International Tidings – Sep. 15th

Moira refugee camp destroyed by fires

On Sept. 9, the Moira migrant camp on Lesbos Island in Greece, housing approximately 13,000 people, was destroyed by fires. Authorities believe the fires were started by camp residents who were dissatisfied with coronavirus-related lockdown measures after 35 individuals tested positive within the camp. According to CNN, Greece’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, declared a state of emergency on the island and condemned the acts of the rioters. A new refugee camp is being set up on the island to accommodate the now-homeless migrants. Plans are also in place to remove the unaccompanied minors from Lesbos, with Greece, Germany and France discussing places of asylum for these individuals. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, the camp is home to more than 4,000 children, including 407 unaccompanied minors.

 

Final verdicts for suspects in Jamal Khashoggi case

In response to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, Saudi Arabia issued the final verdicts against the eight suspects on Sept. 7. The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that five of the defendants were sentenced to 20 years in prison, one defendant was sentenced to 10 years and the other two defendants were sentenced to seven years in prison. According to CNN, the fiancée of Khashoggi, Hatice Cengiz, felt the ruling was a mockery of justice and a farce.

 

Human rights groups call for a reversal of the Winter Olympics 2022 host

On Sept. 10, CNN reported that over 160 human rights groups worldwide signed a letter calling for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reverse the decision to hold the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. The letter was addressed to IOC President Thomas Bach and cited the actions of the Chinese central government in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong and Inner Mongolia as grounds for calling for a reversal of hosting privileges. These groups believe that this decision works against the Olympic Charter’s core principles of “human dignity.” According to a statement from the IOC published by Reuters, the IOC remains neutral on political issues and awarding the Olympic Games to a host country does not mean the IOC agrees with the political structure, circumstances or human rights standards of the awarded country. 

 

Mining CEO resigns after aboriginal cave destruction

On Sept. 11, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, CEO of the global mining group Rio Tinto, stepped down in response to criticism from the public and shareholders after the destruction of ancient caves. In May, Rio Tinto destroyed two ancient caves in Pilbara, Australia. These ancient caves, known as the Juukan Gorge rock shelters, were viewed as significant archaeological research sites with evidence proving continuous human habitation 46,000 years ago, according to the BBC. The site of the caves is believed to be worth eight million tons of high-grade iron ore with an estimated value of $96 million. Jacques, as well as two other senior executives of Rio Tinto’s iron ore and corporate relations divisions, will leave the company at the end of the year. Jacques will remain CEO until March or until a successor is appointed. 

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