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CrisisWatch Database

Region / country

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2428 results found
Items 1 - 50 of 2428 First   Previous   Next   Last

Uzbekistan

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Govt 20 May closed country’s oldest privately-owned weekly newspaper Noviy Vek for “undermining the nation’s moral values and shaping incorrect notion of the socio-political situation in the country”; newspaper had reported on corruption in state institutions. Russian Central Bank reported 49% drop in remittances to Uzbekistan in first quarter of 2015 – causing shortages of cash, foreign currency, suspension of salaries for state personnel including security services, as well as payment of pensions and allowances.

Turkmenistan

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Opposition media reported govt is mobilising local population in Lebap province to build defensive infrastructure against Taliban near Amu-Darya river by Afghan border, and conducting secret military exercises with foreign trainers in area. Conscription of school leaders also reported to be gathering pace. President Berdymukhammedov 27 May met special representative of Afghan president to discuss Turkmen role in inter-Afghan peace dialogue, agreement to continue Turkmen electricity exports to Afghanistan until 2027, security. Russian Central Bank reported 57% drop in remittances to Turkmenistan in first quarter of 2015.

Tajikistan

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

New video released 19 June featuring former special forces (OMON) commander Gulmurod Khalimov, whose defection to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) was reported late May, reiterating threats to bring jihad to Tajikistan; govt blocked several websites in response. Joint military exercises continued: OMON held joint anti-terrorist exercises with Chinese special police units 5 June. Dozens of Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP) members resigned during month; IRP blamed increase in harassment, including from pro-govt newspaper linking IRP to terrorism; IRP’s political council 10 June warned leader Mukhiddin Kabiri to remain in Europe for fear of arrest in Tajikistan. Russian Central Bank reported 44% drop in remittances to Tajikistan in first quarter of 2015. 

Kazakhstan

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

WTO members 22 June approved Kazakhstan’s membership following nineteen years of negotiations, to take effect in Dec. Parliament late May ratified border cooperation agreements with Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, and agreement with Turkmenistan on demarcation of Caspian Sea. President Nazarbayev 10 June called for joint efforts to fight religious extremism. Russian Central Bank reported 39% drop in remittances to Kazakhstan in first quarter of 2015

Korean Peninsula

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

U.S. and ROK 31 May-3 June conducted combined anti-submarine warfare (ASW) drill near Cheju Island, and another combined ASW exercise 8-12 June in the Philippine Sea; 29 June launched joint military logistics exercise. DPRK late month threatened U.S. with “tougher countermeasures”, following U.S. criticism of DPRK in annual global human rights report; 29 June said it is ready for conventional, nuclear or cyber wars with U.S. after U.S. sent guided missile submarine to Pusan and guided missile cruiser to Yokosuka Naval Base. ROK 3 June test-fired new 500km-range ballistic missile, capable of striking all DPRK territory. DPRK state media mid-June reported test-fire of short-range anti-ship missiles in Wŏnsan. ROK 26 June imposed financial sanctions on Taiwanese and Syrian arms corporations trading with DPRK. Pyongyang 9 June announced provincial, county and municipal people assembly elections will take place 19 July. DPRK 24 June sent high-ranking envoys to Russia, Cuba and Equatorial Guinea. ROK navy 30 June fired warning shots as DPRK patrol vessel crossed ROK waters.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

MPs demanded revote on bill to increase electoral threshold from 7% to 9% after it floundered at second reading 19 June. Controversial draft Foreign Agents law passed first parliament reading 4 June; critics say law could criminalise NGOs, human rights defenders. During regional visit, UNSG Ban 10 June attended events marking fifth anniversary of Osh inter-ethnic conflict. Russian Central Bank reported 41% drop in remittances to Kyrgyzstan in first quarter of 2015.

Kashmir

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Month saw increasingly aggressive rhetoric by Pakistani and Indian officials, including implied threats of a military confrontation. Pakistan Army Chief Raheel Sharif speaking at National Defence University in Islamabad 3 June said Pakistan and Kashmir inseparable. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif next day reiterated claim that India’s main intelligence agency supporting terrorism in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan. On 7 June visit to Dhaka, Modi said Pakistan “promotes terrorism”. In apparent bit to ease tensions, Modi 16 June called PM Sharif, offered to release detained Pakistani fishermen. U.S. Sec State Kerry same day called Sharif to voice concerns about rising India-Pakistan tensions; UNSG Ban also encouraged sides to engage. Pakistan 18 June released 113 Indian fishermen, New Delhi three days later released 88 Pakistani fishermen. Indian authorities 25 May reported three soldiers and a militant killed in clashes along Line of Control (LoC). Indian soldiers 6 June reportedly shot dead three Pakistani militants attempting to cross LoC. Former militant Aijaz Ahmad Reshi killed 15 June, fourth such incident in week involving alleged separatists in Sopore; separatist leaders of Hurriyat Conference and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front 17 June called for complete strike in J&K, accusing militias backed by Indian security forces of murders. Two suspected militants and one civilian killed in gun battle, Indian-administered Kashmir 21 June.

