Ukraine Referendum, With Three Big Issues, Voted Down by Split Ukrainian Parliament

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Three big issues in Ukraine were set for a nationwide referendum May 25, but the majority of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, voted against the referendum Tuesday.

The three issues pressing in Ukraine that were to be addressed in the referendum were territorial integrity, the status of the Russian language in Ukraine, and decentralization of power.

The bill to hold the referendum was proposed on Monday. The vote against the referendum was not a landslide; 154 members voted in favor of the referendum.

Parliamentarian Alexander Briginec called the proposed referendum “populism,” and wrote, “The referendum should be held, but not during the war.”

Pro-Russian groups have occupied buildings throughout Southeastern Ukraine since March. Earlier this month, the Ukrainian parliament passed law to crack down on separatists, providing maximum sentences of 12 years for actions that purpose territorial changes.

Dozens of people have so far died in the clashes between pro-Russian forces and nationalist Ukrainian forces in Southeastern Ukraine.

By Day Blakely Donaldson

Source:

Voice of Russia

UN’s Ki-moon Challenges Fence-Sitters Ahead of Secretary-General’s Climate Summit

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Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, challenged stake-holding fence-sitters at a climate conference in Abu Dhabi which the secretary-general hosted with the United Arab Emirates government, at which over 1,000 international participants gathered.

Ki-moon’s Climate Summit is set to begin September 23 in New York. Ki-moon encouraged national leaders to be “at the head of the race,” stating, “That is how we will support progress at the climate talks in Lima this year so we may have a meaningful agreement in Paris in 2015.”

The Abu Dhabi conference charted new routes for strengthening climate resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and was the first international meeting to make conclusions based on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent reports.

Ki-moon also warned that climate strategy is integral for any government or major business. “Don’t get left behind. Don’t be on the losing side of history,” said the secretary-general.

Ki-moon also toured the Middle East’s largest solar power facility, Shams 1, which can produce electricity sufficient for 20,000 households. The plant, considered to be a commercial success by its owners, was commented on by Ki-Moon: “By harnessing the power of the sun, the United Arab Emirates is cutting greenhouse gas emissions, generating jobs and a laying the foundation for low-carbon economic progress.”

By Sid Douglas

Source:

UN

Russia Paying Trolls to Comment on News Websites, Another Newspaper Says

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Another major newspaper believes that the Russian government is paying internet users to spam the comments section under their articles with aggressive, provocative pro-Russian propaganda. UK’s The Guardian newspaper moderators believe this is an orchestrated campaign.

The Guardian moderators, who deal with 40,000 comments per day, and The Guardian users believe the Russian government is paying webizens to troll their papers, using denigrating and abusive terms against other commenters who criticize Russia or Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. The Guardian’s former Moscow correspondent, Luke Harding, is in no doubt about Russia’s internet campaign, calling it “a well-attested phenomenon in Russia.”

The Guardian reported on the problem as early as 2012. “A pro-Kremlin group runs a network of internet trolls, seeks to buy flattering coverage of Vladimir Putin and hatches plans to discredit opposition activists and media, according to private emails allegedly hacked by a group calling itself the Russian arm of Anonymous,” the paper reported.

The Atlantic also reported on the problem, in October 2013. The paper cited a St. Petersberg Times article about a woman who was interviewed for a job in a “comment-mill,” where workers were expected to and distribute politically supportive or discrediting social media posts.

The Atlantic also noted the prevalence of this abuse of social media, reporting that the NGO Freedom House had stated that the practice is widespread in 22 of the 60 countries it examines, led by China, Bahrain and Russia.

By Day Blakely Donaldson

Sources:

The Guardian

The Atlantic

Wild Poliovirus International Spread “Extraordinary” After Near-Eradication of Virus Last Year, WHO Says

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The IHR Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization met last week on the “extraordinary” international spread of wild polioviruses in 2014, and voted unanimously on measures to stem the resurgence of endemic and internationally exported polioviruses, which were thought to have been nearly eradicated in 2013.

In the informational session of the meeting, affected States Parties presented information on developments in their nations, including Afghanistan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Israel, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and the Syrian Arab Republic, after which the Committee called the public health risk to thus-far unaffected States an “extraordinary event” and warned that a coordinated international response was essential.

