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Exhausted Rohingya refugees trod a steep path through Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh -- the world's largest refugee camp. Summer monsoons threaten flash floods and landslides that will likely kill thosands, according to aid experts. But most Rohingya refugees fear their homeland even more. © 2018 The Guardian (U.K.)
ABOVE: Across Myanmar's Rakhine state, thousands of Rohingya homes, across hundreds of villages, have gone up in flames... sometimes with men, women and children trapped inside by attackers. © 2017 BBC
ABOVE: Torched Rohingya homes burn.
  © 2017 Australian Broadcating Corp.
BELOW: Rohingya refugees walk on a muddy path as others travel on a boat after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar (Burma) border, in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 6, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
Rohingya refugees, escaping by boat, watch their villages burn, © 2017 SCMP . tv
2018 NEWS
(THE CRISIS CONTINUES)

Major Media Reports

(UPDATED AT LEAST WEEKLY)

Click on article titles to open.
SPECIAL NOTICE:
ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY of ROHINGYA CRISIS
Saturday, August 25th, 2018
marks the one-year anniversary
of the explosion of violence
known now as the
"Rohingya Crisis."
 
One year before, August 25, 2017,
the day after an official commisison released its report calling for civil rights to be accorded the persecuted Rohingya minority
-- and on the pretext of
responding to the death of a dozen government troops
in attacks by a small band of Rohingya insurgents --
the Army of Myanmar, which had already
begun attacks on the Rohingya in their homeland,
aided by local Rakhine Buddhist extremists,
escalated their attacks into a sweeping
"clearance operation" that sought to drive
the Rohingya from their ancient homeland
in Rakhine state, into neighboring Bangladesh.
 
Over 10,000 Rohingya men, women and children
were killed in the ensuing rampage -- many hacked to death or burned alive --
with thousands more raped and wounded.
 
Over half of the 1.1 million Rohingya in Myanmar
were driven out of their country,
and now shelter in crowded refugee camps
in Bangladesh.
 
Support for Myanmar's military came from China and India
-- who seek to establish ports and developments
in the mostly-Rohingya coastal district of Maungdaw Township.
China and India -- backed by Russia -- have prevented the United Nations from acting on
its findings that the Rohingya are victims
of ethnic cleansing and genocide
by the government and Army of Myanmar.

The President of the United States
has taken no substantial action,
and the same is true of virtually every other nation,
except for overcrowded, impovershed Bangladesh,
which provides the Rohingya shelter
from annihilation by their own country.

On Monday, August 27, 2018,
in one of the rarest declarations in the history of the United Nations,
the UN office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights
issued its
official report on its findings of the above-noted facts,
and said that the Myanmar military
-- the Tatmadaw
(including its leader, General
Min Aung Hlaing)
-- should face trial for crimes against humanity,
before the
International Criminal Court
or a similar special authority.
 
The civilian figurehead of Myanmar's
military-dominated government,
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi,
has been implicated as well,
and cited as actively contributing
to the genocide of Rohingya.
Details and links to sources are in the " 2018 Aug 27 " listing, below,
The rest of this year's Rohingya Crisis news follows below, chronologically, with links to major media and institutional sources.
(The 2017 events are on the
2017 News page).
 
~R.Harris, RCN editor

TABLE of CONTENTS:

CURRENT CRISIS EVENTS:
(Winter / Spring
  2018):

(also see:
Current Affairs Summary )



JANUARY 2018:


FEBRUARY 2018:

  • 2018 Feb. 1 - Thursday

    • AP finds Rohingya mass graves
      in Myanmar
      in latest evidence of
      what U.N. says
      amounts to 'genocide.'
          Myanmar has cut off access to Gu Dar Pyin, so it's unclear just how many people died in the attack, August 27th, but satellite images obtained by the Associated Press from DigitalGlobe -- along with dated cellphone video of homes reduced to ash -- reveal a village that has been wiped out.
          Community leaders in the refugee camps have compiled a list of 75 dead so far, and villagers estimate the toll could be as high as 400, based on testimony from relatives and the bodies they've seen in the graves and strewn about the area.
          Almost every villager interviewed by the AP saw three large mass graves at Gu Dar Pyin's northern entrance, near the main road, where witnesses say soldiers herded and killed most of the Rohingya. A handful of witnesses confirmed two other big graves near a hillside cemetery, not too far away from a school where more than 100 soldiers were stationed after the massacre. Villagers also saw other, smaller graves scattered around the village.
          In the videos of the graves obtained by the AP, dating to 13 days after the killing began, blue-green puddles of acid sludge surround corpses without heads and torsos that jut into the air. Skeletal hands seem to claw at the ground.
          Survivors said that the soldiers carefully planned the Aug. 27 attack, and then deliberately tried to hide what they had done. They came to the slaughter armed not only with rifles, knives, rocket launchers and grenades, but also with shovels to dig pits and acid to burn away faces and hands so that the bodies could not be identified. [August 25th,] two days before the attack, villagers say, soldiers were seen buying 12 large containers of acid at a nearby village's market.
          The killing began around noon, when more than 200 soldiers swept into Gu Dar Pyin from the direction of a Buddhist village to the south, firing their weapons.
          Buddhist villagers then moved through Gu Dar Pyin in a sort of mopping-up operation, using knives to cut the throats of the injured, survivors said, and working with soldiers to throw small children and the elderly into the fires.

          "People were screaming, crying, pleading for their lives, but the soldiers just shot continuously," said Mohammad Rayes, 23, a schoolteacher who climbed a tree and watched.
          "There were so many bodies in so many different places," said Mohammad Lalmia, 20, a farmer whose family owned a pond that became the largest of the mass graves. "They couldn't hide all the death."
          A large number of the survivors carry scars from bullet wounds, including a 3-year-old boy and his grandmother.

    • Myanmar government denies
      AP report of Rohingya mass graves

          - Associated Press
            / ABC News

    • The Rohingya Suffer Real Horrors;
      So Why Are Some of Their Stories Untrue?

          - New York Times

    • United Nations official says
      Rohingya crisis has
      ‘hallmarks of genocide'

        The U.N. special envoy on human rights in Myanmar says the military’s violent operations against Rohingya Muslims bear “the hallmarks of a genocide.”
        Yanghee Lee told reporters Thursday in Seoul, where she is based, that she couldn’t make a definitive declaration about genocide until a credible international tribunal or court had weighed the evidence but “we are seeing signs and it is building up to that.”
        Responding to a question about an Associated Press report that details a massacre and at least five mass graves in the Myanmar village of Gu Dar Pyin, Lee said that while she didn’t have specific details on the village, “you can see it’s a pattern” that has emerged in the Rohingya persecution.

          - Associated Press
            / USA Today

    • Rohingya refugees on the
      Bangladesh-Myanmar border
      – in pictures

          - The Guardian (U.K.)

    • Photos: The Plight of the Rohingya
          - U.S. News

  • 2018 Feb. 2 - Friday

  • 2018 Feb. 3 - Saturday
      --------------------

  • 2018 Feb. 4 - Sunday

  • 2018 Feb. 5 - Monday

  • 2018 Feb. 6 - Tuesday

  • 2018 Feb. 7 - Wednesday

  • 2018 Feb. 8 - Thursday

  • 2018 Feb. 9 - Friday

      Reuters journalists Wa Lone, left, and Kyaw Soe  Oo, working at Reuters in Yangon. Mynamar, on Dec. 11, 2017.  Photo by  A.Slodkowski, Reuters.jpg

    • These journalists were jailed
      for investigating atrocities in Burma.
      This is what they found.

          - Washington Post
          The news agency claims the journalists uncovered evidence, including photos, that police ordered villagers to assist in the killing, dismemberment and burial of 10 Rohingya Muslims — eight men and two teenage boys — in a mass grave. Video and photos have emerged, including video of the men bound and kneeling, held by soldiers.
          The police's official account says the men attacked them, but the Reuters's reporting contradicts that claim. The reporters are being charged with stealing state secrets, which their agency says are in connection with this discovery. Myanmar has admitted the killings occured, but says they were "necessary."

    • Bound together, shot to death:
      Myanmar massacre report
      prompts calls for independent probe

          - Reuters / Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
      • Reuters report marked 1st time soldiers and paramilitary police have been implicated by testimony.
      • Most shot by military. At least two hacked to death by Buddhist villagers. Some "still making noises" while being buried.
      • On Friday, the UN described the details of the report as "alarming."
      • "This once more attests to the need for a full and thorough investigation by the authorities of all violence in Rakhine State and attacks on the various communities there" ~UN spokesperson Farhan Haq.

    • Cardinal: Rohingya Faced
      'Elements of Ethnic Cleansing'

          - Associated Press / US News
          Myanmar's Catholic cardinal says it's likely Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh won't ever go home -- citing security fears, continued discrimination and economic necessity -- adding that "the elements of ethnic cleansing" are now apparent.

    • ITV News uncovers
      Myanmar's shameful atrocities
      extend beyond the Rohingya
      with charred bodies
      in oppressed Shan State.

          - ITV News (U.K.)
          ITV has been shown evidence of another ethnic minority being persecuted in Myanmar (Burma).
          A long way from the Rohingya's attacked homeland -- Rakhine State in Myanmar -- is Shan State, a long-oppressed rebel enclave in Myanmar's northeast. Shan people also accuse the Burmese Army of rape, murder and forced relocation. ITV cameras filmed the charred remains of people torched in their villages in 2016.
          Shan state's leader, Lt. Gen. Yawd Serk, told ITV News: "The Burmese army used the same tactic they used in Rakhine state."
          Lt Gen Serk's people have essentially been in a state of civil war for years but, unlike the Rohingya, have their own standing army to defend them.

  • 2018 Feb. 10 - Saturday

  • 2018 Feb. 11 - Sunday

  • 2018 Feb. 12 - Monday

  • 2018 Feb. 13 - Tuesday

    • U.S. urges U.N. to
      hold Myanmar military accountable
      for 'ethnic cleansing.'

          - Reuters News Service
        Tuesday, at the United Nations Security Council , the U.S. ambassador described Myanmar's denials of its ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims as “preposterous.”
          U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, called on the Council to hold Myanmar's military accountable and pressure it's civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, “to acknowledge these horrific acts that are taking place in her country.”
        U.S. Ambassador Haley, to the Security Council:
        • “Powerful forces in the Burmese government have denied the ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State,”
        • “To make sure no one contradicts their preposterous denials, they are preventing access to Rakhine to anyone or any organization that might bear witness to their atrocities, including the U.N. Security Council.”
        • “We strongly call for... immediate and unconditional release,” of of Reuters news agency reporters arrested for reporting on the massacre of Rohingya Muslims. Referring to Myanmar’s reason for detaining the journalists, Haley added, “On top of it all, they have the gall to blame the media.”
        French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre, to the U.N. Security Council:
        • A massacre of Rohingya Muslims reported by Reuters could “constitute crimes against humanity.”
        Myanmar has denied that ethnic cleansing has taken place.
        Russia and China -- U.N. Security Council veto powers (as are the U.S., Britain and France) -- both said on Tuesday the situation in Rakhine state was stable and under control. The two nations are likely to resist any push for action by the council.

    • Besieged Rohingya Face
      ‘Crisis Within the Crisis’:
      Deadly Floods

          - New York Times
      (also at:
          - Voice of America (U.S. propaganda radio)

    • Myanmar’s presence downplayed
      at Thai-U.S. military exercise

          - Associated Press & Reuters
            / Japan Times

  • 2018 Feb. 14 - Wednesday

    • Myanmar still not safe
      for Rohingya to return:
      ~U.N. refugee chief.

          - Agence France-Presse /
            The Independent (U.K.)
            ( also at: Japan Times )
      • UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, to a Security Council meeting, speaking by videoconference from Geneva:
        • “Let me be clear: conditions are not yet conducive to the voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees.”
        • “The causes of their flight have not been addressed, and we have yet to see substantive progress on addressing the exclusion and denial of rights -- that has deepened over the last decades -- rooted in their lack of citizenship.”
        • While the exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar has significantly decreased, the flow “still continues,” with some 1,500 refugees arriving in Bangladesh this month.
        • He raised alarm over the monsoon rainy season starting next month, warning that 100,000 refugees are living in flood-prone areas and must be urgently relocated, calling for international support “to avert a catastrophe.”
      • US Ambassador Nikki Haley
        (supported by Security Council members
        Britain, France & Sweeden):
        • This council must hold the military accountable for their actions and pressure Aung San Suu Kyi to acknowledge these horrific acts are taking place in her country. No more excuses.”
      • China's Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu, supporting Myanmar’s former ruling junta...
        • Called for patience and noted that “stability and order” had been restored to Rakhine state... adding the Rohingya crisis "cannot be solved overnight."
        • Sidestepped appeals for citizenship rights for the Rohingya.
        • Recommended that Myanmar “address the root cause of poverty through development”  in Rakhine.
            [NOTE: China is the principal developer in Rakhine state, and -- apart from some people in Myanmar -- the principal beneficiary of that development, largely on confiscated Rohingya lands. ~RH]

      (Official U.N. news release, Feb. 13, at:
      "Causes of Rohingya refugee crisis
        originate in Myanmar;
        solutions must be found there,
        Security Council told."
      )

    • US says Myanmar makes life for Rohingya
      'a death sentence'

          - Associated Press / Fox News

    • Burma Welcomes Genocide Deniers
      to Rohingyas’ Home.
        Burma’s government won’t let the UN into Rakhine state, site of its alleged slaughter of Rohingya Muslims—but it just rolled out the red carpet there for a group of genocide deniers, a curious group of journalists—including:
      • a Canadian radio host who was arrested last year on hate speech charges;
      • a San Francisco-based musician who has warned that Rakhine is the final front in the fight against a global Islamic threat.
          - The Daily Beast (U.S. political journal)

    • Myanmar still not allowing
      Rohingya to return:
      ~UN refugee chief

          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)

    • Dhaka urges the EU
      to put pressure on Myanmar

          - Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)

  • 2018 Feb. 15 - Thursday

    • Will the Rohingya Ever Return Home?
          - New York Times

    • How the West Can Help Fix
      the Rohingya Crisis

      ESSAY by Ambassador Bill Richardson
          - TIME Magazine
      • Donor governments and humanitarian agencies should withhold both political and financial support to the hastily planned repatriation process for refugees in Bangladesh — unless Myanmar can ensure that returns are safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable.
      • The West should only commit development support to central and northern Rakhine State if Myanmar agrees to clear conditions and both sets and achieves benchmarks before further support is disbursed
      • Pulling out completely, however, would be counter-productive... push[ing] Myanmar to retrench further, and towards neighbors, such as China... keen for influence, but whose approaches in Rakhine could spark further violence [over] basic rights and the inequitable distribution of resources. The West must therefore find ways to continue to stay engaged -- to, at a minimum, forestall a further deterioration.
      • In the meantime, however, further punitive measures must be considered, even if they are largely symbolic. At a minimum, Western governments should impose targeted sanctions against military officials implicated in human rights abuses.
      • Other efforts, such as the pursuit of a UN Human Rights Council–mandated Commission of Inquiry or a fresh push for action through the UN Security Council, are likely to prove either ineffective or unviable, though they would nonetheless signal the international community’s concern to both Myanmar and domestic audiences.
      • Broad-based economic sanctions should remain an option, but are blunt tools that should only be used as a last resort.
      • The international community should nonetheless continue to push for efforts to establish accountability mechanisms, such as a joint Myanmar-international investigation into human rights abuses and the mass graves discovered in Rakhine thus far.
      • There is more scope for international influence and support on the Bangladesh side of the border. The West should continue to praise Bangladesh’s magnanimity in hosting hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees, though the international community should not take it for granted.
      • Bangladesh has repeatedly threatened to relocate refugees to an uninhabitable island in the Bay of Bengal and has not yet granted UNHCR a formal role in managing refugee populations or planned repatriation efforts.
      • Bangladesh and partner governments must begin to move from crisis response to a long-term strategy that recognizes that few Rohingya will soon voluntarily return to Myanmar... while continuing to ensure that basic humanitarian needs are met, particularly as the monsoon season approaches.
      • International donors should partner with Bangladesh to organize a major donor conference to provide Bangladesh with the financial and technical support required to ensure that refugees’ humanitarian and development needs are met and their rights protected. ...
      • Bangladesh will resist accepting a large and sustained Rohingya presence on its soil, so it must be provided with the resources to cope.
      • The international community must also convince Bangladesh that the best means of dampening the allure of radicalization among refugees is through social integration, providing refugees with work permits and respecting their fundamental rights, including by ensuring refugees’ participation in repatriation efforts is voluntary.
      • States in the West and those that already shelter large Rohingya populations should welcome Rohingya refugees to their own countries through a third-country resettlement process.
      • The situation could easily get worse:
        • The Rohingya that remain in Rakhine... could become refugees themselves, adding to the strain on Bangladesh and other countries.
        • Rising tension between the Myanmar government and the Buddhist Rakhine community could spark a new wave of violence that makes it even more difficult to address the root causes of conflict in Rakhine.
        • Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh could fall prey to radicalization, deepening a cycle of violence that spreads well beyond the Myanmar-Bangladesh border.
      • In the absence of far greater action from Myanmar, the international community must demonstrate the political will and moral authority needed to avert an even greater crisis.

