Region

Global

Stories in this section cover various issues and stories from all around the world.

Editor's choice
News
Macron travels to New Caledonia to solve the crisis on volatile territory

Macron travels to New Caledonia to solve the crisis on volatile territory

French President Emmanuel Macron embarked on a flight to New Caledonia Tuesday night (21 May) to address an ongoing crisis following a violent insurrection on the French territory. The archipelago, over 15,000 kilometres from mainland France, has become a top priority for the government after a week of violent protests left six people dead. The protests, between pro-independence supporters and French loyalists, were triggered by the French National Assembly’s vote to allow all citizens who have been living in New Caledonia for over 10 years to elect the local legislature. Voting in these elections has previously been reserved for citizens who settled in the archipelago before 1998 or their descendants. Pro-independence forces argue that expanding the electorate would further reduce the influence of the indigenous Kanak population, whose share of the population has decreased since France took control of the territory over 170 years ago. Proponents of the reform argue it is a democratic necessity, noting that current rules exclude even certain New Caledonia-born citizens from voting. 

Filter archive

Publication date
Editor's choice
News
800 western officials say the policies of their governments on Gaza "are contributing to grave violations of international law, war crimes and even ethnic cleansing or genocide"

800 western officials say the policies of their governments on Gaza "are contributing to grave violations of international law, war crimes and even ethnic cleansing or genocide"

The BBC is reporting that more than 800 serving officials in the US and Europe have signed a statement warning that their own governments' policies on the Israel-Gaza war could amount to "grave violations of international law". Many are describing the statement as an unprecedented move that reflects great concern in official circles in western countries about the the position of their governments on the situation in Gaza. The "transatlantic statement", a copy of which was passed to the BBC, says their administrations risk being complicit in "one of the worst human catastrophes of this century" but that their expert advice has been sidelined. It is the latest sign of significant levels of dissent within the governments of some of Israel's key Western allies. One signatory to the statement, a US government official with more than 25 years' national security experience, told the BBC of the "continued dismissal" of their concerns. "The voices of those who understand the region and the dynamics were not listened to," said the official. "What's really different here is we're not failing to prevent something, we're actively complicit. That is fundamentally different from any other situation I can recall," added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The statement is signed by civil servants from the US, the EU and 11 European countries including the UK, France and Germany.
Editor's choice
Commentary
The work of UNRWA must be sustained

The work of UNRWA must be sustained

Israeli accusations that staff of the UN Humanitarian agency UNRWA which works in Gaza, were involved in the 7 October attacks on Israel need to be taken seriously, and the UN leadership must flash out any bad apples amongst the many, and restore the reputation of the organisation for professionalism. But the knee-jerk reaction of several Western governments in suspending funding to UNRWA is unacceptable, especially given the dire situation of millions of Palestinians, made much worse by the recent war in Gaza. Stopping the work of UNRWA will make an already significant humanitarian disaster much worse. In this regard, countries like Norway and Spain are to be commended. They kept a cool head and reiterated their commitment and support to UNRWA, whilst others were more hasty in halting or suspending support for the agency. There are two problems here: financial and political. The financial aspect is solvable. Gulf states need to step in and compensate for any shortfall in UNRWA’s budget. Other countries need also to step up. But the bigger problem is political. The support of Western countries for UNRWA gives it the necessary prestige that allows its leadership to negotiate the stormy waters of the Middle East. This should not be lost. Countries like UK, Netherlands, Germany and Italy, need to quickly reconsider their position and restore the funding to UNRWA. UNRWA was established in 1948 as a temporary measure to provide relief to the Palestinian people. That seventy-five years later it is still needed more than ever is a testimony of the failure of the international community to do justice to the Palestinians. From the tragedy and suffering of the last five months a new reality must emerge that must necessarily include the creation of a viable Palestinian state. It is time for the EU and European countries in particular, but also the US, to think strategically and act firmly.
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: The ICJ ruling on the “South Africa v. Israel” case is a step in the right direction, but not decisive enough

Opinion: The ICJ ruling on the “South Africa v. Israel” case is a step in the right direction, but not decisive enough

On Friday (26 January) the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague ruled on whether emergency measures are required until a final decision is taken on the South Africa’s genocide case against Israel. The judges ruled that Israel must act to stop genocide in Gaza and allow the flow of humanitarian aid and basic services. Although this verdict is legally binding on the parties involved and a step in the right direction, the ICJ lacks enforcement power. The Court needs the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) to enforce its decision through mechanisms such as sanctions or even military intervention, however, the UNSC is unlikely to do so given the United States’ traditional shielding of Israel through the veto power. Moreover, the Court did not demand a ceasefire that would require Israel to stop its operation in the Gaza Strip. This disappointed many who consider an immediate ceasefire by all parties as being essential in order to end the suffering on civilians.
Editor's choice
News
Houthis escalate confrontation in Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, firing missile at US warship

