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CrisisWatch Database

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Thailand

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Royal Gazette 5 May published National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) order authorising interior ministry to appoint govt officials to local elected councils when existing terms expire. Deputy PM Gen Prawit Wongsuwon 17 May said if voters reject second attempt to pass draft constitution in Aug referendum, another committee would be set up to draft third charter, raising possibility general election set for mid-2017 might be further delayed. Election Commission 19 May met with 65 political parties to discuss Aug referendum; politicians asked NCPO state what will happen if draft constitution is rejected in the referendum. Repression of regime critics continued, notwithstanding ongoing international pressure, including criticism from UN human rights chief Hussein late April on NCPO order providing military officers with police powers. Phase Two of Thailand’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva 11 May addressed inter alia torture and ill treatment of detainees by security officials; the death penalty; enforced disappearances; and freedom of speech. Following subsequent meeting with Thai FM, U.S. ambassador told media U.S. is “troubled” by recent arrests of NCPO critics. Country 22 May marked two-year anniversary of coup that brought NCPO to power; authorities permitted demonstration of some 200 people against military rule. Cabinet 26 May resolved to enact law to criminalise torture and enforced disappearances by state officials, drawing praise from UN and human rights activists. NCPO 27 May lifted international travel bans on scores of regime critics. Deep South saw continued insurgent attacks in Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani provinces, including IED in Narathiwat 2 May killing one soldier; several civilians also killed/injured during month.

Philippines

  |  1 Jun 2016

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Controversial longstanding mayor of Mindanao’s Davao City Rodrigo Duterte won 9 May presidential elections with 38.5% of vote. Pantaleon Alvarez, expected to be new house speaker under Duterte, 21 May said next Congress would not pass Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), would focus on federalisation of country which would address provisions of 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB); remarks contradict Duterte’s previous stated commitment to passing BBL. Chief govt negotiator on CAB 23 May urged passage of BBL; Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 24 May called Alvarez’s statement “non-starter” and said it did not build confidence in Duterte administration’s understanding of Bangsamoro issue. Govt and MILF peace panels met 29-30 May in Malaysia and signed Declaration of Continuity of the Partnership in the peace process. Poll results released 7 May showed 45% of Philippine population said new president should implement CAB. Islamic State (IS) claimed 9 May attack on army outpost in Maluso, said carried out by “IS Philippines”; second IS-claimed attack in Philippines. Seven soldiers wounded 18 May on Jolo Island in suspected Abu Sayyaf group grenade attack. Govt forces 24 May captured Abu Sayyaf camp in effort to rescue hostages; Abu Sayyaf set new ransom deadline for 13 June. Abu Sayyaf 11 May freed four Indonesians without ransom; release reportedly negotiated by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Govt forces late month reportedly killed 54 militants linked to Islamist terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah in Lanau del Sur. In other attacks: seven killed, one wounded 9 May by unknown attackers south of Manila. Four killed in Maguindanao mid-May in three clashes between Sabal and Buisan political clans with ties to MNLF and MILF.

Myanmar

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Legislature 10 May approved without discussion president’s request to establish new State Counsellor Ministry to support ASSK’s work as state counsellor; retired ambassador Kyaw Tint Swe appointed 17 May to head ministry. At 13 May press conference Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing confirmed he will not retire during coming govt. Seventeen senior members of former ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) including former chair Shwe Mann expelled from party 22 April. ASSK 27 April met Joint Monitoring Committee of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), gave first outline of her peace plans: called for conference within one-to-two months, indicated she would personally lead peace process and her personal physician Tin Myo Win to be in day-to-day charge. Plans announced without prior consultation with armed groups and other stakeholders. Govt 31 May set up committees making up new peace architecture. Serious armed clashes continued, including between govt forces and Kachin Independence Organization in Kachin state, Arakan Army (AA) in Rakhine state and Shan State Army-North ceasefire group in Shan state; also clashes between Shan State Army-South and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in N Shan state in early-May, leading to the displacement of an additional 1,600 villagers. U.S. renewed sanctions against Myanmar 17 May, including arms embargo, ban on jade and gem imports, and list of over 100 “specially designated” individuals/entities U.S. nationals are prohibited from dealing with; eased some restrictions with aim to ease trade, removed state-owned banks from U.S. blacklist and lifted sanctions against seven state-owned timber and mining companies. U.S. Sec State Kerry during 22 May visit discussed situation in Rakhine state with ASSK and Commander-in-Chief; followed calls by Buddhist nationalist protesters and govt for U.S. embassy to refrain from using word Rohingya. ASSK called for all parties to avoid “emotive” terms like “Rohingya” and “Bengali”. Govt 31 May announced formation of central committee for implementation of peace and development in Rakhine State.

Indonesia

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Police 2 May arrested hundreds of protesters in Papua calling on Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to grant pro-Papuan independence groups membership in regional body; 31 May briefly detained some 300 protesters in Jayapura. Followed late April visit to Papua by President Widodo. MSG chair accused Indonesia of refusing to engage in dialogue on concerns over rights abuses in W Papua; Jakarta said claims violated principles of sovereignty and non-interference. Police said two suspected members of East Indonesia Mujahidin terrorist group killed in shootout with security forces in Poso, Central Sulawesi 15 May.

Sri Lanka

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Commemoration of seventh anniversary of end of war 18 May overshadowed by heavy rains that led to massive flooding and landslides; more than 100 believed dead, some 400,000 displaced. Constitutional assembly steering committee 4 May established six subcommittees; public representations committee presented report to PM 10 May, publication date uncertain; unofficial negotiations on issues including electoral reform and devolution of power continued. Ahead of June session of UN Human Rights Council, govt appeared close to publicising plan for Office of Missing Persons (OMP), approved by cabinet 24 May. UN special rapporteurs on torture Juan Mendez and on judicial independence Monica Pinto made joint visit 29 April-7 May: Mendez found evidence of continued widespread torture of Prevention of Terrorism Act detainees and regular prisoners and inhumane conditions in prisons; Pinto pointed to serious systemic problems in judicial system, proposed reforms. Arrests of suspected and ex-LTTE members continued in north and east early May. Amid rising public concern about lack of action on corruption and criminality under former govt, cabinet 17 May rejected proposal submitted by four ministers requesting update on progress of investigations. Police financial crimes investigation division 12 May arrested Basil Rajapaksa, brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and previously minister of economic development in latter’s govt, over land deal allegedly involving money laundering. Second senior police official arrested 23 May, suspected of suppressing evidence in murder case to protect members of Rajapaksa govt.  

