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- 01/02/18--12:10: _World: CrisisWatch ...
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- 01/02/18--12:10: World: CrisisWatch December 2017
- 03/01/18--12:24: World: CrisisWatch February 2018
- 04/03/18--12:07: World: CrisisWatch March 2018
- 05/02/18--12:43: World: CrisisWatch April 2018
- 06/01/18--12:43: World: CrisisWatch May 2018
- 08/01/18--12:21: World: CrisisWatch July 2018
- 09/03/18--13:37: World: CrisisWatch August 2018
- 10/01/18--13:04: World: CrisisWatch September 2018
Global Overview DECEMBER 2017
Huthi rebels in Yemen killed their erstwhile ally, former President Saleh, and cracked down on his party, while both the Huthis and the Saudi-led coalition looked set to increase hostilities in January. In Syria, the regime and its allies ramped up their campaign to take territory from jihadist and other rebel groups in the north west, and the de facto leader in Libya’s east disavowed the 2015 political deal, which could lead to more fighting in coming weeks. In Egypt, the military intensified operations in North Sinai against jihadists, who in turn launched more attacks. President Trump’s declaration that the U.S. recognises Jerusalem as Israel’s capital triggered deadly clashes between Palestinian protestors and Israeli security forces, and in Iran over a dozen were reported killed as tens of thousands protested against the regime. In Africa, Cameroon and Ethiopia experienced heightened instability, new fighting in South Sudan could escalate in January, and a ban on unrestricted grazing in Nigeria’s Taraba state could lead to more violence between herders and farmers. In Central America, the political crisis in Honduras saw deadly clashes between opposition supporters and police.
Human Rights Council AFTERNOON
27 February 2018
The Human Rights Council this afternoon heard statements from dignitaries of 11 countries and two organizations and closed the second day of its high-level segment.
Edward Nalbandian, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia, said Armenia continued to implement the national plan of action for human rights protection, had a good record of submission of national and follow-up reports to the treaty bodies, and would submit the Universal Periodic Review second mid-term report on a voluntary basis.
Sameh Hassan Shokry Selim, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, said that Egypt would present during the current session a voluntary report on the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review recommendations. Egypt positively engaged with international human rights mechanisms, and it had one of the highest response rates to treaty bodies.
Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, said that the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights presented an opportunity to recall binding obligations, especially as many leaders questioned the validity and universality of human rights. Sweden called from stronger ties between the Security Council and the Human Rights Council to better consider the links between human rights and security.
Marie Ange Mushobekwa, Minister for Human Rights of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, thanked all Member States for supporting the Democratic Republic of the Congo in their membership to the Human Rights Council for the first time. In December 2017, the Catholic Church and activists had called for demonstrations in Kinshasa which had unfortunately ended with the death of civil society activists and political party members.
Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, said that Nigeria remained fully committed to ensuring the full and efficient implementation of the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Charter, and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
Seyyed Alireza Avaei, Minister of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said expansionist policies and overambitious domineering measures of certain States and their proxies in the region had resulted in mischievous attempts through supporting terrorists and extremist groups in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, aimed at sowing discord and creating divisions among nation States in the Middle East region.
Noureddine Ayadi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, said legislative reforms, including constitutional amendments had been pursued to guarantee the freedoms of expression, association and belief, participatory democracy and local governance. He called upon the Council to look into the occupied territory of Western Sahara and to undertake measures to this effect.
Barbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid of Germany, said that with the Human Rights Council, a comprehensive system to monitor State compliance with human rights obligations was in place and was helping people around the world realize their fundamental rights. The Council acted as a forum to highlight violations with a view to ending them.
Maria Luisa Navarro, Vice-Minister of Multilateral Affairs and Cooperation of Panama, said the Council was experiencing political manipulation by some States. Panama regretted the decision taken by High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein not to stand for another mandate. His voice had been unique, unflawed and impartial, and he had stood up to States.
Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, said a distinction had to be made between the truly universal human rights principles and principles that were favouring certain countries. Foreign values should not be imposed on other countries. The Arab-Israeli conflict, as the longest world conflict, included numerous violations of rights of Palestinian people to self-determination and the international community.
Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, said that in 2018, no policy to ensure tolerance would succeed without human rights at its core. He affirmed that the promotion and protection of human rights was at the centre of multilateralism and at the very core of the European Union. The European Union reaffirmed support for reforms that would make the Human Rights Council as effective as possible.
Manabu Horii, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said Japan was committed to establishing the rule of law and human rights in its region. Japan and the European Union would draft a resolution on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Martin Chungong, Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, said the Council’s increased focus on national implementation and involvement of national processes was welcomed. The involvement of parliaments had increased during all stages of the Universal Periodic Review and the recent Council resolution 35/29 additionally strengthened the relationship of the Council and parliaments.
The Human Rights Council will next meet at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, 28 February, to conclude its high-level segment.
EDWARD NALBANDIAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia, said that 2018 marked the anniversary of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. In February 1988, anti-Armenian pogroms had broken out, leaving numerous Armenians killed and deported. Crimes had been perpetrated by the Azerbaijan authorities to punish the people of Nagorno-Karabakh for their right to self-determination. The Sumgait massacre had been widely condemned by the international community, including by a resolution of the European Parliament. Impunity had opened the door for ethnic cleansing in Baku, Kirovabad, Maragha and many other places. Azerbaijan had tried to conceal such atrocities but the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as well as the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance had expressed concern at continuous hate speech in Azerbaijan. In 2015, upon the initiative of Armenia, the Human Rights Council had passed a unanimous resolution on genocide prevention. In December, the Third International Global Forum against the crime of genocide would be hosted in Yerevan. Armenia continued to implement the national plan of action for human rights protection, had a good record of submission of national and follow-up reports to the treaty bodies, and would submit the Universal Periodic Review second mid-term report on a voluntary basis.
SAMEH HASSAN SHOKRY SELIM, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, said that Egypt had played a great role in instituting the Council and the promotion and protection of human rights was a priority for the Government. Egypt would present during the current session a voluntary report on the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review recommendations. The National Electoral Commission had assumed its mandate, the right to peaceful assembly had become more accommodating, and the national human rights institution had received further guarantees of effectiveness and independence. Major achievements had been made on the right to freedom of belief. It was regretful, however, to notice occasional lack of professionalism of some media outlets in the search of scoops, such as last week’s report of BBC on Egypt, showing alleged torture of an Egyptian girl. On the contrary, women and girls were protected from all forms of violence and had been empowered. Egypt positively engaged with international human rights mechanisms, and it had one of the highest response rates to treaty bodies. Mr. Selim regretted wide scale conflicts in Syria, Libya, Yemen, South Sudan and Somalia, as well as the plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and of the Palestinians.
MARGOT WALLSTRÖM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, said that while some progress had been made since the last Human Rights Council session, lack of respect for human rights, democratic values, and the rule of law persisted. The situation in Myanmar stood as a clear case of this lack of respect as actions taking place in that country could be termed as crimes against humanity. This situation was unacceptable and the international community must bring those responsible for atrocities to justice. Meanwhile, the situation in Syria remained one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, she said, calling for implementation of the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. The seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights presented an opportunity to recall binding obligations, especially as many leaders questioned the validity and universality of human rights. When rights were challenged, human rights defenders could help States live up to obligations. Yet impunity for crimes against rights defenders was on the rise. Sweden called for stronger ties between the Security Council in New York and the Human Rights Council in Geneva to better consider the links between human rights and security. The Human Rights Council must play an important role in preventing conflict. Turning to women’s rights, she assured that Sweden would pursue a feminist foreign policy. To reflect this focus, Sweden was now the largest core donor to UN Women.
MARIE ANGE MUSHOBEKWA, Minister for Human Rights of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, thanked all Member States for placing their trust and supporting the Democratic Republic of the Congo in their membership to the Human Rights Council for the first time. The membership had been a sign of the confidence that the authorities had been investing significant efforts to improve the human rights situation in the country. The President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo personally supported the work of the Council. It was stressed that 2018 was an election year in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and provincial elections would take place in December. The Council was informed that in December 2017, the Catholic Church and activists had called for demonstrations in Kinshasa with 167 starting points and without itinerary. The protests had unfortunately ended with the death of some civil society activists and opposition political party members. A joint inquiry commission with representatives of relevant line ministries and United Nations representatives had been established in January 2018 to investigate further into events which had led to the deaths. It was reiterated that the Church should not stir up clashes and conflicts but should serve to call for the unity of the people.