  • 2018 Feb. 16 - Friday

  • 2018 Feb. 17 - Saturday

    • Aung San Suu Kyi 'complicit'
      in Rohingya slaughter:
      ~UN investigator.

          - Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
      • The United Nations investigator of human rights in Myanmar has accused Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi of “complicity” in the slaughter of Rohingya Muslims, an event which has the “hallmarks of genocide”.
      • Yanghee Lee, a leading child rights expert appointed to the UN post in 2014, said it is possible that Myanmar’s civilian leader could eventually face charges relating to genocide, or crimes against humanity, in an international tribunal.

  • 2018 Feb. 18 - Sunday

    • A Bombing in Northern Myanmar
      Signals Strife Beyond the Rohingya

          - New York Times
        No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but such violence occasionally strikes Myanmar’s frontier region, where armed groups from a patchwork of ethnic minorities, including the Kachin, the Shan, the Ta’ang and the Wa — have battled the Myanmar military for decades.
        The military has blamed the bombing on one of a coalition of ethnic fighting forces known as the Northern Alliance.
        But ethnic rebels routinely reject such accusations. They argue that Myanmar’s military blames ethnic insurgents for instigating violence, to justify the military's brutal offensives against ethnic populations.
        Fighting in Myanmar’s borderlands is now at its worst in years.
        The Kachin Independence Army, in particular, has lost territory to the Myanmar military in intense fighting recently. An estimated 100,000 ethnic Kachin have been displaced from their homes -- some fleeing across the border into China.
        Myanmar has suffered from some of the world’s longest-running ethnic conflicts.
        Most major combatants, like members of the Northern Alliance, however, have refused to join a peace process they claim has been rigged from the start.
        They say that persecution by the Myanmar military, which ruled the country for nearly half a century, has not ceased in ethnic areas.
        International human rights groups have, for decades, accused the military of gang-raping ethnic-minority women and forcing ethnic-minority civilians to act as human minesweepers, among other war crimes.
        Much of Myanmar’s natural resource bounty is concentrated in areas inhabited by ethnic minorities, who make up at least one-third of the country’s population.
        In a statement this month, Yanghee Lee, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, stressed that the global focus on the Rohingya crisis was diverting attention from serious strife in the rest of the country.
        “Representatives from different ethnic groups that I met expressed their concern that -- as the world’s attention is focused on the atrocities in Rakhine State -- potential war crimes are being committed in Shan and Kachin State without so much as a murmur of disapproval from the international community.”

    • Kites, Prayers, A Snake Show:
      Reporting From The Rohingya Camps.

        Finding The Human Stories
      In The World's Largest Refugee Camp

          - NPR (National Public Radio)

  • 2018 Feb. 19 - Monday

  • 2018 Feb. 20 - Tuesday

  • 2018 Feb. 21 - Wednesday

    • Floating Island:
      New home for Rohingya refugees
      emerges in Bay of Bengal.

          - Reuters News Service

    • Amnesty says Rohingya crisis
      consequence of
      society "encouraged to hate."

          - Reuters News Service
      • The human rights group said in its annual report covering 159 countries that “hate-filled rhetoric” by leaders was normalising discrimination against minorities.
      • Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty:
          “We saw the ultimate consequence of a society encouraged to hate, scapegoat and fear minorities laid bare in the horrific military campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya people in Myanmar”
      • Amnesty said the international community had failed to respond robustly to “crimes against humanity and war crimes from Myanmar to Iraq, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen”.
      • It said that leaders in countries such as the United States, Russia and China were not standing up for civil liberties and instead were “callously undermining the rights of millions”.
      • Amnesty said President Donald Trump had taken backward steps on human rights that were setting a dangerous precedent. Shetty described his move to ban people from several Muslim-majority countries in January last year as “transparently hateful.”
      (same story at:
          - U.S. News
          - Tribune of India
      more details at:
          - The Guardian (U.K.)
          - The Daily Star (Bangladesh)
      (Official Amnesty International report (Feb.22) at:
        "State-sponsored hate
          spurs new era of social activism."
      )

  • 2018 Feb. 22 - Thursday

      (See previous day's news on Amnesty International report;
        most of those articles actually published today.)

    • EU set to prepare sanctions
      on Myanmar generals:
      ~diplomats

          - Reuters

    • "I was told 'don't weep, it will be okay'"
      Ashley Judd's diary of life
      in a Rohingya camp

          - SkyNews (U.K.)
        The US actress and activist is a Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund (the United Nations' reproductive health and rights agency). She writes:
       
        Within the camps there is a shortage of everything that matters: shelter, food, safe drinking water, sanitation, healthcare, peace of mind, knowledge of where one's loved ones are, or escape from the knowledge that one has left babies, children, and elderly behind in Myanmar, abandoning them by necessity as one fled to save oneself from flames, from hatred, from more rape and murder...
        ...60,000 pregnant women [are] affected by the crisis - 300,000 affected women are of reproductive age.
        A total of 78% of the births in the camp are happening in women's shelters, which are often just bamboo and tarps. That's why UNFPA's clean delivery kits are so important. Containing a pair of gloves, a bar of soap, and a razor blade for the umbilical cord, these $5 (£3.60) kits make the difference between life and death for mothers and their newborns...

  • 2018 Feb. 23 - Friday

  • 2018 Feb. 24 - Saturday

    • Rohingya refugees find uneasy solace in Malaysia.
          - CNN
        Between 2012 and 2015, more than 112,000 Rohingya fled, largely by boat, to Malaysia. Even though they consider themselves the lucky ones, those who made it to Malaysia still lead lives fraught with risk and hardship.
        "They have no legal rights -- no right to work, no opportunity for mainstream education, and are obliged to eke out a very difficult living in the grey market economy of the country."
        ~Richard Towle, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative for Malaysia.


  • 2018 Feb. 25 - Sunday
    NOTE:   TODAY is 6 MONTHS SINCE the
    LATE-2017 MASS ATTACKS on ROHINGYA BEGAN,
    DRIVING THEM into BANGLADESH.

    • No forceful Rohingya repatriation:
      Junior [Bangladesh] minister.

        Myanmar Ambassador, foreign minister
      discuss Rohingya issue.
          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        Bangladesh will not repatriate anybody against will, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam said today in regard to the Rohingya repatriation process.
        Speaking at a programme in Dhaka themed on Rohingya children, the junior minister said Bangladesh will continue to facilitate humanitarian agencies throughout.
        He also urged the international community not to lose focus on the Rohingya issue.
        The minister came up with the remarks while addressing the launching of a report titled “Childhood Interrupted”, focusing on Rohingya refugee children.
        It draws the international community's attention to maintain pressure on Myanmar for a long-term solution to the crisis that allows for “safe, dignified and voluntary repatriation.”

    • No end in sight for
      Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh
      six months after attacks.

          - Associated Press
            / Toronto Star (Canada)
        COX’S BAZAR, BANGLADESH—Their houses are often made of plastic sheets. Much of their food comes from aid agencies. Jobs are few, and there is painfully little to do. The nightmares are relentless.
        But six months after their horrors began, the Rohingya Muslims who fled army attacks in Burma for refuge in Bangladesh feel immense consolation.
        “Nobody is coming to kill us, that’s for sure,” says Rohingya refugee Mohammed Amanullah, who fled with his wife and children.
            * * *
      On Sunday, two female Nobel Peace laureates visited refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar and talked with rape victims. Human Rights Watch has said in a report that Burma security forces raped and sexually assaulted women and girls before and during major attacks on Rohingya villages.
        “Rohingya women’s unique needs are largely unmet in refugee camps in Bangladesh... Less than [one-fifth] of displaced Rohingya women who have survived sexual violence have access to post-rape care.”
        ~ Nobel Laureate Tawakkol Karman, of Yemen. member of the Nobel Women’s Initiative delegation to Bangladesh.
            * * *
      Rohingya refugee children. AP photo. Children in the camps face a particularly difficult time. The UN estimates that children are the heads of 5,600 refugee families. A survey of children’s lives inside the camps... showed they faced an array of terrors, from girls reporting concerns of harassment near the camp toilets, to fears that elephants and snakes could attack them as they collect firewood.
        “We cannot expect Rohingya children to overcome the traumatic experiences they’ve suffered when exposed to further insecurity and fears of violence in the camps... The overwhelming message from these children is that they are afraid. This is no way for a child to live.”
        ~ Mark Pierce, country director in Bangladesh, for Save the Children.

    • ESSAY:
      Rohingya girls are living in a grim purgatory.

      by Susanne Legena,
        Acting CEO of Plan International Australia, in
          - SBS Life (public TV) (Australia)
        In refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, most teenage girls live out their days here in this hot and unsanitary place confined to tents no bigger than [a few dozen square feet].
            * * *
        The masses of unfamiliar men are frightening. They’ve no prospects, no money and very little hope. Unlike the boys and younger girls, many of whom have adapted to this place and play with the other kids nearby, teenage girls are considered adults. Religious protocol and safety fears severely restrict their freedom.
            * * *
        [In December workshops with teenage Rohingya girls, conducted by charity organizations], they told us that first and foremost, they felt afraid. Afraid of going outside, worried about landslides and the coming torrential rains, scared of what lies in wait when they’re forced to walk into the jungle to collect firewood.
            * * *
        Teenage girls who have small children say their kids no longer attend school and worry about their future.
            * * *
        They have few friends, if any. Many have witnessed or survived horrific sexual assaults. The sense of boredom and hopelessness is profound. Rohingya people, particularly women and girls, have inadequate supply of water and bathing facilities. Menstrual hygiene products are scarce.
            * * *
        Access to toilets and showers remains challenging and some deliberately restrict their food and water intake to avoid having to use the bathroom, or are using makeshift toilets inside their homes (or defecate in the open).
            * * *
        Women and adolescent girls refrain from going to the toilet at night, partly out of cultural belief that they should not go out at night, but mostly because they are scared of their personal security. The majority of adolescent girls here do not attend school. They cannot read or write. Some will be married early as a means of protection and survival.
            * * *

  • 2018 Feb. 26 - Monday

    • EU seeks sanctions
      on Myanmar military
      over Rohingya crisis

          - Agence France-Presse
            / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
      (same topic at:
          - Reuters News Service
          - Associated Press
            / Washington Post

        EU countries on Monday (Feb 26) demanded sanctions against senior Myanmar military officers over "serious and systematic" rights abuses against the country's beleaguered Rohingya Muslim minority.
        EU foreign ministers, meeting in Brussels, said the situation in Myanmar was "extremely serious" -- pointing to widespread abuses by the military, "including rape and killings". They called for an extension to the EU's embargo on weapons and equipment that can be used for political repression, imposed in the 1990s -- and demanded their chief diplomat formulate plans for further action:
        "Proposals for targeted restrictive measures against senior military officers of the Myanmar armed forces responsible for serious and systematic human rights violations without delay".
        ~EU ministers assignment to diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini.

  • 2018 Feb. 27 - Tuesday

    • Facebook says page of firebrand
      anti-Rohingya Myanmar monk
      removed.

          - Agence France-Presse in
            SBS News (public TV) (Australia)
      (same article at:
          - Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
      )
        Facebook has removed the page of a Myanmar monk once dubbed the "Buddhist Bin Laden" for his incendiary posts about Muslims, the company confirmed, as it faces pressure to clamp down on hate speech.
        Wirathu, a prominent face of Myanmar's Buddhist ultra-nationalist movement, had amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on the network, using it as a platform to attack Muslims, singling out the stateless Rohingya minority.
        His tirades have been blamed for stoking sectarian violence, which has plagued Myanmar's transition to democracy.
        Thet Swe Win, a Yangon-based interfaith activist said Facebook's move sent a symbolic message about not tolerating hate speech, but that getting rid of the page will not resolve the problem.
        "They remove his account but not his videos, and his religious hate speeches, they are still on Facebook and his followers are spreading it," he said.

  • 2018 Feb. 28 - Wednesday

    • Rohingya flee no man's land
      after Myanmar threat

          - Agence France-Presse
            / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        Hundreds of Rohingya living in no man's land have left their makeshift camp and crossed into Bangladesh after soldiers from Myanmar used loudhailers to threaten them, community leaders said on Wednesday (Feb 28).
        Around 6,000 Rohingya have been living on a thin strip of land between the two countries since fleeing Myanmar in the wake of a brutal military crackdown on the Muslim minority in late August.
        They were among the first to flee Myanmar when the violence erupted last year and set up shelters in no man's land in the weeks before Bangladesh agreed to let the Rohingya into the country.
        In recent weeks they have come under pressure from Myanmar soldiers, who have stepped up patrols along the barbed-wire border fence just yards from the camp and broadcast messages using loudhailers ordering the Rohingya to leave.
        Community leader Dil Mohammad said the messages had spread panic through the camp.
        "We can't now sleep peacefully. Most of the Rohingya in the camps now want to flee and take shelter in Bangladesh," Mohammad said.


MARCH 2018:

  • 2018 March 1 - Thursday

      Troops patrol the Myanmar border fence, while Rohingya refugees shelter in "No-Mans's Land," the Myanmar territory between the fence and the Bangladesh border. Myanmar officials have broadcast bullhorn warnings to the refugees, demanding they leave, and return into Myanmar, or "face consequences." Troops have begun massing along the fence, some with heavy weapons. ©2018 AFP. Click on photo to enlarge.

    • Military
      build-up
      on Myanmar border
      with Bangladesh.

          - BBC News
        Bangladesh has told neighbouring Myanmar to pull back its troops from their shared border, where thousands of Rohingya refugees have sheltered.
        More than 5,000 people have been living on a narrow strip of land between the two countries since some 700,000 Rohingya fled the burning of their homes in Myanmar last year.
        On Thursday, a large number of Myanmar soldiers appeared at the border fence. Differing reports said 100-200 soldiers had appeared near the makeshift border camp. Machine guns and mortars were also spotted, border guards told reporters.
        One community leader among the Rohingya, Dil Mohammed, told Reuters news agency that Myanmar officials were telling the camp's occupants, over loudspeakers, to leave the area.
        It follows weeks of stepped-up patrols along the border fence.
        "They brought at least 14 ladders and intimidated us by trying to climb over the fences and come to our camp to evict us," one refugee told AFP.
        Bangladesh's acting foreign secretary summoned Myanmar's ambassador, telling him that the "military build up will create confusion within Bangladesh and escalate tensions on the border" -- instructing Myanmar's ambassador to tell Myanmar's authorities to pull back both their forces and "military assets" from the border.
        Separately, Bangladesh border official Brigadier General Mujibur Rahman told Reuters that the troop movements violated international norms. "We are sending them a protest note... they have removed heavy weapons, such as machine guns and mortars, from the area after our verbal protests."
        (same topic & other topics in next story by
            - London Daily Telegraph, which notes:
          On Wednesday, hundreds of Rohingya, living in the no man’s land between the two countries, abruptly fled into Bangladesh.
          They claimed that Burmese soldiers had used loudhailers (bullhorns) to threaten and order them to leave. About 6,000 Rohingya have been living on the thin strip of land between Bangladesh and Burma since August.
          In recent weeks they have come under pressure from Burmese soldiers who have stepped up patrols along the barbed-wire border fence.

    • Burma (Myanmar) blocks entry
      for UK government committee
      after Rohingya crisis criticism.

        Burmese authorities are accused of blocking a British parliamentary fact-finding trip to Burma (Myanmar) after UK parliamentarians criticized the authorities' role in the Rohingya crisis.
        The Commons International Development Committee was due to hold a series of meetings with senior military and civilian leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and also to scrutinise British aid projects in Burma, including in Rakhine state, which nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled.

          - London Daily Telegraph (U.K.)

      Kutupalong camp with shelters perched on dangerous slopes, awaiting monsoon rains. 2018_01_30 The Guardian, U.K.

      A "small" section of the world's largest refugee camp: Kutupalong camp -- sudden home to half a million Rohingya refugees, including a quarter-million children -- with shelters perched on dangerous slopes, awaiting monsoon rains. 1/30/2018.


      ©2018 The Guardian, U.K. To enlarge photo, CLICK HERE.
      For the original article, and photo, CLICK HERE.

    • 'Lives will be lost':
      Bangladesh rains promise
      further misery for Rohingya.

