STAND Education News Briefs: February 1-7


Hundreds of civilians have fled villages in Thabit, Darfur, as clashes continue  for the third week between rebels and government troops within the region. The JEM is also reporting that Sudan’s air force is indiscriminately bombing areas in North Darfur, targeting civilians and their property.
South Sudan, after overwhelming support for separation, is implementing plans to relocate the capital city from Juba. The current government is looking for another area of South Sudan which is capable of handling the growing infrastructure for public institutions, investments, and the accommodation of diplomatic missions.
Paralleling protest in Egypt and Tunisia, young Sudanese students have risked beatings and arrest to protest the repressive Khartoum government. The protest originated from messages posted on Facebook exclaiming, “The people of Sudan will not remain silent anymore.” 
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
The UN has tallied 53 counts of rape in the eastern DRC within the last month alone. However, the Congolese government stated its reservations on the UN’s figures, calling the reports part of a smear campaign against its armed forces.
The DRC has just opened its first rehabilitation center for victims of rape in the eastern town of Bukavu. The UN-funded “City of Joy” is expected to counsel approximately 185 victims of rape every year.
The United Kingdom is being criticized by the international community for failing to extradite any of the nearly 400 war crimes suspects living within the country’s borders. It has been reported that 26 of these suspects are wanted for war crimes, acts of genocide, and crimes against humanity in the DRC.
Lt. General Thein Sein, Burma’s Prime Minister since 2007, was named the nation’s 8th President by Parliament February 4.  Many observers believe that the newly appointed president is heavily influenced by the country’s military leader, Senior General Than Shwe.
Four villagers in the Three Pagodas Pass area, near the Thai-Burma border, were forced by the Burmese Army to porter on February 2, carrying military supplies.  Despite the Burmese military’s agreement with the International Labor Organization to eliminate forced labor in the country, civilians have been conscripted by the army to serve as porters.  
Burmese authorities look to limit debate in parliament.  The speakers of the Upper and Lower Houses and state-run media advocated against wasting  time on excessive debate. 
Areas of Concern 
The year 2010 saw the highest number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan since the U.S. invasion in 2001.  Deaths and injuries average 6 to 7 civilians killed and 8 to 9 injured each day.
A report published by Human Rights Watch on February 1 indicated that government security forces control a secret detention site in Baghdad, and are torturing detainees at another facility in the city.
The UN Refugee Agency announced February 3 that a new military campaign against Taliban insurgents in the Mohmand district near Afghanistan has prompted 22,000 Pakistani civilians to flee.
The United Nations reported on February 2 that the number of children killed or injured by landmines in Somaliland has increased in the past two months.   Somaliland is a region of Somalia that has declared its own independence.


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