Weekly News Brief – October 27 – November 4, 2008
A weekly summary of the most important updates from the ground in Sudan, Burma, and Congo
In this issue: UNAMID peacekeeper killed in Darfur, strengthening relationships between Burma and China, surge of instability in Congo, and more…
More than 100 Darfuris living in Europe demonstrated at the Hague in support of the move by the International Criminal Court to indict Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir. Meanwhile, a senior Chinese official said China has no plans to introduce a resolution to delay the indictment against Bashir.
Qatar is moving forward with a new effort towards peace talks. Darfur rebel group JEM is considering attending. Talks have also been taking place between Sudan and the Arab League and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, a UNAMID convoy guarding a well was attacked, leaving one peacekeeper dead and one severely wounded. A UNAMID vehicle was also seized by two men wielding knices and guns in South Darfur.
This week Nicholas Kristof wrote of another attack on a camp for displaced Darfuris.
9 prominent student activist, credited with carrying on the NLD movement in Aung San Suu Kyi’s stead, have been sentenced to 6 months in jail.
The International Coloured Gemstone Association has criticized the new US ban on imported gems from Burma, saying the effort was "misguided." The ban, which comes into effect this week, closed an important loophole in the trade of Burmese gems, so that absolutely no gems from Burma will make it into US markets.
The oil giant Chevron has removed pages from it’s website that make reference to the pipeline it operates with the Burmese military government.
3 top Burmese Generals met with the Vice Chief of Staff of the Chinese military, signaling greater cooperation between the two governments when UN officials are often denied access to Burmese leaders.
An incredible wave of violence has erupted in the Congo: ethnic Tutsi rebels led by General Laurent Nkunda launched a major offensive in the provincial capital of Goma. In the resulting chaos civilians became targets for both rebels and government forces, causing tens of thousands to flee the city. A tense ceasefire seems to be holding at the moment, but conflict threatens to erupt again at and any time and thousands of lives remain at risk.
The fighting has prompted world leaders and the international media to take notice of DRC in a way they haven’t for years. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner called it, “a massacre such as Africa has never seen…taking place virtually before our eyes.”
Read STAND’s special analysis of the current crisis by Congo Education Coordinator Nina McMurry here.