          - The Guardian (U.K.)
      With the monsoon season nearing in Bangladesh, refugees living in makeshift shelters, after fleeing Myanmar, face a major risk from floods and landslides.

  • 2018 March 2 - Friday

    • Myanmar defends troop build-up
      on Bangladesh border
      near Rohingya camp.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
      • Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay:
        • "It was not aimed at antagonising Bangladesh,"
        • The recent spike in security along the border is a response to new intelligence about the movement of Rohingya militants.
        • "We acted this way based on the information we got regarding terrorism, especially the ARSA movement," he told AFP, using an acronym for the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a Rohingya militant group.
        • He declined to elaborate further.
      • On Thursday Bangladesh's foreign ministry said it summoned Myanmar's envoy to call for an "immediate pullback of Myanmar security forces along with military assets from the area."

    • Nobel Laureates
      Blame Aung San Suu Kyi
      for 'Genocide'

          - TIME Magazine
        Three Nobel peace prize laureates -- who met with Rohingya Muslims in sprawling refugee camps -- accused fellow Nobel recipient Aung San Suu Kyi, and Myanmar’s military, of committing "genocide"... citing the deadly violence that forced hundreds of thousands to flee into Bangladesh.
        Suu Kyi does not oversee her country’s military, or its security operations that set off the refugee exodus;   but the laureates said, as Myanmar’s leader, she cannot avoid responsibility.
        “There is no other definition, it is genocide, genocide against innocent people,” Karman said. “Millions of people (have) been displaced from their cities, women (have) been raped -- all the women, we met like 100 women, all of them (have) been raped.”
        “Most of the children we met … fled to Bangladesh without their families. Their fathers, their mothers (have) been killed, been murdered,” Karman said.

    • Living in Limbo:
      Months after coverage of their displacement has died down, thousands of refugees still face difficult conditions.

          - Toronto Globe & Mail (Canada)
           

  • 2018 March 3 - Saturday

  • 2018 March 4 - Sunday

  • 2018 March 5 - Monday

      Troops patrol the Myanmar border fence, while Rohingya refugees shelter in "No-Mans's Land," the Myanmar territory between the fence and the Bangladesh border. Myanmar officials have broadcast bullhorn warnings to the refugees, demanding they leave, and return into Myanmar, or "face consequences." Troops have begun massing along the fence, some with heavy weapons. ©2018 AFP. Click on photo to enlarge.

    • UNHCR appeals for protection of
      Rohingya currently trapped
      on Myanmar-Bangladesh border.

        - United Nations / UNHCR
        Official statement:
        UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is concerned about the safety of a group of vulnerable Rohingya women, men, and children from Myanmar, who have been living in a so-called “no man’s land” near the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh since the end of August 2017. UNHCR is closely following the developments after they were reportedly ordered to vacate the area by the Myanmar authorities.
        UNHCR underscores that everyone has the right to seek asylum, just as they also have the right to return home when they deem the time and circumstances right. People who have fled violence in their country must be granted safety and protection and any decision to return must be voluntary and based upon a free and informed choice.
        UNHCR also reiterates that conditions are not yet conducive to the return of Rohingya refugees. The causes of their flight have not been addressed and we have yet to see substantive progress on addressing the denial of their rights. Pursuing the conditions that will address these causes and enable their voluntary and sustainable return is critical.
        In this regard, UNHCR continues to request to the Government of Myanmar to allow humanitarian access to UNHCR and partners throughout Rakhine State. This will be essential to promote coexistence among all of communities; to support the government towards their commitment to implement the Rakhine Advisory Commission’s (RAC) recommendations; and for UNHCR to monitor protection conditions, provide independent information to refugees, and accompany returns as and when they take place.

    • Myanmar's 'ethnic cleansing'
      of Rohingya continues,
      U.N. rights official says

          - Reuters
      (same topic at:
          - BBC News )
        Myanmar’s “ethnic cleansing” of Rohingya Muslims is continuing, a senior U.N. human rights official said on Tuesday, more than six months after insurgent attacks sparked a security response that has driven nearly 700,000 people into Bangladesh.
        Andrew Gilmour, the U.N. assistant secretary-general for human rights, made the comment after a four-day visit to the Cox’s Bazar district in neighboring Bangladesh, where he met people who have fled from Myanmar recently.
        “I don’t think we can draw any other conclusion from what I have seen and heard in Cox’s Bazar,” Gilmour said in a statement.
        “It appears that widespread and systematic violence against the Rohingya persists,” Gilmour said.
        “The nature of the violence has changed from the frenzied blood-letting and mass rape of last year to a lower intensity campaign of terror and forced starvation that seems to be designed to drive the remaining Rohingya from their homes and into Bangladesh.”
        Despite Myanmar saying it was ready to accept back refugees under an pact signed with Bangladesh in November, he added, “Safe, dignified and sustainable returns are, of course, impossible under current conditions”.

    • The Genocide the U.S. Didn’t See Coming
      ESSAY by Nahal Toosi

          - Politico (U.S. political e-zine)
        Barack Obama was determined to open up to Myanmar. Now the country’s military is slaughtering its most vulnerable ethnic group. Could the United States have prevented it?

    • Australia to train Myanmar military
      despite ethnic cleansing accusations.

          - The Guardian (U.K.)

  • 2018 March 6 - Tuesday

  • 2018 March 7 - Wednesday

    • 'Acts of genocide' suspected
      against Rohingya in Myanmar:
      ~U.N.

          - Reuters
        The United Nations human rights chief said on Wednesday he strongly suspected that “acts of genocide” may have taken place against Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state since August.
        His comments come as Myanmar’s military published a lengthy response to widespread allegations over its campaign in Rakhine and said its investigations had cleared troops of almost all alleged abuses.
        Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council that reports of bulldozing of alleged mass graves showed a “deliberate attempt by the authorities to destroy evidence of potential international crimes, including possible crimes against humanity.”
        His office said on Tuesday that it believes ethnic cleansing is still underway in Rakhine. He said his office had received reports of land inhabited by Rohingya being appropriated and members of other ethnic groups replacing them.
        “Victims have reported killings, rape, torture and abductions by the security forces and local militia, as well as apparently deliberate attempts to force the Rohingya to leave the area through starvation, with officials blocking their access to crops and food supplies,” he said.

    • Rohingya Muslims will soon face
      cyclones, monsoons in Bangladesh

          - NBC News
        Refugees driven out of Myanmar by what the U.S. has called "ethnic cleansing" now face a new threat: the looming monsoon and cyclone season.
        Authorities have warned that more than 100,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled into neighboring Bangladesh are at risk of losing their makeshift homes to the deadly floods and landslides that accompany seasonal rains.
        Workers are scrambling to reinforce shelters and dig drainage systems before the bad weather is expected next month.
        “For the people who’ve built at the top of these slopes, then their shelters are at risk of being carried away in mudslides," a spokeswoman for the U.N.'s migration agency (IOM), Fiona MacGregor, said. "For the people at the bottom, they face the threat not only of mud and other debris landing on them from above, but also of flash floods."

    • Tatmadaw Slams EU Council's Call
      for Sanctions over Rohingya

          - The Irrawaddy (Myanmar)

  • 2018 March 8 - Thursday

  • 2018 March 9 - Friday

    • Refer Rohingya crimes to ICC:
      rights chief

        Alleged atrocities against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar should be referred to the International Criminal Court, the top UN human rights official says.
          - News.com.au (Australia)

    • "No One Was Left":
      Violence Against the Rohingya
      in Myanmar

        In November 2017, MSF conducted a total of six health surveys in Cox’s Bazar district, which aimed to quantify the scale of the emergency by assessing factors including the levels of mortality over time.
        Using the most conservative figures, at least 6,700 Rohingya are estimated to have been killed, according to the surveys. The findings have now been collected in a new report.

          - MSF-USA (Doctors without Borders)
        (Full official report at:
          - No one was left )

  • 2018 March 10 - Saturday

    • After massacres,
      Rohingya in Myanmar
      are dying from neglect.

          - PBS NewsHour

    • Rohingya Refugees:  $950m
      needed in next 10 months.

        Bangladesh, UN to launch joint response plan this week to seek humanitarian assistance.
          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        The joint response plan (March-December 2018) would be launched in Geneva this week, UN Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo told The Daily Star at her office in the capital on March 1. It is going to be more challenging to fund this time, she said. The move comes amid concerns that the repatriation of the refugees will take time.
       
      UN Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo:
      • “The joint response plan is looking at the remaining humanitarian need of the Rohingyas and also of the host community. It's really important because as the first responders, the host community should not fall into deeper poverty than they were in.”
      • “Global principles about refugees is burden-sharing…Bangladesh did the right thing by keeping its border open and providing asylum [to the Rohingyas], and the international community needs to do the right thing in terms of sharing the burden.”
    • A total of 691,320 Rohingyas fled Myanmar until February 25 after its security forces had begun a crackdown in Rakhine on August 25 last year.
    • Including the previous arrivals [from pre-August2017 conflicts], the total number of the Rohingyas registered in Cox's Bazar stands at 1,076,640, the RRRC report says.
    • Rohingya Living in 'No Man's Land'
      Insist They Will Stay

          - U.S. News

  • 2018 March 11 - Sunday

  • 2018 March 12 - Monday

    • Rohingya refugees
      'face further persecution'
      as Burma builds military bases
      on burned villages.

          - London Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
      (same topic at:
          - BBC
          - Washington Post
          - Reuters / The Guardian (U.K.)
          - Agence France-Presse
              / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore) (Singapore)
      )
      (officlal Amnesty Int'l report at:
          - "Myanmar: Military land grab
            as security forces build bases
            on torched Rohingya villages"
      • Burma is allegedly building military bases on top of razed Rohingya villages, raising questions over the safety of hundreds of thousands of persecuted refugees due to be repatriated.
      • The plan to repatriate them, agreed under intense international scrutiny in November, is now threatened by evidence of military development on the Rohingya’s former homeland.
      • The images also show new refugee reception centres surrounded by security fences and close to a heavy presence of military, raising concerns that Burma is preparing to restrict the freedom of Rohingya supposedly returning home to safety.
      • Amnesty said the developments in Rakhine were likely to signal further persecution when the Rohingya refugees return.
      • Tirana Hassan, Amnesty’s crisis response director:
        • “The remaking of Rakhine State is taking place in a shroud of secrecy. The authorities cannot be allowed to continue their campaign of ethnic cleansing in the name of ‘development’."

    • UN official convinced of
      Myanmar Rohingya 'genocide'

          - CNN (Cable News Network)
        Yanghee Lee, the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, speaking to the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday:
      • "I am becoming more convinced that the crimes committed following 9 October 2016 and 25 August 2017 bear the hallmarks of genocide and call in the strongest terms for accountability."
      • Lee called for an entity to be set up at Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh (where most Rohingya have sought refuge) to compile evidence of human rights abuses in Myanmar, with the "aim... to facilitate impartial, fair and independent international criminal proceedings in national or international courts or tribunals."
      • Lee was speaking as her scathing report on the state of human rights in Myanmar was released, in which she calls for calls "for a thorough, impartial and credible investigation to be conducted without delay and perpetrators to be held responsible for the alleged crimes that were committed in Rakhine State".
      (officlal U.N. report at:

    • UN blames Facebook
      for spreading hatred of Rohingya.

        ‘Facebook has now turned into a beast’, says United Nations investigator, calling network a vehicle for ‘acrimony, dissension and conflict’
          - Reuters / The Guardian (U.K.)   Facebook has been blamed by UN investigators for playing a leading role in possible genocide in Myanmar by spreading hate speech.
      • Chairman of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, Marzuki Darusman, to reporters:
        • Social media had played a “determining role” in Myanmar.
        • “It has … substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict, if you will, within the public. Hate speech is certainly of course a part of that. As far as the Myanmar situation is concerned, social media is Facebook, and Facebook is social media.”
        The UN Myanmar investigator Yanghee Lee:
        • “Everything is done through Facebook in Myanmar.”
        • Facebook was a huge part of Myanmar's public, civil and private life, and the government used it to disseminate information to the public.
        • Facebook had helped the impoverished country, but had also been used to spread hate speech.
        • “It was used to convey public messages. But we know that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists have their own Facebooks, and are really inciting a lot of violence, and a lot of hatred, against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities.”

  • 2018 March 13 - Tuesday

  • 2018 March 14 - Wednesday

  • 2018 March 15 - Thursday

  • 2018 March 16 - Friday

    • [U.K. foreign minister] Boris Johnson:
      Rohingya refugees could be radicalised.

          - BBC Newsbeat
      Johnson:

        "When you look into these people's eyes, they are frightened."
        "And they have every reason to be frightened."
        "You can imagine the [Islamist extremists will] start saying: 'You guys have suffered an injustice. Here we are - listen to our message.'"
        "Let's face it, what's happened in [Myanmar] is racism. It's discrimination against a group of people because they come from a different community because of their religion and their ethnic background."
        "I've been trying to build support for the Rohingya and getting them back home. ... It is just so sad to find how little global willingness there really is to deal with this."
        "[To] sort out [the crisis will take] a lot of money and a long time."

  • 2018 March 17 - Saturday

  • 2018 March 18 - Sunday

    • Aung San Suu Kyi
      asks Australia and ASEAN
      for help with Rohingya crisis.

        Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says Myanmar leader seeks humanitarian and ‘capacity building’ assistance. Malaysian Prime Minister says Rohingya crisis becoming an international threat. ASEAN chairman says still an "internal affair" of Myanmar, and ASEAN cannot intervene.
          - The Guardian (U.K.)   Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak warned that militant groups such as Islamic State may seek to recruit members from the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims affected by ethnic violence in Myanmar. Sharing a stage with Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi at a regional counter-terrorism conference in Sydney, Australia on Saturday, Razak said the turmoil in Myanmar’s Rakhine state was a security threat to Southeast Asia. The crisis can “no longer be considered to be a purely domestic matter,” he said.
        The situation is creating a crisis in which “thousands of despairing and exacted people, who see no hope in the future, will be a fertile ground for radicalization and recruitment of Daesh, by Daesh and affiliated groups,” Najib said, referring to an alternative name for the insurgent Islamic group.

    • Rohingya in 'no man's land'
      reject return on Myanmar terms:
      -Camp chief.

        Rohingya holed up in a border "no man's land" after fleeing Myanmar will only accept repatriation to their home villages, a local leader said Sunday (Mar 18) -- rejecting any move to transit camps, for fear of long-term confinement.
        Fears abound that transit camps and resettlement villages being built for returnees will effectively become long-term detention centres.

          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)

  • 2018 March 19 - Monday

    • U.S. wants India on board
        to ease Rohingya crisis.

          - The Hindu (India)
        Amid growing worries about the coming monsoon that could flood a third of the main Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh, Washington has offered to partner with New Delhi on joint efforts to assist Bangladesh.
        Confirming the offer, a senior U.S. administration official said, “We think India also has an interest in seeing this situation resolved.”

    • [Austrialian Prime Minister]
        Malcolm Turnbull
        encourages
      [Myanmar civilian leader]
        Aung San Suu Kyi
        to resettle Rohingya.

        Amnesty International accuses Australian PM of ‘softly softly’ approach to humanitarian crisis.
          - The Guardian (U.K.)

    • With already tenuous housing,
      the looming monsoon season
      threatens Rohingya refugee camps.

          - PRI (Public Radio International)
        Bangladesh is prone to cyclones and extreme flooding. Most homes in the settlement have been built on slopes cleared of vegetation, making them particularly vulnerable to severe weather and landslides. When the monsoon season hits in a few months, the temporary structures the refugees are erecting may stand no chance.
        But many refugees are so concerned with meeting their daily needs — including building any shelter at all — that the looming disaster, that the weather could soon cause, seems abstract and far away.
      * * *
        But even among Rohingya who have been here awhile, many are at risk of losing everything once again: Life in Balukhali-Kutupalong [(the world's largest refugee camp)] could soon drastically change as the monsoon season approaches.
      * * *
        “Around a third of the area of the settlement could at one point be underwater, and around 100,000 people could lose their shelters if there was a flood,” said Caroline Gluck, a senior public information officer with UNHCR.
        With Bangladesh’s notoriously intense annual storms just weeks away, the UN refugee agency and other humanitarian organizations have been scrambling to prepare for potential disaster. Precautions include strengthening pathways, bridges and mud stairs; sandbagging; and improving drainage systems.
        Relief workers had also hoped to flatten the tops of steep hills over the past few months, but only received permission in March from the Bangladeshi government to start doing so.
      * * *
        Despite all the best efforts of humanitarian workers to prepare, however, time is not on their side.
        “We’re trying to do what we can, as quickly as we can,” Gluck said. “It is a race against time. … We have to plan for the worst and hope for the best.”
      * * *
        As [a refugee] steps out of his home holding his youngest child, all of Balukhali-Kutupalong sprawls out beneath him. The only open flat land in sight is filled with sewage.
        “Where should I go?” he said. “I don’t have any place to go.”

