Uncategorized Archives — CANVAS

Weekly Report 4 October, 2019

Myanmar This Tuesday, the UN’s refugee agency released a report regarding Myanmar’s refugee crisis. Figures provided demonstrated an increase in the ratio of deaths or missing persons of refugees or asylum seekers who embarked on a sea journey: an increase from one in every 81 refugees or asylum seekers in 2013 – 2015 to one in every 69 refugees or asylum seekers. The report also indicated that previously most of these refugees or asylum seekers’ deaths were a result of people smugglers and caused by “beating, gunshot wounds or deprivation of food and water.” However, recently the report showed that most deaths of Myanmar’s refugees and asylum seekers were attributed to sea journeys. Of these maritime movements, approximately 59% of individuals embarking on sea journeys were women or children. This increase in women or children sea voyagers corresponds with the increase in women or children Myanmar refugees or asylum seekers seeking safety in Bangladesh. The report found that four out of five Myanmar refugees or asylum seekers seeking safety in Bangladesh were women or children, a great increase from  2013 – 2015 when most individuals seeking refuge in Bangladesh were men. Cambodia A Cambodian judge ruled on Thursday that the espionage case against journalists Uon Chhin and Yeang Sotearin needed reinvestigation due to a lack of evidence to convict. Chhin and Sotearin were accused two years ago in 2017 for “supplying information to a foreign state” during a government crackdown on political and media opponents. This accusation sprouted from the journalists working for Radio Free Asia, a US funded broadcasting organization. The decision for reinvestigation angered human rights activists who reasoned if there is a lack of evidence to convict the charges should...

Weekly Report July 5th

Cuba According to a report from SBS-AAP, Cuba is considering the use of cryptocurrency in order to bolster its finances. The country’s Communist government announced on state-run TV that it would potentially use crypto as part of a package aimed to boost incomes for as much as a quarter of Cubans and assist with market reforms. The announcement comes in the wake of new sanctions from the United States and Brazil on Cuba this week with the hopes to further cripple Cuba’s ally Venezuela. Venezuela implemented its own form of cryptocurrency last year to curb hyperinflation and economic catastrophe.   Nicaragua In a letter to EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and foreign ministers, Human Rights Watch argued that the EU should impose targeted sanctions against high-level Nicaraguan officials implicated in gross human rights violations and condition financial support to Nicaragua’s National Police. The European Union should increase pressure on the Nicaraguan government to curb human rights violations by police and other officials in the wake of anti-government protests, The crackdown on anti-government protests by Nicaragua’s National Police and armed pro-government groups that began in April 2018 led to more than 300 deaths and 2,000 people injured. The HMR wasn’t the only organization to condemn the gross human rights violations, The Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly adopted a joint resolution condemning the Nicaraguan government on Wednesday.  North Korea Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that Alek Sigley is “released and safe” after being detained by the North Norean government. Last week, his family and friends lost contact with him, sparking fears he might have been detained, and these concerns...

Weekly Report 10 August 2018

Students protest in the streets of the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, in response to a lack of government enforcement for traffic regulations. (MediaOne, India) Syria On Sunday, the scientist suspected to be the head of Syria’s chemical weapons program was killed in a car bombing. Pro-government outlets described the attack as an assassination. On Wednesday, the New York Times corroborated this to an extent, describing his death as the result of a targeted assassination by the Israeli spy agency Mossad. At least one Druze hostage abducted from the Sweida province in Syria last week has been confirmed to be executed. Videos of the victim were sent to his family in Sweida. The Druze, a religious minority, practice a secretive faith that is seen as an offshoot of Islam. They make up approximately 3% of the Syrian population. They have been targeted by the Islamic State, which views them as heretics. The wife of Junpei Yasuda, a Japanese journalist who was recently discovered to be in the captivity of the Islamic State, made a broad appeal for the return of her husband, safe and sound. Yasuda is only one of the latest of many journalists targeted in Syria by the Islamic State; various journalists of many different nationalities have been kidnapped and even killed by the Islamic State. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 122 journalists have been killed in Syria since the start of the conflict. Bolivia On Monday, over 25 opposition groups took to the streets of Potosi, a colonial city with historical importance to Bolivia, in order to protest the government’s continued practice of ignoring the...