Afghanistan

  |  1 Jul 2015

Deteriorated

Taliban captured and maintained control of district administration centres (DACs) in north for first time since beginning of insurgency, including Yamgan, Chardara and Dashte Archi districts, increasing military pressure on govt positions near Kunduz and underscoring intensity of 2015 fighting season. Afghan security forces fighting to regain lost territory late June, re-captured Yamgan. Interior minister 14 June said foreign militants, having fled Pakistan, infiltrated northern provinces including Baghlan, Takhar, Faryab, Kunduz and Badakhshan. Uruzgan province official 7 June said Taliban had captured twelve security outposts, warned insurgents could take control of entire district; Sar-e Pul province officials 9 June said Taliban captured thirteen villages in Sozma Qala district. At least seventeen police reported killed in Taliban attack on police post in Musa Qala, Helmand 12 June. Eleven soldiers reported killed in clash with militants in Herat 28 June. Suicide car bomb attack in Kabul 30 June killed one civilian. Fighting also reported in east between Taliban and rival insurgent groups swearing allegiance to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL). NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg 25 June said alliance would decide how quickly to scale back Afghan forces training mission in function of their performance during 2015 fighting season. Confirmation hearing of acting Defence Minister Masoom Stanekzai interrupted 22 June by Taliban attack on parliament, killing two and injuring 40. President Ghani 19 June issued decree extending term of parliament, originally set to expire 22 June; new election date yet to be announced. Chairing 1 June Council of Ministers meeting, Abdullah denounced MoU on information sharing/cooperation between National Directorate of Security and Pakistan military’s intelligence agency, implying it would undermine national security. Urging Taliban to agree to ceasefire 17 June, Abdullah said fighting and peace talks could not happen simultaneously. Leaked UN report on police corruption heightened debate over control of donor funds for police salaries, to be transferred to Kabul under 29 June agreement.

Sri Lanka

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

President Sirisena 26 June dissolved parliament and called elections for 17 Aug; followed deepening political deadlock and uncertainty, after months of negotiation for a 20th constitutional amendment establishing new mixed electoral system failed to reach consensus and threatened to shatter fragile coalition of parties and civil society organisations that backed Sirisena’s election. Public campaign in support of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s return as PM and rift within Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) strengthened, with pro-Mahinda rally 12 June attended by 75 parliamentarians; Sirisena 19 June reiterated that Rajapaksa will not be nominated as PM or MP. However, negotiations continue within SLFP and United Freedom People’s Alliance (UPFA) that it leads, with neither Sirisena nor Rajapaksa factions wanting to be blamed for splitting party and coalition as it faces strong challenge from United National Party, which has led minority govt since Sirisena’s January election. UN Resident Coordinator in Colombo 5 June announced plans to support range of govt reconciliation-related initiatives, including support to recently established Office of National Unity and Reconciliation and Northern Provincial Council and “quick impact resettlement initiatives” for north and east. FM 24 June said govt war crimes investigation, originally set to begin June, to be delayed until Sept in view of impending parliamentary elections. Global Tamil Forum 7-8 June hosted meeting in London with Sri Lankan FM and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to discuss confidence-building measures to strengthen reconciliation.

Pakistan

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Govt and military officials 13 June marked one-year anniversary of Zarb-e-Azb, military operation in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)’s North Waziristan agency, declaring ongoing success against militant groups, including killing over 2,700 insurgents. Militant attacks in FATA continued, including 1 June roadside bomb in S Waziristan that killed three, 8 June clash near Dattakhel in N Waziristan in which seven soldiers and nineteen militants reported killed, and 17 June bombing of primary school in Bajaur. Attacks on Quetta’s Shia Hazara community continued. Eight police shot dead in Quetta 6, 11 June; several police also killed in attacks in Peshawar and Karachi. Paramilitary Frontier Corps 1 June claimed to have killed thirteen Baloch militants involved in 29 May attack on bus killing 22 Pashtuns. In review headed by PM and Army Chief, senior civilian and military officials 27 May noted poor implementation of National Action Plan against terrorism, particularly regarding action against banned jihadi groups, foreign terrorism funding, hate speech and madrasa reform. Anti-terrorism court 5 June freed eight of ten people implicated in Oct 2012 attack on Malala Yousafzai; police cited insufficient evidence. Former President Asif Ali Zardari 16 June criticised military for overstepping its authority in Karachi, amid concerns about moves to oust Pakistan Peoples Party’s Sindh govt. Interior ministry 11 June reportedly ordered nine international NGOs to leave country within fifteen days; following pressure from U.S. and UK suspended order. Govt criticised as over 1,000 died in heatwave in Karachi.

Myanmar

  |  1 Jul 2015

Deteriorated

Negotiations on draft Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) deadlocked: leaders of armed groups meeting at 2-9 June summit declined to endorse NCA text that had been agreed by their negotiators and proposed twelve amendments (which would need to be negotiated with govt); decided that none of the sixteen armed groups would sign NCA unless all permitted to sign, and other groups (three of which currently fighting govt) should also be able to sign; and proposed current observers (UN, China and Japan) should be expanded to include ASEAN, U.S., UK, Norway, Thailand and India. Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) 11 June declared unilateral ceasefire following pressure from China, however fighting continued; govt has insisted that group must lay down its arms. Ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) 10 June proposed two constitutional amendment bills in parliament; one proposing changes to eligibility requirements for presidency and constitutional amendment procedure; other proposing changes to 30 sections. Parliament 25 June rejected most amendments in first bill, including one that would remove military’s veto power over other amendments. Govt started distributing new ID cards in Rakhine early June to replace Rakhine Muslims’ cancelled “white cards”; with green cards: first ID that does not force Rohingya to identify as “Bengalis,” no mention of ethnicity or religion; holders of these cards not on voter lists posted 22 June. Opposition leader Suu Kyi met Chinese President Xi and PM Li during visit to China from 10 June. Parliament 18 June passed amendment to education law omitting many demands of student protesters.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Fallout of Jan-April violent confrontation between AL and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) continued. Dhaka court 8 June issued arrest warrants for 28 leaders and activists of BNP-led opposition alliance; 22 June issued arrest warrants for senior BNP leader and 32 other party officials for violence during BNP-led strike and transport blockade late Jan. High Court 18 June directed BNP leader Khaleda Zia to surrender in two months to trial court, rejecting her petition challenging legality of graft case. International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) 9 June awarded death penalty in absentia to former militia leader Hasan Ali for war crimes committed during 1971 liberation war. High court 16 June upheld Jamaat secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed’s death sentence for similar crimes; Jamaat responded with call for 24-hour countrywide hartal (strike), largely ignored. Several media reports of increased activism by religious extremists and recruitment on college campuses, continued attacks on religious minority symbols, including desecration of Hindu idols in Bogra 1 June. Indian PM Modi visited Dhaka 6-7 June for joint ratification ceremony of historic land swap agreement ending decades-old border dispute between countries, representing significant political victory for PM Sheikh Hasina; also extended new $2bn line of credit. Modi met Zia, who reportedly raised AL’s failure to uphold democratic principles and rule of law, assured Modi that a BNP govt would seek good relations with India. Govt under continuing pressure to take steps to stop human trafficking, including by protecting victims, taking action against traffickers.

