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CrisisWatch Database

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2364 results found
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Korean Peninsula

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

DPRK 6 Feb flight-tested new anti-ship cruise missile in Sea of Japan; media reports that DPRK flight-tested submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in Jan unconfirmed. DPRK army continued rigorous winter training program, including live-fire missile exercise and island attack drill near ROK islands off DPRK coast. Growing evidence that DPRK has restarted nuclear reactor in Yŏngbyŏn. ROK military 27 Jan conducted live-fire exercise on islands near DPRK coast. ROK conducted air force exercise, large-scale mobility exercise, combined military exercises and multinational exercises, including with U.S. and others in Thailand and Guam. USS Olympia nuclear-powered submarine 5 Feb participated in three-day ROK-U.S. combined naval exercise, commemorating inauguration of ROK Navy submarine command. ROK and Chinese defence ministers early Feb discussed bilateral security cooperation, during first visit by Chinese defence minister in nine years; China expressed opposition toward U.S. deployment of THAAD missile defence battery to ROK. DPRK Workers Party Politburo 10 Feb adopted resolution with six main points: Central Committee and the Central Military Commission met next day and published list of over 300 slogans in mass appeal for national exhortation to achieve goals outlined in Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s address. UN 24 Jan announced it would provide $2mn in aid to DPRK through Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). U.S. think-tank report published late Feb projected DPRK could have up to 100 nuclear weapons by 2020.

Uzbekistan

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

Amid ongoing rumours about his health and ahead of presidential elections set for 29 March, President Karimov 11 Feb approved new cabinet: Muzraf Ikramov appointed justice minister, replacing Nigmatilla Yuldashev, now chairman of Senate and substitute to president if he is unable to fulfil his duties.

Turkmenistan

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

Army and border service reservists being called up since Jan for three months’ training; students graduating secondary school who want to attend university to serve two-year military service following recent changes to conscription law. Russian and opposition media report extensive call-up is due to reports of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) operation in Afghanistan close to Turkmen border.

Tajikistan

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

Deputy head of State Committee for National Security said Pakistan early Feb handed over six Tajik citizens alleged to be Jamaat Ansarullah members. Supreme Court 17 Feb sentenced thirteen alleged Jamaat Ansarullah members to jail.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

Arrests on extremism and terrorism charges continued: 26-year-old arrested in Kara-Suu, Osh province 3 Feb; four alleged Hizb ut-Tahrir members arrested in Issyk-Kul province in east 9 Feb; homes of twenty other alleged members raided in Osh next day. Head imam of largest mosque in south Rashod Kamalov arrested 9 Feb in Kara-Suu on extremism charges, family said to have links with Hizb ut-Tahrir. Kamalov denied charges; observers fear arrests will aggravate ethnic Uzbek tensions in south. Officials 19 Feb claimed they detained suspected Hizb ut-Tahrir leader in Karakol. Protest at U.S. embassy 27 Feb against appointment of new chargé d’affaires.

Kazakhstan

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

Ethnic violence erupted in south after ethnic Tajik 4 Feb allegedly stabbed ethnic Kazakh man; around 200 ethnic Kazakhs rioted next day, attacked ethnic Tajik property. Unrest spread to nearby Bostandyk village 6 Feb; authorities launched large-scale police operation. Parliament’s upper chamber 19 Feb approved early presidential elections, stating President Nazarbayev needs another term “to ensure the continuity of the current policy”. Nazarbayev’s former son-in-law and later political opponent Rakhat Aliyev found dead in Austrian jail 24 Feb.

Kashmir

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

Shelling continued across Line of Control (LoC) and India-Pakistan working boundary; Pakistan accused India of killing civilian 14 Feb. Pakistani PM Sharif 5 Feb addressed representatives of separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on occasion of Kashmir Solidarity Day: reiterated support for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination, peaceful resolution of conflict. Pakistani Senate and National Assembly passed resolutions pledging support for Kashmiris, condemning “farcical” state elections in India-administered Kashmir. Trade and travel resumed across LoC 17 Feb after being halted following Indian arrest of truck driver accused of smuggling narcotics early Feb. At least six militants reported killed by Indian forces late Feb including two in Shopian district 25 Feb.

Afghanistan

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

Delay in forming new unity cabinet continued, paralysing parts of administration and reducing customs revenue representing key source of govt income. New Interior Minister Nur-ul-Haq Ulumi early Feb travelled to outlying provinces to review security situation following parliament’s rejection of President Ghani’s defence minister nominee; Ulumi 14 Feb promised reform to stem rising police combat deaths. President Ghani 4 Feb threatened to fire any defence officials not ensuring weapons supplies and logistical support for soldiers, reflecting widespread concerns about lack of battlefield supplies. Govt forces mid-month launched major operation against insurgents in Helmand province. Turkish soldier killed in Taliban suicide attack on NATO vehicle in Kabul 26 Feb. Pakistani military officials 18 Feb claimed Taliban ready to begin peace talks with Kabul as early as March. UN 18 Feb reported 25% increase in civilian deaths in 2014 over 2013; ICRC reported collecting twice as many bodies from battlefield in 2014 than 2013.

