Catalan’s separatist leaders on hunger strike appeal to EU for help

Four imprisoned Catalan leaders who are currently on a hunger strike have sent letters to over 40 European heads of state, calling for their case be heard by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The four leaders, Jordi Sànchez, Jordi Turull, Josep Rull and Joaquim Forn, alongside 14 other separatist activists face accusations of engaging in rebellion, sedition, disobedience, and the misuse of public funds. In their appeal, they note that they have been imprisoned for over a year for having staged a peaceful referendum last year and are yet to face trial. The hunger strikers also pointed...

Zimbabwe post-election violence decried as 'disproportionate and unjustified'

Zimbabwe's post-election violence, following the victory of Emmerson Mnangagwa, which included the use of live bullets, has been criticised as "disproportionate and unjustified" by an investigation launched by the government. The investigation, headed by the former South African President, Kgalema Motlante noted the “deaths of these six people and injuries sustained by the 35 others arose from the actions of the military and the police”. The inquiry noted the excessive use of military force ranged from whips and rifle butts against protestors to the direct fire of ammunition, and urged that...

Nigeria’s military suspends UNICEF operations, alleging terrorist sympathies

The Nigerian military has released a statement calling for the suspension of operations carried out by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in the North East of Nigeria, accusing the organisation of having terrorist sympathies. The statement was signed off by Onyema Nwachukwu, a colonel and deputy director public relations however, it remains unclear whether the military gained the permission of President Muhammadu Buhari before making this declaration. In its statement the military alleges UNICEF “train and deploy spies who support the insurgents and their...

Gandhi statue removed from Ghana University campus

A statue of Mohandas K Gandhi has been removed from the Legon campus on the University of Ghana in Accra on Tuesday night. The statue was initially unveiled in 2016 with the presence of the former Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and was meant to symbolise the unity between the two nations however this move caused a significant backlash with the students and academics, who criticised Gandhi's racist views towards Africans, describing them as inferior and using the derogatory term “kaffir”. This decision has further bolstered activists in South Africa and Malawi who are trying to remove...

US Senate calls for end to military support in Yemen war

The US Senate approved a resolution calling for an end to United States military support in the Saudi-UAE led campaign in Yemen. The final vote was 56-41 with seven Republicans defying their party by voting in support of the motion on Thursday. Speaking to Al Jazeera , a Republican Senator who sponsored the resolution said, “Warfare involves a lot more that a single battlefield and liens of military personnel firing against each other with guns.” Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, who also co-sponsored the resolution, said, “The United States will no longer participate in the Saudi-led...

Chile pulls out of UN Migration Pact

Chile announced this weekend it would be pulling out of the UN Migration Pact. The pact, whilst non-binding, offers guidance on how to protect migrants, help them integrate into society, and to help them return to their home countries when it no longer poses a risk. So far 150 nations have agreed to be signatories of the pact. Speaking on this issue Chilean ministry sub secretary, Ubilla said, “Our position is clear […] We have said that migration is not a human right. Countries have a right to determine the entry requirements for foreign citizens.” The Chile’s Progressive Party has responded...

Israel joins anti-illegal funding body

Israel has become the 38th member of FATF (Financial Action Task Force), a Paris-based international organisation which aims to tackle issues of money laundering and terrorism financing. Israel has stated that it has been an observer in the organisation since February 2016 but has now decided to follow up with membership after “successful mutual evaluation”. This would allow it a voice in setting the rules and agenda. It is suspected that Israel will use its position to leverage support against its regional enemies such as Iran, which has been under scrutiny by FATF, as well as pushing for a...

France arrests Central Africa Republic war crimes suspect

French authorities have arrested Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona, a senior leader and the National General Coordinator of a Anti-Balaka militant group in the Central Africa Republic. Ngaissona is charged with having led targeted attacks on the nation’s Muslim’s population in 2013-14. The International Criminal Court (ICC) further alleges he was responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity including “murder, extermination, deportation, persecution, torture, attacking civilians, and recruiting child soldiers”. The arrest was carried out on December 7. The ICC has since submitted a formal...

First round of UN sponsored talks on Western Sahara self-determination conclude

The UN Secretary General’s envoy for Western Sahara concluded talks between the the Polisario Front and Morocco, in what were the first political negotiations between the two sides in 6 years. Last week, two days of talks facilitated by UN envoy Horst Koehler, a former German president, ended with both sides agreeing to meet for a second round of negotiations in the first quarter of 2019. Morocco offered significant self-autonomy for Western Saahara, whilst Polisario Front assured that its local population numbering 350,000 to 500,00 has the right to a referendum on the territory’s future...

Police arrest Early Rain Church members in China

Chengdu police in South Western China have arrested dozens of Protestant Church members, in a crackdown on unregistered religious groups. Police are believed to have detained over a hundred members of the Early Rain Covenant Church, making the arrests at their homes. Under China's constitution there is a right to religious freedom, but this has been under attack since President Xi Jinping came to office six years ago. Jinping views religious freedom as a challenge to the continued authority of the Community Party. Under Chinese law places of worship are required to register with the state and...

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