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Homepage > Publication Type > CrisisWatch > CrisisWatch Database

CrisisWatch Database

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695 results found
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Thailand

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged

Anti-coup New Democracy Movement (NDM) student leader Sirawith Seritiwat seized 20 Jan by uniformed men; Sirawith alleged he was hooded and beaten before being delivered to police station. Sirawith and three other NDM activists later released after military court rejected police request to extend their detention. Military court 19 Jan ordered release of fourteen student activists detained since June 2015 for leading anti-coup rallies. Defence ministry 30 Dec released results of investigation into alleged corruption by senior army officers in construction of Rajabhakti Park, exonerating army. Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) 29 Jan issued constitution draft. CDC chairman Meechai Ruchapan said general election may be delayed from July 2017 to end of that year. Iyad Amin Madani, Sec Gen of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, visited Thailand 10-13 Jan, expressed support for military govt’s approach to Malay-Muslim insurgency in southernmost provinces; 10 Jan met in Kuala Lumpur with representatives of Majlis Syura (Mara) Patani, umbrella group of Patani independence organisations. Three NGOs 8 Jan released report alleging torture of insurgent suspects by security forces in deep south. PM Prayuth 21 Jan said authorities investigating report that three people with links to Islamic State (IS) had visited Sungai Kolok, Narathiwat late 2015 to donate money to mosques and encourage religious teachers to support IS. Violence in region continued, including explosion in Thepha district, Songkhla province 18 Jan, killing one.

Philippines

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged

Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) which tracks implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) 3 Jan urged govt and MILF to promote passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), and manage public expectations in case congress does not pass it; also expressed concerns over whether BBL would be compliant with CAB. Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte 28 Jan conceded BBL will not be passed before May 2016 elections. Tensions heightened 27 Jan with reopening of Senate probe into 25 Jan Mamasapano incident in which 44 police commandos and eighteen MILF were killed. MILF 27 Jan reported it has set up task force following reports of recruitment activities by Islamic State in south Mindanao, expressed concern over rising radicalism among region’s youth. Thousands of civilians reportedly fled areas in southern Philippines early month following attacks by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Continued clashes between military and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Myanmar

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged

Transitional period proceeding smoothly ahead of 1 Feb handover to new National League for Democracy (NLD)-dominated parliament and new govt taking over end-March. Suu Kyi held talks for second time with commander-in-chief 26 Jan. 102 prisoners released in presidential amnesty 22 Jan, including some 52 political prisoners; political prisoner support groups say 78 political prisoners remain behind bars, others on pre-trial detention. First session of Union Peace Conference convened 12-16 Jan in Naypyitaw, with some 700 participants, meeting deadline set by Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA); substantive discussions deferred until after new govt takes power end-March. Most armed groups that had not signed decided to stay away despite being invited to attend without decision-making rights; three groups fighting military in Kokang region not invited. President, commander-in-chief, Karen National Union leader Mutu Say Poe and Aung San Suu Kyi all addressed conference; latter indicated that she would make peace process a “top priority” of NLD administration. Shan State Army-South, an NCA signatory, accused govt forces of violating NCA by attacking their troops 31 Dec. Fighting also escalated between govt forces and Arakan Army troops in Rakhine state’s Kyauktaw township since late-Dec.

Indonesia

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged

Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for 14 Jan bomb and gun attack in Jakarta in which eight people killed (including four attackers) and dozens injured; first IS attack in Jakarta. Senior Malaysian police official reported possible link between one suspected attacker and terrorism suspects in Malaysia. IS issued video warning of further attacks. President Widodo reported to be considering barring citizens who have joined radical groups to fight overseas from returning. Security forces late month evacuated several hundred members of Gafatar sect, Islamic sect banned by authorities, from West Kalimantan province after they were attacked in sectarian violence.

