Syria Current Affairs
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The Henley Passport Index measures the access each country’s travel document affords. The Index is based on the data provided by the International Air Transport Authority (IATA) and covers 199 passports and 227 travel destinations.
Ranking of the Jurisdictions
The Rankings of the jurisdictions based on the rankings in the Henley Passport Index are:
- Japan retained its top spot as the world’s most travel-friendly passport due to the document’s access to 190 jurisdictions.
- South Korea and Singapore are at joint second position offering access to 189 jurisdictions.
- China has jumped almost 20 places in just two years, from 85th in 2017 to 69th this year.
- India jumped two positions from 81st in 2018 to 79th this year.
- European Union member states along with Norway and the US occupy the places behind the top three nations in the rankings.
- The rankings of the USA and UK have continued to drop.
- The top 5 positions are held by Japan (190 countries), Singapore, South Korea (189), France, Germany (188), Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden (187), and Luxembourg, Spain (186)
- The bottom 5 positions are held by Eritrea (38), Yemen (37), Pakistan (33), Somalia, Syria (32)and Afghanistan, Iraq (30).
Christian Kalin, Chairman of the Henley & Partners’ Group who is also the creator of the index notes that the ranking is a bright spot in an increasingly isolationist world.
Open-door policies have the potential to contribute billions to the global economy, as well as create significant employment opportunities around the world. The ascent in the rankings of South Korea and the United Arab Emirates are examples of what happens when countries take a proactive foreign affairs approach, an attitude which significantly benefits their citizens as well as the international community.
Tags: Afghanistan • China • Denmark • Eritrea • Finland • France • Germany • Henley Passport Index • Iraq • Italy • Japan • Luxembourg • Pakistan • Singapore • Somalia • South Korea • Spain • Sweden • Syria • UK • USA • Yemen
The world’s foremost chemical weapons watchdog, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as granted itself new powers to help identify those responsible for chemical attacks in Syria. 82 members (exceeding required two-thirds majority) of the OPCW voted in favour of this proposal tabled by United Kingdom at special session of Conference of States Parties in The Hague. 24 countries including Russia, Iran and Syria voted against it.
With enhanced powers, OPCW now can put in place arrangements to identify the perpetrators of use of chemical weapons in Syria. It is considered as important step forward for arms control. It strengthens unravelling consensus against use of chemical weapons.
Until now, OPCW was only able to say whether chemical weapons were used – but not who had used them. It had limited power to only send teams to alleged chemical weapons attack, collect samples and draw their conclusions. They were having only limited power of determining whether attack is chemical weapons or not. But whatever evidence they turned up, they were not having powers to point finger at particular country or non-state actor as the perpetrator for the attack.
Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
OPCW is an intergovernmental organization that promotes, administers and verifies the adherence to the Convention on Prohibition of Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (CWC). This convention outlaws production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and their precursors. 190 member-states have signed and ratified this convention including India. Six states- Angola, Egypt, Israel, Myanmar, North Korea and South Sudan are still outside the CWC. OPCW was established April 1997 and it is headquartered in Hague, Netherlands. It was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for overseeing global endeavour for permanent and verifiable elimination of chemical weapons.