South Africa – On Wednesday, the High Court of Mafikeng in South Africa sentenced two white farmers for kidnapping and murdering Matlhomola Mosewu, a black teenager, whom they had accused of stealing $5 worth of sunflowers from their farm. They claimed that he fell off their van when they were taking him to the police station, although it was revealed that they threw the 15-year-old off the van, causing him to break his neck and pass away. The murder inspired riots throughout South Africa, a country notorious for its racial tensions and inequalities.
Yemen – The Yemen-based Mwatana for Human Rights (MHR) released a report on Wednesday stating that a large number of Saudi-coalition attacks against Yemeni civilians involved weapons produced in the U.S. and the U.K. The name of the report was titled, “Day of Judgement: The Role of the US and Europe in Civilian Death, Destruction, and Trauma in Yemen,” and MHR used it as a plea for the US and UK to stop supplying weapons to the coalition. The US is the biggest arms supplier to both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, however the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a resolution to halt military support to the coalition’s campaign in Yemen. The MHR hopes that this report will encourage the U.S. Senate to pass the resolution as well.
Philippines – On March 5th, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) could cause “confusion and chaos during a crisis” with China. The West Philippine Sea is the local term for the South China Sea, where US naval vessels have been conducting freedom of navigation exercises. The MDT between the US and the Philippines was signed in 1951 and commits both countries to assist one another in the event of an “armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the parties, or on the island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific or on its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific.” However, the President of Philippines now worries it will involve his country in a war that it does not seek and does not want.
United Kingdom – The United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019. As of now, it is unclear if Theresa May will be able to gain enough support in the British House of Commons to pass the deal she negotiated with the EU. In an effort to reach a deal, Theresa May is urging EU lawmakers to accept the idea of an Irish Backstop. The Backstop refers to the creation of a physical border, equipped with checkpoints between Ireland (an EU member) and Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom). Members of Theresa May’s Conservative Party and Northern Irish members of Parliament vehemently oppose the backstop. They believe it would create a different relationship between Northern Ireland and the EU and creates a barrier to Northern Ireland’s inclusion in a changing UK. It is also important to note that constructing this border may be in violation of the 1998 Good Friday agreement