October 2021: Issue 4

International Investment 

China to allow overseas investment in VPNs

After years of restricting the use and ownership of VPNs, Beijing has agreed to let foreign entities hold up to a 50 per cent stake in domestic VPN companies. China has simultaneously a huge market and strict rules for VPNs as the country’s Great Firewall attempts to keep its residents out of what it deems undesirable content and influence, such as Facebook or international news outlets. Under the new regulations, VPNs must be at least half-owned by Chinese firms. The foreign companies will be expected to maintain internet censorship requirements, store data in local servers that authorities can access, and report those who are using censorship-skirting tech. To read more, click here and here.

Human Rights

Israel Designates Palestinian Human Rights Organizations as “Terrorist” Groups

In the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz outlawed six human rights groups, branding them “terrorist organizations,” in the latest attack on Palestinian rights. The move allows Israel to raid and close the groups’ offices, arrest and imprison their staff and ban their funding. To know more, click here and here.

President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to receive 2021 O’Connor Justice Prize

Elizabeth Odio Benito, President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and former Judge of the International Criminal Court has been named as the seventh recipient of the O’Connor Justice Prize. She was the first female professor at the University of Costa Rica Law School, founded the Human Rights Institute of Costa Rica and has served as the minister of justice of Costa Rica and as a judge on three international tribunals. To know more, click here.

UN sets up a trust fund for ‘people’s economy’

To help ordinary Afghans, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) has announced the launch of a “people’s economy” fund, to provide desperately needed access to cash. The fund will tap into donations frozen since the Taliban takeover in August. To know more, click here and here.

Amnesty International to close its Hong Kong offices due to the National Security Law

Amnesty International has decided to close its offices in Hong Kong because of the threat posed to staff by the national security law that Beijing imposed on the city. The decision ends more than four decades of the international human rights group maintaining a presence in Hong Kong and comes as officials remould the city in mainland China’s authoritarian image. China imposed the national security law last June in response to massive and often violent democracy protests, a move that has transformed Hong Kong’s political, cultural and legal landscape and introduced mainland-style political speech curbs. To read more, click here and here.

Armed Conflict and Security

Global Terror Finance watchdog ‘FATF’ adds Turkey to its Grey List 

An international watchdog downgraded Turkey to its grey list for failing to head off money laundering and terrorist financing, a decision that could further erode foreign investment after a years-long exodus. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), set up by the G7 group of advanced economies to protect the global financial system, also put Mali and Jordan on its increased monitoring list, known as “grey listing.” Citing improvements, it took Botswana and Mauritius off the list, which now includes 23 countries. In essence, in the assessment of the FATF, all these countries have failed to prevent international money laundering and terrorist financing, and are, therefore, on a global watchlist. To read more, click here and here.

Russia to suspend NATO diplomatic mission

According to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Russia is suspending its diplomatic mission to NATO. In addition, staff at NATO’s office in Moscow will be stripped of their accreditation by November. It comes after NATO expelled eight diplomats from Russia’s mission earlier this month, saying they were working as intelligence officers. Relations between NATO and Russia have been strained since Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014. To know more, click here and here.

Edited by Kirti Vardhan Singh

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