December 10, 2023

Global News Dispatches: 4 Stories from Globetrotter

By Global News Service

From the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

  • Sudanese Army and Rapid Support Forces Extend Fragile Ceasefire by Five Days
  • Nicolás Maduro Makes Historic Trip to Brazil for South American Presidents’ Summit
  • WFP Expected to Cut Food Aid to Palestine Due to Lack of Funding
  • People’s Health Tribunal Finds Shell and Total Energy Guilty of Harming African Communities

Sudanese Army and Rapid Support Forces Extend Fragile Ceasefire by Five Days

The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) agreed to extend a fragile truce by five days on May 29. The truce, which came into effect on May 22, was marked by violations although the intensity of fighting decreased. Over 850 civilians have died and over 3,600 have been injured since fighting broke out on April 15. Nearly 1.4 million have been displaced.

On May 28, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, which had jointly mediated the ceasefire, released a statement highlighting violations by both parties. The statement said that while the SAF violated the prohibition against aerial attacks, the RSF had “continued encroachment in civilian areas.” Among the buildings occupied by the RSF was the office of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP).

SCP spokesperson Fathi Elfadl told Peoples Dispatch that no humanitarian corridor had been set up and areas worst affected by the fighting had not received aid. In fact, the U.S.-Saudi statement said that both SAF and RSF forces had stolen consignments of humanitarian aid.

Civilians have borne the brunt of the conflict. Prices of bottled water, food, and fuel have gone up between 40 and 60 percent in conflict-affected areas. The World Food Program (WFP) projects that 18 million people will be left unable to afford basic food by as early as August if the fighting continues.

The fighting in Sudan was the culmination of months of tension between top generals who had staged a coup in October 2021 and severely repressed civilian protesters who were demanding democracy.


Nicolás Maduro Makes Historic Trip to Brazil for South American Presidents’ Summit

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro participated in a joint press conference on May 29 from the Planalto Palace in Brasília, highlighting the importance of resuming ties. The press conference was held following a bilateral meeting between the heads of state ahead of the South American Presidents’ Summit.

As Lula told media, “This is a historic moment. After eight years, President Nicolás Maduro is back to visiting Brazil and we have recovered our right to have a foreign policy with the seriousness we have always had, especially with the countries that border Brazil.”

Their meeting took place days after Lula and Maduro appointedambassadors to each other’s countries on May 24, and formalized the reestablishment of relations.

According to statements from their governments, the meeting focused on reactivating trade between the two countries, cooperation on issues regarding the Amazon, advancing regional integration, and issues related to their 1,366-mile border. At the press conference, Lula highlighted that at its height, the flow of trade between the two nations had reached $6 billion and it had now dropped to $2 billion, which he argued “is bad for Venezuela and Brazil.” Lula also said that he is in favor of Venezuela joining BRICS.

Maduro commented on the challenges the country underwent when “Brazil closed all of the doors and windows, despite being neighboring countries, countries that love each other as people.” He recalled an attempt to invade the Venezuelan embassy in Brasília, which was defended by Brazilian social movements and solidarity groups. “Today, a new chapter of relations between our countries begins,” he said.


WFP Expected to Cut Food Aid to Palestine Due to Lack of Funding

Almost 200,000 Palestinians could be without critical humanitarian food aid starting next month, according to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). The agency had said earlier this month that almost 60 percent of Palestinians it was providing food vouchers for will stop receiving them by June, due to an acute funding deficit.

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza are suffering from decades of economic decline due to the constraints, barriers, and restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation as well as frequent Israeli raids and attacks. According to the latest WFP statistics, 1.84 million Palestinians, or roughly about 35 percent of the total population, are currently suffering from food insecurity at various levels.

According to reports, the WFP will be forced to close down its operations in the West Bank and Gaza by August if there is no new funding by then.

The WFP estimates that $51 million is required to continue its operations in Palestine until the end of this year. It has called for regular, stable funding to continue providing vital food aid to Palestinians in the coming years. The food aid program for Palestine has reportedly already been reduced by 20 percent for May 2023.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” said Samer Abdeljaber, WFP representative and country director in Palestine. “We have no option but to stretch the limited resources we have to ensure that the needs of the most vulnerable families are met. They will go hungry without food assistance.”


People’s Health Tribunal Finds Shell and Total Energy Guilty of Harming African Communities

A panel of environmental and human rights activists acted as judges in a People’s Health Tribunal organized by communities on the African continent impacted by the operations of extractive corporations Shell and TotalEnergies. Supported by organizations like Medact, We the People, the People’s Health Movement, and #StopEACOP, on May 20, the Tribunal found the corporations guilty of harming the health of people across Africa.

Nnimmo Bassey, Jacqueline Patterson, Kanahus Manuel, and Dimah Mahmoud condemned Shell and Total’s activities, stating that they were “extremely harmful to the livelihoods, health, right to shelter, quality of life, right to live in dignity, quality of environment, right to live free of discrimination and oppression, right to clean water, and right to self-determination.” This edition of the People’s Health Tribunal was built as activists witnessed extensive greenwashing by the oil and gas industry at COP27 in Egypt last year.

Decades of exploitation of African land have resulted in devastating consequences, including air pollution, water contamination, deforestation, violence, land grabbing, and forced migration. Omar Elmawi, who provided an overview of TotalEnergies’s impact on Mozambican communities, emphasized that in the current situation, “everyone loses, except Total.” Elmawi said he believed that African countries must take control of their own resources and development to make sure that justice is restored.

Governments in the Global North, where most extractive corporations have their headquarters, still choose to ignore the destruction caused by these industries. In 2022, Shell made a profit of $40 billion, while TotalEnergies ended the year with $36 billion in profits.

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