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Arakan govt invites MSF and others to resume aid

The Arakan State government has invited international aid organisations — including Médecins Sans Frontières, which was dramatically expelled from the state nearly five months ago — to continue operations in the troubled region.

In an announcement published by state media on Thursday, Arakan leadership said that 24 specified organisations and other agencies are invited “to participate in development, humanitarian, education, and healthcare programs in accordance with the wishes of the Rakhine [Arakanese] people.”

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Systematic rape is used as a weapon of war

In conflict, it is often the most vulnerable that become the victims. Burma has been engaged in civil war for more than 60 years, and throughout that time there have been consistent reports of abuses against women and children committed by the military.

In part two of a special DVB Debate show, panellists discussed the widespread use of sexual violence in conflict.

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MSF treats first CMV retinitis patients with oral drug

Reduction in pricing still needed to ensure wider access to treatment

23 July 2014

Aye Pyae Sone/MSF

ART drugs at MSF's clinic in Myitkyina, Kachin state, Myanmar. MSF treats more than 30,000 HIV/AIDS patients across the country.

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Pyithu Hluttaw approves proposal to establish Ministry of Ethnic Affairs

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Mizzima News

Written by Soe Than Linn

The Pyithu Hluttaw has approved a draft bill submitted by its National Races Affairs and Peace Making Committee that provides for the creation of a Ministry of Ethnic Affairs.

The draft Protection for Minority Rights bill, aimed at protecting the rights of indigenous minorities, was approved on July 22.

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Wa Again Absent as Ethnic Groups Meet for Ceasefire Talks

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Irrawaddy

By MAY KHA/ THE IRRAWADDY

RANGOON — Representatives from Burma’s Wa and Mengla minority groups were invited but are not attending the third conference of ethnic armed groups being held in Laiza, Kachin State, at the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) this week.

The conference began on Thursday and will run through July 29, bringing together members of 12 ethnic armed groups in Burma that are members of the National Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) to discuss a long-sought nationwide peace agreement with the Burmese government.

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Seeking Independence, Opium Eradication in Palaung Territory

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Irrawaddy

By JPAING / THE IRRAWADDY

KYAUK MAE DISTRICT, Northern Shan State — In the ethnic Palaung area in northern Shan State, speaking Burmese can generate suspicion among local people, who are distrustful due to their ongoing conflict with the Burmese military.

“For people here, Burmese is the language used by the Burmese army. So they are really afraid if they hear someone speaking in the language,” one local villager explained to me after I had convinced him that I had nothing to do with the army.

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Thailand + 1 other
Thai and Burmese Officials to Begin Talks on Repatriation

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Irrawaddy

By SAW YAN NAING / THE IRRAWADDY

CHIANG MAI, Thailand — Thai and Burmese authorities will begin talks soon over plans for the repatriation of Burmese refugees, but the UN refugee agency cautions that many obstacles remain to their safe return home, including land mines and the possibility of further conflict.

Vivian Tan, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said conditions in southeastern Burma, where most of the Burmese refugees in Thailand camps come from, are not conducive to an organized repatriation at this time.

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UN rapporteur meets peace-keepers in Mandalay

By NAW NOREEN

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights to Burma, Yanghee Lee, was presented with findings from an inquiry into Mandalay’s communal violence, as she visited the city on Wednesday.

In the morning, Lee visited the site of the unrest that shook the city on 1 July.

Violence broke out between Muslim and Buddhist populations after a rumour spread throughout the town that the Muslim owner of a teashop had raped a Buddhist woman.

Two people were killed and around 20 injured in the ensuing days of violence.

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Families in remote areas suffer from food shortages

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ACT Alliance

Village committees in poor and remote areas of Myanmar think about how to make the harvest last for the whole year. Villagers at Pi Hu are also hoping for electricity, health services and a school.

"Together with the villagers, we have been discussing how they see their lives and livelihoods. What what kind of household they consider to be rich, poor or something in between,” says LWF Community Empowerment Facilitator (CEF) Than Lwin Soe, 26.

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Myanmar invites MSF back to crisis-gripped Rakhine

07/24/2014 09:43 GMT

YANGON, July 24, 2014 (AFP) - Myanmar on Thursday invited Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to resume work in Rakhine state, which is gripped by a severe health crisis nearly five months after the medical aid group was ejected from the region.

The ministry of health has requested MSF to return to the unrest-plagued western state, where hundreds of thousands of people have been left with almost no access to healthcare after authorities told the group to leave in late February.

