The United Arab Emirates has released Durham PhD student Matthew Hedges after an international outcry and intense lobbying from the British government. He was detained on May 5 in Dubai, when he was on a two week research trip to the country. He was charged with spying and was sentenced to life in prison on November 21. His wife Daniela Tejada said his release was “the best possible news” and she’d been “brought back to life”.
This whole passport nonsense has become an absurd sideshow, a distraction from any serious debate about what kind of nation the UK wants to be post-Brexit
So where does this leave Germany, and its relationship with the UK?
The atrocities have not just been ignored by Whitehall and Downing Street, they have been directly fuelled by them. Theresa May and her colleagues have not been spectators to the bombardment, they have been active participants. It's time for them to end their complicity.
Last month the Inter Agency Regional Analyst Network (IARAN), a consortium of NGOs, private and academic partners, published a report about what kinds of crises we can expect until 2030 and how the sector needs to adapt to best respond to the needs of people most affected. What does the world look like in 2030? According to the IARAN there are 9 types of crises we can expect to see...
Civilians, average citizens, will be increasingly (directly and indirectly) affected by crises and will need to be prepared for a difficult future. We have seen this in Houston this week, in countless contexts previously, and we will see it time and time again.
The global commitment to international cooperation has seldom been more in doubt. The feeling of being left behind by globalisation is not just a developing world phenomenon. In the West, people are dissatisfied and political parties are quick to capitalise. Not least, because embracing this trend has led to electoral advantage for some, at least in the short-term.
Over the last two years a brutal humanitarian crisis has been forced on the people of Yemen. It has created the circumstances under which children are dying from preventable causes and people are risking their lives when they do something as normal as going to the market. The situation is dire, and unless urgent action is taken now then there are large numbers who may not survive much longer.
Whatever happens next month it won't be the end of the debate. As long as terrible crimes are being committed with UK weapons and with our government's support, this campaign will continue. It's not just the arms sales that need to end, it is also the hypocrisy and the mindset that has allowed them to happen in the first place.
We need change that builds, rather than destroys. That means controlling arms supplies as the Arms Trade Treaty already requires governments to do. It means offering a refuge to those fleeing violence and persecution, as the Refugee Convention has for decades prescribed. We must also develop a Global Compact on Migration, to protect migrants, so often as vulnerable as refugees, and to manage migration for the benefit of all. If the terrible events of 2016 are not to be repeated, the calls for change to make the world more secure and inclusive must be heard and acted on. Nadi's experience may seem a million miles away from ours but we share the same thread of laws and norms that are supposed to keep us safe. Ultimately we are all in this together.