Every Friday, we bring to you the top five international stories of the week, with a particular emphasis on religious liberty, justice issues, and geopolitical issues that impact liberty and justice.
1. Nigeria's Boko Haram releases video footage of girls abducted in 2014; UNICEF reports that the organization is ramping up the use of suicide bombers. On the two-year anniversary of the abduction of 300 girls by Boko Haram, the organization released footage it claims features 15 of the girls abducted. The BBC article features a must-see photo of the girls. In addition, reporting has emerged that Boko Haram has used 105 women as suicide bombers since June 2014. This has led to the perception that women escaping from Boko Haram are a threat, causing them to be shunned when returning to mainstream Nigerian society.
2. Iraqi Parliament in crisis of collapse as political divisions deepen. More than 50 Iraqi MPs spent the night in the Iraqi parliament house in protest over the current system, which has existed since 2003. The Economist: “For over a decade the leading factions and their militias have divvied up ministries, treating them as their fiefs. They have stuffed them with their cadres, inflating the government payroll from 1m under Saddam Hussein to 7m today. Ghost projects and ghost workers have emptied state coffers and, together with plummeting oil prices, have saddled the government with a whopping budget deficit of 25% of GDP. Though oil is being pumped in record amounts, hospitals are suspending services for lack of funds. Transparency International lists Iraq’s as the eighth-most-corrupt government in the world.”
3. Brazil may be going through an impeachment process during the Olympics. President Dilma Rousseff faces an impeachment drive that is growing in momentum. The charges stem not from personal enrichment but the improper use of government bank funds to cover budget gaps. But according to the New York Times: “Some of the most vocal lawmakers pushing to impeach Ms. Rousseff are facing serious charges of graft, electoral fraud and human rights abuses, uncorking a national debate about hypocrisy among Brazil’s leaders.”
4. Saudi religious police's power curbed under new policies. According to the BBC: “Members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice will no longer be permitted to chase suspects or arrest them. They must instead report observations to security forces personnel.” The notorious religious police enforces religious rules, such as strict segregation of the sexes, the ban on women driving, and sale or consumption of alcohol. The religious police must now act “kindly and gently” in enforcing these Islamic rules.
5. Long read on corruption and greenwashing in Zimbabwe. From the article: “Chachengwa, like everyone else, would never get her original land back. She would be allocated a new plot, about one-sixtieth the size of her old one, and farther from her home.”
Have suggestions for a top 5 article this week or think there’s an issue we should be covering? Email me at [email protected].