Labour party shifts position on Kashmiri’s right to self-determination

(Photo Credit: Chatham House) Newly appointed leader of the UK Labour Party, Kier Starmer, has shifted the Labour Party’s position concerning the Kashmir dispute, describing it as a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan. This details a shift from his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, who maintained that: “The situation in Kashmir is deeply disturbing. Human rights abuses taking place are unacceptable. The rights of the Kashmiri people must be respected, and UN resolutions implemented”. In 2019 Corbyn had passed a motion mandating that the “people of Kashmir be given the right of self-determination...

Over 40 killed in Afrin, Syria

Turkey’s government has claimed that at least 40 people have been killed in an attack in a crowded market in the Syrian city of Afrin, which included 11 children. The governor of Hatay, a neighbouring province, stated that the deaths were trigged due to a fuel tanker exploding due to a hand grenade. Turkey has placed blame on the Kurdish separatist militant group, the YPG. Turkey maintains strong opposition to the YPG which they claim is an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has banned by Turkey and designated a terrorist organisation. The YPG and PKK deny this affiliation...

Libya’s government accuses military commander of a coup

(Photo Credit: Magharebia ) Libyan military commander, Khalifa Haftar, has been accused of seeking to undertake a coup against the UN-recognised Libyan government, the Government of National Accord (GNA). The GNA condemned Haftar’s actions stating; "What the war criminal Haftar said was a coup on the democratic path, not new but a continuation of his failed coups and to cover up his repeated defeats". Haftar controls a great deal of land in eastern Libya and launched an offensive last April to capture Tripoli. He maintains that his army has the support of the people. The army has not...

US to recognise Israel’s occupied territory in West Bank and Jordan Valley

The US has stated that it was willing to recognise Israel’s annexation of much of the occupation of the West Banks despite concerns that this will end the possibility for a two-state solution. This follows the unveiling in January of a US Middle East plan which aimed to recognise much of the illegally occupied territory by Israel. The proposed agreement has been widely panned by the European Union. The EU foreign policy chief has described the annexation as a violation of international law. A US State Department stated on the matter: "As we have made consistently clear, we are prepared to...

UN urges Bangladesh to accept Rohingya refugees

The UN has urged Bangladesh to allow two boats carrying Rohingya refugees to land in Bangladesh. Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has warned that unless these refugees from Rohingya are supported there will be a "human tragedy of terrible proportions”. In a letter, Bachelet stated: "In a spirit of solidarity and at the beginning of the Holy Month of Ramadan, I appeal to you in the strongest terms to open your ports and allow the boats to land”. There are approximately over 500 people including children on board these boats. This letter follows a statement from Foreign...

More than 40 killed in East DRC

Over 40 people have been killed during the conflict between armed militias and the army in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The greatest number of casualties occurred Friday during attacks on Mahagi in the easter Ituri province where 21 civilians were killed. In Linsey conflict continued on Sunday between the army and militias in the neighbouring Djugu area. Allied Democratic Force (ADF) militants are accused of killing over 1,000 civilians in the Beni region since October 2014. Al Jazeera reports that an estimated 400 people have been killed since last November. Read more...

Separatists in Southern Yemen proclaim self-rule

The Southern Transitional Council (STC), a separatist organisation in Southern Yemen, have announced that they will establish a self-rule region containing the southern port city of Aden. The STC has accused the Saudi-backed government of Yemen of corruption and mismanaging the region. Whilst the international organisation has not expressed support for the autonomous region; the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been largely supportive of the STC. The move follows calls from the UN for a global ceasefire. Alkhader Sulaiman, a representative of the STC, maintained that; "We are still calling for...

Ceasefire in Yemen extended

The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has extended their ceasefire by a month to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This follows a military ceasefire that ended on Thursday and its extension raises hopes that a lasting and comprehensive to the conflict may be reached. Houthi rebels are demanding a lifting of air and sea blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition on regions they control. Read more from Al Jazeera.

UN warns coronavirus could cause a human rights crisis

António Guterres, UN secretary-general, warned against authoritarians utilising the current virus pandemic to undermine individual human rights, promote racism and restrict free speech. This statement follows his calls for a global ceasefire and his further warnings that domestic violence will escalate as a result of the pandemic. Guterres maintained that whilst migration needed to be curbed the scale of restrictions could be overcome by increased testing and targeted quarantine measures. Over 131 countries have shut down their borders with only 30 permitting exemptions for asylum seekers...

Syrian war criminals face trial in Germany

Former Syrian colonel, Anwar Raslan, who is accused of committing crimes against humanity will face trial at the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany. Raslan was arrested whilst in Berlin in mid-February last year and will face trial on Thursday as will Eyad al-Gharib, who worked under Raslan. Raslan’s trial is permitted under the legal principle of universal jurisdiction. According to the German Code of Crimes against International Law, German federal prosecutors are permitted to pursue anyone who commits crimes against humanity. Raslan is seen as one of the most senior military...

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