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- 09/01/15--13:56: _World: CrisisWatch ...
- 10/01/15--14:44: _World: CrisisWatch ...
- 10/15/15--01:57: _World: 2014 Interna...
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- 11/20/15--14:34: _Yemen: USAID/OFDA D...
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- 06/04/16--02:07: _World: Country Repo...
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- 09/02/16--04:30: _World: CrisisWatch ...
- 10/12/16--11:19: _World: Humanitarian...
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- 09/01/15--13:56: World: CrisisWatch N°145, 1 September 2015
- Deteriorated situations
- Improved situations
- Conflict risk alerts
Conflict resolution opportunities
- 10/01/15--14:44: World: CrisisWatch N°146, 1 October 2015
Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Mozambique, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Yemen
Colombia, Guatemala, Macedonia
Conflict risk alerts
Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic
Conflict resolution opportunities
- 10/15/15--01:57: World: 2014 International Religious Freedom Report
- 11/02/15--12:56: World: CrisisWatch N°147, 1 November 2015
Central African Republic, Israel/Palestine, Macedonia, Republic of Congo, South China Sea, Turkey
- Conflict resolution opportunities
- 12/01/15--12:11: World: CrisisWatch N°148, 1 December 2015
- Conflict resolution opportunities
- 01/04/16--12:58: World: CrisisWatch N°149, 1 January 2016
- 02/02/16--04:09: World: CrisisWatch No. 150, 1 February 2016
- 03/02/16--00:34: World: CrisisWatch No. 151, 1 March 2016
- 04/01/16--23:36: World: CrisisWatch No. 152, 1 April 2016
- 05/02/16--12:03: World: CrisisWatch No. 153, 2 May 2016
- 06/04/16--02:07: World: Country Reports on Terrorism 2015
- 07/01/16--12:32: World: CrisisWatch No. 155, 1 July 2016
- 09/02/16--04:30: World: CrisisWatch August 2016
- 11/02/16--15:23: World: CrisisWatch October 2016
- 12/01/16--13:10: World: CrisisWatch November 2016
- modern slavery;
- rights of women and girls;
- torture and the death penalty;
- LGBT rights;
- and the increasing pressure faced by civil society organisations.
August 2015 – Trends
Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Colombia/Venezuela, Guatemala, Kashmir, Lebanon, Nepal, Yemen
Guinea, South Sudan, Sri Lanka
September 2015 – Watchlist
Colombia/Venezuela, Guatemala, Iraq, Nepal, Yemen
September 2015 – Trends
October 2015 – Watchlist
On October 14, 2015, Secretary Kerry submitted the 2014 International Religious Freedom Report to the United States Congress. Now in its 17th year, this congressionally-mandated Report comprises almost 200 distinct reports on countries and territories worldwide and continues to reflect the United States’ commitment to, and advancement of, the right of every person to freedom of religion or belief. The Report is available at www.State.gov and www.HumanRights.gov.
In 2014, non-state actors committed some of the world’s most egregious abuses of religious freedom and other human rights. Government failure, delay, and inadequacy in combatting these groups often had severe consequences for people living under significant and dire restrictions on, and interference with, their exercise of freedom of religion. Other concerning trends over the year included significant increases in the number of recorded anti-Semitic incidents, and increasing restrictions on religious liberty imposed under the pretext of combatting terrorism and violent extremism.
Non-State Actors’ Suppression of Religious Freedom
In the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia, a range of non-state actors including terrorist organizations, set their sights on destroying religious diversity. Members of religious minorities were disproportionately affected. In these regions, religious intolerance and hostility, often toxically mixed with political, economic and ethnic grievances, frequently turned violent, resulting in death, injuries, and displacement.
Government Violations, Abuses, and Restrictions of Religious Freedom
The 2014 Report notes a continuation of many restrictive governmental policies affecting religious freedom including laws criminalizing religious activities and expression, the threat and enforcement of blasphemy and apostasy laws, prohibitions on conversion or proselytizing, and stringent or discriminatory application of registration requirements for religious organizations.
Combatting Terrorism and Violent Extremism as Justification for Restrictions on Religious Practice
In numerous authoritarian countries around the world, regimes co-opted the language of preventing and countering terrorism and countering violent extremism in their efforts to neutralize and repress political opposition emanating from peaceful religious individuals or groups.