Thailand

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

PM Prayuth Chan-ocha 4 June told National Legislative Assembly (NLA) he “would not rule out” National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) extending tenure for another two years, to ensure reform process is complete. Cabinet and NCPO 9 June approved seven amendments to 2014 interim charter, including allowing referendum on draft constitution; NLA 18 June approved amendments, paving way for referendum. Current Reform Council members will be eligible for the Reform Movement Council, a new body that will oversee reforms after constitution is promulgated. Police 23 June announced wrap-up of crackdown on human trafficking networks. Lt. Gen. Manas Kongpan, accused of trafficking Rohingya migrants, turned himself in to police 2 June. Police 26 June arrested fourteen students after they staged two days of anti-coup protests; military court issued warrants on charges of “violating national security”; students face seven years’ jail. Violence on rise in south: militants 3 June ambushed rangers in Yala, killing four; improvised explosive device (IED) 6 June wounded eight soldiers and civilian in Pattani; gunmen 9 June shot dead two Muslims in Narathiwat; gunmen 15 June killed police officer in Narathiwat.

Indonesia

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

President Widodo 4 June asked Papua governor to end controversial transmigration program which has relocated hundreds of thousands of Javanese to Papua since annexation in 1969; however minister for transmigration 7 June said transmigration will continue. Foreign ministry 22 June said govt never banned foreign media or tourists from covering/visiting Papua, 23 June said eight permits approved in past six months to foreign journalists. Govt 11 June announced plans to free dozens of political prisoners, launch infrastructure investment projects and confront serious unemployment problem in Papua. President Widodo 10 June selected army chief as next military chief, in apparent break with convention of rotating post between navy, air force and army.

Nepal

  |  1 Jul 2015

Improved

Major political parties 8 June signed historic sixteen-point agreement on long-awaited constitution, which envisions eight federal provinces; hailed as “major milestone” by UNSG Ban, who called on leaders to implement agreement. Supreme Court (SC) 19 June ordered temporary halt to implementation of agreement, saying it violates provisions of interim constitution; parties criticised SC move as judicial intervention. Drafting Committee 29 June endorsed first draft of new constitution to be submitted to Constituent Assembly for deliberation; describes country as “secular, inclusive and multi-ethnic”.

Philippines

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

House of Representatives postponed deadline for passing proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) from 11 June, when Congress entered recess, to Sept. Senate 9 June agreed to remove BBL’s contentious opt-in clause, expected to decrease resistance to BBL among lawmakers. Moro Islamic Liberation Front 16 June surrendered 75 assault weapons, retired 145 fighters during decommissioning ceremony; official decommissioning process to begin after BBL is passed. Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) 8 June clashed with military, blew up water pipeline in Basilan; 27,000 residents displaced. Suspected ASG 16 June detonated pipe bomb, followed by brief clash with security forces in Basilan; one soldier killed, eight wounded. Security forces 21 June arrested suspected ASG member in Zamboanga, seized explosives. Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacks continued in Maguindanao; four civilians reported killed in ambush 18 June, two soldiers killed 22 June.

Uzbekistan

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

On tenth anniversary of Andijan massacre, U.S. urged govt to uphold domestic and international obligations on rights and religious freedom. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) flags reportedly hung in Bukhara early May; propaganda leaflets found late April in Parkent district, prompting anti-terrorist operation.

Turkmenistan

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Media reports suggested military exercises being conducted in southern Lebap province on Afghan border. Following reported discussion with Austrian President Fischer on rights abuses during Vienna visit, President Berdymukhammedov 16 May granted amnesty to 1,200 prisoners. Parliament reportedly considering scrapping age limit for president; state media reported parliament speaker 29 May saying constitutional commission considering extending presidential term from five to seven years.

Tajikistan

  |  1 Jun 2015

Deteriorated

Former special forces (OMON) commander Gulmurod Khalimov, who disappeared 23 April, featured in Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) video 27 May saying he had joined group, criticising govt and threatening to bring jihad to Tajikistan. Amid growing concerns about intensified Taliban fighting in N Afghanistan near Tajik border, Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) sent 2,500 Rapid Reaction Force troops to border area for exercises 12-20 May. Court late April jailed ten alleged members of banned Islamic group in Sughd region.

Kazakhstan

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Chinese President Xi first official visitor 7 May following President Nazarbayev’s landslide re-election in April; said China’s Silk Road economic belt program will incorporate Kazakhstan’s Nurly Zhol economic program, launched Nov 2014. Leaders travelled together to Moscow 8 May to mark Victory Day.

