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Conflict Weekly
Haiti's Gang Violence, Venezuelan Migrants and the US, and Global Hunger Index

  IPRI Team

Conflict Weekly #146, 20 October 2022, Vol.3, No.29

An initiative by NIAS-IPRI and KAS-India Office

Madhura Mahesh, Sejal Sharma and Sandeep Ganesh

Haiti: Gang violence and beyond

In the news

On 17 October, the US and Mexican representatives to the UN said the two countries are collaborating on two UNSC resolutions concerning Haiti. The first is a set of sanctions on the leader and senior members of the ‘G9 and Family’ gang alliance. The other is a proposal for a non-UN international security assistance mission which would have the mandate to use military weapons if needed.

On 15 October, the leader of the gang alliance Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Cherizer in a video message to the government proposed a ceasefire, asking for all the planned arrests to be cancelled and representation in the cabinet.

Issues at large

First, the assassination of President Jean Charles Moise. After Moise’s assassination in 2021, Haitian gangs took advantage of the sudden political disarray. They took to the streets to protest and slowly gained control of the capital. There was also an increase in people’s protests furthering society’s confusion and anger.

Second, natural disasters. Five weeks after the assassination, Haiti was struck by an earthquake, worsening the situation. No proper measures were taken to bring the country back to normal due to a lack of proper authority and gang prevalence.

Third, increased gang presence. The gangs started to take control of regions surrounding the capital Port-au-Prince through rampant violence and sexual assault. This turned into a full-blown operation in September when they seized fuel stations as a sign of protest against the government’s decision to cut fuel subsidies.

Fourth, outbreaks of diseases and food shortages. The UN and NGOs have raised alarms over the worst cholera outbreak in Haiti in recent times due to the lack of clean drinking water. Further, the World Food Programme has drawn attention to acute hunger and food shortage impacting 4.7 million Haitians. The situation was triggered by the lack of fuel supply which has hindered transportation and severed power supply in many places. It has also forced hospitals to shut down.  

In perspective

First, international assistance is a double-edged sword. On 8 October Prime Minister Ariel Henry reached out to the international community to assist in resolving the crisis by providing troops to counter gangs and protestors. This led to a fresh wave of protests as the country previously hosted UN Peacekeeping (UNPK) forces in 2010 when nearly 10,000 people died due to a cholera outbreak originating from the UNPK camp. For its part, the international community has not been able to deliver humanitarian assistance due to resistance from the gangs.

Second, spiralling violence is tripping humanitarian disaster. With uncontrolled violence and illegal capture of key locations by gangs, Haiti is facing a large humanitarian crisis which portends a bleak future for the country. Reports of targeted sexual violence and terror by the gangs have led to several deaths and mental trauma. Lack of medical facilities has led to many being unable to get treated for life-threatening injuries, and pregnant women and rape victims not being able to access essential care. Alleviating 4.7 million people from acute hunger would be a challenge for any government.

Third, the continued prevalence of gangs. Given their own strength and financial might, along with political support from opposition parties, it is impossible to dislodge the gangs and their influence from Haitian society. The gangs allegedly have huge political funding; this could be one reason why they could take control of the city so fast and why the government is unable to do anything. 

The US: Biden administration and the Venezuelan migrants

In the news 

On 12 October, the Biden administration expanded the Title 42 policy to include the increasing number of Venezuelan asylum seekers on its southern borders. The new approach provides for the expulsion of Venezuelans who walk or swim across the US southern border and deems any Venezuelan illegally entering Mexico or Panama ineligible to come to the US. However, 24,000 refugee seekers will be accepted at US airports.

On 19 October, the Mexico Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration, expressed concerns over the US plan pointing to shelters that were already overcrowded with people, including pregnant women and single mothers. 

Issues at large

First, an increase in migrants. The move is a response to the upsurge in migration from Venezuela, which has surpassed the numbers from Guatemala and Honduras in August to become the second largest nationality arriving at the US border after Mexico. At least 153,000 Venezuelans were apprehended between October 2021 to August 2022; the Department of Homeland Security’s release revealed that 33,000 more Venezuelans arrived at the border in September.