Positive Developments in 2014
While the IRF report aims to shed light on a broad range of limitations on the exercise of religious freedom, it also seeks to highlight positive actions taken by some governments and civil society to provide greater protections for religious minorities and to take measures to ensure the human rights of individuals to worship, practice, learn, teach, and believe, or not believe – according to their own conscience. Across the globe, religious, and civil society groups, as well as interfaith coalitions took steps to promote greater respect for religious beliefs, practices and diversity.
Read the Report at state.gov/religiousfreedomreport/ and HumanRights.gov/reports.
For more information, please contact Chanan Weissman at 202-647-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org or DRL-Press@state.gov. Learn more about U.S. government engagement on international religious freedom at www.HumanRights.gov, and by following Ambassador-at-Large David Saperstein on Twitter: @AmbSaperstein.
October 2015 – Trends
November 2015 – Watchlist
- Conflict risk alerts
November 2015– Trends
Bangladesh, France, Kosovo, Lebanon, Nepal, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela
Burkina Faso, Myanmar
December 2015– Watchlist
Conflict risk alerts
December 2015 – Trends
- Deteriorated situations
Afghanistan, Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Niger
- Improved situations
January 2016 – Watchlist
- Conflict risk alerts
- Conflict resolution opportunities
The month saw an intensification of Yemen’s war, amid heightened regional rivalries between Saudi Arabia and Iran complicating prospects for peace. Political tensions increased in Haiti, Guinea-Bissau and Moldova, where protests over endemic corruption and a lack of confidence in the government could escalate. In Africa, Boko Haram’s deadly attacks increased in northern Cameroon, and Burkina Faso was hit by an unprecedented terror attack. On the nuclear front, in East Asia, North Korea’s announcement that it had carried out a successful hydrogen bomb test was roundly condemned, while nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were rolled back in accordance with the July 2015 deal.
The month saw conflict continue to rage in Turkey’s south east between Ankara and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), looking likely to further escalate in March. Afghanistan and Somalia both saw armed insurgencies capture new territories. In Africa, political tensions rose in Chad, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, while in Venezuela, deadlock between the opposition-held parliament and government has brought the country closer to political and economic implosion. In Asia, North Korea’s announcement of a satellite launch in violation of UN Security Council resolutions prompted international condemnation and calls for tough new sanctions. On a positive note, the coming month brings the possibility of a final agreement to end Colombia’s decades-old insurgency.
The month saw violent extremist movements, including the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda-linked groups, carry out major deadly attacks in Turkey, Pakistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Tunisia and Belgium. In Libya, the arrival of Prime Minister Serraj in Tripoli despite warnings from multiple factions could lead to further destabilisation. Meanwhile in Central Africa, political violence rose in Burundi and could break out in Chad around the 10 April presidential election. Yemen, South Sudan and even Syria saw progress, of varying degrees, toward peace talks or implementation of agreements, and in Colombia the start of talks between the state and the National Liberation Army (ELN) could lead to the end of the 52-year-old conflict.
In Libya, international recognition of the new UN-backed Government of National Accord without support from military factions or the Tobruk-based House of Representatives worsened tensions in an already fragmented security landscape, and Prime Minister Serraj’s arrival in Tripoli on 30 March could trigger worse violence in April. Meanwhile, an IS branch is reportedly gaining strength. To prevent further splintering of Libya’s armed groups and ensure that political and security developments support a negotiated peace, Crisis Group has called for a nationwide security track dialogue in parallel with the UN-guided political track. In Tunisia, at least 50 IS militants stormed Ben Guerdane, 30km from the Libyan border on 7 March, attempting to overwhelm key security installations.
In Turkey, a car bomb attack on 13 March in Ankara saw 38 killed including two assailants. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), an ultra-radical Kurdish nationalist offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), claimed responsibility, saying it was an act of revenge for ongoing security operations against the PKK in south-eastern urban centres. As Crisis Group has long argued, the only way toward a durable solution is peace talks with the PKK alongside ensuring further democratic rights for Turkey’s Kurdish population.
