It is not quite time to declare it the ‘best of times and worst of times’ for the global effort to eradicate polio, but two new outbreaks of the infectious disease definitely puts a damper on the celebration regarding renewed international financial commitments.
Unrest has once again boiled over to violence in the Indian-ruled state of Jammu and Kashmir. In just four days of restored mobile internet over the weekend, a number of videos depicting violence against civilians went viral on social media.
While the number of polio cases is at a historic low, new obstacles are delaying global eradication. The three remaining endemic countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan – are hampered by insecurity that makes it difficult to vaccinate all children against the disease.
Just last week, refugee groups commended Pakistan’s decision to extend the legal stay of Afghan refugees within its borders from March 31, 2017, until the end of December. Now, Pakistan is under fire from Human Rights Watch (HRW) for “the world’s largest unlawful mass forced return of refugees in recent times,” and the U.N. refugee agency is “complicit,” the group said in a report Monday.
Afghanistan recorded its first case of wild poliovirus this week for 2017 – an 11-month-old girl in Kandahar district. Still, the World Health Organization (WHO) says eradication is on the horizon, and Afghanistan is poised to lead the way.
The government of Pakistan is under fire for the suspected abductions of at least four social media activists in the last week. Amid gathering protests and mounting pressure from human rights advocates and journalists, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan assured lawmakers on Tuesday that intelligence agencies are looking into the disappearances. Meanwhile, one more activist was reported missing today.
Here are some recent examples from around the world showing how some countries use laws like treason and inciting unrest to jail opponents and maintain power.
Pakistan may be on its way to finally ridding itself of polio, if a small environmental survey is truly representative…
With only 22 cases of polio last year and nine cases in 2016, the end of the virus is nearly…
Pakistan is one of the last places where polio remains active. The number of cases in the first half of…