CANVAS Weekly Update – September 3rd, 2021


September 3, 2021

Dear Friends,


CANVAS is pleased to bring you another weekly report! This week covers the American pullout in Afghanistan, violent dispersal of protests in Sudan, continued violence in Gaza, crisis at the border in Belarus, and the global COVID-19 situation.

Conflict Update:

In Saudi Arabia, a drone bomb targeting the airport wounded 8 people, another attack in the kingdom’s war with Yemen. The bombing followed one sustained days earlier in Yemen, where missiles and drones targeted a key military base, killing 30 Saudi-back Yemeni troops. From last week, hundreds of protesters gathered on the Gaza border from Saturday to Thursday, burning tires and flinging explosives, resulting in the injury of Omar Hassan Abu al-Nile, a 12 year old boy. This Saturday, he succumbed to his injuries, and the funeral was attended by hundreds. In response to incendiary devices sent over the border, the IDF carried out an airstrike on a Hamas military compound Saturday night, following the hundreds strong night protest at the border. As a result of the protests, 11 Palestinians were injured, three by live rounds. Seven Palestinian journalists were arrested on Friday covering non-violent protests in Hebron, on charges of being in a ‘closed military zone’, despite IDF laws allowing reporters to enter such aread. In a video of the event, a soldier is shown saying “We’ll arrest all the journalists. Is this what you want?”. On Wednesday hundreds more gathered to mourn the death of Ra’id Jadullah , shot by Israeli soldiers as he returned from working in Israel Tuesday night. The UN has recently urged Israel to bring charges against the six settlers who, two weeks ago, tied a 15 year olf palestinian boy to a tree and continued to assault, cut, and burn him. The IDF and police have not pursued any course of action against the settlers, but have claimed the brutal attack was due to the boy throwing stones at the settlers. 

Coronavirus Update:

South African scientists have detected a new coronavirus variant with multiple mutations but are still researching to establish whether it is more contagious or able to overcome the immunity provided by existing vaccines or antibodies from prior infection. The new variant, known as C.1.2, or the Beta variant, was first detected in May, and according to research, which is yet to be peer-reviewed, has now spread to many provinces in South African and to seven other countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. Currently, Beta is believed to be more infectious than the original Covid-19 strain, and evidence supports that vaccines are less effective against it. This has led some countries to restrict travel to and from South Africa. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning against the use of the Covid-19 vaccine in ways that aren’t authorized by the federal government in the wake of many Americans getting booster shots. Such uses include giving the vaccine out as a booster shot to people who are not immunocompromised or using it to vaccinate children under the age of 12 for whom the shot is not yet authorized. In mid-August, the CDC reported that more than 1.1 million people had already received unauthorized doses of the vaccine. There is an ongoing debate surrounding the off-label use by healthcare providers of the Pfizer vaccine. Last week, Japanese authorities suspended the use of some batches of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine containing 1.63 million doses after being notified of an issue with contamination. Following an investigation, Moderna said stainless steel contaminants were found in some vials. The stainless steel contamination probably occurred during production, and while Japan’s Health Ministry said they don’t think the particles pose any significant health risk, two deaths of individuals who received their second dose from the suspended batch are being further investigated. Indonesia and Thailand, which have the largest economies in the South East Asia region, are beginning to ease their Covid-19 restrictions in the wake of economic issues, despite the Delta variant sweeping the region. Vaccination rates are still low in both countries, and epidemiologists are concerned that by lifting restrictions on dine-in restaurants and in-person retail, there will be a huge spike in cases.


NATO has reported 20 deaths in the airport and surrounding areas in the past week, not including the attack on the the Kabul airport last Thursday, in which at least 90 Afghans and 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suspected Islamic State suicide bombing. The Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital in Kabul alone has claimed to have received 145 bodies. Immediately after the attack, gunmen shot into the crowd, and another bombing at a hotel just outside the airport injured 18 U.S. service members.

