Pulitzer for Rohingya photography


Published:  11:01 AM, 17 April 2018

 Pulitzer for Rohingya photography

Asian Age Online

Reuters won Pulitzer Prizes on Monday for international reporting and photography while the New York Times and Washington Post shared honours for exposing sexual harassment in America and detailing the US investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

                      The Pulitzers, the most prestigious awards in American journalism, recognised Reuters in international reporting for exposing the methods of police killing squads in Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, and for feature photography documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

“In a year in which many Pulitzers were rightly devoted to US domestic matters, we’re proud at Reuters to shine a light on global issues of profound concern and importance,” Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J Adler said. It was the first time Reuters has won two prizes in one year.

                    In the Philippines coverage, Reuters reporters Clare Baldwin, Andrew RC Marshall and Manuel Mogato “demonstrated how police in the president’s ‘drug war’ have killed with impunity and consistently been shielded from prosecution,” Adler said.

The coverage included a report that revealed how a police anti-drug squad on the outskirts of Manila had recorded an unusually high number of killings. Many members of the squad came from a distant place that was also Duterte’s hometown, where the campaign’s brutal methods originated during his time as mayor there.

                     The Reuters photography staff was honoured for images of the violence endured by the Rohingya, a Muslim minority, as they fled Myanmar for Bangladesh.

“The extraordinary photography of the mass exodus of the Rohingya people to Bangladesh demonstrates not only the human cost of conflict but also the essential role photojournalism can play in revealing it,” Adler said.

Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have been jailed in Myanmar since Dec 12, charged under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act, while investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men in Rakhine state.

                     In the United States, major media took other Pulitzers for reporting that shaped the political and cultural agenda. The New York Times and the New Yorker magazine shared the honour for public service for their reporting on sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Read more ›

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More actions against Myanmar coming, says US Ambassador at Large Brownback

More actions against Myanmar coming, says US Ambassador at Large Brownback

Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2018-04-19 19:04:48.0 BdST Updated: 2018-04-19 19:04:48.0 BdST

           The visiting US ambassador at large for international religious freedom has said they will take more actions against Myanmar as the investigations into the Rohingya “ethnic cleansing” are moving forward.

“You will see more actions forward,” Sam Brownback said, replying to a question at a press briefing in Dhaka on Thursday by the end of his three-day visit.

During the tour, he also talked to the Rohingya men, women and children at refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar and heard their “tragic and terrible” stories. “Deeply concerning” things have taken place, he said, adding that every one of the randomly selected children told him they had seen close family members either stabbed or shot or killed in front of them.

“One child said she saw both of her grandparents shot and killed. It’s horrible violence. Mother has seen her 12-year old daughter cut in front of her,” he said. He said an imam was beaten and forced to witness the raping of women. He said the US had earlier labelled the situation as “ethnic cleansing” and “launched a fact-finding mission”.

The US also imposed sanctions targeting the individuals responsible for the violence, including General Maung Maung Soe, who was in charge of the military operation that drove more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh since Aug 25 last year.

While talking to the Rohingyas, Brownback said, everybody but one person said they were pushed out of the country because they are Muslims. He said he asked that specific question as he is in-charge of the US international religious freedom department.

“Its ethnic cleansing against religious minority,” he said, “We will continue to investigate that”.

“Additional actions will be forthcoming,” he reiterated. Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on repatriating the Rohingyas and signed a deal on the matter. Ambassador Marcia Bernicat told the press briefing any return “must take place under safe, dignified and voluntary conditions and voluntariness has to be well informed”.

 Source : https://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2018/04/19/more-actions-against-myanmar-coming-says-us-ambassador-at-large-brownback

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Myanmar fooling world over Rohingya repatriation?

Myanmar fooling world over Rohingya repatriation?

Toriqul Islam | Update: 14:56, Apr 18, 2018

An exhausted Rohingya refugee woman touches the shore after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal, in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh 11 September 2017. Photo: Reuters

There are at least 60 nations with fewer than one million people living rightfully and with dignity on sovereign in the land of their ancestors. Our South Asian neighbour, Bhutan, is a sovereign kingdom with a population less than that of Rohingyas who are living as refugees in Bangladesh.