Second, the failure of Title 42. An estimated 7.1 million Venezuelans have fled their country owing to the economic crisis and political instability in the region in recent years. Title 42, originally aimed at restricting entry for those from countries which have witnessed a recent outbreak of communicable disease, has been used as a tool to stem the influx of immigrants.  As entry to the US from land remains restricted, migrants take dangerous routes like the Darien Gap in Panama. The policy has been termed discriminatory and counterproductive as the right to assess asylum applications should be the task of border security authorities of respective host countries and is not determined by the US refugee and immigration laws. Furthermore, the use of Title 42 has spurred repeated crossings at the border, inflated border crossing statistics, and benefited cartels.

Second, grave human rights violations. Earlier in October, a Panama government report said at least 48,000 moved through the Darien Gap in September; 80 per cent were Venezuelans and almost 15 per cent of them were children and adolescents repeatedly exposed to dangers of drowning, disease, animal attacks, or assault from criminal groups. The Human Rights First group tracked at least 10,300 reports of murder, kidnapping, rape, and other violent attacks against migrants expelled to Mexico due to Title 42 since last year. Expulsions increasingly target people who are black, brown, and indigenous and facilitate extortion by cartels monetizing on such border policies. 

Third, the greater role of armed forces in Mexico. Attorney-General Alejandro Gertz Manero accorded additional powers to Mexico’s National Guard personnel to inspect and detain undocumented migrants without the presence of the National Migration Institute, raising alarm amongst human rights groups. With the military provided power to apprehend migrants without any civilian involvement, the migration crisis is bound to increase.

Fourth, upcoming midterm elections. As the US midterm elections approach, immigration remains one of the most contentious political issues, especially at the southwestern border. With the expansion of the Title 42 policy, the Biden administration expects that establishing legal ways for migrants’ entry would have a positive impact. However, Republicans continue to criticise the move. Governor Greg Abbot from Texas, running for re-election, introduced Operation Lone Star in September 2021 in retaliation to the Democrats’ immigration policies which he deemed inefficient. As the elections approach, the Operation has moved arrested and detained migrants to Democrat-governed cities; it has also led to an increase in far-right sentiments and cases of violence against migrants. 

In perspective

First, extending the remit of an outdated policy is an evasive move instead of addressing the long-term causes of the migrant crisis. The provisions introduced are not in tandem with the magnitude of the crisis and are bound to favour only a marginal fraction of asylum seekers. The prerequisites for being eligible for asylum include having a financial sponsor in the US and going through a rigorous vetting process before entering the US by air. With most asylum seekers coming from impoverished backgrounds, the new policy favours only the well-connected and resourceful migrants leaving a major chunk of refugees in limbo. 

Second, the US’ strained diplomatic relations with Venezuela have made it nearly impossible for it to send the migrants back to Venezuela and increasing the burden on Mexico to host the refugees. The cap on the number of migrants that the US will take is bound to overburden Mexican shelters, and the numbers are likely to increase due to increasing recession and instability in Venezuela. Furthermore, the border crisis is also causing disorder at the Mexican border, affecting the law-and-order situation, especially with the involvement of cartels and criminal groups. The US policy hinges on the independent and parallel participation of Mexico and the increasing burden could strain bilateral relations with Mexico in the future.

Conflict Weekly Exclusive: Report Review

Global Hunger Index: Four Takeaways

 by Sandeep Ganesh

On 15 October, the Global Hunger Index (GHI) ranked 136 countries into five main categories based on the severity of prevalent hunger: low, moderate, serious, alarming, and very alarming. The GHI determined the ranking based on four major criteria:  undernourishment or the share of the population with an insufficient caloric intake of fewer than 1800 calories; child stunting or the share of children under age five who are short for their age as a result of undernourishment; child wasting or the share of children under age five who have low weight for their height due to acute undernutrition; and, child mortality or the share of children who die before their fifth birthday. These criteria reflect the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and an unhealthy environment.  