On August 30th, a US official reported up to 5 rockets were fired at the Kabul Airport, claiming the responsibility laid with ISIS-K, who claimed responsibility for the last attack on the airport. 

Following the suicide bombing on Friday, the US carried out a drone strike targeting the islamic State in Kabul, killing two suspected ISIS-K members, and 10 civilians, including 9 members of one family, six of which were children, and a previous US translator.

Between August 14th and August 30th, 116,700 people have been evacuated. It was also reported that in the aftermath of the suicide bombing on Friday, US troops through smoke bombs into crowds to disperse them, injuring civilians. The BBC has reported eyewitness claims that some casualties from the Friday attack were not a result of suicide bombing, but of gun fire in the chaos after, by Turkish or American soldiers. 

On Tuesday, the National Resistance Front(NRF), a resistance group quartered in the Panjshir Valley, clashed with the Taliban in the province, as well as the Parwan and Baghlan provinces. The NRF claims 350 Taliban casualties and 40 prisoners have been captured. This followed another clash on Monday, in which 7-8 Taliban members are claimed to have been killed by the NRF. Unconfirmed reports state the Taliban had blown up an essential bridge connecting to Panjshir. The Taliban have also shut down the internet and essential supply flow in the valley, which has a stockpile to last until winter.

On Wednesday, Taliban members paraded captured military hardware, flying a Black Hawk helicopter over Kandahar in a celebration of the final removal of US troops on August 31st. On Thursday, 50 women and university students demonstrated for the inclusion of women in the new Taliban government, chanting for the right to education, work, and security. This followed the Taliban spokespersons announcement, that despite the supposed right for women to work, there “may or may not” be a place for them in government positions and other leading roles. 

The UN has issued a warning of humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, claiming food stocks in Afghanistan may run out by the end of the month, and millions of Afghans are in danger of starvation. Essential good prices have dramatically increased as currency has been weakened, and Afghans are unable to withdraw money as banks are closed. This is made worse by the cut off of international aid by the US and World Bank after the Taliban takeover.



On Thursday the United Kingdom announced new sanctions on Myanmar, targeting a key business associate of the military junta for providing arms and financial support following a coup by the junta earlier this year. The British foreign ministry said it would freeze the assets of conglomerate Htoo Group of Companies and its founder Tay Za, who was the tycoon that was involved in arms deals on behalf of the military junta. Foreign minister Dominic Raab said in a statement: “Along with our partners, the UK will continue to restrict the junta’s access to finance and the supply of arms used to kill innocents, including children, and target those who support the junta’s actions”.

A dozen different regional branches of the People’s Defense Force Militia in Myanmar have formed an alliance to collectively attempt to take on the country’s junta, members said Wednesday. The PDF groups, which are mostly based in the Sagaing region, Chin state, and Mandalay and Magway regions, as well as Kachin and other ethnic states, announced on August 28th that they had allied in their resistance to the military and told RFA’s Myanmar Service they would welcome additional militias to the alliance.
On the 100th day since the arrest of American journalist Danny Fenster by the military junta in Myanmar, his family has appealed for his release following their suspicion that he has contracted Covid-19 in prison. His family said they limited communication with Fenster, who was arrested on May 24 at the international airport in Yangon as he tried to board a plane out of the country.


The United States:

In a 5-4 vote on September 2nd, the United States Supreme Court denied an emergency request by women’s health providers for an injunction on the enforcement of the Texas abortion ban. On a ruling on Wednesday, Texas moved to ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. This is the most restriction ban on abortion since the landmark ruling of Roe vs. Wade in 1973. Texas is one of a dozen Republican-led states to ban the procedure once a fetal heartbeat can be detected often at six week.  The six-week cutoff is two weeks after a missed menstrual cycle which is often before a woman realizes she is pregnant. This is a devasting law for abortion rights in the state of Texas. Abortion rights advocates state that the law will be a near-total ban on the abortions in the state, as 85%-90% of abortions are obtained after six weeks of pregnancy.  

