China is currently being accused of locking up almost a suspected one million Muslims in the western Xinjiang region without trial or fair cause. These camps were created furtively in the desert, to be far from public scrutiny, but nevertheless were discovered by satellite images and journalists. In these camps, Uighur, Kazakh, and other Muslim groups are whisked from their homes, where they are politically indoctrinated and brainwashed, or “transformed” “reeducated,” as China says it. However, the statement by Shohrat Zakir, the director of these camps, “Its purpose is to get rid of the environment and soil that breeds terrorism and religious extremism,” directly points towards religious targeting and discrimination. China has gone so far as to say residents of these camps like staying there and citing a UN resolution on terrorism to justify this “anti-terrorism initiative” despite reliable reports of torture and heinous crimes being committed in these camps. These camps are only part of the bigger picture. “Regulations on De-extremification” were passed earlier which allowed China to punish acts such as praying, “abnormal” beards, head scarfs, and more.
Recently, the Chinese government has received international backlash for these camps. In the United States, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, despite having a prior anti-Muslim rhetoric, has made public statements denouncing China’s actions. He said, “this is, I think we use the word, or words, historic human rights abuse, and we’re working to convince the Chinese that this practice is abhorrent and ought to be stopped.” In December of last year, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also denounced the camps during a visit to China in December of last year. Multitudes of other countries including Turkey, France, and Canada have made direct statements urging the government to terminate the camps. Western governments have indicated that this topic will be a priority at future Human Rights Council meetings.
The fact that China is willing to unapologetically support its camps, which display conspicuous human rights abuses in its persecution of the Muslim minority, in the face of scrutiny on the world stage should be worrying. China, a country whose main methods of governing involve unrestricted monitoring and a tight grip on all workings of society, this move symbolizes China’s growing indifference of international criticism. If Mao era abuses such as these camps are being allowed in a time like this, it signals a failing of our standards to uphold human rights. The issue has not been investigated by the UNHRC, the relevant UN body, although many human rights groups and countries are calling for it.
Picture yourself as a young central-Indian of humble background. You go through a four mile walk and in the burning sun, going far from home to search for something you’re not sure to find, and at the end of your journey awaits a steep climb: down a forty-foot well. Your name is Kajal Lodha and your three sisters, some no younger than ten years of age, do this each and every single day. And for what? Dirty, milky-white, worm-infested water. Water nonetheless.
Water scarcity, defined as the lack of fresh, drinkable water, affects every continent in the world and was listed this year by the World Economic Forum to be one of the largest potential global risks over the next following decade. Just under one third of the global population (2 billion people) must endure conditions of severe water scarcity for at least one month of the year. Half a billion people in the world face severe water scarcity all year round. Some of the world’s most largest cities are going to experience water scarcity some time this year. India alone accounts for about 0.6 billion people currently in a water crisis, and more than 20 cities-Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad to name a few-are predicted to entirely consume their aquifers in the next two years, leaving about one hundred billion people in urban areas unable to access fresh water easily. In the words of Arati Kumar-Rao, an Indian nature photographer, “Conservation? Nobody [in India] talks about it.”
Though only a minute 0.014% of the world’s water is fresh and easily accessible, that should technically be sufficient for everyone. Two main factors, however, have caused water crises to spring up around the world: one, unequal distribution due to factors such as climate change (creating areas that are too humid and too dry due to human intervention) and two, the demand generated by population growth and industrial expansion. These factors coupled together mean that by 2030, the human demand for freshwater could outstrip the supply by as much as 40%.
The NITI Aayog, National Institution for Transforming India, is looking for solutions to this tremendous problem. In their online resource section they outline plans for conserving freshwater and making it more accessible. Such a plan is the “24x7 Metered Water: Improving Water Supply in Rural Areas of Punjab”, that seeks to bore holes and place pumps that draw up groundwater but not deplete it; rather, the water consumption is regulated by an operator that operates the pump and ensures that all get enough water without depleting the reservoir. In general, we have the knowledge and technology to plan out the solutions--we just need the financial resources to implement them where they’re needed.
As usual, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rages on -- just this week, for instance, tensions between Israeli and Palestinian forces increased following an exchange of fire between Israeli rockets and Palestinian militants in Gaza. The latest campaign of Israeli military operations in the region had three primary targets controlled by Hamas, including the home of militant Ismail Haniyeh. Israel reports that, in response, thirty retaliatory rockets were fired from Gaza. At least seven Palestinians were wounded, while several Israelis also sustained injuries.
