Americas: Government pushes for new legislation amid increased violence in Chile’s south

Sectors: all; agriculture; forestry; cargo transport; security
Key Risks: terrorism; arson attacks; land occupations; blockades; civil unrest

On 2 May the Senate approved a new Anti-Terrorism Law, aimed at modernising the current legislation which dates back to 1984. The proposed new bill would increase penalties for terrorist acts, expand the scope of terrorist offences and broaden the definition of terrorist association. The bill was prioritised following the 27 April killing of three police officers in a suspected Mapuche-related shooting attack in Canete, Bio Bio region. The officers were attacked while responding to three false emergency calls and their bodies were subsequently burned in their vehicle. While the identity of the assailants remained unconfirmed, enduring tensions between the state and the Mapuche indigenous people have escalated in the region in recent years. The law will now advance to the Chamber of Deputies. Even if it is signed into law, the risk of Mapuche-related violence will remain high in Bio Bio, Araucania, Los Rios and Los Lagos regions.

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

Asia Pacific: China discloses South China Sea agreement with former Philippine president Duterte

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political instability; war at sea; accidental conflict

In the Philippines, on 4 May the Chinese Embassy in Manila publicly unveiled for the first time details of a widely-speculated secret gentlemen’s agreement between Chinese President Xi Jinping and former president Rodrigo Duterte over access to Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, struck during the latter’s 2016 visit to China. The “temporary special arrangements” included allowing small-scale commercial fishing while restricting access to Philippine military, coast guard and government vessels and aircraft. Beijing attributed the “ceaseless disputes” between the two countries in the contested waters to Manila’s alleged breaches of the agreement. While Duterte has denied any agreement that would have supposedly surrendered Philippine sovereignty, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stated that he has rescinded any such deal that may exist. The move will likely further deteriorate bilateral relations and sustain the likelihood of continued maritime confrontations.

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Eurasia: March against border demarcation in Armenia’s Tavush region to reach Yerevan on 9 May

Sectors: all
Key Risks: civil unrest; political instability

In Armenia, on 9 May protesters are expected to reach Yerevan, concluding their six-day-long march from the village of Kirants in Tavush region in protest against the government’s 19 April decision to unilaterally cede control of four villages in the region to Azerbaijan. Organisers stated that they plan to deliver their list of demands to the government, which suggests that they will rally towards government buildings once reaching the capital. It is likely that the march – currently approximately 100 people strong – will significantly grow in the city as more opponents of the handover will join. The march is expected to cause disruptions along roads towards Yerevan and within the city. Scuffles between protesters and police cannot be ruled out. The risk of further protests will remain high in the coming weeks – particularly in Yerevan and Tavush – amid the ongoing demarcation process, scheduled to conclude by July.

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

Europe: North Macedonia heads for general elections and presidential run-off on 8 May

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political stability; policy uncertainty; EU integration

In North Macedonia, on 8 May citizens will vote in the second round of the presidential election alongside parliamentary elections. On 25 April opposition nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party’s Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova won the presidential election’s first round, securing 40.1 per cent of the vote. The ruling Social Democratic Union (SDSM)’s President Stevo Pendarovski secured 19.9 per cent and the ethnic Albanian DUI party’s Bujar Osmani secured 14.9 per cent. While the presidency is largely ceremonial, Siljanovska-Davkova’s initial victory signalled growing support for VMRO-DPMNE ahead of the general elections in which the centre-right opposition coalition led by VMRO is projected to win. The coalition has opposed Bulgaria’s demand to officially recognise the country’s Bulgarian minority in the constitution – a key obstacle to Skopje’s bid for EU membership. A victory for the opposition coalition would likely increase uncertainty over Skopje’s path to EU integration.

Click here to access North Macedonia’s Global Intake country profile.

MENA: Israeli forces in early stages of ground invasion in southern Gaza

Sectors: all
Key risks: war; humanitarian crisis

In Gaza, on 6 May Israel Defense Forces (IDF) instructed around 100,000 residents and displaced Palestinians to evacuate the eastern section of Rafah – the enclave’s southernmost city – and relocate to al-Mawasi refugee camp, west of Khan Yunis. Subsequently, IDF launched its long-anticipated ground operations in Rafah, entering through the east with tanks and infantry. On the same day, Hamas reportedly agreed to the latest Egyptian-Qatari ceasefire proposal which provided for the gradual cessation of hostilities and release of all Israeli hostages. On 7 May the government of Israel rejected the latest ceasefire proposal and IDF later announced that it had taken full operational control of the Gazan side of the Rafah border crossing – the sole entry and exit point between Gaza and Egypt. Israeli operations in densely populated Rafah are likely to cause significant humanitarian casualties and further exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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

Sub-Saharan Africa: Mozambique’s ruling FRELIMO party elects new presidential candidate

Sectors: all
Key risks: political stability; policy continuity

In Mozambique, on 5 May the ruling FRELIMO party selected Inhambane Governor Daniel Chapo as its presidential candidate in the upcoming 9 October general elections. Chapo secured 94.1 per cent of the vote during an extraordinary session of the FRELIMO Central Committee. Chapo’s victory came as a surprise as he has never served in the cabinet or held any senior position within the party. His selection will partially neutralise factional divisions within the ruling party between supporters of President Filipi Nyusi and former party leader Armando Guebuza. FRELIMO is facing a major electoral challenge from the opposition RENAMO party which made significant gains in the October 2023 local elections. Chapo’s candidacy is also aimed at appealing to the young electorate disgruntled by rising unemployment. His bid will likely ensure political stability within FRELIMO and policy continuity in government.

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