Weekly update: 5 September – 11 September 2022
The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 5 September to 11 September 2022.
Guernica 37 will provide weekly media updates from the International Criminal Court, European Court of Human Rights, United Nations, European Union and other sources. Should you wish to contribute or submit a media summary, opinion piece or blog, please send to Ned Vucijak at firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Iran – 5 September 2022
The Iranian government is planning to use facial recognition technology on public transport to identify women who are not complying with a strict new law on wearing the hijab, as the regime continues its increasingly punitive crackdown on women’s dress.
China – 5 September 2022
Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that Chinese authorities are significantly increasing policing, including arbitrary collection of DNA from residents in many towns and villages throughout the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). The available information indicates that people cannot decline providing their DNA and that police do not need credible evidence of any criminal conduct. A report from Lhasa municipality in April 2022 stated that blood samples for DNA collection were being systematically collected from children at kindergartens and from other local residents. A report from a Tibetan township in Qinghai province in December 2020 stated that DNA was being collected from all boys aged 5 and above. China director at HRW, Sophie Richardson, said that “the Chinese government is already subjecting Tibetans to pervasive repression”, adding that “the authorities are literally taking blood without consent to strengthen their surveillance capabilities.”
International Court of Justice (ICJ) – 5 September 2022
The Federal Republic of Germany, invoking Article 63 of the Statute of the ICJ, filed in the Registry of the Court a declaration of intervention in the case concerning Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v. Russian Federation). Pursuant to Article 63 of the Statute, whenever the construction of a convention to which States other than those concerned in the case are parties is in question, each of these States has the right to intervene in the proceedings. In this case, the construction given by the judgment of the Court will be equally binding upon them.
Somalia – 5 September 2022
The UN humanitarian chief has warned that two areas of Somalia are likely to enter a state of famine later this year as the country battles an unrelenting drought and flare-ups of conflict. Martin Griffiths said the latest UN food insecurity analysis had found “concrete indications” that famine would occur in the Baidoa and Burhakaba districts of south-central Somalia between October and December unless aid efforts were significantly stepped up.
Russia – 6 September 2022
The Russian defence ministry is in the process of buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea to support its invasion of Ukraine, according to a newly downgraded US intelligence finding. A US official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said on Monday that the fact Russia was turning to North Korea demonstrated that “the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages in Ukraine, due in part to export controls and sanctions”. US intelligence officials believe that the Russians could look to purchase additional North Korean military equipment in the future. The intelligence finding was first reported by the New York Times.
Ukraine / Russia – 6 September 2022
Ukraine’s major western allies have yet to sign up to establish a tribunal to try Vladimir Putin and his inner circle for the crime of aggression, wanting to leave space for future relations with Russia, according to Ukraine’s top officials. Ukrainian officials say that since April, they have been trying to convince their western allies to establish an ad hoc tribunal which would hold Russia’s senior leadership responsible for the crime of aggression for invading Ukraine.
Ukraine – 7 September 2022
The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has called for a demilitarised zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, involving the withdrawal of Russian occupying troops and the agreement of Ukrainian forces not to move in. Guterres was addressing a UN security council session, at which he supported the recommendations put forward Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who led an inspection visit to the occupied Zaporizhzhia plant last week, and presented a report to the security council. The report confirmed the presence of Russian soldiers and military equipment at the plant, including army vehicles.
United Kingdom (UK) – 8 September 2022
The criminal bar’s indefinite strike over legal aid funding could be called off sooner than expected after criminal bar chiefs confirmed that the new lord chancellor has agreed to meet them. Barrister Brandon Lewis MP, appointed lord chancellor and justice secretary by prime minister Liz Truss, and the Criminal Bar Association will have an ‘introductory’ meeting next week. CBA chair Kirsty Brimelow QC said: ‘I look forward to meeting the lord chancellor and hope that this introductory meeting urgently will be followed by opening of negotiations to resolve the criminal barristers’ action of stopping work on cases as a result of the crisis in the criminal justice system.’
North Korea – 9 September 2022
North Korea has passed a law declaring itself to be a nuclear weapons state, according to state news agency KCNA. The country's leader Kim Jong-un called the decision "irreversible" and ruled out the possibility of any talks on denuclearisation, it said. The law also enshrines the country's right to use a pre-emptive nuclear strike to protect itself. Despite crippling sanctions, Pyongyang has conducted six nuclear tests between 2006 and 2017. It has continued to advance its military capability - in breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions - to threaten its neighbours and potentially even bring the US mainland within striking range.
Ukraine – 9 September 2022
Nearly 5,800 people have been killed in the conflict in Ukraine and the situation of prisoners of war in Russian-held areas is “worrying”, the head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in the country said.
Mexico – 9 September 2022
On 27 May 2019, Mexico established the National Guard as its main public security institution, under the civilian control of the Secretariat of Public Security and Citizen Protection. Since its establishment, the National Guard has been criticised for operating in an increasingly militaristic manner and the fact that more than 70% of its personnel come from the army or navy. In parallel, the National Guard has been criticised for the numerous human rights violations that are rightly attributed to it. Between 2020 and 2022, more than 1,100 complaints against this institution were presented before the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) regarding crimes under international law including enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, unlawful killings and torture, among others.