Wild poliovirus was nearly stopped through the transmission season between January to April, 2012, but eradication of the disease may fail if the current situation continues. During 2013, most wild poliovirus cases were spread internationally, and in 2014–during the low transmission season–the virus has already spread from three of the 10 infected States–from Pakistan to Afghanistan, Syria to Iraq, and Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea. These three States pose the highest risk of further exportations as well.

Polio is one of the world’s most serious vaccine-preventable diseases. Prevention measures focus largely on oral vaccination and routine immunization. The Committee called for the three highest-risk States to vaccinate all residents and visitors prior to international travel. The Committee encouraged the eight non-exporting States to take similar measures.

The high transmission season for wild poliovirus–between May and June–has already started, and unilateral measures called for at by Committee face the challenge posed by compromised immunization services and high re-infection risks in polio-free but conflict-torn States.

The Committee was requested to reassess the situation in three months.

By Cheryl Bretton

Source:

WHO

Russian Government’s Own Civil Society Organization Finds Crimean Referendum Falsified

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Council on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights has published a report that finds that the Crimean referendum that served as the sole pretense of validity in Putin’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea, was falsified.

Council member Yevgeny Bobrov, human rights worker Svetlana Gannushkina and lawyer Olga Tsetlina prepared the report after visiting Simferopol and Sevastopol April 15-18. The report was published on the President Soviet website Monday.

Although many reports from various sources have found that Russia had falsified the vote, these reports were discredited by the Russian government as US propaganda.

The report finds that the turnout for the referendum in Crimea was 30-50 percent–not the reported 50-80 percent–and only 50-60 percent of those voters favored joining Russia. Voter turnout and support for Russia was higher in Sevastopol city, where, the Council reported, there was a heightened fear of “illegal armed formations.”

The Crimean referendum was held March 16 behind a blockade of armed Russian and pro-Russian forces, which prevented Ukraine from entering Crimea to enforce Ukrainian law while the referendum took place. The results of the referendum were announced to be 97 percent of an 83 percent turnout in favor of joining Russia, although the ballot only had two options: join Russia and revert to an earlier constitution to separate from Ukraine.

Separatist forces in Southeastern Ukraine are also calling for Russia to assist them in Crimea-style separatist referendums.

By Day Blakely Donaldson

Sources:

President Soviet

Kharkiv Human Rights Group

First Ever Charge for Female Genital Mutilation in UK After 28 Years of Law – Top Gynecologist Warns Do Not Prosecute

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A London doctor charged with female genital mutilation (FGM)–the first ever charge for the 28-year-old crime in a country where 170,000 women live with the scars of the procedure–appeared at court this weekend. But a top London gynecologist is saying the man should not be charged in this landmark case.

The gynecologist, Katrina Erskine, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist with a special interest in high risk pregnancy and maternal medicine, says this is not a case that should be prosecuted. Although the London Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) announced that there was sufficient evidence to charge Dr. Dhanuson Dharmasena, the doctor charged was not performing an original FGM. Dharmasena only performed stitching to repair tissue after the woman delivered a child. She had undergone FGM when she was much younger.

The gynecologist said she suspected that the DPP, Alison Saunders, was proceeding in the case because of pressure to prosecute someone for FGM due to the large publicity the subject had received. Erskine, who has practiced in an inner-city hospital in London’s East End for 21 years, where substantial immigrant Somali and Eritrean populations reside, said that she has never seen a case of FGM that was performed in England.

Erskine accused the DPP of prioritizing politics over other concerns and said that fellow gyneacologists were also outraged. She warned, “If, as a result of the Director of Public Prosecutions’s intervention, any post-delivery stitching or repair to a woman with FGM is going to be potentially considered as mutilation, then doctors and midwives will understandably hesitate before intervening. In certain situations, that potentially could cost a new mother her life.”

Seven thousand women who have undergone FGM give birth in London every year.

In addition to Dharmasena, a second man, Hasan Mohamed, is charged with encouraging and helping Dharmasena’s proceedure.

Female genital mutilation has been carried out on 140 million women and girls worldwide, according to UN research. 170,000 are in the UK. Of these, only 93 cases were reported in 2013. One went to court: Dharmasena’s.