  • 2018 March 20 - Tuesday

    • The Rohingya children trafficked for sex.
        Girls in their early teens are being trafficked into prostitution in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, a BBC News investigation has found. Foreigners seeking sex can easily gain access to children who have fled conflict in Myanmar and now face a new threat.
          - BBC

  • 2018 March 21 - Wednesday

  • 2018 March 22 - Thursday

  • 2018 March 23 - Friday

      ---------

  • 2018 March 24 - Saturday

  • 2018 March 25 - Sunday

  • 2018 March 26 - Monday

      --------

  • 2018 March 27 - Tuesday

  • 2018 March 28 - Wednesday

  • 2018 March 29 - Thursday

  • 2018 March 30 - Friday

  • 2018 March 31 - Saturday

    • Rohingya Repatriation:
      Intent to Deceive
      (ESSAY)

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        Experts question Myanmar's sincerity while Bangladesh trying its best to make much-awaited Rohingya repatriation a reality.
        Myanmar is living up to the global suspicion about its real intention behind signing the deal for repatriation of more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees. The intention, as suspected by experts and global rights bodies, was all but  taking back the Rohingyas.


APRIL 2018:

  • 2018 April 1 - Sunday

      --------------

  • 2018 April 2 - Monday

  • 2018 April 3 - Tuesday

  • 2018 April 4 - Wednesday

  • 2018 April 5 - Thursday

    • Myanmar minister hopes to visit
      Rohingya in refugee camps.

          - AP / Washington Post   The Myanmar state minister overseeing the planned repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, from overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh, said Thursday he hopes to talk to them when he visits this month.
        Social Welfare Minister Win Myat Aye will be the first Myanmar Cabinet minister to visit the camps since the refugee flow began in August last year in response to a brutal counterinsurgency campaign.
        Win Myat Aye told The Associated Press by phone that he will meet with officials working on repatriation during his April 11-12 visit.
        “If the Bangladeshi government makes arrangements for us, we have requested to meet the refugees in the camps,” he said. “My visit is to negotiate and to make the repatriation process smoother and quicker.”
        Win Myat Aye is seeking to convince the Rohingya that it is safe to return.
        “It is our responsibility to accept them back,” Win Myat Aye said. “Our main purpose is to tell the refugees that we are ready to accept them back and we want to explain to them about that.”
        Rights groups have raised concerns about the safety of returnees being sent back to Myanmar...

  • 2018 April 6 - Friday

    • Fishermen rescue
      Rohingya Muslims
      at sea off Indonesia.

          - Reuters / Jerusalem Post.htm
          Indonesian fishermen rescued at least five Rohingya Muslims off the island of Sumatra in the early hours of Friday and brought them ashore, officials said, in the first such landing this year amid media reports that five others had died at sea.
          It was not immediately clear where the boat had originated. Rights groups have said they are expecting many more refugees from Myanmar to attempt the dangerous sea crossings.

  • 2018 April 7 - Saturday

    • U.N. Warns More Rohingya Boats
      May Be in Danger at Sea.

          - Wall Street Journal
        Alarm sounded as an Indonesian search-and-rescue mission finds boat with five starving Rohingya

    • Philippines to accept refugees
      from Myanmar ‘genocide’.

          - The Philippine Star (The Philippines)
        President Duterte has called the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar a “genocide” as he expressed willingness to take in refugees from the Southeast Asian country.
        The description drew a rare public rebuke from a Myanmar official, who said Duterte had a propensity to shoot his mouth off.
        “He doesn’t know anything about Myanmar,” Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay was quoted as saying by Reuters. “The usual behavior of that person is to speak without restraint. That’s why he said that.”
        Duterte said the Philippines is prepared to accept Rohingya refugees but Europe should also do the same.
        The President has drawn flak from human rights advocates here and abroad for his war against illegal drugs, which has left thousands of suspects dead. He denied endorsing extrajudicial killings and accused his foreign critics of interfering with the Philippines’ internal problem.
        Last January, Duterte, who chided countries that are allegedly meddling with the Philippines’ affairs, advised [Myanmar civilian leader] Suu Kyi to ignore her critics.

      NOTE: See Duterte's subsequent retraction, on April 13.

  • 2018 April 8 - Sunday

    • Myanmar not ready
      for Rohingya refugees to return,
      UN official says.

          - Australian Broadcasting Corp.
      (same topic, more details at:
          - Reuters News Service )
      • Myanmar is not ready for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, says the most senior United Nations official to visit the country this year, after Myanmar was accused of instigating ethnic cleansing and driving nearly 700,000 Muslims to Bangladesh.
      • "From what I've seen and heard from people — no access to health services, concerns about protection, continued displacements — conditions are not conducive to return," Ursula Mueller, UN's Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said after a six-day visit to Myanmar.
      • Rohingya refugees reported killings, burnings, looting and rape, in response to militant attacks on security forces.
      • "I asked [Myanmar officials] to end the violence … and that the return of the refugees from [Bangladeshi refugee camps in] Cox's Bazar is to be on a voluntary, dignified way, when solutions are durable," Ms Mueller said.
      • Asked whether she believed in government assurances the Rohingya would be allowed to return to their homes after a temporary stay in camps, Ms Mueller said: "I'm really concerned about the situation."
      • Part of the problem is that, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch, Myanmar has bulldozed at least 55 villages that were emptied during the violence.
      • Myanmar has verified several hundred Rohingya refugees for repatriation.
      • Myanmar set up two reception centres and what it says is a temporary camp near the border in Rakhine to receive the first arrivals.

    • As Hope Fades, Rohingya Refugees
      Search for the Missing.

          - Wall Street Journal
        Some seven months after the start of a campaign by the Myanmar military, tens of thousands remain missing or unaccounted for.
        A study by ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights found that, in Bangladesh’s sprawling camps, more than 43,000 Rohingya children are missing at least one parent. Others lost children, siblings and cousins.
        The questions over their fates—and widespread complaints that Myanmar isn’t helping account for them—are adding to tensions as the two countries negotiate a plan to resettle some of those who fled.

  • 2018 April 9 - Monday

    • War crimes prosecutor seeks jurisdiction
      over Rohingya deportations.

          - Reuters News Service

    • [India's Supreme Court] asks Centre
      to file comprehensive report
      on amenities to Rohingya refugees.

          - Times of India
      • The Supreme Court on Monday asked the central government to file a comprehensive status report on basic amenities provided in three Rohingya camps in Delhi and Haryana, located at Mewat, Faridabad and Delhi, within four weeks... posting the matter for further hearing on May 9.
      • The Rohingya refugees in India had alleged that basic amenities like toilets, drinking water and others were not provided for them which in turn caused diarrhoea among the children and the elderly in the camps.
      • The court had, on March 19, refused to grant any interim relief to Rohingya refugees and favoured the Centre's submission that it would grab 'media headlines' and have repercussions on India's diplomatic ties with Myanmar and Bangladesh.
      • The top court had said it will not pass any interim order with regard to ensuring health and educational facilities for Rohingya refugee camps in the country unless materials contradicting the Centre's claims are brought before it

  • 2018 April 10 - Tuesday

    • 'Hallmarks of genocide':
      ICC prosecutor seeks justice
      for Rohingya.

        Fatou Bensouda wants the International Criminal Court to claim jurisdiction, and investigate treatment of Myanmar minority.
          - The Guardian (U.K.)
      • The prosecutor of the international criminal court has asked the court to rule on whether it has jurisdiction over the deportations of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh, a possible crime against humanity.
      • A ruling affirming jurisdiction could pave the way for an investigation into the deportation of many thousands of Rohingya, though Myanmar is unlikely to cooperate.
      • In a filing published on Monday, the court prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, listed the well-documented mistreatment of Rohingya and cited the UN special envoy for human rights who described it as bearing the “hallmarks of genocide”.
      • She argued that -- although Myanmar was not a member of the court -- the fact that part of the alleged crime took place on the territory of Bangladesh (which is a member of the court), meant the court could seek powers of jurisdiction.

    • Seven Myanmar soldiers
      sentenced to 10 years
      for Rohingya massacre.

          - Reuters News Service
        (same article at:
            - Reuters / The Guardian (U.K.) )
        (same topic at:
            - CNN (Cable News Network)
            - BBC
            - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
          ...which adds:
        • Amnesty International called the summary killings at Inn Din "the tip of the iceberg" in terms of atrocities carried out since August and has repeatedly urged a wider, impartial probe.
        • The UN has accused Myanmar's army of ethnic cleansing, saying there are even possible "hallmarks of genocide" with refugees bringing with them consistent testimony of murder, rape and arson.
        • Doctors Without Borders (MSF) estimate that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the first month of the military crackdown alone.
        • Myanmar denies the allegations, justifying its campaign in Rakhine as a legitimate response to Rohingya militants and blaming the international media and aid agencies for spreading false information fuelled by a pro-Rohingya bias.
        • Northern Rakhine state has largely been in lockdown since the campaign began eight months ago, with access to media, observers and most aid groups tightly controlled.

  • 2018 April 11 - Wednesday

    • Myanmar court refuses to drop case
      against Reuters journalists.

          - Agence France-Presse news service
        The reporters had been investigating and reporting on the Inn Din massacre, for which 7 Myanmar soldiers were just convicted and sentenced yesterday.

    • Myanmar minister
      assures Rohingya in Bangladesh
      repatriation is a priority.

          - Reuters News Service
        Myanmar's Social Welfare Minister, Win Myat Aye -- who is leading rehabilitation efforts in Rakhine State -- met about 50 newly arrived refugees in the Kutupalong refugee camp in southeast Bangladesh...
        Bangladesh wants the refugees to go home as quickly as possible and officials said this week they hoped the minister’s visit would speed up repatriation.
        But many refugees say they are reluctant to go back to Buddhist-majority Myanmar, fearing persecution.
        “The most important thing is to the start the repatriation process as soon as possible. We can overcome all of the difficulties,”   Win Myat Aye said, as he left a meeting with Rohingya representatives at the Kutupalong camp.
        When asked about whether Rohingya could be granted Myanmar citizenship, which they had been long denied, the minister replied: “We are trying to have that.”

    • Rohingya in camp
      tell Myanmar official
      they survived attacks.

          - AP / ABC News
      (same topic at:
          - AP / Fox News )
        A Myanmar Cabinet minister on Wednesday visited a sprawling refugee camp in Bangladesh for Rohingya Muslims -- who described the violence that forced them to flee Myanmar, and who presented a list of demands for their repatriation.
        Myanmar's Social Welfare Minister Win Myat Aye met with about 40 Rohingya refugees at the Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazar for more than an hour, sometimes exchanging heated words.
        A Rohingya leader, Abdur Rahim, said at least eight rape victims were among those who met with Win Myat Aye. Rahim said the group presented 13 demands for the government to meet for their return to Myanmar.
        Bangladesh has given Myanmar a list of more than 8,000 refugees to begin the repatriation, but it has been further delayed by a complicated verification process.
        Win Myat Aye did not specify a timeframe for the repatriation but said it should begin as soon as possible.
        Rahim said the group became angry when Win Myat Aye said the Rohingya refugees must accept national verification cards to be provided by Myanmar, which identify the Rohingya as migrants from Bangladesh.
        "We protested... We have told him it is not acceptable, we belong to Burma (Myanmar)." ~Rahim.
        Rahim said they demanded..:
      • ...to be recognized as citizens of Myanmar before the repatriation starts;
        and that
      • ...their security arrangements be supervised by the United Nations.
        Rohingya who have been repatriated in the past, after previous refugee exoduses, have been forced to live in camps in Myanmar.
        "We told him clearly we want to go back and we want our home, our land and everything back,"   said Rahim.
        Rahim said the rape victims described their experiences to Win Myat Aye.
        "He listened to them patiently and said they will punish those responsible," Rahim said.

    • How the families
      of 10 massacred Rohingya
      fled Myanmar

          - Reuters News Service
      (same topic at:
          - Bangkok Post (Thailand) )
        A Reuters investigation in February revealed what happened to the 10 Rohingya men. On September 1, soldiers snatched them from a large group of Rohingya villagers detained by a beach near Inn Din. The next morning, according to eyewitnesses, the men were shot by the soldiers or hacked to death by their Rakhine Buddhist neighbors.
        Their bodies were dumped in a shallow grave.
        The survivors waited by the beach with rising anxiety and dread as the sun set and the men didn’t return.
        The relatives the 10 men left behind that afternoon wouldn’t learn of the killings for many months - in some cases, not until Reuters reporters tracked them down in the refugee camps, and told them what had happened.
        This is their story. Three of them fled Inn Din while heavily pregnant. All trekked north in monsoon rain through forests and fields. Drenched and terrified, they dodged military patrols and saw villages abandoned or burning. Some saw dead bodies. They walked for days with little food or water.
        They were not alone. ...

    • Raised in the shadow of genocide:
      A young Rohingya's story.

          - CNN (Cable News Network)

  • 2018 April 12 - Thursday

  • 2018 April 13 - Friday

    • Myanmar Military Put on UN Blacklist
      for Sexual Violence.

          - Associated Press / New York Times   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.
        Report 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.

    • Despite UN warnings,
      Myanmar vows
      early Rohingya return.

          - Agence France-Presse news service
      (same topic at:
          - The Guardian (U.K.) )
        Rohingya refugees will be allowed to return to Myanmar "as soon as possible", a minister said, despite a stillborn repatriation process and UN warnings that the safety of returnees could not be guaranteed.

    • Rohingya repatriation:
      Dhaka signs MoU with UNHCR.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
      (same topic at:
          - Radio Free Asia
              (US propaganda radio) )
        Bangladesh today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), relating to voluntary return of Rohingya refugees, once conditions in Myanmar are conducive.
        The MoU established a framework of cooperation between UNHCR and Bangladesh on the safe, voluntary, and dignified returns of refugees in line with international standards, said the statement.
        The agreement would aim to set forth a framework for refugees’ voluntary repatriation in line with international standards, aim to create conditions that are conducive to eventual voluntary repatriation, and provide humanitarian and development assistance for all people of Rakhine State.

    • Conditions ‘not yet conducive’
      for Rohingya refugees to
      return home to Myanmar:
      – UN agency

          - UN News Centre
        The United Nations refugee agency and the Government of Bangladesh on Friday signed a cooperation agreement on the safe, dignified return of Rohingya refugees to their homes in Myanmar, “once conditions there are conducive.”
        Noting that such conditions are not present at the moment, the UN refugee agency urged Myanmar authorities to create them, as well as to take concrete measures to address the root causes of displacement.

    • Myanmar's Rohingya stuck in
      Bangladesh's 'no man's land'

          - BBC
        More than 5,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken shelter on what is called the "no man's land" - a small strip of land along the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar.

    • Philippine President Duterte
      apologises to Myanmar's Suu Kyi
      over Rohingya 'genocide' remark,

          - The Straits Times (Singapore)
        Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte apologised to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on Friday (April 13), for saying genocide was taking place in her country -- saying his remark was a satirical barb at the West for not taking in Rohingya Muslims.

      (NOTE: See April 7th article about his original statement.)

  • 2018 April 14 - Saturday

    • Myanmar says ICC
      has no jurisdiction.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
      (same topic, other details, at:
          - Reuters / Japan Times )
        Myanmar has expressed "serious concern" over an attempt at the International Criminal Court to open a probe into mass deportations of Rohingya Muslims -- dismissing the claims, and saying the court has no jurisdiction.

    • Boat with 70 Rohingya Muslims
      leaves Myanmar for Malaysia:
      ~ Reports

          - Reuters / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        ...the latest to embark on a dangerous sea journey, the vessel will be the second to arrive in Malaysia this month, as the Rohingya flee Myanmar's Rakhine state before the onset of the monsoon season in May brings storms at sea that could endanger their lives.
        "The boat should arrive in Malaysian waters in the next week, assuming it doesn't come under distress or make landfall in Thailand," said Matthew Smith, co-founder of Fortify Rights, adding... reports of the boat's departure on Thursday (Apr 12).
        "This is a tremendously dangerous journey," Smith told Reuters, adding that the adding that the passengers faced deprivation of food, water, and physical space as well as the risk of capsizing.
        Weather conditions or pushbacks by authorities could carry the boat into Thai or Indonesian waters, one source said.

  • 2018 April 15 - Sunday

    • First group of Rohingya refugees
      returns to Myanmar.

          - London Daily Telegraph (U.K)
      (same topic, other details, at:
          - The Guardian (U.K.) )
        Myanmar has accepted what appears to be the first five among some 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape military-led violence against the minority group -- even though the United Nations says it's not yet safe for them to return home.

