Iran has recently announced that countries in the Persian Gulf will be forming a regional naval alliance to ensure their collective maritime security. The proposal, if executed, would be one of the most important regional security initiatives after the China-mediated rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran in March this year. The alliance is expected to be an alternative to the existing US-led naval force in the region with strong backing from China.
China may have an important role to play in the proposed maritime alliance, as per reports. Iranâ€™s Navy commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani claimed that the alliance will include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Bahrain, and Iraq. Irani further claimed that the alliance will also include India and Pakistan, countries which are located around the northern Indian ocean.Â Â
At least 288 people have lost their lives and nearly 1,000 have been injured in the one of the worst accidents in Indiaâ€™s railway history in Odishaâ€™s Balasore on June 4. The preliminary probe has indicated human error while the others have cited the governmentâ€™s poor investment and haste toward privatizing the sector while overlooking the safety and security measures. As investigations continue into the railway accident in Balasore in the Indian State of Odisha, the failure to address staffing and safety has been widely condemned. Both trains had an estimated 2,000 passengers on board.
On May 29, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni gave his assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (now Act), 2023. While same-sex relations were already criminalized under Ugandaâ€™s Penal Code, the new legislation goes much further making the â€œoffense of homosexualityâ€ punishable by life imprisonment and even death.
Under the law, â€œa person who commits the offense of homosexualityâ€ â€” defined solely as â€œthe performance of a sexual act by a person on another person of the same sexâ€ â€” will be sentenced to life imprisonment.
The offense of â€œaggravated homosexualityâ€ â€” defined in the Act as circumstances including if â€œthe offender is a serial offender,â€ or if the sexual act involves people living with HIV â€” carries the death penalty.Â
On May 29, Bola Tinubu was sworn in as the President of Nigeria, amidst mounting pressure to address the countryâ€™s persistent economic and security issues. The inauguration ceremony, held at Eagles Square in the capital city of Abuja, was attended by both local and foreign dignitaries.
71-year-old Tinubu succeeds the former Army General Muhammadu Buhari of the same party. His victory in the February elections has been met with challenges, as his opponents have raised allegations of electoral fraud. As the new leader, Tinubu is expected to confront the countryâ€™s economic distress, security concerns, and the need for political stability.
United Nations (UN) experts have condemned a second cut in food aid to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh due to a shortfall of $56 million at the World Food Programme (WFP). The cut will affect approximately 1 million Rohingya refugees living in camps in Bangladeshâ€™s Coxâ€™s Bazar.
Individual monthly rations had been cut from $12 to $10 in March and fell to $8 from June 1.
The agency said this would have â€œdire consequences not only on nutrition for women and children but also protection, safety and security for everyone in the campsâ€.
The military authorities in Myanmar are being accused of using the courts to throttle the anti-junta opponents, at least 19 lawyers have admitted to have experienced “intimidation and surveillance by junta authorities”. As of June 2023, at least 52 lawyers reportedly faced legal action since the 2021 coup, Human Rights Watch stressed.
In its latest report â€œOur Numbers are Dwindlingâ€, examines the junta authoritiesâ€, that highlights the consistent pattern of harassment, surveillance, arrests, and cases of torture number of lawyers are undergoing under the junta rule. The rights body said junta authorities permit lawyers to speak to their clients only on the day of the hearing, and often deny requests from lawyers to see their clients in prison.
About 32 lawyers remain detained in pretrial detention with little evidence supporting the charges against them, the report quoting the estimates of Assistant Association of Political Prisoner (AAPP), a local monitoring group that suggest 23,000 people have been arrested by the junta since the coup in February 2021.