NEWS RELEASES - The International Center for Peace and Human Rights’ (CIPADH) press review aims to provide a brief overview of current affairs pertaining to human rights. This week, we cast an eye on three events: the United States of America’s (USA) potential re-entering in the Paris climate deal, the military academy attack in Kabul (Afghanistan), and the return of the former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont to the forefront of Spanish politics.
The USA and the Paris climate deal
On Monday, January 29, 2018, The Guardian reported that USA President Donald Trump was considering re-entering the Paris climate deal, claiming he is “a believer in clean air and clean water”, but that the present accords would have been a disaster for the US economy. The BBC added that it is unclear if the Trump administration has since began any negotiations, which will represent a major challenge in light of French President Emmanuel Macron’s December statement that he would not agree to any bargaining. Trump has declared he has no problem with the deal itself, but is looking to renegotiate in order to maintain a domestic “business that can compete”. On this subject, Libération argued that Trump is using the climate deal to criticize the Obama administration, which according to him had neglected the USA’s economic interests - being a country rich in natural resources such as oil, coal and gas -, when signing the accord.
Kabul deadly attack
On the same day, Le Monde announced the attack of a military academy in Kabul, Afghanistan, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility through a message on their ‘propaganda’ tool Aamaq. The media outlet claimed it had already been victim of a raid in October, when a suicide bomber threw himself at a bus transporting 15 young soldiers. This week, The Guardian noted that 11 military men have been killed, 16 wounded, four of the five attackers neutralized, and the remaining one captured. The Marshal Fahim military academy is supposedly a “well-defended” location, and has now become the latest target in a wave of violence carried out by insurgents in Afghanistan. Al Jazeera shared the declarations of Abdullah Fahimi, lecturer at Abu Rayhan University in Kabul, who stated that there had indeed been a sharp increase of attacks by armed groups in the past two winters, which “comes in response to the aggressive strategy followed by the Afghan government as well as the US government, which slapped sanctions on six members of Taliban and the Haqqani Network”.
Catalan politics and the return of Carles Puigdemont
Finally, it has been revealed this week that the “fugitive former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont” is hoping to return to office, three months after he was sacked by the Spanish government for the unauthorized referendum organized under his authority. Indeed, in the December election, the pro-independence Catalan parties retained their majority and Puigdemont - who is currently facing arrest on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds upon setting foot on Spanish territory -, was the only candidate proposed for president. However, an article published in El Pais explained that the Spanish Constitutional Court prohibited on Saturday his investiture, a decision that was called a “monstrosity from a legal standpoint” by his lawyer. Puigdemont’s defense team considers this decision “null and void” because the Court supposedly preemptively interpreted Parliament rulings. Les Echos clarified that the Constitutional Court unanimously rejected the former president’s request to be sworn in through a video conference, finding it mandatory for him to be physically present, which he is unable to do without a legal authorization. The Court consequently granted him ten days to accept or decline the invitation.
By Manon Fabre – Research Assistant at CIPADH