  • 2018 April 16 - Monday

  • 2018 April 17 - Tuesday

  • 2018 April 18 - Wednesday

    • 'Race against time'
      to save Rohingya refugees
      from monsoon season

          - Sky News (U.K.)
        Aid agencies are in a "race against time" to save thousands of Rohingya refugees from the dangers of the impending monsoon season.
        The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has identified 150,000 people at "high risk from mudslides and floods" due to the heavy rain, which is set to hit the eastern part of Bangladesh over the next few months.
        The region is also vulnerable to tropical cyclones, as the funnel-shaped northern section of the Bay of Bengal amplifies storm surges, making them devastating almost every year.
        [However,] with monsoon season on the horizon, the Bangladeshi government is developing a [flood-prone] island off the mainland to shift 100,000 refugees.

    • Did Soldiers Jailed for Killings Go Free?
      Myanmar TV Says Yes (Briefly).

          - New York Times
        For about an hour on Wednesday, the website of Myanmar National Television carried a surprising report: A mass prisoner amnesty the previous day, it said, had included seven members of the country’s military who were briefly jailed for a massacre of Rohingya Muslims.
        The report was quickly taken down and was strongly denied by a government spokesman, U Zaw Htay. “It’s not true, it’s false news,” he said. “They are still in prison."

  • 2018 April 19 - Thursday

    • Indian police arrest
      18 Rohingya Muslims.

          - AP / Fox News
      (same topic, other details, at:
          - AP / ABC News )
        Indian police say they have arrested 18 Rohingya Muslims in a remote northeastern region as they prepared to board a train for New Delhi after entering illegally from Bangladesh.

    • BJP Youth Leader
      Allegedly Admits Burning
      Rohingya Camp;
      Complaint Filed

          - NDTV (India)
      (same topic, other details, at:
          - Times of India )
        New Delhi, India: A Muslim body on Thursday wrote to Delhi Police Commissioner... seeking action against a BJP (India's governing political party) youth wing leader after the latter allegedly admitted on social media to burning down a Rohingya refugee camp in the capital earlier this month.
        * * *
        A fire had broken out at the refugee camp near Kalindi Kunj in south Delhi, on the night of April 14 -15. [It] quickly engulfed the whole camp, in which more than 200 residents... lost all their belongings, including identity cards and special visas issued by the United Nations.

    • Muslims Cheer Old Shariah Foe
      Brownback
      for Backing Rohingya.

          - Wall Street Journal
        Sam Brownback, a conservative former governor [of Kansas, but recently appointed ambassador by President Trump, and] tasked with monitoring religious freedom, calls Myanmar’s campaign ‘religious cleansing.’

    • Myanmar minister says
      conditions in Rohingya refugee camps
      are 'very poor.'

          - Reuters News Service
        A Myanmar minister expressed concerns on Thursday about “very poor conditions” in Rohingya refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh, and said repatriation of the Muslim minority should start as soon as possible due to the coming monsoon season.
        * * *
        Myanmar’s panel of international advisers on Rohingya issues has warned the coming monsoon season could bring “enormous deaths” as refugee camps in Bangladesh are not built to withstand the storms.
        * * *
        But a senior U.N. official who recently visited Myanmar said the country was not ready for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees.

    • Fears for Rohingya as first rains
      flood Bangladesh camps

          - AFP / Straits Times (Singapore)   The first rains of the year have flooded parts of the crowded Rohingya camps in Bangladesh, aid workers said on Thursday (April 19), wreaking havoc and raising fears for the nearly one million refugees ahead of the monsoon.
        A brief but heavy downpour turned roads into quagmires in the world's largest refugee camp, hindering relief efforts and hinting at the danger ahead for the Rohingya who have sought refuge from violence in Myanmar.
        Humanitarian agencies have been warning for months about the danger posed by the impending monsoon, due to start in June, to the welfare of refugees who live cheek by jowl in cramped tents on hillsides.
        Landslides and floods caused by violent monsoon storms can be deadly in south-east Bangladesh, which is also prone to powerful cyclones.
        Last season, heavy rain triggered mud slips in Cox's Bazar and nearby Chittagong Hill Tracts, killing at least 170 people. More than 100 died in landslides in the region in 2012, and two years earlier heavy downpours killed around 50. ...
      ( more )

  • 2018 April 20 - Friday

  • 2018 April 21 - Saturday

    • Family of Myanmar policeman who
      described sting on Reuters reporters
      evicted:
      ~ family.

          - Reuters News Service
          The family of a Myanmar policeman, who told a court how police planted secret documents on Reuters reporters to “entrap” them, was evicted from police housing in the capital Naypyitaw on Saturday, less than 24 hours after his testimony, family members said.

    • Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh
      on 'precarious ground'
      ahead of monsoon.season.

          - CBC News (Canada)
        Myanmar's panel of international advisers on issues concerning the Rohingya recently warned that the season, which begins in earnest in June and runs until October, could bring "enormous deaths," because the refugee camps are not built to withstand the rainstorms.
        * * *
        "People are living on very precarious ground ... and the expectation is that at least 200,000 people are at direct risk of either being flooded out or [forced out by] landslides,"
          * * *
          "It's basically entering a new phase of misery for many of these people, but also particularly for the children... They're the ones who are maybe not as resilient as their parents. They're the ones who are more likely to succumb to diseases that will become more prevalent with the rains..."

          ~ Daphnee Cook with Rohingya Response at Save the Children

    • Rohingya refugees rescued
      after drifting at sea for 9 days.

          - AP / ABC News   The 8 children, 25 women and 43 men were brought ashore on Friday afternoon at Bireuen in [Indonesia's] Aceh province on the island of Sumatra -- the third known attempt by members of the ethnic minority to escape Myanmar by sea this month. Several required medical attention for dehydration and exhaustion, local authorities said.

    • EDITORIAL:
      Conscience call:
      On Rohingya crisis

          - The Hindu (India)
        "The world must increase pressure on Myanmar to do right by the Rohingya. ... The world needs to do a lot more — especially India, as a neighbour that has an estimated 40,000 Rohingya refugees living precariously on its territory, and as a regional power that is failing this time round to keep up its legacy of providing succour to those fleeing persecution. ..."

  • 2018 April 22 - Sunday

    • [United Nations Security Council]
      (UNSC) team due on April 29;
      Dhaka to brief Rohingya situation.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        Bangladesh will describe the brutalities that the Rohingyas faced in Rakhine State and steps taken by the government here to the UN Security Council delegation, which is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on April 29.
        The UNSC delegation comprising envoys from five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members is scheduled to visit Rohingya camps and the zero line along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border to see the situation on the ground. ...
        The delegation members are expected to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and top government officials on April 30, an official told UNB. The visit of the UNSC was originally scheduled for April 27-28. ...

    • [India's] JKNPP [party] demands
      early deportation of Rohingyas, Bangladeshis.

          - Times of India
        The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) today staged a demonstration [in India's Jammu province] as part of its campaign to press for early deportation of Rohingya and Bangladeshi nationals.
        Led by party chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh, a group of JKNPP activists staged the demonstration at Exhibition ground, raising slogans against the government and in support of their demand.
        Accusing the state government of not being sincere in deportation of the illegally settled foreigners from Jammu, Singh claimed that they are the "biggest threat" to the communal harmony and composite culture of the region.
       

  • 2018 April 23 - Monday

  • 2018 April 24 - Tuesday

  • 2018 April 25 - Wednesday

    • Exclusive:
      U.S. team in refugee camps
      investigating atrocities against Rohingya.

          - Reuters News Service
        The U.S. government is conducting an intensive examination of alleged atrocities against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, documenting accusations of murder, rape, beatings and other possible offenses in an investigation that could be used to prosecute Myanmar’s military for crimes against humanity, U.S. officials told Reuters.
        ...led by the State Department, [it] has involved more than a thousand interviews of Rohingya men and women in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh...
        The interviews were conducted... by about 20 investigators with backgrounds in international law and criminal justice, including some who worked on tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia...
        The work is modeled on a U.S. forensic investigation of mass atrocities in Sudan’s Darfur region in 2004, which led to a U.S. declaration of genocide that culminated in economic sanctions against the Sudanese government. ...

    • Opinion essay:
      The Rohingya refugee crisis
      will test whether ‘Canada is back.’
      ~ former Canadian diplomat.

          - Toronto Globe & Mail (Canada)

  • 2018 April 26 - Thursday

  • 2018 April 27 - Friday

  • 2018 April 28 - Saturday

  • 2018 April 29 - Sunday

    • Rohingya refugees welcome UN team
      in Bangladesh.

          - AP / New York Times
      (same topic at:
          - AP / Fox News
          - AP / ABC News
          - AP / U.S. News
          - AP / CTV News (Canada) )
        Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have gathered at a camp in Bangladesh to welcome a U.N. Security Council team that's getting a firsthand look at the plight of refugees who have fled military-led violence in Myanmar.
        The refugees are carrying placards, some of which read "We want justice."
        Some 700,000 refugees are seeking U.N. protection to return home.
        The U.N. team will meet some of the refugees, including victims of rape and torture. The delegation will also visit Myanmar after concluding its three-day visit on Monday.
        Representatives from the five permanent Security Council members — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — and 10 non-permanent member states have joined the delegation in the coastal town of Cox's Bazar, where the camps are located ...

    • UN security council overwhelmed
      by suffering at Rohingya camps.

          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        Delegation visiting refugee camps
      in Bangladesh
      hear pleas for action by the UN
      and involvement of the
      international criminal court. ...

      (same topic at:
          - Reuters News Service
        ...which adds:
          Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh made emotional pleas to the U.N. Security Council on Sunday for help to return safely to their homes in neighboring Myanmar and for justice over the reason they fled - accusations of killings, rapes and arson.
          During a visit to an unclaimed strip of territory between the two states dubbed no-man’s land, several tearful women and girls threw themselves at British U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce as they recounted what had happened to them.
          “It shows the scale of the challenge as we try as a Security Council to find some way through that enables these poor people to go home,” Pierce said. “The sad thing is there’s nothing we can do right today that will make their distress any less.”
          The Security Council envoys... also visited a dry and dusty Kutupalong refugee camp that housed many of the nearly 700,000 Rohingya who fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
          “It’s quite overwhelming. Obviously the scale of this camp is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelley Currie. “It is going to be a disaster when the rains come.”
        * * *
          Hundreds of refugees lined a road in Kutupalong camp on Sunday with signs that read “we demand justice” and “protected return to protected homeland.”
        * * *
          Several female refugees who met with council envoys accused Myanmar troops of gang-raping them, attacking their young children and killing their husbands. Myanmar has said that its operations in Rakhine were a legitimate response to attacks on security forces by Rohingya insurgents.
        * * *
          “This is very complicated issue, and it’s related with history, with ethnicity, with religions,” Chinese deputy U.N. Ambassador Wu Haitao told reporters -- in response to a question about whether China and Russia were preventing the council from considering a resolution on Myanmar.
        * * *
          While the Security Council is united on traveling to the region, diplomats said they expect Myanmar ally China and Russia -- both veto-wielding powers on the council -- to resist any push for stronger council action, such as sanctions or a referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court.
        * * *
          The council adopted a formal statement in November -- a move that requires consensus by the 15-member body -- that asked Myanmar to ensure "[no] further excessive use of military force" and to allow "freedom of movement, equal access to basic services, and equal access to full citizenship for all." ...

    • Bangladesh wants...
      • China,
      • Russia,
      • India,
      • Japan
      ...to help resolve Rohingya issue:
      ~[Prime Minister]

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)

       

  • 2018 April 30 - Sunday

    • Top-level UN team meets Myanmar leader
      in Rohingya probe

          - AP / ABC News
        Ambassadors from the U.N. Security Council probing Myanmar's crisis (over its ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority) met Monday with the country's leader and military chief, after visiting Bangladesh...
        The 15-member delegation co-led by [the] Security Council President... met in Myanmar's capital with
      • State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi
        and
      • military commander Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.
      [The delegation will] travel Tuesday to Rakhine state -- the place the Rohingya fled and where hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas remain.
        They are expected to see the aftermath of the army's crackdown there as well as the government's preparations for taking back the refugees from Bangladesh. ...

      (same topic at:
          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
          - AAP / Special Broadcasting Service
            (Australia)

          - AP / CBC News (Canada)
        ...which notes:
          Myanmar's government agreed to allow the delegates' visit after previously rejecting UN requests for a visit by a specially appointed independent fact-finding committee. That team said in March that it found evidence of human rights violations against [Myanmar's] Kachin, Shan and Rohingya minorities "in all likelihood amounting to crimes under international law." ...
          Thousands of refugees had gathered amid scorching heat at the camp to welcome the delegation. They carried placards, some of which read "We want justice."
        * * *
          "The other thing the Security Council should do is refer the situation in Rakhine state to the International Criminal Court," Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said Friday in a speech to journalists in Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city.
          "The crimes against humanity that were committed against the Rohingya population were clearly of the gravity and severity that they warrant prosecution by the ICC. If impunity were to prevail it would be an enormous injustice to the victims and their families, and it would only encourage a repetition of these kinds of mass atrocities." ...

    • Rohingya Muslims should not
      be repatriated to Myanmar
      until credible investigation,
      [Australian Foreign Minister]
      Julie Bishop says.

          - Australian Broadcasting Corp.

    • Nine months after Myanmar assaults, Rohingya camps ready for spate of births
        Agencies brace for spike in unwanted children, who were conceived as a result of sexual violence by Myanmar soldiers and militiamen.
          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        (same topic at:
          - Sky News (U.K.) )
        When hundreds of thousands of Rohingya flooded into south-east Bangladesh last year, they told of systematic rape and other sexual violence by Myanmar soldiers and militiamen.
        This May will mark nine months since that exodus started. Aid agencies, especially those who work with women and children, have been bracing for the date. Over the next weeks, babies conceived as a result of sexual assaults, committed during the crackdown, will be born.
        Save the Children says it is expecting the number of babies who are abandoned by their mothers to increase next month in line with the milestone.
      * * *
        “They may feel they cannot care or are not equipped to care for their new baby,” says Melissa How, a medical coordinator with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)(Doctors Without Borders), . “Many of them are young women under the age of 18. Additionally, how they will be perceived socially due to stigma is an added stress.”
      * * *
        In Myanmar, most Rohingya had little or no access to healthcare, let alone abortion services. [A raped Rohingya widow] says she bought “medicine” from a village doctor that failed to halt the pregnancy. As a widow, she felt a particular stigma against asking other villagers for help.
        “Seeking help to abort pregnancy is very difficult for a widow in our society,” she says. “I stopped searching for any way to get rid of the pregnancy and I left everything to the mercy of Allah.”
        Inside the heaving refugee camps, she again sought help to terminate the pregnancy. But by then it was too late. Bangladesh law prohibits abortion after the first trimester. Doctors warned her an illegal procedure could endanger her life.
        “I had other little children at home,” she says. “I chose not to take the risk.”
        Nobody knows how many women like [her] there are in the camps.
      * * *
        In January, so many women were showing up at [MSF’s] hospitals, bleeding, that midwives speculated many were probably trying to abort their pregnancies at home. ...


MAY 2018:

  • 2018 May 1 - Tuesday

    • Myanmar army chief denies
      rape of Rohingya
      as U.N. visits.

          - AFP / The Hindu (India)
        Denied access to Myanmar in the months immediately after the crisis, a UN Security Council delegation is making a belated first visit to Myanmar to ratchet up pressure for a safe and dignified return of the Muslim minority.
        Late on Monday they met the army chief, who controls all security matters in the country without oversight from the elected government.
        “The Tatmadaw (army) is always disciplined... and takes action against anyone who breaks the law,” he told the delegates...
        Rohingya women and girls in Bangladesh have provided consistent accounts of sexual violence -- reports verified by conflict monitors -- but Min Aung Hlaing said his forces have “no such history of sexual abuse.” “It is unacceptable according to the culture and religion of our country,” he said, adding that anyone found guilty of crimes would be punished.
        He also repeated the official line that Myanmar was ready to take back the refugees who could be verified as residents, as per a repatriation deal with Bangladesh. Several months after the deal was signed, no refugees have returned. Enraged Bangladeshi officials... accuse Myanmar of pretending to co-operate for the benefit of the international community. ...

    • UN [Security Council] delegation
      visiting northern Rakhine.

          - AP / Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        A UN Security Council delegation on Tuesday was visiting volatile areas of Myanmar's Rakhine state, from where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled military-led violence, to see firsthand the aftermath of the army's crackdown as well as Myanmar's preparations for taking back the refugees. ...

    • Security Council urges conditions
      that allow safe return
      of Rohingya refugees.

