Politics

Rahaf and Hakeem: why has one refugee captured the world’s attention while another is left in jail?

When it comes to Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun and Hakeem al-Araibi, the reasons are varied but likely include the age-old non-science of what makes news and what doesn’t Helen Davidson The Guardian Australia, Thailand and the Gulf states have been inextricably linked in two global news stories lately, when two young people faced being forcibly returned to the places and people they fled simply because they happened to step foot in Bangkok. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, an 18-year-old Saudi woman, was on ... Read More »

Don’t Blame Everything on Erdogan

The Turkish government doesn’t have a soft spot for the Islamic State, and Ankara stands to lose more than anyone if the terrorist group makes a comeback. Selim Sazak FP Washington’s Turkey experts were left working overtime during the holidays when a routine conversation between Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan ended with the announcement that the… Trump’s maneuver had raised worries that a premature withdrawal risks reversing the gains that have been made against the Islamic State. Indeed, on ... Read More »

Are women escaping family violence overseas considered refugees?

Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun’s story has travelled around the world this week, highlighting Saudi Arabia’s repressive treatment of women and that not only those who seek asylum by… Tamara Wood The Conversation For now, al-Qunun remains in Thailand, and it’s been reported the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) has deemed her to be a refugee. Australia has said it will consider granting her asylum. Reports say al-Qunun fears, if she is returned to Saudi Arabia, she will be abused and ... Read More »

Journalist Pelin Ünker sentenced to jail in Turkey over Paradise Papers investigation

Journalist was found guilty of ‘defamation and insult’ for writing about companies owned by former PM Julian Borger The Guardian A Turkish journalist has been sentenced to more than a year in jail for her work on the Paradise Papers investigation into offshore tax havens, because it revealed details of the business activities of the country’s former prime minister and his sons. Pelin Ünker, a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) was found guilty in an Istanbul ... Read More »

Turkey and the Kurds turn to Russia to solve problems sparked by U.S. exit from Syria

BEIRUT — Both Turkey and the Syrian Kurds are now pinning their hopes on Russia to resolve the problems created by President Trump’s abrupt decision last month to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, which has threatened to ignite a… Liz Sly The Washington Post Turkish officials said Wednesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to visit Moscow this month for talks on Syria and other issues with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kurds have already reached out to Russia ... Read More »

Vietnam requests other countries to respect international law

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang underlined Vietnam’s stance on the US vessel USS McCampbell’s passage through Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) waters, while responding to reporters’ questions regarding the… Hanoi (VNA) “Vietnam has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence testifying its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes in conformity with international law,” the spokesperson said. She stressed that as a member of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 and a ... Read More »

Australia’s 2018 Human Rights Performance Slammed

The Australian government’s human rights approach to refugees, Indigenous people and those with disability has been slammed by an annual review, which warns that Australia is at risk of … Luke Michael ProBono Australian Lawyers for Human Rights’ (ALHR) 2018 Human Rights Report Card scored Australia poorly on key areas including Indigenous rights (F-), refugees and people seeking asylum (F) and… While the federal government was praised for introducing a Modern Slavery Act, the review noted Australia faced persistent criticism by multiple United ... Read More »

Norway PM chides China obliquely; asserts might is not right

New Delhi: Norway on Tuesday commended India for adhering to the international rules of law with respect to the law of seas and indirectly pulled up China for using might as right. By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury The Economic Times “When large countries respect international law, smaller countries take note. The principle of ‘might is right’ cannot be used as a basis for governing our oceans, or anything else, for that matter,” Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said at the… Earlier ... Read More »

Rohingya left in border limbo amid new Myanmar border clashes

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar since a military crackdown started in 2017, desperate to escape persecution. AFP – SBS Panic is gripping thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees living in no-man’s land on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, with daily clashes between Myanmar security forces and ethnic Rakhine insurgents. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar since a military crackdown started in 2017 – most to sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh – but many have been living in ... Read More »

Need for International Unity as DR Congo Awaits Electoral Results

The Democratic Republic of Congo awaits the official results of 30 December 2018 elections, amid hints that unofficial numbers show an opposition presidential candidate winning. ICG Conflicting tallies could spark violence. Outside powers should stand together in urging calm and careful verification of the electoral outcome. The Independent Electoral Commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo will likely declare results of the 30 December elections this week. Already there are worrying signs of divisions among international actors, after a… Need ... Read More »

Japan Slams China for Unauthorized Research Around Okinotori Island

Japan’s exclusive economic zone around the remote island is being challenged by China again. Thisanka Siripala The Diplomat The Japanese Embassy in Beijing has filed official protest with China after they admitted to conducting marine surveys around the Japan-held Okinotori island without permission. In mid-December last year, the Japanese Coast Guard intercepted a Chinese research vessel in waters surrounding Okinotori Island. Japan claims the uninhabited Okinotori island in the Pacific Ocean as its southernmost territory, which is 1700 kilometers south ... Read More »

Fire and Ice: Conflict and Drugs in Myanmar’s Shan State

Civil strife has turned Myanmar’s Shan State into a crystal methamphetamine hub. ICG The richer the traffickers get, the harder the underlying conflicts will be to resolve. Instead of targeting minor offenders, the military should root out corruption, including among top brass, and disarm complicit paramilitaries.  What’s new? Shan State has long been a centre of conflict and illicit drug production – initially heroin, then methamphetamine tablets. Good infrastructure, proximity to precursor supplies from China and safe haven provided by ... Read More »

Why the UK should stay within the EU’s asylum system after Brexit

Until recent media coverage of an increase in people crossing the English Channel by boat, Brexit debates have largely overlooked the future of asylum and international protection after the… Ali Bilgic The Conversation The UK’s options are challenging – and the risks for current and future asylum seekers are real and serious, particularly if the UK were to leave without a deal. Complications will stem from the UK’s involvement in the EU’s international protection and asylum governance structures, known as ... Read More »

Trump administration downgrades EU mission to US

The Trump administration has downgraded the diplomatic status of the European Union’s delegation to the United States, an EU official has confirmed to DW. Michael Knigge The demotion happened at the end of last year without notice. The unannounced move by the US State Department, which has not previously been reported, downgraded the EU delegation’s diplomatic status in Washington from member state to international organization. “We don’t exactly know when they did it, because they conveniently forgot to notify us,” an ... Read More »

Progress is Slow in Measuring Social Impact

There is a disconnect between government and the social sector around measuring social impact, writes Australian Social Value Bank impact specialist Andrew Callaghan, who explains why both sides must commit to tackling fundamental issues in… Andrew Callaghan ProBono The measurement of social impact has grown and matured over the last decade. There is a growing body of resources, practitioners and approaches to measuring impact. But while this growth can be seen as a success, there is no doubt that it ... Read More »

Erdogan’s war on workers

Turkey’s crackdown on dissent extends to the country’s fractured labor movement. Cole Stangler Le Monde Diplomatique If the presence of a two dozen riot cops blocking the entrance of the Gaziosmanpaşa Courthouse didn’t send the message, then the arrival of a water-cannon truck—slowly backing up from the… Eyüp Özer, an organizer and head of international relations at Turkey’s United Metalworkers Union, which is part of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DISK), shrugged off the… ‘It’s not that unusual,’ he ... Read More »