Meanwhile, the intensity of the international debate around Darfur seems to have heated up: the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court vowed to pursue his case against Sudanese President Omar-al-Bashir in meetings with UN and AU officials – while Sudan lobbied intensely at the UN meeting this weekend to have the case against its leader dropped. Rebel leaders urged the international community to not mix justice and politics and to not drop the charges.
At the UN, Sudan was elected to chair the Group of 77 Developing Nations.
Burma’s longest serving political prisoner, the 79 year old UWin Tin, was released. The release of 9,000 political prisoners in the country is seen as a publicity stunt by the international community. Amnesty International estimates that about 2,000 people are still held as political prisoners in jail.
People in Burma’s Chin state say they are starving and that over 100,000 people are at risk. This is after a famine that is caused by an infestation of rats who come to eat the fruits off of bamboo, which flowers once every 50 years. The rats then ear other crops nearby. The Indian government, which encounters the same rat infestation every 50 years, began making plans to deter the famine caused by the rats eating the crops in 2002. In contrast the Burmese military government has done nothing in preparation for this crisis.
A bomb detonated in front of Yangon’s city hall, approaching the anniversary of last year’s democratic peaceful protests. In response, the government has set up check points and initiated heavy patrols through the city, fearing some action to commemorate last year’s protests.
There is much concern over who will take over the government upon the death of general Than Shwe who is in his seventies.
Fresh fighting between Congolese government troops and militia led by General Laurent Nkunda broke out Sunday in North Kivu province. According to Human Rights Watch, renewed clashes between the two groups that began August 28 have displaced over 100,000 civilians.
Approximately 90 Congolese schoolchildren were abducted last week by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel group, during attacks in DRC’s Orientale province. UNICEF has expressed concern that the children will be used by the LRA for attacks in Uganda or sold into sexual slavery. In protest, hundreds of Congolese civilians attacked UN posts in Orientale, wounding two peacekeepers.
A new report by Amnesty International estimates that up to half of child soldiers reunited with their families have been re-recruited by warring parties over the past year, a consequence of the recent resurgence in violence.
The International Criminal Court ruled Friday ruled that there was sufficient evidence to try two militiamen, Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui, for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in DRC.
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