Out of 136 countries, 44 have alarming or serious levels of hunger; 20 countries with moderate, serious, or alarming hunger levels have better 2022 GHI scores than in 2014; and 46 countries are projected to reach a low level of hunger by 2030. Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Chile, China, and Croatia are the top five countries in GHI 2022 and Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, the Central African Republic, and Yemen have been ranked at the bottom.

Four takeaways

First, the vulnerable global food system. Chronic and acute food crises, exposing the vulnerabilities of the global food system, are a challenge to ending world hunger. Human-induced climate crises play a role in the lack of access to food globally. Increased stress on agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture, is also a challenge in meeting the growing demands for food. 

Second, conflicts as a trigger to world hunger. One of the main causes of acute food crises is violent conflict; of the 193 million people facing food crises, 139 million are located in places of conflict, making access to good quality food difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated many economies from the lower and middle-income countries, increasing the prices of commodities, staggering economic growth, and increasing projected poverty rates. Since 2020 the prices of food have increased worldwide, and the present unrest in Europe because of the war in Ukraine, has led to a higher price rise than expected. 

Third, regional performance throughout the years. South Asia has improved from “Alarming” in 2000 and 2007 to “Serious” in 2014 and the present one. In Africa, the south of the Sahara has also improved from ‘Alarming’ in 2000 and 2007 to “Serious” in 2014 and 2022. West Asia and North Africa have stayed “Moderate” in all the reports of GHI. Latin America and the Caribbean have improved from “Moderate” in 2000 and 2007 to “Low” in 2014 and 2022. East and Southeast Asia have also improved from “Moderate” in 2000 to “Low” in 2007, 2014, and 2022. Europe and Central Asia were in the “Moderate” ranking in 2000 but have stayed at the “Low” level in 2007, 2014, and 2022. 

Fourth, the stagnation of the fight against global hunger. The global fight against hunger has stagnated in recent years due to the lack of involvement of the international community and inaction from local bodies. The GHI recommends inclusive governance and accountability at the centre to make the food system a key to eradicating hunger.  

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East and Southeast Asia

China: Xi Jinping addresses National Congress; rejects renouncement of right to use force over Taiwan

On 16 October, China’s President Xi Jinping addressed the opening ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and announced that Beijing would never renounce the right to use force when it comes to reunifying Taiwan. In response, Taiwan’s Presidential Office said that it would not back down on its sovereignty and would not compromise on the country’s freedom and democracy. President Xi insisted on peaceful reunification of Taiwan, but for the first time, the Chinese administration called for a complete reunification of the island with mainland China. He said: “The historical wheels of national reunification and national rejuvenation are rolling forward, and the complete reunification of the motherland must be achieved, and it must be achieved!”

China: UN representative calls for investigation into US violation of human rights

On 13 October, China’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations addressed the interactive dialogue with the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights at the Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and urged the organisation to initiate an investigation into the US violation of rights. Stressing on the alleged genocide of Native Americans, systemic racial discrimination and police brutality against ethnic minorities, Dai called on the US to own up to their crimes and deal with the issues in an ethical manner. Furthermore, Dai criticised the US, the EU, Japan and other countries for inciting double standards while accusing China of violating the rights of the minorities within the country.

China: Authorities take down traces of rare protests calling for President Xi’s resignation

On 14 October, the Straits Times reported that internet censors in China had removed all coverage of a protest denouncing President Xi Jinping’s control over the country, the COVID-19 policies and called for Xi to step down before the National Congress of the Communist Party of China commenced. Authorities within the country have been keeping a tight check on any disruptions, incoming parcels, and public spaces. Despite the efforts, a few protesters hung banners calling for Xi to step down and withdraw the Zero-COVID policy.

Japan: Five firms in North Korea face Japanese sanctions over missile tests

On 18 October, Japan’s government imposed additional sanctions on North Korea, freezing the assets of the Ministry of Rocket Industry and four organisations for their suspected involvement in recent nuclear and missile development programs. Calling North Korea’s actions “violent” and “totally unacceptable,” Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said: “North Korea is continuing a series of provocative acts with high frequency, such as firing ballistic missiles 23 times this year.”

