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Issue #1793      September 6, 2017

Region Briefs

Myanmar: On August 29 nearly 400 Rohingya Muslims were alleged to have been killed in a massacre by Myanmar’s security forces and Buddhist vigilantes. The government of Myanmar has repeatedly denied claims the ethnic group is facing genocide in the country’s remote Rakhine state. It previously brushed away evidence of human rights violations as fake news and “propaganda”. It was the 29th anniversary of the uprising on August 8, 1988 against the military dictatorship in Myanmar. While the uprising was repressed, the fight against repression has continued. The newly elected government has not fulfilled people’s expectations with human rights abuses still widespread in the country. These can be seen in the continuation of the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people, the various wars against ethnic minorities, and the targeting of workers by the military using its political and economic influence.

Bhutan: Tensions in the Doklam (Donglang) tri-junction stand-off between China and India began in June when India sent hundreds of soldiers to block Chinese construction workers and border guards from extending a road running south across the plateau from Tibet. The tensions eased on August 29 with China and India announcing that they had agreed to withdraw their troops from a remote, 10,000-foot plateau near where their borders intersect with Bhutan’s. China said Indian troops had withdrawn from the remote area in the eastern Himalayas. Hua Chunying, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, said Chinese troops would continue to patrol the Doklam region. “China will continue to exercise sovereign rights to protect territorial sovereignty in accordance with the rules of the historical boundary,” the spokesperson said.

Bangladesh: on August 16, in Hizalhati, Gazipur more than 50 garment workers were injured when they were attacked by hired criminals during a peaceful protest organised by IndustriALL Global Union affiliate, the National Garment Workers Federation (NGWF). One of their activists was also kidnapped and released hours later. The workers, employed by the Korean-owned Haesong company, were protesting in support of their demands for the payment of leave entitlements from earlier in the year. This violence was not a mere coincidence, as many companies pay thugs to intimidate, incite violence and brutality in the employers’ increasing attacks on workers. The aim of these attacks is to suppress the ability of workers to achieve a living wage, obtain a safe working environment and prevent the formation of unions.

West Papua: On August 19, several workers were injured at the giant Grasberg copper and gold mine owned by Freeport McMoran,– when police and security guards dispersed their picket lines using rubber bullets. The company has so far sacked 4,200 striking workers to break their commitment and solidarity. The strike itself is the result of a dispute between Freeport and the Indonesian government over control of the mine. The Indonesian government wants a 51 percent stake in the mine and cancelled Freeport’s export permits when the company refused.

Next article – Culture & Life – Cuba renews land reform

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