Female genital mutilation has been illegal in the UK since 1985. Current prosecution of FGM takes place under the 2003 Female Genital Mutilation Act. The maximum sentence for the crime is 14 years incarceration. Dharmasena, 31, who last month was suspended by the General Medical Council, will go to trial Jan. 13, 2015. A plea will be entered June 27, 2014.

By Cheryl Bretton

Sunday Times

Ilford Recorder

Daily Mail

UN Security Council Votes to Lift “Conflict Diamonds” and Arms Bans for Cote d’Ivoire

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The 15-member UN Security Council unanimously voted to lift the 2005 resolution banning rough diamond imports from Cote d’Ivoire, as well as partially lift the 2004 arms embargo on the West African nation.

A review of progress made by the Republic of the Ivory Coast showed that the nation had made headway towards the 2003 Kimberley Process Certification Scheme implementation and better governance of the sector, which had aimed to prevent conflict diamonds from entering mainstream markets.

Another review–of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of combatants as well as security sector reform (SSR), national reconciliation and the fight against impunity–also showed progress in Cote d’Ivoire. The UNSC therefore voted to lift the ban on small arms and non-lethal equipment, training, technical assistance and financial assistance in order to enable Ivorian security forces to maintain public order without the Sanctions Committee. Heavy weapons imports still require approval by the Sanctions Committee.

The weapons ban was to last until April, 2015 and prohibited “the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the West African nation, from their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and any related material.”

The UNSC will continue financial and travel restrictions until April, 2015.

By Cheryl Bretton

Source:

International Law Prof Blog

Russian Law Allows Blocking Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Any Other Foreign Site (Feb. 1 Amendment)

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Feb. 1, 2014, an amendment to Russia’s “On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection” law took effect.  The amendment allows the government to restrict access to websites with content that calls for riots, extremist activities, and participation in mass public events.

The bill is part of a trend in Russian law which began with President Vladimir Putin’s election to a second term in 2012.  The amendment in question allows the government to silence not only national criticism–it does this through other laws, such as its 139-FZ (2012) censorship law–but also criticism anywhere else in the world.  The measure shields Russia from political dissent.

A commonly cited example is Facebook.  During Russia’s 2012 presidential election, Facebook was used to organize protests against Putin.  Using the newly amended bill, the government’s agency responsible for monitoring such threats, Roskomnadzor (an acronym for Federal Service for Supervision in Telecommunications, Information Technology and Mass Communications), can contact Facebook when it finds such material and request Facebook remove the material.  If Facebook does not remove the material, Russia can block the site nationwide.

Roskomnadzor has had some success.  YouTube took videos, but filed a lawsuit in a Russian court to seek a finding that a video was not offensive (a video showing how to make fake cut-wounds).  Facebook removed a suicide-themed user group called “Club Suicid,” but stated that they had removed the video because it violated their terms of use, not because of the Russian legislation.  Facebook does block some content from some nations, such as Holocaust denial from Germany and France and defamation of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Turkey.  Twitter removed posts that seemed to be related to drug deals and promoting suicidal thoughts.

The rationale for the bill was terrorism.  Child pornography, suicide encouragement, and drug information are also used to legitimize this category of legislation.  Roskomnadzor began by singling out only distressing material, such as real encouragement of suicide, child pornography and terrorism.  However, on March 13, 2014, several independent news sites were blocked.

The original internet censorship bill, officially titled “On Amendments to Federal Law On Protecting Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and the Development and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation” (139-FZ of 2012-07-28) passed the Russian Duma in 2012.  It passed unanimously with support from all four parties.  441 out of 450 deputies voted to support the bill.  The bill had raced through the Duma, less than a week after the initial June 6 reading of the amendments and its June 11 third reading and passage.

The bill created a registry–or “blacklist.”  The registry was  a “uniform registry of domain names and (or) the universal locators to pages of sites on the Internet and network addresses of sites on the Internet that contain information prohibited to spread in the Russian Federation.”  Any site found to have information that was prohibited would be put on the registry.

The qualifications to be put on the registry were two, broadly.  First, federal executive authorities could decide to register a site if they found the site contained child pornography, almost any information relating to drugs, or almost any information about suicide.  Second, a court decision could place a site on a registry if the site had information found to be prohibited to be spread in Russia.  The federal agency appointed to monitor websites and the courts–which already have authority to ban material that violates Russian legislation–can add items to the blacklist.  Appeals to convictions can only be made within a three-month period.