More than a million Rohingyas are struggling to survive each day. They do not have even the tiniest place of their own in this world, a shelter for their weary careworn families.

Today they are known by many names. They are the most persecuted. They are the most vulnerable ethnic group. They are the largest number of people on the globe who have no ‘legitimacy’ to live in their motherland, Myanmar, despite the fact their people have been born and brought up there down the generations.

And now more than one million of them are refugees in their overpopulated neighbour, Bangladesh. Since the emergence of the current Rohingya crisis in October 2017, there has been a flurry of headlines concerning Myanmar. These are either about atrocities against the Rohingya people or they support the brutal oppression carried out by Myanmar’s military which is perceived to the country’s de facto rulers.

However, at the outset of the new year, the international communities, who so long had their eyes wide shut, decided to raise their voices. In response, Myanmar hurried to cover up the carnage by their army, apparently to dodge any ban by the United Nations and to avoid the wrath of the world powers.

In the face of ban threats from the United States and members of the European Union, in the span of three and half months this year, the anti-Rohingya military hit the headlines afresh with their ‘changing nature’ and came up with certain conflicting actions to save their own backs.

The Myanmar rulers apparently softened their positions and hurriedly attempted to hide their blood-stained faces. But, they could not succeed to do so, thanks to the onrush of media reports. Read more ›

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Dhaka, Ottawa and The Hague: Rohingya Convergence

12:00 AM, April 19, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:24 AM, April 19, 2018


Dhaka, Ottawa and The Hague: Rohingya Convergence

Rohingya refugees take shelter from the rain at the registration centre in Teknaf in Ukhia district on October 6, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

Manzoor Hasan

On April 4, 2018, the Canadian prime minister’s special envoy to Myanmar, Bob Rae, released a report entitled “Tell them we’re human: What Canada and the world can do about the Rohingya crisis.” The report investigates the humanitarian crisis as a result of the recent exodus of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar into Bangladesh. It focuses on four themes: the need to combine principle and pragmatism in responding to the serious humanitarian crisis in both Myanmar and Bangladesh; the ongoing political challenges in Myanmar; the strong signals that crimes against humanity were committed in the violent displacement of more than 671,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State in Myanmar; and finally, the clear need for more effective coordination of both domestic and international efforts.

Just a few hours before its release, the Dhaka Declaration was announced on April 3, which came out of the two-day international conference “Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Towards Sustainable Solutions.” It was jointly organised by ActionAid Bangladesh, the Centre for Genocide Studies of University of Dhaka, and the Centre for Peace and Justice of BRAC University. The conference brought together academics, development practitioners, human rights activists, climate change experts, sociologists, economists, political analysts and journalists from various countries such as, Australia, China, India, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Singapore, Thailand, UK and US. Md Shahidul Haque, foreign secretary of the government of Bangladesh, and Dr Gowher Rizvi, international affairs advisor to the prime minister, made strong unequivocal statements on Bangladesh’s position. The participants spoke on varied issues such as refugee policy and rights, voluntary repatriation, geopolitical dynamics, and protection and needs of Rohingya women and girls. The conference explored peaceful and sustainable solutions of the Rohingya crisis. The Dhaka Declaration is, therefore, the collective voice of the participants and was endorsed by the conference.  Read more ›

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Press Myanmar on repatriation

 12:00 AM, April 19, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:05 AM, April 19, 2018

Press Myanmar on repatriation                                       

PM asks the world; UK, Canada demand meaningful probe into Rohingya massacre; UN reports of grim situation in Rakhine state


Star Report

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for more international pressure on Myanmar to take back Rohingya refugees, rejecting an assertion by Myanmar that it has repatriated the first Rohingya family of five.

“The international community needs to put more pressure on Myanmar so that they take back their own people and ensure their security,” she told an audience in London on Tuesday, reports Reuters.

“Myanmar says they are ready to take back the Rohingya, but they are not taking the initiative,” said Hasina, who is in London to attend the Commonwealth Summit. Also on Tuesday, Canada and Britain called for a meaningful investigation into reported atrocities by the Myanmar army.