Pakistan

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour killed in U.S. drone strike near Afghan border 21 May (see Afghanistan); Pakistani interior minister said strike against international law, U.S. said its rules of engagement allow defensive strikes against threats to U.S. and coalition personnel. Worker from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) political party died in paramilitary Rangers’ custody 3 May showing signs of torture, two days after being arrested; army chief Raheel Sharif ordered inquiry, Sindh Rangers director reportedly admitted torture took place, denied it was cause of death. MQM 2 May submitted list to Supreme Court naming 171 party members detained without charges. Sindh Chief Minister 4 May extended Rangers’ policing power for 77 days. Also in Karachi: civil society activist and blogger Khurram Zaki shot dead 7 May in suspected extremist killing. Eleven injured 12 May in clashes between MQM and its breakaway Pakistan Sarzameen Party faction in Hyderabad. Amid continued insurgent violence in Balochistan, Pakistani Taliban (TPP)-claimed bomb outside Quetta’s Balochistan University 10 May which killed two police. Police 5 May killed eight militants in Punjab’s Sheikhupura district, 10 May arrested five TPP and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) in Bahawalpur district. Son of ex-PM Yusuf Raza Gilani, abducted 2013, freed 9 May from al-Qaeda hideout in Afghanistan by U.S. and Afghan forces. Security forces 8 May arrested Afghan Border Security official in Pishin on spying charges. Opposition 4 May demanded inquiry into offshore holdings of PM Sharif’s family; Senate 20 May approved PM’s proposal to form committee to finalise terms of reference for establishing judicial commission.

Nepal

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Ruling UML party thwarted bid by opposition Nepali Congress (NC) to topple govt through no confidence motion; ruling coalition member UCPN (Maoist) withdrew support from NC’s position following 6 May agreement with UML that included withdrawal of transitional justice cases related to war-era abuses. Dissenting Madhesi parties formed Federal Alliance with Tharu and Janajati groups to demand amendments to new constitution, improved governance, and post-earthquake reconstruction; following poorly-attended mid-May protests in Kathmandu, Alliance considering organising demonstrations along highways and calling strikes instead. Madhesi parties continue to refuse participation in govt-led mechanism to resolve disputes on state boundaries and inclusion. UCPN (Maoist) 19 May reunified with several smaller breakaway Maoist parties to form Nepal Communist Party (Maoist Center); hard-line leaders Mohan Baidya and Netra Bikram Chand not involved with new party. Concerns increased regarding govt’s increasing intolerance of criticism and dissent following arrest on corruption charges of a prominent commentator and deportation of a Canadian national for political tweets that allegedly caused “social discord”. Reports emerged late April that security forces reportedly sought personal details of complainants with the transitional justice commission on truth and reconciliation, and enforced disappearances.

Kashmir

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Violence increased late month: police reported they killed leader and another member of Pakistani militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed in Srinagar 23 May. Three police shot dead in Srinagar 24 May; one policeman and one civilian killed in separate attacks by gunmen 25 May; one soldier and six suspected militants killed in two separate encounters in Baramulla district 27 May, one involving gun battle with separatists allegedly trying to cross Line of Control.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Brutal extremist killings continued: Sufi spiritual leader hacked to death in Rajshahi 6 May; Buddhist monk found murdered in temple in Chittagong Hill Tracts Bandarban district 14 May; homeopathic doctor and secularist killed in machete attack in Kushtia town in west Bangladesh 20 May, reportedly claimed by IS; Hindu man found hacked to death in Gaibandha 25 May, police suspected local extremist group. Police 14 May reported two suspects, members of Ansarullah Bangla Team, identified for role in 25 April double murder of LGBT activist and his friend, one of the suspects arrested next day; 16 May claimed detained operative of extremist Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh had confessed to involvement in 23 April killing of university professor. High court 5 May declared sixteenth constitutional amendment, passed in 2014 to restore parliament’s power to impeach higher court judges through two-thirds majority, violated principle of separation of powers and judicial independence and therefore unconstitutional; law minister said govt would appeal decision to Supreme Court. Police 11 May filed fresh charges against BNP chief Khaleda Zia and 26 other BNP leaders/activists for arson attacks during violent govt-opposition standoff in early 2015, fifth such case against Zia. Police 15 May arrested BNP joint Sec Gen Aslam Chowdhuri for allegedly plotting coup in collusion with Israeli intelligence; Chowdhuri and BNP denied allegations. Meeting with U.S. officials 16 May, BNP leaders appealed for U.S. support to ensure 2019 election free and fair. Controversial International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) 3 May convicted five men of murder, torture and abductions during 1971 liberation war, sentencing four to death and one to life imprisonment. Jamaat chief Motiur Rahman Nizami executed 11 May provoking Jamaat street protests and fresh diplomatic tensions with Pakistan, which summoned Bangladeshi envoy in protest; Bangladesh condemned Islamabad’s “interference”. Dhaka 16 May lodged protest with Myanmar over recent reported mortar shell attacks into Bangladesh, including 12 May shelling of Border Guard Bangladesh camp from area where Myanmar security forces are fighting ethnic armed group.

Afghanistan

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour killed in U.S. drone strike in Pakistan near Afghan border 21 May. Taliban 25 May named new leader Haibatullah Akhunzada; CEO Abdullah Abdullah called on new leader to join peace talks. High Peace Council (HPC) 18 May signed draft peace agreement with Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) insurgent group; includes govt commitment to make efforts to remove HIG and leaders from UN blacklist if HIG ends armed struggle, enters political process; agreement reportedly being verified but not yet signed by President Ghani. National Security Advisor 2 May said Islamabad should act against Afghan Taliban in Pakistan. Gains made against insurgents included: officials 7 May said at least 28 Taliban killed as security forces repelled major offensive in Ghaziabad district, Kunar province; security forces 22 May killed Taliban shadow governor of Helmand; National Directorate of Security 4 May reported it had foiled Haqqani Network plot in Kabul, arrested three suspects; Afghan National Police 11 May arrested suspected Taliban financial officer. Officials 17 May said Taliban cleared from Yakhchal area in Grishk district, Helmand. However Taliban spring offensive continued: officials 18 May reported Taliban capture of Baghlan province’s Surkh Kotal area; at least ten killed 10 May in suicide attack on pro-govt militia commander in Nangarhar province; one killed by rockets fired at Herat governor’s building 22 May; over 50 police reported killed 29-30 May in heavy fighting in Helmand; Taliban killed at least nine and kidnapped dozens of bus passengers in Kunduz 31 May. Several killed in clashes between Jamiat and Junbish party supporters in Almar district, Faryab province. Ethnic Hazaras protested in Kabul 16 May against late April cabinet decision not to route Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TUTAP) powerline through Hazara-majority Bamiyan province; Hazara leader and second deputy to CEO Adbullah 6 May threatened to stop cooperating with govt.

