DGI Brief - Aug 9, 2016
- INDIA: Since the July 8 killing of a popular rebel commander, Indian-controlled KASHMIR has been in turmoil with an intense daily crackdown on protesters defying curfews
& security lockdowns, with over 55 civilians dead & thousands arrested for calling for independence or merging with Pakistan. Indian forces have been firing live ammunition at protesters, which is precisely the type of power afforded to the military under India’s Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) that civil rights activist Irom Sharmila, aka “Iron Lady of Manipur” has protested for 16 years by holding a hunger strike. She ends her hunger strike today - again stressing after 16 years - so she can run for office in her state. Symbol of peaceful resistance, she will continue her cause with political power. Respect!
- YEMEN: First order of business for the Saudi-led coalition supporting President Hadi after the collapse of UN peace talks in Kuwait over the weekend was to bomb a food factory in the capital Sanaa. That is a despicable act given that Yemen is on the brink of the worst humanitarian crisis – the lack of food & malnutrition rates are critical across the country. Once again, ordinary people will suffer the consequences of leaders’ inability to lead, compromise, & work out lasting solutions.
- EU: The European Union Council agreed to formally waive fines for Spain & Portugal who exceeded their annual deficits over the allowed 3% by running 5.1% and 4.4% respectively. Spain will have until 2018, Portugal until end of 2016 to bring their deficits down. What do you think – is this a sign of EU’s flexibility or loss of credibility?
- Floods in BANGLADESH resulting from record monsoon rains have affected about 1.9 mil people, devastating entire communities. The rivers in the north have been swelling, wiping out agricultural lands, taking people’s lives, livelihoods & threatening hunger, further displacement as well as waterborne diseases from floodwaters & poor sanitation due to lack of toilets. As the waters travel south towards the Bay of Bengal, we can expect more destruction & risks…
- SOUTH SUDAN: The offer to deploy an regional protection force comes from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) & African Union (AU) amid resurgence of violence between South Sudan’s rival forces loyal to President Salva Kiir & those backing First Vice-President Riek Machar. Both sides are accused of committing atrocities against civilians including killings & rape. The protection forces cannot be deployed fast enough… yet still, political solution is the only way for peace.
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