November 3, 2023
CANVAS is delighted to bring you another issue of our weekly report!
On Monday, the United Auto Workers union in the US reached a tentative agreement with General Motors (GM) to establish record pay increases for union members. After a six-week campaign of coordinated walkouts and labor strikes, the new deal with GM follows similar accords struck in recent days with Ford Motor Company and Stellantis. These new deals are significant victories for US auto workers who have faced years of static wages and substandard labor contracts since the 2008 recession. If ratified by union members, the agreement with GM will effectively end the strike.
Over the weekend, Israel expanded its operations in northern Gaza, beginning the long-expected ground invasion, though the military has avoided using that term. Concurrently, Israel has continued its campaign of air strikes, adding to an already horrifying civilian death toll. The Israeli military struck the Jabalia refugee camp of Gaza over the course of two days, claiming to have killed a senior Hamas commander in the process. Given the high number of civilian casualties during those airstrikes, United Nations human rights officials said the operation in Jabalia could be a war crime.
On Wednesday, the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip was opened, allowing certain foreign nationals and severely injured Palestinians to enter Egypt. Aid trucks have been entering Gaza through the crossing since October 21st, but Wednesday marked the first time that people were allowed to leave Gaza since the full siege of Gaza began. More people are expected to continue to exit Gaza through the crossing in the coming days.
In Ukraine, Wednesday marked the largest instance of Russian shelling of settlements in a single day all year—over 100 villages came under fire within 24 hours. Ukraine also reported an attack on an oil refinery in Kremenchuk, lending to fears among Ukrainian leaders that Russia will escalate its attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure leading up to the winter, as it did last year.
Prominent human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, was arrested and beaten in Iran after attending the funeral of Armita Geravand. Sotoudeh is known for her support of women who have been wrongfully detained for violating Iran’s strict hijab laws. Sotoudeh was accused of “violating hijab rules” and “acting against the psychological security of society”. Geravand was recently declared brain dead after being arrested on Iran’s subway system for violating the state’s hijab rules. Witnesses claim that officers pushed her and hit her head, causing a cerebral hemorrhage.
Recent 2023 Nobel Prize winner Narges Mohammadi’s husband has claimed that his imprisoned wife has been denied much needed access to medical care over her continued refusal to wear a hijab. Despite prison doctors urgent transfer orders, prison officials continue to refuse the hospitalization request. Mohammadi has continuously voiced opposition to the Iranian regime and their strict hijab laws.
The Venezuelan supreme court has suspended the primary election results, which came in last week. They have ordered the opposition to hand in all documents related to the elections, including candidate registration and voter records. The opposition is concerned that the government will use the documents to undermine next year’s elections. After the court ruling, citizens protested in Caracas and demanded the release of all political prisoners. They expressed their dissatisfaction with the government by holding up signs of their loved ones who have been detained for political reasons.
Georgian NGOs have appealed to the European Commission to accept Georgia’s EU Candidate status. They stated that they represent the citizens’ will and interests to join the EU and they will continue to fight for democratic improvement in Georgia.
A group of human rights researchers have launched a website, myanmar.securityforcemonitor.org, to document and connect state violence and human rights abuses in Myanmar to their perpetrators. The project aims to establish accountability by connecting alleged crimes to senior army commanders through a timeline of documented atrocities. This initiative is another step in the efforts to put the junta in front of international courts, where they can be charged with war crimes and held accountable for their actions.
The United States have tightened sanctions against Myanmar, imposing new financial restrictions on Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), the junta’s main revenue source. This indicates a different approach from Washington, who previously targeted members of leadership. These sanctions were coordinated with the United Kingdom and Canada, who both agreed to maximize pressure on the Myanmar military regime.
A coordinated offensive code-named Operation 1027 has been rolled out along the Chinese-Burmese border. The attacks were organized by the Three Brotherhood Alliance, consisting of the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Ta’Ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Arakan Army (AA). The objective of this plan is to defend territory against Myanmar military incursions, combat online fraud, and eradicate junta
On Wednesday, a 25-year-old Zimbabwean opposition and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislator, Takudzwa Ngadziore, was abducted and assaulted by a vigilante of unidentified armed individuals. The incident occurred as Ngadziore was walking to parliament, and the attack was posted via live video on Facebook. The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has labeled this as politically motivated violence. A police report was filed, and there has been no response from the ZANU-PF government or the police. The incident follows the recent abduction of another CCC legislator, Womberaishe Nhende, who after release, fled the country.
Thailand’s top diplomat, Parnpree Bahiddha-Nakara, was in the Middle East earlier this week seeking the release of at least 23 Thai nationals among the over 240 hostages held by Hamas. At least 30,000 Thai laborers work in Israel, mostly in the agricultural sector and many in the south of the country, close to Gaza. Bahiddha-Nakara was in contact with representatives from Iran, Qatar and Egypt to send requests to Hamas to free the imprisoned Thai nationals.