Outbreak of Ebola in DRC threatens Uganda

An outbreak of ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been described as the largest spread of the infection in the country, with 329 confirmed cases. Half of the reported cases are in Beni, a north-east city in the DRC. The outbreak comes as the DRC remains in the grip of conflict with militant groups in North Kivu, which has further bolstered the spread of the disease and hindered immunisation efforts. There is a further risk of the disease spreading to Uganda as the two nations share a porous border that many local farmers, merchants, traders, and refugees move across. Tedros...

US imposes sanctions on Russian-backed entities and individuals

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) stated last week they are imposing sanctions on three individuals and nine entities backed by Russia. The individuals named, Andriy Volodymyrovych Sushkov, Aleksandr Basov, and Vladimir Nikolaevich Zaritsky are alleged to support Russia’s attempt to “reintegrate” Crimea through private investments and privatisation projects and by doing so have endorsed serious human rights abuses. According to the US treasury Sushkov is as an officer in Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) and is accused being involved in the 2017...

Dozens killed in Mogadishu hotel attack

As many as 52 people were killed when attackers detonated at least two bombs and stormed a hotel in Mogadishu near the headquarters of Somalia’s Criminal Investigation Department. The militant Al-Shabab organisation, which has been known for regular attacks on the capital, claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that they were targetting government officials who were staying at the hotel. Ali Nur, a police officer in the city, told Reuters that the attackers were “traveling in public vehicles at the scene when the blasts and gunfire occurred. The death toll is sure to rise”. Witnesses...

China’s human rights record criticised at UPR

China's human rights record was criticised by western nations such as France, Germany and the United States this week during the country's Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council. Member states at the Counil called on China to close detention centres where an estimated million Uighur Muslims are said to be detained. Denying the reports, China’s vice foreign minister Le Yucheng, who was a delegate at the Council, argued that the accusations were "politically driven accusations from a few countries which are fraught with biases". The US representative, Mark Cassayre said, "We...

Tensions in Central African Republic as refugees start returning

Tensions have risen within the city of Carno in Central African Republic (CAR) as refugees, who are predominately Muslim, have started to return to find their homes and businesses occupied, exacerbating the conflict between Muslim and Christian communities. Aid organisations and the UN aim to build new houses to ease tensions and allow occupants to voluntarily leave. Refugees from the Central African Republic, were forced into exile due to fighting among armed groups which began in 2013. “over 543,000 CAR refugees to remain in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

Tom Malinowski flips New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District as Democrats gain the House

Following a much anticipated by-election in New Jersey, Tom Malinowski unseated the incumbent five-term Republican representative Leonard Lance. This followed a reclamation of the House by the Democratic party whilst the Republicans retained control over the Senate. During this time he worked on a number of projects including supporting persecuted minorities targeted by ISIS in Iraq; defending LGBT rights globally and overseeing the appointment of the first Special Envoy for LGBT rights; decreasing civilian casualties from US military operations; and he backed UN efforts to investigate war crimes committed during the Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict. Malinowski had served as the former assistant secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour from 2014-2017.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s party loses five seats in Myanmar by-election

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) is projected to have won only seven out of 13 seats in a by election held in Myanmar this week. The NLD won the majority of seats in the central heartland which is predominately ethnic Bamar Buddhists but in the northern state of Kachin, they finished third in an Upper House race which it had won in 2015. Results in the state capital Myithyina showed a victory for the military-aligned Union Solidarity and Development Party, whilst the ethnic Kachin parties have unified to support the Kachin Development Party (KDP) which finished second. However, there is controversy over the vote as a number advance votes were accepted by election authorities despite being posted past the deadline. The People’s Alliance for Credible Elections have raised concerns and said that this was not accepted elsewhere.

New Caledonia votes against independence from France

The French Pacific territory New Caledonia rejected independence in a referendum, although the winning majority was significantly smaller than predicted. With voter turnout over 80%, 56.4% opted to remain as part of France. Polls had actually forecasted a win of up to 75% for the ‘no’ [to independence] campaign. New Caledonia is of strategic importance to France as a foothold in the Pacific. However commentators have said the results could reignite tensions between the indigenous Kanak people of the island, who tend to be pro-independence, and the population of white French colonial settlers...

Threat of famine loom as aid deliveries are blocked in Yemen

The blockage of aid shipments has threatened famine in Yemen, warned the United Nations, as fighting between the Yemeni government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and Houthi rebels, reportedly backed by Iran, continues. In particular fighting has brokenout in regions surrounding the largest hospital in the port city of Hodeidah, which has made it difficult to access those most in need, including children. The United Nations estimates that if this continues 14 million people, half of Yemen’s population, could be in a state of famine as a result of the conflict. For the past two weeks, seven...

Libya's rival assemblies forge agreement

During talks between Libya’s rival assemblies an agreement was forged to unify the government under a central authority and reform state institutions. The United Nations which had been assisting both sides has welcomed the progress made in these talks which finished on Wednesday. There is, however, concern that whilst administrative bodies may agree to these decisions, armed militias may not as they have benefited from the nation’s disunity. UN Special Envoy Ghassan Salame has confirmed to have received “an update on the progress achieved in the political talks between the two bodies and...

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