Korean Peninsula

  |  1 Jun 2015

Deteriorated

DPRK 8 May conducted submarine-launched ballistic missile ejection test, triggering alarm in Seoul, and conducted live-fire artillery exercises around NLL mid-May; evidence of expansion of Pyongyang’s satellite launch facilities also prompted concern, with DPRK media reporting that Kim Jong-un visited new satellite command and control centre close to his Pyongyang residence. ROK intelligence service reported late April purge and execution of KPA General Hyŏn Yŏng-ch’ŏl. KPA claimed seventeen ROK Navy patrol boats crossed into DPRK territorial waters on DPRK-claimed northern side of Military Demarcation Line Extended 1-7 May; KPA warned it would fire at ROK patrol boats if they were to enter “DPRK territorial waters”. U.S., ROK and Japan 27 May discussed how to raise pressure on DPRK to halt nuclear program. ROK Navy 19 May conducted live-fire missile exercise in Sea of Japan; together with coast guard conducted two-day defence drill around Tokto/Takeshima Islets. ROK military 26 May said DPRK is building artillery positions near inter-Korean sea border. DPRK 20 May said it is able to miniaturise nuclear weapons, a key step toward building nuclear missiles.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

President Atambayev 21 May signed law to join Russia-sponsored Eurasian Economic Union. New PM Sariev approved by parliament 29 April; earlier Atambayev signed election law raising participation cost for parties ten-fold, to approximately $85,000, allowing only voters with submitted biometric data to cast vote. Parliamentary committee 19 May sent to plenary controversial bill requiring “politically active” NGOs with foreign funding to register as foreign agents. UN HCHR 26 May called on parliament to review and ensure it does not restrict civil society work; Human Rights Watch urged parliament to reject it. Anti-corruption efforts continued: brother of former Osh mayor Melis Myrzakmatov arrested for fraud 5 May, Ata Meken MP Karganbek Samakov arrested for corruption 15 May. Former Ata-Jurt leader Kanchybek Tashiev’s conviction for attempting overthrow of govt in Oct 2012 overturned 10 May.

Kashmir

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Following Lahore court’s April release of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) operative and UN-designated terrorist Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, charged with masterminding 2008 Mumbai attack, India’s permanent representative to UN early May requested UN act against his release; U.S. ambassador to India said release “a mistake”. Pakistan army 5 May issued statement accusing India’s intelligence agency of “involvement in whipping up terrorism in Pakistan”; FM Chaudhry reiterated accusation 14 May. J&K chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed 16 May pledged to improve cross-LoC travel and trade. India’s foreign ministry 12 May summoned Chinese envoy to object to passage of proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor through Gilgit-Baltistan, which India considers part of Kashmir and thus disputed territory. Pakistan early May refused request by Afghan President Ghani to allow trade between India and Afghanistan to transit through Pakistan’s Wagah border. Several Indian army personnel and militants reported killed in clashes during month.

Afghanistan

  |  1 Jun 2015

Deteriorated Risk Alert

Tens of thousands fled fighting outside northern provincial capital Kunduz early month amid deteriorating security situation, as govt 7 May launched major counteroffensive against Taliban’s Azm offensive, which was launched late April and quickly advanced on outskirts of Kunduz, routing several hundred Afghan security personnel in three districts. Situation in Kunduz stabilised end-May, but further unrest expected after planned withdrawal of two battalions of Afghan soldiers deployed to counteroffensive. More than two dozen security forces killed in Taliban attacks in Helmand, Paktika and Wardak 25-26 May. Govt organised militias to bolster security in Kunduz and other provinces, raising concerns about irregular/semi-regular forces. Govt worried about risks of district centres falling to insurgency in Kunduz, Badakhshan, Baghlan, Ghor, Badghis, Uruzgan and Helmand provinces, reflecting broad geographic spread and unprecedented intensity of fighting. Insurgents reportedly aided by foreign fighters, including Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU). First deputy chief executive Mohammed Khan 3 May warned Lieutenant-General Carsten Jacobson, commander of NATO's Resolute Support mission, that insecurity in north would spread if not contained with active support of international forces. Ministry of Interior 12 May said security forces had regained control of Jawand district of Badghis province, which fell to Taliban 10 May, but many parts of province remain contested. Delegation of Taliban leaders met with govt representatives for informal talks, hosted by Pugwash, 2-3 May in Qatar; participants expressed desire for political solution to conflict, agreed on shared opposition to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL), Taliban reiterated demand for complete withdrawal of international forces. Meeting condemned by Afghan leaders concerned that peace talks would mean surrender; criticism of negotiations intensified after Afghan and Pakistani govts 18 May announced as yet informal intelligence cooperation agreement. NATO 13 May said it will maintain presence in Afghanistan even after current training mission ends late 2016, to “advise and instruct”. Five killed in Taliban attack on Kabul hotel 14 May. Kidnappers 11 May released nineteen of 31 passengers seized in southern Zabul province in Feb, in apparent prisoner swap for Uzbek militants held by Afghan govt.

