Burundians Told to Vote "Yes" or Else: Daily Brief

Plus: Armenia's protests; UK Windrush scandal; Poland's rule-of-law crisis; Abuses in minerals supply chains; Criminalizing rescue in the Mediterranean; Letting refugees kids stay in school in Lebanon; Accused ISIS women & kids abused in Iraq; Morocco's World Cup bid; and Pulitzer for Burma photos


  1. Burundi government forces and ruling party members have killed, beaten, and intimidated perceived opponents of a constitutional referendum set for a 17 May vote that would enable the president to extend his term in office. The abuse reflects the widespread impunity for local authorities, the police, and members of the ruling party’s youth league, the Imbonerakure.
  2. Since Friday, protests have swept Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, on news that the country’s outgoing president – who has served the maximum two terms – plans to become prime minister. Many Armenians believe this would amount to a de facto third term as president. Parliament is set to vote for prime minster today, and the president, Serzh Sargsyan, is the ruling party’s candidate.
  3. In the UK, a scandal has emerged over the fate of "Windrush" children, Commonwealth citizens who came to Britain from the Caribbean with their parents decades ago, but are now incorrectly being told they are here illegally. Some have lost their jobs and homes, while others have been deported, despite living lawfully in the UK for nearly all their lives.
  4. During a visit last week to Warsaw, the European Commission’s vice president, Frans Timmermans, hinted about possible solutions to the Polish government’s attacks on the country’s judicial system. Let’s hope they don’t include a wobbly compromise that does little to address the damage done by a government seemingly determined to bend the courts to its will.
  5. This week, a gathering of governments, companies and civil society groups at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris will assess companies’ efforts to curb serious abuses in their minerals supply chains. Many companies are still failing badly.
  6. A new regulation allowing some Syrian teenagers to get temporary legal status in Lebanon more easily is a positive and long-awaited step. Lebanese authorities should ensure that all children can maintain legal status, a key factor in fulfilling their right to an education.
  7. An Italian judge has decided to release a refugee rescue ship from sequester. The charges against ship's crew remain, however.
  8. Iraqi women and children alleged to have previous ties to ISIS "are being denied humanitarian aid and prevented from returning to their homes, with an alarming number of women subjected to sexual violence", Amnesty International has said in a report today.
  9. Reuters photographers have won a Pulitzer Prize for shocking photographs that helped expose the world to the violence Rohingya refugees faced in fleeing Myanmar.