Meanwhile, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller said over 400,000 Rohingya who are still living in Myanmar’s Rakhine state continue to face hardship and marginalisation due to restrictions. Mueller visited Myanmar last week.

Nearly 700,000 mostly Muslim Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh from Rakhine to escape a military crackdown since August, amid reports of murder, rape and arson by Myanmar troops and Buddhist vigilantes in actions which the United Nations has likened to “ethnic cleansing”.

Amid global pressure, Myanmar signed a bilateral repatriation deal with Bangladesh in November last year, but has not yet repatriated any refugees from Bangladesh. Five Rohingya, who had been living on the no-man’s land between the borders of Bangladesh and Myanmar, crossed the border to Myanmar in the early hours of April 14. Read more ›

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Rohingya widows worry about their families’ futures

Rohingya widows worry about their families’ futures

Lone women who head refugee families in Bangladesh struggle with concerns about food, shelter and the welfare of the next generation.

By Tim Gaynor in Kutupalong refugee settlement, Bangladesh |17 April 2018

Sufia Khatun, in white shawl, sits with her family, Nur Begum, 20, Nur’s son Mohammad Hossen, aged three-and-a-half, Fatema Khatun, 12, and Omar Faruq, eight, at their shelter in Kutupalong, Bangladesh. © UNHCR/Roger Arnold

 In a plastic-roofed shack near an open sewer, Rohingya refugee widow Sufia Khatun is doing all she can to fend for the family she now heads.

Her husband, Nur Mohammad, was struck with a machete and killed when he went to investigate smoke and commotion in their Myanmar village in late August. After fleeing to Bangladesh, she now provides for their five children, aged 20 and under, and her grandson.

“The main challenge is food … The rations we get every month are not enough to meet our needs, and we have to borrow 10 kilos of rice from our neighbours,” she says, squatting on the floor of the hut, with her three-year-old grandson Mohammad Hossen in her lap.

More than 687,000 refugees from Myanmar have fled to Bangladesh since August. Sufia, 48, is among some 31,000 refugee women who head their households, many of them widows whose husbands were killed or are missing in Myanmar.

Rehena Begum, 45, pictured at a UN Refugee Agency Information Point at Kutupalong refugee settlement, Bangladesh. © UNHCR/Roger Arnold

They face intimidating challenges as they start over in the pop-up city of rickety bamboo shelters, now the world’s largest refugee settlement.

“They are women now, and I’m afraid to send them out.”

Mother-of-eight Khatemunnesa, 40, lives in shack made of bamboo and plastic sheeting. Her husband Rahmat Ullah, 50, was killed when a mob set fire to her home village and killed six months ago. She frets about the looming wet season and how she will prepare her fragile home for the monsoon without Rahmat and her son-in-law, whom she saw attacked in her front yard as she fled for her life.

Katemunnesa, 40, holds her daughter at a UN Refugee Agency Information Point in Kutupalong refugee settlement, Bangladesh. © UNHCR/Roger Arnold

“Strengthening the shelter is something that my husband would have taken care of before, and now, with the monsoon coming, I have to do it myself,” she says.

Others have different concerns. Rehena Begum, 45, says she needs firewood for cooking but fears sending her teenage daughters out to gather increasingly scarce fuel in the scrub around the settlement, which she considers unsafe.

“They are women now, and I’m afraid to send them out,” she says of the girls aged 17 and 18. “They were already terrified by the violence in Myanmar. They witnessed indignities,” she says, alluding to rape and sexual assault, “and I am afraid for them if they go out.” Read more ›

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Date Modified: 2018-04-03

“Tell them we’re human” What Canada and the world can do about the Rohingya crisis

Executive Summary

As Prime Minister Trudeau’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, I engaged in extensive research, travel and meetings with key interlocutors from October 2017 to March 2018 to assess the violent events of August 2017 and afterward that led more than 671,000 Rohingya to flee their homes in Rakhine State, Myanmar, and seek refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh.