Bangladesh

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged Risk Alert

Political crisis continued, threatening severe destabilisation of country: over 100 killed and hundreds injured since early Jan in violent anti-govt protests and country-wide transport blockade led by opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP); anti-corruption court 25 Feb issued warrant for BNP leader Zia’s arrest for non-appearance, raising fears of escalating violence in case warrant executed. PM Hasina 6 Feb compared actions of BNP and Islamist ally Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) to actions of Middle Eastern jihadi group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL). Several civil society groups demonstrated for resolution to crisis, criticised negative economic impact including in country-wide protests early Feb; newly-formed committee of prominent jurists, retired officials and other civil society actors also pressed for AL-BNP dialogue; UNSG Ban mid-month urged Hasina and BNP leader Zia to engage in constructive dialogue. Zia remained confined to BNP offices in Dhaka; police 11 Feb temporarily blocked food and water supplies. Hasina 18 Feb promised govt action against newspaper for reprinting poster of banned Islamist group Hizb-ut Tahrir. Controversial International Crimes Tribunal, tasked with prosecuting war crimes committed during 1971 liberation war, 18 Feb sentenced senior JeI member Abdus Subhan to death.

Philippines

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

House of Representatives ad hoc committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) 9 Feb said it would suspend hearings on BBL “indefinitely” pending House probe into 25 Jan deadly clash between police commandos and rebels; means BBL will not pass by previous March 2015 deadline, ahead of congress break in May. Committee chair joined calls for MILF to surrender its members who participated in attack on police; MILF says it disciplines its own fighters in line with 2014 ceasefire agreement, 18 Feb turned over sixteen firearms taken from police commandos. MILF chief negotiator 10 Feb said suspension “bad sign” but respected decision, would not resort to violence. Thousands of people in Mindanao took part in rallies 10 Feb calling on Congress to reconsider suspension of hearings on BBL, calling for BBL to be passed without further delay. MILF 16 Feb asked Congress to pass proposed BBL “with no changes”; 18 Feb said it could accept a diluted BBL, but that this would not address problems in Mindanao. MILF launched operation against breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in North Cotabato province 5 Feb; thousands of civilians fled in subsequent clashes in N Cotabato and Maguindanao; BIFF 18 Feb threatened to target provincial capital. BIFF 20 Feb reiterated call for establishment of Islamic state, rejection of BBL. Military 20 Feb launched operation against BIFF in N Cotabato; also engaged in operation against Abu Sayyaf group late month, with 24 militants, two soldiers reported killed.

Thailand

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

Military government facing greater international opprobrium and domestic dissent than since immediate aftermath of May 2014 coup. Speaking to media during visit to Japan early Feb, PM Prayuth repeatedly mentioned govt’s intention to hold elections early 2016, but declined to rule out further coups, stating “Thailand is different from other countries. If something cannot be solved, the military will solve it”. U.S. State Dept expressed “significant concerns” about Prayuth’s statement. EU delegation 13 Feb issued statement expressing concern over continuing imposition of martial law and plans to expand military judicial authority over civilians. China continued expressions of support for junta, with President Xi’s special envoy and defence minister both visiting Prayuth during month, agreement to strengthen military ties. Tensions rising following retroactive impeachment of former PM Yingluck. Public prosecutor filed criminal charges against Yingluck 19 Feb; also faces civil suit for failure to curb alleged corruption in her govt’s rice-subsidy scheme. National Anti-Corruption Commission 24 Feb indicted 250 former lawmakers for their role passing amendment to 2007 constitution providing for fully elected senate; they face five-year ban from politics. Several protests by regime critics; four organisers of 14 Feb protest in Bangkok commemorating Feb 2014 general election detained and charged with violating a ban on political gatherings. Multiple bombing in Narathiwat town 20 Feb in which several people injured marked return to car bombings in urban areas by insurgents in southernmost provinces. Several Malay-Muslims shot dead in separate attacks in Yala and Narathiwat.

Nepal

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

Prospective Constituent Assembly vote on draft constitution, pushed for by ruling parties following failure of political parties to meet 22 Jan deadline for reaching consensus, postponed indefinitely mid-month to allow resumption of negotiations; United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M) leader Baburam Bhattarai late month said talks will resume following scheduled 28 Feb opposition demonstrations. Govt 10 Feb set up committees to investigate alleged human rights abuses and disappearances during civil war era; Supreme Court 27 Feb rejected amnesty provision in April 2014 bill offering possible amnesty for human rights offenders.