All of this comes in the midst of a heated Israeli election. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in a fight for his political life as several opposition parties have joined together under a big tent banner dubbed “Blue and White” in order to challenge the Prime Minister and his conservative Likud party. Polling has tightened considerably since the formation of Blue and White, in large part due to the popularity of its leader, Benny Gantz, who has combined a sort of social liberalism with more hawkish security policies. His appeal is made more compelling by the litany of corruption charges recently filed by Israel’s Attorney General against Netanyahu.
It remains to be seen how events on the ground in Gaza will affect the election, but events in the United States appear to be shaping Israeli politics and the narrative surrounding the Israel-Palestine debate at large. Freshman US Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) sparked controversy recently with comments about the role of the “Israel lobby” in American politics, identifying AIPAC as an agent of Israeli domination over American politics. When pressed further, she tweeted “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” a comment for which she earned condemnation from the leadership of both American political parties. Netanyahu even took the time to respond to her at an AIPAC conference this week -- “take it from this Benjamin,” Netanyahu said. “It’s not about the Benjamins,” met with roaring applause.
The events of the past few weeks, particularly in American politics have brought the forefront of the public debate once again both off and on Exeter’s campus, as they have resulted in a series of op-eds in Exeter’s school newspaper, The Exonian , presenting multiple perspectives on the conflict, its origins, and the role of Israel in American politics. This public debate was brought to its head when three faculty members authored an opinions editorial reminding students to avoid the use, intentional or otherwise, of anti-Semitic tropes in such a debate, as they contended one particular article did invoke.
The issues being grappled with on campus are reflective of larger debates occurring in the larger world about Palestine’s long and complicated history, the line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, the seemingly herculean task of building a Middle Eastern peace, the role of the West in this conflict, and the settlement issue, among countless others.
Jerusalem and the Three ReligionsRead Now
Jerusalem: the modern-day capital of Israel, housing a population of nearly a million. As a major focal point in Judaism, Christianity and Islam alike, the historical wealth of this city remains unparalleled.
One of the oldest cities in the world, Jerusalem and its religious importance dates back to King David, ruler of the Kingdom of Israel -- over a millennium before the birth of Christ. He conquered it from the Jebusites, a tribe of this Canaan area, bringing the Ark of The Covenant into the city and making it the capital of his kingdom. Fifty years later, King Solomon, his son, builds the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah, also known as Temple Mount: known in both Judaism and Christianity as the location where Abraham bound his son, Isaac.
From here on, the city would become the religious center of the Israelites and the holiest city in Judaism; still nowadays, almost three thousand years later, Jewish people from all over the world face the Holy Temple when praying. In Christianity, the city is equally prominent as the place where Christ healed and preached, sat for the Last Supper, and where his trial, burial, and resurrection took place.
In Islam, the city (known as al-Quds) is home to the Al-aqsa Compound, a collection of mosques and shrines on Temple Mount where it is believed that the Prophet Muhammad began his ascension to heaven.
Since its inception, then, the city has been both holy land and a battlefield, shared and fought over between cultures who all stake their own claim to the hallowed ground. As Israel celebrates its seventieth year of independence amidst the ongoing conflict, one might question what fuels such conflict.
Both Israel and Palestine, a neighbouring territory, were ruled under the Ottoman Empire back in the 16th century. After the Ottoman defeat in the First World War, their land was handed over to Britain and France, who set up the Occupied Enemy Territory Administration. The area under British control, known as Mandatory Palestine, spanned the area of present-day Israel and Palestine, including the whole city of Jerusalem.
In the meantime, the concept of Zionism--the idea that Israel, Jerusalem included, is the rightful homeland of the Jewish people--gained momentum. The Jewish religion had spread around the world at the time, and some even tried immigrating to Palestine, trying to escape increased tensions from antisemitism. During the war, Arthur Balfour, the British foreign secretary, promised the British Jews that they would be granted an area of their own, a “home,” a nation. The Jewish Legion, battalions of volunteers, helped the British defeat the Ottomans.
Along the same period when the Ottoman Empire dismantled, Arabs in Palestine started to feel a sense of national identity. The British rule, to them, represented colonialism. In 1920, the Palestinians erupted, in opposition to Zionism, but still the Jewish people kept coming to Palestine in Aliyahs. The stage was set for violence.