Elsewhere, violent extremist movements carried out major deadly attacks. In Pakistan, over 70 people were killed in a suicide bombing claimed by the Pakistani Taliban faction Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JA) in Lahore on 27 March. In Belgium 32 people were killed by two IS-linked suicide bomb attacks at the main airport and on the Brussels metro on 22 March, while in Côte d’Ivoire on 13 March gunmen shot dead sixteen civilians in Grand-Bassam, 40km east of Abidjan, in an unprecedented terrorist attack claimed by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Crisis Group’s Special Report Exploiting Disorder: al-Qaeda and the Islamic State examines how such extremist movements benefit from today’s deadliest crises and complicate efforts to end them.
In Burundi, political violence worsened while international pressure on President Nkurunziza failed to stop government repression. There were deadly attacks on three officials including two from the ruling party and the assassination of two high-ranking army officers on the same day, pointing to dangerous divisions in the military. According to the UN, 474 people have been killed in political violence since April 2015, and over 250,000 Burundians have fled to neighbouring states. In Chad, mounting protests against President Déby’s regime and government repression could lead to serious political violence around the presidential election, scheduled for 10 April. Meanwhile, tensions between Morocco and the UN spiked after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon referred to the “occupation” of Western Sahara during a visit to the region in early March.
In Syria, Russia’s announcement that it would withdraw the “main part” of its assets that have conducted operations in the country since September 2015 strengthened the ongoing UN-brokered talks, which resumed on 14 March in Geneva. Since the “cessation of hostilities” that began on 27 February violence has decreased considerably, according to local sources, with the lowest monthly civilian death toll in four years. Meanwhile, in Yemen, the agreement between Saudi Arabia and the Huthis to halt hostilities along the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border in early March paved the way for commitments to a wider ceasefire and peace talks to start in April. Fighting continued, nevertheless, including between government forces and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Aden and IS-linked attacks in the south.
In South Sudan, amid a decline in fighting, April could see significant progress toward the formation of a transitional government of national unity, bringing the country a step closer toward implementation of the August 2015 peace deal. In Colombia, in a welcome step, the government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) announced on 30 March the opening of formal peace talks which, together with those nearing completion with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Havana, are the greatest opportunity to end 52 years of armed conflict.
The month saw fighting escalate again in Syria and Afghanistan, and erupt in Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenian-backed separatists and Azerbaijani forces. In Bangladesh, election violence and killings by extremist groups showed how new heights of government-opposition rivalry and state repression have benefitted violent political party wings and extremist groups alike. Political tensions intensified in Iraq and Macedonia, and security forces severely supressed opposition protests in the Republic of Congo and Gambia. On a positive note, new governments were formed in the Central African Republic and South Sudan to consolidate peace gains, and talks to end Yemen’s one-year-old civil war got underway, albeit later than planned.
In Syria, the fragile “cessation of hostilities” which began on 27 February collapsed in the north of the country and UN-brokered talks in Geneva unravelled. Violence escalated in Aleppo, where over 250 people were reported killed by days of regime and rebel bombardments starting on 22 April. That the truce lasted as long as it did shows the positive potential the U.S.-Russian partnership can play; its collapse, however, illustrates the limits of that partnership so long as differences over the ultimate ends persist, and support from regional actors, in particular Iran and Saudi Arabia, remains limited at best. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, the launch of the Taliban’s spring offensive led to major clashes in several provinces, further dimming hopes of insurgents’ participation in peace efforts and contributing to increasingly strained relations between Kabul and Islamabad. On 19 April, the Taliban detonated a car bomb and launched a gun attack on the National Directorate of Security office, killing 64 in the deadliest insurgent attack on Kabul since 2001.
In the South Caucasus, heavy fighting erupted between Armenian-backed separatists and Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh on 2 April, claiming dozens of lives in the most serious escalation since the 1994 ceasefire. Each side accused the other of instigating the outbreak of fighting, and clashes continued across the line of contact despite the declaration of a Russian-brokered truce on 5 April. Crisis Group has cautioned that “there is a strong risk fighting will resume periodically, both to challenge the status quo on the ground and to attract diplomatic attention”, and called for the OSCE Minsk process to be re-energised through sustained high-level political leadership.
