European Union Current Affairs - 2019

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International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

The International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation is observed on February 6 every year. It is an annual awareness day celebrated as part of the UN’s efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation. It was first introduced in 2003.

Why February 6 was Chosen?

It was on February 6, 2003, Stella Obasanjo, the First Lady of Nigeria and spokesperson for the Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation, made the official declaration on “Zero Tolerance to FGM” in Africa during a conference organized by the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (IAC). Then the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights adopted this day as an international awareness day.

Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation refers to procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.  The practice is widely carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15 due to cultural, religious or social reasons.

Spotlight Initiative which is a joint project of the European Union and the United Nations aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, specifically targets sexual and gender-based violence, and harmful practices in Sub-Saharan Africa, which include female genital mutilation.

Female genital mutilation is a gross violation of the human rights of women and girls. The practice discriminates against women on the basis of sex and compromises the rights to health, physical integrity and life, the right to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and the rights of the child.

Hence to abolish this inhumane discriminatory practice, Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 calls for an end to FGM by 2030 under Goal 5 on Gender Equality.

Month: Categories: InternationalUPSC


Venezuela Crisis

The Venezuela crisis is deepening with passing time. European Union, Australia, US, New Zealand have recognised Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader as the president.

Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader, has said that President Nicolás Maduro is illegitimate and has asserted himself as Venezuela’s interim president.

What’s the crisis?

Both Juan Guaidó and Nicolás Maduro have debatable claims to legitimacy. As a result, the whole issue has become messy.

Venezuela has been grappling with crisis spiral for years with growing political discontent further fuelled by skyrocketing hyperinflation, power cuts and shortages of food and medicine. The recent crisis haunting Venezuela is Who is the President?

How did the Presidential Crisis begin?

On 23rd January the leader of the legislature, Juan Guaidó, declared himself acting president and said he would assume the powers of the executive branch from there onwards. This was a challenge to President Nicolás Maduro, who had been sworn into a second six-year term in office just two weeks previously. President Maduro condemned this as a ploy by the US to oust him.

Nicolás Maduro was first elected as President with a thin margin of 1.6 percentage votes in April 2013 after the death of his predecessor, Hugo Chávez. Nicolás Maduro was re-elected to the office of president for a second six-year term in highly controversial elections in May 2018, which most opposition parties boycotted.

After being re-elected Nicolás Maduro announced that announced he would serve out his remaining first term and only then be sworn in for a second term.

The National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó argues that because the election was not fair. Articles 233 and 333 of Venezuela’s constitution empower the head of the National Assembly takes over as acting president under such circumstances. Juan Guaidó has staked the claim to be the acting president, as he was the head of the legislature.

Month: Categories: InternationalUPSC