The Week That Was: Global News in Review

Foreign Policy Brief #127 | By: Ibrahim Castro| March 11, 2024
Featured Photos: www.voanews.com, www.reuters.com, www.opendemocracy.net

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State of Emergency in Haiti

Almost three years after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, Haiti has descended into chaos. Elections haven’t been held since 2017, so the term for every elected official has expired, security services and police are overwhelmed and millions are subjected to violence and are going hungry. The Haitian government declared a state of emergency amid a surge of violence. Last weekend gangs responsible for the situation in Haiti attacked the capital city’s most important prisons, releasing thousands of inmates. Aid groups say about 15,000 people, among them many young children, have been displaced from their homes in recent weeks, and since the beginning of the year, 1,193 people have been killed. Haiti’s de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry traveled to Kenya last week in order to plead for the East African nations assistance in leading an international mission to restore order to the country. However, the gangs in the absence of the prime minister, forged an alliance and one of the main leaders of this gang alliance, Jimmy Chérizier, who is nicknamed Barbecue, has said explicitly that the point of the fighting is now to overthrow the government.

Elections in Iran

The elections being held in Iran this month are the first since nationwide protests broke out in 2022 over the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody. However the country has reported the lowest electoral turnout since the Islamic Republic’s founding in 1979. The voter turnout for this election hovered around 40%. The low turnout comes as Iranians grapple with a tumbling currency, a crippled economy from sanctions and a widened crackdown on dissent. Candidates running for office are preapproved by a state election council, candidates that do not receive approval from the council are barred from running. Barriers to entry for moderate candidates, voter apathy due to the highly restricted nature of the elections, and economic pressures have led to this election seeing a wave of conservative and hardline candidates securing positions in office. The results follow a global trend of hardline candidates winning leadership and raises the likelihood of continued strained relations among its domestic population and its relations in the wider region.

Ghana Passes Controversial Anti-LGBTQ Bill

Ghana’s parliament has passed an internationally controversial new bill that imposes a prison sentence of up to three years for anyone convicted of identifying as LGBTQ. The bill, which has the backing of the West African nations’ two major political parties, will come into effect if President Nana Akufo-Addo signs it into law, which he previously stated he would if the bill was passed. Gay sex is already against the law in Ghana, it carries a three year prison sentence for those caught. Last month Amnesty International warned that the bill posed significant threats to the fundamental rights and freedoms of LGBTQ people. Ghana also stands to lose $3.8 billion in financing from international banks that do not support the bill should president Nana Akufo-Addo sign it into law in the days to come.

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