Myanmar is not fooling anyone

 

EDITORIAL

12:00 AM, April 17, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:58 AM, April 17, 2018

Myanmar is not fooling anyone

Hoax in the name of repatriation!

Myanmar’s latest stunt of showing that it has started the repatriation process by taking back five Rohingyas, that too not from the main refugee camps in Chittagong where more than a million Rohingyas are sheltered, has only served to add to the suspicion that it is flouting the bilateral agreement with our country. Such a blatant hoax does not fool anyone, least of all the people of Bangladesh. Our home minister has rightly termed it a farce, more so because this so-called repatriation of a handful of people was not in the knowledge of the Bangladesh government, which is contrary to the bilateral agreement. An official of an international human rights organisation has termed it a “public relations exercise in an attempt to deflect attention for accountability for crimes committed in the Rakhine State.”

That seems to accurately sum up the motive behind such a hoax and insults the intelligence of Bangladesh’s public and government. It only shows Myanmar’s disregard for its repatriation agreement with Bangladesh and for the international condemnation of its acts. The agreement stipulated that Bangladesh would give Myanmar a list of Rohingya refugees which it would verify and then start the repatriation process. To apparently take back Rohingyas even without verifying the first list that has been given by our government raises questions.

It is about time that the international community acknowledges the lack of sincerity on Myanmar’s side to solve the Rohingya crisis, a crisis that Myanmar has singlehandedly created. The international community must act more decisively so that Myanmar stops playing games and takes the repatriation process seriously. Myanmar must give back to the Rohingyas taking refuge in Bangladesh, their rightful place in the Rakhine state, with full citizenship rights and the guarantee of their safety and dignity when they go back home. And the UN bodies must ensure these conditions.

Source : https://www.thedailystar.net/editorial/myanmar-not-fooling-anyone-1563358

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Myanmar military put on UN blacklist for sexual violence

Myanmar military put on UN blacklist for sexual violence

António Guterres, right, Secretary-General of the United Nations, speaks during a Security Council meeting, Friday, April 13, 2018, at United Nations headquarters. (Julie Jacobson/Associated Press)

By Edith M. Lederer|AP  April 13, 2018 at 7:23 PM

UNITED NATIONS — A new U.N. report puts Myanmar’s armed forces on a U.N. blacklist of government and rebel groups “credibly suspected” of carrying out rapes and other acts of sexual violence in conflict for the first time.

An advance copy of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ report to the Security Council, obtained Friday by The Associated Press, says international medical staff and others in Bangladesh have documented that many of the almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled from Myanmar “bear the physical and psychological scars of brutal sexual assault.”

The U.N. chief said the assaults were allegedly perpetrated by the Myanmar Armed Forces, known as the Tatmadaw, “at times acting in concert with local militias, in the course of military ‘clearance’ operations in October 2016 and August 2017.”

“The widespread threat and use of sexual violence was integral to this strategy, serving to humiliate, terrorize and collectively punish the Rohingya community, as a calculated tool to force them to flee their homelands and prevent their return,” Guterres said. Read more ›

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Eyewash!

12:00 AM, April 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:49 PM, April 17, 2018

Eyewash!

Myanmar takes a Rohingya family from no man’s land, calls it repatriation

Home Minister Ashaduzzaman Khan on April 15, 2018, comes down heavily on Myanmar over the repatriation of one Rohingya family. File photo

Star Report

In a sudden move, Myanmar has taken back five Rohingyas from no man’s land between Bangladesh and Myanmar, an event the international media has dubbed as the repatriation of first refugee family since the crisis began in August last year.

Shortly after welcoming the Rohingyas early yesterday, Myanmar government in a statement, posted on the official Facebook page of its Information Committee, said, “The five members of a family … came back to Taungpyoletwei town repatriation camp in Rakhine State this morning.”

Authorities determined “whether they were once living here” and provided the family with national verification cards, a form of ID that falls short of citizenship and has been rejected by Rohingya leaders who want full rights, reports AFP.

Photos posted alongside the statement showed one man, two women, a young girl and a boy receiving the ID cards and getting health checks. It said the family had been sent to stay “temporarily” with relatives in Maungdaw town.

It has been learnt that the five are Aktar Alam, his wife Sajeda Begum, daughter Tahera, son Tarek Aziz and neighbour Shawkat Ara. After the move, Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said such an announcement was nothing but a farce, while rights activists and experts said the one-sided step by Myanmar is an eyewash and a public relations stunt.

