Council on Foreign Relations: Daily News Brief Sept. 1, 2022

Top of the Agenda

Delayed UN Report Details China’s Human Rights Violations in XinjiangA UN human rights office report [PDF] issued yesterday said the Chinese government’s detentions of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim groups in the Xinjiang region could constitute “crimes against humanity.” The report noted (NYT) that two-thirds of former detainees interviewed described treatment “that would amount to torture and/or other forms of ill treatment.” The report stopped short of calling China’s actions “genocide,” as the United States has done. 

Human rights groups have criticized UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet over a nearly yearlong delay in the report’s release. The report asks that Beijing (AP) release those who have been arbitrarily detained and disclose the whereabouts of individuals who are missing. Beijing denounced the report as a fabrication, while Uyghur activists celebrated its release.   

“If the report is strong, it greatly helps the Uyghur campaigns in various places around the world, it should spur at least some key governments to take a stronger stand, and it would ideally persuade the Chinese that they need to further ameliorate their policies,” New York University’s Philip Alston tells CNN.
“After this landmark UN report, what next? It’s a long process – rights activists hope for a *formal investigation* into Xinjiang (this was not that, in UN terms) followed by creation of a new mechanism to prosecute, which would be years down the line,” the Financial Times’ Yuan Yang tweets. This Backgrounder looks at China’s repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
Pacific Rim

U.S. Tightens Restrictions on Chip Exports to ChinaCalifornia-based companies Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices told Nikkei that U.S. authorities introduced new bans on selling some of their chips to China. Beijing said it is “firmly opposed” to new export controls.
South and Central Asia

Sri Lanka-IMF Agreement Hinges on Cooperation of Other CreditorsSri Lanka and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reached a preliminary agreement (Nikkei) on an emergency loan of $2.9 billion. The fund emphasized that other creditors, including China, will need to cooperate with debt restructuring. For Foreign Affairs, Shantayanan Devarajan and Homi Kharas discuss whether Sri Lanka’s troubles herald more debt crises

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called for early presidential elections (RFE/RL) in a speech. Tokayev was criticized for his handling of anti-government protests in January. 
Middle East and North Africa

Iraq Clashes Shift to Southern City of BasraFour people died in clashes (Reuters) between rival Shiite Muslim militant groups, which appeared to be a continuation of street fighting that occurred in Baghdad earlier this week, officials said. CFR’s Max Boot explains how recent inter-Shia strife is threatening Iraqi security. 

An Israeli missile attack targeted the airport (AP) in the Syrian city of Aleppo, a war monitor said. No casualties were immediately reported.
Sub-Saharan Africa

Zambia’s IMF Bailout Marks Progress for G20 Debt-Restructuring PlanZambia’s $1.3 billion bailout (Bloomberg) comes after the country participated in a framework for pandemic debt restructuring organized by Group of Twenty (G20) countries. 

Fighting between government forces and Tigrayan rebels has expanded to a new front (RFI) near Ethiopia’s border with Sudan, a government statement said.

Russia Begins Military Exercises With Countries Including China, IndiaA White House spokesperson said Washington is “concerned” (ANI) about India’s participation in the so-called Vostok drills, which are set to run through September 5. Belarus, Mongolia, and Tajikistan are among the participants. 

Russian forces and their separatist allies in Ukraine have forcibly transferred (WaPo) hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians to Russia since the start of its invasion, according to reports by Human Rights Watch and Yale University’s Humanitarian Research Lab.

Venezuelan Emigration Picks Up After Pandemic Pause While some 150,000 Venezuelans returned home at the height of the pandemic, at least 753,000 left the country since November, the Associated Press reported. Around 6.8 million people have fled Venezuela amid the economic and political crisis that began in 2014.

In August, the number of fires detected in the Amazon Rainforest reached its highest level (Axios) since 2010, according to Brazil’s space research institute. This In Brief explains how deforestation of the Amazon makes it harder for the rain forest to recover from fires and other disasters.
United States
Democrat Defeats Sarah Palin in Alaska ElectionDemocratic candidate Mary Peltola defeated former Governor Sarah Palin (Politico) in a special election for Alaska’s seat in the House of Representatives. It was the state’s first election with ranked-choice voting. Peltola, who is Yup’ik, will be the first Alaska Native in the House of Representatives. 
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