Southeast Asia
burma

War crimes, displacement in Burma’s east

Amnesty International released a report documenting potential war crimes committed by Burma’s armed forces in eastern Kayin and Kayah states, where an insurgency has mounted against the military regime that came to power in the February 2021 coup. The report saysthe military has subjected civilians to “collective punishment,” including “arbitrary detentions that often result in torture or extrajudicial executions, and the systematic looting and burning of villages.” Amnesty finds that military attacks have killed hundreds of civilians, and displaced more than 150,000. The rights group calls for urgent action from the international community, and referral of situation to the International Criminal Court. (Map: PCL)

Planet Watch
drc displaced

UN: record 100 million people displaced worldwide

According to the UN Refugee Agency, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide rose to 90 million by the end of 2021, propelled by new waves of violence or protracted conflict in countries including Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Burma, Nigeria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2022, the war in Ukraine has displaced 8 million within the country and forced some 6 million to flee the country as refugees. This has pushed the total displaced to over 100 million for the first time. (Photo: Eskinder Debebe/UN News)

Southeast Asia
detention

Malaysia: calls to end mass detention of refugees

Rights groups in Malaysia are calling for the release of thousands of detained refugees and asylum-seekers, after a deadly incident in the northern state of Penang. Six Rohingya refugees were struck by vehicles and killed when hundreds fled a detention center after breaking through barriers and attempted to escape across an adjacent highway. “There is no discernible reason as to why so many of them were cramped into a makeshift depot in the first place,” stated advocacy group Lawyers for Liberty. Malaysia has long been a destinationfor Rohingya fleeing persecution in Burma, but the government has cracked down on asylum-seekers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Hasnoor Hussain/TNH)

South Asia
naga

Podcast: solidarity with Nagaland

In Episode 109 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores the under-reported conflict in India’s northeastern state of Nagaland, which has seen a multi-generational pro-independence insurgency. Popular protest is rising there since an army massacre of coal-miners in December. The armed conflict began in 1956, when the Naga National Council declared independence from India in the face of Delhi’s intransigence on recognizing local autonomy, and adopted a constitution emphasizing village self-rule. The traditional Naga territory is divided by the border with Burma, which has complicated their self-determination struggle. With Burma now going over the edge into civil war, there are growing fears that India’s conflicted Northeast could be further enflamed. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Naga Student Union Delhi via My Nagaland)

East Asia
Tiananmen

‘Great Leap Backward’ for press freedom in China

Reporters Without Borders issued a new report, The Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China, revealing the extent of the regime’s campaign of repression against the right to information. At least 127 journalists (professional and non-professional) are currently detained by the regime. Simply reporting on a “sensitive” topic or publishing censored information can result in years of detention. The report especially examines the deterioration of press freedom in Hong Kong, which was once a world model but has now seen an increasing number of journalists arrested and prosecuted in the name of “national security.” (Photo: chinaworker.info)

Southeast Asia
burma

Burma junta leader accused of crimes against humanity

Burma’s military junta leader Gen. Min Aung Hliang was accused of crimes against humanity in a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the Myanmar Accountability Project (MAP). Article 15 of the Rome Statute empowers the ICC prosecutor to initiate an investigation upon receiving information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court. MAP, a human rights advocacy group, has requested that the ICC under Article 15 launch a criminal investigation into “the use of torture as part of the violent crackdown against the protest movement in Myanmar.” MAP’s submission is accompanied by evidence of the widespread and systematic use of torture in Burma (Myanmar) since the military seized control from the democratically elected government in February. (Photo: Myanmar Now)

Planet Watch
Aleppo

Podcast: R2P in the 21st Century

In Episode 101 of the CounterVortex podcast, we present the audio from a panel at the Ninth International Herbert Marcuse Society Conference, held in October at Arizona State University in Tempe. The panel, “The Responsibility to Protect in the Twenty-First Century,” features two presentations. Javier Sethness speaks on “Realism, Egalitarianism, and Internationalism,” providing a theoretical and historical framework, including a discussion of Herbert Marcuse‘s work with US intelligence in World War II. Bill Weinberg, speaking from New York, follows with “For Solidarity; Against Dictators and Campism,” discussing contemporary examples, including Syria, Libya, Burma and Taiwan. A third presentation was to have been offered by Anner G. in Ethiopia, on “The Responsibility to Protect in Tigray,” but she was unable to join. The work of her group, Horn Anarchists, is discussed in Weinberg’s presentation. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Destruction of Aleppo, via 7ee6an)

Southeast Asia
burma protest

Burma: resistance escalates as Suu Kyi sentenced

Ousted Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty of “incitement” and breaking COVID restrictions—the first of a series of 11 charges that could see her imprisoned for life.Despite harsh repression, protests continue against the junta—now usually organized through social media as “flash mobs.” The day before Suu Kyi’s sentencing, a military truck rammed into a crowd of protesters in Yangon, with troops firing on the fleeing demonstrators. At least five were killed. The armed resistance network known as the People’s Defense Force (PDF) has meanwhile carved out a liberated zone in the northern Irrawaddy plains. Thousands of locals have fled their homes amid attacks by junta soldiers as part of Operation Anawrahta, a military campaign aimed at crushing the armed resistance. (Photo: Myanmar Now)

South Asia
underground asia

Book review: Underground Asia

A dauntingly detailed book from Harvard University Press on the roots of Asia’s anti-colonial movements documents the early influence of anarchism, and how it was ultimately displaced by nationalisms of different stripes—from the Moscow-aligned Leninist nationalism of Ho Chi Minh, to the fascist-inspired Hindutva movement that effectively rules India today. The early vision of a universalist, libertarian anti-colonialism evokes a tantalizing sense of what might have been. A timely book for a moment of re-emerging popular rebellion, from the militant farmer protests in India to the pro-democracy upsurges in Thailand, Burma and Hong Kong. (Image: Harvard University Press)

Southeast Asia
mohibullah

Fear in Rohingya camps after slaying of activist

The killing of Mohib Ullah, a prominent Rohingya community leader, has drawn international condemnation and renewed deep-rooted fear in the Bangladesh refugee camps. Mohib Ullah was shot and killed outside the office of the civil society group he headed, the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace & Human Rights (ARSPH). A relative reportedly blamed members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a militant group active in the camps. Mohib Ullah had become one of his community’s most prominent voices in the aftermath of the 2017 Burmese military assault that forced more than 700,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh. He led early attempts to document atrocity crimes, stood up for his community before governments and aid agencies, and addressed the United Nations. (Photo: HRW)

Southeast Asia
Rohingya

Court: Facebook must reveal role in Burma genocide

A US federal judge ordered Facebook to produce documents relating to its involvement in violence against the Rohingya people in Burma. The Gambia brought a claim against Facebook, Inc before the International Court of Justice alleging that the social media platform played a key role in the genocide of the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority. The Gambia then filed suit against Facebook in the District of Columbia, seeking documentation related to the World Court case. The Gambia’s case contended that it was only in 2018, six years into the genocide, that Facebook began deleting accounts and content used by Burmese government officials to enflame attacks on the Rohingya. (Photo: UNHCR)