Weekly Report: 6 July 2018

Supporters of President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gathered in Mexico City after the Sunday election. Reuters, Goran Tomasevic. Syria The Assad government’s offensives in Deraa province have intensified, and the regime now controls most of the region just two weeks after initial attacks. Jordan has diplomatically intervened, sparking a new round of negotiations between Russia and the rebels in the southwestern region. However, these efforts have been unsuccessful in bringing safety to Deraa province’s 800,000 civilians. In response, Jordanians have been working to supply aid to the Deraa refugees. Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon are continuing their return, with uncertainty and cautious hope. The US’s stance on Syria took a sharp turn this week. US National Security Adviser John Bolton stated that President Trump is not opposed to the reinstatement of Assad’s regime. In return, the US hopes to have Russia’s help in removing Iran from Syria. Trump and Russian Premier Vladimir Putin are scheduled to discuss this issue on July 16th. Similarly, Israel, also sensing that Assad’s complete takeover is imminent, has demanded Iranian withdrawal from the country. Furthermore, Israel has ramped up its military presence in the Golan Heights frontier, and occupation near its border with Syria. These actions raise questions about the legitimacy of Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights, its role in providing humanitarian aid, as well as its alleged neutrality in the conflict despite the numerous airstrikes it has carried out. Iraq, on the other hand, has started constructing a fence along the Iraq-Syria border to keep ISIL members out.   Nicaragua This week, new reports place the death toll in Nicaragua...

Weekly Report: May 4 2018

Photo: Demonstrators protest against the construction of a government housing project on the forested land around Doi Suthep mountain. Watcharapong Jingkaujai/AFP/Getty Images. Zimbabwe Following the primaries held on Sunday and Monday, ruling party ZANU-PF lost several major nominations. The elections faced irregularities and disorganization that resulted in delayed or annulled results in some parts of the country. President Mnangagwa has acknowledged complaints that police had been present in organizing the voting process, and he said that the practice is illegal. In a letter, the president’s special advisor Christopher Mutsvangwa, has claimed the elections had been rigged by senior party officials with the use of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. In other news, Nelson Chamisa, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said that Chinese investors are stripping the country of its resources and that, should he win the July elections, any deals will be terminated. China is Zimbabwe’s largest source of investment and its fourth largest trading partner. Chamisa took over as a leader of MDC after deceased Morgan Tsvangirai in February this year. Zimbabwe is now the second African country after Lesotho to have legalized the production of marijuana for medical and scientific use. North & South Korea The nations have together decided to compete as one team at the World Team Table Tennis Championships. Both countries had qualified and planned to play independently in the quarterfinal round, where they were matched against each other. On Thursday, however, they announced that they would both skip the quarterfinals and advance directly to the semifinal round together as one unified team. Earlier this week, there were some other symbolic...

Weekly Report: April 13 2018

Photo: Women at the memorial of Winnie Madikizela Mandela. The Guardian. Syria Russia reports that Syrian forces have retaken Eastern Ghouta, the heavily besieged suburb of Damascus. This means that now, Assad’s power is the most secure it has been since the start of the Syrian civil war. Furthermore, while this is a victory against extreme rebel groups that have held the territory for years, it comes at an immensely high cost. The UN refugee agency reported this week that more than 133,000 have fled Eastern Ghouta since the escalation of this siege. Moreover, the Assad government is again accused of using chemical weapons in its attempts to retake this area. While the use is thus far unconfirmed officially, it is strongly substantiated. 500 people in Eastern Ghouta have demonstrated symptoms consistent with chemical attacks; residents reported hearing things falling from the sky, leaving strange smells; videos coming out show people sprawled on the floors of their homes, killed by apparent suffocation; of 70 killed while taking shelter in basements, 43 showed signs of “highly toxic chemicals” according to the World Health Organization. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an international watchdog, is on its way to Syria to investigate and uncover whether chemical weapons were used, and if so, to find out what was the nature of the attack. Many governments in the West have expressed abhorrence over the chemical attacks, generally agreeing on the need for action, and in some cases threatening a military response. Assad has, however, both denied the use of chemical weapons and warned these governments against intervention of any kind. “Any...