Thailand

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

King Bhumibol Adulyadej appeared in public 14 Dec for first time since Sept 2015 to swear in new judges. Junta faced continued criticism for alleged graft in army-sponsored project to build park near Hua Hin to commemorate seven Thai kings. Soldiers 30 Nov arrested three United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) leaders as they were talking with reporters en route to park – first instance of open UDD defiance of military orders to avoid “political gatherings” since May 2014 coup. Soldiers 7 Dec halted train heading to Hua Hin to prevent group of student activists from reaching Rajapkahti Park; arrested 38 including group leader. Leaked police memo early Dec revealed Thai police received warning from Russia’s state security agency that ten Syrians linked to Islamic State could stage attacks in Thailand on targets associated with Russia and others, in Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket. Several casualties reported in ongoing insurgent attacks in Deep South. Internal Security Operations Command 4 Dec announced suspected militant died while being interrogated in Pattani’s Nong Chik district, third detainee to die in military custody in past two months.

Philippines

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Congress failed to pass proposed Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) by 16 Dec when house adjourned, though did complete plenary debates. Despite widespread concerns that law now unlikely to be passed under President Aquino’s administration, speaker of parliament said he was hopeful that BLBAR would be passed when congress resumes session 18 Jan, prior to long recess ahead of May 2016 national elections. Leaders of Moro rebel factions MILF and MNLF gathered in Mindanao mid-Dec to discuss concerns over Bangsamoro peace agreement, attempts to unify movements to increase pressure on govt to pass BLBAR. EU 9 Dec pledged continued support for peace process, alongside EUR5.5mn aid for peacebuilding in Bangsamoro region. Six people reported killed in MILF attack in Tulunan town, North Cotabato 8 Dec, police said clash motivated by longstanding land conflict. Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters reportedly killed nine villagers in south 26 Dec, while govt forces killed at least five rebels in Mindanao clashes. At least fifteen al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) rebels and three soldiers reported killed in clashes in Basilan mid-month; ten ASG and several soldiers reported killed in Jolo island clash 30 Dec.

Myanmar

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Following National League for Democracy (NLD)’s Nov electoral victory, party leader Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) met with president 2 Dec to discuss formation of transition teams to ensure smooth and efficient handover of responsibilities, and try to set precedent of constructive handover of power after future elections; govt and NLD transition teams established following week. ASSK also met commander-in-chief 2 Dec, without observers; content of discussion unknown, but mood afterward appeared positive. ASSK met with former military ruler Than Shwe 4 Dec, after which he signalled his support of ASSK. ASSK met with chief peace negotiator Aung Min 7 Dec for briefing on peace process. More generally, ASSK hinting she may keep some existing ministers on; and that some posts will go to non-Burmans; has told NLD MPs they should not expect to be appointed to executive. Election commission released final details on election 2 Dec, showing nationwide turnout of 69.7%, high variation across states. Following six-point agreement between Shan State Army-North (SSA-North) and govt late Nov security situation calm, though tensions remain; 6,000-10,000 villagers still displaced. Attack in main Kokang town Laukkai 27 Nov; no casualties reported. Several rounds of clashes between Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and SSA-South after initial deadly shootout between them 27 Nov; tensions likely exacerbated by suspicions after SSA-South signed Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) mid-Oct and TNLA did not. Rapid movement on procedural follow-up to NCA, with framework agreement for next step, the political dialogue, agreed 15 Dec, in line with deadline included in NCA; political dialogue scheduled to start 12 Jan.

Indonesia

  |  4 Jan 2016

Unchanged

Non-governmental organisations reported alleged killings and other abuses by security forces on day marking West Papuan Independence celebrations 1 Dec. Follows Nov release of West Papua activist Filep Karma, jailed eleven years for raising Morning Star flag. Three police reported killed by gunmen in attack on police station in Puncak district 27 Dec. President Widodo conducted official visit to Papua/West Papua 29-31 Dec. Guerrilla leader Din Minimi and over 100 former separatist fighters, reportedly splinter elements from Free Aceh Movement which signed peace agreement with govt in 2005, and accused of criminal activities including extortion over the past year, surrendered to Aceh authorities late Dec.