Korean Peninsula

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
DPRK 9 May concluded 7th Workers’ Party Congress; leader Kim Jong-un 8 May stated nuclear weapons program to be continued “permanently”, added would use weapons only if attacked. Chinese President Xi 9 May reportedly sent congratulatory letter to Kim on latter’s election to chairman of party, stated appreciation for bilateral ties. Following DPRK’s 23 April submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) test, U.S. and ROK officials concluded DPRK could mount small nuclear warhead on short- and medium-range missiles capable of reaching much of Japan and ROK. ROK 31 May reported failed DPRK ballistic missile launch attempt off east coast. U.S. think-tank 10 May reported decline in visible activity at Punggye-ri nuclear test site; satellite imagery taken 8 May showed four vehicles recently observed at site had departed. ROK 23 May rejected DPRK proposal for military talks, cited lack of plan to end DPRK nuclear program. Russia and China 5 May announced first joint computer-assisted anti-missile drills in apparent response to proposed U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system deployment in ROK. DPRK 16 May informed UK that chief nuclear negotiator and former ambassador to UK Ri Yong-ho to be new FM.

Uzbekistan

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Taliban 1 May attacked Uzbek border post, from Balkh province, N Afghanistan.

Tajikistan

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Minister of justice faced strong criticism delivering Tajikistan human rights record 6 May at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva; representatives of Norway, Belgium, Australia and Austria expressed concerns over restrictions on mass media and prosecution and repression of Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT). Closed court session 11 May sentenced five IRPT members to life term in prison. National referendum held 22 May on amendments to the constitution, including erasing limit of presidential terms, lowering age qualification for presidential candidates, parliamentary deputies, govt members and judges from 35 to 30, and ban on religion and nationality-based parties; Central Election Commission 23 May reported 92% turnout, 94.5% of voters supported proposed amendments. Ministry of internal affairs 6-9 May detained four Islamic State members allegedly planning terrorist attacks in Dushanbe 9 May.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Parliament 12 May rejected controversial draft law, similar to Russian law on foreign agents, restricting “non-commercial organisations”. At 12 May meeting of newly-created People’s Parliament movement, grouping of ex-Akayev and Bakiyev era officials and others critical of govt, leaders made provocative statements on govt; State Committee for National Security (GKNB) quickly detained two leaders of movement on charges of “preparation for the violent seizure of power”. Further leaders and members detained 13-16 May; President Atambayev 14 May accused them of working for the destabilisation of country.

Kazakhstan

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged

Protests that began in Atyrau 24 April against controversial changes to Land Code and demanding prohibition of sale of state-owned land to foreigners, escalated dramatically and continued throughout month: in Janaozen, Kyzylorda and Almaty 1 May, 4 May in Uralsk and 21 May across country. Protesters confronted riot police 1 May; several hundred protesters and local and international journalists detained 21 May, with heavy security presence reported in major urban areas. Protests prompted resignations of minister of national economy 5 May and minister of agriculture 6 May. President Nazarbayev 6 May put moratorium on amendments to Land Code until 2017 and created by decree new ministry of information and communication.

Uzbekistan

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
President Karimov 25-26 April visited Moscow, said Russia should be involved in Afghan peace talks (see Afghanistan); President Putin said both countries support creation of international anti-terrorist coalition.

Turkmenistan

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Fighting reported 19 April between 300-400 Taliban and Afghan govt forces less than a kilometre from Turkmen border.

Tajikistan

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) members 21 April held four-day military exercise 30km from Dushanbe involving 1,500 troops reacting to simulated terrorist attack from Afghan-Tajik border. Prosecutor Rahmonov late March said 85% of reported 1,094 Tajik citizens fighting in Syria and Iraq were recruited while working in Russia, 400 from Khatlon province which borders Afghanistan. Two suspects arrested in Khatlon 31 march for allegedly plotting to blow up local interior ministry HQ.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged

PM Temirbek Sariev 11 April resigned following corruption scandal; parliament 13 April approved Sooronbai Jeenbekov as new PM, 28 April took oath of office. Three opposition members arrested late March on allegations including plotting a coup and liaising with Uzbek intelligence agents. Foreign ministry 14 April issued angry response to criticism in U.S. State Dept’s 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

Kazakhstan

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
President Nazarbayev travelled extensively during month: during U.S. visit 31 March said Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) not a recreation of Soviet Union, EEU and EU should hold meetings; discussed trade and cooperation during Tehran visit 11-12 April; delivered speech on terrorism, corruption and non-proliferation at Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), issued joint call with President Erdoğan for unity among Islamic nations; 15 April met Uzbek President Karimov in Tashkent, discussed shared water resources and regional security issues.

Thailand

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) 29 March issued Order giving some military officers authority to conduct warrantless searches of homes, seize assets and detain civilians without charge. Human rights defenders condemned military intrusion into legal process; many observers believe order intended to curb criticism of draft constitution. Following 29 March issue of draft constitution, National Legislative Assembly 7 April approved referendum bill. Referendum will include question on whether or not joint sitting of parliament, including wholly appointed senate, should vote on PM. Referendum bill also authorises ten years’ prison for persons who “cause disturbances, deceive, force or threaten voters”. Army Commander General Thirachai Nakwanit 1 April told reporters that politicians who openly oppose govt could be sent for re-education course at military bases in violence-torn south. Army 19 April detained former commerce Minister Watana Muangsook for fourth “attitude adjustment” after he posted comments critical of NCPO on Facebook; activists demonstrated demanding his release, Watana released on bail 21 April. Soldiers 27 April arrested eight civilians for violations of Computer Crimes Act for Facebook posts ridiculing NCPO; the eight were charged with sedition. Violence continued in southernmost provinces, including several killed late-March/April in attacks/bombings. Secretary of Thai peace-dialogue delegation, Lt. General Nakrob Bunbuathong, transferred from post 21 April. Thai delegation met with Malay-Muslim separatist umbrella group Mara Patani in Kuala Lumpur 27 April, refused to sign Terms of Reference, setting back efforts to start formal negotiations.