Former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick will be arraigned on September 3rd on charges of molesting a 16-year-old boy in 1974. He will be the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic official to be prosecuted for sexually abusing a minor. McCarrick was expelled by the priesthood in 2019 and found guilty in a Vatican investigation of sexual crimes against minors and adults

The United States Gulf Coast is continuing the long road to recovery after Hurricane Ida plowed through on Sunday. The hurricane made landfall as a category 4 storm with 150 mile-per-hour winds. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards stated that Ida was one of the strongest storms to make landfall in modern times. The storm was a test of the $14.5 billion of levee improvements that had been built after Hurricane Katrina in 20005.  In Louisiana, more than 900,000 homes remain without electricity.  Hurricane Ida caused record flooding in the Northeast United States which has killed at least 44 people. Fourteen people died in New York City, including a two-year old boy while eleven people drowned while trapped in their basements. President Biden declared a state of emergency in New Jersey and New York—a decision that will allow for both states to receive federal funding. Climate experts explain how warming sea surface temperature heat the air above the water therefore producing more energy to drive hurricanes and increase rainfall. A record of 3.15 inches of water fell in Central Park in the span of one hour.  In the wake of the storm, President Joe Biden is calling for Congress to work with him on his Build Back Better plan. Part of this imitative includes modernizing infrastructure to withstand extreme weather. President Biden will visit Louisiana on September 3rd to inspect the damage.  



In an effort to circumvent American sanctions, Cuba has pledged to recognize and regulate cryptocurrencies for payments. Due to increased sanctions in the last year, US dollars have been increasingly difficult to use in transactions, leading the island nation to follow in El Salvador’s footsteps to recognize cryptocurrency. 

Last Friday, Hurricane Ida hit Cuba hard with winds of up to 80 miles per hour on its course to the US. Hit hardest was Cuba’s Isle of Youth, where trees were felled and roofs ripped off houses, and Pinar del Rio. In Pinar del Sol, one of the provinces most affected by coronavirus, residents were already struggling with food and medicine shortages, so any damage sustained is made even worse.  Crop losses were reported, but no deaths due to the evacuation facilitated by the Cuban Civil Defense. 

On Tuesday, the U.S. took 13 Cuban migrants into custody who had landed on a Key West beach after sailing from Cuba, all of whom were turned over to ICE. This is following a similar boat of 14 Cuban’s that landed in the keys last Friday. Sadly, a Cuban man was found drifting in the sea Saturday near the landing site, but died after rescue. 



Journalist Carlos Chamorro, a critic of President Daniel Ortega, has had charges filed against him on account of money laundering. Chamorro fled to Costa Rica in June following the political persecution of his siblings, journalist Cristiana Chamorro, and politician Joaquin Chamorro, which ended in them being detained by police. The same charges were raised against Cristiana and seven other workers of the Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, whose mission is gaining access to public information, and different charges leveled at his brother Joaquin.
Judges who under Ortega’s regime have imprisoned opposition leaders, journalists, former diplomats, and student leaders, have been accused by former justice system official Yader Morazan of being complicit in committing criminal offenses with the dictatorship, citing that evidence was gained in ways that violated constitutional guarantees. Morazan also highlighted the fact that there was no legal justification for the secrecy of the hearings, and the fact that they should be thrown out due to the lack of defense lawyers present alone. He has also claimed that judges who aren’t willing to break such laws are being fired at the behest of the Ortega regime. Nicaragua’s legislature has also ordered the closure of 15 more NGO’s, bringing the total number of NGOs whose permits have been revoked in the past month to 45.



 Last Friday, Bolivian prosecutors announced their plan to put ex-interim president Jeanine Anez on trial for the charges of genocide, serious and minor injury, and injury followed by death. These charges are a result of the 20 people killed during the 2019 protests in Sacaba and Senkata. These charges are a result of the OAS report detailing the multiple massacres ordered by Anez during her presidency. These new charges were added to the initial charges she has been held under since March, for terrorism, sedition, and conspiracy.