Several brutal murders in Bangladesh, including the killing of law student and secular blogger Nazimuddin Samad on 6 April, underscored the growing power and impunity of violent extremist groups. As the political rivalry between the ruling Awami League (AL) party and opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) continues to intensify, violent clashes around the second phase of the local elections also persisted, leaving more than 30 party activists reported killed. On 11 April, Crisis Group warned that the political conflict has resulted in “high levels of violence and a brutal state response”, calling for a strengthening and depoliticisation of all aspects of the criminal justice system to restore stability and ensure security.
In Iraq, Prime Minister Abadi’s failure to push his cabinet reshuffle through parliament, blocked by over 100 protesting parliamentarians, angered public opinion to such an extent that crowds of demonstrators broke into the fortified Green Zone on 30 April, prompting authorities to declare a state of emergency. Macedonia’s political crisis worsened as the opposition Social Democrats announced on 6 April that they would boycott the 5 June parliamentary elections due to the government’s failure to implement media reforms and clean up the electoral roll. The president’s decision to pardon all politicians facing criminal investigations for their alleged role in illegal wiretapping triggered days of protests in the capital and elsewhere.
In Africa, the Republic of Congo saw government forces continue to crack down on protests against President Sassou-Nguesso’s disputed 20 March re-election. When on 4 April they met armed resistance in a southern Brazzaville opposition stronghold, at least seventeen people were killed. The next day the government began airstrikes in the south which it said targeted former rebel bases. In Gambia, security forces broke up peaceful demonstrations calling for electoral reform and free speech on 14 April, arresting at least 50 protestors. The news that one arrested senior opposition official had been tortured to death sparked more protests and high-level arrests.
In a major step forward, after more than three years of turmoil, the Central African Republic’s newly-elected President Touadéra appointed his prime minister, who in turn chose a new government. Likewise South Sudan inched closer to implementing its August 2015 peace agreement when on 26 April Riek Machar, leader of the armed opposition (SPLM/A-IO), returned to Juba and was appointed first vice president. Two days later a transitional government was formed.
In Yemen, although fighting continued, UN-sponsored talks between President Hadi’s government and the Huthi/Saleh bloc – which got off to a stuttering start on 21 April – offer the best chance to end the war that began over a year ago and should be actively supported by all sides.
The global terrorist threat continued to evolve rapidly in 2015, becoming increasingly decentralized and diffuse. Terrorist groups continued to exploit an absence of credible and effective state institutions, where avenues for free and peaceful expression of opinion were blocked, justice systems lacked credibility, and where security force abuses and government corruption went unchecked.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) remained the greatest threat globally, maintaining a formidable force in Iraq and Syria, including a large number of foreign terrorist fighters. ISIL’s capacity and territorial control in Iraq and Syria reached a high point in spring 2015, but began to erode over the second half of 2015. ISIL did not have a significant battlefield victory in Iraq and Syria after May. At the end of 2015, 40 percent of the territory ISIL controlled at the beginning of the year had been liberated. In Syria, local forces expelled ISIL fighters from several key cities along the routes connecting the two ISIL strongholds of Raqqa and Mosul, and reclaimed about 11 percent of the territory ISIL once controlled. These losses demonstrated the power of coordinated government action to mobilize against and confront terrorism.
ISIL’s loss of territory it governs and controls in Iraq and Syria in 2015 also diminished funds available to it. ISIL relies heavily on extortion and the levying of “taxes” on local populations under its control, as well as a range of other sources, such as oil smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, looting, antiquities theft and smuggling, foreign donations, and human trafficking.
Coalition airstrikes targeted ISIL’s energy infrastructure – modular refineries, petroleum storage tanks, and crude oil collection points – as well as bulk cash storage sites. These airstrikes have significantly degraded ISIL’s ability to generate revenue. The United States led the international effort, including through the UN, to confront ISIL’s oil smuggling and its antiquities dealing, delivering additional blows to its financial infrastructure.
Toward the end of 2015, ISIL fighters conducted a series of external attacks in France, Lebanon, and Turkey, demonstrating the organization’s capabilities to carry out deadly plots beyond Iraq and Syria and also exposing weakness in international border security measures and systems. These attacks may also have been staged in an effort to assert a narrative of victory in the face of steady losses of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Along with ISIL, al-Qa’ida (AQ), and both groups’ branches increased their focus on staging mass-casualty attacks. This included attacks on international hotel chains in Burkina Faso,Mali, and Tunisia; other popular public locations; and the bombing of a Russian passenger plane. These plots were designed to undermine economic security, damage fragile economies, diminish confidence in governments, and foment further discord along religious and sectarian fault lines.
