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'Special Mission' To Crush Protests in DR Congo: Daily Brief

Plus: Too many children die from pollution; Western Balkans & war crimes; Back to business in Turkey?; Education for children with disabilities in South Africa; Poland no friend to women; How not to fix Human Rights Council; Remembering Peter Takirambudde; Winter threat to asylum seekers in Greece.


  1. The US Supreme Court will allow President Trump's travel ban affecting residents of six majority-Muslim countries to be implemented while legal challenges to the rule continue in lower courts. The abusive travel ban has been decried as discriminatory and unfair. The Court will decide on the future of the ban at a later date, but its enforcement in the meantime could negatively affect many people seeking to come to the US.
  2. Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was killed earlier today while fleeing heavy fighting in the capital Sanaa. Saleh ruled as a strongman in Yemen from 1990 until stepping down in 2012 as Arab Spring protests swept through the country. Yemen's war continues to be disastrous for civilians stuck inside, with famine approaching, and a cholera epidemic plaguing thousands. Aid is desperately needed inside the country, and warring parties should ensure it reaches civilians immediately. Saleh's death "triggered major upheaval" in Sanaa.
  3. Sexual violence against children in Ecuador is a widespread problem. In November, prosecutors said they received 4,864 complaints in the last three years, but it is expected that only 15% of cases of sexual violence are ever reported. It's time for Ecuador to take serious steps against sexual violence, and protect children.
  4. Turkey's ruthless crackdown is not only targeting critics in the media and members of civil society. The government is also turning an eye toward business interests in the country. This should concern the heads of European companies, and might be a good opportunity for them to step up pressure on the Turkish government to end its abusive crackdown on free speech.
  5. From earlier today: Senior security force officers in the Democratic Republic of Congo mobilized over 200 former M23 rebel fighters from neighboring countries to quash protests against President Joseph Kabila in December 2016, HRW said in a report released today. Kabila has since strengthened his hold on power and delayed elections, raising concerns that planned protests will be met with further violence and repression.
  6. Some 1.7 million children under 5 die each year because of the unhealthy environment around them, according to the World Health Organization.
  7. Unless governments in the Western Balkans, and their European Union and United States partners, redouble their efforts to bring those responsible for wartime crimes to justice, there is a danger that history will repeat itself.