The bill had originally included “extremist” online content, but the Duma removed this portion in the bill’s third reading.

Upon being found to qualify for registry, the owner of the site is to be notified within days, and must remove all content found to be prohibited within days.  If the hosting provider or the owner of the site fail to restrict access, the site’s network address is added to the government’s registry (even though the same IP can be used for thousands of sites).

Criticism of the bill was voiced this way by the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights:

“The bill is not aimed at combating the causes of illegal content and its distribution on the Internet and will not contribute to the effectiveness of law enforcement and prosecution of criminals, who will be able to migrate resources from illegal content in other domains and IP addresses. At the same time, many bona fide Internet resources with legal content may be affected by the mass blocking, since the system would impose severe restrictions on the basis of subjective criteria and assessments, which will make the Russian jurisdiction extremely unattractive for Internet businesses.”

By Day Blakely Donaldson

Highbeam Business

Georgia Passes Gay Rights Law for EU Benefits

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In a vote of 115 to 1, the parliament of Georgia outlawed discrimination against homosexuals. The most debated point had been the inclusion of the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Orthodox Christian groups had opposed what “believers view” as “non-traditional sexual relations” and “a mortal sin,” according to the head of the Georgian church, Patriarch Ilia II. “In its current form, this legislation provides propaganda and legality to this sin,” the Patriarch warned.

The consideration weighing on the parliament leading to this decision was meeting the conditions for an Association Agreement with the EU, which includes relaxed visa procedures with EU states. The requirements of the agreement include law that includes gender identity and sexuality.

“The question is as follows,” said Speaker Davit Usupashvili, “Either we go towards Europe and recognise that we cannot violate human rights, or we reject those views and stay in Russia. So which is it to be – Russia or Europe? This decision is to be made by parliament and the country. We must all make that choice together.”

Of the benefits of EU partnership, Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani said, “That is a far greater benefit for our country, including for its territorial integrity, than these unfounded worries about whether certain revisions might cause local objections.”

The Georgian constitution already guarantees equality rights, but has been criticized as lacking mechanisms for enforcing the guarantees. Human Rights activists in Georgia have reported that homophobia is “a grave social trend that results in hate crimes and other discriminatory acts”.

One notable revision was the removal from the legislation of a proposed “equality inspector.” Instead, the Public Defender of Georgia will be responsible for oversight. The ombundsman’s office will attempt first to resolve matters through mediation before proceeding to court redress.

The revision has sparked criticism from some. Giorgi Gotsiridze of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association said, “If we pass the law as it now stands, it will be ineffective because actions that are not criminal offences but which are discriminatory will go unpunished.”

Although it has been noted that proving harm caused by discrimination can be difficult, the law gives victims the right to claim compensation.

By Day Blakely Donaldson

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

South Sudan: Aid Agency Forced to Withdraw From Malakal, Government Seizes Newspaper Print-Run

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Day 34 of the South Sudan conflict – Doctors Without Borders has suspended activities in Malakal, capital of Upper Nile State, after their compound was looted by armed men who threatened staff.  This type of incident has happened several times in Malakal, with numerous complaints being reported already this week.

A UN spokesperson in New York stated that the rebels seemed to now be in control of Malakal, after a prolonged battle. Both the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the rebels had claimed control of Malakal. Some reports are saying that the town remains divided still. Government Information Minister Michael Makuei denied that the rebels control Malakal.

The government still aims to fully retake the town. Bentiu was also the scene of a battle Wednesday, as the government continues its war on the rebels in Unity State. SPLA spokespeople have stated that the government is also advancing on Bor, and have ordered civilians in Bor to evacuate the area.

The South Sudanese government has welcomed Ugandan military aid. Uganda sent military aid initially to protect Ugandan civilians and interests in South Sudan. The Ugandan parliament sat this week to consider the Ugandan Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) presence in South Sudan. The parliament voted to support the UPDF’s role in South Sudan. Ugandan intervention has been warned against by the UN and other interested parties because it might fuel the crisis. The rebels have also protested foreign military intervention in what they would prefer to be kept a national conflict.