In 1947, the United Nations came into play. They made a plan to carve up the then-Palestinian controlled Jerusalem into two halves, one for the Jewish and the other for the Palestinians. Jerusalem was to remain international, for religious matters. The Jewish people saw this as a gain: they had reconquered their homeland, a victory for Zionism; while Palestinians saw this as a loss: their land was just cut half after the British got ahold of the area.
What followed was the Independence of Israel in 1948 and a series of conflicts that resulted in nowadays Jerusalem being fought over between the Israeli people, who hold it as their rightful capital; and the Palestinians, who see it as unlawfully occupied territory.
And now that the Trump administration moved their embassy to Jerusalem, right in the heart of conflict, we must all ask ourselves: what’s in store for this historical, sacred city?
International Affairs budgets define the vision administrations have for America’s global standing, and change depending on the president in the White House. President George W. Bush increased the funding toward the State Department by 5% from the Clinton administration. In 2002 at the beginning of his presidency, Bush requested $23.9 billion dollars from the Federal budget for International Affairs. Some Bush’s main focuses with this budget were anti-terrorism, support for new and ongoing peacekeeping operations, nonproliferation, and anti-drug initiatives.
During his first term, Bush funneled billions of dollars into assistance programs for impoverished countries. Development Assistance and the Economic support fund received a total of $4.5 billion dollars in 2004. Collaboratively, Child Survival and Health Programs Fund received $1.8 billions dollars. This funding was primarily for poverty-stricken, African nations. After the events of September 11th, 2001, President Bush made steady increases to anti-terrorism and international military budgets. At the beginning of his first term, Bush only gave $216 million dollars to nonproliferation/anti-terrorism efforts, but in 2002, that number rose to about $535 million dollars.
The Obama administration brought progressive and liberal ideas into the oval office. Obama’s primary concerns in regards to the international affairs budget were global prosperity, climate change, and international peacekeeping operations. One of Obama’s most prominent campaign promises was combating global warming. His administration was granted $808 million dollars to fund the Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions and incentivise renewable energy use. This money was used effectively considering that wind and solar energy use was at an all time high and U.S. oil imports were significantly lower.
Also during his presidency, the threat of ISIS or ISIL was growing exponentially larger with each passing year. In 2015, Obama received a total of $4 billion dollars towards “Counter-ISIL”, counter-terrorism, and humanitarian assistance. Also in the Middle East, about $3 billion dollars were given to support peaceful goals in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Most of this money went to military efforts and support for U.S. embassies. Secondary endeavours in this area include economic development for small cities and better access to electricity and education.
The administration under President Donald Trump has taken a unique approach to foreign policy that echoes conservative foundation, but explores new change. $41.7 billion dollars were allocated in the 2019 fiscal year budget for international affairs, a sharp 30% decline from the the $59.6 billion dedicated in 2017. Justification provided by the administration was: “Our world is increasingly challenged by forces of conflict and instability, underscoring the need for America’s global leadership to protect and advance peace, economic development,and freedom,” highlighting sentiment for priority of domestic issues over foreign interference that did not directly help the American people.
The reduced budget prioritizes a strong contention for the Trump administration: enforcing border security. Implementation of rigorous screening and restriction for permissible travel of foreign citizens in an attempt to promote security and diminish the presence of terrorism has drawn fierce criticism from the public.
Another equally controversial direction President Trump has taken was a strong commitment to the reduction of illegal immigration and illicit goods from southern and maritime borders. Efforts coinciding this are addressing the root motivation for emigration: insecurity, lack of governance, and economic stagnation. The holistic goal of the efforts was to prevent possible international danger, but alienated general foreign citizens at times.
Commitments to allied nations along with protection of U.S oversea personnel and facilities consists of the rest of international efforts, with less focus on intervention that does not directly pertain to American interest. A major plan was construction of a U.S Embassy facility in Jerusalem ignited tension but was completed in order to assert American influence in the Middle Eastern region along with. Fortification of all U.S diplomatic facilities, as encouraged by the Benghazi Accountability Review Board in relation to an earlier security breach in the Benghazi Embassy was a driving retaliation to maintain safety of American influence.
Foreign affairs budgets have seen a juxtaposition in globalistic policy under Democratic administrations against domestic centered policy in Republican governance. Efforts stemming from each budget were unique and representative of a different vision of America. With each election, Americans must ask themselves their own vision they have for the world and America’s place in it.
