October 6, 2023
CANVAS is delighted to bring you another issue of our weekly report!
Following CANVAS representatives’ visit to Tbilisi at the end of September, the State Security Service of Georgia (SSSG) recently published fabricated allegations against CANVAS. The accusations are a part of a larger smear campaign conducted by the Georgian security service that has targeted foreign and local civil society organizations in the country. The series of allegations comes amidst unproven claims that civil organizations are planning uprising and coup attempts in the coming months. The full CANVAS response to the SSSG can be found here.
At least 51 people were killed on Thursday in a Russian missile attack on a village in Kharkiv, Ukraine. The strike appeared to be deliberately intended to induce mass civilian casualties, targeting a local cafe and store and resulted in what may be one of the biggest civilian death tolls in any single Russian strike since the beginning of the war 19 months ago.
On Thursday, a drone attack on a military academy in Syria left at least 100 dead and hundreds more injured. Both civilian and military personnel were among those killed in the attack, and the Syrian defense ministry blamed “terrorist organizations supported by well-known international parties” in a statement given on Thursday. The statement did not specify a responsible organization, and no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Also on Thursday, the Kurdish International Security Force said at least 11 people were killed by Turkish airstrikes in multiple Kurdish-controlled locations in northeastern Syria. The Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement it destroyed 30 targets and “neutralized” multiple militants from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) during its operation, citing its self-defense rights from the United Nations Charter to justify the strikes. The attack follows a bombing in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, over the weekend that was claimed by the PKK.
Armita Garavand, a 16-year-old girl, was physically assaulted and apprehended by the Iranian Morality Police on the Tehran metro on October 1st after allegedly improperly wearing her hijab. She was taken to an Air Force Hospital outside of Tehran and remains in a coma. Anonymous sources have confirmed that Garavand is suffering from internal bleeding in the brain and is in critical condition. Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, reported that Garavand passed out over a drop in blood pressure and hit her head. Security camera footage appears edited and does not show any footage of Garavand passing out or being assaulted. One year after the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Morality Police, Garavand’s case appears to have stark similarities.
Iranian human rights activist Narges Mohammadi was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize on October 6th. Mohammadi has been influential in campaigning for women’s rights in Iran. Mohammadi is currently serving a 10 year sentence following her role in the mass protests that immediately followed the death of Mahsa Amini 1 year ago. She has been able to continue her work from prison, albeit with limited capacity. In September, Mohammadi published a New York Times opinion piece from prison.
In the 2018, Nicolás Maduro won reelections which were generally considered fraudulent. Due to the invalid results, the National Assembly appointed Juan Guaidó the country’s interim president. He was recognized as the rightful leader of Venezuela by more than 50 states. Now, the Venezuelan state has issued a warrant against Guaidó, accusing him of benefiting himself with state money.
On October 2nd, Georgia’s government accused a former deputy interior minister, currently fighting in Ukraine, of aiming to overthrow the government. The ruling Georgian Dream party provided no evidence. Kyiv responded to the allegations claiming that the government was “trying to demonize Ukraine” for domestic reasons.
In an extensive attempt to quell opposition forces, the Georgian parliament has voted to effectively ban the use of tent camps during public protests. The Georgian government claims that the “temporary structures” pose a threat to protestors and interfere with public order and security. Furthermore, the Parliament imposed strict consequences, ranging from 500 GEL to imprisonment for a duration of up to 15 days. The reaction to the implemented legislation was negative, as the law is referred to as “New Russian Law. Protests took place in front of the parliament building on the evening of October 5. Tent camps were formed, and two protestors were arrested. Tent camps are an effective method of protest, as it nonviolently disrupts daily life, grabbing the attention of those in power and spreading awareness to other civilians. Those protesting were fighting for the freedom of assembly and expression, democratic rights that are infringed upon in the nation.
The Constitutional Court of Georgia started a hearing on the impeachment of the President. In early September, the Georgian Dream party vowed to impeach the President based on her visits to European Union countries without the government’s permission. The Constitutional Court of Georgia initiated the hearing on October 3.
Lastly, the leader of Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia, Aslan Bzhania, met with Vladimir Putin on October 4th. A day later he indicated that they signed an agreement with Russia to establish a naval base on the Black Sea coast of Abkhazia. On the Russian side, there has been no confirmation or denial of the agreement. Bzhania stated that the base will increase the level of defense capability for both Russia and Abkhazia. Georgia’s Foreign Ministry condemned the action. Abkhazia is recognized as an independent state by only five states in the world.
On Monday, the junta assassinated a businessman who they claimed helped supply arms to opposing guerilla groups. Nyan Lwin Aung allegedly had deep ties to an executive official at Russia’s Defense Ministry, and there was leaked footage of the two meeting in Russia. Unfortunately, this assassination is one of many in the nation, as the junta continues to target anyone with influence, ranging from low-level civil servants to backers of the military government.
A teen was arrested and charged in Bangkok on Wednesday after shooting randomly at a crowd at the Siam Paragon shopping center. Two people were killed and five were injured. The teen was alleged to have had a mental breakdown prior to the shooting and stopped taking prescribed medication. The incident is the latest in a disturbing rise in gun violence that has plagued the country over the past three years.
Friday marked the one-year anniversary of Thailand’s most deadly shooting at a daycare center in the northern province of Nong Bua Lamphu. A ceremony marked the rampage by a police officer which killed 36 people, including 24 toddlers. New prime minister Srettha Thavisin vowed to address the recent spate of shootings in Thailand, a country that has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world.
At least nine miners have been killed after a gold mine collapsed in Chegutu, a village around 120 kilometers west of Harare. Rescue efforts have been slow, as the shaft is still unstable and entering would put additional lives at risk. Officials have estimated that the death toll could rise to 13 fatalities in the coming days. Due to the struggling economy, illegal mining has become more common, and takes place under hazardous conditions.
The government has imposed limits on social gatherings to curb a recent cholera outbreak .It is suspected that there has been over 100 deaths, as well as 5,000 possible infections, in the last month. In certain provinces, a 50-person limit has been implemented at funerals to stop the spread, and attendance at open markets and large gatherings have been strongly discouraged.