The Rohingya family did not reach Bangladesh as they used to live in no man’s land, added Asaduzzaman. “I hope Myanmar will repatriate all the refugee families within the shortest possible time,” he told reporters after a meeting at the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Some 700,000 Rohingyas have crossed over into Bangladesh since August and joined over 300,000 who had fled earlier waves of violence in Rakhine. At least 6,000 Rohingya families have been living in the no man’s land since that month.

Bangladesh and Myanmar in November signed a bilateral deal for the repatriation. The UN high commissioner for refugees said on Friday that the conditions in Myanmar were not yet conducive to safe, voluntary and sustainable returns of the Rohingya.

Andrea Giorgetta of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) told AFP that Myanmar’s announcement of repatriation is “a public relations exercise in an attempt to deflect attention from the need for accountability for crimes committed in Rakhine State”. Read more ›

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UN officials urge action to prevent sexual violence in conflict; Rohingya lawyer says ‘Security Council failed us’

UN officials urge action to prevent sexual violence in conflict;Rohingya lawyer says ‘Security Council failed us’

UN Photo/Mark Garten – Razia Sultana, human rights activist and lawyer, addresses the Security Council’s open debate on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security.

                     “Where I come from, women and girls have been gang-raped, tortured and killed by the Myanmar Army, for no other reason than for being Rohingya,” Razia Sultana said on behalf of non-governmental organizations during a Security Council open debate on preventing sexual violence in conflict.

The debate, addressed by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, was held as the Council prepares for a visit later this month to Myanmar and its neighbor Bangladesh, which hosts hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees.

Ms. Sultana urged the Council members to meet with women and girl survivors during the trip. Since August last year, more than 670,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar. “This is the fastest refugee movement since the Rwanda genocide,” Ms. Sultana said.

“However, the international community, especially the Security Council, has failed us. This latest crisis should have been prevented if the warning signs since 2012 had not been ignored,” she added.

Ms. Sultana said that her own research and interviews provide evidence that Government troops raped well over 300 women and girls in 17 villages in Rakhine state. With over 350 villages attacked and burned since August 2017, this number is likely only a fraction of the actual total. “Girls as young as six were gang-raped,” she said.

This year’s UN Secretary-General’s report on sexual violence in conflict lists the Myanmar military for the first time. She said the Council must refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court without delay.

UN Photo/Mark Garten (Security Council, 8224th meeting)  –  16 Apr 2018 – Remarks by Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, on preventing sexual violence in conflict through empowerment, gender equality and access to justice

 Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed addresses the Security Council’s open debate on women, peace and security. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told the Council that: “This year, in Myanmar and many other conflict situations, the widespread threat and use of sexual violence has, once again, been used as a tactic to advance military, economic and ideological objectives.”

“And, once again, it has been a driver of massive forced displacement,” she added. “Let us intensify our efforts to end the horrific litany of sexual violence in conflict so that women, girls, men and boys have one less burden to bear as they work to rebuild shattered lives.”

A decade ago, the Council adopted the groundbreaking resolution 1820, which elevated the issue of conflict-related sexual violence onto its agenda, as a threat to security and impediment to peace.

It seeks to “debunk the myths that fuel sexual violence,” and rejects the notion of rape as an “inevitable byproduct of war” or mere “collateral damage.” Since then, the issue has been systematically included peacekeeping missions.

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe – Security Council, 8224th meeting   –  16 Apr 2018 – Remarks by Ms. Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, on preventing sexual violence in conflict through empowerment, gender equality and access to justice.

 Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, addresses the Security Council’s open debate on women, peace and security. But “it is clear that words on paper are not yet matched by facts on the ground. We have not yet moved from resolutions to lasting solutions,” said Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Read more ›

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Razia’s statement delivered at the Security Council Open Debate on sexual violence in conflict

Razia’s statement delivered at the Security Council Open     Debate on sexual violence in conflict

Razia Sultana, human rights activist and lawyer, addresses the Security Council’s open debate on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. (UN Photo/Mark Garten)…

Apr 17, 2018    Policy Briefs

 Rape by Command, Razia Sultana Ahmed, a coordinator the Free Rohingya Coalition, spoke  at the Security Council Open Debate on Myanmar’s mass rape of Rohingya, Kachin, Shan and Karen women

 Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 Good morning,

I am a Rohingya lawyer, researcher and educator specializing in trauma, mass rape and trafficking of Rohingya girls and women. I have been working directly with Rohingya women and girls in the refugee camps in Bangladesh since 2014. As a senior researcher I have worked with Kalandan Press on a few reports. I am a coordinator of the Free Rohingya Coalition (co-a-li-tion), Director of Arakan Rohingya National Organization’s (ARNO) women section and the founder of Rohingya Women Welfare (ROWW).