The United States originally established diplomatic relations with Venezuela in 1835, but their association has been strained in recent years. The South American country’s corrupt and failing government has sparked an economic collapse that has led to a humanitarian crisis.
The Venezuelan government’s policies and gross mismanagement of national affairs have caused the United States to impose over 40 sanctions on Venezuelan individuals since 2017. Millions of Venezuelans have become refugees due to food shortages, rising prices, increased crime, and a broken health system. The regime has killed protestors in rallies and imprisoned political opponents. Hyperinflation is projected to reach over one million percent by the end of 2018. This chaotic country has become an extremely challenging climate for the United States and multinational companies.
In May of 2018, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro took office. In response to his election, US Vice President Mike Pence commented,“The illegitimate result of this fake process is a further blow to the proud democratic tradition of Venezuela. The United States will not sit idly by as Venezuela crumbles and the misery of their brave people continues.”
Shortly after the election, the Trump administration placed a new of set sanctions on the Venezuelan government. These new penalties aimed to prevent Maduro from selling off government debt to enrich himself. The executive order attempts to stop American companies from buying debt from the government of Venezuela, thus putting an end to corruption in a country near collapse.
Since then, President Trump has issued a new round of sanctions targeting Maduro’s inner circle. Venezuela’s First Lady, Vice President, Defense Minister, and other officials are being penalized for plundering the precarious country’s remaining wealth. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated that this inner circle has helped Maduro’s regime maintain its grip on power. For example, the First Lady, Cilia Adela Flores De Maduro, is a political figure in her own right and has been accused of helping her husband’s administration illegally acquire wealth. She has previously served as National Assembly Deputy and President of Legislative Power in Venezuela.
In a passionate statement, the Venezuelan President stated that Flores’ only offense was being married to him and that sanctioning her is a cowardly act by the United States. Meanwhile, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez has been named a key figure in awarding Maduro near dictatorial powers.
The US Treasury Department has stated that the United States will continue to use every available economic and diplomatic strategy to stop the corrupt government and support the Venezuelan people’s efforts to restore their democracy. The sanctions are being used to put pressure on government officials to either step down or pursue Venezuela’s best interests. According to the Trump Administration, sanctions against certain individuals will be dropped if they restore democratic order, refuse to take part in human rights abuses, and combat corruption.
Julio Borges, former head of the Venezuelan National Assembly now exiled to Columbia said, “We’ve gone through all the democratic routes. Maduro has closed the doors and turned the country into worse than a dictatorship — a failed state.”
The UN Human Rights Council is a subsidiary body of the United Nations that serves to “promote universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all” and “address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, and make recommendations thereon.” The inter-governmental body was formed in March 2006 to replace the 60-year-old Human Rights Commission. The extreme politicization of the Commission on Human Rights resulted in an overwhelming majority vote to establish the new UNHRC via Resolution 60/251, with 170 in favor, 4 against, and 3 abstentions.
Among the countries voting against the establishment of the UNHRC was the United States, which cited weak measures to exclude human rights abusing countries. Said countries would use positions in the UN HRC to obstruct criticism of their actions or attack other nations, a claim the Secretary-General acknowledged as the primary issue with the Human Rights Commission. Additionally, the Bush Administration had received allegations from UN members of human rights violations in Washington.
On March 31, 2009, the Obama Administration decided to seek a seat on the 47 member council. "Human rights are an essential element of American global foreign policy," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement. "With others, we will engage in the work of improving the U.N. human rights system. . . . We believe every nation must live by and help shape global rules that ensure people enjoy the right to live freely and participate fully in their societies." The reversal of the Bush Administration policy was met with some criticism domestically, but welcomed by UN members; for example, Norway withdrew from the ballot in support of the US’s efforts to create positive change. Human rights associations had long advocated for US membership.
Despite the Obama Administration’s attempt to subvert decisions taken by past US presidents through joining the UNHRC, current US President Donald Trump reversed Obama’s decision shortly after taking office. The US withdrew United Nations Human Rights Council on June 19, 2018 in protest of its “disproportionate focus on allegations of human rights abuses committed by its ally, Israel,” a country whose alleged human rights violations were frequently discussed. The Trump Administration also asserted that the council's “willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers to become members” further revealed its bias.