Houthis escalate confrontation in Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, firing missile at US warship

In an incident that is likely to further aggravate the already tense situation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, Yemen's rebel Houthi Movement on early on Saturday (27 January) fired a missile at an American naval vessel patrolling in the Gulf of Aden. The group, which has been attacking commercial shipping off the coast of Yemen in response to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, fired an anti-ship missile toward the U.S. destroyer USS Carney, according to a statement from U.S. Central Command. A terse statement from the US Central Command in Tampa said, On Jan. 26, at approximately 1:30 p.m. (Sanaa time), Iranian-backed Houthi militants fired one anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward Arleigh-Burke class destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) in the Gulf of Aden. The missile was successfully shot down by USS Carney. There were no injuries or damage reported.  On Friday, the Houthi rebels also struck an oil tanker with an anti-ship ballistic missile, according to the ships operator, Trafigura. "The crew is continuing efforts to control the fire in one of the ship’s cargo tanks with support from military vessels," the company said in a statement.
Editor's choice
Young voices
The Cambodian spirit remains high despite the danger of landmines

The Cambodian spirit remains high despite the danger of landmines

Walking through the temples of Angkor Wat, the sound of musical instruments was making its way through the jungle, complementing the birds. Once I got closer to the musical instruments, I realised that that the singers were victims of landmines, trying to bring awareness to this danger through music. They were not looking for pity or money, simply to share flyers on the history of landmines in Cambodia and its terrible effects that continue to affect civilians. This encounter sparked my interest as Cambodia is rarely mentioned in news or research papers.
Editor's choice
Analysis
Unblocking the Caspian route for Turkmen gas

Unblocking the Caspian route for Turkmen gas

Turkmenistan, for decades considered one of the most closed countries in the world, is moving towards modest attempts at opening up its economy. Western sanctions against Russia which caused a gradual halt to energy supply from Russia to Europe and swelling Russian gas supplies to China, once Turkmenistan’s almost-exclusive client, made Ashgabat face a new reality that challenged its longstanding economic model, resulting in a significant deterioration of living standards and social discontent. Against this background, the country had to start considering options for diversifying its gas export geography and attracting foreign investment, writes Murad Muradov in this analysis prepared for commonspace.eu. The big question remains however whether the long-cherished idea of the Transcaspian pipeline, a link which would bring Turkmenistan’s gas to European markets, will finally come to fruition after many years of aborted attempts and uncertainty. This may be within reach sooner and faster than expected.
Editor's choice
News
Chairmanship of Non-Aligned Movement passes from Azerbaijan to Uganda

Chairmanship of Non-Aligned Movement passes from Azerbaijan to Uganda

The chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement, a grouping of 120 countries, mainly in the global South, passed on Friday morning from Azerbaijan to Uganda. President Yoweri Museveni was elected by acclamation as the chair of the 19th NAM Heads of State and Government Summit taking over from Ilham Aliyev. Azerbaijani foreign minister, Jeyhun Bayramov, represented the outgoing president Aliyev. He congratulated Uganda and President Museveni for assuming the NAM chairmanship and promised that his country will extend all the necessary support to ensure success of the movement. “Azerbaijan chairmanship has done its best to make the voice of our members heard in all possible platforms with successful initiatives and there’s no doubt that Uganda’s chairmanship will continue with this legacy, even further building upon it,” he said. “At this historic moment, after four years of proudly chairing the movement, we are handing over the chairmanship to the Republic of Uganda with a rich substantial and institutional legacy and we are confident that Uganda will further enhance the development feasibility of the movement and strengthen unity among its member states. I would like to reiterate that our passion and determination for the success of NAM will always remain strong and we will continue to contribute to the just cause.”
Editor's choice
News
EU, AU and US say crises in Sudan and in Ethiopia-Somalia relations threaten regional stability in the Horn of Africa

EU, AU and US say crises in Sudan and in Ethiopia-Somalia relations threaten regional stability in the Horn of Africa

The African Union, European Union, and United States called Thursday (18 January) for an immediate cease-fire and constructive dialogue between warring factions in Sudan. They also called for an end to tension between Somalia and Ethiopia over an agreement signed between Ethiopia and Somalia’s breakaway region Somaliland. Representatives of the AU, EU and US spoke in Kampala, Uganda, after the meeting of an East African regional bloc. They said the two crises are threatening regional stability in the Horn of Africa. Annette Weber, the EU special envoy for the Horn of Africa, said the two crises have a common link with Red Sea, which she called a critical waterway carrying 10 percent of global cargo. Weber also said there needs to be a collective response among Horn of Africa countries against attacks on ships by Yemen-based Houthi rebels. Regarding Somalia, the AU, EU and US said they recognize the country’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, including the breakaway region of Somaliland.