The next day, Anez attempted suicide in Miraflores prison, but failed. On September 1st the Mexican Air Force reported that during their 2019 evacuation of former president Evo Morales, the Bolivian armed forces targeted the aircraft with an RPG rocket launcher. The pilot describes having to maneuver to avoid impact. Morales had been granted asylum in Mexico, but upon trying to take off, clearance was denied and the flight was grounded. Surrounded by the Bolivian military, the Pilot got off to speak with the Secretary of Defense, and was beaten by the military for refusing to eject Morales from the plane, and was held at gunpoint shortly thereafter.



This week, the Polish government asked the President to declare a state of emergency at the border  between Poland and Belarus. The number of asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Iraq trapped along the border continues to grow. Human rights advocates are critical of Polish authorities stating that the government’s reluctance to accept the asylum seekers and denying them adequate medical care is inhumane. However Polish officials say Belarusian authorities are to blame. The EU placed strict economic sanctions on Belarus after President Lukashenko claimed victory in a rigged election. Now the EU has accused Lukashenko of, “deliberately encouraging asylum seekers to cross irregularly into Poland and the Baltic states as a form of “hybrid warfare”’ 

Russia plans to deliver a large supply of military equipment to Belarus this month. The Russians are set to deliver equipment including, aircraft, helicopters, and air defense systems.  Analysts believe this delivery is a sign of Moscow’s steadfast support for Lukashenko’s government. Belarus is a strategic ally for Russia acting as a security buffer between the EU and NATO military alliance. The close allyship is concerning for many Belarusians who fear that Lukashenko may trade sovereignty in order to gain more political backing from the Kremlin. This comes as President Lukashenko and Russian President Vladamir Putin announce a joint military exercise later this month. When speaking with news outlets about the planned military exercise, Lukashenko said “If we see during the exercise that we need something else, then we will buy it from the Russian Federation and commission it


The Georgian government has decided to turn down a 75-million-euro loan from the European Union following an EU threat to cut financial assistance in response to Tbilisi’s failure to implement reforms. A 150-million-euro loan was offered to Georgia last year in attempt to help the country mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 75 million Euros had already been disbursed, and the other half had been conditioned on Georgia meeting certain political obligations, especially judicial reforms to reduce political influence over the court system. Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced the government’s refusal of the loan on August 31, and government officials have justified the move by a desire to reduce foreign debt, avoid “political insinuations”, and that the economic growth the country has been experiencing has obviated the need for the loan.

The European Union said, that while it respects the Georgian Government’s decision not to ask for the disbursement of 75 million Euro loan, it notes that “Georgia failed to sufficiently address the condition for this macro-financial assistance and notably, to increase independence, accountability and the quality of the judicial system”. Experts have said that the refusal of the authorities to accept EU assistance creates the appropriate prerequisites for a decrease in investment and an economic downturn and the threat of an economic recession on the horizon. However, some say to not make rash conclusions, because, since April, the country’s economic growth exceeded 20%, but it has seen an economic decline.

Following last year’s disputed presidential elections in Belarus, a Georgian-Belarusian security cooperation agreement has come into effect and Critics fear that the treaty would allow authorities in Minsk to target political dissidents and critics of the Belarusian government residing in Georgia. The aftermath of the disputed 2020 election in Belarus caused some Belarussians to flee to Georgia, and those émigrés are now concerned with the new cooperation agreement between Georgia’s State Security Service and the State Security Committee of Belarus. The agreement, which has entered into force this month, will enable the two countries are to regularly exchange information, including personal data, to cooperate in the fight against “terrorism”, “corruption”, and other crimes including those committed “against the constitutional order, sovereignty and territorial integrity”.



