Diplomacy

Detention of Michael Kovrig

The International Crisis Group calls for the immediate release of its North East Asia Senior Adviser Michael Kovrig. ICG Michael was detained on Monday night in Beijing by the Beijing Bureau of Chinese State Security. Crisis Group has received no information about Michael since his detention and is concerned for his health and safety. We are making every effort to learn more and to secure consular access to Michael from the Chinese authorities. Michael has been a full-time and highly ... Read More »

Theresa May faces leadership challenge as Brexit deal anger boils over

London: British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a challenge to her leadership as anger surrounding her handling of Brexit boils over among her party colleagues. Nick Miller The Sydney Morning Herald But May, in a defiant speech on the steps of Number 10, said the challenge risked delaying or even stopping Brexit and warned a Conservative party leadership change would “put our country’s future at risk”. On Wednesday morning, London time, it was revealed that enough Conservative MPs had sent ... Read More »

Marise Payne urged to ‘step up’ at Aung San Suu Kyi meeting in Myanmar

Amnesty International Australia has called on Australia’s foreign affairs minister to act on the Rohingya crisis, as she visits Myanmar this week. Nick baker SBS As Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne begins her two-day visit to Myanmar, Amnesty International Australia has urged her to “step up and show leadership” at a meeting with controversial leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Ms Payne is in the Southeast Asian nation on Wednesday and Thursday and will meet with senior government ministers, including ... Read More »

Explainer: why is Australia adopting the global refugee compact but not the migration compact?

Australia was one of 176 countries to vote in favour of the Global Compact on Refugees (refugee compact) in mid-November this year. Azadeh Dastyari The Conversation The United Nations General Assembly will adopt it by the end of 2018. However, Australia did not join the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (migration compact) at a conference in Morocco on December 10-11. What are the compacts and what do they aim to do? There is much confusion about the ... Read More »

Armenia Elections Boost Hopes for Peace with Azerbaijan

With his party’s victory in the snap parliamentary elections and a new calm on the frontlines with Azerbaijan, Armenia’s leader Nikol Pashinyan and his team will have more space to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Olesya Vartanyan ICG BERKABER, Armenia – One of the windows in Sonya Matinyan’s home is filled in with bricks. The glass of the other is splintered by a rifle bullet. The roof has taken a few missile hits and leaking water has stained the ceilings in ... Read More »

Australia only nation to join US at pro-coal event at COP24 climate talks

Country’s stance described as ‘a slap in the face of our Pacific island neighbours’ Ben Doherty The Guardian Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to coal – and its unwavering support for the United States – by appearing at a US government-run event promoting the use of fossil fuels at the… Australia was the only country apart from the host represented at the event, entitled “US innovative technologies spur economic dynamism”, designed to “showcase ways to use fossil fuels as… Its ... Read More »

Palestinians reject compromise options on Australia’s contentious embassy review

The Palestinian representative in Canberra has rejected possible Australian government alternatives to establishing an embassy in Jerusalem, saying Palestinians should not “pay the… David Wroe The Age Cabinet is expected to discuss the embassy location on Tuesday after Mr Morrison vowed to review Australia’s diplomatic stance in October ahead of the crucial Wentworth byelection. Among the options understood to be on the table are the establishment of a smaller office or consulate in west Jerusalem while keeping the embassy in ... Read More »

Theresa May calls off MPs’ vote on her Brexit deal

Prime Minister Theresa May has called off Tuesday’s crucial vote on her Brexit deal so she can go back to Brussels and ask for changes to it. BBC As it stands the deal “would be rejected by a significant margin” if MPs voted on it, she admitted. But she said she was confident of getting “reassurances” from the EU on the Northern Ireland border plan. But European Council President Donald Tusk said the remaining 27 EU countries would not “renegotiate” ... Read More »

Brexit: UK can unilaterally revoke article 50, says ECJ

Britain can stop Brexit process without approval of member states, court of justice says Soverin Carrell The Guardian The UK can unilaterally stop the Brexit process, the European court of justice has said in a ruling that will boost demands for a second EU referendum. The court concluded that any EU member state can revoke an article 50 process without needing approval from every other member state, but only before its withdrawal comes into force. “The United Kingdom is free to revoke ... Read More »

Human rights in 2018 – ten issues that made headlines

On December 10, the world marks 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Authors: The Conversation Regrettably, instead of the anniversary signalling the enduring impact of human rights, some are fearing the “end of human rights”. Here we highlight some of the rights challenges that captured the world’s attention this year, illustrating the struggle to secure human rights is far from over. 1. Australia’s first year on the UN Human Rights Council Australia took its ... Read More »

US official opposes ditching support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

The United States strongly opposes discontinuing support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s war and will remain engaged in efforts to combat Iranian influence and Islamist militancy in the Arab state, a… ABC Reuters The US administration has come under pressure at home over the nearly four-year-old conflict that has pushed Yemen to the brink of starvation since the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at… The US Senate last month voted to advance a resolution to end military ... Read More »

US sanctions are ‘economic terrorism’: Rouhani

Iran‘s President Hassan Rouhani said US sanctions were “economic terrorism”, as he sought to foster a united front from visiting regional officials on Dec. 8. TEHRAN – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Washington has reimposed an oil embargo and other damaging sanctions on Iran since pulling out in May from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers. “America’s unjust and illegal sanctions against the honourable nation of Iran have targeted our nation in a clear instance of terrorism,” Rouhani said in a televised speech. He was speaking at a conference on terrorism and… ... Read More »

Rights that protect against socioeconomic disadvantage are long overdue – the UK is already paying the price

In 2018, two anniversaries and a crucial decision loom large in the UK. We saw in the 70th anniversary of the NHS in July, while December 10 marks the 70th birthday of the adoption of the… Authors: The Conversation On December 11, the UK parliament will also vote on the prime minister’s EU withdrawal deal. The coming together of health, human rights and Brexit, raises questions of huge practical and… The recent UK visit of Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur ... Read More »

‘Dark day’: migrant rescue ship Aquarius ends operations

Médecins Sans Frontières says ‘smear campaign’ by European governments hampered work in Mediterranean Reuters The Guardian Search and rescue ship Aquarius, which has saved tens of thousands of migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean, has ended its operations, said Médecins Sans Frontières, the charity that runs the ship. MSF and its partner SOS Mediterranee said they were forced to terminate its operations due to a “smear campaign” by European governments. The ship has been blocked at the French port of ... Read More »

Syria: is Europe’s influence in the region finished?

The Assad regime has inched closer to winning the Syrian conflict during 2018. Richard Youngs The Conversation With Russian and Iranian support, the regime has reestablished strong and authoritarian rule, at least outside the deescalation zones where its remit is still curtailed. With a new UN envoy to Syria now taking office and the EU confirming it will host another donor conference for the country early in 2019 – designed to mobilise humanitarian aid and other assistance from the international ... Read More »

Huawei exec’s arrest opens a new front in the US-China trade war

Hong Kong (CNN Business) – The conflict between the United States and China over trade and technology is expanding. Analysis by Jethro Mullen, CNN Business The arrest of a top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei at the request of the US government has angered Beijing, alarmed investors and raised new doubts about the fragile truce that the leaders of the world’s top two economies reached just days ago. “You have to see this as a significant escalation in the trade ... Read More »