Sinn Fein refuses to vote against no-deal Brexit

Sinn Fein, the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army, continues its abstentionist policy despite holding enough seats to prevent a no-deal Brexit. On Monday, the proposal to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union’s customs union was narrowly defeated by three votes. Sinn Fein holds seven seats in West Minster since the 2017 general election refused to vote on the matter which could have avoided a no-deal Brexit which they view as devastating for Irish interests. Speaking to reporters Mary Lou McDonald, the party’s president, said:

US Congress votes to end military assistance to Saudi Arabia

US Congress has given final approval on a resolution to end American military assistance to Saudi Arabia in its war against Yemen. The House voted 247-175 to send the resolution to Trump's desk, where it is likely to be met with a veto. The vote marks the first time the US Congress has invoked the 1973 War Powers Act, a law which curtails the president's power to take the country into a conflict without congressional approval. The independent senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic congressman Ro Khanna issued a joint statement saying, "today, the US House of Representatives took a clear stand...

Algeria’s longest serving president resigns

Algerian president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has resigned with immediate effect after weeks of mass protests against his 20-year rule. The 82-year-old announced his resignation in a letter to the president of the Constitutional Council on Tuesday. In his letter, Bouteflika wrote, “my intention is to contribute to calming down the souls and minds of the citizens so they can collectively take Algeria to the better future they aspire to.” His resignation triggered a 90-day caretaker presidency by the chairman of the upper house of parliament, Abdelkader Bensalah, until elections are held. Algerians...

Three Pakistan soldiers killed in Kashmir

Pakistan’s military has reported three soldiers were killed by Indian forces in the Rawalakot area of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. In a statement, Pakistan's military said they had responded to an Indian mortar attack on its positions at the border town Rakhchakri. Indian officials have not responded to the initial reports.

China threatens UN ambassadors - HRW

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports Chinese officials sent a letter to UN ambassadors warning them “in the interest of bilateral relations and continued multilateral cooperation,” they should not “co-sponsor, participate in or be present at” a panel event critical of China’s human rights record in Xinjiang. Delegates from the global South further reported to HRW, Chinese diplomats had personally approached them and advised them not to attend the panel event on 13 March.

UN condemns Brunei’s draconian penal code

The United Nations has condemned Brunei’s new penal code which imposes death by stoning for gay sex, adultery and other offences. In a statement, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet said, “I appeal to the government to stop the entry into force of this draconian new penal code, which would mark a serious setback for human rights protection for the people of Brunei if implemented.” Photograph: UN News Bachelet urged “Brunei to maintain its de facto moratorium on the use of capital punishment,” in her statement. The proposed changes to the penal code incorporate...

Concerns over partisan distribution of aid in Zimbabwe

Following the deadly tropical cyclone, Idaihas, which has killed at least 700 people in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has raised concerns over the “partisan distribution of emergency aid”. Local media in Zimbabwe has reported seeing supporters of the ruling Zimbabwe African Nationalist Union-Patriotic Front denying aid, including food, to some cyclone survivors because they were believed to have supported to the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Guatemala considers amnesty for war criminals

Guatemala’s congress is set to vote on a reform to the national reconciliation law which would give absolute impunity to those accused of crimes against humanity including genocide, rape and forced disappearance. The current national law exempts those accused of political crimes and has been praised for enabling reconciliation in the aftermath of the 36-year war which left 200,000 people dead or disappeared. The law was enacted alongside the 1996 peace accords but the proposed reforms to the bill have caused international outcry.

Guaidó calls for supporters to protest the blackouts in Venezuela

Juan Guaidó, Venezuela's opposition leader, has called on his supporters to take to the streets on Saturday in protest of nationwide power cuts.

Algerian army chief calls for Bouteflika to be declared unfit to rule

Lt Gen Ahmed Gaid Salah, Algeria’s army chief, has demanded that President Abdelaziz Bouteflika be declared unfit to rule in a televised broadcast.