The BDS Movement - Boycott, divest, and sanction Israel
BDS is a tactic which first started against Israel in 2005. It is a pro-Palestinian campaign fighting for the rights of Palestinian people. Through a military and arms embargo, divestment and boycott campaigns, rights activists hope to place economic pressure on Israel until the government abides by international law and end discriminatory policies towards Palestinians.
The Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin is home to an estimated population of 18,000. Under the pretence that the camp is sheltering militants responsible for attacks inside Israel, Israeli forces have repeatedly targeted the area. Violence in the West Bank has been increasing for some time, and the most recent drone strikes and deployment of 2,000 soldiers into the camp resulted in the death of 10 Palestinians, and many more injured.
After a long period of neglect, racism and brutality have crept into the French police force, the social repercussions of which were evident in the shooting of 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk. The attack sparked five days of intense protests in which anger turned to violence and looting. More than 45,000 police officers were deployed across the country and damage was estimated at €1 billion. Nahel's family has never condoned the chaos and is calling on people to remember what really sparked the movement and the need for justice and reform.
Qatar is set to host this year's World Cup games between 20 November and 18 December. It will be the first time the tournament has been held in the Arab world. However, the build-up to the games has not been short of controversy. Corruption and money laundering allegations have led to an investigation around Qatar’s World Cup bid. Furthermore, Amnesty international has widely reported on thousands of deaths in the country's preparations, predominantly of migrant workers who are suffering rights abuses, and unregulated and inhumane working conditions.
This year marks 75 years since the HMT Empire Windrush docked in Essex, carrying passengers from Britain's Caribbean territories to fill labour shortages in the post-war years. Most of those who arrived worked in the service sector. The occurrence gained notoriety in 2018 after it was revealed that the government had failed to record the passengers' details correctly, which meant they were excluded from the 1971 Immigration Act, leaving them without permission to access healthcare, work or stay in the UK. This led to an apology from then PM Theresa May, the announcement of an inquiry and the establishment of a compensation scheme.
The Uyghurs form the largest minority ethnic group in Xinjiang, China’s North-western province. For years human rights groups have campaigned against their harsh treatment by the Chinese government. Accusations of crimes against humanity and potential genocide against the population are being investigated as human rights groups deplore the use of “re-education camps.” More than one million Uyghurs have been detained in these camps, and hundreds sentenced to prison terms without cause. Shoot to kill policies are in place for those attempting escape.
The British government has succeeded in its attempt to restrict protest rights. The bill has been controversial since the crackdown on protests over the murder of Sarah Everard. The new law increases police powers to stop protests if they "reasonably" believe they are likely to cause serious public disorder, damage property, disrupt community life or if there is disruptive noise, but, the vagueness of these terms leaves much room for arbitrariness. Movements such as EX and Insulate Britain are seen as the main target of this new law.
As the first city ever to host both the summer and winter Olympics, and this years games set to take place during the Covid-19 pandemic, all eyes are on China to see how events unfold. Similar boycotts to the games as in 2008 have been put in place as a response to Chinese human rights abuses of the Uyghur, and the National Security Law implemented in Hong Kong - 10 countries have now confirmed diplomatic boycott. Climate impact concerns have also been raised due to lack of reliable snow, resulting in high financial and environmental costs. Sportswashing, and concerns regarding athlete censorship are also being closely monitored by critics.
20 years of Guantanamo Bay – 2 Decades of Injustice
The 20th anniversary of the U.S. military detention facility is being marked by protests and disturbing allegations. Its strategic location blurs the lines of international law and prisoner treatment, thus stripping detainees of their constitutional rights. Established under Bush administration during the height of the ‘war on terror’, its legacy as a place of torture, injustice, abuse and indefinite detention continues. The legal anomaly has proven hard to shut down, and calls for Biden to keep his promise and to close its doors once and for all are their strongest ever.
Last week there were armed clashes in the Western Sahara between the Morocan military and the region’s independence movement Polisario Front. Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony that was occupied by Morocco in 1975. The Polisario Front fought against the occupation and in 1976, with the support of Algeria and Libya, proclaimed the Democratic Arab Republic of the Sahara. Since 1991 there has been a truce between the two sides, that now seems to be over.