Philippines

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Month saw heavy fighting on Basilan island as military launched major operation against Abu Sayyaf Group. Eighteen soldiers killed, over 50 injured 9 April after over 100 Abu Sayyaf attacked military in Tipo-Tipo, highest death toll of single military operation since 2011. Islamic State (IS), to which Abu Sayyaf has claimed allegiance, 14 April issued first official communiqué on attacks in Philippines claiming to have blown up seven trucks carrying soldiers during Basilan clashes; Philippine military rejected claim as propaganda. Military 10 April deployed over 2,000 soldiers to pursue Abu Sayyaf leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Furuji Indama. 37 militants reported killed in clashes 9-16 April. Military captured at least three Abu Sayyaf camps throughout month. Military 6 April confirmed foreign nationals held by Abu Sayyaf include fourteen Indonesians, four Malaysians kidnapped from ship 3 April. Abu Sayyaf 8 April freed former Italian missionary after six months; 25 April murdered Canadian hostage held since Sept 2015; 1 May released ten Indonesian sailors held since late March. Govt’s chief peace negotiator 14 April said operations against Abu Sayyaf highlight importance of Mindanao peace process with MILF in curbing terrorist groups. As campaigning got underway for 9 May general elections, candidates debated significance of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). All presidential contenders have also declared supporting the continuation of peace process.

Myanmar

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) confirmed in two cabinet positions, FM and minister in the President’s Office, after energy and education portfolios given to other ministers 5 April. Parliament 5 April approved bill creating new extra-constitutional position of “State Counsellor” specifically for ASSK, providing her legal authority to advise both executive and legislative branches; law pushed through despite objections from military bloc that it was unconstitutional. New govt released over 150 jailed activists 8 and 17 April; 69 of whom were students charged with illegal demonstration and 83 of whom were people imprisoned on political grounds who received presidential pardons. Fighting between govt forces and Arakan Army in Rakhine state continued, with clashes 16 April in Kyauktaw, Ponnagyun and Rathedaung townships killing several soldiers. Kyauktaw court late-March/early-April sentenced some 30 people to prison sentences of three to five years for links to rebel group. Meeting of groups who did not sign National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in Wa enclave 26-28 March resolved to negotiate end to fighting, but also take joint military action if necessary to respond to attacks by govt forces/“other armed groups”. Eight NCA-signatory armed groups held meeting in Chiang Mai 24-26 March, discussed preparations for dialogue with new govt and formed “Peace Process Steering Team”. Outgoing President Thein Sein 28 March lifted state of emergency in Rakhine state, in place since June 2012 following outbreaks of deadly communal violence. At least 21 Rohingya IDPs drowned 19 April when boat they were taking from IDP camp to local market near Sittwe capsized in heavy seas. In first official engagement as FM, ASSK hosted Chinese FM Wang Yi on a two day visit to Myanmar 5-6 April; Wang also met commander-in-chief and president.

Indonesia

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
NGO Amnesty International reported that anti-terror elite police unit Densus 88 admitted torturing man to death in Klaten, Central Java in March. Protests reported in Papua and W Papua 13 April calling for independence and for United Liberation Movement for West Papua to become full member of Melanesian Spearhead Group regional bloc.

Sri Lanka

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
First parliamentary steering committee meeting overseeing drafting of new constitution held 5 April, chaired by PM Wickremesinghe. President Sirisena continued moves to strengthen hold over Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) including appointing two additional deputy ministers and new state minister 6 April and new party organisers 28 April. Constitutional council 18 April voted to appoint Senior Deputy Inspector of Police Pujith Jayasundara as new inspector general, who promised strengthened investigations into alleged crimes under previous govt. More than a dozen ex-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) combatants and other Tamils arrested throughout month following late March discovery of hidden explosives in Jaffna; seizure of some suspects in unmarked white vans raised fears of abductions. District-level Tamil govt officials 10 April reportedly attacked by Sinhalese fisherman in Mullaitivu and subsequently detained by Sinhalese troops. Amid worsening economic situation, government 29 April finalised agreement with IMF for $1.5bn three year financial support; govt 15 April confirmed VAT increase to take effect 2 May. During three-day visit to Beijing, PM announced 7 April decision to restart $1.4bn Chinese-funded and owned “Colombo Port City” project, and expansion of other Rajapaksa-era Chinese-led projects previously criticised by Sirisena and Wickremesinghe. U.S. State Dept’s Country Report on Human Rights in 2015, released 13 April, reported harassment of activists, journalists and alleged sympathisers of the LTTE, in addition to arbitrary arrests and detention, torture, and rape committed by police and security forces.

Pakistan

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Punjab police 9 April launched security operation against Chotoo criminal gang in southern Rajanpur and Rahim Yar Khan districts; gang 13 April killed six police, took 24 hostage. Military 16 April announced it had taken over operation, launched airstrikes; gang leader and twelve others surrendered 20 April, released hostages. Belying official claims of success of ongoing paramilitary-led Rangers operation in Karachi, seven police protecting polio workers shot dead in two attacks in city 20 April; five people also killed early April in drive-by shootings. Two police, two Lashkar-e-Jhangvi killed 2 April in Karachi police raid. Four killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including one police 7 April in unclaimed IED blast, Awami National Party leader 10 April in Pakistani Taliban attack, one police 12 April in unclaimed shooting. In other militant attacks, bomb 5 April derailed Lahore-Quetta train, killing one; guard of Bilal Afridi, leader of pro-govt armed group in Khyber Agency, killed 18 April intercepting suicide attack. Security forces reportedly killed 34 members of United Baloch Army 9 April in Kalat district. Frontier Corps 6 April announced arrest of alleged Afghan intelligence operative in Balochistan. Leaked records of offshore holdings implicating over 200 nationals including family of PM Sharif early April further undermined legitimacy of govt.

Nepal

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Talks between mainstream and dissenting Madhesi parties on constitutional amendments remain stalled amid increasing indications that govt plans to begin implementing new constitution. Govt 8 April formed two committees to prepare transitional arrangements for new federal structure including identifying new provincial capitals; Madhesi parties opposed decision pointing to outstanding disputes over boundaries; opposition Nepali Congress demanded formation of new political mechanism to address boundary demarcation. PM KP Oli instructed ruling UML party leaders to prepare for local elections; govt seeking to hold initial phase of polls in earthquake-affected areas. Several Madhesi parties preoccupied by preparations for internal conventions which must be held by June according to Election Commission. Some Madhesi and smaller Janajati parties announced new alliance 18 April to increase pressure on govt to address demands of marginalised communities; alliance hamstrung by tactical disagreements over prioritising Kathmandu-centric or district-level protests. Two transitional justice mechanisms mid-April began 60-day complaint registration process for victims of 1996-2006 armed conflict; 2,344 cases received by Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and 604 cases received by commission investigating disappearances as of 28 April. PM Oli accused of attempted intimidation for reprimanding National Human Rights Commission officers 3 April after they criticised govt activities.