Robberies have hit aid agencies in other locations.  In Bor, Jonglei State, and Bentiu, Unity State, a combined total of 20 UN vehicles have been taken by armed men. Vehicles have been commandeered by warriors from both sides of the conflict in many areas over the past weeks. There have also been cattle raids, shop arsons and many other destructive activities in affected areas.

Hilde Johnson, the head UN official in South Sudan, has called on Dr. Riek Machar to instruct forces loyal to him to immediately return the looted items.

The government seized the entire 1500-print run of the Juba Monitor’s Thursday paper. The reason was two articles contained in that paper. One of the articles was a proposal for an interim government until the 2015 elections. This proposal was written by the Monitor’s editor-in-chief. The other article was a piece about historical tensions within the SPLA army. The papers, which are printed in Khartoum, Sudan, were seized Wednesday night on arrival at the Juba airport. The editor complained to media agencies about the revenue lost due to the seizure, explaining that the paper’s scant advertising sponsors would not pay for the confiscated papers.

Many reporters and news agencies have been threatened recently. Harrassment of print news agencies by the South Sudanese government is commonplace. Only a small portion of mostly-illiterate South Sudan gets their news from print anyway, however; most South Sudanese listen to radio. But radio has also been shut down in three areas: Bor, Bentiu, and Malakal—the three main occupation areas of the rebels.

Nearly 500 000 people are displaced and 85 000 have fled to neighboring countries since the fighting broke out December 15 as the result of a disagreement within the government ranks.  The details of this disagreement have been given by both the government and Machar-loyal forces, but the accounts conflict strongly.  Peace talks, taking place in Addis Abada, are the main hope for reconciliation in this conflict, but those peace talks have not so far achieved any tangible success.  President Kiir remains in Juba from which he directs the government.  Machar remains in hiding, and his control over the rebels in South Sudan has been questioned.

By Day Blakely Donaldson

Sources:

VOA
Gurtong
Gurtong
Sudan Tribune
Radio Tamazuj

South Sudan: Update

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The conflict in South Sudan has continued for one month since its outbreak December 15. Fighting has raged in several locations, with the most severe fighting taking place in three key areas: between Bor, Jonglei State and Juba, the capital of South Sudan; in Upper Nile State; and in Unity State. Bor is 130 miles (210 kilometers) away from Juba by road and Upper Nile and Unity State are important oil producing states. Peace talks began January 5 in Addis Abada after preliminary negotiations the week before. The talks between delegations for the South Sudanese government and Riek Machar-loyal rebels are being mediated by members of the East African IGAD trading bloc. Here is an update of recent events in the South Sudanese conflict:

Peace Talks Might Yield Progress Within Two Days

Peace talks in Addis Abada continue to be stalemated by President Kiir’s and former Vice President Riek Machar’s main disagreement: the release of the political prisoners held by Kiir in Juba. Kiir accuses the detainees of attempting a coup and is holding them as prisoners while they are processed legally; Machar holds that the prisoners committed no crime and are being held wrongfully. Neither Kiir nor Machar have been willing to agree to a cease-fire, but both have repeatedly voiced hope for a prompt cessation of hostilities.

Despite the disagreement between Kiir and Machar over the political prisoners, Dina Mufti, the Foreign Ministry spokesman for Ethiopia at the peace talks, has stated that a ceasefire may be reached within two days. Mufti also noted that there seemed to be a correlation between success on the battlefields of South Sudan and how the dialogue at the peace talks went.

Parliament to Sit on State of Emergency Monday

The Parliament of South Sudan will sit to consider a proposal by President Kiir for a declaration of emergency in South Sudan. The proposal was submitted by Kiir January 11.

Kiir declared a state of emergency in Jonglei and Unity states, the two most violently contended states, January 1. The South Sudanese constitution provides that the President must submit a declaration of emergency to the National Legislature within 15 days of the original declaration.

Ugandan Newspapers Front Pages feature Ugandan Army Activities in South Sudan

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni stated Wednesday that the Ugandan army has been fighting in South Sudan on the government side. The conflict has resulted in Ugandan Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) casualties in the battles around Bor city, Jonglei State.

