Landmine Casualties Rising in Kachin, Myanmar

Landmine survivor. Image by International Campaign to Ban Landmines/Flickr.

Former rebel fighter Lahpai Hkam has been in pain every day since a landmine destroyed his lower right leg during a battle with government soldiers 18 months ago in Myanmar’s northern Kachin State.

“The artificial leg that I was given last year doesn’t fit properly and it rubs on my stump causing a lot of pain,” he said in a hospital in Laiza, the de facto capital of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political wing of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which has been fighting for greater autonomy from the Burmese government for the past six decades.

According to rebel Kachin surgeon Brang Sawng, such stories are common and the number of landmine injuries is on the rise.


Renewed Fighting Worsens Darfur Crisis

Rebel soldiers in Darfur. Image by hdcentre’s photostream/Flickr.

A recent spate of violence in Sudan’s western region of Darfur has left tens of thousands displaced; humanitarian agencies say they are struggling to access populations in need of support.

An estimated 2.3 million people remain displaced by Darfur’s decade-long conflict.

A number of peace agreements – most recently the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur – have failed to halt the intermittent clashes between the government and rebel groups in the region. In early April, fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi (SLA-MM) in East Darfur State displaced several thousand people; SLA-MM managed to capture took two towns – Muhajiriya and Labado – for ten days, but the SAF has since retaken them.


Relief as thousands recognized as Ivoirian citizens*

Image by Michael Fleshman/Flickr.

ABIDJAN, 22 March 2013 (IRIN) – Which of Côte d’Ivoire’s 20 million inhabitants qualify as nationals is a question that has driven political debate and conflict here for many years, and one that came to the fore earlier this month when thousands of people who had lived here all their lives were finally, and simultaneously in a public ceremony, given formal citizenship documents.

While around 140,000 similarly eligible residents have received documentary confirmation of their Ivoirian citizenship since 2011, the public ceremony held earlier this month in the administrative capital, Yamoussoukro, made waves because the documents were given to more than 8,000 people at the same time.

There are hundreds of thousands of people in Côte d’Ivoire who qualify for Ivoirian nationality but who, for various, reasons lack the documents to prove it. Because many are descended from people from other west African countries, they are often regarded as foreigners. In law, they are effectively stateless.