International Trade Law
Forced Labour Claims in China may Hinder Fisheries Subsidies Agreement
The United States has imposed a ban on seafood imports from several Chinese longliners after accusations were raised that some vessels imposed forced labour standards on fishing vessels. The latest fishing vessel to be banned from importing to the United States is a Fijian based fishing vessel. The United States has increased their efforts of curtailing fishing vessels from exploiting vulnerable migrants from poor countries. Concern has been raised that the ban imposed by the US may jeopardize the on going Fisheries Subsidies negotiations. (To read more see here, here and here)
International Investment Law
End of Retrospective Taxation in India
After years of arbitrations and appeals, India is currently in talks with the Vodafone Group and Cairn Energy to settle their long standing dispute that arose due to the retrospective 2012 amendment to their taxation laws. India which has suffered losses in both cases initially hoped to challenge the two awards. Cairn Energy has even succeeded in seizing properties owned by the Indian government in France for the fulfilment of its award. To rectify the issues created by the 2012 amendment, the Lok Sabha intends to pass the Taxation laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which will remove the retrospective taxation amendment (To read more see here, here and here).
Conflict and Security
Taliban on the Verge of Taking over Afghanistan
While the United States has not completely withdrawn their troops, the Taliban in the past few weeks have managed to rapidly capture several key areas in Afghanistan. On Sunday, Taliban forces quickly captured the capital of the country, Kabul. The president of Afghanistan- Ashraf Ghani was seen fleeing the country with a helicopter. The capture of Kabul and President Ghani fleeing the country were seen as indication that Taliban has effectively completed the capture of Afghanistan.
Video footage has shown thousands of civilians trying to board a US military plane as it was taxied on the runaway and some have even resorted to hiding themselves within the wheels of an airplane prior to take off which has resulted in their death. Taliban forces have fired warning shots near the airport to prevent any more civilians from fleeing the country.
International Human Rights
Protests in the United States Against Pakistan’s Domestic and Foreign Policy
Members of the Baloch, Sindhi, and Afghan community in the United States have held peaceful protests in front of the Pakistan embassy in Washington against the human rights violations in Pakistan. The protestors demanded that the United States government impose sanctions against Pakistan. The protestors have stated that their primary concern is Pakistan’s treatment of its minority groups and its funding of the Taliban. (To read more see here and here).
UN Calls for a Suspension of Pegasus
Human rights experts in the United Nations have called for a global moratorium on the use of the Pegasus spyware after numerous reports around the world have revealed its widespread use to monitor politicians, activists and journalists. UN human rights experts have urged Israel to review the recent transactions of NSO which created the spyware. While the NSO claim that the various allegations are misreported and exaggerated, the United Nations along with the heads of States in various countries such as France believe that the Pegasus spyware has indeed been used to invade the privacies of many influential individuals. (To read more see here and here)
Human Rights Violations Being Committed by Taliban
With the Taliban on the verge of capturing Afghanistan, human rights groups are concerned that many Afghans are in danger of persecution. Individuals who are in particular danger include academics, women, writers, journalists, translators, and Shia Muslims. The Human Rights Watch group has warned that the Taliban has a long record of abuse and killing with respect to civilians they consider as enemies. The High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated that the recent push by the Taliban to capture key cities in Afghanistan may have seen acts that could constitutes crimes against humanity such as the execution of surrendering government troops.(To read more see here and here)