Americas: General Confederation of Workers of Peru calls for nationwide demonstrations

Sectors: all
Key Risks:  civil unrest; business disruption

In Peru, on 21 May, the General Confederation of Workers of Peru union called for nationwide demonstrations on 30 May to commemorate the 95th anniversary of its founding and protest alleged democratic backsliding under President Dina Boluarte’s government. The announcement came after Congress refused to discuss three motions of censure presented to impeach Boluarte on 14 May for alleged attacks on the separation of state powers and lack of transparency on reasons for her absence in June 2023. On 4 April Congress also twice rejected attempts to debate launching impeachment proceedings against Boluarte for “permanent moral incapacity” following the resignation of six ministers over an ongoing investigation into Boluarte’s alleged illicit enrichment. Both Congress and Boluarte hold low approval ratings of around 9 per cent. With thousands anticipated to attend the nationwide protest, widespread traffic and business disruption should be expected.

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Asia Pacific: State of emergency to be lifted as voting reforms put on hold in New Caledonia

Sectors: all
Key Risks: civil unrest; political instability; economic risks; business risks

In New Caledonia, on 27 May Paris announced that it would lift the state of emergency – first declared on 15 May – in the overseas territory, as planned on 28 May, to allow conditions for political dialogue and a wider restoration of public order. On 13 May protests against proposed constitutional amendments to expand the political franchise to non-indigenous residents descended into violent clashes, looting, arson, blockades and riots. Seven people have been killed and over 300 others have been injured since the outbreak of unrest. On 23 May French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in the capital Noumea to push for renewed dialogue between the territory’s pro-independence and loyalist blocs, announcing a delay to the voting reforms. Some 3,500 security reinforcements are expected to stay on the island indefinitely amid elevated risks of further unrest as negotiations are likely to remain at an impasse.

Click here to access New Caledonia’s Global Intake country profile.

Eurasia: Georgian parliament set to overturn veto on ‘foreign agents’ law as thousands protest

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political stability; civil unrest

In Georgia, on 28 May thousands of people held a demonstration ahead of parliament’s expected move to overturn President Salome Zourabichvili’s 18 May veto of the controversial ‘foreign agents’ law. On 14 May parliament approved the law, which would allow Tbilisi to label media and civil society groups as “organisations carrying the interests of a foreign power” if they received foreign funding, echoing a 2012 law in Russia that is used to suppress dissent. On 23 May Washington imposed visa restrictions on individuals “responsible for undermining democracy” and launched a review of its bilateral relations with Tbilisi in response to the proposed law. EU officials warned the law does not meet European standards and jeopardises the country’s path to EU membership. Brussels may decide to freeze Tbilisi’s EU candidacy. Further protests with a potential to turn violent cannot be ruled out in the coming weeks.

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Europe: Poland to fortify eastern border with Russia and Belarus amid hybrid attacks

Sectors: all
Key Risks: hybrid warfare; geopolitical tensions; illegal migration

In Poland, on 27 May defence officials unveiled plans to construct a system of fortifications and barriers along the country’s 700 km border with Russia and Belarus. The plan aims to strengthen anti-drone surveillance and military defences in response to Moscow and Minsk’s hybrid warfare attacks – including alleged sabotage plots and the orchestrating of illegal migrant flows into the country from Belarus. This came after on 20 May authorities announced they had arrested nine Polish, Ukrainian and Belarusian nationals on suspicion of collaborating with Russian intelligence services and plotting to carry out sabotage attacks in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and potentially Sweden. The suspects were accused of “beatings, arson and attempted arson”. Further efforts to fortify Warsaw’s eastern border are likely amid heightened tensions with Moscow.

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MENA: Deadly IDF Rafah airstrike sparks global outcry against Tel Aviv 

Sectors: all
Key risks: war; humanitarian crisis

In Gaza, on 26 May 45 Palestinians – mostly displaced women and children – were killed and 249 others were injured in an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) airstrike on a tent camp in Tal al-Sultan area, north of Rafah city, south of the enclave – an area designated as a ‘safe zone’ by the Israeli military. While IDF claimed to have struck a Hamas compound, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the strike a “tragic accident”. This followed a 24 May International Court of Justice (ICJ) binding order for Tel Aviv to halt its military offensive on Rafah, citing the risk of harm to civilians. The ruling was widely dismissed by Israeli officials. The strike on Rafah sparked global outcry, including pro-Palestinian demonstrations in global cities calling for a ceasefire from major world powers. Nevertheless, Israeli military operations in Gaza are expected to continue.

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

Sub-Saharan Africa:  South Africa heads for general elections on 29 May

Sectors: all
Key risks: political uncertainty; political violence; civil unrest

In South Africa, on 29 May general elections to elect members of the National Assembly, National Council of Provinces and members of provincial legislature will be held. A total of 27.79 million citizens are expected to cast their votes at more than 23,000 polling stations. The general elections are anticipated to be the most fiercely contested since the country transitioned to democracy in 1994 and will be a major test for the governing African National Congress (ANC) – which risks losing its absolute majority. Opposition parties like the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are hoping to lure votes from the masses disgruntled with high unemployment, rising crime rates, economic stagnation and the persistent power crisis. The risk of localised unrest and clashes among political party supporters is likely to remain moderate, especially in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.

Click here to access South Africa’s Global Intake country profile.