In 2015, ISIL abducted, systematically raped, and abused thousands of women and children, some as young as eight years of age. Women and children were sold and enslaved, distributed to ISIL fighters as spoils of war, forced into marriage and domestic servitude, or subjected to physical and sexual abuse. ISIL established “markets” where women and children were sold with price tags attached and has published a list of rules on how to treat female slaves once captured. Boko Haram has also abducted women and girls in the northern region of Nigeria, some of whom it later subjected to domestic servitude, other forms of forced labor, and sexual servitude through forced marriages to its members.
Although ISIL did not claim responsibility, it was likely responsible for several attacks involving chemical-filled munitions in Iraq and Syria, including a sulfur mustard attack in Marea on August 21, 2015. The United States worked with the counter-ISIL coalition to dismantle this chemical weapons capability, as well as deny ISIL and other non-state actors access to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN)-useable materials and expertise through interdictions and strengthening the ability of regional governments to detect, disrupt, and respond effectively to suspected CBRN activity.
While ISIL lost significant territory in Iraq and Syria during the second half of 2015, the group made gains in Libya amidst the instability there. According to open-source reporting, ISIL’s branch in Libya was estimated to have up to 5,000 terrorist fighters. The group expanded its territorial control in Sirte and its surrounding coastline. It also conducted attacks in Libya’s oil crescent and in Sabratha, near the border with Tunisia. However, ISIL also suffered losses in Libya in confrontations with militia groups, in particular in the eastern Libyan city of Darnah.
ISIL’s branch in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula (ISIL Sinai Province or ISIL-SP) increased its attacks against Egyptian security forces and become more sophisticated, exemplified by ISIL-SP’s multi-pronged attack in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid in July. The group also claimed responsibility for an operation that brought down Russian Metrojet 9286 in October 2015 that killed 224 passengers and seven crew members.
On January 26, 2015, ISIL publicly announced the establishment of an affiliate, known as ISIL Khorasan (ISIL-K), in Afghanistan and Pakistan. At year’s end, the group had focused the majority of its attacks against Afghan government and civilian targets, although the group has also claimed a small number of attacks in Pakistan’s settled areas. ISIL-K gained a small foothold in southern Nangarhar province in Afghanistan, but was significantly challenged by the Afghan government, Coalition Forces, and the Taliban, and had little support among the region’s population.
ISIL-aligned groups have also emerged in other parts of the Middle East, Africa, the Russian North Caucasus, Southeast Asia, and South Asia, although the relationship between most of these groups and ISIL’s leadership remained symbolic in most cases. Many of these groups are made up of pre-existing terrorist networkswith their own local goals and lesser capabilities than ISIL.
In March, the Nigeria-based terrorist group Boko Haram declared its affiliation to ISIL. During 2015, Boko Haram killed thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands in the Lake Chad Basin region of Africa. Regional military forces made progress during 2015 in degrading the group’s territorial control, in particular following the election of Nigerian President Buhari, but Boko Haram responded by increasing its use of asymmetric attacks. Of particular concern, Boko Haram continued and even increased its practice of using women and children as suicide bombers.
Beyond affiliated groups, ISIL was able to inspire attacks in 2015 by individuals or small groups of self-radicalized individuals in several cities around the world. ISIL’s propaganda and its use of social media have created new challenges for counterterrorism efforts.Private sector entities took proactive steps to deny ISIL the use of social media platforms by aggressive enforcement of violations to companies’ terms of service. Twitter reported in 2015 that it had begun suspending accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist attacks, primarily related to support for ISIL.
While AQ’s central leadership has been significantly weakened, the organization remained a threat and continued to serve as a focal point of inspiration for a network of affiliated groups, including al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP); al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM); al-Nusrah Front; al-Shabaab, and al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent. The tensions between AQ and ISIL escalated in a number of regions during 2015 and likely resulted in increased violence in several parts of the world as AQ tried to reassert its relevance.