I speak today on behalf of my people, who have been driven from our motherland. Where I come from, women and girls, have been gang raped, tortured and killed by the Myanmar Army, for no other reason than for being Rohingya. I also speak today on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security.

Since August last year, over 670,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar. This is the fastest refugee movement since the Rwanda genocide. I am extremely grateful to Bangladesh for opening its boarders. However, the international community, especially the Security Council, has failed us. This latest crisis should have been prevented, if the warning signs since 2012 had not been ignored. Since then state security forces have committed human rights abuses against the Rohingya. Officials have since placed severe restrictions on our freedom of movement which limited access to livelihoods, healthcare, food and education. Discrimination against Rohingya people dates as far back as 1982 when we were stripped of our citizenship rights.

UN Security Council Meeting held on 16 April 2018.

Many of Myanmar’s other ethnic minorities including the Karen, Kachin, Chin, Mung and Shan have also faced decades of entrenched discrimination, rape and other human rights violations by the military operating with impunity. Other ethnic women’s groups in Myanmar have been documenting these patterns for decades. In 2002, Shan groups released a report with the same patterns of gang-rape, killing, and mutilation. In 2014, the Women’s League of Burma released a report documenting rape of over 100 ethnic women by the Myanmar Army. This showed how even after elections in 2010, the Myanmar Army was still raping ethnic women with impunity. What is happening now is only on a much larger scale.

My own research and interviews provide evidence that government troops raped well over 300 women and girls in 17 villages in Rakhine State. With over 350 villages attacked and burned since August 2017, this number is likely only a fraction of the actual total number of women raped. Girls as young as six, were gang raped. Women and girls were caught and gang raped in their homes, as they were running away or trying to cross the Bangladesh border. Some were horribly mutilated and burned alive. Sexual violence involved hundreds of soldiers and occurred across a vast part of Rakhine State. Such scale and breadth provides strong evidence that rape was systematically planned and used as a weapon against my people. The pattern of mutilation of women’s private parts after rape, suggests a specific directive to instill terror among Rohingya people but also to destroy their very means of reproduction. With hundreds of thousands of troops deployed across Myanmar, this has horrifying implications for the safety of women and girls across the country. Read more ›

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An Open Letter to Burmese Buddhists Concerning the Rohingya

An Open Letter to Burmese Buddhists Concerning the Rohingya

UPDATES ON MYANMAR ROHINGYA GENOCIDE, 9 Apr 2018

Buddhists for Peace – TRANSCEND Media Service

Letter with 72 cosigners “of Burmese Buddhist Upbringing” Denouncing Persecution of Rohingya and All Ethnic Minorities

2 Apr 2018 – As Burmese individuals of Buddhist upbringing, we have been following the crisis in Rakhine State which has caused an exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees into neighboring Bangladesh since August 2017. Like many around the world, we have been horrified by reports of widespread atrocities committed by Myanmar security forces under the Tatmadaw’s command. These have included mass rape, arson, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings that have included the sadistic murder and torture of young Rohingya children and infants. Thirty thousand ethnic Rakhine, Mro, Thet and Daingnet refugees also had to flee from violence, abandoning their homes. Furthermore, we have been shocked to see that so many Buddhist activists, monks, and respected elders in our communities who we once admired as voices for justice within Burma are either silent or defending the actions of a military they were once so vehemently against.

Rohingya Refugees crossing the Naf River with country boat with fear – Arakan TV

We write these words in unity, though our backgrounds are diverse. Some of our parents left Burma decades ago to escape political unrest as refugees and immigrants, with dreams of raising their children in a nation where our liberties would not be under authoritarian threat. Some of us grew up in Burma, but chose to study abroad or have traveled to different countries, forging friendships and bonds which transcend nationality. Some of us are trying to advocate for immigrant and refugee communities from Burma in nations like the United States, where we are citizens. And some of us wish to return to Burma, to see our families and friends and give back to the communities that shaped us, standing for peace and equality in a society that we watched suffer under a military regime our whole lives – and is still suffering.