Chinese President Xi Jinping has been enforcing a crackdown on the tutoring industry, where most of its companies prepare students to study overseas, in an attempt to help create a more equal society by leveling the educational playing field. Backlash is already evident, and there have been eight protests involving workers in the nation’s education sector so far in August, as concern surrounds wages for employees, especially of smaller companies. There is pressure on the All-China Federation of Trade Unions to help the educators get their pay and promote their rights.

Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, has said that the group will begin to rely mainly on financing from China to support their economy. He said, “China is our most important partner and represents a fundamental and extraordinary opportunity for us because it is ready to invest and rebuild our country”. They are looking to put copper mines back into operation with the money from China, as well as access some global markets through China.

An Italian company that makes military-grade drones for NATO has had six of its managers reported to prosecutors after the financial crimes police completed an investigation into the sudden takeover of the country. Tax police said the takeover of the unnamed company broke arms laws and that while a firm based in Hong Kong had bought a majority stake in the drone company at 90 times its value, the real buyer was two state-owned companies in China.

President Xi Jinping has announced the country’s plan to create a new stock exchange in Beijing with the aim of helping to fund smaller companies’ pursuit of new technologies. “We will continue to support the innovation and development of small and medium-sized enterprises and deepen reforms of the new third board by creating the Beijing Stock Exchange,” Xi told the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing. This will be the mainland’s third after Shanghai and Shenzhen.


Hong Kong:

Seven pro-democracy activists and former legislators in Hong Kong have been sentenced to jail, with sentences ranging from 11 to 16 months for their role in an unauthorized assembly at the height of anti-government protests in 2019. They had pleaded guilty to charges, including organizing and inciting others to take part in the illegal assembly in October 2019, where thousands of people protested on the streets against the tightening control of the Chinese government. 

The national security law imposed in Hong Kong in June 2020 has caused an estimate of 100,000 residents to have relocated overseas. This outflow of residents could prove to be a serious problem for the city, in a sort of “brain drain” that could impact the economy. Hong Kong’s strict quarantine program has the government is facing growing pressure from business lobby groups to open borders or risk losing executives and investment. The decision to increase mandatory hotel quarantine to three weeks for most arrivals has caused significant backlash from banks, hedge funds, and traders who say it is damaging the cultivation of new investment into the asset management market and risks setting off a brain drain.



On September 2nd, President Joko Widodo’s COVID-19 vaccine certificate was leaked online through an app called PeduliLindungi and shared all over social media. The leak raises concerns over the government’s commitment to data security. The app displays private biodata, vaccination dates, and types of administration. This hack follows as the government is investigating a breach earlier in the week where 1.3 million users’ vaccine information was exposed.  

Eighteen years after his arrest in Thailand the former leader of Indonesia’s Jemaah Islamiyah and current Guantanamo detainee, Encep Nurjamen will face trial on account of war crimes. Nurjamen was arrested in connection to a series of terror attacks that took place in Indonesia in the early 2000s. He will face charges of war crimes including murder, terrorism and conspiracy. Alongside two Malaysian accomplices, Nurjamen (also known as Hambali and Riduan bin Isomudin) was involved with attacks on the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarata and the 2002 bombings at nightclubs in Bali. Around 213 people were killed and more than 350 were injured during the attacks. Nurjamen was involved with a series of foiled plots and held close ties to Osama bin Laden the former leader of al-Qaeda. After his arrest, he was held in a secret detention camp run by the CIA and was allegedly subjected to torture. The abuse is alleged to have continued with Nurjamen was transferred to Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in 2006 where he has been held since without a trial.  



Thousands of protesters have continued to gather in the streets of Bangkok to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, and the protestors have said that the pressure will continue until he leaves office. One of the biggest protests this year was the September 2nd demonstration at the Asoke intersection in central Bangkok. Earlier that day, police had warned that protests were banned due to Covid-19 restrictions. Demonstrators blame Prayuth for the handling of the pandemic, particularly his failure to secure timely and adequate supplies of vaccines resulting in a poor inoculation effort.