Kashmir

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
Tensions between India and Pakistan increased following Pakistan’s 24 March arrest of Indian national accused of being spy for Indian intelligence Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). Balochistan’s Frontier Corps commander 2 April said spy’s activities demonstrated Balochistan’s armed movement was “Indian state sponsored”. Pakistan’s High Commissioner in New Delhi 7 April said India-Pakistan dialogue process suspended. Indian and Pakistani FMs met on sidelines of Heart of Asia regional summit in New Delhi 26 April, first meeting between the two since Jan militant attack on Indian airbase in Pathankot in Punjab near Pakistani border; no significant progress reported. Indian National Investigation Agency director general 1 April said Pakistan’s Joint Investigation Team, which arrived in India late March to investigate Pathankot attack, was given “concrete evidence” of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed involvement in attack. Pakistan military 9 April said Indian forces “resorted to heavy unprovoked firing and shelling” across Line of Control. Clashes between Indian soldiers and insurgents continued. Four killed in violent clashes between protestors and Indian police in areas of Indian-administered Kashmir including Handwara and Srinagar 12 April, following allegations that Indian soldier molested girl; authorities imposed curfews. Anti-India protests broke out 7 April in Shopian after two suspected insurgents killed in gun battle.

Bangladesh

  |  2 May 2016

Deteriorated

Several brutal murders during month underscored growing power and impunity of violent extremist groups. Law student and secular blogger Nazimuddin Samad hacked to death in Dhaka 6 April; al-Qaeda-linked Ansarullah Bangla Team claimed responsibility. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal 10 April called on secular bloggers to “control” their writing, strongly criticised those writing against “religious establishment”. In 14 April address to party leaders and workers PM Hasina condemned writing that “hurt religious sentiments” as “unacceptable”, however stressed Islam does not allow individuals to murder alleged blasphemers. Jagannath University students 7 April protested over govt inaction following Samad’s killing. University professor Rezaul Karim Siddiquee hacked to death NW of Dhaka 23 April; Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility. Two people including LGBT magazine editor and activist Xulhaz Mannan hacked to death in Dhaka 25 April; govt blamed opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Islam 26 April claimed responsibility. Hindu man hacked to death in Tangail 30 April; IS claimed responsibility, authorities 1 May detained secretary of local JeI group, local BNP activist and local madrasa over killing. Violent clashes around second phase of local elections continued early-April, including between rival supporters of Awami League (AL) and between supporters of AL and BNP; more than 30 party activists reported killed. BNP leader Khaleda Zia, granted bail 5 April “considering her age and physical condition”, following 30 March arrest warrant over alleged role in firebomb attack during Jan 2015 opposition blockade. Senior police official 17 April said daily Amar Desh acting editor Mahmudur Rahman (detained in 2013 on charges of sedition, defamation and corruption) accused of plotting to abduct and murder PM Hasina’s son Sajeeb Wazed Joy.

Afghanistan

  |  2 May 2016

Deteriorated
Taliban 12 April launched start of spring offensive “Operation Omeri”, with clashes throughout month further dimming hope of Taliban participation in peace process and contributing to increasingly strained relations between Kabul and Islamabad. In deadliest insurgent attack on Kabul since 2001, Taliban 19 April detonated car bomb and launched gun attack on National Directorate of Security office killing 64; CEO Abdullah Abdullah postponed Pakistan trip following attack. U.S. special envoy 10 April encouraged Pakistan to use influence to bring Taliban to negotiations. Govt 11 April said Taliban should join peace talks or face military action by Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) states; 28 April criticised Pakistan for reportedly allowing Taliban delegation visit to Islamabad. Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (HIG) insurgent group 2 April said govt elements trying to sabotage peace process, rejected allegations that its talks with High Peace Council (HPC) were aimed at obtaining ministries; 5 April dropped precondition of troop withdrawal, 18 April insisted on removal of leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s name from UN and U.S. blacklists. President Ghani 4 April said govt facing threats from al-Qaeda, Islamic State (IS), Taliban; acting defence minister warned al-Qaeda expanding. Taliban resumed attacks on police check points in Dand-e-Shahabuddin area, Baghlan province; five militants and two security forces killed 4-5 April. At least 45 IS loyalists reported killed in Nangarhar province by Afghan National Security Forces and U.S. drone strike 5-6 April. Dozens killed in other attacks during month, including twelve army recruits killed in 11 April suicide attack in Jalalabad; at least seven killed in suicide attacks in Parwan and Kandahar provinces 5-6 April. U.S. 29 April released report detailing events of 2015 Kunduz hospital bombing.

Korean Peninsula

  |  2 May 2016

Unchanged
DPRK 1 April launched short-range ballistic missile off east coast, 15 and 28 April failed in three attempts to launch medium-range missiles, reportedly including inaugural test of Musudan missile with range of over 3,000km. U.S. military said unusual launch site indicated road-mobile missile. Responding to launch, Chinese foreign ministry said all parties should respect UNSC decisions. China 5 April announced embargoes on imports of coal and mineral ores from DPRK, halted sale of jet fuel to DPRK except for civilian aviation. DPRK 1 April said state of “semi-war” exists on Korean peninsula, jammed GPS signals in ROK and blocked multiple social media and ROK media websites. DPRK 23 April fired submarine-launched ballistic missile off east coast; UNSC condemned “another serious violation” of UN resolutions. Satellite imagery indicated “continued activity” at Punggye-ri nuclear testing site, amid speculation from observers that failed Musudan launch increased likelihood of fifth nuclear test. ROK 11 April reported defection of senior DPRK military officer who oversaw spying operations. G7 countries 11 April issued joint communiqué condemning DPRK nuclear tests and missile launches. DPRK 27 April announced first ruling Workers’ Party of Korea congress in 36 years to take place 6 May.

Thailand

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) 29 March released final constitution draft, including National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) proposals for NCPO-appointed 250-member senate during five-year transition period following 2017 general election. Six senate seats are reserved for senior military and police officers. Critics, including members of Pheu Thai and Democrat parties, described five-year transition as ploy for NCPO to retain power following general election. National Legislative Assembly 10 March approved amendments to interim constitution to stipulate that majority of ballots cast, rather than majority of voters, necessary for approval of constitution in referendum scheduled for early Aug. Deputy PM 1 March said only govt-sanctioned debates supervised by Election Commission permitted to discuss draft constitution ahead of referendum. NCPO continued to crack down on critics; Pheu Thai Party politician detained 26 March by army for three-day “attitude adjustment”. Month saw increase in violence in southernmost provinces, including at least ten attacks in Yala and Narathiwat provinces 13-14 March in which one defence volunteer was killed and ten people injured. At least 40 insurgents 13 March seized hospital in Cho Airong, Narathiwat province and used it as base to attack adjacent army camp, wounding seven rangers. Three police killed, six wounded in ambush in Rangae, Narathiwat 29 March; Pattani rocked by several explosions 30-31 March, one person killed.

