Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for June 10, 2022

Newsline: Diplomatic storm in Asia after India prophet row

Muslims took to the streets in huge protests around Asia after Friday prayers, sparked by remarks about the Prophet Mohammed by an Indian ruling party official that embroiled the country in a diplomatic storm. Anger has engulfed the Islamic world since last week, when a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party commented on the relationship between the prophet and his youngest wife on a TV debate show. Around 20 countries have since called in their Indian ambassadors and the party has gone into damage control, suspending the official from its ranks and insisting it respected all religions. Friday saw the biggest street rallies yet in response to the furore, with police estimating more than 100,000 people mobilised across Bangladesh after midday prayers. “We gather here today to protest the insult of our prophet by Indian government officials,” said Amanullah Aman, a protester in the capital Dhaka. “We want death penalties for them.” (https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/huge-muslim-protests-in-asia-after-india-prophet-row/ar-AAYiXz6) In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, about 50 protesters staged a rally in front of the Indian embassy in Jakarta. In Pakistan, a radical religious party known for frequently paralysing the country with its anti-blasphemy rallies held a march in its stronghold of Lahore after Friday prayers. Around 5,000 supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan – a previously banned group – gathered to protest in the city centre calling on the government to take stronger action against India over the comments.

Newsline: Western Hemisphere leaders reach migration pact despite Summit of the Americas attendance flap

President Joe Biden and other Western Hemisphere leaders are set to announce on Friday what is being billed as a roadmap for countries to host large numbers of migrants and refugees. (https://whdh.com/news/biden-leaders-reach-migration-pact-despite-attendance-flap/) “The Los Angeles Declaration” is perhaps the biggest achievement of the Summit of the Americas, which was undercut by differences over Biden’s invitation list. Leaders of Mexico and several Central American countries sent top diplomats instead after the U.S. excluded Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. A set of principles to be announced Friday on the summit’s final day includes legal pathways to enter countries, aid to communities most affected by migration, humane border management and coordinated emergency responses, according to a senior U.S. official who briefed reporters ahead of an official announcement. It is a blueprint already being followed to a large extent by Colombia and Ecuador, whose right-leaning leaders were warmly greeted at the summit for welcoming many of the 6 million people who have left Venezuela in recent years.

Newsline: UN calls for accountability after WHO worker killed in Myanmar

The United Nations has condemned the fatal shooting of a World Health Organization (WHO) employee in eastern Myanmar, the latest death in a series of killings since the military government took over last year. (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/6/9/who-condemns-worker-killing-in-myanmar) The UN and the WHO said Myo Min Htut, a WHO driver for five years, was shot dead on Wednesday while riding his motorcycle in Mawlamyine in Mon State, close to Thailand, in unclear circumstances. The shooting follows what rights groups say is a pattern of violence, retribution and vigilantism in military-ruled Myanmar, where local administrators and suspected informants have been killed on a near-daily basis. The military overthrew an elected government last year and has used deadly force and mass arrests to suppress demonstrations. Some civilians have since taken up arms to fight police and soldiers, answering the call of a shadow National Unity Government (NUG) for a people’s revolt.