GEOFFREY ONYEAMA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, said that the promotion and protection of human rights remained one of the most important remedies for the attainment of international peace and security. Nigeria remained fully committed to ensuring the full and efficient implementation of the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the fight against terrorism, Nigeria appreciated and fully recognized the imperative of respect for human rights and adherence to its international human rights obligations. With the establishment of a human rights desk in the Nigerian Defence Headquarters, its security agencies were continually sensitized about respect for human rights while countering terrorism. Another priority for the Government was the fight against corruption, which hampered the right to development. Mr. Onyeama called on States to respect the rights of migrants and to accord them humane and dignified treatment. Transit and destination countries should give priority to saving the lives of vulnerable migrants, regardless of their immigration status. Mr. Onyeama stressed that the imperative of genuine and sustainable international cooperation was based on the principle of universality, transparency and non-discrimination in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Charter, and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
SEYYED ALIREZA AVAEI, Minister of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said the huge losses of life and gross abuses of human rights that took place during the world wars had been a driving force behind the development of modern human rights machinery. Growing global yearning of individuals and nations for peace, equality and human dignity had played as a propulsive force acted on the United Nations and its Member States to develop much of the discourse and the bodies of law that were required to make up international human rights law and international humanitarian law. Effectively, the cold war competition during years had polarized the human rights players into two camps and built a negative international political system, which had left some defects in human rights standards and appalling deficiencies in the mechanisms, in particular, the United Nations human rights mechanisms and means for implementing them. In the new era, the noble concept of human rights predominantly fell within the monopoly of some certain States, reduced to an instrument to advance their political agenda. Arrogating to themselves a leading global role in human rights advocacy, these States had exploited human rights for their political ends. This disturbing trend, stemmed from a deep-rooted old-fashioned mind-set and had been abusing human rights machinery for years. Expansionist policies and overambitious domineering measures of certain States and their proxies in the region had resulted in mischievous attempts through supporting terrorists and extremist groups, among others, Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and Daesh in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, aimed at sowing discord and creating divisions among nation States in the Middle East region.
NOUREDDINE AYADI, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, commended the work of the Council aimed at promoting and protecting human rights. Progress achieved in the past 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had been noted in numerous areas. Algeria had presented its third report to the Universal Periodic Review, fulling its commitments from the previous cycle of recommendations. Legislative reforms, including constitutional amendments had been pursued to guarantee the freedoms of expression, association and belief, participatory democracy and local governance. All reforms had been conducted through broad-based consultations with different stakeholders, including civil society actors. Tamazight language had been recognized as a national language in the Constitution. Policies of de-radicalization and prevention of violent extremism had been put in place and training of religious authorities and teachers had been organized. These measures had reduced the susceptibility of young people toward jihadist ideologies. Efforts had been conducted towards reconciliation and two elections had taken place after the end of the last session, resulting in the election of 121 women to Parliament. The bureau of the Council needed to look into the occupied territory of Western Sahara and take measures, seeing how human rights defenders had been imprisoned or prevented from accessing the territory.
BÄRBEL KOFLER, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid of Germany, said a comprehensive system to monitor State compliance with human rights obligations was in place and was helping people around the world realize their fundamental rights. All individuals, regardless of any distinction, were entitled to human rights. All rights were universal and universality began at home, Ms. Kofler stressed. Challenges such as racism, migration flows and gender equity required dedicated action. To effectively tackle those challenges, civil society organizations must play an important role in human rights dialogue. Discussions on human rights matters must take place at all levels of government. Upholding universal human rights encompassed standing up for human rights defenders. Still, rights defenders and civil society organizations were unable to work freely in many countries. Discrimination of any kind could provoke radicalization, leading to the possibility of conflict. The Human Rights Council had through its work developed tools to alert world leaders of rights violations and allow for crisis prevention. Effective protection of human rights was a powerful element of conflict prevention. The Council acted as a forum to highlight violations with a view to ending them.