Japan: Iranians in Japan protest against Amini’s death

On 16 October, Iranian residents in Japan gathered in Tokyo protesting against the Iranian regime and the death of Mahsa Amini. About 270 people rallied in front of the Diet building, holding Amini’s portraits and signs that read “Women, Life and Freedom.”

South Korea: South Korean troops begin the Hoguk defence drills

On 17 October, the annual Hoguk defence drill began, which would bolster South Korea’s military capabilities to counter North Korea’s recent nuclear and missile threats. The development comes after North Korea launched short-range ballistic missiles and fired hundreds of artilleries rounds near the inter-Korean border and the East Sea over the past weeks. North Korea said that South Korea’s military activities were provocative in nature and threatened them with countermeasures. South Korea defended the drills and termed them regular and defence-oriented exercises.

Philippines: Joint drills held with the US

On 13 October, the US and Philippines carried out a joint live-fire drills called the Cooperation of the Warriors of the Sea, or Kamandag, in Manila. The drills involved 2,500 Philippine and US Marines. The US HIMARS rocket launchers (High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System) and US F-35B supersonic fighter jets were used in the drills. The US claimed that the drills were not carried out against any country. Similarly, the US conducted joint drilling exercises, the Resolute Dragon 22, with Japan to enhance “response capabilities” and to ensure a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Japan: PM offers respect to Yasukuni war shrine

On 17 October, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida extended a “masakaki” tree as part of the Yasukuni war shrine’s autumn festival. The Minister for Economic Security, Sanae Takaichi and Trade Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura also visited the shrine. About 2.5 million Japanese soldiers are honoured annually during this festival. China, South Korea and countries that suffered under Japanese imperialism have always condemned the commemoration, terming it a glorification of war criminals and crimes.

Australia: Floods cause severe damage to farmland and infrastructure

On 17 October, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese oversaw the “flood-affected areas” and claimed that Australia had been massively affected by the floods. He instructed people to vacate the inundated regions after floods caused major damage to farmlands, leading to the loss of livestock, wheat, barley, fruits and vegetables. The country has been witnessing three continuous La Nina events causing heavy rainfall. Nearly 100 Australian Defence Force troops have been tasked with assisting evacuations. A senior meteorologist at the bureau, Dean Narramore said: “Unfortunately, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria, we have a long way to go in terms of flooding and it’s too hard to say at this stage when it will finally end.” Victoria premier, Daniel Andrews has announced a package of USD 313 million for “emergency housing” and “clean up” measures.

Myanmar: To procure FTC-2000G fighter jets from China

On 18 October, the Myanmar military placed an order for FTC-2000G midrange fighter jets from China. The FTC-2000G is an advanced light multi-role trainer/combat aircraft, designed and manufactured by Guizhou Aviation Industry Corporation (GAIC) under the supervision of China’s state-owned aerospace and Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). The jets would perform various functions including pilot flight training, aerial surveillance, patrol missions, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, close-in air support and air escort missions Along with attack functions during combat, the fighter jets also have training capabilities. The jets are said to replace the country’s ageing F-7s and A-5 fighter aircraft and will be stationed at the Namsang airbase in Shan State.

Philippines: ‘Nesat’ typhoon causes heavy rainfall and floods

On 16 October, a tropical storm that induced made landfall in the northern Philippines intensified into a typhoon, bringing moderate to heavy rainfalls and submerging villages and farmlands. According to a disaster monitoring agency, nearly 1000 people were evacuated. The typhoon ‘Nesat,’ presently with a speed of 120 kilometres per hour may further intensify while moving towards the South China Sea. A magnitude 5.3 earthquake was experienced with no damage reported.

Indonesia: Football stampede kills 130 people in capital

On 13 October, a football stampede in Indonesia killed 130 people as they were scrambling to exit the stadium. The security minister stated that the incident happened following a tear gas shelling, which occurred after a match at Kanjuruhan Stadium. Police used tear gas after a rivalry between two teams caused commotion. The crowd control measures banned by FIFA is said to have caused the fatal incident.

