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Violence in Haiti is just one of the many important current events outside of the US.

With pressing issues of politics and the pandemic constantly in mainstream media, we often neglect other significant matters not only here in America, but around the world. From ongoing crises to breaking news, here are a few major stories we aren’t hearing much about:

Political Unrest in Haiti

Violent clashes between Haiti’s police and protesters have been ongoing since February when President Jovenel Moïse refused to step down. He has made claims that his five-year term ends on February 7, 2022, while his opponents argue that it ended the same date, but this year.  As tensions rose on February 7, the government announced the arrest of over 20 people, claiming they were plotting an assassination of the president and a coup on the government. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, has endured years of poverty and hunger, and with political tensions rising, many fear Haiti is experiencing its worst state yet.

El Salvador’s Abortion Laws 

El Salvador is recognized as having some of the world’s harshest abortion laws, the procedure being completely prohibited. The Central American country does not permit abortion in cases where the child is conceived by rape or incest, or where the health of the mother or child is at risk. On top of this, laws often enforce severe penalties for women who do undergo abortions. On March 10, 2021, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights heard arguments in Manuela and Family v. El Salvador, a case where a 33-year-old mother suffered from a stillbirth after a fall in her home in 2008. Manuela was rushed to the hospital after losing consciousness and suffering internal bleeding. Hospital personnel accused Manuela of intentionally inducing an abortion through her fall and called the police. She was handcuffed to her hospital bed while interrogated and charged with aggravated homicide; Manuela was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2008. Her family has argued that criminal prosecution of a stillbirth is a human rights violation, and the case is now being brought back to light. It is the first time that an international court will challenge El Salvador’s aggressive prosecutorial approach to abortion.

Senegalese Political Protests

On March 3, thousands of people took to the streets in Dakar, Senegal, after the police arrested Ousmane Sonko, a Senegalese opposition MP, popular for his radical left-wing agenda and his criticism of the government. Sonko’s criticism of the president led him into the limelight and allowed him to obtain a seat in parliament in 2017. He was arrested earlier this month for disturbing public order on his way to a scheduled court appearance on rape charges — which he has denied and described the allegations as politically motivated to attempt him to stop running for president in 2024. After his arrest, Sonko’s supporters took to the streets in violent demonstrations as they called for his release. Schools have closed down, and security has increased ahead of planned protests. During the first week of March, authorities suspended the signals of two privately-owned TV channels and restricted multiple social media apps, such as YouTube, in an attempt to censor its citizens by withholding information.  It is now the worst political unrest in years in Senegal, which is widely seen as one of West Africa’s most stable countries.

Boko Haram Conflict 

Since 2011 Boko Haram, one of the largest Islamist militant groups in Africa, has led terrorist attacks on religious and political groups, local police, the military, and most recently, civilians. More than 2,000 deaths were recorded between February 2020 and February 2021 in Borno State (north-eastern Nigeria) alone. Similarly, kidnapping by armed groups has increased substantially in recent years; over $18 million has been paid as ransom for kidnapped victims between 2011 and 2020. Continuing with this trend, a wave of attacks on schools and kidnapping of students has risen, more than 300 Nigerian girls in February, adding to the more than 600 students being kidnapped since December.

Syrian Refugee Crisis

For over a decade, Syrian refugees have remained the world’s largest refugee and displacement crisis. Since March 15, 2011, when the Syrian civil war officially began, families have suffered under a severe conflict that has killed thousands of people and torn the nation apart. About 5.6 million Syrians are refugees, and nearly 11.1 million people need humanitarian assistance. And about half of the people affected by the Syrian refugee crisis are children. As a result of war, hospitals, schools, businesses, and sanitation systems have been destroyed. And now, with COVID-19, the country is again facing challenges in addition to its economic turmoil and instability, which has led Syrian refugees to the brink of starvation. 

Myanmar’s Coup

On February 1, the military seized control of the government and arrested elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi. As a result, mass protests have been taking place all over the country. From 1962, Myanmar (formerly Burma) was largely ruled by a military faction that held much power, and Aung San Suu Kyi rose to prominence as one of the strongest voices of peaceful resistance after 2007’s Saffron Revolution. In 2012, as the military began to lose power, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from her house arrest and in 2016, she then rose to victory in the party’s first democratic election in decades. In 2020, her party won re-election by a landslide and, in rebuttal, the army alleged voter fraud without proof. Fears grew that the government might be overthrown again, and on February 1, 2021, the people of Myanmar woke up to a coup unfolding. Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders had been arrested and the people worried that they’d be going back to the horrors of the days of military rule. In turn, people started to protest, demanding democracy be restored.