News in the Humanosphere: U.N. camp attacked in South Sudan

A peacekeeper serving with the Indian military contingent of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) during a "stand to" drill in Pibor, Jonglei State. (Credit: UN)

With no peace process to speak of, the fighting in South Sudan has escalated in recent weeks.Four civilians, including a woman and a child, were killed on Tuesday when two mortar bombs exploded inside a U.N. compound in the town of Melut in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, the U.N. reported on Wednesday as rebel forces and government troops battled for control of a strategic oil hub. … Fighting has recently intensified in South Sudan’s Upper Nile and Unity states as government troops and rebel forces fight for control of territory. At stake are the Upper Nile oil fields of Paloch, which the rebels said they were poised to seize on Wednesday. As the country’s last remaining functional oil fields, they are crucial for South Sudan’s increasingly vulnerable economy.” (AP http://yhoo.it/1HhQCKD)

A tiny glimmer of hope for Rohingya refugees adrift at sea
Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to provide temporary shelter and assistance to thousands of Rohingya migrants still stranded at sea in Southeast Asia, but they have stopped short of offering to find their boats and bring them ashore. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1HhLlme)

ISIS captures UNESCO heritage city … destruction of artifacts to follow?
“Islamic State insurgents stormed the historic Syrian city of Palmyra on Wednesday, fighting off pro-government forces who withdrew after evacuating most of the civilian population, state television said. The capture of Palmyra is the first time the al-Qaida offshoot has taken control of a city directly from the Syrian army and allied forces, which have already lost ground in the northwest and south to other insurgent groups in recent weeks. The central city, also known as Tadmur, is built alongside the remains of a oasis civilization whose colonnaded streets, temple and theater have stood for 2,000 years.” (WaPo http://reut.rs/1dlMr9y)

Quote of the Day:
“(With child marriage) we are sanctioning rape, we are sanctioning abduction, we are sanctioning a modern form of slavery, it’s trafficking, it’s forced labor.” —Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, a human rights lawyer whose mother and sister were both wed as children in her native Zimbabwe. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1HhS0wI)

World responds to Rohingya crisis

Turkey says it is donating $1 million to the International Organization for Migration and the U.N. refugee agency to help ease Southeast Asia’s migrant crisis and is exploring ways of organizing a humanitarian aid operation to reach Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshis stranded at sea. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HhQGtU)

Gambia’s government says it is willing to resettle Muslim Rohingya migrants stranded at sea after fleeing predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. (AP http://yhoo.it/1dkOx9y)

Somalia’s al-Qaida-affiliated al-Shabab militants on Wednesday condemned Myanmar’s “savage Buddhists” and urged Southeast Asia’s Muslims to come to the aid of Rohingya Muslim boat people. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HhQxGH)

Africa

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza delayed parliamentary and local elections until June 5, following protests and a coup attempt. (VOA http://bit.ly/1efTosI)

An unidentified gunman on Wednesday shot at United Nations vehicles in Mali’s capital Bamako and targeted a house where U.N. staff were staying, wounding a guard, the world body said. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1dkPYF7)

At least 65 people are confirmed to have died in a nearly five-month-old cholera outbreak in Kenya, with infections also continuing to rise in the capital Nairobi, health officials said Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HhQECl)

The only international observers during Ethiopia’s elections Sunday will be from the African Union, with opposition parties already feeling the AU observers are not demanding enough in their criticism of Ethiopia’s election process, which is dominated by the ruling party. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Lm3GCB)

It’s becoming more and more difficult to find food in Cameroon’s Far North region, residents say, not only because the annual lean season is under way, but insecurity caused by Boko Haram has severely disrupted farming and cross-border trade. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1AmeEXA)

Opposition leader Adrien Houngbedji was on Wednesday elected head of Benin’s national assembly, possibly threatening the president’s hopes of pushing through a controversial amendment to the constitution. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HhQDhv)

Nigerian prosecutors on Wednesday withdrew murder charges against a 15-year-old girl who was accused of using rat poison to kill the 35-year-old man she had married. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HhQF9a)

Guinea’s opposition leader said on Wednesday he was “disappointed” by talks with President Alpha Conde aimed at ending a political deadlock which has led to deadly nationwide protests. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1dkOHhb)