Sri Lanka

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

Month saw new coalition govt make some progress on promised reform although at slower pace and with less public consultation than expected by many supporters: critics pointed to lack of concrete anti-corruption measures, including arrests of former officials; Tamils criticised continued army occupation of land in north and east, failure to release detainees held for years without charges. UN HRC 16 Feb approved six-month deferral of OHCHR report on alleged war crimes during civil war; govt promised to establish domestic accountability mechanism with consultation and support from OHCHR, agreement on details pending. Postponement of OHCHR report criticised by many, especially Tamil groups, who held large demonstrations in north and east. Northern provincial council 10 Feb passed resolution requesting UN investigation of alleged genocide against Tamils. Parliament 20 Feb approved long-promised victims and witness protection bill; text appeared largely unchanged from draft proposed by ex-President Rajapaksa’s govt. Supporters of Rajapaksa 18 Feb held major rally in Colombo calling on Rajapaksa to stand as PM candidate for former ruling coalition, United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), in general elections expected in June; rally joined by Buddhist militant group Bodu Bala Sena.

Myanmar

  |  2 Mar 2015

Deteriorated

Serious clashes in Kokang region 9-12 Feb as ethnic Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, apparently assisted by other groups, attempted to seize control of Kokang capital Laukkai. Attack repulsed, but military reported that over 50 of its troops killed. President 17 Feb declared state of emergency and martial law in area. The fighting, most serious in country since 2009 takeover of Kokang, prompted at least 30,000 to flee across border to China, thousands more internally; sporadic clashes continued late month as military re-established control. Fighting also put huge additional strain on peace process, which remains stalled despite president’s push for deal to be signed on 12 Feb Union Day. 12 Feb talks resulted in Deed of Commitment containing significant commitment to federalism. Only four of thirteen armed groups present signed; seen as unlikely that Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) will be signed before elections. In debate on Referendum Bill, legislature 2 Feb approved by 328 votes to 79 president’s proposal to allow some one million holders of Temporary Registration Certificates or TRCs (mostly Muslims in Rakhine State) to vote. Following nationalistprotests president 11 Feb said all TRCs would expire 31 March, after which citizenship status of holders would be assessed; implies there will be no valid TRCs at time of elections. With citizenship verification process in Rakhine state deadlocked over govt insistence that Muslims identify as “Bengali”, seen as unlikely that new identity documents will be issued to Rohingya, raising prospect of further confrontation in coming months in Rakhine.

Pakistan

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

Uneven progress in implementing new counter-terrorism “National Action Plan”, adopted following deadly Dec attack on Peshawar school; army 13 Feb said nine militants arrested out of 27 linked to attack. Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT, also known as Jamaat-ud-Dawa) 5 Feb held rallies in several major cities after interior ministry official late Jan admitted neither LeT nor Haqqani Network added to list of banned terrorist organisations, contradicting earlier official claims. Punjab home minister 15 Feb said forty terrorism cases referred to military courts since Jan empowerment of courts to try civilian suspects under 21st constitutional amendment and Pakistan Army Act (amendment) bill; President Hussain 12 Feb extended latter to cover Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), allowing military courts to try terrorism suspects there. Pakistan Bar Council and Supreme Court Bar Association 9 Feb jointly challenged 21st amendment in Supreme Court: said it was passed under military pressure, undermines fundamental rights and judicial independence. Sectarian attacks and other militant violence continued: 22 killed in attack on Shiite mosque in Peshawar 13 Feb, another three killed in attack on mosque in Rawalpindi 18 Feb; paramilitary forces 15 Feb reportedly killed commander of Sunni group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), accused of masterminding deadly late Jan bombing of Shiite mosque in Sindh; several members of Sunni extremist group Sipah-e-Sahaba (also known as Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat) killed in targeted attacks, including three in Karachi 1 Feb; eight killed in suicide attack near Lahore police HQ 17 Feb. Military operation continued in NW: army claimed at least 25 militants killed 4 Feb. Fifteen separatist militants, one soldier reported killed in Balochistan province 10 Feb.

Korean Peninsula

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

ROK Ministry of National Defence 6 Jan issued biennial Defence White Paper asserting that DPRK nuclear threat is increasing. ROK 19 Jan announced plan to develop advanced weapons and reconnaissance satellites to enhance defence capabilities and counter evolving DPRK security threats. Defence officials from U.S., Japan and ROK late Dec signed military agreement to share intelligence on DPRK nuclear and missile threats. Cyber security threats and countermeasures fallout continued. New York Timesreported that U.S. National Security Agency penetrated DPRK computer networks, has had access to them since 2010. Nov attacks on Sony Pictures attributed to Reconnaissance General Bureau (RGB) and Bureau 121, said to have about 6,000 hackers; many attacks said to originate in China. U.S. 2 Jan imposed additional economic sanctions against RGB for cyber operations, also two other DPRK entities, Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation and Korea Tangun Trading Corporation, and ten DPRK individuals, sanctioned for illicit arms sales and procurement activities. North Korean army deserter crossed Chinese border and killed four people in Yanbian prefecture 27 Dec before being shot dead by Chinese police. ROK’s Joongang Ilbo 8 Jan reported KPA has developed seven-day war plan.

Uzbekistan

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

President Karimov 12 Jan said Uzbekistan will not join Eurasian Economic Union or any “alliance similar to USSR”. U.S. Deputy Asst Sec State for Central Asia Daniel Rosenblum 21 Jan confirmed U.S. transferring hundreds of military vehicles to Uzbekistan, said transfer conditional on govt making “substantial and continuing progress” on rights, freedom of expression, genuine multiparty system.