          - United Nations Security Council
        After seeing for themselves the conditions facing Rohingya refugees in the camps of southern Bangladesh as well as homes they fled in Myanmar, Security Council members called on Tuesday for them to be allowed a safe return. ...
        * * *
        Security Council members also urged the international community to continue supporting the work being undertaken by the UN and humanitarian agencies in southern Bangladesh, on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable refugees living there.
       

  • 2018 May 2 - Wednesday

    • Surprise Ruling in Myanmar
      Favors Jailed Reuters Journalists.

          - New York Times   In the first significant ruling in favor of two jailed Reuters reporters, the judge... announced... he would accept evidence from a police captain, who testified that an officer was ordered to entrap one of the journalists.
        Both sides... appeared caught off guard by the ruling of the judge,... who previously sided with the prosecution by allowing the case to proceed. Myanmar's judiciary is not known for independence. ...
        The police captain -- since his April 20th testimony that went against the prosecution -- has been sentenced, in secret, to a year in prison for an unspecified charge, and his family has been evicted...

  • 2018 May 3 - Thursday

    • Human traffickers
      targeting Rohingya refugees
      in Bangladeshi camps.

          - Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)
        Life in the cramped camps is tough. Many of the Rohingyas are trying to escape the camps to build a better future for themselves and their families. Human traffickers are taking advantage of this situation. ...
        “It actually goes back several years. The grand crisis is just part of a longer story,” [says] human trafficking expert Siddharth Kara.... “Many of them (Rohingyas) have been trafficked to Thailand for prostitution.”
        He said the traffickers took advantage of the recent exodus and trafficked girls to India or other parts of Bangladesh. “It is a horrible scenario... I do not have that much faith in the repatriation process.”
        Assistant Director for Mediation in BLAST Taposhi Rabaya said that at the beginning of the influx, people took away many children from the camps.
        “These Rohingya children and women are at high risk of being trafficked. People are trafficking children for domestic work. They just hold the hand of a child and take him or her with them,” she said.
        “No one knows what happens at the camps after sunset as outsiders (NGOs and aid workers) are not allowed to stay. Anything can happen. In fact, I did not feel that the security [in the camps] is tight enough even during the day,” she added. ...
        Women’s rights activist Salma Ali said that many Rohingya women and children had already been trafficked. At the beginning of the influx, no one monitored the movement of the refugees. ...

    • Rohingya Refugee Sites: UAV Imagery
      - Unchiprang, Teknaf, Cox's Bazar, Chittagong, Bangladesh
      (02 May 2018)

          - International Organization for Migration
              on ReliefWeb.int

    • Rohingya refugees
      in Bangladesh camps
      await new danger:
      Rain.

          - Associated Press   The early rains have already loosened the dirt on steep hillsides, and tons of earth has shifted in some places. While a handful of people have been relocated, most remain at risk.
        "There are no more trees, no more roots, so there could be massive landslides, burying people that live at the bottom of the hills" and carrying away those who live on hilltops, said UNICEF spokesman Benjamin Steinlechner. "So that is the major risk."
        An even bigger worry is cyclones forming in the nearby Bay of Bengal. ...

    • 'Myanmar authorities must face accountability':
      ~[Canada's envoy] Bob Rae

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        Myanmar authorities must face accountability for the crimes against the Rohingyas, said Canada's special envoy to the country's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. ...
        Bob Rae, who recently submitted a report to the Canadian PM, said Canada has to take a leadership role in resolving the Rohingya crisis when there has been a void of global leadership. ...

    • A Door Opened to Resolve the Rohingya Crisis?
        The U.N. Security Council has the chance
      to make Myanmar's government
      accountable for the refugee crisis.
        Opinion Essay by Daniel Sullivan,
        senior advocate for human rights,
        Refugees International.
          - U.S. News

    • Trump sends letter to [Bangladesh's] PM,
      assures of continuing pressure
      for Rohingya repatriation.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
          "The United States will continue to pressure Myanmar to create necessary conditions for the safe and voluntary return of the Rohingya people to their homeland," Trump said in the letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
          * * *
          In the letter, the US president said there is no question that those in Myanmar responsible for instigating this crisis must be held accountable.
          * * *
          Trump [praised] the prime minister for her humanitarian leadership role in... the Rohingya crisis, [adding]:
          "The United States is deeply grateful to the government of Bangladesh for its generous humanitarian response to the Rohingya crisis. ..."

    • Myanmar journalists say
      government failing to
      protect press freedom:
      ~Survey.

          - Reuters News Service
          Journalists in Myanmar believe their government is failing to defend media freedom despite the transition from harsh military rule to an elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, according to a survey published to mark World Press Freedom Day on Thursday.
          * * *
          Asked to rate the government’s success on defending media freedom, 79 percent of journalists questioned for the survey answered “low” or “very low.”
          * * *
          The survey comes after Paris-based Reporters Without Borders last week moved Myanmar down in its annual press freedom index by six places to 137th out of 180 nations, citing legal action against journalists and restrictions on access to conflict-affected areas.

  • 2018 May 4 - Friday

    • OIC delegation visiting
      Cox's Bazar Rohingya camps.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
          A delegation of ministers and representatives of [the] Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries visited Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar today.
          * * *
          [Foreign ministers of Bangladesh and Canada, and some of their senior diplomats], are accompanying them.
          * * *
          Diplomatic sources in Dhaka believe the back-to-back visits of the UN Security Council delegation and OIC foreign ministers would have a positive impact towards a sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis.
          * * *
          They will attend the 45th Session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers starting from tomorrow in [Bangladesh's] capital.
          * * *
          The OIC is considered the second-largest inter-governmental organisation after the United Nations -- with the membership of 57 states, covering four continents, with a collective population of over 1.6 billion.

    • VIDEO:
      Why are elephants smashing
      the Rohingya refugee camp?

          - BBC News
       

  • 2018 May 5 - Saturday

  • 2018 May 6 - Sunday

    • OIC seeks international support
      to resolve Rohingya crisis

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
          The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has condemned the recent atrocities against Rohingyas in Myanmar, terming that actions against them have reached the level of “ethnic cleansing”.
          The systematic acts against the Rohingyas by the Myanmar security forces constitute a serious and blatant violation of international law, the foreign ministers and head of delegations of the OIC member-states said in a declaration today.
          They also commended the leadership of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in addressing the plights of the Rohingyas and sought international support to resolve the crisis and full implementation of the recommendations made by the Kofi Annan-led advisory commission on Rakhine State. ...
      (also see:
        - Full text of the Dhaka declaration of the
          45th OIC Council of Foreign Ministers)

    • Fear spreading among Rohingya refugees as they brace for coming monsoon.
          - Toronto Globe & Mail (Canada)
          Between June and August,
        2.5 metres (8 feet) of monsoon rains
        will fall in this region;
        and fear is spreading that the deluge
        will bring landslides, flooding,
        and water-borne diseases --
        -- multiplying the afflictions
        that have already befallen Rohingya
        driven away from torched homes.
          Contingency plans among
        humanitarian agencies include
        preparations for thousands of deaths,
        -- although aid workers say
        that does not mean such an outcome
        is unavoidable.

  • 2018 May 7 - Monday

    • Islamic countries call
      Rohingya crisis
      'ethnic cleansing'.

          - Times of India
        The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) issued a joint statement Sunday, at the end of a two-day conference in Bangladesh, saying Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya Muslims is a "serious and blatant violation of international law." The OIC is calling for international support in solving the crisis.

    • One Killed, 2 Injured
      in Landslide at
      Rohingya Refugee Camp.

          - The Irrawaddy (Burma/Myanmar)
        A Rohingya girl was killed, and two other children were injured, Friday morning, in a landslide at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhiya on the outskirts of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. ...
        It is the first known death caused by a landslide at the camps due to rain.
        Also...:
      •   UN Sends More Aid ...
      •   OIC Delegation Visits Camps ...

  • 2018 May 8 - Tuesday

    • SPECIAL BROADCAST NOTE:
      PBS FRONTLINE   TV DOCUMENTARY SERIES
        TONIGHT'S EPISODE:
        "MYANMAR'S KILLING FIELDS"

          - PBS (Public Broadcasting Service)
              & WGBH-TV, Boston

    • More Than 43,000 Rohingya Parents
      May Be Missing.
      Experts Fear They Are Dead.

          - TIME Magazine
          More than 43,000 Rohingya parents have been reported lost, presumed dead in the six months since Myanmar’s military unleashed a crackdown last August, according to a new report. These figures provide the latest indication that even by conservative estimates the number of Muslim Rohingya killed in the crisis far exceeds the Myanmar government’s official count of 400.
          Based on surveys of refugees who fled Myanmar for neighboring Bangladesh, 28,300 Rohingya children have lost at least one parent, while an additional 7,700 children reported having lost both parents, according to the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), citing data from the Bangladeshi government. That puts the number of “lost” parents as high as 43,700, according to APHR, adding that it is unclear how many of the children are siblings and may have lost the same parent.
          * * *
          While there are no reliable totals for how many people have been killed in what the U.N. has labelled an “ethnic cleansing” campaign, Doctors Without Borders estimated 6,700 Rohingya deaths in the first month of violence alone.

    • The Rohingya Crisis
      and the Meaning of Genocide

          - Council on Foreign Relations
            on ReliefWeb.int
          Despite evidence of systematic violence against the Rohingya, countries remain reluctant to classify the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State as genocide. ...
          * * *
          Does the situation in Myanmar fit the legal parameters of genocide?...

    • 4 rights groups urge UN council
      to refer Myanmar to ICC
      [(International Criminal Court)].

          - Associated Press
        Four human rights groups...
      • Amnesty International,
      • Human Rights Watch,
      • the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect
      • Fortify Rights —
      ...urged the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity, including targeting about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled military-led violence to Bangladesh.
        Matthew Smith, head of the Asia-based group Fortify Rights, went a step further to say the ICC should also investigate “mounting evidence” of genocide against Rohingya.

    • OPINION: UN Security Council:
      Refer Myanmar to ICC.

          - Human Rights Watch
          "Stand Up for Rohingya Victims
              of Crimes Against Humanity"

    • Dangers persist for
      nearly a million Rohingya refugees
      in Bangladesh:
      ~WHO (World Health Org.)

          - UN News
          Renewed efforts are underway in Bangladesh to protect nearly one million Myanmar refugees from cholera, amid a warning from the UN health agency on Tuesday that
          “We’re not out of the woods yet,”... adding that the majority of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh live in “overcrowded…unsanitary camps”.
          Dr. Richard Brennan, Director of Emergency Operations at the World Health Organization, (WHO), issued the warning in Geneva, citing risks from other diseases, natural hazards and a serious funding shortage:
          “We are looking down the barrel of the monsoon season with the inherent risk of flooding, landslides, as well as the cyclone season,”
        he added.
          * * *
          There are now nearly 900,000 displaced individuals living in a dozen camps in and around the border town of Cox’s Bazar... Brennan said it was a “major achievement” that mortality rates had remained low.
          * * *
          ...cohlera is “only one health concern among a number of priorities”, the WHO official said, stressing the need to focus on water and sanitation facilities as the most effective guarantee against other water-borne diseases.
          * * *
          Some $950 million is required to help the refugees, Dr. Brennan said, but only around 16 per cent of this amount has been provided.
          Resources are even more scarce when it comes to healthcare, with only 6.3 per cent of funding needs met.

    • 30,000 Rohingya refugees
      moving to raised land,
      to escape floods:
        ~WFP

          - UN News
          With monsoon rains threatening to flood Rohingya “mega camps” in Bangladesh, the World Food Programme (WFP) is leading a UN-wide effort to relocate around 30,000 refugees to higher ground.

    • Myanmar's bishops
      discuss China, Rohingya
      with Pope Francis.

          - Catholic News Agency
         

    • Crisis in Myanmar’s Kachin
      means jungle treks
      to escape war.

          - Associated Press ...a wave of 6,800 people... have fled their homes in Kachin since a fresh government offensive began in early April.
        The onslaught is part of a decades-long government campaign to defeat Kachin rebels fighting for greater autonomy for the largely Christian minority group in Myanmar’s far north. The intensified offensive has renewed accusations that the army is creating a similar humanitarian crisis in Kachin to the one spawned by its violence against Rohingya Muslims in the country’s west.
        * * *
        The government has denied virtually all access to the area for the United Nations and international humanitarian groups.

    • UNICEF gets $15.7m fund [from Japan]
      for Rohingya children, women
      in Cox’s Bazar.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
          The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has scaled up humanitarian assistance and life-saving interventions for the Rohingya children and women along with the vulnerable host population in Cox's Bazar with US$15.7 million funding received from the government of Japan.

  • 2018 May 9 - Wednesday

    • U.N. Security Council pushes Myanmar
      on accountability over Rohingya.

          - Reuters News Service
        The United Nations Security Council urged Myanmar’s government on Wednesday to carry out transparent investigations into accusations of violence against mainly Rohingya Muslims in the country’s Rakhine state and to allow immediate aid access to the region.
        Despite initial resistance by China to the Security Council pressing Myanmar on accountability, the 15-member body reached consensus agreement on the British-drafted statement. ...

    • International Criminal Court
      seeks Dhaka’s opinion
      on Rohingya crisis.

          - Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)
          The court sought opinions from Bangladesh on three specific issues:
        • living conditions of the refugees,
        • whether the ICC has any authority to hold hearings on the Rohingya exodus, and
        • providing necessary information for the trial process.
          The pre-trial chamber was formed after ICC Prosecutor... filed a petition with it on April 9, seeking a ruling on whether the court has any authority to hold hearings on the offences committed against Rohingyas.

    • 'Bangladesh,
        involve ICC
        into Rohingya crisis'

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
          Bangladesh government should encourage the International Criminal Court (ICC) to exercise jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute the crime of deporting Rohingyas, said a Southeast Asia-based rights organisation, Fortify Rights, today.

    • China resists Britain’s push
      for UN statement in probe
      on Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis.

          - South China Morning Post
        (same topic, more details at:
          - Reuters News Service )
          Britain last week circulated a statement stressing ‘credible and transparent investigations’. On Monday, China -- a supporter of Myanmar’s former ruling junta -- put forward an amended statement that dropped all mention of investigations or accountability.
          * * *
          China is resisting a British push at the UN Security Council for a statement calling on Myanmar to try those responsible for attacks on the Rohingya, according to a draft seen on Tuesday.

    • OPINION ESSAY:
      Pregnant Rohingya Refugees
      Are in Desperate Need.

      by Andrew Gilmour,
      U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights
        and
      Pramila Patten
      U.N. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict
          - Bloomberg
        Thousands of women who were raped by the Burmese military live in refugee camps that are at risk from monsoon flooding. But will the international community answer?
        * * *
        We believe that there are at least 40,000 pregnancies among Rohingya refugee women and children; the Bangladesh Health Ministry estimated double that number in December 2017. Rape is the likely cause of many of those pregnancies.
        * * *
        There’s little time to waste. The rains have already begun in Cox’s Bazar; May is also cyclone season. Floods and landslides in the camps could be calamitous even without a sudden surge of obstetric deliveries. While humanitarian agencies are preparing for the monsoon as best they can, they need far greater resources.
        * * *
        But the first priority must be to save lives, which means moving these expectant mothers to sites less vulnerable to the oncoming rains. They cannot be cared for where they are. And the international community cannot allow them to be victimized a second time.

    • Myanmar cop details sting
      on Rohingya massacre reporters.

          - Reuters / Bangkok Post (Thailand)
        A Myanmar policeman, now serving a prison sentence, gave more details to a court on Wednesday about how he says two Reuters reporters were framed by police, in what has become a landmark press-freedom case for the Southeast Asian nation.
        (also see:
        - Myanmar whistleblower police officer
          says jailing a warning.

            - Associated Press
        ...which notes:
            A Myanmar police officer, who testified that his colleagues helped frame two reporters being tried on charges of possessing state secrets, said Wednesday his subsequent jailing was intended to intimidate any other officers thinking of telling the truth.
        )

    • Fatal elephant attacks on Rohingya refugees push Bangladesh to act
          - The Hindu (India) / The Guardian (U.K.)
        Young boy becomes latest in series of casualties at Kutupalong camp in Cox’s Bazar, which lies on migration route long used by elephants.

    • Meth trade forges unlikely link
      between Rohingya
      and Myanmar soldiers.

          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia
        Huge quantities of meth are seeding unrest inside Bangladesh's refugee camps, as jobless Rohingya turn drug runners for a criminal chain that stretches back to Myanmar - and the soldiers who drove them out.

  • 2018 May 10 - Thursday

  • 2018 May 11 - Friday

    • India wants safe, sustainable
      Rohingya repatriation

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
          India has conveyed to Myanmar the need for speed, safe, and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh as Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today wrapped up a two-day visit to that country.