Rohingya Refugees marching towards Refugee camps. Photo – Siti Aisyah’s post

Like many Burmese across ethnic and religious lines, we all hurt as one for those suffering in Burma under the tyranny of the generals and continued to place our hopes for reform in Daw Aung San Suu Kyi during the years she spent under house arrest. We were sickened by footage of peacefully protesting Buddhist monks being humiliated, beaten, and murdered by Burmese riot police in the streets of Yangon during the 2007 Saffron Revolution. We are upset that anyone could support the command of the Tatmadaw after such actions, or after thousands of student protesters were massacred in 1988, for that matter. We kept faith in the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership, hoping that she could finally bring Burma out of military rule when her party won the election in 2015.

Now, by their willful inaction, she and the NLD have become complicit in this violence against Rohingya civilians carried out by the Myanmar security forces, which the United Nations has called “textbook ethnic cleansing” and “acts of genocide.” Members of the Burmese sangha have also been fueling anti-Rohingya sentiment in the country. Sitagu Sayadaw, one of the most senior and influential Buddhist monks in all of Burma gave a sermon to the Burmese military in Karen State in November 2017 that implied non-Buddhist individuals are inferior beings because they have not lived up to full human potential, which he instructed requires conversion to Buddhism. Ultranationalist monks routinely harass interfaith activists and journalists, and rally against the Rohingya and other Burmese Muslims in the country.

We have struggled to reconcile these events as adults, when as children we were taught to pay respects to monks at Buddhist monasteries, memorize Pali Suttas, and made to feel that Theravada Buddhism was intrinsic to Burmese culture. Yet, now it seems like the Burmese public’s widespread attitudes towards the Rohingya directly contradict the teachings of Lord Gautama Buddha. Read more ›

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Protected return to protected homeland

12:00 AM, April 10, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:52 AM, April 10, 2018

 Protected return to protected homeland

Only durable solution to Burma’s Rohingya Genocide

By Prof. Dr. C R Abrar

Prof. Dr. C R Abrar

Last week, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her dismay at the stalemate on the repatriation of the Rohingyas. “We’ve been making various efforts… but there has been virtually no progress,” she said. A day earlier, her foreign affairs adviser, Gowher Rizvi, called for re-imposition of sanctions against Burma. “Without pressure, nothing will happen. Myanmar won’t be secure for the Rohingyas. If Myanmar is not secure, Rohingyas will not go back,” the adviser noted. Underscoring the severity of the situation, Rizvi went on to state, “If Myanmar can get away [with that], there will be no security of minorities anywhere in the world. So, we really need to wake up,” he said, calling for “extraordinary international support” for the Rohingyas.

So far Burma has cleared some 600 cases for repatriation in response to Bangladesh’s supplied list of 8,030 names. The former accused the latter of not adhering to the terms of the agreement in preparing the list. Dhaka rejected the allegation. It feels betrayed by Naypyidaw’s machinations to stall the much-desired repatriation. Included in those are: coming up with new demands and inordinate delay in verification.

The repatriation and the physical arrangement deals, signed on November 23, 2017 and January 16, 2018 respectively, set the January 23 deadline for the repatriation of 670,000 Rohingyas who sought shelter in this country, fleeing atrocities of a monumental scale in the Arakan state. In order to placate its eastern neighbour, Bangladesh refrained from including in the list more than 200,000 Rohingyas who came before August 25, 2017.

The Burmese attitude and handling of the repatriation process raise the question if Naypyidaw was ever sincere in taking back the Rohingyas. At a time when repatriation deals were being negotiated, instead of creating an enabling condition, the security forces in Burma continued their operations in the northern Arakan, killing people, torching houses and forcing the survivors to seek asylum in Bangladesh until a few weeks ago. As a matter of strategy and to erase the evidence of genocide, Naypyidaw is bulldozing the charred dwellings and other structures of Rohingya villages and vegetation. It is also setting up security installations and facilitating transmigration of Rakhine Buddhists in the Rohingya land. Press reports inform that members of the Rakhine community of Bangladesh are also being encouraged by the Burmese authorities to settle in the Rohingya land—in all likelihood, with the purported aim to malign Bangladesh that Buddhists are not safe in this land. Read more ›

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