Turkmenistan

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

Afghan senator 21 Jan reported presence of Islamic State fighters in Faryab province, near country’s border with Turkmenistan.

Tajikistan

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

Tajik citizens fighting for Islamic State in Syria released video 4 Jan threatening Tajikistan with jihad. Ten suspected members of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan arrested 7 Jan near Dushanbe with alleged cell leader. New army base to monitor militants near Afghan border reportedly being built in Kulyob district. Two border guards wounded 18 Jan while preventing armed group crossing over Afghan border.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

Growing concerns over recruitment to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL); Interior Ministry directorate in southern city Osh 12 Jan said IS recruitment in south rising. 21-year-old Osh resident questioned on suspicion of recruiting 60 young men from city to fight in Syria; six suspected terrorists arrested in Osh province mid Jan, alongside discovery of weapons cache. Chui province resident arrested 28 Jan on suspicion of persuading relatives to fight in Syria.

Kazakhstan

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

President Nazarbayev continued mediation attempts in Ukraine crisis, 9 Jan met German Chancellor Merkel in Berlin. Planned 15 Jan meeting in Astana between Ukrainian, Russian, French and German leaders called off as fighting in Ukraine escalated. Nazarbayev held phone conversations seeking peaceful solutions to crisis with U.S. and Russian presidents. Five sentenced 15 Jan for membership of banned Islamic group Tablighi Jamaat. Prosecutor general’s office reported over 700 websites determined to be “extremist” and blocked during 2014.

Kashmir

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

Firing across Line of Control and India-Pakistan working boundary continued: fifteen soldiers and civilians reported killed late Dec/early Jan. Governor’s rule imposed on Jammu and Kashmir 9 Jan after caretaker chief minister resigned following failure of parties to establish coalition govt after Nov-Dec state elections. Several militants reported killed by police, including five in Shopian district 15 Jan; army officer, policeman killed by militants in Pulwama district 27 Jan.

Afghanistan

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) 1 Jan assumed formal responsibility for all combat missions following conclusion of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission and its transition into follow-up mission “Resolute Support”. President Ghani 12 Jan announced cabinet nominees after months of delay; proposed cabinet seen as implying reduced influence of former mujahidin figures, increasing influence of former members of Soviet-backed govt. Several candidates mid-month withdrew nominations, some claimed parliamentarians demanded bribes or jobs for constituents in exchange for approval. Eight nominees approved by parliament late Jan including for interior, foreign affairs and finance ministries; approval process expected to continue into Feb. Violence continued across country including Taliban deputy shadow governor for Kapisa province reported killed 15 Jan. Army commander 18 Jan confirmed some insurgent factions swore allegiance to jihadi group Islamic State; observers estimated factions only loosely affiliated with militants in Iraq and Syria, play limited role in insurgency.

Thailand

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

Appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA) 23 Jan voted to impeach former PM Yingluck Shinawatra for negligence in failing to curb corruption in her govt’s rice-pledging scheme. Yingluck appeared before NLA 9 Jan to deliver statement defending herself against impeachment bid; failed to attend second hearing 16 Jan. Office of attorney general 23 Jan announced filing of criminal negligence charge against Yingluck for alleged corruption. Assistant U.S. Sec State Daniel Russel visited 26 Jan, said impeachment “politically driven”, called for lifting of martial law. National Council for Peace and Order 13 Jan appointed Defence Minister and Deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan head of new task force to enforce implementation of junta policies. Internal Security Operations Command reported violent incidents and casualties in south declined in fourth quarter of 2014. In ongoing insurgent attacks and clashes, school security guard shot dead in Cho Airong district, Narathiwat 2 Jan; two suspected militants killed in clash with rangers in Cho Airong 6 Jan; three insurgents killed in clash with security forces 9 Jan in Mayo district, Pattani; teacher injured in bomb attack 19 Jan in Narathiwat’s Bacho district.

Philippines

  |  2 Feb 2015

Deteriorated

44 police commandos killed in clash with MILF militants in Tukanalipao village, Maguindanao province 25 Jan, at least seven civilians also killed; clash followed police operation to capture internationally wanted Malaysian terrorist suspect Zulkifli bin Hir aka Marwan. Govt said it believed Marwan to have been killed in operation. MILF blamed police for failing to notify them of presence in area in accordance with March 2014 ceasefire. Interior Minister said clash a “misencounter”, both govt and MILF expressed hope it would not derail peace talks. Incident prompted lawmakers to suspend parliamentary hearings related to passage of proposed Bangasamoro Basic Law (BBL); two senators withdrew support for bill. Amid public outrage and calls for retribution against militants, President Aquino in televised national address 28 Jan urged legislators and public not to abandon peace process. During national day of mourning 30 Jan Aquino pledged justice for those killed. Govt and MILF peace negotiators 30 Jan signed protocol for decommissioning of rebels. At least two killed, dozens wounded in explosion in Zamboanga City, Mindanao 24 Jan; authorities said Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) responsible. Followed killings of several ASG militants by army in earlier incidents.

