Thanks to our membership of the Business Travel Association (did you know that our CEO, Suzanne Horner, is chair of the BTA?), we’re delighted to bring this, the first of a new regular update on security around the world.
The purpose of the Security Briefing, provided by our BTA partners at The Trip Group, is to provide an overview of situations which may impact your travel safety and security planning.
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In this final Global Security Briefing of 2021, we look at the growing tensions on the Ukraine/Russia border, violent demonstrations on the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, the growing number of kidnappings in the DRC and the escalating conflict in Ethiopia.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Russia on 26th November that there would be unspecified “consequences” if Russian President,Vladimir Putin, did order a wider invasion of Ukraine. U.S. President, Joe Biden, confirmed the U.S. would be sending American military advisors and arms,such as anti-tank weapons, to Ukraine.
Mr. Zelensky said that Ukraine was ready to face any new Russian military action. “There is a threat today that there will be war tomorrow. We are entirelyprepared for an escalation.” How the West will respond is uncertain, as many observers feel that if NATO increases their presence in the region, this couldprovoke the Kremlin, rather than deter them into invading Ukraine.
Guadeloupe & Martinique – Demonstrations have turned violent on the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, following coronavirusrestrictions, including mandatory vaccinations for healthcare workers, being implemented by the French government in Paris.
The recent protests have seen demonstrators set fire to tyres and blocking roads. Police have come under gunfire and last week there was widespreadlooting and violence. The authorities have taken control of several petrol stations due to concerns about the supply of fuel on the islands. Martiniqueimposed a curfew from 7pm to 5am local time until calm is restored in order to facilitate the intervention of the security forces. France has sent over 200reinforcements to the region, including 50 specialist police officers.
The islands are a popular winter destination with tourists, but given the current situation and the lack of a solution, enhanced security precautions shouldbe adopted for anyone travelling to the region.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – The DRC has seen an increase in the kidnapping of foreign nationals. The latest events took place in Djugu, in Ituriprovince, where two Chinese nationals were killed and an unknown number of other people have been kidnapped. The attack is thought to have beencarried out by the CODECO militia group.
This incident follows an attack earlier in November, where one policeman was killed and five Chinese nationals were kidnapped near a mine close to thevillage of Mukera in South Kivu province. The governor of South Kivu, Theo Kasi, suspended the operations of six small Chinese companies, ordering all localand foreign staff to leave the sites. Protests erupted in some areas after companies did not close immediately, local media reported. Beijing has orderedall its citizens to leave the region immediately.
Ethiopia – Conflict now seems unavoidable in the East African country. UK Minister for Africa, Vicky Ford said in a statement on November 24, “I am urgingall British Nationals, whatever their circumstance, to leave immediately while commercial flights are readily available and Addis Ababa Bole InternationalAirport remains open.” UN employees have also been strongly advised to leave Ethiopia as soon as possible.
The urgency to evacuate from Ethiopia was triggered by the Tigray rebel forces’ rapid surge toward the capital over recent days. The rebel troops havereportedly approached the Debre Sina pass, which lies 190 kilometres north of Addis Ababa.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for an immediate end to the fighting in Ethiopia. It follows recent reports that Ethiopian Prime Minister,Abiy Ahmed, has joined the front line where government forces are battling with the Tigray rebel fighters. The conflict has led to a humanitarian crisis, withhundreds of thousands facing famine-like conditions in the north of Ethiopia. Thousands of people have been killed and millions forced from their homes.
To help you navigate the changes of business travel, we’ve created the brand-new Traveller Toolkit. This invaluable online resource is packed full of easy-to-use guides and checklists for every stage of every journey. We detail exactly what you need to know and do before, during and after your trip in a post-pandemic, post Brexit world.
You can even check the travel restrictions and health status of your destination with our comprehensive COVID-19 Country Tracker, updated five times daily to ensure you have the very latest information to help keep you and your travellers safe.
Travel is changing. With common sense and a good TMC behind you, travellers can have the confidence to once again take to the skies. It’ll soon be back business as (un)usual.