MARIA LUISA NAVARRO, Vice-Minister of Multilateral Affairs and Cooperation of Panama, said that this year the Council would have to face delicate operational and financial issues. This was not the first, and it would not be the last time this body would go through a similar period, but on this occasion the damage that could be caused to the Council and other organs of the United Nations could have serious repercussions. The Council was experiencing political manipulation by some States. These were a result of a misunderstanding of the noble mission entrusted upon the Council. That was why the international community had to fight and face up to the many violations of human rights and the humanitarian crises. If the Human Rights Council did not take steps against extremism, violence and political selectivity, it would only be time before it would fall in front of international public opinion. The Council had to bring a halt to the barbarism which was shattering so many parts of the world, and not draft proposals that could not be followed up in the field. The Council and its Member States had to be guided by consistency and resolve, and must be based on universality, indivisibility and the interdependence of human rights. Panama regretted the decision taken by the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein not to stand for another mandate. His voice had been unique, unflawed and impartial. Panama applauded his courage to stand up in front of States as a true proponent of human rights. Conflicts were seriously undermining the credibility of the Council, and all knew that proxy wars were being led and masterminded in New York. This could not continue.
ADEL AHMED AL-JUBEIR, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, stated that since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, States had undergone different paths in advancing human rights at the national level. However, a distinction had to be made between the truly universal human rights principles and principles that had been favoured by certain countries. Saudi Arabia reaffirmed that foreign values should not be imposed on other countries. International instruments provided legitimate restrictions on freedom of expression such as the interest of national security or the public morals of the community. The Arab-Israeli conflict, as the longest world conflict, had included numerous violations of the rights of Palestinian people to self-determination and the international community had been urged to react. Gross violations of human rights against the Rohingya minority was condemned and necessary humanitarian assistance was warranted. Saudi Arabia was investing efforts to combat terrorism internationally, including a donation of 100 million euros to fight terrorism and extremism in African countries. Saudi Arabia continued to support the legitimate Yemeni Government against the Iran-backed militia and 1.5 billion euros had been pledged with participation from the Coalition countries supporting the legitimate Government in Yemen for humanitarian assistance. Total assistance would go up to $ 10 billion.
STAVROS LAMBRINIDIS, European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, said that in 2018 no policy to ensure tolerance would succeed without human rights at its core. Mr. Lambrinidis affirmed that the promotion and protection of human rights was at the centre of multilateralism and at the very core of the European Union. The European Union reaffirmed its support for reforms that would make the Human Rights Council as effective as possible. During the current session, the European Union, along with Japan, would pursue initiatives to address systematic rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Bloc would also present a resolution on Myanmar recalling major concerns about actions being taken against minority groups in that country. The Syrian conflict remained a clear priority and the European Union would advocate for increased action to find a solution. People across the world relied on the Council to protect their dignity and rights, and as such, rights must not be politicized. The promotion and protection of rights required an accountability framework and the European Union continued to support the International Criminal Court. European Union Member States assured support for civil society organizations and those individuals standing up in defense of human rights. The Bloc would continue to support United Nations Member States enacting laws to defend rights defenders. The repression of minority groups was condemned.
MANABU HORII, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said the world was besieged by the challenge of fundamental rights through protracted conflicts, massive flows of refugees and other major challenges. Significant efforts were required to maintain efforts against these plagues. Japan was undertaking its role in this direction, including through participation in many United Nations and international fora, as well as through technical cooperation. Despite its efforts, issues continued to persist. Japan would work with relevant countries where democracy was unstable. Regarding Rakhine state in Myanmar, Japan had conveyed to the Government the importance of cooperating with the international community. In addition to humanitarian assistance to Myanmar, in order to improve the situation and in view of the complex situation, Japan was implementing development assistance and other initiatives that helped realize harmony among the communities. These included the return of the displaced in Rakhine state. Japan was committed to establishing the rule of law and human rights in the region. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was urged to end gross human rights violations, which included abductions of Japanese citizens. This issue had to be resolved. Mr. Horii informed that Japan and the European Union would draft a resolution on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and would ask for the support of all Member States to this effect. Finally, Mr. Horii announced that the Government of Japan had dealt with the comfort women issue via diplomatic efforts in 2015, by which it had been confirmed that this issue had been resolved finally and irreversibly.