Pakistan

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

Govt and parliamentary opposition continued to cede control over national security policy to military following deadly mid-Dec Peshawar school attack by Pakistani Taliban (TTP); 6 Jan passed 21st constitutional amendment and Pakistan Army Act (amendment) bill 2015, overriding many fundamental rights and allowing military courts to try civilian terrorism suspects. Supreme Court 22 Jan decided to consider petitions against 21st amendment after Lahore High Court Bar Association 2 Jan passed resolution against military courts, Sindh High Court Bar Association 14 Jan challenged amendment through constitutional petition; outcome of consideration seen as defining test of court’s willingness to uphold judicial independence, fundamental rights. Govt closed 40 printing presses and stores, reportedly arrested 157 for hate speech or publishing hate material following late Dec adoption of counter-terrorism “National Action Plan”; 20 prisoners executed by mid-Jan following lifting of moratorium on death penalty. Jamaat-ud-Dawa (formerly Lashkar-e-Tayyaba) and other jihadi groups continued to operate freely despite govt pledges to end distinction between “good” and “bad” militants, latter targeting Pakistani state, former neighbouring countries. At least 60 killed in bombing of Shiite mosque in Sindh province’s Shikarpur district 30 Jan. Dozens of militants reported killed in U.S. drone strikes including six in N Waziristan 19 Jan. Military operation continued in NW; army claimed 92 militants killed in airstrikes 27 Jan.

Sri Lanka

  |  2 Feb 2015

Improved

Long-time President Rajapaksa conceded defeat to joint opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena in 8 Jan presidential election; polling day largely peaceful despite widespread violence during campaign. Sirisena gained overwhelming support from Tamil and Muslim voters, about 45% of Sinhala votes. Senior members of new govt alleged Rajapaksa early morning 9 Jan attempted to declare state of emergency, called on army to stop vote-count and annul vote; move reportedly blocked by attorney general, head of police and army commander. Police subsequently launched investigations into incident and other alleged abuses of power by Rajapaksa, members of former administration. Sirisena 14 Jan announced new cabinet, dominated by United National Party, with members from all other joint opposition parties and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) members who backed him during election. Rajapaksa 16 Jan ceded leadership of SLFP and United People’s Freedom Alliance (UFPA) to Sirisena, formerly Rajapaksa’s health minister. Sirisena 15 Jan removed northern governor with history of obstructing work of Tamil National Alliance (TNA)-led provincial council; new PM Ranil Wickremasinghe said govt will allow council to exercise full powers under thirteenth amendment although appearing to rule out fuller devolution of power demanded by Tamil parties. Wickremasinghe and FM Mangala Samaraweera confirmed govt will establish domestic investigation into alleged war crimes during civil war, expressed willingness to engage with UN HRC; govt 16 Jan lifted restrictions on foreigners traveling to north, 28 Jan reinstated chief justice impeached by former government in 2013; justice resigned next day, Tamil candidate sworn in 30 Jan.

Indonesia

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

Two police and one security officer found dead at Freeport mine in Papua 1 Jan, with machete and bullet wounds; police said 13 people arrested. Freeport mining company 22 Jan committed to build copper smelter in East Java; Papua governor said facilities should instead be built in Papua, where ore is mined.

Bangladesh

  |  2 Feb 2015

Deteriorated

Month saw escalating political crisis, violent clashes between opposition and govt supporters around first anniversary of disputed Jan 2014 elections boycotted by opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP); at least 36 killed. Escalation raised fears about possible military intervention or exploitation of crisis by extremist and criminal networks; ruling Awami League (AL) denied country faces crisis, called BNP actions terrorism. Govt 3 Jan confined BNP leader Khaleda Zia to Dhaka BNP office in anticipation of BNP-led protests around 5 Jan election anniversary; move triggered deadly clashes between BNP and AL activists, at least four BNP workers killed, including two reportedly by security forces, leading Zia to call for indefinite countrywide strike, transport blockade. Zia released 19 Jan; said blockade would continue until govt agreed to dialogue, announced 48-hour strike in Dhaka, Sylhet and Khulna. Zia implicated for instigating two cases of arson during blockade; her son Tarique Rahman charged with treason 8 Jan.

Nepal

  |  2 Feb 2015

Deteriorated

Political parties failed to reach consensus on constitution draft before 22 Jan deadline despite reportedly reaching agreement on several core issues 19 Jan. Scuffles broke out in parliament during Constituent Assembly sessions around deadline as ruling parties tried to push vote on draft; Maoist opposition organised general strike, rallies. Ruling parties 25 Jan tasked committee with resolving contentious issues before vote; Maoists vowed one-month boycott of committee and more protests, insisted on consensus decision.