The Ugandan Parliament backed Museveni’s emergency deployment of UPDF soldiers to South Sudan to protect Ugandan interests. Some Ugandan parliamentarians had voiced questions about the constitutionality of Museveni’s decision.

Previously, Ugandan officials had been denying Uganda’s direct military involvement in South Sudan, in the face of accusations of military involvement by Machar and other rebel spokespeople. When asked for comment after Museveni’s admission, the Ugandan military stated, “Well, the President has said it.”

Museveni stated that with the help of the UPDF, the South Sudanese government had defeated rebel forces and regained Jemeza town on the Juba-Bor road, Central Equatoria State.

Upper Nile State SLPA Army Defections

Two days after the rebel attack on Malakal, capital of Upper Nile State, government SPLA troops defected in two separate incidents. 180 soldiers in Wadakona and 260 in Kaka allied themselves with forces loyal to Riek Machar. SPLA in Upper Nile were dispatched to pursue the defectors. Currently, the defectors occupy one part of the area and the government forces occupy another.

Mobile phone networks in Upper Nile have been shut down by government mandate for security purposes. Government spokesperson Ateny Wek explained, “You cannot leave the network up in a place where there are rebels. You have to cut the network where they are.” All of Upper Nile’s cellphone networks have been shut down except Renk and Paloch.

AU Wants ‘Humanitarian Corridor’ in South Sudan

African Union (AU) Deputy Chairman, Erastus Mwencha, made statements that the AU is working with other international partners to create a “humanitarian corridor” in South Sudan, from which location aid agencies would be able to better provide humanitarian assistance to South Sudan.

Lootings of UN and Other Aid Agency Property

Mass lootings have continued in Unity State. Mercy Corps, which distributes water and sanitation to refugees, and Doctors Without Borders were robbed by armed men in uniform again. The World Food Program, the International Committee of the Red Corss, and various UN compounds and workers have also been robbed. Riverboats and vehicles have been commandeered. Banks have been robbed (some banks have suspended operations), ammunition stores have been exploded, shops have been burned to ashes. The armed men responsible for the thefts belong to both rebel and government armies.

The total number of new UN police so far in South Sudan is 315 after 53 additional UN police personnel arrived Wednesday. The UN is stepping up security measures at refugee compounds in South Sudan, including weapons searches, ditches and fences.

Some activist groups in South Sudan have protested against the UN. Some have accused UN head official in South Sudan Hilde Johnson of taking sides. Siding with any group would run contrary to the UN mandate in South Sudan. Some groups have called for Johnson to leave South Sudan. At a protest by such groups, one characteristic sign read, “Hilde Johnson you are destroyer of our country leave the country for our security.”

Human Rights Violations Report Next Week

The UN Mission in South Sudan has announced that it will publish a report of human rights abuses by both sides of the conflict. The report will be published in the next week or two. The UN intends to hold accountable culprits responsible for human rights abuses.

Human Rights Watch released a report Wednesday that shows humanitarian crimes in Juba, Bor and other locations based on ethnic group have taken place. The organization urged government and rebel leaders to support an independent, unbiased investigation into human rights violations.

Members of the U.S. government have repeatedly called for those responsible for humanitarian crimes to be held accountable in international or other courts. President Kiir has also warned every person doing ethnic attacks, even if they are doing so in support of Kiir, that they must stop. The government arrested an unspecified number of SPLA Thursday on suspicion of ethnically-targeted killings of civilians.

All Universities to Close in South Sudan

University studies in South Sudan have been suspended temporarily. The higher education council issued letters to teachers that the government had suspended regular classes at universities. The decision is expected to affect all universities in South Sudan.  The decision was made after a meeting in Juba between the government and the heads of South Sudan’s universities. The decision was made so that the government “could monitor the current political and security situation in the country,” according one university’s acting director, Daniel Opio Akau.

Government Calls For More Army Volunteers

South Sudan’s Vice President Wani Igga has announced that the government wants 5000 recruits from each state to join the national army and fight the rebels. The government has been calling for more volunteers to fight the rebels repeatedly in previous weeks. The government has also levied mandatory donations to fund the army, and has initiated various programs to support the SPLA.

By Day Blakely Donaldson

Sources:

VOA
VOA
Sudan Tribune
Sudan Tribune
Radio Tamazuj
Radio Tamazuj
AP