On the surface, it seems like the US's retreat from the UN HRC was a backward step in its human rights advocacy; however, this may not be the case. In an appearance with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.N ambassador Nikki Haley stated “I want to make it crystal clear that this step is not a retreat from our human rights commitment. On the contrary, we take this step because our commitment does not allow us to remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights.” The US has since received support in its view that the UNHRC has morphed into its decommissioned predecessor, the Human Rights Commission.
The United States’s departure from the United Nations Human Right Council left many wondering if a U.S. withdrawal would lead to reforms in human rights protection. The departure of Israel' chief defender at the forum has left it defenseless to the barrage of resolutions focused solely on Israel’s human rights violations. “By withdrawing from the council, we lose our leverage and allow the council’s bad actors to follow their worst impulses unchecked — including running roughshod over Israel,” said Eliot L. Engel, the top Democrat on the House committee that oversees the State Department.
Despite the UN HRC’s flaws, it serves as the primary international organization drawing attention to human rights issues, conducting investigations into human rights abuses, and upholding global human rights standards. While some praise the US’s bold denunciation of a dysfunctional organization, others are concerned the United States’s departure undermines the UN HRC’s mission and sets a dangerous precedent for other countries to follow.
Remembering KOFI AnnanRead Now
Kofi Annan, born in Ghana in 1938, died this summer on August 18, 2018.
Annan's family set him up for success at an early age. His father, Henry Annan, was governor of the Asante Province in Ghana and a former manager of the Lever Brothers Cocoa Company. Annan attended an elite all-boys secondary school in Cape Coast, Ghana.
In 1962, Annan joined the United Nations, and was still active as of 2016. A quote of his that stands out, “Suffering anywhere concerns people everywhere”, is the epitome of his legacy. Annan served as Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1997-2006, and worked otherwise for the United Nations for more than 40 years. Notable accomplishments include kickstarting the reorganization of the United Nations and creation of two committees of the United Nations.
Annan’s public service accomplishments but are not limited to, the following: becoming the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria in the midst of the hostilities in the country, beginning in early 2011; chairing an Advisory Commission founded in 2016 by Myanmar, the goal of which was to help the Rohingya people and others in Rakhine state to recover and improve their lives; and using his Secretary-General position to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic and push counterterrorism measures.
Annan founded the Peacebuilding Commission during the 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The Commission includes 31 members, as well as four official partner organizations including the European Union and the World Bank. The United Nations praised the Commission’s ability to link several organizations inside and outside of the United Nations.
Annan’s work was also found in the Human Rights Council, established in March of 2006. Human Rights Council is comprised of 47 member states, with the mission to preserve and strengthen human rights internationally. Resolutions and agendas relate to, but are not limited to the following topics: human rights as it relates to the environment; and promoting human rights through the Olympic competition and sports as a whole.
Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in conjunction with the United Nations in 2001. Recently, Antonio Guterres, the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, remarked upon Annan’s life and legacy: “He provided people everywhere with … a path to a better world.”
“Today’s real borders are not between nations, but between powerful and powerless, free and fettered, privileged and humiliated. Today, no walls can separate humanitarian or human rights crises in one part of the world from national security crises in another.”
On May 8th of 2018, our President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum, essentially withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. Although the president had been denouncing the deal, stating it is “a direct national security threat,” and “fatally flawed” for more than a year before, experts were still shocked. The president had been planning this move for months now. But what was the Iran deal, and why did the president’s withdrawal draw such polarized reactions?
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was an agreement reached by the P5 countries (France, U.K., U.S., Russia, China) in addition to Germany in 2015 after 20 months of compromises and negotiations. The deal lifted sanctions that had been crippling Iran’s economy for the last decade, in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. These restrictions included reducing low-enriched uranium stockpiles by 98%, a ⅔ reduction in the number of centrifuges(nuclear processing plants) Iran can use, and inspections by UN. However, the fact that the deal would slowly loosen, being almost invalidated after 15 years or so, was a huge point of contention amongst government critics. On one side, the deal was seen as one of Obama’s greatest foreign policy achievements, but on the other, an open hand to a terrorist nation that went against every US policy. “This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” president Trump stated, reinstating previous sanctions against Iran after signing the memorandum. The move comes with indignation from the other members of the deal, especially European leaders. They cited that there was no evidence Iran was not complying with the deal. The inspection agency found no signs of failure to comply, and Iran seemed to be opening up about their nuclear program over the years. However, the president dodged this question by citing the Iranian regime as one of chaos, and the breaking of the deal as a symbol of US disagreement with Iran’s methods.