MARTIN CHUNGONG, Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, stated that the Inter-Parliamentary Union had been accompanying the development of the Human Rights Council since its inception. The Council’s increased focus on national implementation and involvement of national processes was welcomed. Since the adoption of the Council’s first resolution on the contribution of parliaments to its work in 2014, the Inter-Parliamentary Union had pursued sensitization campaigns to encourage member parliaments to be part of the process. The involvement of parliaments had increased during all stages of the Universal Periodic Review and the recent Council resolution 35/29 additionally strengthened the relationship of the Council and parliaments. The Inter-Parliamentary Union worked to bolster parliaments as the guardians of human rights and was helping equip parliaments to effectively institutionalize the 2030 Agenda and mainstream various goals into legislative process. Every year the world was making progress, with the percentage of women parliamentarians slightly above 23 per cent. The Inter-Parliamentary Union stood ready to contribute from a parliamentary perspective to the implementation of the Council’s recommendation on women and youth. In closing, it was noted that an increasing number of parliaments had been under assault, their powers had been usurped by the Executive and their authority undermined. __________
For use of the information media; not an official record
Global Overview FEBRUARY 2018
February saw a twofold deterioration in the Syrian conflict – the Assad regime stepped up its brutal bombardment of rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, and regional and global powers increased their direct interventions in Syria, raising the risk of worse fighting in coming weeks. Elsewhere political polarisation between governments and opposition movements was rife. In Bangladesh, the conviction of opposition leader Khaleda Zia sparked protests, which could worsen if she is barred from participating in elections, while in the Maldives the government launched a crackdown on the judiciary and declared a state of emergency. In Venezuela, formal talks between the government and the opposition broke down, deepening the political impasse. In Guinea, alleged electoral fraud in local elections sparked opposition-led protests and violent clashes with security forces, while in Tanzania the killing of two opposition politicians highlighted shrinking political space. In Cameroon, deadly clashes between security forces and Anglophone separatists continued and could well worsen around senatorial elections planned for 25 March.
Global Overview MARCH 2018
March saw Israeli forces respond with deadly force to the largest Palestinian marches in years at the Gaza-Israel border fence, killing fifteen protesters in one day. Violent confrontations risk increasing in the coming weeks, as protests continue in the lead-up to Palestinians’ commemoration of their expulsion from Israel. Sri Lanka faced its worst outbreak of anti-Muslim violence since 2014, while tensions flared between Kosovo and Serbia, and Turkmenistan saw protests over food shortages. In West Africa, jihadists launched their best organised and most sustained attacks yet on Burkina Faso’s capital, and central Mali, on top of ongoing jihadist violence, witnessed a rise in attacks between Fulani and Dogon communities. In Nigeria, the Boko Haram insurgency, herder-farmer killings and rural banditry together pushed the monthly death toll to at least 300. On a positive note, surprise talks between Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga created an opening for dialogue and political reform. In North East Asia, tensions increased between Taiwan and China, while on the Korean peninsula an inter-Korean summit in late April and planned talks between U.S. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in May offer an opportunity to make progress on security issues.
Global Overview APRIL 2018
April saw the conflict in Yemen intensify, with both the Saudi-led coalition and Huthi forces increasing attacks – fuelling risks of further escalation in May. At the Gaza-Israel border, Israeli forces continued to push back Palestinian protesters with deadly force; with larger protests expected in May, casualties could rise. Eastern Libya's strongman fell ill, prompting fears of further political and military splits. In Afghanistan, the Taliban stepped up attacks, while Kashmir saw deadly clashes and protests. Dozens were killed amid anti-government protests in Nicaragua. In Nigeria, rising violence – especially between herders and farmers – left nearly 500 dead. Burundi could see more political violence around its 17 May constitutional referendum, and a flare-up in attacks by armed groups in the Central African Republic could provoke worse bloodshed in coming weeks. The United Arab Emirates’ withdrawal from Somalia led to clashes between army factions there. On a positive note, Ethiopia’s new prime minister took steps to mitigate ethnic tensions. In North East Asia, tensions escalated across the Taiwan Strait, while China-Japan relations continued to improve, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon pledged to seek “complete denuclearisation” of the peninsula.