 

Myanmar

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Continued uncertainty over whether March Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) will be signed. Leaders of twelve armed groups 1-6 May met in Wa (UWSA) HQ to discuss peace process and draft NCA; points in joint statement included: no NCA would be credible while fighting continued in Kokang and other parts of N Shan state; groups involved in Kokang fighting – MNDAA, Arakan Army, TNLA – should be given opportunity to participate in peace process and sign NCA; participants “understood” Wa demand for separate Wa state. National Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) of ethnic armed negotiators met in Thailand 25-27 May to prepare for 2-6 June ethnic leaders summit to seek final approval of draft NCA. Heavy fighting in Kokang area continued, with military claiming more territorial gains mid-May, stating only one remaining position held by Kokang; stray shells in fighting between military and MNDAA landed in China 14 May; five injured. Escalation in refugee crisis in Andaman sea early May following Thai crackdown on smuggling/trafficking camps, with thousands of Rohingya from Myanmar as well as Bangladeshis left stranded at sea by their traffickers, highlighted dire situation of Rohingya in Rakhine state. President Thein Sein 19 May signed into law controversial Population Control Bill.

Philippines

  |  1 Jun 2015

Improved

House Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) 20 May passed BBL, approving creation of new autonomous political entity; restored “opt-in” clause stating plebiscite for inclusion in Bangsamoro may be held in any local govt unit outside jurisdiction of Bangsamoro, opening up more provinces for inclusion in Bangsamoro. House appropriations committee 26 May approved BBL funding; House of Representatives to debate BBL early June, with target of passing it by 11 June when congress enters recess. MILF 20 May said it is “90% satisfied” with draft BBL. Senate report on BBL 21 May said BBL cannot be approved in its present form, pointing out some of its provisions require constitutional amendment. Govt troops 17 May retook two villages in Basilan from Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) after days of operations, 19 May clashed with ASG retaliating against civilians who killed five of its members in Panguturan island. MILF and military 6 May confirmed Basit Usman, bomb maker sought in botched counter-insurgency operation leading to January 2015 clash, killed by MILF 3 May.

Bangladesh

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Opposition BNP leader Zia and 37 other BNP leaders charged 7 May with murder and arson for 23 Jan attack on bus in which one person died and 27 injured; first time that Zia has been charged in criminal (rather than corruption) case. Among those charged is BNP joint Secretary Salahuddin Ahmed, who went missing two months ago and reappeared 10 May in India. Masked men attacked and killed secular blogger and editor Ananta Bijoy Das 12 May, third blogger to be hacked to death in 2015. Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) 3 May issued video claiming responsibility for Avijit Roy’s murder, killed in Dhaka 26 Feb. Controversial International Crimes Tribunal 20 May sentenced to life imprisonment Muslim League members Mahidur Rahman and Afsar Hossain Chutu for crimes committed during 1971 independence war. Indian parliament 7 May unanimously ratified 1974 Land Boundary Agreement; agreement, hailed by both PM Sheikh Hasina’s govt and BNP opposition as historic, paves way for exchange of land on each other’s territory, potentially affecting 51 Bangladeshi enclaves in India and 100 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh, home to more than 50,000 people.

Nepal

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Continuing relief efforts following April earthquake amid renewed international focus on Nepal’s longstanding political impasse and inability to reach consensus on new constitution; four former PMs spoke in parliament 9 May underscoring need for a national govt to cope with country’s challenges. Over 8,500 confirmed to have died in April earthquakes, close to 18,000 injured; another strong earthquake hit 12 May.

Sri Lanka

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Much-anticipated 6 May meeting between President Sirisena and former President Rajapaksa – first since election – saw Sirisena reject Rajapaksa’s demands to be made SLFP’s PM candidate and to call off multiple criminal investigations into Rajapaksa family and political associates. Supreme Court 13 May granted Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s request to stay possible arrest by police Financial Crimes Investigation Division, investigating several cases against Gotabaya. Decision to dissolve parliament and go for elections continues to be delayed by negotiations on 20th constitutional amendment for new electoral system; parties split over details of plan to create mostly first-past-the-post system with some degree of proportional representation. Slow action by police in 13 May rape and murder of 18-year-old Tamil student led to violent protests and clashes with police in Jaffna 20 May; Sirisena visited victim’s family 25 May, promised swift justice. Sinhala nationalist politicians criticised govt over alleged threat of renewed Tamil militancy. Govt held 19 May “remembrance day” event (renamed from “victory day”) to commemorate end of war in 2009; in north, Tamils allowed for first time to commemorate publicly those who died in war, though intense police surveillance and intimidation reported. Ex-President Rajapaksa and supporters held alternative victory day rally 20 May, following political rallies 1 and 18 May. Challenges facing govt’s promise of effective accountability brought into relief by 7 May appointment of Major General Jagath Dias as army chief of staff, despite strong evidence implicating 57th Division he commanded in 2009 in war crimes. U.S. Sec State Kerry visited 2-3 May, urged effective investigations and accountability for rights abuses.

Indonesia

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

During visit to West Papua provincial capital Jayapura 9 May, President Widodo announced amnesty for five West Papuan political prisoners and lifted decades-old restrictions on foreign journalists in W Papua; govt 26 May said foreign media would continue to be tightly monitored. Widodo also announced infrastructure drive to spur economic growth in W Papua, including large seaport in Sorong. Anti-terror police 16 May detained six people at Surbaya Juanda airport; suspects being probed for links with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL). Security forces 26 May arrested seven in terror raids in Central Sulawesi.

