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.
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.
The latest attack alone left 154 people dead and at least 4,800 displaced. North-western Nigeria suffers from both the impacts of armed criminal gangs and the religious violence of Boko Haram. Communities have long been terrorised, but recently it has become more brutal as large-scale arms smuggling is increasing. These criminal organisations use kidnapping and violent invasion for financial gain. To date, government security forces have never been able to de-escalate the situation.
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. As was the case in 2008, similar boycotts to the games 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 costs financially and environmentally. 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.
Much concern has been raised globally this new National Security legislation. It has been met with widespread protest movements, and criticism from many democratic nations. The laws significantly restrict freedom of speech, and also affects both residents, and non-residents. Severe penalties are to be imposed for secession, subversion, and terrorism.