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Weekly Spotlight: 7 January 2024

1.      Guyana Begins United Nations Security Council Term

On 02 January 2024, Guyana began its two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Guyana’s term was formally initiated by Ambassador Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Guyana’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, who installed the Guyanese flag alongside those of the Security Council’s fourteen other member states. In her inaugural statement, Ambassador Rodrigues-Birkett reflected that “the task of maintaining peace and security is growing increasingly complex with multidimensional challenges, and the Council is required to be proactive in addressing potential sources of conflict.” Furthermore, Ambassador Rodrigues-Birkett explained that as a UNSC member state, Guyana will seek “a people centred approach including the involvement of women and youth in the search for solutions, ever mindful that conflict is a driver of poverty and underdevelopment.”


2.      Islamist Militants Kill Fourteen in Nigeria’s Yobe State

Jihadist insurgents, likely affiliated with the Boko Haram terrorist organisation, killed fourteen civilians across north-eastern areas of Yobe State on 05 January, marking the group’s first attack of 2024. Hostilities began in the town of Geidem, where militants opened fire in a nightclub at approximately 0100hrs (local time), killing seven attendees. The gunmen then proceeded to attack villages located on the outskirts of Geidem, where multiple houses and vehicles were burnt and a further five civilians, including a local Christian pastor, were also killed. Although officially unconfirmed, authorities believe that the attack was likely conducted by Boko Haram, who have staged multiple terrorist attacks against civilians and state security personnel in north-eastern Nigeria as part of a years-long campaign to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region.


3.      Malaysia Establishes Central Database Hub to Address National Data Security Concerns

In an effort to address national data security concerns, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced the establishment of a Central Database Hub (PADU) on 02 January 2024. PADU is a comprehensive platform capable of securely storing the personal data of Malaysian citizens and permanent residents, and will be used by a variety of government agencies to efficiently identify suitable recipients for state subsidies. According to Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli, PADU’s data security provisions include measures such as the establishment pf comprehensive operating procedures, and the formation of a strategic cooperation group containing representatives from the National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA), the Office of the Chief Government Security Officer (CGSO), CyberSecurity Malaysia, and the Department of Personal Data Protection (PDP). 


4.      Australian Federal Police Deliver Cyber Safety Pasifika Training Programme to Pacific Island Partners

On 03 January 2024, Australian Federal Police (AFP) announced the conclusion of the annual Cyber Safety Pasifika (CDP) workshop, which was delivered to twenty-four police officers from across the Pacific Islands in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. Law enforcement representatives from nations including Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu, and the Cook Islands received specialist training in the latest cybercrime investigation techniques, and developed effective strategies for engaging local communities in discussions regarding safe cybersecurity practices. Following the workshop’s conclusion, AFP Detective Superintendent Kathryn Polkinghorne commented that “it is extremely important to update the Cyber Safety Pasifika programme to ensure we are giving Pacific police partners the best tools to combat cybercrime and educate their communities.”


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