Americas: Thousands of Argentinians commemorate coup as President Milei downplays past

Sectors: all
Key Risks: civil unrest

In Argentina, on 24 March, thousands marched nationwide to commemorate the 48th anniversary of the 1976 military coup that lasted until 1983 and led to widespread repression, kidnap, murder and torture of over 30,000 people. Protesters denounced far-right libertarian President Javier Milei’s – whom critics previously accused of downplaying the dictatorship’s atrocities – release of a video demanding justice for the victims of leftist guerillas that predated the coup. Demonstrators also condemned the government’s increasing authoritarianism. In its first 100 days in office, Milei’s government – which took office on 10 December – banned protests involving roadblocks, closed the state news agency Telam due to an alleged political bias, scrapped the Women’s Ministry and National Institute against Discrimination and loosened rules on police shooting. Further similar protests should be expected at least during Milei’s initial months in office.

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Asia Pacific: Chinese water cannon attacks exacerbate tensions with Manila in South China Sea

Sectors: all
Key Risks: war at sea; accidental conflict; regional conflict

In the South China Sea, on 23 March the China Coast Guard (CCG) fired water cannons against the Philippines’ Unaizah May 4 civilian ship as it was on a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre, an old warship that was purposefully grounded in the Second Thomas Shoal, which in recent years has become the focal point in a territorial standoff between China and the Philippines. The ship sustained “heavy damage” and three navy personnel were injured in the incident. Manila lodged a formal diplomatic protest at Beijing for its “aggressive actions” in the disputed waters. The incident followed a 5 March collision incident between CCG and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels during a similar resupply mission in which the CCG also deployed water cannons. Further maritime confrontations are likely, which will further deteriorate bilateral relations and heighten the risk of accidental conflict.

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Eurasia: At least 137 killed in IS-claimed attack on concert venue in Krasnogorsk, Moscow Oblast

Sectors: all
Key Risks: extremist attacks; police crackdown

In Russia, on 22 March at least 137 people were killed and over 100 others were injured after four gunmen stormed the Crocus City Hall concert venue in Krasnogorsk, Moscow Oblast. The gunmen managed to escape but on 23 March authorities arrested four Tajik nationals who they claimed had led the attack, as well as eight others who allegedly supported it. Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack. President Vladimir Putin attempted to lay blame on Ukraine by claiming that the suspects were arrested while seeking to flee there. Kyiv denied any involvement. On 25 March Kyrgyzstan warned its citizens not to travel to Russia amid reports of police profiling of Central Asian migrant workers. It remains to be seen how Moscow will frame its response to the attack but further raids on suspected extremist groups are likely in the coming weeks.

Click here to access Russia’s Global Intake country profile.

Europe: Increased risk of snap elections in Bulgaria

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political instability

In Bulgaria, on 24 March Foreign Minister and prime minister nominee Mariya Gabriel of the GERB party stated that no deal had been reached to form a government with coalition partner We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria (PP-DB), despite weeks of intensive negotiations. On 25 March Gabriel officially withdrew her candidacy for prime minister. President Rumen Radev will likely appoint PP-DB to form a government but their chances to do so are slim. Gabriel was nominated to form a government on 18 March as a part of a power-sharing deal struck between GERB and PP-DB in May 2022 following a two-year-long political impasse and five snap elections which failed to produce a government. Failure by the two parties’ second candidate to form a government – followed by a third candidate from another party – would trigger snap elections. Such a crisis will further undermine public trust in institutions.

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MENA: UN Security Council passes ceasefire resolution amid mounting aid needs in Gaza

Sectors: all
Key risks: war, humanitarian crisis

In Gaza, on 24 March UNRWA Commissioner Philippe Lazzarini revealed that Israeli authorities informed UN officials that UN food convoys to northern Gaza – where more than 500,000 people face starvation – will no longer be granted access. This came amid deteriorating humanitarian conditions in a move that Lazzarini condemned as “intentional obstruction to life-saving assistance.” Concurrently, on 25 March the UN Security Council adopted a draft resolution brought forward by non-permanent members demanding an immediate ceasefire “leading to a lasting sustainable ceasefire” and unrestricted access to humanitarian aid. This followed a 22 March US draft ceasefire resolution which was vetoed by Russia and China on the basis that it fell short of demanding an immediate ceasefire. Whether the resolution which passed with 14 votes in favour and one abstention – the US’s – will be implemented by Tel Aviv remains unclear.

Click here to access Gaza and the West Bank‘s Global Intake country profile. 

Sub-Saharan Africa: Political violence risks likely to increase ahead of Chad’s 6 May elections

Sectors: all
Key risks: political instability; civil unrest 

In Chad, on 24 March the Constitutional Council barred outspoken opposition candidates Nassour Ibrahim Neguy Koursami and Rakhis Ahmat Saled from contesting the 6 May presidential elections. However, interim President Mahamat Idris Deby and Succes Masra – the Prime Minister of the transitional government – were approved as candidates. This is the first time in the country’s history that a president and prime minister will compete in a presidential election. The first round of the presidential election is scheduled for 6 May, with a run-off scheduled on 22 June. Provisional results are expected to be released on 7 July. The exclusion of prominent opposition figures will likely trigger opposition protests in the coming days. In addition, it will increase the risk of election result disputes and post-election violence.

Click here to access Chad’s Global Intake country profile.