24 - 30 July 2015
Compiled by Kate McFarland
- UN plans to cut food to 200,000 IDPs
- Myanmar retains second to worst spot on human trafficking list
- Election will be neither historic nor consequential
1. UN plans to cut food to 200,000 IDPs
Myanmar Times, July 24: “UN plans to cut food to 200,000 IDPs”
- The United Nations plans to cut food aid to 200,000 people displaced by conflict in three states from next month, according to a statement released by the World Food Programme yesterday.
- Food rations are to be cut by 20 percent to IDPs in Kachin, Rakhine and northern Shan states “regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation”, the UN agency said. It explained that its program was moving from “protracted emergency” to a stage of “early recovery” as some IDPs started moving out of camps or developed their own “coping mechanisms”.
- WFP also noted that its resources were “limited” but a spokesperson stressed that funding was not the main reason for the cuts.
- “We simply cannot go on providing unconditional assistance. This is in line with [Myanmar] government policy and agreement with the government,” she told The Myanmar Times.
- WFP noted that the government had given a priority to moving IDPs back home or to new settlements in Rakhine State. The spokesperson said 5000 households had moved out of camps that are mostly populated by Rohingya Muslims driven from their villages in inter-communal violence three years ago.
2. Myanmar retains second to worst spot on human trafficking list
Myanmar Times, July 28: “Myanmar retains second-to-worst spot on human trafficking list”
- After a four-week delay and a leaked ranking controversy, the US released its 2015 Trafficking in Persons report last night, keeping Myanmar positioned one notch above the worst offenders.
- The annual report ranks over 180 countries on efforts to comply with international standards on eliminating human trafficking, taking into account the number of cases recorded, pursued and prosecuted, as well as whether the country dedicates resources to counter trafficking. Tier 1 countries are considered to be doing the most to prevent trafficking, while tier 3 nations face sanctions on non-humanitarian aid.
- For the fourth year in a row, Myanmar was given a second-lowest tier 2 watch list ranking. The spot was created to recognise countries plagued by rampant human trafficking, but that were seen to be making an effort – through official, written plans and dedicated funding – to comply with standards.
Myanmar Times, July 29: “Myanmar trafficking rank disappoints observers”
- The annual US Trafficking in Persons report was received yesterday with dismay by human rights experts, who allege that some of the worst offenders – including Myanmar – were let off the hook, despite doing little to better their abysmal records of modern-day slavery.
- The Myanmar government, meanwhile, rejected the results of the annual ranking as irrelevant to the combating of human trafficking.
- An otherwise automatic downgrade was waived, the report said, because the country has a “written plan” with committed resources to fight trafficking.
- This reasoning was panned by human rights groups, who said the decision was instead based largely on US politics.
Radio Free Asia, July 27: “East and Southeast Asian Nation Remains Static on US Human Trafficking Report”
Story reported as above.
3. Election will be neither historic nor consequential
Democratic Voice of Burma, July 26: “Election will be neither historic nor consequential”
Analytical opinion piece about how the elections are influenced by international pressures and focus. Argues that the power set-up in Burma is still very much in favour of the army.