Weekly update: 9 January – 15 January 2023 The following media round up on international and foreign policy issues from around the world for the period of 9 January to 15 January 2023.
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 email@example.com for consideration.
Iran – 9 January 2023
Protesters have gathered outside a prison near the Iranian capital in an attempt to prevent the rumoured imminent execution of two young detainees found guilty of running over a police officer in a car during protests in November.
United Kingdom (UK) – 10 January 2023
Counter-terrorism police have launched an investigation after Border Force officials seized material containing uranium at Heathrow. Scotland Yard confirmed its counter-terrorism team was investigating after the contaminated material was discovered as part of a routine security screening. It was discovered on 29 December on a passenger flight that arrived from Oman, according to the Sun. It is understood the package originated from Pakistan and was destined for an Iranian business with premises in the UK.
Ukraine / Russia – 10 January 2023
The head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group has claimed his forces have completed the takeover of the Ukrainian town of Soledar, which if confirmed would mark Moscow’s first major battlefield success since last summer. “Wagner units have taken the whole territory of Soledar under control,” said Yevgeny Prigozhin in an audio message released on his Telegram channel.
Yemen – 11 January 2023
At least 87 civilians were killed by airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen using weapons supplied by the UK and US between January 2021 and February 2022, according to a new Oxfam analysis. The charity accused the UK government of ignoring an identifiable “pattern of harm” caused by the indiscriminate bombing – and argues it amounts to legal grounds for Britain to end elements of its lucrative arms trade with Riyadh.
Peru – 11 January 2023
Peru’s top prosecutor’s office said it has launched an inquiry into new president Dina Boluarte and members of her cabinet to investigate allegations of genocide after violent clashes that have seen at least 40 killed and hundreds injured since early December.
Iran – 11 January 2023
One of Iran's most prominent female activists has described how confessions are forced out of prisoners, in a letter written inside a notorious jail. Sepideh Qolian has been serving a five-year sentence since 2018 after being convicted of acting "against national security" for supporting a strike. Writing from Evin prison, she describes the brutal treatment of her and other detainees by interrogators. Their forced confessions are later broadcast on state-run television.
United Kingdom (UK) – 11 January 2023
Shamima Begum has said she accepts that she joined a terror group when she fled Britain as a schoolgirl for Islamic State (IS) - and said she understands the public anger towards her. In interviews spanning more than a year, Ms Begum - who was stripped of British citizenship as a national security risk - revealed that she was fed detailed instructions by IS members, but also undertook her own planning for the journey in 2015.
Ethiopia / Tigray – 11 January 2023
Tigrayan rebels have begun handing in heavy weapons, a key part of an agreement signed more than two months ago to end a deadly conflict in northern Ethiopia, a spokesperson for the rebel authorities said. The demobilisation of Tigray forces is seen as central to the 2 November ceasefire agreement, alongside the restoration of services, resumption of humanitarian aid and withdrawal of Eritrean troops, who fought alongside Ethiopia’s army but were not party to the truce.
Afghanistan – 12 January 2023
Amnesty International said that the United Nation Security Council (UNSC) closed-door meeting on Afghanistan must focus on how to reverse the stifling ban by the Taliban on women and girls from accessing work, education, sports and public spaces. On 24 December 2022, the Taliban, Afghanistan’s de facto authorities, ordered all local and foreign NGOs not to employ female employees. On 20 December, they ordered all universities to not accept women students until further notice. In November 2022, women were denied the right to enter parks and gyms in the country. Since the Taliban takeover in mid-2022, women have been prevented from participating in sports, while secondary schools for girls have been shuttered nationwide.
Ukraine / United Kingdom (UK) – 13 January 2023
Ukraine is confident Britain will announce it plans to send about 10 Challenger 2 tanks to Kyiv shortly, a move it hopes will help Germany finally allow its Leopard 2s to be re-exported to the embattled country. A formal announcement is anticipated on Monday but Ukrainian sources indicated they understood that Britain had already decided in favour, as pressure mounts on Berlin ahead of a meeting of western defence ministers next Friday.
United Kingdom (UK) – 13 January 2023
People facing deportation have been told they must scan their fingerprints several times a day using devices installed with GPS technology under plans from the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice. Those required to carry one of the handheld devices will be subject to 24/7 location tracking, with information including an individual’s name, date of birth and nationality stored on the device and shared with the government, police and other authorities. Users will receive alerts throughout the day to submit their biometrics and are obliged to carry the device with them at all times.
Greece – 13 January 2023
A Greek court has dropped espionage charges against 24 activists involved in rescuing refugees, after a lengthy trial denounced by rights groups as a sham. In the ruling read to the chamber, the court admitted procedural faults, including insufficient translation of prosecution documents, and a lack of access to interpreters for the defendants. The activists are still facing an investigation on charges of human trafficking, money laundering, fraud and the unlawful use of radio frequencies. The ruling came just hours after the United Nations called for the charges to be dropped.