Thailand

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Two of three people arrested mid-Oct for allegedly citing monarchy for personal benefit died in military custody late Oct. Suspects had raised money for royal bicycling events in Aug and Dec this year; fourth suspect, an army colonel also charged with lèse-majesté, absconded. Arrest warrants issued 23 Nov for three more, including army major general, assistant to former army chief Udomdej Sittabutr. Udomdej 10 Nov admitted irregularities in construction of Rajapakdi Park, an army project to honour seven Thai kings; said kickbacks donated to project. Army chief announced 20 Nov army investigation found no army wrongdoing, no need for further investigation. Under public pressure, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan ordered second investigative panel; General Preecha Chan-ocha, brother of PM Prayuth Chan-ocha and member of park-project foundation, to select panel members. Govt 25 Nov revealed arrest of three Red-Shirt govt opponents, alleged plot to launch attacks in Bangkok targeting royal events and govt officials. Critics sceptical, viewing news of plot as attempt to deflect attention from park scandal. Several people killed in ongoing attacks blamed on insurgents in deep south, including four killed by bomb at security checkpoint in Khok Poh district, Pattani, 12 Nov. Army spokesman said coordinated bomb and arson attacks in Yala town late Oct intended to discredit govt. Prominent Buddhist monk 29 Oct posted on Facebook that for every monk killed by Malay-Muslim militants in Deep South, ten mosques should be burned. Mid-Oct U.S. and UNHCR criticised govt’s deportation of two Chinese dissidents, who had registered as refugees, to China.

Philippines

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Senate President Drilon expressed optimism that Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) will be passed in their chamber before congress adjourns 16 Dec; however, bill’s principal author in lower house Rufus Rodriquez 25 Nov called for “more forceful intervention” from President Aquino to address lack of quorum. BLBAR would set up new Bangsamoro govt, implementing historic Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro which brought end to decades of conflict, but time running out to pass and implement legislation before May 2016 general elections. Business representatives, envoys and local politicians called for congress to pass bill. As militant Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) beheaded Malaysian hostage 17 Nov, Aquino pledged to “further intensify” operations again ASG and other terrorist groups. Clash erupted in Maguindanao after Misuari supporters blocked road project 22 Nov. Security forces reported killing eight Islamist militants in Mindanao 28 Nov.

Myanmar

  |  1 Dec 2015

Improved

Country held first openly-contested general election in 25 years 8 Nov. NLD won with landslide, taking 79% of elected seats in national parliament (390 seats); President Thein Sein’s ruling Union Solidarity and Development (USDP) party in second place with 8% (41 seats). Together with unelected military bloc, result gives NLD majority of 59% in bicameral national legislature, majorities in upper and lower houses. NLD also won landslide in the fourteen state/region legislatures, winning almost every seat in seven Burman-dominated central regional legislatures, and also many seats in ethnic states, giving it control of assemblies in four states (Chin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon). Also took 49% of vote in Kachin state, meaning it can join with one of four ethnic parties that also won seats to achieve majority. Except for Arakan National Party and the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, ethnic minority parties fared badly, winning 11% of elected seats in national parliament, and faring poorly in local legislatures. Election widely regarded as credible, although problems with inclusivity as hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingyas, and similar number of ethnic minority voters in conflict-affected areas excluded. During meeting with political parties mid-month, Thein Sein promised smooth transition. As heavy fighting continued in central Shan state, military 20 Nov unilateral halt to attacks on SSA-North, delegation from armed group held discussions with govt 23 Nov. Heavy fighting seen mid-Nov between military and Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) around Mansi town in Kachin state. UNGA human rights committee 18 Nov adopted non-binding resolution criticising Myanmar’s treatment of Muslim minority, urged change in citizenship rules to make Rohingya full citizens.

Thailand

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged

Ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) 5 Oct appointed new 21-member Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), headed by NCPO legal expert Meechai Ruchuphan; CDC has until 1 April 2016 to draft new charter. NCPO also appointed 200-member National Reform Steering Committee to replace defunct NRC. Members of European parliament 8 Oct condemned military govt for trying civilians in military courts, delaying elections, and curbing rights of free speech and assembly; adopted non-binding resolution urging Thai authorities lift repressive restrictions on political rights. Govt 12 Oct announced it would issue administrative order to seize $16mn of former PM Yingluck Shinawatra’s assets as compensation for losses in her govt’s rice subsidy scheme. Activists opposed to govt plan for single internet gateway that would create firewall, similar to China and DPRK, launched successful distributed “denial of service” attacks on six government websites 30 Sept. Govt early Oct denied it was implementing single gateway. Hacking collective Anonymous 22 Oct launched attack on state-run telecommunications company. Several killed and injured in continued violence in deep south. In media interview, representatives of Barisan Revolusi Nasional representatives said group not involved in current dialogue process between govt and MARA Patani (umbrella group of separatists based outside country), but is willing to talk with govt through international mediation.