Myanmar

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

At Independence Day celebrations 4 Jan President Thein Sein presided over large military parade in Naypyitaw, first time civilian has presided over military parade since 1962. President invited leaders of sixteen main armed groups to attend celebrations. Despite late Dec round of peace talks between ethnic groups and govt, distrust remains high. President called on groups to sign Nationwide Ceasefire Accord 12 Feb, but agreement unlikely. Several days of serious armed clashes near Hpakant, Kachin state from 15 Jan between KIO and military, most serious fighting for at least a year, 1,000 civilians displaced. President 12 Jan convened meeting of 48 political stakeholders in Naypyitaw, including 29 ethnic affairs ministers; meeting reaffirmed his authority to determine participation, also attempt to show priority he is giving to ethnic issue. National Human Rights Commission 14 Jan issued statement criticising police for 22 Dec fatal shooting of protester at site of controversial Chinese-run copper mine in Letpadaung. Eleven sentenced 29 Dec for involvement in July 2014 communal violence in Mandalay. Annual UNGA resolution on human rights in Myanmar 29 Dec welcomed reforms, expressed concern about situation of Rohingya, calling on govt to protect their rights, ensure humanitarian access. UN Special Rapporteur for human rights returned for second visit: met by demonstrators in Rakhine state angry at her perceived pro-Rohingya stance; in 16 Jan statement urged focus of discussions on Rohingya be their actual situation and rights, not terminology. 2nd U.S.-Myanmar Human Rights Dialogue in Naypyitaw 14-15 Jan; followed visit by senior U.S. delegation. Yangon held first municipal elections in 60 years 27 Dec.

Korean Peninsula

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

U.S. blamed DPRK for major cyberattack on Sony Pictures 1 Dec, allegedly in response to launch of comedy movie featuring DPRK regime; President Obama said U.S. would “respond proportionally”. DPRK denied role in attack, proposed joint investigation, later blamed U.S. for several internet blackouts in DPRK. UNGA 18 Dec passed resolution calling for UNSC to refer DPRK’s alleged human rights violations to ICC. UNSC 22 Dec discussed human rights situation in DPRK. ROK 29 Dec offered to resume high-level talks with DPRK; DPRK leader Kim Jong-un in New Year’s address said open to talks. DPRK military continued winter military training, described by ROK military sources as “unusually intensive”. DPRK denied involvement in hack of ROK nuclear power operator late Dec.

Uzbekistan

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

President Karimov and Russian President Putin met in Tashkent 10 Dec; agreed on enhanced military technical cooperation, Moscow wrote off $865m in Uzbek debt. Karimov met U.S. Asst Sec State Nisha Biswal in Tashkent 2 Dec; Biswal’s visit criticised by rights groups. Parliamentary elections 21 Dec saw reported turnout of 89%: victorious candidates all from parties supporting President Karimov.

Turkmenistan

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Concerns after Khamyab district in Afghanistan’s Jowzan province adjacent to border fell under Taliban control 14 Dec. Also in Jowzan province, villagers 17 Dec threatened to attack Turkmen border guards who they claimed were moving border posts and depriving them of grazing pastures.

Tajikistan

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Four Tajik border guards taken hostage 21 Dec by Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province, where they were reportedly collecting firewood. President Rahmon mid-Dec expressing increasing concern about Islamic State (IS) recruitment among young Tajiks; reportedly called Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) “modern plague”. 46 men arrested in Sughd province on suspicion of joining IS. Tajikistan 23 Dec assumed presidency of Collective Security Treaty Organisation.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

During 1 Dec interview President Atambayev insisted Kyrgyzstan no longer a poor country; also said some NGOs may pose threat to national security. Atambayev 23 Dec signed agreement in Moscow to join Eurasian Economic Union. Depreciation of Russian rouble causing increasing difficulties for families reliant on remittances from relatives working in Russia. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan held border cooperation talks 9 Dec in Batken.

Kazakhstan

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

President Nazarbayev 22 Dec met with Ukrainian President Poroshenko in Kyiv, agreed to restore economic ties, resume military-technical cooperation. Nazarbayev 21 Dec said Kazakhstan could become mediator between Russia and Ukraine, during Kyiv visit reportedly called on Moscow and Kyiv to find compromise and “preserve Ukraine’s territorial integrity”. Russian, Ukrainian, French and German leaders to meet in Astana 15 Jan. Kazakh citizen sentenced to five years jail 12 Dec for fighting alongside pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine. Nazarbayev’s grandson Nurali Aliyev appointed deputy mayor of Astana 19 Dec.

Kashmir

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Final four phases of Jammu and Kashmir state elections held 2-20 Dec; People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won 28 seats, PM Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) second with 25 seats. Militants launched several deadly attacks during election period, including at least 21 reported killed in four separate attacks 5 Dec. Four Pakistani, one Indian soldier reported killed in cross-border firing 31 Dec.