Global Overview MAY 2018
May saw Cameroon’s Anglophone conflict escalate and new clashes between Somaliland and Somalia’s Puntland over disputed territory – in both cases, fighting could increase in June. Intercommunal violence rose in the Central African Republic and on both sides of the Mali-Niger border. In Burundi, President Nkurunziza pushed through changes to the constitution, entrenching his increasingly authoritarian rule. In Yemen, both sides intensified their campaigns and the Saudi-led coalition’s offensive on Hodeida could mean more bloodshed in coming weeks. Israel killed over 60 Palestinian protesters in one day, and Israel-Iran tensions climbed in Syria. President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal could ramp up confrontation between the U.S. and Iran or their respective allies. Fighting intensified in Afghanistan, while Indonesia faced ISIS-linked terror attacks. In North East Asia, China and Japan established a crisis management hotline, tensions flared over the Taiwan Strait, and a planned summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un in June could advance denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
Global Overview JULY 2018
In July, fighting rose between Israel and Hamas and could quickly escalate into a new Gaza war, while in Yemen, as violence intensified on several fronts, a UN plan offered hope that a battle for Hodeida city could still be averted. Al-Shabaab stepped up attacks in Somalia, Cameroon’s Anglophone conflict spread to new areas, and tensions rose within Côte d’Ivoire’s ruling coalition. Violence marred elections in Pakistan and disrupted voting in Mali. Zimbabwe’s first general election since former President Mugabe’s ouster went largely peacefully; wide endorsement of the results could pave the way for the country’s recovery, but their rejection could spark turmoil. Violent protests erupted in southern Iraq over poor services and unemployment, and in Haiti over a proposed hike in fuel prices. Deadly clashes between protesters and pro-government forces in Nicaragua continued with hundreds now reported killed. On a brighter note, Ethiopia and Eritrea took further steps to cement peace, South Sudan’s warring leaders agreed to share power, and in the Philippines, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, a long-awaited step to implement peace in Mindanao, was finally signed into law.
In August, the Syrian regime and its allies upped attacks in the north west, pointing to an imminent offensive on rebel-held Idlib province, home to nearly three million people. Fierce militia fighting erupted in Libya’s capital and could escalate in the coming weeks. The UN’s consultations with Yemen’s belligerents in September could re-energise peace talks; but failure could trigger more violence. In DR Congo, the government’s determination to bar the main opposition contenders from December’s presidential poll could provoke more protests, while Zimbabwe’s elections left the country even more divided. Uganda’s detention of a popular challenger sparked protests, which the authorities put down with force. Mob violence rose in eastern Ethiopia, and Chad responded with force to a rebel attack. In Chechnya, boys reportedly carried out attacks on police after pledging allegiance to Islamic State. The exodus of Venezuelans to neighbouring countries presented a growing regional threat, with the government’s new economic reform package making things worse. A forthcoming referendum in Macedonia could bring the country another step closer to resolution of its longstanding name dispute with Greece.
In September, Cameroon’s Anglophone separatists and security forces stepped up attacks and violence could rise around the 7 October presidential vote, while Afghanistan’s parliamentary polls are likely to be marred by violence and their results contested. Yemen missed an opportunity as Huthi rebels refused to take part in UN-led consultations and fighting resumed outside Hodeida, boding ill for October. Militia fighting worsened in Libya’s capital, militant attacks rose in eastern Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia’s capital saw a spate of ethnic violence. Al-Shabaab carried out ambitious attacks in Somalia’s capital and regional states cut ties with the federal government, risking worse political divisions and violence in coming weeks. In Syria, a Turkey-Russia deal seems to have averted a major offensive on rebel-held Idlib, but it needs to take root in October. Djibouti and Eritrea agreed to work toward normalising relations, and a surprise electoral result in the Maldives gave hope for a peaceful political transition. In Guatemala, the president’s attempt to dismantle a UN-backed anti-corruption body prompted a political crisis, while a significant confidence-building measure in Georgia’s conflicts with its breakaway republics broke down. In East Asia, a summit between the leaders of North and South Korea opened up prospects for denuclearisation.