Philippines

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged
Senate adjourned 7 Oct and House of Representatives 9 Oct without voting on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL); session to resume 3 Nov, with new deadline to approve BBL deadline 16 Dec, when congress breaks for Christmas. Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) 13 Oct signed “unified declaration” calling for approval of original BBL and rejecting “diluted BBL”. MILF representative said combatants becoming “restive” over delays in passage of bill. Representatives from two dozen countries 15 Oct issued signed statement of support for peace process and call for safeguards to prevent resumption of Mindanao conflict. Deadly clashes between military and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and New People’s Army (NPA) continued. ASG 8 Oct seized Italian citizen in Dipolog, 13 Oct released video of one Filipino and three foreign hostages appealing for military to halt bombing ASG hideout in Jolo island. NPA claimed responsibility for abduction and killing of Mayor Dario Otaza of Loreto, Agusan del Sur, and his son, citing “revolutionary justice” for Otaza’s alleged close ties with military.

Myanmar

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged

Govt and eight out of fifteen officially-recognised armed groups signed Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) 15 Oct; signatories on govt side included president, two VPs, parliamentary speakers, commander-in-chief and his deputy, attorney general and chief justice. Govt two days earlier removed groups from list of “unlawful associations”. Fighting continued between army and ethnic groups that did not sign NCA, including Shan State Army-North and Ta’ang National Liberation Army. As preparations continued for 8 Nov general election, opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi 7 Oct said even if she did not become president, she would be running the country if NLD won election; and that NLD’s candidate for president would be from within party ranks. Election commission 12 and 27 Oct issued notifications that elections will not be held in conflict-affected Kachin, Shan and Kayin states, as well as a few parts of Bago Region and Mon state for security reasons; later confirmed polls will go ahead elsewhere despite disruption caused by widespread flooding. Concerns continued over disenfranchisement of Muslim Rohingya. MaBaTha 4 Oct held another large rally in Yangon celebrating enactment of “protection of race and religion” laws; thousands of monks and lay people attended.

Indonesia

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged

Some 500 Muslim extremists 13 Oct burned down Indonesian Christian Church and Roman Catholic church in Aceh’s Singkil regency for allegedly operating without permit; clashed with Christians defending a third church, one killed. Hundreds of security forces deployed to Aceh 15 Oct, police arrested three people suspected of church burning. Singkil authorities began demolishing churches 19 Oct; some 5,000 Christians reportedly fled region.

Thailand

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged

National Reform Council (NRC) 6 Sept rejected by 135 votes to 105 the draft constitution prepared by Constitution Drafting Committee; NRC then dissolved, in line with interim constitution. Junta to remain in power for another twenty months with revised roadmap for new constitution and general election. Ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) increased repression of its critics, including detaining former energy minister and Pheu Thai Party (PTP) member Pichai Naripthaphan 9 Sept, PTP member and former MP Karun Hosakul 10 Sept, and journalist for The Nation Pravit Rojanaphruk 13 Sept; all three released 15 Sept. At least 200 demonstrators 19 Sept marched to commemorate anniversary of 2006 coup that ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra, largest anti-govt demonstration since immediate aftermath of May 2014 coup. Police 28 Sept announced conclusion of 17 Aug Erawan shrine bombing investigation; suspect in custody allegedly confessed to planting bomb. Police stated attack carried out by Uighur people-smuggling gang in revenge for police crackdown. Amid ongoing deadly violence in south, main insurgent group Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) 7 Sept released video message stating intention to continue fighting for independence.

Philippines

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged

Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Belmonte 23 Sept said Congress aims to pass Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by 16 Dec. Recent versions of bill now refer to it as Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR). Govt 7 Sept activated National Task Force for the Disbandment of the Private Armed Groups to dismantle private armies in proposed Bangsamoro region. Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 11 Sept threatened to stop surrendering firearms if BBL is “watered-down”; 18 Sept rejected changes to BBL proposed by congress, accepted govt’s official version of 25 Jan Mamasapano incident and expressed wish to “bury the issue”. Justice department 22 Sept recommended 90 suspects from MILF, BIFF and private armed groups be criminally charged with direct assault, murder and theft in connection with Mamasapano incident. Basilan Regional Trial Court 10 Sept officially declared Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) a terrorist group. ASG 14 Sept abducted ten civilians. ASG suspected of responsibility for bomb on bus in Zamboanga 18 Sept, killing one and wounding 32. Suspected ASG 21 Sept kidnapped four people including one Norwegian and two Canadian tourists in Samal. Military 21 Sept launched offensive against ASG in Sulu; reported 1,000 marines and army clashed with 30 ASG.