Sri Lanka

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
MPs 9 March approved resolution for parliament to act as “Constitutional Assembly” tasked with drafting new constitution. President Sirisena continued moves to strengthen hold over Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) including appointing Mahinda Amaraweera as UPFA Sec Gen 8 March. Despite Sirisena’s threats to suspend MPs attending opposition events from party, rally by “joint opposition” with former president Rajapaksa and over 40 SLFP MPs 17 March in Colombo drew large crowds. During speech in Washington FM Samaraweera 25 Feb said govt willing to consider participation of international actors implementing UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution, while former Army Commander and Regional Development Minister Sarath Fonseka 10 March endorsed international participation in war crimes investigation; however, Sirisena 18 March again rejected involvement by foreign judges. UNHCHR 10 March said release of land held by military, reviewing cases of security detainees and resolving disappearances must accelerate. Sirisena 14 March presented deeds for additional 700 military-occupied acres of land to owners in Valikamam North division of Jaffna peninsula. Three-week hunger strike by fourteen Tamil detainees held under Prevention of Terrorism Act ended 11 March after Attorney General Dept officials assured them that magistrate’s court would file charges soon. Amid growing economic pressure, Central Bank governor 17 March confirmed govt in negotiations with IMF for $1.5bn loan.

Pakistan

  |  1 Apr 2016

Deteriorated
Over 70 people killed and at least 300 injured in suicide bomb attack on park in Lahore 27 March; victims included many families celebrating Easter. Attack claimed by Pakistani Taliban faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JA) which said it was targeting Christians. Amid criticism of inadequate security, PM Sharif called for better coordination on part of security services against terrorism; military and intelligence agencies conducted raids following attacks, killing five suspects and arresting more than 600. Violent protests against execution of Mumtaz Qadri, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer’s murderer, in Islamabad, with thousands of Islamist activists besieging parliament and destroying public property, ended 30 March with govt reportedly agreeing not to amend blasphemy law, to show no leniency to those imprisoned on blasphemy charges, and to release non-violent demonstrators. At least 31 killed in insurgent attacks throughout month, including in Peshawar, Mohmand Agency and Sibi districts. Dozens of suspected insurgents also killed by security forces during month, including in N Waziristan, Karachi, Punjab and Balochistan. Security forces 10 March reportedly arrested fourteen members of Afghan Taliban near Quetta. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar 2 March ordered investigation into allegations that Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) party received Indian funding and weapons; former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal next day accused MQM party leader of ties with Indian intelligence. Supreme Court 11 March rejected request by paramilitary Rangers to establish separate police structure and one year extension of special policing powers in Sindh province.

Philippines

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leader Murad Ebrahim 7 March said MILF will uphold Mindanao peace process ahead of May elections, appealed to international supporters of process to influence new govt to implement 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB); warned about growing frustration over Congress’s failure to pass Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) leading to fringe militant groups allying with Islamic State (IS) to establish stronghold on southern islands; said MILF working to dissuade IS-allied militants from launching attacks. Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., author and sponsor of alternative to BBL, 24 March said implementing peace process best deterrent against IS influence in Philippines. Clashes continued between military and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao. Two New People’s Army (NPA) bomb attacks 20 March wounded four soldiers and two civilians in Bicol region. Military confirmed Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) militant Radullan Sahiron, wanted by U.S. for $1 mn, injured in 18 March firefight with govt security forces in Patikul. One ASG reported killed 23 March in MILF ambush. ASG reportedly kidnapped ten Indonesian sailors late month. IS-linked Ansaru’l Khilafah Philippines 17 March released video purporting to show beheading of man working for police.

Nepal

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Constitution-related negotiations between mainstream and Madhesi parties remained stalled, no progress on disputes on state boundaries. In coalition of Madhesi parties, disagreements continued over strategy and form of further protests; public confidence in parties eroded in Tarai region. Supplies of petrol in Kathmandu normalised mid-March; shortages of diesel and cooking gas continued. Former PM Sher Bahadur Deuba elected new Nepali Congress president 7 March, triggering discussions on possible change of govt. PM KP Oli continued regional diplomatic efforts, visiting Beijing 20-27 March, signing bilateral transit transport agreement 21 March granting Nepal access to China’s ports; visit an effort to counterbalance trade dependence on India. Nepal Army announced former Maoist combatants integrated into its forces to be deployed in UN peacekeeping missions beginning July 2016; 85 of 1,420 ex-Maoist combatants to participate initially. Post-earthquake reconstruction efforts remain delayed due to political disputes, lack of policy framework or feasibility studies by National Reconstruction Authority (NRA); NRA CEO under investigation for alleged corruption in previous role as head of national Town Development Fund.

Kashmir

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Pakistani investigation team 27 March arrived in India to investigate 2 Jan militant attack on Indian airbase in Pathankot in Punjab near Pakistani border killing seven Indian soldiers; followed Indian FM’s 17 March announcement during South Asian Associated for Regional Cooperation Council of Ministers meeting of agreement with Pakistan Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz that Pakistan would send investigation team. Indian defence minister 1 March accused Pakistani non-state actors of responsibility for attack, said “no non-state actor from there [Pakistan] can function smoothly without the state’s support”. Pakistan interior minister 8 March confirmed his govt had informed Indian authorities of ten suspicious men crossing border from Pakistan 3 March; Indian security forces reportedly killed three of them. Pakistan officials summoned Indian ambassador 25 March protesting illegal entry of suspected Indian spy captured in Baluchistan province 24 March. Clashes between Indian soldiers and rebels continued including two suspected rebels killed in gun battle NW of Srinagar 18 March. Indian army 3 March said three suspected Kashmiri rebels killed during gun battle in Tral; hundreds of residents shouting pro-freedom slogans attempted to reach site of clash, police fired tear gas to disperse them.

