Thai PM reiterates no vote until 'early 2019' as protests continue

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha stated on Tuesday that a general election will take place in “early 2019 and no sooner” despite protests in Bangkok demanding a vote be held in November. Protests against military rule have taken place intermittently in Bangkok since the start of the year with many growing increasingly frustrated with the governments frequent delaying of the general election. Elections were first tentatively set for 2015 but now have reached the latest date of February 2019. There are fears that this date could be pushed back again. These protests persist despite the PM’s...

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemns Nicaraguan repression of protestors

On Monday the IACHR criticised the Nicaraguan crack-down on protestors finding in a preliminary report that since April 18, at least 76 people have been killed, and 868 injured. Protests initially began late last month in response to a new law that raised worker and employer social security contribution while cutting benefits. Yet, the latest wave of protests follows claims by the protestors that the government breached a two-day truce agreed during Church-Mediated peace talks. In their report they have gathered “documentary and audiovisual evidence, and heard hundreds of testimonies that...

US Secretary of State threatens Iran with ‘strongest sanctions in history’

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, announced in a speech that the United States would impose heavy sanctions upon Iran if it failed to meet a 12 point list of demands. The speech follows the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal. Mr Pompeo stated that these demands were a “basic requirement”. They are listed below: • Declare to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear programme and permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity. • Stop enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing...

Protests arise as Modi visits Kashmir

A shutdown protest was declared in Kashmir, during a one-day visit to the region by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was there to inaugurate a hydropower project. Separatists within Kashmir called for the protest in response to Mr Modi’s visit. Authorities closed schools, colleges and universities for the day in case of student protests. The main venue for his visit to Srinagar, the Dal Lake tourist attraction, was made out of bounds to the public. A day before his visit, at least nine people including an Indian soldier, were killed across the Kashmir’s border due to firing by each...

Referendum extends Burundi's presidential term limits

The results of a referendum in Burundi this week, which has been criticised by the US, potentially grants current President Pierre Nkurunziza the power to stay in office until 2034. The country’s election chief reported that 73 percent has voted in favour for extending the presidential term from five years, to seven. Pierre Claver Ndyaicariye, commission chairman has said that 96 percent of the 4.7 million registered to vote, has voted in this referendum. Yet, opposition campaign workers were refused access to polling stations, claimed by Evariste Ngayimpenda from the Amizero y’Abarundi...

US pledges deepening support to Georgia, calls on Russia to withdraw occupying military

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged deeper security and economic support to Georgia, whilst calling on Russia to withdraw its forces from the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in accordance to a 2008 ceasefire agreement. “The United States unequivocally condemns Russia’s occupation on Georgian soil. Russia’s forcible invasion of Georgia is a clear violation of international peace and security,” said the Secretary of State. Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said American support for peaceful resolution to Russia’s presence in Georgia “is of highest importance to our...

US legislators pass bill targeting Mynamar's military and its economic interests

The US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs passed legislation last week to hold Myanmar’s military accountable and target their economic interests with sanctions. The Burma Unified through Rigorous Military Accountability Act of 2018 (BURMA Act) imposes targeted sanctions and travel restrictions on senior Myanmar military officials responsible for human rights abuses against the Rohingya people. The bill also sought to empower civil society to reclaim their economy. Noting the militarisation of the gemstone economy, the bill said illicit trafficking “deprives the people of...

Taliban overruns western Afghan city in blitz attack

The Taliban launched an attack on the capital of the western Afghan province of Farah, briefly overrunning the city. At least 25 members of the Afghan security forces were killed in the attack on Tuesday. Afghan provincial official Fared Bakhtawer said "security checkpoints around the city have collapsed into the hands of the Taliban, causing high casualties among security forces." Though the Taliban have now left the city, a spokesperson said that “without any disturbance, the mujahideen withdrew to their safe positions,” according to Reuters. Afghan security officials claimed to have killed...

Turkey expels Israeli ambassador as Israel faces mounting criticism

Turkey’s government ordered Israeli ambassador, Etan Naeh to leave the country in response to Israel’s killing of Palestinian protestors in the Gaza strip yesterday. The ambassador was told by Turkey’s foreign minister that it would be “appropriate” if he returned to Israel “for a while” reports the Washington Post. Israel responded by asking Turkey’s ambassador to Israel to also return to Turkey. The moves came as Israel faced international criciticism for its brutal response to Palestinian protestors that saw over 50 killed and 2700 injured in one day. Belgium and Ireland summoned Israeli...

ICC to decide in June if forced exodus of Rohingya Muslims can be investigated

On June 20 th war crimes judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) will discuss whether to launch investigation into the forced exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar. The decision was made after chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, asked the court whether deportations could be investigated as a crime against humanity. "The chamber convenes a status conference on 20 June 2018, to be held in closed session, only in the presence of the prosecutor," ruled Judge Peter Kovacs on Friday. Approximately 700 000 Rohingya Muslims fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since last August. Given that...

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