Marise Payne urged to ‘step up’ at Aung San Suu Kyi meeting in Myanmar


 Marise Payne urged to ‘step up’ at Aung San Suu Kyi meeting in Myanmar

Amnesty International Australia has called on Australia’s foreign affairs minister to act on the Rohingya crisis, as she visits Myanmar this week.

By Nick Baker  – December 12, 2018  Updated 11 hours ago 

As Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne begins her two-day visit to Myanmar, Amnesty International Australia has urged her to “step up and show leadership” at a meeting with controversial leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Ms Payne is in the Southeast Asian nation on Wednesday and Thursday and will meet with senior government ministers, including the embattled State Counsellor.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Ms Payne said Australia “is committed to working with Myanmar and regional and other partners towards a long-term and durable solution to the crisis in Rakhine State”.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, left, and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. AAP

Since 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya have fled from Myanmar’s Rakhine State over the border into Bangladesh, following horrific reports of widespread murder, rape and arson at the hands of the Myanmar military.

READ MORE : Explainer: Who are the Rohingya Muslims?  

Rohingya Mother and her child in Bangladesh Refugee camp

Diana Sayed, crisis response campaigner at Amnesty International Australia, told SBS News Ms Payne must “raise the atrocities” with Ms SuuKyi “and apply political pressure to act”.

“Australia is one of the largest aid donors to Myanmar – so our government’s opinion matters,” she said.

“Ms Payne must call for an immediate end to the ongoing violence against the Rohingya people and justice and accountability for the crimes committed to date. This includes referring the military leaders accountable for these crimes, who the UN say have genocidal intent, to the International Criminal Court.

“It is time for the Australian Government to step up and show leadership on this human rights crisis.”


Ms Sayed said Ms Suu Kyi, a Nobel Prize winner who had been lionised for her commitment to human rights, had “betrayed the values she once stood for”.

“Rather than use her political and moral authority to safeguard human rights, justice and equality she has failed to protect the Rohingya population in Rakhine State and speak out against the military atrocities against them,” she said.

Rohingya refugees walk from Myanmar to Bangladesh in 2017. Getty

READ MORE : One year since exodus, what future for the Rohingya?

On 25 August 2017, a group of Rohingya militants carried out deadly attacks against a small number of Myanmar forces in Rakhine state. The Myanmar military responded with a widespread crackdown against nearly all the Rohingya population in the area.

Human Rights Watch claims the atrocities committed by the Myanmar military during the operation “include mass killings, sexual violence, and widespread arson, amount[ing] to crimes against humanity”.

More than 700,000 Rohingya fled into Bangladesh and now live in refugee camps. Most are crowded into makeshift bamboo houses with only plastic sheets to protect them from the elements.

Rohingya Refugees entering Bangladesh.

Visiting Rakhine State

In the Tuesday statement, Ms Payne said “Australia has previously raised our serious concerns in relation to the situation in Rakhine State”.

“I will discuss Australia’s contribution to supporting the basic needs of the 129,000 internally displaced Rohingya,” she added, referring to Rohingya who languish in displacement camps within Myanmar.

The Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh. Getty.

The camps are located in and around Rakhine’s capital Sittwe, which is on Ms Payne’s travel schedule. According to material from Amnesty International Australia, movement, access to healthcare, work and education is severely restricted for those living in the camps.

“The crisis is far from over. We know that Rohingya people continue to flee and violations continue inside Rakhine State. As villages continue to burn and men, women and children flee for their lives into bordering Bangladesh Aung San Suu Kyi has a moral, ethical and political responsibility to act now,” Ms Sayed said. Additional reporting: AFP

Topics: Asia-Pacific, World


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We never forget the brutal violation of Burma military and Rakhine Mogs.


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Rohingya repatriation: stop everything until big changes are made

Jewish World Watch > Conflict Areas > Rohingya > 

Rohingya repatriation: stop everything until big changes are made

December 10, 2018

Ann Strimov Durbin

Ann Strimov Durbin is a human rights attorney and the Director of Advocacy and Grantmaking at Jewish World Watch.

After Bangladesh and Myanmar officials met in Dhaka in late October, they announced that they had developed a concrete plan to begin repatriation in mid-November, with the first round to include 2,260 Rohingya from 485 families.  Starting on November 15, 150 refugee would be received each week at the Nga Khu Ya reception center before being transferred to the Hla Poe Kaung transit camps. Bangladesh — likely anxious to begin repatriations in advance of upcoming national elections scheduled for late December — culled the names of returnees at random, without consulting the refugees to confirm their willingness to return or to have their names shared with Myanmar.