The validity of pulling out is debatable, but there is no doubt that Trump’s move puts world leaders and the deal in a difficult situation. Since the lifting of sanctions, many nearby nations had established business deals and relationships with the bigger economic powers in Iran. However, now that Trump has pulled us out of Iran Nuclear Deal, the reimposition of US sanctions on Iran can hinder the business with the European countries. Businesses now have to choose between Iran or the US, an obvious choice, but not one they’d necessarily like to make.
The withdrawal from the deal has created many other troubles. As of now, there is strong pressure in Iran for taking retaliatory actions, which may include bumping up uranium usage or even a withdrawal from the deal itself, but nothing has happened so far (the deal may still survive with the other members still pledging in). Looking ahead, this event could discourage countries to join such agreements with the US in the future, for lack of reliability. The pull out has damaged our credibility with important allies, such as France, Germany, UK, as well as with Iran.
Perplexingly, as soon as Trump pulled out of the Iran deal, he initiated one with North Korea. In addition, Trump has advocated a better Iran deal, but has laid out no diplomatic options. This begs the questions: What was Trump and his aides’ motives? Was this just an effort to undermine Obama’s achievements, as Trump has attempted before? Did Trump have a legitimate reason to pull out of the deal given his reasoning? What does this mean for nuclear situation in the Middle East?
Nigerian General Election 2019Read Now
By: Sophie Cavalcanti
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, its largest economy, and is considered one of the biggest democracies in the continent. In February, 2019, a lengthy electoral process was conducted in the middle of accusations of public sector corruption. It was supposed to end with President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeating former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and being re-elected for another four-year term.
This 76-year-old retired general, who took part in one of the many coups that Nigeria experienced until the 1990s, had 56% of the votes, against 41% for his main opponent, Atiku Abubakar who was accused of corruption.
This victory corresponds to a lead of nearly 4 million votes, but the election was marked by a low participation rate (about 40%), down from the 2015 presidential election. The demobilization was a result of a week-long election postponement, which discouraged several million people to vote. Low participation could also be explained by an unimpressed ballot that didn’t attract young voters, who were eager for change in their country and were not drawn by politicians that represented the status quo.
However, the electoral process couldn’t be concluded. The opposition denounced a massive election fraud and claimed for the interruption of the proclamation of results. Violence related to the poll has killed hundreds of people since the beginning of the process and after the announcement of the winner.
Different from the 2015 election, which represented the first democratic transition of this former military dictatorship, the vote was not played on purely religious grounds, since the two main candidates were Muslims. The state of Kano, in the north, with 5.5 millions of voters was key to guarantee the victory of Buhari, giving him 1.5 million votes. In this poor and rural region, the level of education is very low and the population voted for the former general, who was perceived as a strong man. His image of a disciplined military dictator that embraced democracy was essential for his victory, even if he lost thousands of supporters since his first election.
Muhammadu Buhari election in 2015 brought great hope to the country. Nigeria was prospering and assuming a leadership position in the African region. But two years later, disillusion replaced hope in Nigeria. The country faced a great recession with the fall of oil prices and the devaluation of the naira, Nigeria’s currency. General Buhari promises to fight corruption, promote economic reforms, and bring security to a country threatened by interethnic conflicts and the presence of the jihadist group Boko Haram in the northeast region were not fulfilled during his first term. According to Human Rights Watch, abductions, suicide bombings, and attacks on civilian targets by Boko Haram persisted. At least 1,200 people died and nearly 200,000 were displaced in the northeast in 2018. In June, at least 84 people were killed in double suicide bomb attacks attributed to Boko Haram at a mosque in Mubi, Adamawa State. Uncoordinated and inadequate responses by state and federal authorities deepened mistrust and perception of authorities’ bias and complicity in the violence.
Even with all the disappointment and political problems, Muhammadu Buhari was able to guarantee his reelection, gathering support from the north’s elites. However, the electoral process didn’t end, as his main opponent, Atiku Abubakar, refused the results and challenged Buhari’s victory in a tribunal. After hours of judgment in the capital Abuja, the electoral commission dismissed the case and declared Buhari president.
Out-of-Town (informally called MUNdays) is a publication run by students in Exeter's Model UN club. Currently, the amazing Sophie Fernandez '22 maintains the publication, curates its articles, and edits them. We do accept outside submissions! If you have an article or reflection on foreign policy, email firstname.lastname@example.org!