AQAP remained a significant threat to Yemen, the region, and to the United States, as efforts to counter the group were hampered by the ongoing conflict in that country. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Yemen also exploited the political and security vacuum to strengthen its foothold inside the country. Efforts by French and regional military forces – notably Chad and Niger – have significantly degraded the capacity of AQIM and al-Murabitun in northern Mali and across the wider Sahel. However, in 2015, these groups reverted to asymmetric warfare using remnant groups still located in northern Mali. AQIM increased its attacks on the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. Toward the end of the year, AQIM also directed attacks on hotels in Mali and Burkina Faso.
In East Africa, al-Shabaab continued to commit deadly attacks in Somalia, seeking to reverse progress made by the Federal Government of Somalia and weaken the political will of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troop contributing countries. In the first half of 2015, al-Shabaab launched attacks across the border in northern Kenya, including one against a university in Garissa in April that left nearly 150 people dead. While attacks in Kenya decreased in the second half of 2015, al-Shabaab reportedly maintained access to recruits and resources throughout southern and central Somalia.
Regional forces from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda continued to contribute troops to AMISOM in 2015 despite a number of mass-casualty attacks by al-Shabaab that killed hundreds of AMISOM soldiers. With U.S. support and in partnership with Somali forces, AMISOM maintained pressure on al-Shabaab and weakened the group’s territorial control in parts of Somalia. In particular, a coordinated operation by Ethiopian and Kenyan AMISOM forces pushed al-Shabaab from major strongholds in southern Somalia in the second half of 2015. However, al-Shabaab increased its attacks on AMISOM forward operating bases, resulting in increased AMISOM troop casualties and stalled offensive operations.
Global Overview – Trends and Outlook
While an upsurge of crises continued to test the international order, amid growing mass displacement and the spread of transnational terrorism, the UK's divisive vote on 23 June in favour of leaving the European Union brought a new dimension to global political and economic uncertainty. Jean-Marie Guéhenno, President & CEO of the International Crisis Group, said: “the Brexit crisis increases the risk of an inward-looking EU consumed with sorting out its own problems at a time when the world needs a Europe that is globally engaged".
The month saw security deteriorate in several countries in Africa. In South Sudan fighting escalated and the peace deal threatened to unravel, while Boko Haram increased deadly attacks in Niger. Insecurity also rose in Nigeria’s Niger Delta where militants fighting for a greater share of the region’s oil revenues stepped up attacks on oil and gas facilities, and communal and criminal violence spiked in the Central African Republic. In Turkey, a terrorist attack believed to be the work of Islamic State killed more than 40 people on 28 June. In a significant step forward, Colombia’s government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signed agreements bringing the 52-year armed conflict closer to an end.
In South Sudan, fighting erupted in several places and conflict parties failed to make progress in implementing the peace deal signed in August 2015, instead appearing to prepare for a return to war. Forces allied to the former rebels, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition led by Vice President Riek Machar, launched attacks mid-month to demand places in the planned army integration or disarmament processes. Crisis Group has called on the peace guarantors to act urgently, ahead of the African Union summit on 10-18 July, to salvage the agreement and prevent the country from returning to full-scale war.
Meanwhile, in West Africa, armed violence in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta worsened and threatened to spread, while Boko Haram insurgents in the north east continued to attack security forces and civilians. These crises, alongside the killing of about 59 people by Fulani herdsmen on 18-19 June, painted a picture of deepening insecurity across the country. As Crisis Group argued in a new report “The Challenge of Military Reform”, if the government is to defend its citizens it needs to take action including an overhaul of the defence sector, drastically improving leadership, oversight and administration.
Niger also suffered deadly attacks by Boko Haram in south-eastern Diffa region on the border with Nigeria. On 3 June insurgents overran Bosso town on Lake Chad, killing 26 soldiers. Similar attacks were reported on 9 and 16 June against an army-held town and barracks. In the Central African Republic, violence spiked in several parts of the country in the first major deterioration in security since a newly elected government took office in April. In the capital, Bangui, clashes between Muslims and Christians on 11 June left four dead, and fighting hit the north west.