Afghanistan

  |  5 Jan 2015

Deteriorated

Unprecedented wave of insurgent attacks continued in Kabul, raising concerns over viability of new govt: suicide bomber 11 Dec killed German citizen, mortally wounded Afghan journalist at French cultural institute; suicide bombers killed at least thirteen Afghan troops in attacks on military transport vehicles 11 and 13 Dec; two NATO troops killed in suicide bombing outside Bagram airbase north of Kabul 12 Dec. UN 20 Dec said record number of civilians killed in 2014: death toll up 19% by late Nov compared to 2013. U.S. Sec Defence Hagel 6 Dec announced 1,000 additional U.S. troops to remain in country past 2014, raising total to 10,800. Delay in naming new cabinet persisted, indicating continued tensions between supporters of President Ghani and govt “chief executive” Abdullah. Two Taliban leaders reported killed in Baraki Barak district, Logar province 7 Dec; militants next day killed eleven when storming administration complex in Kandahar’s Maiwand district. Security forces mid-Dec began operation in eastern border areas after Pakistani army requested help targeting Pakistani Taliban (TTP) hideouts in response to deadly mid-Dec TTP attack on Peshawar school (see Pakistan); four TTP militants, seven others reported killed in U.S. drone strike 16 Dec.

Pakistan

  |  5 Jan 2015

Deteriorated
Pakistani Taliban (TTP) 16 Dec killed at least 148, including 132 children, in unprecedentedly deadly attack on military-run school in north-western city Peshawar; TTP called attack retaliation for army killings during operation against militants in NW. Military campaign escalated following attack, including scores reported killed in Khyber agency 18-19 Dec; militant suspected of involvement in Peshawar attack reported killed 26 Dec. PM Sharif lifted moratorium on death penalty: six non-TTP militants, allegedly responsible for attacks on military, executed 19-21 Dec, including five over failed 2003 assassination attempt against former President Musharraf; Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan 22 Dec said preparations underway for executions of nearly 500 terrorism convicts. Interior ministry late Dec claimed to have arrested several militants in relation to Peshawar attack; issued arrest warrants for TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah and former spokesperson Shahidullah Shahid over June 2014 Karachi airport attack. At least twenty TTP militants reported killed by police in Karachi 18-21 Dec. Parliamentary committee 24 Dec reached agreement on several counter-terrorism measures, including setting up special military courts to hear terrorism cases; Senate opposition leaders opposed setting up military courts through constitutional amendment that would curtail fundamental rights. Govt announced PM Sharif will head committee supervising implementation of new counter-terrorism “National Action Plan”. Supreme Court 9 Dec dismissed all petitions for PM Sharif’s removal, including from Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). PTI mid-month organised anti-govt protests in Karachi and Lahore before calling off further protests in response to Peshawar attack. Court 18 Dec granted bail to Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, behind deadly 2008 attacks in Mumbai, drawing strong reactions from India (see India); Lakhvi later detained on other charges. U.S.-wanted al-Qaeda leader reported killed by army in S Waziristan 6 Dec; four reported killed in U.S. drone strike next day, at least dozen more killed in N Waziristan late month.

Philippines

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Chair of House of Representatives ad hoc committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) 28 Dec said chamber will pass it by March 2015, following removal of provisions that go against constitution and completion of public hearings. Senate president also said he expects approval of BBL in first semester of 2015. MILF peace panel chair said group will begin decommissioning arms and fighters in Jan. Further attacks by splinter rebel groups opposed to peace agreement; bombing of bus in Mindanao 9 Dec that killed ten blamed on Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF); BIFF also denied involvement in 26 Dec ambush in Maguindanao in which three civilians killed. Eleven militants reported killed in clash between military and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan 4 Dec. Two soldiers and paramilitary killed in suspected New People’s Army attack in Compostela Valley 29 Dec. Two people killed, over 30 injured in bomb blast in Mlang, North Cotabato 31 Dec.

Sri Lanka

  |  5 Jan 2015

Risk Alert

Joint opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena mounted significant challenge to President Rajapaksa ahead of 8 Jan election; tight race raised concerns about serious election day and post-election violence. Rajapaksa 22 Dec promised peaceful transition in case of defeat despite numerous reports of intimidation of opposition, including almost daily violent attacks on activists, rallies; persistent allegations of large-scale illegal use of state resources and workers for pro-Rajapaksa campaigning. Race tightened throughout month with continued defections from ruling United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) alliance, many blaming govt corruption. Sinhala nationalist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) 1 Dec announced support for Sirisena; govt lost two-thirds parliamentary majority with 22 Dec departure of All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC), followed 27 Dec by Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), both criticising govt failure to protect Muslims. Sirisena 19 Dec released campaign manifesto: pledged reduction of presidential powers, other governance reforms; no mention of devolution of power or other key Tamil concerns; announced no cooperation with any international efforts to prosecute govt or military leaders for alleged war crimes. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) 30 Dec pledged support for Sirisena; smaller All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) called for election boycott. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya mid-Dec announced EU request to monitor elections denied; 19 Dec said election monitors will only be allowed at 300 of 1,115 ballot counting centres.