Pakistan

  |  1 Jun 2015

Deteriorated

Criminal and terrorist violence continued in Karachi, despite govt claims 18 May that targeted killings in city had halved since Sept 2013 launch of paramilitary Rangers operation; gunmen 13 May attacked bus with members of Ismaili Shia minority on board, executing 45. Police 19 May said four members of militant group “inspired by al-Qaeda” arrested and confessed involvement in attacks on Ismaili and Bohra communities and on social activist Mahmud, U.S. educationalist Lobo and police officials. Militant violence in FATA and adjacent Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) continued, contradicting army chief’s 18 May claims that army had “cleansed large remote areas of terrorists”. Militants attacked military checkposts in Bajaur and S Waziristan agencies; military claimed to have killed 56 militants in N Waziristan and 56 in Khyber agency in airstrikes. Peshawar police counter-terrorism department deputy superintendent killed 20 May in TTP-claimed shooting. Drone strikes in N Waziristan’s Shawal region 16 and 18 May reportedly killed six suspected militants. Paramilitary Frontier Corps 7 May claimed they had killed thirteen Baloch militants including Baloch Liberation Army commander south of Quetta. At least twenty bus passengers shot dead in Balochistan attack 29 May.

Thailand

  |  1 Jun 2015

Unchanged

Special session of Constitution Drafting Committee 13 May unanimously agreed to urge PM Prayuth Chan-ocha to hold referendum on new constitution; followed heavy criticism of draft constitution late April. Govt 19 May approved referendum, an amendment to interim charter needed to enable public vote. Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said referendum not possible before Jan 2016, meaning Sept 2016 earliest possible date for general election. Former PM Yingluck Shinawatra 19 May appeared at Supreme Court for start of her trial on charges of “abuse of authority” and “dereliction of duty”, after failing to curb losses from her govt’s rice-pledging program. Police arrested dozens protesting against military govt on one-year anniversary of 22 May coup, most later released without charge. String of bomb attacks by suspected Malay-Muslim insurgents 14-16 May injured 22 people in Yala province. Security forces 2 May killed suspect in 10 April Koh Samui bombing during raid in Pattani’s Muang district. National Security Council chief 12 May announced dialogue with separatist leaders in exile could open in Malaysia in June. Govt launched crackdown human traffickers/smugglers following early May discovery of dozens of graves and suspected human trafficking camp; crackdown resulted in smugglers abandoning boats containing thousands of Myanmar Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants on land and sea (see Myanmar).

Uzbekistan

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

President Karimov sworn in for fourth term. Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan released video late March pledging allegiance to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL).

Turkmenistan

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Reports of renewed attacks on border village Marchak by Taliban in Afghanistan’s Faryab province mid-April. Head of U.S. Central Command 26 March told U.S. Congress Turkmenistan has requested military aid to strengthen border with Afghanistan. Unconfirmed media reports late March that Russian and Uzbek military experts were sighted on Turkmen-Afghan border.

Tajikistan

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Amid heightened concerns over extremism, govt 13 April announced ban on citizens under 35 undertaking hajjpilgrimage to Mecca; followed 27 March call by imams, encouraged by govt, to dissolve Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan. During Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) meeting in Dushanbe 2 April to discuss threat from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) in Afghanistan, FM Sirojiddin Aslov expressed dissatisfaction over existing attempts to strengthen Tajik-Afghan border, called on CSTO to provide more practical measures. Russian daily Kommersant 3 April reported Russia planning $1.23bn in military-technical assistance to Tajikistan. Russian defence minister 16 April reiterated support for Tajikistan against IS, threats from Afghanistan.

Kyrgyzstan

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Political fallout continued surrounding country’s largest gold mine, Canadian-owned Kumtor, focal point of popular protests late 2012-2013 calling for its nationalisation. PM Otorbayev resigned 23 April, reportedly after his instructions on controversial restructuring of mine ownership not followed. Following March speech by President Atambayev in which he said Kyrgyzstan is dependent on Russian security presence and assistance, reports emerged 16 April that surveillance drones are operating from Kant Russian military base near Bishkek. Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states (except Uzbekistan) held joint special forces manoeuvres in Shamsi Gorge in north.

Kazakhstan

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Amid worsening economic situation, particularly in north, President Nazarbayev emphasised anti-crisis measures ahead of 26 April presidential elections; re-elected with 97.7% of vote. OSCE criticised lack of “credible opposition”, “significant restrictions” faced by media. Deputy Economy Minister Timur Zhaqsylyqov 22 April reiterated govt’s rejection of Russian suggestion of single currency for Eurasian Economic Union. Defence Minister Imangali Tasmagambetov 16 April said 2014 agreement with Russia to create unified regional air defence system moved to practical level.

Korean Peninsula

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

ROK and U.S. held bilateral military consultations, including early April Seoul visit by U.S. Sec Defense Carter for talks with ROK counterpart Han Min-gu. U.S. hosted two trilateral meetings mid-month in attempt to reinforce cooperation between Japan and ROK. ROK and Japan held first high-level security talks in over five years. ROK and U.S. 22 April agreed on revision of bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement. DPRK test-fired several anti-ship and air defence missiles early April. ROK 31 March approved creation of Cyber Security Secretary Office under National Security Office to strengthen coordination in response to cyber threats; 20 April disclosed mid-term defence plan for 2016-2020, with 7% increase in military budget compared with previous version. Chinese nuclear experts told U.S. DPRK may already have 20 nuclear warheads. DPRK media 26 March reported arrest of two South Koreans based in Chinese border city Dandong, accused of spying for ROK’s National Intelligence Service and illegally spreading foreign information within DPRK; ROK denied. UN Human Rights Council 27 March adopted, for twelfth year in a row, resolution condemning DPRK’s human rights violations.