South Asia

Sri Lanka: Nearly 54,000 people affected by heavy rains and floods

On 17 October, the Sri Lankan disaster authority said that three people had died in severe weather conditions including heavy rains, strong winds, and lightning strikes since 12 October. Nearly 5,383 people from 1,660 households moved to 36 safe places set up by the government. Five houses were destroyed, while 207 were partially damaged. The storms and landslides have affected nearly 54,440 people from Kalutara, Gampaha, and Colombo districts in the Western Province. The Sri Lankan Red Cross said that the Colombo branch emergency response team is on the ground to help people get through the calamity.

Pakistan: Swat Jirga promises to protect the ‘hard-earned peace’

On 15 October, a Jirga attended by tribal elders, senior government officials and elected representatives promised to protect the ‘hard-earned peace in Malakand division at all costs.’ During the meeting, the members also discussed the security situation in Swat and other districts of the division and the measures taken to ensure peace and stability. Meanwhile, civil society activists and youth rejected the Jirga claiming that it lacked true representation of the Swat people.

Afghanistan: New UNAMA chief meets with Taliban officials 

On 16 October, the new Special Representative for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Roza Otunbayeva met with several Islamic Emirate officials and discussed matters related to political and security issues, opening up employment and educational opportunities for women, and establishing a large consultative council. Roza Otunbayeva is the former President of Kyrgyzstan.

Bhutan: Snowman Race to highlight climate change threats

On 13 October, Bhutan decided to conduct a race in the higher terrains, primarily to underline the increasing threats of climate change. The Snowman Race involving 29 runners will start from Gasa and end at the northeastern town of Chamkhar, covering a distance of 203 kilometres. About 70 percent of Bhutan's land covers forest that absorbs three times the carbon emission it produces, making it South Asia's only carbon-negative country. However, it faces climate change threats owing to the nation's proximity to India and China, two of the largest polluters in the world.

India: Joint Working Group established with defence industries in the UK

On 18 October, a new defence industry Joint Working Group (JWG) was created on the sidelines of the DefExpo 2022. The defence industry organisations of the UK and India have decided upon a joint venture to facilitate cooperation and strengthen the defence and security partnership. The two countries established a strong partnership and worked towards developing Electric Propulsion capability for India. The UK additionally issued an Open General Export Licence (OGEL) to India to operate in the Indo-Pacific region and reduce delivery and procurement time.

Bangladesh: Mob kills two Rohingya camp leaders

On 16 October, two Rohingya community leaders of a refugee camp in Cox Bazar were killed in a mob attack when a dozen attackers ambushed them. A senior security official in charge of the camp has blamed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an insurgent group rebelling against Myanmar’s military for the attack. Violence in the refugee camps has steadily increased in the past few months, amidst ongoing clashes between Myanmar’s military and rebel groups worsening the situation.

Central Asia, Middle East, and Africa

Armenia-Azerbaijan: EU deploys technical assessment mission along the border

On 16 October, the European Union’s Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell announced that the EU’s civilian observer mission to the Armenia-Azerbaijan border has been deployed along the Armenian side of the international border with Azerbaijan. The mission comprises 40 EU monitoring experts with the objective of monitoring, analysing and reporting on the situation in the region. This comes after a quadrilateral meeting between the President of Armenia, Azerbaijan, France and the European Council on 6 October.

Syria: Blast kills 18 soldiers

On 13 October, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that a bomb exploded on a military bus in al-Saboura near Damascus, killing 18 soldiers and injuring 27 others. The Syrian state news agency, SANA reported that the military bus was targeted “by a terrorist detonation with an explosive device that was planted in advance.” No group claimed responsibility. However, speculations are rife that the Islamic State could be the perpetrator, given a series of attacks on military buses in recent months. 

Yemen: Contaminated medicine kills children

On 14 October, Houthi’s Health Ministry said that a bacterial contamination in the injections administered to children and teens suffering from leukaemia lead to the death of ten children, and another child to a critical condition. The Houthi leadership added that the medicines, originally manufactured in India, were smuggled to Yemen.

