The embattled prime minister of Haiti, Jack Guy Lafontant, has announced his resignation following days of violent protests sparked by a now-abandoned plan to raise fuel prices.
The decision comes on the heels of attempts by Lafontant to implement an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme in which Haiti had signed an agreement committing to carrying out economic and structural reforms to promote growth.
“I submitted my resignation to the president of the republic”, who has “accepted my resignation”, Lafontant said on Saturday in the lower house of Haiti’s legislature.
Lafontant had faced a potential vote of no confidence had he not stepped down.
The unrest started after the government unveiled an IMF-inspired proposal to eliminate fuel subsidies which in turn would have hiked fuel prices: 38 percent for gasoline, 47 percent for diesel and 51 percent for kerosene.
The announcement sparked mass protests, with streets in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and other cities blocked with barricades of debris and burning tires.
At least seven people were killed and dozens of businesses looted or destroyed during three days of demonstrations.
Lafontant, who took office in February 2017, later announced the plan would not go ahead, but protesters still demanded his resignation.
Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from Port-au-Prince, said the parliament had been debating whether to give or not Lafontant a vote of confidence for more than three hours.
Following the prime minister’s resignation, Haiti was essentially left with no functioning government, added our correspondent.
Around 60 percent of Haiti’s population lives on less than $2 a day and are extremely vulnerable to increases in the price of goods and services.
UN investigators concerned over likely ‘future atrocities’ in Ethiopia
United Nations-appointed investigators in Ethiopia Thursday warned about the likelihood of further humanitarian crises in the country.
The UN chief called for continued scrutiny of Addis Ababa’s human rights record as their work faced termination amid strong African-led opposition.
The Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the northern region Tuesday agreed to a permanent truce to cease hostilities following the conclusion of a peace deal brokered by the African Union in South Africa.
Both sides accused one another of crimes against humanity, such as killings, rapes, and arbitrary detentions, but neither admitted to any systematic wrongdoing.
International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, in a report earlier in the week, said there had been attacks by the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF) against civilians in Tigray that were “grave and ongoing.”
With the ongoing Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, its two-year term is up for renewal, but no proposal has been made thus far due to what diplomats describe as considerable resistance, particularly from African members
In light of continued violations in the region, Mohamed Chande Othman, the chair of the Commission, warned the 47-member council that it would be “premature” to conclude its work.
“Failure to do so would not only be an abdication of the Council’s responsibility, it would send a devastating message to the victims and survivors of this conflict,” he said.
He told the Council that “…the situation in Ethiopia exhibits most of the indicators for future atrocities…” and accused Ethiopia of conducting “a deliberate effort to evade regional and international scrutiny”.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s ambassador, Tsegab Kebebew stated the commission had “grossly mischaracterized the good and largely acclaimed democratic advances in Ethiopia”.
The Tigray Region is the northernmost regional state of Ethiopia. The region is the homeland of the Tigrayan, Irob, and Kunama people.
Mozambique: UK Supreme Court okays suit against Privinvest in London
A United Kingdom’s Supreme Court has ruled that Mozambique can sue shipbuilder, Privinvest in Britain for alleged bribery connected to the $2 billion “tuna bond” scandal.
The ruling on Wednesday, just weeks after a London High Court ruled that the Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, cannot be sued in Britain for bribery in his country’s lawsuit against Credit Suisse and others over the $2 billion “tuna bond” scandal.
Mozambique is bringing a lawsuit against Privinvest, its owner, Iskandar Safa, Credit Suisse, and others for government-guaranteed loans raised in 2013 and 2014, hundreds of millions of dollars of which disappeared.
The scandal’s notoriety began with the borrowing of $2.2 billion by three newly formed firms in 2013 and 2014, the majority of which was done without the legislature’s knowledge or authorization. Mozambique alleges that Privinvest and Safa conspired against it and distributed more than $130 million in bribes to dishonest government officials and Credit Suisse employees.
Despite that,the Mozambican government served as a guarantee for the loans, ensuring that it would return the money in the event of a problem.
The “hidden debt” or tuna bond issue has sparked criminal investigations from Maputo to New York, as well as a string of related litigation in London involving Credit Suisse, shipbuilder Privinvest, its owner Iskandar Safa, and many other parties.
Privinvest has suggested that arbitration be used to resolve any disputes with Mozambique. A setback to Mozambique’s attempts to recover the funds it claims it lost came in 2021 when the Court of Appeal ruled in the company’s favour.
But on Wednesday, the Supreme Court unanimously accepted Mozambique’s appeal against that decision, allowing the republic’s allegations against Privinvest to be heard in a trial that would last for months and begin on October 3.
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