International Current Affairs - 2019

Latest International Current Affairs 2019 with news summaries and current events in International developments, geopolitical, organizations, groupings and fora related updates for India and world with all important national news updates and events for the year 2019.

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WHO declares Ebola outbreak in DRC as a Global Health Emergency

World Health Organization (WHO) has declared deadly Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’. This announcement comes after Ebola virus spread to a city of 2 million people.

Key Highlights

Meaning: Invoking the emergency provision by WHO of declaring a Public health emergency of international concern, is a rare designation which is only used for gravest epidemics. This is done when there is an extraordinary event which constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response.

Condition: As per WHO’s international health regulations, drafted in 2005, the emergency label should apply to a situation that is an extraordinary event which poses public health risk to other countries via international spread and that potentially requires a coordinated international response.

Impact: Declaring global health emergency brings greater international attention and aid, along with concerns that nervous governments might overreact with border closures.

Reason: The year-old Ebola epidemic in eastern DRC, is 2nd deadliest on record. Although it has largely been contained to remote areas, but recently in July second week a patient was diagnosed with virus in provincial capital Goma, which became 1st case in a major urban hub. This confirmed case in Goma escalated the crisis because the city is a gateway to Africa’s Great Lakes region and wider world.

Previous Declaration: This emergency provision, activated by UN health agency have been previously invoked only four times-

  1. 2009- H1N1, or swine flu pandemic
  2. 2014- Spread of poliovirus
  3. 2014-2016- Ebola epidemic that devastated parts of West Africa. It killed more than 11,000 people.
  4. 2016- Surge of Zika virus

This is new declaration is 5th such declaration in history.

About Ebola Virus

It is highly contagious. It has an average fatality rate of around 50%.

Transmission: It is transmitted to humans from wild animals and spreads among people via close contact with blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person.

Month:  Categories: International

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US slaps sanctions against Myanmar’s military chief for killing of Rohingya Muslims

The United States of America has slapped sanctions against Myanmar’s Military Chief Min Aung Hlaing and three other top officers for gross human rights violations, including killing of Rohingya Muslims. The announcement in this regard was made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Key Highlights

Following the US sanctions, Myanmar’s Army Chief and others namely Deputy Commander-in-Chief Soe Win, Brigadier General Aung Aung and Brigadier General Than Oo along with their immediate family members have been banned from entering US. In 2018 US had designated two other generals Lieutenant General Aung Kyaw Zaw and General Maung Maung Soe.

With this move US has become 1st government to publicly take action with respect to most senior leadership of Burmese military.

Arguments by US

Ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas is an example of continued and severe lack of accountability for military and its top leadership.

US State Department has taken action against Army Chief and others after finding credible evidence of their involvement in violence 2 years ago (in 2017) that led to fleeing of 740,000 Rohingyas over border to Bangladesh since the violence erupted.

US remains deeply concerned about human rights situation in Myanmar, mainly in conflict-affected Rakhine State and other violence-affected areas of Myanmar like Kachin state and Shan states.

Who are Rohingya?

Rohingya are an ethnic group, largely comprising Muslims are one of the largest stateless populations in the world.

This group predominantly lives in Western Myanmar province of Rakhine state. They speak a dialect of Bengali, as opposed to commonly spoken Burmese language.

Although they have been living in South East Asian country for generations, Myanmar considers them as persons who migrated to their land during Colonial rule and thus Rohingyas are not granted full citizenship. According the 1982 Citizenship Law of Burma, a Rohingya (or any ethnic minority) is eligible for citizenship only if he/she provides proof that his/her ancestors have lived in country prior to 1823 or else, they are classified as resident foreigners or as associate citizens (even if one of the parent is a Myanmar citizen).

Rohingya Crisis

Rohingya’s, one of the most persecuted community in world, are not recognised as citizens of Myanmar and face widespread discrimination from authorities.

Prior to their exodus from Myanmar, tens of thousands of Rohingya have already been living as refugees in several neighbouring countries.

The plight of Rohingya’s reached its peak in Myanmar during August 2017 when country’s military cracked down on minority group in Rakhine State sparked mass exodus.

Inn Din village Massacre

The massacre in Inn Din village in Rakhine state of Myanmar in September 2017 was a mass execution of Rohingyas by Myanmar Army and armed locals. The officials and soldiers involved in brutal killings were released on the directions of Commander in Chief Hlaing. US have accorded this as a mockery of accountability for military and its senior leadership.

Month:  Categories: International

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