Myanmar

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged

Official campaign period for 8 Nov general election began 8 Sept; some 6,000 candidates from 91 registered parties competing for 1,171 parliamentary seats. Electoral commission rejected 100 candidates, many of them Muslim including Rohingya; about twenty reinstated on appeal, including eleven Muslim candidates. Buddhist Nationalist movement MaBaTha held “celebration rallies” for passage of four nationalist “Race and Religion Protection” laws, urged public not to vote for opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) due to its opposition to laws. President Thein Sein and nine-member team of armed group leaders and negotiators met in Naypyitaw 9 Sept: no conclusive agreement reached, leaving planned Oct signing of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) uncertain. President agreed “in principle” to all-inclusive deal, but urged this to be achieved “progressively”. Govt did not accept immediate inclusion of three groups fighting its forces in Kokang state. At armed group summit that ended 30 Sep, seven groups decided to sign NCA, ten groups will not, and two undecided. Signing likely to go ahead in Oct, but with only seven to eight groups. Sporadic clashes between govt forces and armed groups also continue in Shan and Kachin states. Shan state army warned political parties to suspend campaigning activities in southern Shan areas where clashes with govt occurred mid-Sept.

Indonesia

  |  1 Oct 2015

Unchanged

Free Papua Movement 9 Sept attacked residents in Papua, kidnapped two Indonesian loggers and took them to Vanimo in bordering Papua New Guinea (PNG). Govt 15 Sept said it would coordinate with PNG; PNG military freed hostages 17 Sept.

Thailand

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Bomb exploded at Erawan Shrine in Bangkok 17 Aug in deadliest terrorist attack in recent Thai history; twenty killed, 120 injured, most victims were ethnic Chinese visitors to shrine. No claim of responsibility. Second bomb of same design detonated at Sathorn Pier on Chao Phraya River 18 Aug, no casualties; CCTV showed man dropped second bomb into river shortly after Erawan explosion. Police 29 Aug arrested Erawan bombing suspect in Bangkok outskirts and seized bomb-making equipment, seeking two other suspects. Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) late July agreed to establish National Strategic Reform and Reconciliation Commission (NSRCC) to lead reforms after promulgation of new constitution and general election; mid-Aug announced plans to grant NSRCC powers to override elected govt “in times of crisis”. NSRRC proposal criticised across political spectrum. CDC 22 Aug presented draft constitution to National Reform Council for 7 Sept vote. UNHCHR 11 Aug called for release of those jailed for lèse-majesté, urged amendment of law; followed handing down of heavy jail sentences in two cases for online lèse-majesté comments, amid significant increase in cases since 2014 coup. Several killed in ongoing insurgent violence in south. General Aksara Kerdpol led “pre-talks” with Majlis Amanah Rakyat Patani (MARA Patani), umbrella group of six Malay-Muslim separatist organisations, in Kuala Lumpur 25 Aug. Security forces 2 Aug killed insurgent leader Masukarueno Yakumo in Narathiwat.

Philippines

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Plenary session in House of Representatives on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) stalled due to lack of quorum 4 and 5 Aug. Senator Ferdinand Marcos 12 Aug presented alternative BBL draft to Senate with 80% of provisions amended; govt peace panel 17 Aug said substitute BBL may encourage “personalistic” politics and perpetuate political dynasties by balancing representation in favour of district representatives. Meanwhile, MILF panel chair Iqbal has repeatedly said “no BBL is better than a bad BBL”. Senate plenary to debate substitute BBL late Aug. Plenary debate on national budget 28 Sept, Congress goes on recess 10 Oct-2 Nov. Suspected Abu Sayyaf (ASG) set off homemade bomb in Basilan 7 Aug, two soldiers killed; killed in ambush two soldiers in Sulu 10 Aug. Around 40 ASG militants clashes with members of armed civilian group Barangay Peace Action Team 15 Aug in Sulu, two ASG killed. Seven soldiers and 15 ASG killed in firefight in Sulu 20 Aug. Three ASG killed in clash with security forces in Sulu 28 Aug. New People’s Army (NPA) militants and military clashed in Masbate 5 Aug; four NPA and one soldier killed; five NPA killed in clash with military 19 Aug.

