Weekly geopolitical events
By Keating Smith, Staff Writer
Africa: (Democratic Republic of Congo) Bosco Ntaganda, former-rebel military chief of staff, voluntarily turned himself in to the International Criminal Court via the US Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda. Ntaganda has been accused of recruiting child soldiers less than 15 years of age, as well as other human rights violations while carrying out operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was conscripted into the Congolese Army in 2009 as part of a peace deal with M23 rebels in the
country. Ntaganda has been in hiding in neighbouring Rwanda for the past several months as tensions between government forces in the DR Congo and M23 rebels has intensified. The reasons for him surrendering himself to the American Embassy are unknown.
Latin & South America: (Guatemala) Guatemala’s former military ruler, Efrain Rios Montt, is currently on trial in Guatemala City facing charges of genocide. Montt is accused of killing over 1,700 indigenous Guatemalans during his time in power in the early ‘80s. According to the UN, this is the first time a former head of state has been placed on tribunal within their own country while facing such charges. Although Montt denies allegations against him, prosecutors in the trial accuse Montt of affiliating the indigenous Mayans in Guatemala with rebel fighters in the country, resulting in nearly 30,000 indigenous people being displaced in the Latin American country during his 17 months in power. To date, over 200,000 people were killed or are missing from the country’s 36-year civil war. Montt is being charged with 1,771 counts of murder.
Asia- Pacific: (China) China’s one-child policy has influenced over 336 million abortions in the country since the state officially encouraged having fewer children. With 1.3 billion people living in China, estimates by the People’s Republic government predict China’s populations would be 30 per cent larger than what it is today. Although the family planning policy applied in 1979 was geared more towards people living in urban areas, many in China are calling for it to be dismantled due to a shrinking labour force and a spike in the country’s elderly demographic.
Asia- Central & South: (Bangladesh) The president of Bangladesh, 84-year-old Zillur Rahman, died last week after a long battle with a lung infection. The Bangladeshi president, who served in office since 2009, is the third president of the country to die while holding presidency. Rahman was an active force for Bangladeshi independence during the Bangladesh Liberation War in the early 1970s when the country seceded from Pakistan. His action during this time landed him a 20-year jail sentence on top of being imprisoned for four years following the assassination of the Bangladesh’s acting president Seikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975. A three-day vigil was held across the country in wake of Rahman’s death last week from all sides of the country’s political spectrum.
Europe: (Cyprus) The government in Cyprus ordered all of the country’s banks to remained closed and constrict cash withdrawals last week while the Cypriot parliament held further negotiations with Russia and the EU on receiving an emergency bailout fund. The small Mediterranean island nation is on the brink of bankruptcy and a complete economic collapse due to the country’s largest banks attempting to aid in bailing out neighbouring Greece. The IMF and Eurozone partners are preparing to send 10 billion euros in bailout funds to Cyprus, provided that the country allocates another 7 billion Euros to partially fund its own bailout.
Middle East: (Israel) United States President Barak Obama met with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Jewish state last week to hold their annual talks on relations between the two countries. Obama pressed for greater unity and to rebuild ties with Turkey, due to the situation in Syria and for Israeli citizens, to strengthen their ties peacefully with the Palestinian territories. “The only way to truly protect the Israeli people is through the absence of war—because no wall is high enough, and no Iron Dome is strong enough, to stop every enemy from inflicting harm,” said Obama during his speech to a group of young Israelis. Several rockets from the Gaza Strip were launched into southern Israel during Obama’s visit, none of which caused any harm.