Leadership

Thailand: Resuming Death Penalty a Major Setback

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Government Executes a Prisoner After 9-Year Moratorium (New York) – The Thai government should halt further executions and publicly resume its de facto moratorium on the use of the death penalty, Human Rights Watch said today. HRW Thai authorities executed a 26-year-old man by lethal injection on June 18, 2018, the country’s first execution since August 2009. “Thailand’s resumed use of the death penalty marks a major setback for human rights,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “The Thai government’s many pledges ... Read More »

UN Human Rights Council Should Act on Venezuela

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Venezuelan Crisis needs to be a Council Priority Leila Swan HRW No one was surprised when Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro was re-elected last May, or when the opposition alleged voting irregularities. Unofficial reports estimated low voter turnout, less than 40%, despite government officials’ frantic attempts to increase participation. Upon hearing the results, Maduro sang victory, claiming “The whole of Venezuela has triumphed! Democracy has triumphed! Peace has triumphed!”. Yet the elections were rejected by democracies world-wide. The Lima Group – comprised… UN ... Read More »

Risky Business: The Duque Government’s Approach to Peace in Colombia

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Colombia’s president-elect campaigned on a pledge to “modify” the 2016 peace with the FARC guerrillas, despite its goal of reducing the rural inequality underlying that insurgency. T he new government should steer clear of hardline policies that alienate the countryside and hinder the ex-guerrilla’s path to civilian life. ICG What’s new? Iván Duque, from the Democratic Centre party, won Colombia’s presidential election and assumes office on 7 August 2018. His party and… Why does it matter? Colombia’s transition from war ... Read More »

Keeping the Calm in Southern Syria

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As the Syrian regime masses its forces to recapture the country’s south west from the opposition, another humanitarian disaster looms. ICG The U.S., Russia and Jordan, which brokered a south-western ceasefire in 2017, should urgently extend that truce in preparation for a broader settlement. What’s new? Having retaken the last rebel-held areas in Syria’s western interior, the Syrian regime is turning southward. Regime forces are massing in preparation for a reconquest of the “de… Why does it matter? The south ... Read More »

Could Erdogan lose? What to know about Turkey’s elections

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Everything to know about Turkey’s elections… Istanbul, Turkey (CNN)Turkish voters head to the polls Sunday in transformative elections that will usher in a new system of government, giving sweeping new powers to whoever wins the presidency. By Gul Tuysuz, CNN Recep Tayyip Erdogan is used to winning elections — he served as Turkey’s prime minister for three terms from 2003 and then as president since 2014. He narrowly won a referendum last year that will scrap the role of prime ... Read More »

US leaving UN’s Human Rights Council, cites anti-Israel bias

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The United States is leaving the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, which Ambassador Nikki Haley called “an organization that is not worthy of its name.” WASHINGTON – Associated Press Hurriyet It’s the latest withdrawal by the Trump administration from an international institution. Haley said Tuesday the U.S. had given the human rights body “opportunity after opportunity” to make changes. She lambasted the council for “its chronic bias against Israel” and lamented the fact that its membership includes accused human rights abusers such ... Read More »

Merkel and Macron Try to Save European Union, and Themselves

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BERLIN — It was supposed to be the day when President Emmanuel Macron of France received a long-awaited response from Germany on his big ideas on how to rekindle Europe as a force for liberalism in the world. By Katrin Bennhold and Steven Erlanger The New York Times And he did, sort of. But his meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany on Tuesday was overshadowed by the urgent issue of how to put out the growing number of populist ... Read More »

Turkey resists Erdoğan on social media as snap election approaches

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Turkey will soon go to the polls for the fifth time in less than four years. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced them on the same day that parliament extended the national state of emergency for the seventh time since the… Rabia Karakaya Polat The Conversation Erdoğan brought these elections forward to June 24 for his own political ends: to pre-empt an expected economic downturn, to take his rivals by surprise, and to ride a surge of nationalism stirred up by ... Read More »