The killing of a suspect in a drug case was caught on a security camera in the Thai central province of Nakhon Sawan on August 5th. The footage was leaked online, outraging the public and creating discourse over the issue of police brutality in Thailand. The Cross-Cultural Foundation, a Thai rights group, has documented and published at least 20 deaths of individuals in custody in Thailand since 2007 and nearly 300 complaints of torture since 2014 in southern Thailand, where there is a decades-long conflict between separatists and the Thai security force. While the torture complaints involve violence against civilians by the military, the CCF says that abuse was probably much higher when factoring in the Thai police’s anti-drug campaign.

On Thursday, Thailand’s health ministry said that its COVID-19 vaccine experiment of firstly injecting a British-developed AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine dose and following up with China’s Sinovac one was safe and successfully boosted immunity among its first 1.5 million recipients. In July, Thailand became the first country in the world to mix a Chinese vaccine and a Western-developed vaccine as cases and deaths in the country surged and the government struggled with vaccine supplies and had to find solutions, including intradermal injections.



Iran’s President Raisi has reportedly shut down ideas of resumed talks surrounding the Iran Nuclear Deal, which was instituted in 2015 and abandoned in 2018. Former President Hassan Rouhani has had a legal complaint filed against him by the Iranian parliament as a result of not properly fulfilling his duties while in office. Many in the Parliament had run on the promise to punish Rouhani for his part in depreciating the currency, and heightened unemployment and inflation. Rouhani’s charges are focused mainly on the state’s influence on capital and forex markets. 

On Wednesday, a man was jailed for burning a statue of general Revolutionary Guard Quassem Soleimani, infamous for his assassination by American drone strike in Baghdad at the beginning of 2020. The assassination sparked many protests by Iranians calling for US exit from the region, and he is considered a national hero and martyr. 

Prosecutors have raised criminal charges against six guards at the Evin Prison in Tehran on Tuesday after footage depicting prisoner abuse was leaked last week. The facility is known to hold political prisoners, importantly ones with western ties for iran to use in international negotiations for bargaining. The video, leaked by a hacking group, had been compiled over the course of multiple years, showing clear abuse, prisoners attempting self-harm, and terrible living conditions.



On Tuesday, Iraqi government officials approved a draft law for compulsory military service, which hasn’t existed in the region for 18 years. It has allegedly been approved in order to promote ethnic mixing, and dissuade youth from joining military groups like the Popular Mobilization Forces(PMF) and other secular militia groups.

Turkey, who has recently been engaged in a series of airstrikes against YBS and PKK members, has been reified by Iraqi minister, who announced that their attacks against the PKK are justified, despite the outcry of infringed sovereignty following the 28 airstrikes in Kurdistan from Turkey just last week. The US has also called on the PKK and PMF to to withdraw from the Sinjar region on Monday, and claimed that the groups have so far been cooperating.

Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr has reversed his pledge to abstain from the election, calling on his supporters to take part in Iraq’s October general election. Sadr, one of the most powerful politicians in Iraq, claimed the move came after a confidential group of Iraqi political leaders sent out a charter reform to combat corruption.



On Tuesday August 31st, two unarmed university students were killed after government security forces used live ammunition to disperse a demonstration in front of the former United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur building. Central Darfur continues to reopen however the University of Zalingei, where the two students attended, has been closed until further notice. The University gave students 48 notice to vacate; this decision has left many students without housing forcing them to sleep in the streets. Activist and resistance committees organized a demonstration in downtown Khartoum to protest the violence used against the students. The Public Prosecution in Khartoum formed a committee to investigate the incident

The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (hereinafter: ACJPS) made a statement–with the utmost urgency—claiming the Sudanese government needs to take the appropriate measures to improve the conditions in detention centers because of the spread of COVID-19. ACJPS reported that the Sudanese detention centers are overcrowded, lack professional health care, and poorly ventilated. Experts claim the poor state of these detention centers create a stressful which can make COVID-19 even more dangerous for prisoners. COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to 829,682 people, none of whom are detainees. Shareef Omar Badr, the leader of Omar Al Bashir’s National Congress party, died from COVID in prison.  