Myanmar

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Ahead of 9 Nov general elections, longstanding tensions between legislature and executive played out within ruling Union Solidarity and Development party (USDP): President Thein Sein 12 Aug deposed party chairman Shwe Mann and several allies after Shwe Mann’s rejection of Thein Sein loyalists’ applications for upcoming polls, and amid suspicion within USDP regarding Shwe Mann’s relationship with opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Divisions within opposition as NLD selection committee rejected prominent non-NLD candidates who had been requested by party to run, including prominent former student leader Ko Ko Gyi and some twenty other members of 88 Generation group. Over 6,000 candidates registered by 14 Aug deadline. Heavy rain and cyclone Komen late July brought serious flooding; nearly 400,000 households displaced, candidate registration period extended. Parliament 18 Aug approved third 90-day extension of martial law in Kokang. Ninth formal round of peace talks 6-7 Aug: final ceasefire text agreed, but question of which groups will be eligible to sign Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) remains major sticking point. Parliament 19 Aug approved two controversial bills proposed by hardline Buddhist nationalists, completing package of four discriminatory bills aimed at “protection of race and religion”. At request of UK, UNSC briefed on situation in Myanmar under AOB 28 Aug.

Indonesia

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Clash between police and suspected terrorists believed to be led by Santoso, Indonesia’s most wanted terrorist in Central Sulawesi 21 Aug; one police officer killed.

Indonesia

  |  3 Aug 2015

Unchanged

Crowd of around two hundred people attacked group of Muslims and set mosque on fire in majority-Christian Tolikara in Papua province 17 July; one attacker shot dead by police, eleven wounded.

Philippines

  |  3 Aug 2015

Unchanged

House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) 12 July announced resumption of BBL talks in Aug. President Aquino 27 July called for passage of BBL in State of the Nation Address. National Bureau of Investigation and National Prosecution Service joint fact-finding mission 16 July recommended investigation of 102 MILF and BIFF militants linked to 25 Jan clash in Mamasapano that killed 44 police commandos and eighteen MILF. Almost daily clashes in south, including: security forces 16 July conducted raid in Sulu, three Abu Sayyaf Group members killed; one soldier killed in BIFF attack in Maguindanao 6 July. New People’s Army (NPA) 11 July also conducted raid in Misamis Oriental, one soldier killed, one captured. NPA 27 July ambushed military convoy in Kalinga, three soldiers killed. Security forces 21 July arrested high-ranking NPA leader Ernesto Lorenzo.

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.

Thailand

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) 21 July received 30-day extension to complete revisions to 315-article draft constitution and present them to National Reform Council (NRC) 22 Aug; follows late June announcement by Election Commission that referendum on draft constitution could be held Jan 2016. CDC 6 July replaced controversial “open list” system with single constituency for party-list system. National Legislative Assembly deputy chairman 20 July said current govt could stay in office until early 2017, election may not take place until Dec 2016. Criminal Court 14 July convicted ten members of alleged “lèse majesté network” for distributing online content it said insulted monarchy, sentenced them to three to five years in jail; justice minister mid-July sought cooperation from France and Japan to extradite lèse majesté suspects. Govt criticised over decision to hand over 109 Uighurs who fled China to Chinese authorities early July. Violence in south continued with series of bomb attacks in Narathiwat, Pattani during month, several killed, dozens injured including civilians and security forces. Security forces 20 July killed two wanted insurgents during raid in Pattani; gunmen 6 July killed village chief, wounded three in Yala; motorcycle bomb 10 July exploded in Songkhla, killed three civilians, wounded three others; seventeen injured in platoon-sized attack on defence volunteer base in Yala 30 July.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