Kashmir

  |  30 Apr 2015

Deteriorated

Region saw sharpest rise in violence in months. Indian army 13 April reportedly killed two men in southern Kashmir, militant and his non-combatant brother. Violent protests erupted next day, injuring at least six; police placed separatist leaders Yasin Malik and Masarat Alam under preventive custody. Separatist Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Geelani called for strike, which saw violence break out in several areas as police clashed with protesters. Police shot dead 16-year-old boy during protest outside Srinagar 18 April. Pakistani soldiers patrolling Working Boundary between Pakistan and India-administered Kashmir on high alert after Indian army shelling reportedly damaged houses near Pakistani Punjab’s Sialkot district 16 April. Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) operative Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, charged with masterminding 2008 Mumbai attack, released on bail 10 April after Lahore High Court dismissed govt detention order; Punjab govt 14 April petitioned Supreme Court to overturn decision.

Afghanistan

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Lower house of parliament 18 April confirmed all President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah’s sixteen ministerial candidates, bringing protracted process of finalising govt formation near completion; defence now only portfolio without minister. Second VP Mohammed Sarwar Danish 1 April announced parliamentary elections scheduled for 2015 would be postponed for a year to allow for electoral reforms. Senate chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar 12 April said electoral reform commission illegal, national assembly would have no legal status if parliamentary elections are postponed. MP Ghulam Hussein Nasiri 11 April argued weak govt performance and differences between Ghani and Abdullah had created conditions for rising insecurity and emergence of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) in Afghanistan. 2015 reportedly most violent spring season since 2001. Violence during month included 2 April suicide attack in Khost province killing seventeen; 10 April attack in which insurgents overran army outposts in Badakhshan province, killing at least eighteen soldiers and reportedly beheading some; and 18 April suicide bombing in Jalalabad that killed 38. President Ghani blamed IS for Jalalabad attack; Ministry of Defence spokesperson and NATO officials refuted IS involvement in or support of attack. District police chief in NW province Faryab 9 April said group of insurgents had seized control of three areas, displacing thousands of families.

Indonesia

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Military 20 April announced six-month operation in Sulawesi to help police track down militants linked to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL), first major military counter-terrorism operation since 2009 Jakarta bombings. Govt and House of Representatives 1 April agreed to work on amendment to Anti-terrorism Law to address IS threat. UNSC 23 April revealed names of twenty individuals and foundations affiliated with al-Qaeda, Taliban and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) operating in Indonesia.

 

Bangladesh

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

After Dhaka court granted her bail in two corruption cases, opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia returned home 5 April, ending 92-day confinement in her Dhaka office. Police prevented Zia’s supporters from carrying out rally upon her return. Court scheduled next hearing for 5 May. Ahead of 28 April Dhaka and Chittagong mayoral elections, in which BNP decided to back candidates, assailants 20 April attacked Zia’s motorcade during Dhaka campaign rally, injuring some of her security entourage and journalists; BNP called for nationwide strike, excluding Dhaka and Chittagong. Election Commission decided to deploy army to ensure security at elections. On day of vote 28 April BNP announced boycott, claiming polls rigged; PM Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League (AL) won; some reports of violence at polling stations. Police 8 April finally submitted charge sheet in April 2014 murder of local AL mayor and six others in Narayanganj district, accusing 35 people including Narayanganj ward councilor who fled to India after killings, and three former members of elite paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion. Senior Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) member Muhammad Kamaruzzaman hanged 11 April for committing atrocities in 1971 liberation war, after Supreme Court rejected review petition. JI called daylong strike 13 April; one JI student wing activist killed in clashes with police.

Myanmar

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Clashes continue between govt forces and MNDAA in Kokang area of northern Shan state. State media reported 21 soldiers killed and 128 wounded in assaults that seized several mountain outposts 13 and 15 April. MNDAA will attend early May meeting of ethnic groups to discuss text of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. President Thein Sein appointed eight additional members from Myanmar’s largest ethnic minorities to election commission 3 April, addressing concerns over body’s lack of diversity. Long-awaited talks between main political actors including opposition and ethnic political party reps held 10 April; govt reported they agreed on next meeting in May, to discuss constitutional change, elections and peace process. Population Control Bill sent to president 6 April, following approval by legislature; president to sign into law or send it back with comments to be considered in next legislative session in May. Bill part of package of four discriminatory pieces of legislation aimed at “protection of race and religion”, championed by Buddhist nationalists. After upper house passed fast-tracked amendment to 2014 Education Law incorporating some key demands of student protestors 26 March, lower house returned bill to upper house with further amendments 7 April. Student leaders expressed concern that bill as it stands does not go far enough, and that some important amendments have been removed.

Nepal

  |  30 Apr 2015

Deteriorated

Powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck 77km NW of Kathmandu 25 April causing widespread devastation, directly affecting a quarter of population; over 5,500 confirmed dead with numbers expected to increase, 1.4 million reportedly in need of food aid. Disaster struck amid ongoing impasse between Nepal’s political parties on overdue draft constitution; 30-party alliance of opposition parties led by Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and two major Madhesi groups declared three-day nationwide strike 6 April to protest against adoption of constitution by majority vote instead of by consensus, but called strike off next day in response to anger over disruption, violent clashes between protesters and police.

Pakistan

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Army Chief Sharif 2 April approved first sentences issued by military court under new powers granted under 21st constitutional amendment (passed 6 Jan), including six sentenced to death. Supreme Court 16 April issued stay on any death sentences awarded by military courts until judges decide on legal challenge against 21st amendment. According to govt reports on implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) to combat violent extremism in wake of Dec Peshawar school attack, law enforcement agencies arrested over 32,300 people as of 25 March, but found fewer than 1% linked to terror groups. Gunmen 11 April killed twenty Sindhi and Punjabi workers in Balochistan’s southern district Kech; separatist Balochistan Liberation Front (BLF) claimed responsibility. Paramilitary Frontier Corps claimed it had killed thirteen BLF militants, including those responsible for attack, in operation around Turbat. U.S. drone strike in S Waziristan 12 April killed four. Supreme Court 8 April formed judicial commission to investigate allegations of rigging in 2013 elections. Parliament 10 April unanimously passed resolution calling for neutrality in Yemen conflict, while pledging to help defend Saudi Arabia against violation of its territorial integrity. Prominent activist Sabeen Mahmud shot dead in Karachi 24 April after organising event on Balochistan, originally meant to be hosted by Lahore University of Management Sciences 9 April but canceled reportedly under pressure from military intelligence agency.