On September 2nd Uganda Security Forces arrested Lawrence Muganga, the Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University, on suspicion of espionage. A military spokeswomen responded to the event stating he was arrested for connection with espionage and illegal stay. A video on social media was taken of Vice-Chancellor forced into a van by gunman; the van, referred to as a “drone”, is commonly associated with abductions of government opponents. Followers on social media are suggesting Muganga was taken because of his close ties with Uganda’s regional rival Rwanda. Muganga is Uganda’s most notable Banyarwanda, an ethnic Rwandan living in Uganda, and lead advocate for the community. Last year he began a movement to rename the ethnic Rwandan community Abavandimwe. In the movements campaign, Muganga stated that Banyarwandas are often marginalized by Ugandan government such as issues with citizenry and denial of public services such as ID cards.  

Kenya has scheduled a cut of 79% of sugar and 35% liquid gas cylinders exports from Uganda rekindling trade disputes. As a landlocked country, these cuts will severely limit Uganda’s exports. Ugandan Agriculture Minister Frank Tumwebaze expressed his irritation with Kenya’s Agriculture Minister Peter Munya over the decision on Twitter tweeting, “we need a honest conversation about these restrictions from your side”.  Due to this cut, there are now threats of retaliation by Ugandan officials.  

Chief Information Minister, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, appeared on a popular morning talk show to inform the public about the plans to reopen schools.  Newspapers and other media had been reporting the government would reopen schools within two weeks, however Baryomunsi announced this timeline is incorrect. Last year, reopening schools was followed by a large spike of new COVID-19 infections. To avoid a spike this year, Baryonmunsi stressed the importance of ensuring clear safety measures are followed in schools and adults receive their COVID-19 vaccinations.  



Zimbabwe authorities have begun easing COVID-19 restrictions for sports and artistic events and foreign travel requirements. Cinemas, art galleries and fitness centers will now be allowed to reopen at half their normal capacity. Full access to these facilities and other activities sectors, however, will be limited to people who are fully vaccinated. Workers unions in Zimbabwe are critical of the move stating that requiring clients and workers to be fully vaccinated is discriminatory. Authorities are also relaxing requirements for travelers enter the country. Travelers will no longer be subject to compulsory quarantine this includes people visiting from countries with high rates of the Delta variant. Even though Zimbabwe has one of the highest vaccination rates in Africa only 16% of the targeted number of people have been fully vaccinated. According to the World Bank, since the first lockdowns in March 2020 around a million more people to fallen into extreme poverty.  

Under the Zimbabwe Peace Project, researchers have found that children and grandchildren of victims of the Gukurahuni massacre have been deprived of their right to access birth registration. Gukurahundi massacres occurred between 1983 and 1987, when Zimbabwe National Army (hereinafter:ZNA) carried out attacks on Ndebele civilians in the Midland provinces; the ZNA detained and sent many Ndebele people to re-education camps or executed them. More than 20,000 people were killed. The national government has guaranteed victims they will be allowed to register for free and under protection however many victims are disincentivized by fear of discrimination and violence.  

The Zimbabwe government has renewed a contract with sugar can field operators Tongaat Hullet for another 20 years. Adding to their previous contacts, the company, who owns more than 65,000 hectares, now have a 99-year lease with the government. The latest contract increases funding for Project Kilimanjaro which is a sugar cane development project operated by Tongaat Hullett, the government and local banks. This project allows Tongaat Hullet to clear land in order to develop more sugar cane fields. The company has promised the government to work collaboratively with food security initiatives and increase job opportunities to locals.