TOPIC BRIEFS

Addressing the issue of the inequitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines:

Addressing the issue of the corrupt justice system in Thailand:

It is known that LEDCs (less economically developed countries) are at the bottom of the list when it comes to global distribution of products, that might not seem too worrying, until one considers the fact that they are also at the bottom of the list for the distribution of vaccines. LEDCs, especially African countries, have still not received enough COVID vaccines since they were first deemed safe and available to the public, while MEDCs (more economically developed countries), also known as ‘priority countries’, such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany, have received enough to vaccinate over half of their population and continue to receive more. The reality is that not being as wealthy as MEDCs prevents LEDCs from having the elite international connections and ability to conduct research to get or produce these vaccines. MEDCs have the upper hand in this situation and are not taking it for granted, in the US, over 250,998,265 doses of the vaccine have been distributed so far with 194,791,836 of the doses used, while in Ghana only 600,000 doses have been sent with 450,000 doses used. While MEDCs are slowly escaping the virus, LEDCs, particularly South Asia, South America, and Africa are still being held down because of the unfair distribution and their position in society.

The corruption that plagues the justice system in Thailand means that prisoners often face extremely unfair, biased trials. Prisoners who commit violent crimes such as harassment, assault and even murder only get a few years, while those who commit lèse majesté (an offence against the dignity of a reigning sovereign or against a state) are sentenced to anything between 20-40 years due to the country being partially under martial law and the value that is placed on the reputation of their corrupt rulers. As well as that, in lèse majesté trials, people are found guilty even when what they said or wrote was found to be factually true. Additionally, according to journalists who have been arrested for this crime, prisoners are put in shackles and inhumane uniforms during their trials and are often abused by authorities before their trials in order to make them look more like dangerous criminals in order to persuade the judge to give longer sentences. Elections are usually stained with media censorship, political repression, and unequal access to the media meaning people at the bottom of society don’t usually have an opinion, so the justice system doesn’t change.

Discussing Brexit’s effect on the education system in the UK:

Pre-Brexit, students from countries in the European Union (EU) were paying the same tuition fees as students from the United Kingdom (UK), but after Brexit, these students lost access to loans and were required to pay higher fees since they were now considered international students. As a result, travelling into the UK for education is also much more challenging for EU students as it is more difficult for them to gain entry into the country, and consequently it’s education system. Not only does this affect the students and their freedom to study in the UK, but it also affects the schools themselves, since schools depend on the EU for funding, with some schools even being funded up to 15% of their overall budgets from the EU alone, meaning schools are losing a very significant part of their funding. This causes colleges to turn to the UK government for funding, which is a problem because it reduces their budget and leads to them not having enough funds for simple yet important things such as infrastructure and even just road fixes. Brexit also affects staffing in UK universities since 15% of the teaching staff came from the EU.