Thailand

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Grenade at Bangkok Criminal Court 7 March caused minor damage; two suspects arrested near scene allegedly confessed to being part of Red-Shirt conspiracy to stage multiple attacks. Lawyers for four further suspects 17 March alleged military had tortured their clients; army denied. PM Prayuth 9 March warned future general election contingent on stability. More details of draft constitution emerged late Feb indicating diminished role for elected politicians; Constitution Drafting Committee announced senate will be “indirectly elected”, PM will not be required to be elected MP nor affiliated with political party. Senior National Reform Council member 11 March said new constitution would be completed by Sept, bylaws enacted within 60 days, general election held 90 days later. Attorney general 17 March filed charges against former commerce minister and twenty others for corruption in prior govt’s rice subsidy scheme; Supreme Court 19 March announced it will decide whether former PM Yingluck was guilty of criminal negligence for failing to halt alleged graft in scheme, first hearing to be in May. PM Prayuth 27 March said he would soon lift martial law and invoke Article 44 of provisional constitution, which grants him absolute power. Several civilians and security forces wounded in insurgent attacks in deep south, including in largely peaceful Songkhla province. Families of four men killed by security forces in 25 March raid in Thung Yang Daeng district, Pattani, denied slain men were militants.

Philippines

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

President Aquino facing political crisis as 13 March police investigative report stated that he bypassed chain of command of “defective” anti-terrorist operation in Mamasapano 25 Jan that saw 44 commandos, seventeen MILF and at least five killed in clash; also allowed former police chief friend to participate in mission despite being under suspension over graft allegations; and involvement of U.S. officials in intelligence sharing, medical evacuation. Report called for investigation to determine criminal liability, prompted calls for Aquino’s resignation. Aquino 9 March said he had been misled about details of Mamasapano operation. MILF 24 March submitted its report on Mamasapano incident to Senate, said police commando unit opened fire first and broke terms of ceasefire by not notifying MILF of operation in advance. After receiving report, Ferdinand Marcos, chairman of Senate Committee on Local Govt which will decide on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), scheduled resumption of BBL hearing for 13 April. MILF denied allegations that it had opened new training camp in Iligan City. Govt continued offensive against Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao, said it would not affect peace process with MILF. UNHCR 20 March reported over 120,000 displaced in fighting in southern Philippines since late Jan. Dozens of rebels and several govt soldiers killed in fighting. Military captured leader of BIFF breakaway rebel group Justice Islamic Movement mid-March, 30 March ended offensive, said over 100 insurgents killed. One year since signing of Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro, Aquino 27 March announced creation of citizens peace council led by national luminaries to make independent review of BBL.

Indonesia

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Govt launched military exercises in Sulawesi late month as part of response to reported threat posed by militants with links to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL) – blamed by police for 23 Feb chlorine bomb in Jakarta shopping centre.

Myanmar

  |  1 Apr 2015

Improved

Govt and ethnic armed groups 31 March agreed text of historic Nationwide Ceasefire Accord following seventh round of peace talks 17-22, 30-31 March, after hiatus of almost six months, and first-ever senior KIO delegation to Naypyitaw 16 March. Formal signing expected May at earliest, although sides need to agree which armed groups are eligible to sign. Several contentious political and military issues left for subsequent political dialogue process, including shape of future armed forces; little time for this before elections. Progress made despite serious clashes continuing in Kokang region between military and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA). Military continues to incur regular casualties, including at least sixteen military personnel killed 18 March, but controls major roads, most hills. Attempt to retake hills from MNDAA using air force saw fighting spill across border into China 8 and 13 March; in latter incident stray bomb apparently from Myanmar aircraft killed five Chinese nationals, prompting strained relations and public warnings from China, deployment of military jets to step up patrols along border. Protests by students against Sept 2014 education law that started in Jan continued despite govt 14 Feb agreeing to all eleven of their demands; around 200 continued march from Mandalay to Yangon. Police 3 March blocked protest march at Letpadan, just N of Yangon, 10 March violently broke up protest there, arrested 127; released some 50 “genuine students” and bystanders, prosecutions underway against 69 others. Protest in Yangon in support of protestors violently broken up 5 March, first by plainclothes auxiliaries as uniformed police looked on, then by police.

Philippines

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

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

Myanmar

  |  2 Mar 2015

Deteriorated

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

Thailand

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

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

Indonesia

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

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

Philippines

  |  2 Feb 2015

Deteriorated

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

Myanmar

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

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

Thailand

  |  2 Feb 2015

Unchanged

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

Myanmar

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

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

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CrisisWatch N°150

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