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The Pardee Perspective: April 16th, 2019

AFRICA

Libya– Over 200 people have died in Tripoli, Libya fighting over control of the government. General Khalifa Haftar, leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA) is suspected of attempting a coup against the UN-backed government, the Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj. General Haftar is wanted by the GNA for launching a series of attacks against the government in Tripoli, with the intention of turning him over to the ICC for war crimes. According to the WHO and the International Organization for Migration, over 18 of the deaths since April 4 have been civilians and the clashes between the LNA and GNA have displaced more than 25,000 people

MIDDLE EAST

Israel– Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine Director of Human Rights Watch, has been issued a deportation order by the Israeli government and must leave Israel by May 1. Shakir is an American citizen and a supporter of the BDS movement, and is being deported due to a controversial anti-boycott law that bars any foreigners who support the boycott of Israel from entering the country. Human Rights Watch say they are going to file an appeal to the Israeli government, arguing that as the only self-identifying democratic government in the region, they shouldn’t be deporting people for peaceful advocacy.

ASIA

Jakarta, Indonesia – President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, who is seeking a second five-year term, has won a comfortable margin in unofficial returns in his re-election bid on Wednesday. His challenge is a four-time presidential candidate supported by hard-line Islamists. “Let us go back to unite as brothers and sisters as the same country and nation after this presidential and legislative election,” he said. According to recent opinion polls, Mr.Joko was very successful in carrying out the agenda he promised in his first campaign, such as expanding health and education programs and building infrastructure, earning about 70 percent approval.

EUROPE

UK: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned the UK about the consequences of the effects of Brexit on the “Good Friday” agreement between Northern Ireland and Britain. The peace treaty ended several hundreds years of conflict between both countries, a process in which US played a key role. Speaking at the London School of Economics, Pelosi said, if Brexit undermines the accords, a US-UK trade agreement will be a ‘non-starter.’ “First of all, it is very hard to pass a trade bill in the Congress of the United States, so there is no given anyway,” she said. Former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and his counterpart in Ireland, Bertie Ahern, have both called for a second referendum to protect the principles of the peace accord.

AMERICASVenezuela: The Venezuelan government has finally allowed humanitarian assistance into the country. More than six hundred thousand people are said to benefit from the 24 ton of medical supplies, according to the presidents of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. However, political tensions between Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido have prompted the Venezuelan President of the Red Cross, Mario Villarroel to call for calm. “Don’t allow the politicization of this great achievement,” he said. In spite of this, aid workers are now grappling with the issue of accessibility – to deliver the supplies. The political environment continues to hinder delivery efforts, while police officers  and pro-government forces, sometimes, fire shots to disrupt activities. “I’m scared but I need those tablets because one of my sons has diarrhea and this is for the water that we drink,” said Carmen Liendo, a mother waiting in line for water treatment supplies. The United Nations is reportedly preparing to start an aid campaign for Venezuela, while the World Health Organization and UNICEF are also beefing up their efforts. The US, in the meantime, has activated new sanctions against Venezuela’s central bank.

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