Luckily, this move sparked international condemnation from the U.N., human rights groups and governments alike.  As UNHCR spokesman, Andrej Mahecic put it, “Because we consider that conditions in Rakhine state are not yet conducive for voluntary return in the conditions of safety,dignity and sustainability, UNHCR will not, at this stage, facilitate any refugee returns to Rakhine state.”  Ultimately, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to postpone return and repatriation until 2019. But that doesn’t mean the Rohingya are out of danger.

The Myanmar government has done nothing to create conditions for safe and dignified returns or to address the structural, underlying causes of the genocide, including systematic persecution and violence, statelessness, hate speech and military impunity for grave violations.  The Tatmadaw has essentially erased all evidence of the massacres of August 2017, bulldozing the remains of villages, leaving nothing but charred earth in its wake. Moreover, recent Rohingya arriving in Bangladesh have indicated that the genocide is still continuing within North Rakhine,where Rohingya still face killings, burnings, enforced disappearances, severe restrictions on movement, food deprivation and torture.  “Returning them in this context is tantamount to condemning them to life as sub-humans and further mass killings,” chair of the U.N. fact-finding mission, Marzuki Darusman, told the U.N. Security Council.

Although Rohingya want to return to their homeland — if guaranteed security, citizenship rights, access to land and livelihoods and freedom of movement — they are absolutely petrified at the prospect of being forcibly returned to the locus of their attempted extermination.  Under the customary international law principle of non-refoulement,it is illegal to forcibly return refugees to a place where they would face persecution, torture, ill-treatment or death. With no evidence to suggest any regret, mindset shift or rights-promoting changes on behalf of the Tatmadaw or even the general public of Myanmar, return would guarantee the Rohingya people’s exposure to all of the above violations.

One Rohingya refugee whose name appeared on the list of the first 2,260 slated to return, told ABC News, “If we are forced to go we will commit suicide by drinking poison.  We have already collected poison. Otherwise the government of Bangladesh has to shoot us dead.” Many in Cox’s Bazar have expressed these sentiments, with several suicide attempts already documented.  An advocacy partner of mine sent a photo of an elderly man who allegedly took poison to avoid return. I know his name. I know his block number in Seprank Camp. I can never unsee that image.

“If we are forced to go we will commit suicide by drinking poison.”

The United States cannot allow for survivors of genocide to be cast back into the terror from which they barely survived.  We must take a leadership role in ensuring that these survivors of genocide are protected and that the structural causes which culminated in massacres, systematic rape, burning of villages and mass deportation are properly addressed.  Unless the citizenship rights and freedoms of the Rohingya are restored, return is, quite simply, out of the question. Their discrimination and persecution has been going on for so long, and the brainwashing of the general public by the Tatmadaw and religious nationalists has been so omnipresent and pervasive, that the Rohingya would face devastating realities without a complete upheaval of the status quo.

The first step is for the U.S. to acknowledge that another genocide has rocked this world.  While dithering over how to qualify a catastrophic situation might seem trivial, it is essential in a situation like this, when nearly 1 million people face being forcibly returned to the architects of their demise.  The Rohingya were singled out because of who they are and what they believe.

Support the Rohingya now

Genocidal intent doesn’t just raise the bar when it comes to response.  It represents an underlying, seething hatred that does not simply go away once a repatriation agreement is signed.  Were the Rohingya to return right now, they would face egregious human rights violations and once again be ghettoized, cordoned off in concentration-like camps until the next crackdown.  The only way to prevent future cycles of violence against the Rohingya is to acknowledge that along-burning, ongoing genocide is underway…and to act accordingly to stop it.Please contact your Representative immediately and ask them to vote YES on H.R. Res. 1091. Help send a powerful message to our government to step up its response to this ongoing genocide by drawing upon the full panoply of its diplomatic tools. It is imperative that the United States push Myanmar to not only guarantee safe and voluntary returns, but also to hold perpetrators accountable, and begin the difficult process of reversing the dangerous laws and policies that have allowed for religious nationalism to take on such a terrifying form.

TAGS: Bangladesh, Burma, Muslim, Myanmar, Rakhine State, Refugees Repatriation,  Rohingya, UNHCR


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House Republicans lead vote to label Rohingya crisis ‘genocide’

House Republicans lead vote to label Rohingya crisis ‘genocide’

By Political News   Dec 11, 2018 @ 3:01 AM                                                          

House Republicans lead vote to label Rohingya crisis ‘genocide’

Tupungato/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The House of Representatives is expected to pass a resolution Tuesday to declare the violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya a genocide, a move the Trump administration still has not made despite mounting evidence and a cavalcade of voices saying so.