In Turkey a gun and suicide bomb attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport on 28 June killed 44 people and injured over 200. The government said it believed Islamic State (IS) was responsible, with official sources reporting that the three attackers were from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia’s North Caucasus. The attack comes as the government continued its clampdown against domestic IS networks and stepped up measures to prevent IS rocket attacks from Syria and seal off a 70km stretch of the border. Meanwhile clashes between the Kurdish PKK insurgency and Turkey’s security forces continued in the south east, with fighting increasingly moving from urban to rural areas.
On a positive note, the Colombian government and FARC signed agreements on the “end of conflict” on 23 June, providing the strongest assurance yet that the 52-year conflict is finally coming to a close. The agreements spell out how the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities will work, as well as how FARC guerillas will put down their arms and transition to civilian life. The parties also agreed on how to hold a referendum to approve the final peace deal. Crisis Group commended the work of both delegations and those involved in the negotiations, and applauded the inclusion of victims in the talks.
CrisisWatch is a monthly early warning bulletin designed to provide a regular update on the state of the most significant situations of conflict around the world.
Global Overview, August 2016
The month saw Yemen’s peace talks collapse with violence there intensifying, and the Syrian conflict escalate following Ankara’s launch of a cross-border ground offensive against Islamic State (IS) and Kurdish forces, days after a major terror attack in Turkey’s south east. Troop deployments in Western Sahara threatened to bring about clashes, and violence flared in the Central African Republic. In Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, security forces brutally suppressed anti-government protests, while in Gabon, the president’s disputed re-election triggered violent clashes. In Asia, a suicide bombing killed over 70 people in Pakistan, while suspected militants in Thailand’s southern insurgency launched attacks on targets outside the traditional conflict zone. In positive news, peace talks between the Philippines government and communist rebel groups resumed after a four-year hiatus. On 24 August, Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) declared that they had reached a final peace accord, paving the way for an end to 52 years of armed conflict.
Protracted complex emergencies and natural disasters, including drought, earthquakes, floods, and wildfires, present significant challenges to vulnerable populations in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia (EMCA). Between FY 2007 and FY 2016, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) provided assistance in response to a range of disasters, including floods, wildfires, winter emergencies, and complex crises. Examples include complex emergencies in Georgia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen; earthquakes in Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkey; floods in Moldova, Montenegro, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia; and wildfires in Albania, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, and Portugal.
Between FY 2007 and FY 2016, USAID provided nearly $5 billion for emergency response programs in the EMCA region. USAID/FFP assistance included nearly $2.8 billion for food assistance in the form of U.S. purchased food, locally and/or regionally purchased food, cash transfers for food, food vouchers, and related activities such as nutrition messaging, community asset building, and support for UN World Food Program special operations. USAID/OFDA assistance included more than $2.2 billion for agriculture and food security, health, livelihoods, nutrition, protection, shelter, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions, as well as support for humanitarian coordination and logistics and the provision of relief commodities.
In the last decade, USAID responded to 88 disasters in EMCA. USAID also frequently deployed humanitarian teams to the region, including five Disaster Assistance Response Teams (DARTs). DARTs deployed to Georgia in FY 2008 and Libya in FY 2011 in response to complex emergencies. During FY 2011, a DART deployed to Israel in response to wildfires. Escalated conflict in Syria prompted USAID to stand up a DART in FY 2013, and a DART deployed to Iraq in the wake of deteriorating security that prompted significant population movement in FY 2014; both DARTs remained active throughout FY 2016. During the past ten years, USAID also activated multiple Washington, D.C.-based Response Management Teams to better facilitate DART coordination and response efforts.
Global Overview OCTOBER 2016
October saw Venezuela’s tense political standoff at new heights amid economic stress and popular unrest, and Haiti’s weak political and security equilibrium struck by a major natural disaster and humanitarian crisis. In Africa, violence worsened in the Central African Republic (CAR), north-eastern Kenya, Mozambique and western Niger, while in Ethiopia the government hardened its response to continued protests. In Myanmar, unprecedented attacks on police in the north triggered deadly clashes and displacement threatening to exacerbate intercommunal tensions across the country, while Russia’s North Caucasus saw an increase in conflict-related casualties, detentions and counter-terrorism operations. In the Middle East, the election of Michel Aoun as president of Lebanon signals a long-awaited breakthrough ending two years of political deadlock.