Iran: Fire engulfs Tehran’s Evin prison

On 15 October, a massive fire broke out in Evin prison housing political prisoners and activists protesting against the government. The Iranian Judiciary said that the fire was a result of in-fighting between inmates in an in-house sewing workshop, adding that four people died inhaling smoke. On 17 October, four more inmates died, succumbing to wounds, bringing the death toll to eight. However, the fire did not directly affect the wing housing the political prisoners.

Uganda: Government announces three-week lockdown amid rising Ebola cases

On 16 October, the government announced a three-week lockdown in two districts of Uganda as the Ebola cases rose. According to the government report, at least 19 people died among 58 recorded cases. President Yoweri Museveni in a televised address, said: “These are temporary measures to control the spread of Ebola. We should all cooperate with authorities so we can bring this outbreak to an end in the shortest possible time.” President Museveni had previously ruled out lockdowns, saying Ebola is not an airborne virus and it does not necessitate the same precautions as Covid-19.

Tigray: Government forces enters Tigray, UN calls for urgent resumption of peace talks

On 18 October, the Tigrayan rebel forces said that the government forces and their allies had entered the city of Shire in Tigray, adding that they continue to engage in a “life and death struggle.” On 17 October, the Ethiopian government said that it aims to take control of airports and other federal facilities in Tigray, “to protect Ethiopia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The statement added that the move was necessary to protect its airspace which had been “violated by hostile foreign actors supporting the TPLF.” Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that the “situation in Ethiopia is spiralling out of control” and called for an urgent resumption of peace talks. The same day, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) called on the international community to “compel the Eritrean army to withdraw from Tigray” and “press the Ethiopian government to come to the negotiating table.”

Nigeria: Flood casualties rise to over 600

On 16 October, the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry said the death toll from the ongoing floods had risen to 603. The floods, affecting 33 of all 36 states, has left 1.3 million people displaced after 3,400sq km land was inundated. The development sparked fears of a food supply disruption as vast swathes of area are undergoing conflict as well. 

Mali: Four UN peacekeepers die in attack in the north

On 18 October, the UN mission in Mali said the death toll of peacekeepers from an attack in Kidai region had risen to four on 17 October. Prior to the fourth peacekeeper’s death, three died on the day of the attack and three were injured after their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.

Europe and the Americas

The UK: Ministry of Defence trains common Ukrainians in weapon handling

On 17 October, the UK intelligence released a video on how the Ukrainians from different backgrounds such as taxi drivers, students, and chefs are being trained for “weapon handling, urban warfare, trench warfare, importance of armed conflict, battlefield first aid, and drills needed to face the frontline.” The trainees expressed their desire to end the war soon.

France: Fresh protests on rising living costs

On 16 October, thousands of protestors assembled at the Place de la Nation to protest against the increasing living costs. These protests come amidst an already tense political atmosphere in France due to strikes by workers at oil refineries and nuclear plants. Other than tackling the cost-of-living crisis, another demand from the protestors was the reduction of pension age from 62 to 60. Even though the left-wing alliance in France, known as the New Ecological and Social Popular Union (NUPES), comprising of France Unbowed (LFI), France's Socialist Party, the Greens and the Communist Party did not officially join the protests, many top members from the alliance were seen in the protest. LFI’s former presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who participated in the protests, said that the gathering marked the first phase of a cycle of protests. He warned of fresh strikes from 18 October, where teachers’ unions, employees in the energy sector, the railroad company SNCF’s employees as well as workers at Paris’s metro company RATP would participate.

Europe: NATO to conduct aircraft “Steadfast Noon” exercise

On 18 October, NATO reported on the “Steadfast Noon” exercise involving 14 NATO allies. The exercise involves fourth and fifth-generation fighter jets, tanker aircraft training flights with dual-capable fighter jets and 60 other aircraft. No live weapons were used for the training, which takes place in Belgium, the North Sea and the UK. The training exercises are conducted annually with different states hosting every year to ensure that NATO’s nuclear deterrent remains safe and secure. The alliance's main goal is to maintain peace, prevent coercion, stop aggression and create a safer world. The exercise is scheduled to continue till 30 October.