    • Months after fleeing homes in Myanmar, Rohingya refugees reckon with new lives
          - Toronto Globe & Mail (Canada)
          With no place to call their own, Rohingya from Myanmar look for small forms of solace amid the crowded camps of Bangladesh. Nathan VanderKlippe visits Chakmarkul camp, home to more than 12,000 refugees, and finds a land of dancing, weeping and Shakespeare.

    • ‘We’ll Turn Your Village Into Soil’:
      Survivors Recount One of Myanmar’s
      Biggest Massacres.

          - Wall Street Journal
        Security forces went door to door, shooting anyone who emerged, including children, in a Sunday afternoon massacre ...in [the] village of Chut Pyin.
        * * *
        The Myanmar government has restricted access to Chut Pyin and surrounding villages. Authorities don’t allow aid workers, United Nations investigators or Western journalists free travel there. ...

  • 2018 May 12 - Saturday

      --------------

  • 2018 May 13 - Sunday

    • Myanmar rebels launch attacks in north;
      at least 15 dead.

          - Associated Press
        An ethnic rebel group, [Ta’ang National Liberation Army, of Shan state,] launched an attack against Myanmar’s military in a northern town on Saturday, leaving at least 15 people dead and 20 injured, including civilians, officials said.
        * * *
        The TNLA is among more than a dozen ethnic rebel groups that have been fighting the central government for greater autonomy for decades. In the past few months, clashes between rebels and the military in Myanmar’s northeastern region have intensified, resulting in thousands of displaced in neighboring Kachin state.
        * * *
        Myanmar’s army has been criticized for extrajudicial killings, torture, forced labor, rape and other abuses against the country’s many minority groups.

    • How Bollywood movies helped Rohingyas settle in India
          - The Economic Times / Times of India

    • Press release:
      [USAID] Administrator... Travels to Asia:
      Bangladesh, Burma, and Thailand

          - U.S. Agency for International Development USAID Administrator Mark Green will travel to Bangladesh, Burma, and Thailand from May 13 to May 23.
       

  • 2018 May 14 - Monday

    • Boatloads of Rohingya refugees
      'risking death at sea'.

        Boatloads of Rohingya could die at sea trying to flee Myanmar unless neighbouring governments step in, humanitarian workers have warned.
          - Sky News (U.K.)
        In the last month, around 180 refugees have tried to cross the Andaman Sea to escape persecution in Myanmar.
        At least 10 are known to have died en route, while around 200 others have drowned in the Bay of Bengal trying to get to Bangladesh since August 2017.
        * * *
        In 2015, thousands attempted the crossing but many boats were stopped from landing on neighbouring shores and hundreds of people died at sea after being stranded by traffickers.
        * * *
        There are no confirmed figures for how many refugees have tried to escape across the Andaman this year, but at least four boats have left since April.
        Of those, two were rescued by Indonesian fisherman, while a third landed in Langkawi, Malaysia, after briefly stopping in southern Thailand and being escorted back to sea by Thai authorities. ... this not only put the lives of refugees at risk, but may also contravene international maritime law.

  • 2018 May 15 - Tuesday

    • War crimes judges to hold closed talks on Rohingya crisis.
          - AFP / Japan Times
        War crimes judges will hold closed-door talks next month to discuss whether to allow the launch of a probe into the forced exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar.
        Only chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will appear before the three judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) hearing on June 20, presiding Judge Peter Kovacs said in his Friday order, seen by AFP on Monday.
        * * *
        In an unprecedented move last month, Bensouda asked judges at the world’s only permanent war crimes court to rule whether she can investigate the deportations as a crime against humanity.
        It is a legally complicated request, as Myanmar is not a signatory and member of the Rome Statute, which underpins the ICC.
        Bangladesh is, however, and Bensouda argued that should give her office jurisdiction to investigate the Rohingya’s plight.
        * * *
        Set up in 2002 in The Hague, the ICC acts to prosecute the worst abuses including genocide in places where national tribunals are unwilling or unable to act.
        The Myanmar army in the mainly Buddhist nation has denied any allegations, saying its campaign has been a legitimate response to Rohingya militant attacks last year that killed about a dozen border guard police.
        The Southeast Asian nation has voiced “serious concern” over the move at the ICC.

    • The Rohingya Have
      Fled One Crisis
      for Another

        The monsoon season, which begins in earnest in a few weeks’ time, is predicted to bring with it disease, landslides, flash flooding, and death.

          - Foreign Policy (political journal: USA)
        As the monsoon season looms, hundreds of thousands of refugees are living in overcrowded Bangladeshi refugee camps at risk of an imminent cholera outbreak.
        The monsoon season, which begins in earnest in a few weeks’ time, is predicted to bring with it disease, landslides, flash flooding, and death.
        The refugee camps are located in one of the most frequently flooded regions of one of the most flood- and cyclone-prone countries in the world. In 1970, Cyclone Bhola killed at least 300,000 people; in 2007, Cyclone Sidr killed 10,000.
        Despite their efforts, aid agencies fear that they will be unable to protect the Rohingya from yet another crisis, one that could end in utter catastrophe, further terrorizing refugees who have endured unimaginable atrocities.

    • Press release:
      The United States Announces
      Humanitarian Assistance
      for Rohingya
      and Other Vulnerable People
      in Burma and Bangladesh.

          - U.S. Agency for International Development
            (USAID)
            "This funding brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for displaced people in and from Burma to more than $299 million since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017..."

  • 2018 May 16 - Wednesday

  • 2018 May 17 - Thursday

    • Rohingya repatriation: No progress,
      more reassurances from Myanmar

          - Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)
        The Myanmar government on Thursday restated its commitment to repatriating the hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas currently sheltering in refugee camps in Bangladesh, but offered nothing more concrete about when or how the process would begin.

    • U.S. aid chief calls on Myanmar
      to end violence against Rohingya.

          - Reuters News Service
        The U.S. government’s aid chief called on Thursday on Myanmar to end violence against members of the Rohingya Muslim minority and to provide humanitarian workers and media unhindered access to the country.
        Mark Green, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), visited Rohingya refugee camps on a three-day visit to Bangladesh this week.
        The United States would provide $44 million in additional aid to help meet the needs of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, he told reports in Dhaka, before traveling on to Myanmar, which is also known as Burma.
        * * *
        “Today, I will fly to Burma and will ask them to end the violence and will also ask them to allow media access,” Green said.
        * * *
        “This humanitarian crisis is a global challenge and our government along with the international community will work together to support Bangladesh,” he said.
        Green, who is due to meet Myanmar government officials in the capital, Naypyitaw, said he would ask for “free and unhindered humanitarian access throughout the country” as well as access for media to travel freely.
        U.S. President Donald Trump this month assured Bangladesh of U.S. support in dealing with the Myanmar Rohingya refugee crisis.

  • 2018 May 18 - Friday

    • U.S. aid chief reaffirms
      commitment to Myanmar
      amid Rohingya crisis

          - Reuters News Service
        The U.S. government’s aid chief said on Friday he believes in American aid engagement and development work in Myanmar, and the Rohingya crisis is an “impediment” to that work, not a reason to scale back assistance.
        Mark Green, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is in Myanmar for a three-day visit that follows a trip to the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, and Rohingya refugee camps in southeast Bangladesh.
        Some Asian leaders have been wary about U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy and his commitment to the region, especially after he walked away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact in 2016 in the name of protecting U.S. jobs. ...

    • Myanmar wants repatriation
      of 1,101 verified Rohingyas.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        Bangladesh pushes for conducive environment, safety for returnees.

    • Grass Planting Reduces
      Soil Erosion, Risk of Landslides
      in Rohingya Refugee Camps

          - Inter Press Service
        Over two million vetiver grass plants have been distributed by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in the past two weeks to reduce soil erosion and the risk of landslides in southern Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps, where hundreds of thousands of people are at risk from impending monsoon rains.
        A further two million plants will be given to local and international NGOs for distribution before the end of May, following the initial success of the project, which has local vetiver suppliers struggling to keep up with demand.
        The grass costs just over USD 1.50 for a bundle of 200 plants. But the project, which in total could help stabilize land equivalent to almost 150 football fields, is expected to have a significant impact on improving living conditions in the hillside camps and will help to prevent life-threatening soil erosion. ...

    • ESSAY:
      Rohingya Rights Now:
      AJWS Experts Address the Crisis

          - AJWS (American Jewish World Service)
        On May 17, 2018 the House Foreign Affairs Committee advanced the Burma Act of 2018 (H.R. 5819), a crucial effort to stop the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya people—an ethnic minority that has been violently displaced from their homes by the Burmese military.
        Advancing the Burma Act of 2018 would not have been possible without the support of so many people who have contacted their Senators about this critical issue. Now, we must keep the pressure on. The impending monsoon season is threatening the lives of tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees who are living in cramped and under-resourced camps in Bangladesh.

    • The International Criminal Court Is Looking Into The Crimes Committed Against the Rohingya Muslims
          - Forbes
        It has become clear that various UN bodies wish to commence a fact-finding mission in Burma. They have so far been prevented from doing so by the Burmese government who have refused permission for fact-finders to enter the country. Without the ability to conduct a fact-finding inquiry inside Burma, the quality of any enquiry would suffer. While interviews could still be collected from Rohingya Muslims who have managed to escape to Bangladesh, a lot of evidence is lost without access to the areas that the crimes are alleged to have been committed.
        Away from the UN, another international actor has decided to weigh in on the issue. ...

    • Canadian aid workers say
      Rohingya crisis needs urgent action.

          - Toronto Globe & Mail
        A group of Canadian aid workers is urging the federal government to act quickly on some of the recommendations made in a report on the Rohingya crisis by Bob Rae, Canada’s special envoy to Myanmar.
        At a news conference in Toronto on Friday, the group Canadians in Support of Refugees in Dire Need (CSRDN) said the wait has been unacceptable.
        “We must lead the international community. The inaction is unbelievable,” said CSRDN co-chair Dr. Aliya Khan, noting that it’s been six weeks since the government released a report from Mr. Rae outlining the crisis, yet no actions have come from it.

  • 2018 May 19 - Saturday

  • 2018 May 20 - Sunday

    • U.S. Aid Chief to Myanmar:
      Take 'Concrete Steps'
      on Rohingya Rights.

          - Reuters / U.S. News
        The U.S. government's aid chief urged Myanmar on Sunday to take "concrete steps" to guarantee the rights of Rohingya Muslims and to show sincerity in that endeavor in order to encourage hundreds of thousands who have fled the country to return.
        Mark Green, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), ended his three-day visit to Myanmar touring Rohingya and Rakhine communities in western Rakhine State, including a camp for displaced Rohingya people.
        Green said the refugees, whom he met during the previous leg of the trip in camps in Bangladesh, are fearful and while they want to return, they are asking for their rights and security to be guaranteed before making the decision to come back.

    • VIDEO:
      [Canadian Foreign Minister] Freeland
      says other countries need to
      step up to help Rohingya.

          - Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
       

  • 2018 May 21 - Monday

    • Myanmar orders Rohingya
      to leave tense border zone.

          - The Nation (U.S.)
        Myanmar security forces have resumed loudspeaker broadcasts near its border with Bangladesh ordering Rohingya Muslims to immediately leave a strip of no-man's land between the two countries, refugees said Sunday.
        Around 6,000 refugees from the persecuted minority have been camping on the narrow stretch of land since fleeing a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar's west last August.

    • Priyanka Chopra visits
      Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.

          - Hindustan Times (India)
        Actor and global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights Priyanka Chopra is visiting the Rohingya refugee camps on a field visit.

  • 2018 May 22 - Tuesday

  • 2018 May 23 - Wednesday

  • 2018 May 24 - Thursday

    • Bengal govt readies defence
      on Rohingya issue
      ahead of Modi-Hasina meet.

          - Hindustan Times (India)
        The West Bengal government is readying its defence for a controversial decision to shelter dozens of Rohingya families in various parts of the state ahead of a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, at Santiniketan on Friday.
        State officials said that while no meeting was planned between [Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee], and the two national leaders, they are ready to counter any question regarding the state administration’s decision to shelter members of the persecuted community.
        * * *
        The issue of Rohingya resettlement is one of the many subjects on which Banerjee differs sharply with the BJP-led central government. “The Centre and the state government have been at loggerheads on the issue of settling Rohingyas on Indian soil. ..."
        * * *
        While the Modi government wants to deport all Rohingya refugees, who are considered as the most persecuted ethnic minority in the world, the Bengal chief minister publicly expressed her empathy for them last year. ...

    • Myanmar:
      Deadline to Report
      on Rape of Rohingya
      to UN

        Committee Seeks Information on Rakhine State Atrocities Against Women, Girls
          - Human Rights Watch
       

    • 'They are our brothers':
      Rohingya refugees
      find rare welcome in Aceh.

      Minority known as "the most friendless people on earth" find sanctuary in Indonesia’s conservative province.
          - The Guardian (U.K.)
       

  • 2018 May 25 - Friday

    • Rohingya Militants Deny
      Slaughtering Hindus
      in Myanmar

        Group dismisses Amnesty International finding that it killed dozens of Hindus in course of its violent expulsion from Myanmar last year.

          - The Guardian (U.K.)   A Rohingya Muslim militant group denied accusations Friday that it slaughtered Hindu civilians amid last year’s outburst of violence in which Myanmar’s military drove some 700,000 Rohingya out of the country.
        The London-based human-rights group Amnesty International issued a report earlier this week stating that its investigations supported allegations first made by Myanmar’s military that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) had killed dozens of Hindus during the upheaval in western Myanmar.

    • Bangladesh PM urges Myanmar
      to take back Rohingya Muslims.

          - AP / Times of India
        Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for international pressure on Myanmar to take back hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have sought shelter in her country to escape military-led violence.
        Hasina says Bangladesh gave shelter to the fleeing Rohingya on humanitarian grounds, but they should return to Myanmar.
        "Other countries should put pressure on Myanmar to take them back," she said in a speech Friday at Visva-Bharti University in West Bengal, [India] .
        [India's] Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the speech.

    • Vigil to be held on Manus Island
      after death of Rohingya refugee.

          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        Police say asylum seekers are struggling to cope and warn of more suicides
        On Friday evening, refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island [in the island country of Papua New Guinea (PNG), north of Australia, where Australia interns refugees] will hold a vigil for Salim, the seventh of their group to die on the island, and the third apparent suicide in less than a year. Supporters in Sydney and Melbourne will join them.
        Salim, a father of three in his 50s, died on Tuesday after jumping out of a moving vehicle. He had been on Manus Island for almost five years, under Australia’s offshore immigration policy.
        * * *
        Because he sought asylum by boat, Australia would not take him. PNG gave him refugee status, but as a developing country that struggles to provide healthcare to its own citizens, Salim’s ailments were beyond it.
        * * *
        Salim had epilepsy and severe mental illness. Doctors4Refugees repeatedly lobbied for him to be brought to Australia for treatment of his epilepsy, psychosis and other ailments.
        According to advocates, Rohingya refugees on Manus also petitioned authorities regarding his plight. “He has seizure attack almost every day and it is really frightening to all of us...we fear for his life,” they wrote.
        * * *
        Sudanese refugee Abdul Aziz Muhamat and Kurdish refugee Behrouz Boochani said they and others blamed the Australian government for Salim’s death. ... “His death creates a lot of depression among the refugees. It came at a time when everyone is disappointed by the US [resettlement] results.”

    • Rohingya refugees are living in a 'slum'
          - The London Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
        Rohingya refugees are living in slum-like conditions, where infectious disease outbreaks are ready to spring up at any time and water and sanitation are poor, humanitarian experts have warned.

    • As cyclones loom,
      Bangladesh leads push
      to protect Rohingya refugees.

          - UNHCR (UN refugee agency)
        Bangladesh is working with UNHCR and partners to stave off consequences of possible extreme weather for hundreds of thousands.

  • 2018 May 26 - Saturday

    • In India,
      [Bangladesh Prime Minister] Hasina
      seeks help on Rohingya.

          - Times of India   Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina, on Friday, chose the backdrop of the Visva Bharati campus to seek India’s help in repatriating Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.
        * * *
        Over [1.1 million] Rohingyas had taken refuge in Bangladesh, Hasina said... in the presence of PM Narendra Modi and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
        “We could not have turned them away. We are a nation of [160 million] people. Why could we not feed a few [[hundred thousand]] more mouths? If need be, we will share our food. But we also want them to be expeditiously repatriated to Myanmar. We (Bangladesh and India) have to urge Myanmar to take its people back,” Hasina said.