Myanmar

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
MPs 15 March overwhelmingly elected Aung San Suu Kyi confidant Htin Kyaw as president, with retired Lt-Gen Myint Swe and Henry Van Thio becoming VPs. Htin Kyaw and Henry Van Thio both National League for Democracy (NLD) nominees, both seen as Suu Kyi proxies; Myint Swe selected as nominee by military bloc, seen as military hardliner. Legislature 24 March approved President-elect’s eighteen nominees for 21 ministries without discussion; list includes Suu Kyi, who will hold four portfolios: foreign affairs, education, energy and president office. Others include technocrats, NLD leaders and some members of other political parties. Htin Kyaw sworn in as president 30 March, spoke of need for democratic constitution. Speaking at Armed Forces Day 27 March, marked with 10,000 military personnel parading in Naypyitaw, commander-in-chief said military must remain a political force. Work continued on peace process at procedural level, particularly on joint ceasefire monitoring mechanisms at national and state/region levels. Situation remains unstable in many areas, with new clashes causing significant displacement. Fighting in N Shan state between Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and govt forces continued. Arakan Army claimed to have killed over 30 govt troops in clash in N Rakhine state 3 March. Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) late Feb announced re-establishment of additional brigade in N Shan state. Political tensions surfaced in Rakhine as president-elect’s nomination on 29 March of member of minority NLD bloc, rather than dominant Arakan National Party (ANP) bloc, as state’s chief minister gave perception of side-lining main political party ANP, which won majority of state seats in Nov 2015 elections. UN reported some 25,000 displaced Rohingya Muslims who fled sectarian violence in 2012 returned from camps to original communities in past twelve months – most to villages adjacent to camps; 120,000 still in camps. U.S. State Dept reported Rohingya Muslims continue to face persecution.

Indonesia

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Suspected members of armed wing of Free Papua Movement 15 March attacked highway project in Papua’s Puncak municipality, killing four construction workers and kidnapping two; govt said construction project would continue, with extra security. Solomon Islands raised concerns about human rights violations in Papua at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva 18 March. Jakarta police chief Gen Tito Karnavian sworn in as country’s head of counter-terrorism 16 March. Rights activists called on parliament to reject proposed revisions to anti-terrorism law including detention without trial for up to three months.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
First round of local elections 22 March saw at least eleven killed and over 500 reported injured in election-related violence, reportedly including by Awami League (AL) supporters who, fearing local party losses, attacked police taking ballot boxes; opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) contested local polls despite alleging widespread rigging ahead of vote. BNP leader Khaleda Zia and son Tarique Rahman won chair and senior vice-chair positions respectively in uncontested BNP internal elections 7 March. At 19 March triennial national council meeting between BNP leaders to discuss reforms and elect council, Zia pledged BNP would, if voted to office, introduce “new govt model” for better balance of power between PM, cabinet, and parliament; called for transparency in appointments to constitutional bodies. Ahead of meeting, party leaders considered revising party manifesto to explicitly reject “extremism and religious militancy”, in apparent bid to counter criticism of having turned a blind eye while in govt. Court 30 March issued arrest warrant for Zia and 27 other BNP officials over role in instigating firebomb attack during opposition blockade Jan 2015; court 10 March cleared BNP acting Sec Gen and 25 other members of BNP-led 20-party alliance of arson charges over alleged election-related violence in Jan 2014. Shia doctor hacked to death in Jhenaidah district of Khulna Division 15 March, Christian man stabbed to death north of Dhaka 22 March; Islamic State reportedly claimed both attacks. Raids on suspected Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) cells continued, including paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion’s arrest of five alleged JMB members 13 March in Dhaka. Supreme Court 8 March upheld International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) death penalty for senior Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) member Mir Quasem Ali, believed to be party’s main financier. ICT 15 March issued death warrant for JeI chief Motiur Rahman Nizami.

Afghanistan

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Taliban 5 March announced it would not participate in direct talks with govt until all preconditions have been met, including foreign troop withdrawal, release of Taliban prisoners, removal of Taliban names from UN sanctions list. President Ghani addressing parliament next day warned Taliban must “choose whether they want peace or war”. Hizb-e-Islami insurgent group representatives 17 March met with High Peace Council, maintained demands for foreign troop withdrawal and “establishment of legitimate Islamic system”. Ghani 5 March issued long-awaited constitutional decree on electoral reform to enable release of international financial assistance urgently needed for elections to be held in Oct. Afghan and Pakistani border forces 6 March exchanged mortar and rocket fire across border in Nangarhar province. Clashes between rival Taliban factions led by Mullah Akhtar Mansour and Mullah Mohammad Rasool in Herat’s Shindbad district 10 March reportedly resulted in 100 deaths. Over a dozen security forces killed in clash with Taliban in Uruzgan province in south 29 March; two police and several insurgents reported killed in fighting in Balkh province in north 30 March; Herat provincial officials reported some 100 militants killed during security operation to regain control of Shindand district late month. Thirteen Taliban killed 23 March in Ghazni province during clash with security forces. Multiple suicide attacks included: attack near Indian consulate in Jalalabad 2 March killing two; attack in Kabul 5 March reportedly killed three people. In Helmand province, ten Taliban and three police killed in attack on govt buildings 9 March. New commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan 22 March issued formal apology for 2015 Kunduz hospital bombing. UN SRSG Nicholas Haysom 15 March warned UNSC that Afghan govt’s survival in 2016 “will be an achievement”.

Korean Peninsula

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
UNSC 2 March unanimously adopted Resolution 2270, drafted by U.S. and China, initiating further sanctions against DPRK, including: mandatory inspections of cargo to/from DPRK, blacklisting of ships, total arms embargo, ban on selling aviation/rocket fuels, embargoes on DPRK’s coal, iron ore, gold and rare earth exports. Philippines 5 March impounded blacklisted North Korean freighter; at least five other vessels denied entry at Russian and Chinese ports. ROK and U.S. 7 March began largest ever joint military exercises; DPRK called them “nuclear war moves”, threatened pre-emptive nuclear strike, fired short-range missiles off east coast 3, 21 and 29 March; 18 March medium-range ballistic missile. Leader Kim Jong-un 4 March said country’s nuclear warheads “need to be ready for use at any time”; 9 March that DPRK had miniaturised nuclear warheads to fit on ballistic missiles; 11 March asked scientists to continue nuclear tests; 10 March announced all inter-Korean agreements on economic cooperation and exchange projects nullified, vowed to liquidate South Korean assets in DPRK. UN envoy 17 March requested UNSC meeting on joint military exercises. Obama 16 March issued and executive order formally enacting UN and U.S. sanctions; China said it opposes unilateral sanctions. Chinese and Russian FMs issued joint press statement saying they would not recognise DPRK as nuclear weapon state.

Uzbekistan

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Tensions with Kyrgyzstan rose as 40 Uzbek border troops and armoured vehicles entered disputed border area 18 March, unilaterally closing a checkpoint on Kyrgyz-Uzbek border in Jalalabad province. Kyrgyzstan responded sending 40 troops, followed by 200 troops on 20 March. Kyrgyz State Border 21 March said number of Kyrgyz and Uzbek troops had been reduced, situation stable. Kyrgyzstan 22 March initiated special intergovernmental Collective Security Treaty Organisation Permanent Council meeting to address tensions. Uzbek troops withdrew 26 March.