A journalist and rights activist known for his outspoken criticism of the humanitarian crisis in southeastern Niger has been arrested for “collaborating” with Boko Haram Islamists, the interior minister said Wednesday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1HhQD1f)

Malawi police on Wednesday said they had arrested four people suspected of murdering an albino man five months ago to sell his bones for witchcraft. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1dkOBWR)

As the eLearning Africa conference gets under way in Addis Ababa, there is a growing recognition that online courses can boost further education access. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1HhLCWp)

MENA

U.N. aid agencies report the humanitarian impact of the nearly two month Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen and a blockade of fuel and other imported relief supplies is enormous. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Lm3KSY)

Iran will allow the United Nations to inspect a Yemen-bound aid ship at the regional U.N. hub in Djibouti, Tehran’s deputy foreign minister was quoted as saying on Wednesday, offering a chance to avert a showdown with Saudi-led forces. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1dkOyKD)

Asia

Nepal must take lessons from earthquake-hit countries such as Mexico and strictly enforce existing building laws as it prepares to rebuild from two major quakes, a senior United Nations official said Wednesday. (VOA http://bit.ly/1Lm3MKs)

China’s heyday as the “world’s factory” is fading as labor costs rise and export demand has faded. To address that and other challenges, the world’s second-largest economy has unveiled a plan to beef up its presence as a global manufacturing power. (VOA http://bit.ly/1efTrVm)

The Philippines is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols, and it has vowed to eradicate the practice; the recruitment of children for use in combat is officially prohibited under two laws pertaining to child labor and abuse. But progress is slow. (IRIN http://bit.ly/1HhLypr)

The Americas

Rescuers in Colombia are continuing to search for victims of a landslide which hit the town of Salgar on Monday but hopes are fading for more survivors. The number of bodies retrieved from the debris in northwestern Antioquia province rose to 78. (BBC http://bbc.in/1Amesrs)

Uruguay has created a commission to probe human rights violations perpetrated from 1968 to 1985 as the government cracked down brutally on a leftist rebellion. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1dkOHOb)

The decapitated body of a blogger known for denouncing corrupt politicians has been found in a rural zone in southeastern Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, police said Wednesday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1HhQGdl)

Rising seas, thawing permafrost and longer wildfires caused by warmer global temperatures threaten U.S. military bases and will change the way the U.S. armed services defend the country, President Obama is set to say on Wednesday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1HhQx9V)

...and the rest

France gave broad backing on Wednesday to an EU scheme to share out asylum-seekers among EU states to deal with a surge of migrants, after a week of ambiguity that reflected growing public opposition to immigration. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1dkQ6Eq)

The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Wednesday it had visited two men captured in a part of eastern Ukraine hit by separatist conflict and that they were now in hospital in the capital Kiev. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1HhQD1h)

Opinion/Blogs

Europe is Totally Ignoring the Root Causes of Migration Across the Mediterranean (UN Dispatch http://bit.ly/1Amm8tQ)

From Quarantine To Appeasement–Howard French takes big issue with Gayle Smith’s USAID nomination.  (Foreign Policy http://atfp.co/1GpTtoL)

Doing development differently: Breaking the glass ceiling (Devex http://bit.ly/1GpTNDS)

Oh dear. Another unreadable European Report on Development. Good stats on finance (FFD) though. (From Poverty to Power http://bit.ly/1Bcwyr4)

Nigeria’s bill targeting FGM is a positive step, but must be backed by investment (Guardian http://bit.ly/1efT9Os)

The U.N. at 70: Time to Prioritise Human Rights for All, for Current and Future Generations (IPS http://bit.ly/1efTe4N)

In EU, 0.7 percent aid target under threat (Devex http://bit.ly/1HtTWoz)

Financing for development: this year’s big debate (DevPolicy http://bit.ly/1GpTQzJ)

Getting beyond the mirage of external validity (Development Impact http://bit.ly/1BcwqI4)

A Vision for the African Development Bank (Addis Fortune http://bit.ly/1HhRv62)

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About Author

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is a New Hampshire-based reporter for Humanosphere. Before joining Humanosphere, Tom founded and edited the aid blog A View From the Cave. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, GlobalPost and Christian Science Monitor. He tweets at @viewfromthecave. Contact him at tmurphy[at]humanosphere.org.