Weekly News Wrap: Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Your weekly selection of international law and international relations headlines from around the world:
- Two Chadian army helicopters bombed Nigerian Boko Haram positions on Sunday, killing several dozen militants near a village on the border with Niger, a senior Niger military official told Reuters.
- A South Sudanese rebel group has freed 250 child soldiers it was using, including a girl as young as nine, the UN children’s agency has said, but it warned that thousands were still being forced to fight in the country’s civil war. Despite this news, Reuters also reports that South Sudan’s army and rebels have both stepped up the kidnapping of children to fight in the country’s civil war, with hundreds snatched from villages in the last month alone, the UN children’s agency has said.
- At least 70 bodies were found in a mass grave on the outskirts of the town of Damasak after it was recaptured from Boko Haram fighters, Chadian and Nigerien military officials have said.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- Kurdish authorities in Iraq have accused Iran of sending 30,000 soldiers and military experts to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
- The United States and its allies targeted Islamic State in nine air strikes in Iraq and Syria in the latest round of daily attacks on the militants, the Combined Joint Task Force said on Sunday.
- Praised as a model of Arab Spring progress, Tunisia has finally been drawn onto the global jihadi battlefield after Islamist militants gunned down foreign tourists in a brazen assault at the heart of the capital.
- The Lebanese military is struggling to protect its border from advancing fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
- Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has urged the group to establish a congress on ending its three-decade armed struggle against the Turkish state.
- Saudi Arabia has refused to issue any business visas to Swedes, Stockholm’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, in the latest move in a diplomatic row over Swedish criticism of Riyadh’s human rights record.
- Indonesian President Joko Widodo said one of China’s main claims to the majority of the South China Sea had no legal basis in international law, but Jakarta wanted to remain an “honest broker” in one of Asia’s most thorny territorial disputes.
- Nearly 2,500 children, including girls, have been taken by communist rebels in India with a new recruitment drive under way.
- Despite death threats, thousands of internally displaced Pakistanis have chosen to return to South Waziristan anyway.
- The foreign ministers of South Korea, China and Japan have gathered in Seoul for their first meeting in nearly three years.
- North Korea has the ability to fire a nuclear weapon and would use a nuclear missile in retaliation if it is attacked, the country’s ambassador to Britain told Sky News on Friday.
- Japan will sign a defense pact with Indonesia next week, officials in both governments said, the latest effort by Tokyo to forge closer security ties with Southeast Asian nations and build a counter-balance to China.
- Russia threatened to aim nuclear missiles at Danish warships if Denmark joins NATO’s missile defense system, in comments Copenhagen called unacceptable and NATO said would not contribute to peace.
- The British, French and German foreign ministers are due to meet Iranian nuclear negotiators in Lausanne on Saturday, European diplomatic sources told Reuters, adding that a final decision would depend on talks among officials on Friday.
- European Union leaders agreed on Thursday to link lifting economic sanctions on Russia to the full implementation of a Ukraine ceasefire agreement, European Council President Donald Tusk announced.
- The European Union is set to launch a first operation in a new propaganda war with Russia within days of EU leaders giving formal approval to the campaign at a summit on Thursday.
- A US federal judge has ruled that Washington must release photographs showing abuse of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, in a longstanding court case on letting the world see potentially disturbing images of how the military treated prisoners.
- A U.S. drone strike killed a Pakistani Taliban leader and two others on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the Taliban said on Thursday, in the latest attack by an unmanned aircraft targeting the Afghan bases of Pakistani Taliban leaders.
- The United States and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to work toward greater civil and national security space cooperation after officials from the two countries met in Washington this week, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.
- Australia has sent back 15 illegal immigrants from Nepal, Iran and Bangladesh into Indonesian waters off West Java’s Sukabumi, an official said on Monday.
- The United Nations said on Thursday Islamic State forces may have committed genocide in trying to wipe out the Yazidi minority in Iraq as well as war crimes against civilians including children.
- U.N. peacekeepers previously worked with two Democratic Republic of Congo generals accused of abuses, but have refused to support the men in a new campaign against Rwandan rebels because Congolese authorities did not investigate the allegations, said a U.N. envoy on Thursday.
- A year on from the start of the Ebola outbreak, a report has been published by frontline aid agency Doctors Without Borders slamming the international community’s slow response and detailing the “indescribable horror” faced by its staff.
- Events in Yemen are pushing the country “to the edge of a civil war,” the United Nations special envoy has warned, calling for all parties to resolve the escalating conflict peacefully as peace talks reach a stalemate.
- The UN special envoy to Libya has warned against a military solution to the country’s crisis, calling on political rivals meeting for peace talks in Morocco to remain engaged in talks.
- Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has condemned the attack on two mosques in Yemen’s capital, urging all sides to “immediately cease all hostile actions and exercise maximum restraint”.
- Russia has asked a United Nations General Assembly committee to vote on Tuesday on its proposal to stop the world body extending staff benefits to all same-sex couples, diplomats said.