Thailand

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

PM Prayuth 1 April invoked Section 44 of 2014 interim constitution, investing him with absolute power, and replacing martial law (in place since May 2014) in most of country. Under Section 44, National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) retains many powers granted to military under martial law. Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) submitted draft constitution to National Reform Committee (NRC) 20 April. Draft curbs authority of elected politicians and political parties while permitting unelected PM and enhancing power of various appointed officials and oversight bodies: provides for Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system; senate to have greater powers to propose legislation and scrutinise cabinet appointments. Of 200 senate seats, only 77 for elected representatives, one from each province, with candidates selected by appointed committees. Car-bomb exploded on tourist island Koh Samui 10 April, injuring seven. Fire broke out same day on mainland at Surat Thani Cooperative Store belonging to Suthep Thaugsuban, former Democrat Party head and leader of anti-govt protests ahead of May 2014 coup. Officials blamed “politicians”, ruled out involvement of southern militants, but five warrants issued for Malay-Muslim men from insurgency-affected Yala province.

Sri Lanka

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Parliament 28 April approved President Sirisena’s signature 19th amendment to constitution to reduce presidential powers. Amendment delegates considerable powers to PM, re-imposes two-term limit, restricts president’s immunity and ability to dissolve parliament and establishes series of independent oversight commissions. Passage came a week after end of Sirisena’s ambitious 100-day agenda and followed efforts by section of Sirisena’s own SLFP party to delay and weaken law; parliament likely to consider 20th amendment to reform electoral system before being dissolved for fresh elections later in year. Police 22 April arrested former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and two others on corruption charges; Bribery Commission 23 April questioned former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is due to interview former President Rajapaksa, despite public protests by pro-Rajapaksa faction of Sirisena’s UPFA coalition. Series of international visitors encouraged govt to deepen progress on human rights and reconciliation, including 2 April Sri Lanka-EU Joint Commission; negotiations begun to restore GSP+ trade benefits removed in 2010. UN Special Rapporteur on transitional justice following late March visit welcomed govt’s initial moves on reconciliation, outlined major challenges for effective transitional justice. Rajapaksa-appointed commission on missing persons 3 April presented unpublished interim report to Sirisena, reportedly recommended further investigations into certain cases of Army and LTTE “wrong-doing”.

Philippines

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Deliberations on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in House of Representatives resumed 20 April; lawmakers debating who will exercise operational control over local police in future Bangsamoro region. Resumption of BBL hearings overshadowed by Department of Justice (DOJ)’s 22 April announcement of murder and theft charges against 90 MILF implicated in 25 Jan botched counter-insurgency operation in which 44 police commandos, seventeen MILF and five civilians killed. DOJ also released report same day stating MILF, MILF splinter group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and private armed groups continued to fire on police after they surrendered; MILF said report “very doubtful”, MILF acted in self-defence. International Monitoring Team, responsible for monitoring and upholding ceasefire, 6 April published report concluding both govt forces and MILF at fault for deadly clash, both violated ceasefire. MILF 17 April reiterated it would not surrender fighters implicated in clash to govt. BIFF leader Ameril Umra Kato reportedly died of heart attack 14 April; BIFF 19 April attacked army and police positions in Shariff Aguak, Datu Hofer and Datu Salibo, said attack was to show group still “alive and kicking”. MILF training facility in Iligan City dismantled 18 April by joint team of govt, MILF, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and CSO representatives.

Korean Peninsula

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

DPRK army conducted live-fire ballistic missile exercise into Sea of Japan 2 March; also live-fire surface-to-air missile exercise and Air Force exercise. ROK, U.S. and coalition allies began annual combined and joint military exercises. ROK media quoted anonymous ROK intelligence source 25 Feb saying DPRK conducting conventional high-explosive tests for nuclear weapons, would enable DPRK to conduct higher yield nuclear tests in future. DPRK’s Korean Workers Party held enlarged meeting of Central Military Commission (CMC) 23 Feb; CMC Chairman Kim Jong-un called for “full combat readiness” ahead of ROK-U.S. military exercises, stressed need to simplify and reorganise military. Seoul 17 March announced DPRK behind Dec 2014 cyber-attacks on ROK nuclear reactor operator; DPRK denied. UNSC’s DPRK Sanctions Committee Panel of Experts released report 23 Feb revealing country’s continued efforts to circumvent sanctions against its nuclear and missile programs. Russia and China discussed possible resumption of six-party talks on DPRK nuclear program late April/May. Japan 31 March said it was extending sanctions on DPRK citing lack of progress in talks on release of kidnapped Japanese nationals. ROK and DPRK sparred over Kaesŏng Industrial Complex wages and governance.

Uzbekistan

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Head of National Security Service Rustam Inoyatov 19 March claimed Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) joined forces with Islamic State Oct 2014, due to financial difficulties; not confirmed by IMU. President Karimov re-elected 29 March with over 90% of votes; OSCE criticised lack of genuine opposition, legal and organisational shortcomings in vote.

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CrisisWatch N°141

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