International Crisis Group interviews with several members of the armed group that carried out attacks against government forces in October and November, as well as other sources, have revealed important new details about the situation in western Burma.
The group refers to itself as Harakah al-Yaqin, or Faith Movement in Arabic. It was established following the 2012 deadly riots between Buddhists and Muslims in 2012, which killed some 200 people and displaced over 120,000, almost all of them Muslim. Most have long been denied citizenship and face draconian restrictions on freedom of movement — limiting their access to government services and jobs.… Seguir leyendo »
Tuesday’s ruling by the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea has bought a little clarity to the problems in the South China Sea, but it has not made solving the underlying problems significantly simpler.
In a bad day for China, the Tribunal ruled that Beijing’s ‘nine-dash line’ (its claim to between 60% and 90% of the waters of the South China Sea) had no legal basis because China’s claims of ‘historic rights’ to the waters of the Sea had been rendered invalid when it signed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The judgement went on to say that none of the Spratlys, a chain of reefs and rocks at the southern end of the South China Sea where China has recently built seven installations, were ‘islands’ and therefore did not generate any territorial or economic rights regardless of who occupied them.… Seguir leyendo »
The southern Philippines is potentially closer to peace than at any time in the four decades since Muslim insurgents started fighting for independence, but the substantial progress over the past six years is also fragile. The new President, Rodrigo Duterte, needs to build quickly on the foundations laid by the last administration or the process risks collapse.
President Duterte is a supporter of a peace deal in the south. On the campaign trail he spoke about the ‘historical injustice’ done to the Muslims, and declared ‘nothing will appease the Moro people’ except autonomy. But he has also said that he does not intend to pick up where his predecessor, President Benigno Aquino, left off.… Seguir leyendo »
As the twilight deepens on the almost 70-year reign of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej amid reports of his deteriorating health, the contradictions inherent in this modern, middle-class country ruled by a traditionalist elite are becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile.
King Bhumibol, who is 88 and has lived for most of the last seven years in a Bangkok hospital, was reported in mid-February to have an unidentified virus. The media were full of daily reports on his condition as the palace took the unprecedented step of inviting the public into its ceremonial hall to sign a book for well-wishers. One week later, palace statements said the monarch was recovering.… Seguir leyendo »