Thailand

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam 23 Dec said next general election will be held Feb 2016 at earliest. Seven police officers arrested late Nov on charges including bribery, money laundering, misconduct and lèse-majesté; senior officer arrested, Police Lt General Pongpat Chayaphan, accused of running criminal network, is uncle to Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn’s third wife, Srirasmi. Investigation widened through Dec, over twenty people arrested, including several of Srirasmi’s relatives. Srirasmi resigned royal title 11 Dec, divorced 13 Dec. Appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA) 28 Nov voted to open impeachment proceedings against former PM Yingluck Shinawatra for alleged negligence leading to losses from her govt’s rice-pledging scheme; proceedings to begin 9 Jan. Impeachment proceedings against former Senate and House speakers for role in helping pass amendment for fully elected senate scheduled to begin 8 Jan. NLA 18 Dec dropped bid to impeach 310 former lawmakers for misuse of power for supporting amnesty bill. PM Prayuth Chan-ocha 1 Dec visited Malaysia to discuss dialogue with Malay-Muslim insurgents; junta intends to restart dialogue in Jan with insurgent leaders in exile, Malaysia to act as facilitator. Several civilians and members of security forces killed/wounded in insurgent attacks and clashes during month.

Nepal

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee (PDCC) early Dec admitted failure to reach consensus between political parties ahead of 22 Jan deadline for drafting constitution; task force consisting of representatives of main parties late month failed to resolve disputes.

Myanmar

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Govt and armed ethnic groups resumed ceasefire talks 22 Dec in Yangon, postponed since 19 Nov army shelling of Kachin Independence Army training camp. Commander in Chief 29 Nov held latest in series of meetings with Gen. Mutu and other leaders of Karen National Union (KNU) in Naypyitaw. UNFC alliance of armed groups (which KNU has suspended its membership of) 29 Nov announced reactivation of combined Federal Army; criticised by govt peace negotiators and military. Ethnic Kokang rebels of Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army 10 Dec killed at least seven soldiers in Shan state. Ruling USDP 20 Nov submitted bill proposing referendum on constitutional reform, slated for May 2015; unclear what changes will be put to vote. Bill followed existing election laws in giving Temporary Registration Card (“White Card”) holders – form of ID carried by most Rohingya – right to vote in referendum; NLD representative then submitted proposal, which was adopted, removing right of White Card holders to vote in referendum. Following 14-party talks among national leaders convened by president 31 Oct, legislature 25 Nov adopted proposal to hold smaller 6-way talks; rejected by president. President 26 Nov submitted to legislature texts of four controversial “protection of race and religion” bills; will be debated Jan. UNGA resolution on human rights in Myanmar adopted by consensus 21 Nov; govt objected to use of word “Rohingya”.

Indonesia

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Five teenagers killed, at least 17 reported injured in clash between protesters and security forces in Enarotali, Papua 8 Dec; rights groups accused police of opening fire. Sixth person died of injuries 10 Dec. Attending Christmas celebration in Papua 27 Dec, President Widodo said shooting deaths unacceptable, promised investigation.

Bangladesh

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) late Dec scheduled anti-govt rallies in Dhaka for early Jan, including on 5 Jan anniversary of 2014 elections boycotted by party; senior member of ruling Awami League (AL) Mohammad Nasim mid-Dec warned BNP will not be allowed to “create anarchy”. BNP leader Khaleda Zia 21 Dec called govt “illegal”, requested discussions with opposition to pave way for general elections. Dhaka court 10 Dec issued arrest warrant against Zia’s son, BNP vice chairman Tarique Rahman, for allegedly insulting country’s AL wartime president. Former Jatiya Party minister and senior Jamaat-e-Islami leader sentenced to death over alleged 1971 war crimes late Dec.

Korean Peninsula

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

UN human rights committee 18 Nov passed resolution calling on UNSC to refer DPRK to ICC for alleged crimes against humanity, following Feb UN report; resolution also called on SC to consider targeted sanctions against those responsible. Pyongyang 20 Nov responded threatening to conduct nuclear test, accused U.S. of being behind resolution, which it called “grave political provocation”. Comes after DPRK official in Oct denied existence of prison camps. Satellite images emerged indicating new activity at DPRK’s Yongbyon nuclear facility. Pyongyang sent high-level envoy Ch’oe Ryong-hae to Moscow where he met with President Putin; part of DPRK’s efforts to reach out to Russia amid souring of relations with China. Afterwards, Russian FM Lavrov said Pyongyang ready to return to six-party talks without preconditions. Lavrov called 18 Nov UN resolution confrontational, counterproductive. Two U.S. citizens released from detention in DPRK early Nov. ROK staged annual Hoguk joint military exercise, and combined airforce exercise with U.S.; DPRK reportedly began winter military exercises. ROK official early Nov reportedly said DPRK has launched new submarine capable of firing ballistic missiles.

Uzbekistan

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

President Karimov’s grandson Islam Karimov 15 Nov gave BBC interview on house arrest of his mother Gulnara Karimova, previously seen as possible successor to her father as president, now detained on corruption charges after falling out of favour with members of her family.

Tajikistan

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

Authorities 12 Nov arrested twelve men in Sughd province, charged with organising criminal group, recruiting for IS. National Security Committee reported 300 Tajik citizens fighting alongside IS in Syria.

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CrisisWatch N°139

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