader 28 Oct bombed and knifed to death in Jhenaidah by pro-AL demonstrators, 1 AL supporter reportedly hacked to death 27 Oct in Jessore. Police 27 Oct opened fire on BNP demonstrators in Nagarkanda; 29 Oct killed…

UN Should Mandate Unhindered Humanitarian Access To and Within Syria

Brussels, 1 November 2013 The U.S.-Russian agreement to remove Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal has led many observers to hope for a political breakthrough. A more immediate and realistic objective, as well as a more reliable yardstick by which to measure various parties’ good-will, should be on the humanitarian front, where the situation is deteriorating rapidly and relentlessly. As the conflict’s third winter fast approaches, it is past time for this to become a priority and for all involved – the Syrian authorities, but also the rebels and the two sides’ respective sponsors – to take steps to relieve the civilian population’s intolerable and entirely man-made suffering.

There is more than one paradox. Even as chemical weapons inspectors enjoy unhindered access to some of the country’s most sensitive locations, UN humanitarian aid cannot reach civilians in besieged areas. This is true even only a few miles from the international organisation’s offices in Damascus, where the regime de…

CrisisWatch N°123, 01 November 2013

On 21 October Mozambique’s former rebel group RENAMO announced it would abandon the 1992 peace agreement that ended the country’s fifteen-year-long civil war. Clashes between government forces and RENAMO throughout October reportedly left over 60 dead.

In Bangladesh supporters of opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) clashed with police and supporters of the ruling Awami League (AL), leaving twenty dead and hundreds injured. The BNP called for mass demonstrations and a general strike to demand that general elections in January should be overseen by a neutral caretaker government – a call rejected by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Sentences handed down by the country’s International Crimes Tribunal to two senior BNP politicians – one for death and another for life imprisonment – for crimes committed during the 1971 war of liberation further inflamed tensions.

India and Pakistan continued to exchange fire across the Line of Control in Kashmir with fatalities on both sides, despite …