Community Sector Protests Cuts to Asylum Seeker Support Payments

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Community sector leaders have gathered in Canberra to protest cuts to asylum seeker support payments, as a new report reveals that government policy is driving people seeking asylum into destitution. Luke Michael ProBono Leaders from 10 national NGOs, along with a delegation of asylum seekers and community members, gathered at Parliament House on Monday to urge the federal government to stop cuts to the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS). This service provides asylum seekers with a basic safety net of ... Read More »

Massachusetts’ governor says family separations are “inhumane” and rescinds National Guard offer

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Amidst a wave of prominent Republican figures who have come out against the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy of separating the children of undocumented immigrants from their… Annabelle Timsit QUARTZ The Republican governor announced Monday (June 18) that, in light of the family separations, he is revoking his earlier pledge to send two National Guard military analysts and a helicopter to the… “Governor Baker directed the National Guard not to send any assets or personnel to the Southwest border today because the federal ... Read More »

After the Trump-Kim Summit: Now Comes the Hard Part

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Last week the world watched the first-ever meeting between a North Korean leader and a U.S. president. Crisis Group offers a 360-degree view of how the summit played in the U.S., the Korean peninsula, China and… ICG Doubts and questions swirled before the momentous 12 June summit in Singapore between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Could any good come of a meeting for which preparation seemed to be last-minute and inadequate? Was one of the ... Read More »

Obama Homeland Security Secretary: Trump immigration policy ‘unsustainable’

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Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson criticized the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy on Saturday, calling the practice “unsustainable.” John Bowden The Hill Johnson told CNN that the Trump administration was attempting to “send a shock to the system” by separating thousands of migrant families in order to drive down the number of overall immigrants attempting to cross into the U.S. illegally — a practice, he said, that cannot withstand the… “This is obviously a deliberate effort, short-term, to try to ... Read More »

Curious link between world peace and gender equality

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Whatever comes of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un’s curious get-together in Singapore it brought a welcome focus: peace. Matt Wade Brisbane Times If the optimists are right the meeting has paved the way for “major disarmament” on the Korean peninsula over the next few years. But, even if that happens, how much more peaceful would the world really be? Sadly, not that much. An ambitious number crunching exercise by the Sydney-based international think tank, the Institute for Economics and… ... Read More »

Bavaria’s man in Berlin pushes Merkel to brink

BERLIN, GERMANY - JUNE 14: German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and leader of the Bavarian Christian Democrats (CSU) prepares to take an elevator during a day of wrangling at the Bundestag between the CSU and the German Christian Democrats (CDU) of Chancellor Angela Merkel on June 14, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. Merkel is at odds with Seehofer over migration policy. While Merkel wants a European-wide approach to migration, Seehofer is insisting that Germany be able to unilaterally turn away asylum seekers when they first reach the German border should they not meet asylum criteria.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Horst Seehofer puts home state election first in clash with chancellor. Janosch Delcker Politico BERLIN — Horst Seehofer may be Germany’s interior minister but he’s doing Bavaria’s bidding. The 68-year-old’s career looked to be on the slide when he was ousted as premier of the southern state at the end of last year. Yet he is center stage once again after pushing Angela Merkel’s government into crisis with his plan to toughen Germany’s asylum policies. By threatening to implement his plan even without Merkel’s ... Read More »

DR Congo: The Bemba Earthquake

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The ICC’s acquittal of Jean-Pierre Bemba comes at a critical point in DR Congo elections. President Kabila and his opponents will have to recalibrate strategies ahead of Bemba’s likely return. ICG Outside powers should keep pressing Kabila to stand down and allow opposition candidates to… What’s new? On 8 June Jean-Pierre Bemba, a charismatic Congolese leader and fierce rival of President Joseph Kabila, was acquitted by the International Criminal Court’s appeals chamber of a 2016 war crimes conviction. His likely ... Read More »

Grattan on Friday: The loners who lead, and trash, ‘personality’ parties

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Let the voter beware. We may be in a “celebrity” age but personality parties, based around a “name” implode, explode, or fizzle. In the last few years, we’ve seen them do all three. Michelle Grattan The Conversation On Thursday came the latest episode in the One Nation soapie, when senator Brian Burston announced he was leaving the party to sit as an independent. Pauline Hanson had effectively tossed him out… Only a couple of weeks ago, after their spectacular falling ... Read More »