Tajikistan

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Massive military exercise including 50,000 Tajik soldiers and reservists and 2,000 Russian soldiers conducted 15-19 March along length of Afghan border; followed 5 March skirmish between Tajik border guards and Taliban near Panj border post in which one Tajik soldier killed. Tajik border guards early March reportedly prevented infiltration of alleged armed group from Afghanistan near eastern city Khorog.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Amid worsening economic situation, prominent nationalist politicians from south including Adahan Madumarov and Kamchybek Tashiev (leader of Ata Jurt party) 12 Feb formed new nationalist party United Opposition Force of Kyrgyzstan (UOF). Group formation comes against backdrop of mounting protests over economic situation, including rallies held in Aksy, Kerben, Jalalabad and Talas 14 March. Speaking in Osh 17 March President Atambayev reportedly said provocateurs should be stoned. National Security Committee 23 March confirmed authenticity of records confirming opposition’s plans to seize power. Amid accusations, opposition cancelled 24 March mass protest in Osh; two opposition leaders, Bektur Asanov, Kubanychbek Kadyrov and Ernest Karybekov, detained 24-25 March. 27 March local elections in Osh held peacefully with Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) leading poll.

Kazakhstan

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Snap parliamentary elections 20 March passed without incident; Central Election Committee 22 March announced ruling party Nur Otan won 82.2% votes, reported 77.12% turnout; OSCE said “genuine political choice remains insufficient”.

Thailand

  |  1 Mar 2016

Unchanged

Critics across political divide criticised draft constitution released late Jan, claiming it is undemocratic; National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) officials suggested critics could face legal consequences if they sow public confusion. PM Prayuth 3 Feb said election will be held in 2017, even if the public rejects the draft in a referendum. Deputy PM 9 Feb told reporters that if draft constitution is rejected in referendum by narrow margin, govt could make minor amendments and then promulgate it. Appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA) 15 Feb rejected clauses of draft that changed balloting process and placed greater restrictions on who could become PM; endorsed military-dominated “crisis panel” to step in during moments of national crisis and entirely appointed senate. Cabinet 18 Feb asked Constitution Drafting Committee to ensure NCPO retains governing authority, even after general election and empaneling of civilian government, citing need to preserve peace and order. Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra in series of international media interviews late Feb criticised draft constitution and NCPO. Prayuth attended U.S.-ASEAN summit in California mid-Jan; U.S. President Obama urged quick return to civilian rule. Govt announced merger of Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, interagency unit charged with coordination of social, political and economic initiatives in southernmost provinces, with army-dominated Internal Security Operations Command. Ongoing violence in Deep South included: roadside IED blast 12 Feb killed two soldiers in Krong Pinang district, Yala; soldier killed in IED attack in Bacho district 17 Feb; car bomb wounded twelve including seven police in Pattani’s Muang district 27 Feb.

Philippines

  |  1 Mar 2016

Unchanged

Congress went on recess 3 Feb without passing Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), meaning that bill, which is required to implement 2013 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) through creation of autonomous Bangsamoro region, will not be passed before May elections. Chief peace negotiator criticised legislators’ “indifference” and “chronic absenteeism” in the 16th Congress. Following talks in Malaysia 10-11 Feb, govt and MILF issued joint statement expressing disappointment but agreeing to extend ceasefire until March 2017. MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal warned of frustration and anxiety within MILF; MILF leader Murad Ebrahim 18 Feb also expressed commitment to peace, urged patience and calm among Bangsamoro communities. Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) 26 Feb said that Jan 2015 Mamasapano incident, in which 44 police commandos and eighteen MILF were killed, not only halted passage of BBL but also may have made extremism more attractive to young Muslims. Military 10 Feb reported arrest of top Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) militant Hassan Indal alias Abu Hazam west of Cotabato City. BIFF suspected of responsibility for roadside bombs in Maguindanao killing four people 17 Feb and one soldier 20 Feb. Six suspected BIFF fighters reported killed in clash with military 16 Feb. MILF 25 Feb announced it was repositioning its fighters in south to avoid “mis-encounters” with army fighting BIFF. Military reported 42 suspected militants claiming links to Islamic State killed during clashes in Lanao del Sur province late month; three soldiers also killed. Military reported clash between Abu Sayyaf Group and Moro National Liberation Front in Sulu 20 Feb, two killed. Six policemen killed in attack by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Cagayan 16 Feb. Military reported NPA leader shot dead by soldiers in Bukidnon province 23 Feb.

Myanmar

  |  1 Mar 2016

Unchanged

New five-year legislative term commenced 1 Feb with convening of lower house, and upper house 3 Feb. National League for Democracy (NLD)’s choice of speaker and deputy speaker elected unopposed in both houses: both positions in upper house filled by non-Burmans, while both deputy speakers are non-NLD members. First session of joint Union Legislature 8 Feb decided presidential election process would not begin until 17 March, two weeks before end of current administration’s term 30 March; later brought date forward to 10 March. Lower house 5 Feb appointed former Speaker Shwe Mann – a key ally of Suu Kyi and third most powerful general in old regime – as chair of Legal Affairs and Special Issues Commission. Suu Kyi held third meeting with Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing 17 Feb; reportedly discussed rule of law and peace process. Local media 13 Feb reported Min Aung Hlaing and his deputy extended their terms for five more years. Facebook 1 Feb removed video posted three days earlier by controversial nationalist monk Wirathu dramatising rape and murder of Rakhine girl that sparked deadly anti-Muslim violence in 2012; video had prompted strong criticism from senior NLD member and warning from Ministry of Religious Affairs that it could lead to court action. Further round of clashes erupted between Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Shan State Army-South (SSA-South) armed groups in N Shan state 7 Feb, displacing several thousand civilians. Meeting of Shan State Joint Action Committee (committee of armed groups and political parties in Shan state) agreed 14 Feb that Shan State Progress Party (SSPP)/SSA-North should mediate talks between belligerents. Lower house 17 Feb discussed emergency motion calling for immediate ceasefire and humanitarian assistance; deputy defence minister reported Myanmar armed forces had begun military intervention to end fighting in area.

Indonesia

  |  1 Mar 2016

Unchanged

Following 14 Jan terror attack, govt drawing up plans for tougher anti-terrorism laws. Australia late Feb issued updated travel advisory warning terrorists could be in “advanced stages” of preparing attacks in Indonesia. Amnesty International annual report criticised govt failure to protect religious minorities; Human Rights Watch 11 Feb reported that local authorities in Subang, West Java have banned activities of Ahmadiyah religious community.

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