Agence France-Presse:

©AFP: The information provided in this product is for personal use only. None of it may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the express permission of Agence France-Presse.

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Water, Safe and Close, Makes Life Simpler in Rural Myanmar

Safe water was hard to come by for the residents of two villages in Kayin State, Myanmar, who were used to walking miles to fetch water from shallow, unclean wells and streams.

"It was very difficult for them to get safe drinking water especially during dry season. Some people had to walk to get water for more than two hours," said Yoko Ito, program coordinator for CWS Japan.

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Thailand + 1 other
No increase in deportations from Thai camps, says UNHCR

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Mizzima News

There has been no increase in deportations of Myanmar refugees from camps in Thailand since restrictions began being enforced on their movement in late June, the United Nations refugee agency told Mizzima on July 23.

"We're monitoring the situation; based on current information we have not seen any changes on this front," UNHCR spokesperson Vivian Tan told Mizzima in an email from the agency's Bangkok office.

Ms Tan was responding to comments by a Thai official that refugees caught outside the camps would be considered illegal migrants and liable for deportation.

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UN Rights Rapporteur Visits Mandalay

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Irrawaddy

By ZARNI MANN / THE IRRAWADDY| Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MANDALAY — Yanghee Lee, the new UN rapporteur on the human rights situation in Burma, visited Mandalay on Tuesday to speak with government officials and community leaders about the recent outbreak of anti-Muslim violence in the country’s second biggest city.

Mandalay-based lawyer Thein Than Oo said she met with members of the Mandalay Peace Keeping Committee, which comprises Buddhist and Muslim community leaders, and officials.

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Curfew in Mandalay townships eased after three weeks

By PAING SOE

Authorities in Mandalay have relaxed the eight-hour curfew imposed upon seven townships three weeks after communal violence rocked the city’s Chan Aye Tharzan Township. The curfew is still in effect from 9pm to 3pm.

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UN's new special rapporteur on Myanmar discusses IDPs during visit to Kachin State

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Mizzima News

United Nations special rapporteur Ms Yanghee Lee discussed people displaced by conflict, land mines, land grabs and rape in talks with government officials during a trip to Kachin State on July 21 as she continued her first visit to Myanmar since her appointment.

The topics were discussed when Ms Lee met Chief Minister U La John Ngan Hsai and other state government ministers, Kachin State Social Affairs Minister Daw Bautgyar told Mizzima after the talks.

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Thailand + 1 other
Census goes ahead at Thai refugee camps

By REUTERS And DVB 22 July 2014

Thousands of refugees have been lining up to be counted at Mae La, the largest refugee camp in Thailand, since Monday. Authorities said the process is set to finish by the end of July.

They said the census is the first of its kind since the camp which houses over 43,000 refugees was established 30 years ago.

“We conducted the census to get the exact number of those who fled the conflict [in Burma],” said infantry commander Terdsak Ngamsanong.

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Clashes Continue Between SSA and Burma Army

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Irrawaddy

By NYEIN NYEIN / THE IRRAWADDY

More fighting has erupted between ethnic Shan rebels and the Burma Army near a village in eastern Shan State where hundreds of displaced people have taken shelter for about two weeks.

Gunfire could be heard for many hours on Sunday and Monday in Kyaethee Township, according to local residents.

“The clashes began on Sunday afternoon at about 2 pm near Pang Sel village,” said Sai Hlaing Kham, a Shan resident in Kyaythee town. “It continued into the night, and artillery could be heard again on Monday between 7 am and 3 pm.”

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World + 42 others
Global Emergency Overview Snapshot 16-22 July

The weekly Global Overview collates information from a range of sources and displays it in a manner that allows for quick comparison of different humanitarian crises.

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Ethnic leaders arrive for Laiza ceasefire talks

By NAW NOREEN

Representatives of various ethnic armed groups arrived at the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) in Laiza on Monday for a conference on the nationwide ceasefire.

Many observers expect the Laiza talks to have significant bearing upon the peace process in Burma.

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Landslide Kills 5 Civilians in Kachin Camp

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Irrawaddy

By LAWI WENG / THE IRRAWADDY

RANGOON — Five people were killed in a camp for displaced Kachin civilians near the rebel-held town of Laiza on Tuesday after their shelters were buried by a landslide, according to Kachin rebels. They said the disaster occurred after several days of heavy rains hit the mountainous region in Kachin State, northern Burma.