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Issue #1799      October 18, 2017

Region Briefs

Georgia: On October 4, three workers at a windows and doors manufacturing company in Tbilisi, were violently beaten by security guards, after their visit to the head of monitoring service, asking for a review of the calculation of their wages. Workers downed their tools as a sign of protest, during which security staff acted provocatively and called on the police. This was followed by the employer’s representative beating one more protester, an incident recorded by a supervisory camera. Three days later, the workers and the union were invited for negotiations, resulting in dismissal of those responsible for the beatings and the suspension of the labour contract of the chief of monitoring service. The revision of the labour and legal situation of the trade union, forcing management to take all the recommendations into consideration, was also negotiated.

Myanmar: On October 8, a freelance jade miner died of a gunshot wound in Seik Mu village in Hpakant, Kachin State, following a confrontation between miners and police. This fatal incident occurred after a crowd of freelance miners, who make a livelihood by scavenging for scraps of jade at open-face pits, gathered around the site entrance to protest the temporary closure of the mine by its contractors, the 111-mining firm. This is the latest casualty in a series of violent episodes and controversies at the jade-rich mines in the Sagaing and Kachin regions. But this is not the first time this situation has occurred. In May, four miners were shot dead and seven seriously wounded when security forces opened fire on freelance miners who had been barred from scavenging for jade scraps at a site in Khamti Township, Sagaing Division. Observers say the jade mining business in the region is uncontrolled and largely lawless.

Pakistan: On October 12, Haroon Khan, a journalist with Sach TV and stringer for local Mashriq Television channel, was killed in Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in northwest Pakistan. He was returning home after offering prayers when two motor-cycle borne assailants opened fire. Khan’s bullet-riddled body was rushed to hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. The International Federation of Journalists strongly condemned the killing and demand the immediate arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators. The motive for the killing has yet to be determined: the Pakistan government has made no attempts to guarantee the safety of journalists and end the culture of impunity that runs rife across the country.

Andrew E Rayment

Next article – Culture & Life – Graft, corruption and business opportunities

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