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Hello, this is Pip, and today we’re hearing about the impact of sanctions on humanitarian organisations and why it could be time for a rethink. We’re also getting the latest update on talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal, and looking at which organisations will bear the brunt of UK aid cuts.

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Pip Cook


Peace and humanitarian news

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An anti-military coup protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, 03 May 2021. Governments including the US and UK have been urged to impose more sanctions on military leaders as violence in the country continues to escalate. (EPA / Stringer)

🚫 Are sanctions an effective foreign policy tool? From targeting corrupt Russian officials to cutting off members of the Myanmar military junta, the first months of 2021 have brought a fresh wave of sanctions introduced by countries around the world. But as the use of sanctions becomes more frequent, there are concerns they could be becoming less effective while their humanitarian repercussions worsen.

Geneva Solutions (EN)

🤝 US and Iran make headway on nuclear deal talks, but progress is slow. Hopes of a genuine breakthrough in the Iran nuclear negotiations taking place in Vienna are growing. But with Iranian elections looming, diplomats are reportedly frustrated by the slow progress in efforts to get the two sides back into compliance with the 2015 deal. Observers say the next two weeks will be crucial.


💷 Who will feel the impact of UK aid cuts? The UK’s announcement that it has made a significant cut to its 2021 foreign aid spending commitment was met with outcry from UN agencies last week, as it emerged humanitarian aid will bear the brunt. UNICEF is reportedly facing a 60 per cent cut to its funding, while the UNFPA has said about 85 per cent of its aid will be cut.

Reuters (EN)

Here’s what else is happening

Image of the day

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A man refills his oxygen supply in Delhi, 1 May 2021. (EPA / Idrees Mohammed)

India calls for help fighting second wave. With more than 300,000 daily cases reported for the past two weeks, India is in the midst of battling a ferocious second wave of Covid-19 which has crippled its fragile healthcare system. A shortage of medical oxygen has emerged as the most serious challenge, with the UK, US and EU countries sending ventilators and other supplies to the country last week. The authorities in the capital Delhi have called for help from the army to run intensive care units.


Number of the day

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Image: Supporters of journalist Choy Yuk-ling, who was found guilty of making false statements and fined 6,000 Hong Kong dollars ($ 775) on 22 April, demonstrate outside her trial. (AP Photo / Kin Cheung)

Attacks on press freedom grow bolder. Hong Kong, Myanmar, Belarus, India – just a few countries where journalists are being arrested, attacked and even murdered at the hands of increasingly emboldened authoritarian regimes. According to the International Press Institute (IPI), 49 journalists were killed in the last year. The Covid pandemic has made the situation worse, with 635 press freedom violations linked to the pandemic since February 2020.

International Press Institute (IPI) (EN)

Next on the agenda

📍10 May | Democracy vs. illiberal democracy: which will win in eastern Europe? A growing number of countries are moving away from liberal democratic norms and towards more authoritarian tendencies. What is fuelling these changes, and how will they progress in the future?

Network 2020 (EN)

📍12 May | Tackling malnutrition: improving food and health systems. Each year, malnutrition kills more children than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. In order to tackle this, an overhaul of the world’s food and health system is needed.

Devex (EN)

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