Compass World: Brexit Chaos
LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN
Venezuelan Migrants Fall Victim to Human Trafficking
Venezuelan migrant women and children fleeing the country’s economic and political crisis continue to fall victim to human trafficking in Peru. Many Venezuelan migrants arrive in Peru without documentation and cannot easily find work. Migrant women are drawn in by false advertisements for work as waitresses, dancers, or cooks in mining areas, but are actually forced to work as prostitutes. Ten percent of Peru’s 1,700 victims of human trafficking between 2017 and 2018 have been Venezuelan. Peruvian law enforcement officials continue to stress the need for local and national authorities to coordinate with other countries to fight human trafficking.
Water Shortage in the Philippines
More than 6 million Filipinos have been affected by a water shortage in the areas of Metro Manila and Rizal, with long lines forming for rationed water and businesses and hospitals struggling to cope after faucets ran dry. According to a spokesperson for Manila Water, water supply will be cut for at least six hours per day. The head of the chief water regulatory agency admitted fault on March 14, saying the shortage is a result of government error. Officials say that the only solution at this point is to wait for the rainy season to arrive. A proposedlong-term solution is the construction of a dam in Rizal that would be funded mostly by China, but the idea has faced considerable backlash from local residents.
MIDDLE EAST & CENTRAL ASIA
Saudi Activists on Trial
The trial of ten women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia began on March 13 and has been met with negative responses internationally. Saudi Arabia has charged these women on the basis of the country’s cyber-crimes law. The U.K.-based Saudi rights organization ALQST claims none of the women were granted access to lawyers and that charges were based on alleged confessions concerning relations with human rights organizations. Four of the women claim that they have been tortured. Saudi Arabia received criticism last week from over 30 countries at the UN Human Rights Council and organizations such as Amnesty International have called for the women to be freed.
EASTERN EUROPE & RUSSIA
Macedonian President Boycotts Name Change
The president of North Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, is in protest of the country’s new name and refused to sign proclamation decrees for 11 bills approved by parliament on March 12. On January 11, the Macedonian parliament agreedupon an official name change from the “Republic of Macedonia” to the “Republic of North Macedonia.” The country formed an agreement with Greece in June 2018 that initiated the name change process. Ivanov is strongly opposed to the change, believing it to be a violation of the constitution. In a statement to parliament, his office said he acts to “protect the constitution and defend the interest of the Republic of Macedonia.”
The ruling party of Guinea-Bissau, the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, won the March 10 parliamentary elections. Despite its victory, it no longer holds the majority in parliament. Down 10 seats in the election, it now holds 47 of the 102 parliamentary seats, and will have to create a coalition to succeed in forming a government. It reportedly reached a deal on March 12 with smaller parties that will secure a majority totalling 54 seats. The agreement, however, must first be approved by the Supreme Court. The newly formed Madem G-15 party, created by dissidents from the ruling party, won 27 seats.
WESTERN EUROPE & CANADA
The British Parliament voted in favor of a proposal seeking a delay in the Brexit process on March 14, with MPs from both major parties ignoring opposition from Prime Minister Theresa May. Under Article 50 of the EU Treaty, the deadline for Britain’s exit is March 29. The vote does not guarantee the delay, however, as all 27 other member states of the EU must approve as well. Parliament also voted on a whether to have a second Brexit referendum, but this proposition was defeated. Lastly, a proposal which would have granted the Parliament more control over the specifics of the Brexit agreement was narrowly rejected in a vote of 314 to 312.
Writing contributed by Ben Richmond and Benjamin Barth.