The resolution’s expected passage is particularly striking because it brings Democrats together with House Republicans who rarely break with President Donald Trump on legislation or messaging. Republican House leadership pushed for the vote to come up before the end of the year, a House aide told ABC News, sending a signal to the White House that more should be done to punish Myanmar for the atrocities.

The resolution also condemns the arrest of two Reuters journalists who helped uncover one of the Myanmar military’s mass graves and calls for their immediate release. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested nearly a year ago on Dec. 12, 2017 and sentenced in September to seven years in prison for breaching a law on state secrets — charges that have been roundly criticized and described as trumped up.

Formerly known as Burma, Myanmar has long oppressed the majority Muslim ethnic minority Rohingya and other ethnic minorities. Starting last August, it began what the United Nations called a systematic campaign to eradicate the Rohingya and drive them from their homes into neighboring Bangladesh. More than 700,000 refugees escaped to make the journey and joined hundreds of thousands who already lived in camps in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. There are now close to one million there.

Since then, the United Nations, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and others have labeled that campaign a genocide.

Last November, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called it “ethnic cleansing” and ordered a detailed investigation into what occurred, the scope of which was unprecedented. But after investigators interviewed over a thousand Rohingya and provided their detailed report to the State Department, Secretary Mike Pompeo never made a genocide designation.

Instead, he quietly released the report in September, with its grisly, detailed account of what happened and no legal determination. Even after the law firm that helped conduct the department’s investigation made their own genocide determination last week, there was no change in its findings.

While Trump administration officials like Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley have spoken forcefully about the violence, critics say their label of “ethnic cleansing” does not do enough, especially because that term is not defined by international law and is seen as a lesser charge.

Genocide, on the other hand, is defined by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, a 1948 treaty signed by the U.S. and other countries after the Holocaust. It defined genocide as killing, harming or seeking measures to prevent the births or transfer children of a national, ethnic, racial or religious group with intent to destroy them entirely or in part — although the treaty is unclear about what, if any, real legal responsibilities signatories like the U.S. have to act on it outside of their borders.

The last time the U.S. declared a genocide was in March 2016. The Obama administration declared the Islamic State’s violence against Iraqi religious minorities a genocide, but determined it did not obligate them to take further action.

“It is time we call these atrocities against the Rohingya what they are: genocide,” said Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, in a statement in September. He even cited the State Department’s own report, saying, “If this determination wasn’t obvious before, the recent report … should leave little doubt in anyone’s mind. The perpetrators must be held accountable.”

Chabot introduced the resolution being considered Tuesday with a bipartisan group of cosponsors, including the top Republican and Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ed Royce of California and Rep. Eliot Engel of New York. While the legislation has faced some stops and starts, including a delay last week because of former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral, it finally got its vote at the request of leadership like Royce, a GOP House aide said.

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday’s vote.

“Every day the United States stalls and drags its feet to make a legal determination — despite multiple opportunities — makes the U.S. complicit in covering up what actually happened,” Francisco Bencosme, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific advocacy manager, told ABC News. “It is clear, from what has been reported, that Trump’s policy on Myanmar is paralyzed and failing to help alleviate the suffering of the Rohingya.”

The U.S. has provided nearly $300 million in aid for Rohingya refugees. But Myanmar’s government has blocked humanitarian access to the northern Rakhine state, where much of the violence took place, in part to prevent international investigators from collecting evidence and accessing Rohingya victims and villages.

Still, a genocide determination by the U.S. could galvanize international action to investigate Myanmar’s atrocities. “By passing this bill in the House, Congress is going on the record with the kind of moral clarity and leadership worthy of such an institution,” said Bencosme.

While the House takes action, the Senate has yet to hold a similar vote on the Rohingya crisis. That’s in part because of the close relationship between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Myanmar’s top civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a longtime political prisoner and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was eventually freed from house arrest and allowed to join the new civilian-military, power-sharing government.

Suu Kyi has dismissed criticism of the Rohingya crisis, in particular telling Pence last month that her government better understands their country than outsiders like the U.S. That’s spurred a global outcry and public rebukes by the human rights groups that once lauded her as a democracy icon.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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A Short Rohingya Genocide History

A Short Rohingya Genocide History

Posted on December 11, 2018


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Posted on December 11, 2018


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Historical Background of Rohingyas Genocide

Historical Background of Rohingyas  Genocide

Posted on December 10, 2018

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Rape by Command
Pre-planned Expulsion
Witness to horror
The Rohingyas
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