Global Overview NOVEMBER 2016
November saw violence escalate again in Syria, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Cameroon. Attacks by pro-regime forces on rebel strongholds in Syria resumed, causing significant civilian casualties. In Myanmar’s Rakhine state intensifying violence displaced tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, while a major attack by armed groups near the Chinese border threatened to undermine the country’s fragile ethnic peace process. In DRC, violence rose in the east and the regime continued to repress dissent, underscoring the risk that renewed protests, likely in December when President Kabila’s second term officially ends, could turn violent. In Cameroon, Boko Haram stepped up its attacks in the Far North and minority English-speakers clashed with security forces in the North West region. The victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election on 8 November created uncertainty about possible shifts in future U.S. foreign policy priorities and positions, including on a number of conflicts and prominent geostrategic arenas – among them the future of the historic multilateral nuclear accord with Iran.
Note by the Secretary-General
The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the General Assembly the report of the Director-General of the World Health Organization, submitted in accordance with General Assembly resolution 70/300.
Report of the Director-General of the World Health Organization on consolidating gains and accelerating efforts to control and eliminate malaria in developing countries, particularly in Africa, by 2030
The present report is submitted in response to General Assembly resolution 70/300. It provides a review of progress in the implementation of the resolution, focusing on the adoption and scaling-up of interventions recommended by the World Health Organization in malaria-endemic countries. It provides an assessment of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and resolution 70/300. It elaborates on the challenges limiting the full achievement of the targets, and provides recommendations to ensure that progress is accelerated towards the goals of the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 in the coming years.
1. While malaria is a preventable and treatable disease, it continues to have a devastating impact on people’s health and livelihoods around the world. There were an estimated 212 million malaria cases and an estimated 429,000 deaths from malaria globally in 2015, with 70 per cent of these deaths occurring among children under 5 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a multi-pronged strategy to reduce the malaria burden, including vector control interventions, preventive therapies, diagnostic testing, quality-assured treatment and strong malaria surveillance.
2. The present report highlights progress and challenges in the control and elimination of malaria in the context of General Assembly resolution 70/300, drawing on the World Malaria Report 2016, issued by WHO in December 2016. The analysis is based on the latest available comprehensive data (2015) received from malaria-endemic countries and organizations supporting global malaria efforts. Data from 2016 are currently being collected and reviewed by WHO.
3. Between 2000 and 2015, malaria received worldwide recognition as a priority global health issue. Under the umbrella of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, endemic countries, United Nations agencies, bilateral donors, public-private partnerships, scientific organizations, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector worked together to scale up WHO-recommended interventions, harmonize activities and improve strategic planning, programme management and funding availability. Together with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other neglected tropical diseases, malaria control was included under Goal 3, target 3, of the Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to “end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other neglected tropical diseases” by the year 2030. WHO interprets this target as the attainment of the targets of the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030. The Global Technical Strategy sets the target of reducing the malaria disease burden by at least 40 per cent by 2020 and by at least 90 per cent by 2030. It also aims to eliminate the disease in at least 35 new countries by 2030.
4. The success of efforts to control and eliminate malaria is measured through an analysis of trends in the disease burden and intervention scale-up, and a review of progress made towards the global goals and targets of the Global Technical Strategy, which were agreed through a broad, consultative process.
FCO launches its Annual Human Rights report for 2016
Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy puts human rights centre stage of foreign policy.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has published its 2016 Annual Human Rights Report. The report covers the period from January to December 2016 and for the first time includes a dedicated section on modern slavery - a key UK Government priority.
This report focuses on how the Government is working to protect and promote human rights around the world. It also sets out our 30 Human Rights Priority Countries (HRPCs).
The key themes include:
The Minister for Human Rights, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, said:
In too many countries across the world, human rights and rule of law are neither respected nor valued as they should be.
Standing up for human rights is not only the right thing; it also helps to create a safer, more prosperous and progressive world.
This report documents the serious concerns we have about the human rights situations in a range of countries and also highlights our work protecting and promoting the value of universal rights and democracy.
Safeguarding, promoting and defending human rights internationally is an important UK priority and our Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy supports crucial frontline work.
British diplomats put human rights at the heart of everything they do, working in partnership with foreign governments and civil society - particularly in our 30 HRPCs - to promote safer, more inclusive, prosperous societies.
Follow Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on Twitter @tariqahmadbt
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