This report focuses on the following four themes: the need to combine principle and pragmatism in responding to the serious humanitarian crisis in both Myanmar and Bangladesh; the ongoing political challenges in Myanmar; the strong signals that crimes against humanity were committed in the forcible and violent displacement of more than 671,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State in Myanmar; and the clear need for more effective coordination of both domestic and international efforts.

Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau and Special Envoy Rae discussing the Rohingya crisis / Image source: Government of Canada

The humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh and Myanmar: With the arrival of more than 671,000 additional refugees in Bangladesh since August 25, 2017, the displaced Rohingya population living in camps in Bangladesh now approaches one million. Camps are overcrowded, the population is traumatized, and the rainy season will soon be upon them. UN agencies have responded with a Joint Response Plan aiming to gather US$950.8 million for the next year. In addition, there could be as many as 450,000 Rohingya remaining in central and northern Rakhine State. Their situation is precarious. Many are in camps for internally displaced persons (IDP), and others are essentially locked into their villages, with poor food supplies and little access to international humanitarian assistance. This demands a response from the international community, and Canada needs to play a strong role. Canada needs to increase its budget dedicated to the crisis, as well as to encourage deeper coordination with like-minded countries. Canada and other countries should also explore avenues to allow the Rohingya to be eligible to apply for refugee status and resettlement, including in Canada, but it needs to be stressed that resettlement alone will not solve the problem.

Special Envoy Rae in the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar / Image source: Global Affairs Canada

The political situation in Myanmar: The military remains in firm control of key ministries and budgets within the government that is currently in place in Myanmar. In addition to the crisis in Rakhine State, military conflict is taking place in many border areas of the country, having a negative impact on the peace negotiations and constitutional reform as a result. Despite the 2015 democratic election of Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), she was not permitted by the constitution to become president and instead has the role of Minister of Foreign Affairs and State Counsellor, an office that was created for her and whose responsibilities are not clearly defined. She remains the main interlocutor of Myanmar with the world and has been defensive of the activities of the Myanmar military in Rakhine State. The Government of Myanmar, at least its civilian wing, is now formally committed to the implementation of the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-chaired Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, which seek to bring long-term peace and stability to Rakhine, but howthese recommendations can in fact be implemented is not yet clear. The government has also said it will allow for the return of the Rohingya to their home villages, but evidence suggests that many of these villages have been destroyed, and there is a prevailing sentiment within the local ethnic Rakhine population against the Rohingya’s return. Consequently, United Nations (UN) agencies have stated that they do not believe conditions are present for the “safe, voluntary, dignified, and sustainable” return of the Rohingya to their homes in Rakhine State. I agree with this view. Canada needs to continue to engage with the Government of Myanmar, in both its civilian and military wings, and continue to do so in a way that expresses candidly its views about what has happened, and is still happening, and to insist that all activities of the Government of Myanmar, including military activities, must be carried out in conformity with international law. Canada also needs to engage with civil society throughout Myanmar to support the peace process and to insist on the need for international humanitarian access to northern Rakhine.

                                   The question of accountability and impunity: There is clear evidence to support the charge that crimes against humanity have been committed. These have led to the departure, often in violent circumstances, of more than 671,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State since August 2017. This evidence has to be collected, and we need to find a way to move forward to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice. It will not be easy, as Myanmar is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, but steps should be taken to encourage the International Criminal Court to consider an investigation on the issue of forcible deportation. In addition, Canada should lead a discussion on the need to establish an international impartial and independent mechanism (IIIM or “Triple I-M”) for potential crimes in Myanmar, such as was established by the UN General Assembly for Syria. The Government of Canada should be actively involved in funding these efforts and in continuing to apply targeted sanctions against those where credible evidence supports such measures.
Effective coordination and cooperation: The report recommends formalizing the coordinated efforts of the Rohingya Working Group within the federal government to include those departments with a clear interest and mandate (Global Affairs Canada, Justice Canada, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the Department of National Defence, PCO, PMO) and continuing discussions with other like-minded governments about coordinating international efforts on the three challenges described above. Read more ›

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Witness to horror
The Rohingyas

The cover of the Rohingya; A short account of their history and culture