Greece-Turkey: UNHCR to investigate on 92 migrants under inhuman conditions

On 17 October, the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the discovery of 92 migrants, under inhuman conditions at the border between Greece and Turkey was “deeply distressing.” While both countries have denied responsibility for the migrants, Greek police who discovered them said that in collaboration with officials from Frontex, it has been found that the migrants crossed the Evros river into a Greek territory in rubber dinghies from Turkey. Greek authorities said that the migrants who were discovered naked and injured were given clothing, food, and first aid. The UNHCR condemned the cruel treatment of the migrants and has called for a full investigation with the hopes of speaking to the group soon. In response to the recent flare-ups in migrant arrivals, the Greek Minister for Civil Protection, Takis Theodorikakos announced that Greece would build a 25-mile fence along its northern border with Turkey.

Slovakia: Vigil held in Bratislava to honour the victims of recent shootings

On 15 October, a vigil was held in Bratislava, Slovakia to commemorate the shooting of two gay men outside a popular gay bar in the capital. Protesting against the hate crime, around 20,000 people took part in the vigil, which also saw participation of the country’s President and Prime Minister. The top leaders reiterated the need to install better protection mechanisms for sexual minorities. The shooter was identified as the 19-year-old son of a former far-right politician, who shot himself after a manhunt was declared against him. The country’s prosecutors said that apart from hate crime, the attack could be treated as an “act of terrorism.”

Russia-Ukraine: Escalation of aggression hits critical civilian infrastructure in Kyiv

On 17 October, Kyiv Post reported on Russian attacks on Ukraine with Iran-manufactured kamikaze drones, hitting homes, businesses, and national power grid infrastructure in Kyiv. The strikes caused a series of fires, and firefighters were deployed to rescue victims. The previous week, similar missile and drone attacks on critical civilian infrastructure has drawn criticism from Ukraine and the international community. The most intense attack took place on 10 October when Russia launched missiles and drones with munitions at Ukraine. As power and water lines are being affected, citizens in Ukraine were requested to ration electricity and water usage to prevent shortages

Bulgaria: Websites targeted by Russian cyber-criminal

On 15 October, websites in Bulgaria were attacked by a Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDoS) resulting in them being down for a short while. Following the attack, the President’s official website, the National Review Agency’s website and the portals for telecommunication companies, banks and some media houses were affected. On 16 October, the head of Bulgaria’s National Investigation Service said that the perpetrator was identified from a Russian city. He said that if Russia does not allow an extradition of the person or group responsible, an in-absentia trial will be held in a court in Bulgaria.

Haiti: Military aid sent by US and Canada to the Haitian National Police

On 16 October, the US and Canada government fast-tracked the supply of military aircraft and armoured vehicles to Haiti. This will boost the Haitian National Police’s efforts to fight the alliance of gangs that have taken over Port-au-Prince. This comes after Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry called on the international community for help in fighting the gangs. The US and Cannada have not given any indication that they will be sending troops to help Haiti. 

Mexico: Shooting at Irapuato city bar

On 15 October, witnessed a shooting where 12 people were killed and three people were injured in a shooting at a bar in Guanajuato in Irapuato city. Local authorities are searching for the unidentified gunman. This is the second such shooting in a month in Guanajuato, a manufacturing hub where turf wars are common. The first shooting happened on 21 September in which 10 people were killed.

About the authors

Ankit Singh is a Doctoral Scholar at the School of Conflict and Security Studies, NIAS. Abigail Miriam Fernandez, Apoorva Sudhakar and Avishka Ashok are Project Associates at the School of Conflict and Security Studies, NIAS. Anu Maria Joseph, Joel Jacob are Research Assistants at the School of Conflict and Security Studies. Madura Mahesh and Bhoomika Sesharaj are research interns at the National Institute of Advanced Studies. Vijay Anand Panigrahi and Sejal Sharma are Post Graduate Scholars from Pondicherry University, Puducherry. 

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