  • 2018 May 27 - Sunday

    • OPINION ESSAY:
      Rohingya Shadow Over Myanmar Hindus

      by an anti-Rohingya Indian scholar
          - Daily Pioneer (India)
        [EDITOR'S NOTE: Some of the "facts" claimed in this essay contradict some specific investigation findings of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International, and others. However this essay reflects some of the general anti-Rohingya fallout from the Amnesty International report, widely reported May 23, 2018, faulting Rohingya insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) in killings and violent crimes against dozens of Hindus during August 2017, in the early stages of the current conflict. ARSA representatives denied the charges in reports May 25. (see above). This essay shows the quickness to oppose the Rohingya in some circles, especially in India, where anti-Muslim sentiment is widespread (in that 80% Hindu / 20% Muslim country). ~RH,ed.]

  • 2018 May 28 - Monday

    • Myanmar says
      some Rohingya refugees
      have returned voluntarily.

          - AFP / Straits Times (Singapore)   Myanmar says 58 Rohingya Muslims who fled to neighbouring Bangladesh have returned voluntarily, over the last 4 months.
        They were detained for failing to follow proper repatriation procedures until the decision to "pardon" them and allow them to resettle in Myanmar, the statement said, adding they would be "temporarily" housed in a transit camp.
        Myanmar did not identify them, and Bangladesh officials say they are unaware of any such returns, and U.N. officials warn that circumstances are not safe for the Rohingyas' return to Myanmar. ...

    • ESSAY/ANALYSIS:
      Rohingya Crisis:
      AL [Bangladesh's ruling party] leaders
      seek robust role of
      Russia, China, India.

          - UNB (United News of Bangladesh)
      (Apparently a pro-ruling-party
      partisan news service)
        The Awami League leaders on Monday requested Russia, China and India to play an even more robust role in ensuring a swift solution to the Rohingya crisis and the safe and dignified return of Rohingyas to their homeland in Rakhine State of Myanmar.
        The AL leaders made the request in line with the position of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during a ‘diplomatic briefing on current political issues’ in the city, said a press release.
        Over 50 diplomats and representatives including ambassadors and high commissioners of several countries apart from representatives of international organizations were present.

    • UN trains Rohingya refugees
      to deal with
      rain-linked challenges.

          - The Hindu (India)
        Since April, the UNHCR — with Bangladesh’s biggest non-governmental organisation, BRAC — has trained more than 20,000 ‘community outreach members’ (COMs) on emergency preparedness. But with the onset of monsoon, at least 200,000 — out of the 900,000 refugees settled in Cox’s Bazar — will face fresh challenges to survive. ...

    • PODCAST:
      The millionaire couple
      saving Rohingya refugees
      in the sea

          - France 24 TV (France)
        After spending three years saving thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean, the millionaire couple Regina and Christopher Catrambone now want to help Rohingyas. Their boat, the Phoenix -- of the organization MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) Foundation -- is sailing off the coast of Thailand and Malaysia in order to rescue Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar by sea.
        (Click on orange "soundwave" icon above their ship's photo to hear podcast of report.)

  • 2018 May 29 - Tuesday

    • US report:
      Ethnic cleansing of Rohingya
      persists in Myanmar.

        Ethnic cleansing targeting Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has not stopped despite growing condemnation from the international community, the Trump administration said Tuesday.
          - AP / Boston Globe (U.S.)
        In November, the United States declared that violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine state constituted ethnic cleansing, and the U.S. later imposed sanctions. Ambassador Sam Brownback, the U.S. envoy for global religious freedom, said the violence is continuing.
        “I don’t think we’ve seen progress there in that country,” Brownback said as he unveiled the State Department’s annual report on international religious freedom. The report estimates that about 680,000 people fled Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh to escape the violence.
        Rather than changing course, Brownback said, Myanmar authorities were “doubling down” by opening a new front in Kachin state. A new offensive by Myanmar’s government against Kachin rebels who have fought for decades for greater autonomy has raised fears of a humanitarian crisis in Kachin mirroring the one in Rakhine state. The Kachin rebels are a largely Christian minority group.

    • Bangladesh drug trafficking sweep
      leaves 86 dead,
      7,000 in custody,
      including Rohingya.

          - Reuters / Japan Times
        Bangladesh police have killed at least 86 people and arrested about 7,000 since launching a crackdown on drug trafficking this month, officials said on Monday, raising fears from rights activists of a Philippines-style war on drugs.
        * * *
        ...a senior police official told reporters: “The process will continue until it’s eradicated totally.” He said police arrested six people on Sunday, including a 12-year-old boy from Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim community, who had carried 3,350 [contraband drug] tablets to the capital, Dhaka.
        Bangladesh has said an influx last year of Rohingya fleeing Buddhist-majority Myanmar is partly to blame for soaring methamphetamine use. But many Rohingya say their young people are being pushed into crime because they cannot legally work or, in many cases, get access to aid.
        The 86 deaths occurred when police defended themselves in confrontations with suspected drug traffickers, said Mufti Mahmud Khan, a director of the police Rapid Action Battalion.
        “It’s their legal right to save themselves from the attack,” Mufti told Reuters.
        Human rights activists are worried the Bangladesh campaign is taking a page from the Philippine drugs war, in which thousands of people have been killed in the past two years.

  • 2018 May 30 - Wednesday

    • Myanmar military
      could be investigated
      over Rohingya abuses.

          - Sky News (U.K.)
        The refugees are arguing that without getting justice, the crimes will continue and spread to other ethnic groups.
        Lawyers for 400 Rohingya refugees are to urge the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the Myanmar military.
        The refugees are arguing that without getting justice for what has happened to them, the crimes will continue and spread to other ethnic groups. ...
        * * *
        But the lawyers intend to argue on Wednesday that the ICC [(International Criminal Court)] should investigate and possibly prosecute authorities in Myanmar for the crime of forcibly deporting the Rohingya population to Bangladesh, using means of mass murder, sexual violence, and ethnic cleansing.
        The ICC can't act unless a state is unwilling or unable to prosecute grave crimes against international law.
        But Myanmar is neither a party to the ICC nor has it accepted the court's jurisdiction, so it's currently down to the UN Security Council to refer the situation to the court - an unlikely situation when Myanmar's allies, China and Russia, have already blocked such moves.
        The argument is now being made that because the crimes of the Myanmar military cross the border into Bangladesh, a country that is a member of the Court, Myanmar can be held accountable. ...
        * * *
        If this case is won, its impact will be far-reaching.
        Syria is also not party to the ICC, but the seven-year conflict has created a refugee population of nearly 700,000 in Jordan, an ICC member state.
        If the precedent is set that transnational crimes committed by a country can be tried in The Hague, the Assad regime and rebel groups may be held responsible for the atrocities of the Syrian civil war in years to come. ...
       

    • 400 Thumbprints:
      Behind the Push to
      Prosecute Myanmar for Atrocities

          - New York Times
        In a request submitted to the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, lawyers included an unusual annex: 20 pages of purple thumbprints.
        These are the equivalent of signatures from 400 Rohingya women and girls, most of them illiterate refugees who were driven out of Myanmar last year after thousands of Rohingya Muslims were massacred.
        The request urges the International Criminal Court in The Hague to open a criminal investigation into continuing atrocities, including genocide, against the Rohingya, the latest twist in a brewing dispute about whether the international court has the authority to intervene in what the United Nations and United States have called a clear case of ethnic cleansing. ...

  • 2018 May 31 - Thursday

    • UN reaches deal with Myanmar
      to repatriate Rohingya refugees.

          - CNN (Cable News Network)
        Myanmar and the United Nations have reached a deal to work together to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in the country in the past year.
        In a statement Thursday, the UN said the agreement aims to create the conditions required for the "voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable" return of Rohinyga to their former homes or wherever they choose. ...

        (NOTE: This topic is focus of multiple articles over next several days, listed below)


JUNE 2018:

  • 2018 June 1 - Friday

    • UN, Myanmar agree
      on first steps toward
      return of Rohingya.

          - AP / Washington Post
        Myanmar and the United Nations agreed to take steps to create conditions for the safe return of about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled military-led violence into Bangladesh.
        The agreement announced by the government and two U.N. agencies on Thursday calls for a framework of cooperation that will lead to the “voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable” repatriation of Rohingya refugees “to their places of origin or of their choosing.”
        The U.N. refugee agency said that the conditions for voluntary return are not conducive yet. The memorandum of understanding — which is expected to be signed next week — “is the first and necessary step to support the government’s efforts to change that situation and is also intended to support recovery and resilience-based development for the benefit of all communities living in Rakhine state,” UNHCR said in a statement. ...

    • PODCAST memoir:
      Rohingyas Were Shot,
      Hacked With Machetes,
      and Then They Made for the Border.

          - Foreign Policy (U.S. political journal)
        700,000 ethnic Rohingya Muslims fled violence in Myanmar for Bangladesh last fall. The influx created the world’s fastest-growing humanitarian disaster.
        Pavlos Kolovos, the head of mission for Médecins Sans Frontières in Bangladesh, was on the ground as they arrived. He describes what he saw on our podcast this week.

    • INTERACTIVE MEDIA:
      Race Against the Rains

          - New York Times
        The race to prevent mass loss of life in Rohingya refugee camps, as monsoons approach.

  • 2018 June 2 - Saturday

    • Myanmar willing to take back
      all Rohingya refugees,
      top [Myanmar] official says.

          - TheIndependent (U.K.)
        Myanmar is willing to take back all 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who have fled to Bangladesh if they volunteer to return, [Myanmar]’s national security adviser U Thaung Tun said on Saturday.
        He was speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue, a regional security conference in Singapore, where he was asked if the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where most Rohingya live, could trigger use of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) framework of the United Nations.
        The R2P framework was adopted at the 2005 U.N. World Summit in which nations agreed to protect their own populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, and accepted a collective responsibility to encourage and help each other to uphold this commitment. ...
        * * *
        Myanmar signed an agreement with the United Nations on Thursday aimed at eventually allowing the Rohingya sheltering in Bangladesh to return safely and by choice.
        It also said it would set up an independent commission to investigate “the violation of human rights and related issues” in Rakhine State following the army operation there in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents on security posts. ...

  • 2018 June 3 - Sunday

  • 2018 June 4 - Monday

    • Yaba: The Red Pills
      and the Rohingya

          - The Diplomat
        Bangladesh’s cities are awash with red methamphetamine pills that come in from Myanmar.
        ...it’s been an open secret for many years now that Bangladesh’s cities are awash with red methamphetamine pills that come in from Myanmar. And denied of any other legal means of earning a living, the Rohingyas — especially women and children — have been working as willing and cheap drug mules.
        But things seem to be moving beyond just the ferrying of drugs from the camp to the cities. The quantity of stock being moved has increased. As the trade has gathered speed, the first threads of territorial violence have begun emerging inside the camps.
        * * *
        “Yaba is big — very big,” Rashed Didarul of Nongor, an NGO headquartered in Cox’s Bazar, explained. His organization runs a rehab clinic and almost all of its residents are Yaba addicts. “There’s not one village in the country that has been left unaffected by the drug.”
        Yaba started off as a party drug, a fix for the rich urbane of Dhaka. It gained popularity through the vibrant music scenes of the city. But then the supply and prices stabilized and now it’s a drug everyone can afford.
        While traditional substances like nicotine, alcohol, and cannabinoids continue to make up the biggest share of addictions among the Bangladeshi population, Yaba has been the fastest growing drug in the past decade.
        According to a report published by the National Institute of Mental Health, Dhaka, in 2016, 42 percent of addicts seeking treatment in rehabs and hospitals across the country were hooked on Yaba. Since many addicts are polysubstance — meaning they use more than one — in gross consumption figures, Yaba ranks third in a list topped by tobacco, followed by alcohol tied with cannabis at second place.
        * * *
        “The Rohingyas are a group that are in the right place and the right time,” an officer in the Bangladesh Border Guard said, on condition of anonymity. His unit had been recently decorated for fending off a Myanmar Border Guard Police (BGP) assault. The BGP were said to be providing cover to a group infiltrating the international border on the densely forested Kawang-Singpa route.
        “The meth trade is booming and the Rohingyas are the only ones crossing the border,” he continued. “Join the dots!”
        The drug trade is already spawning a violent drug war between the state and the dealer-distributor network. In keeping with the “zero tolerance” approach declared by the Ministry of Home Affairs, increasing numbers of crossfires have been happening across the country.
        The two principal armed offensive units in Bangladesh are the Rapid Action Battalion (affiliated with the military) and the Counter Terrorism Center (civilian police affiliated). Both have overlapping duties of tackling both drug crimes and fighting Islamist terrorism, have next to no judicial or legislative overview, and have been known for frequent use of lethal force.
        Bangladesh is already reeling under a spell of extrajudicial killings that have resulted from the war on Islamist terror front. With the opening up of the Rohingya-drug theater, the body count is likely to grow much bigger.
        In fact, within the first six months of 2018, unconfirmed reports put the number of people killed in the crossfire at several hundred. ...

    • Confine illegal Rohingya
      to designated camps:
      ~Centre to states

          - Times of India
        The Centre [India's central government] has asked [state governments in] Jammu & Kashmir and other states to confine illegal Rohingya settlers to pre-identified locations within their respective jurisdictions, record their personal particulars, including biometric details, and not to issue them Aadhaar number or any other identity proof.
        The meticulous preparation of their personal particulars has been sought so that these details can eventually be shared with Myanmar for likely repatriation, said a government source.
        This indicates the government’s intent to prevent a wider diffusion of Rohingya in India beyond the camps, and the Centre’s concern over possible presence of radical elements among them and their involvement in crime. ...

    • 'I didn't want this baby':
      Rohingya rape survivors
      face a harrowing choice.

          - Los Angeles Times on MSN.com
        ...thousands of Rohingya Muslims who were sexually assaulted during a systematic campaign of brutality by Myanmar security forces that international investigators and human rights groups have described as crimes against humanity. The army has denied committing atrocities.
        In the overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh where more than 900,000 Rohingya have sought shelter — many having watched their homes burned, children mutilated and family members shot — the mass rapes have produced untold numbers of unwanted pregnancies and confronted survivors with a terrible choice.
        Many women and girls have quietly terminated their pregnancies in relief clinics or by ingesting cheap drugs, sometimes resulting in medical complications, doctors say.
        Others have weighed the stigma of bearing a child out of wedlock in a deeply conservative society — and of caring for one in the midst of a humanitarian emergency where families live on handouts — and opted to give birth despite the uncertainty. ...

  • 2018 June 5 - Tuesday

    • Rohingya say Myanmar
      targeted the educated
      in genocide.

          - AP / ABC News “We are being targeted because people listen to us,” ...said... Rohingya refugee Rahamat Ullah, 53, a mullah from Koe Fan Kauk village. Associated Press interviews with [more than] a dozen Rohingya teachers, elders and religious leaders... reveal that educated Rohingya were already subject to systematic and widespread harassment, arrests, torture and -- in some cases -- killings [before the August 2017 violence began the current crisis].
        [They say they] were singled out [as] part of Myanmar's operation to drive the Muslim Rohingya from majority Buddhist Myanmar.
        Soldiers targeted the educated, they said, so there would be no community leaders left willing to speak up against the pervasive abuse.
        It's an old tactic, according to those who study genocide -- and often a precursor to killing.
        * * *
        Interviews with about 65 refugees in a September report by the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner indicate that “the Myanmar security forces targeted teachers, the cultural and religious leadership, and other people of influence in the Rohingya community in an effort to diminish Rohingya history, culture and knowledge.”
        The Buddhist majority has long reviled the Rohingya as “Bengali interlopers” in northern Rakhine state and suppressed their ability to maintain their culture and go to school.
        An Amnesty International report from November documented a system of institutionalised discrimination and segregation of the Rohingya that was meant to erase their identity. Since an outbreak of Buddhist-Muslim violence in 2012, Rohingya children have been prevented from attending Buddhist schools, and official government teachers often refuse to come to Rohingya villages because of purported safety worries, the report said.
        In the months before Aug 25, informers made it too dangerous to teach Rohingya language or culture, even in secret, according to a longtime headmaster at a middle school who spoke on condition of anonymity because of safety worries if he's ever allowed to return home. ...

    • [International Rescue Committee chief]
      David Miliband:
      World must step up support
      for Rohingya refugees.

          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        Ex-foreign secretary (of U.K.) warns of monsoon threat,
      and calls for issue to be raised at G7 talks.

  • 2018 June 6 - Wednesday

    • Myanmar, UN sign pact
      on initial steps for Rohingya return.

          - AP / Washington Post   Myanmar and U.N. agencies signed an agreement Wednesday that could lead to the return of some of the 700,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled brutal persecution by the country's security forces and are now crowded into makeshift camps in Bangladesh.
        The memorandum of understanding promises to establish a "framework of cooperation" that aims to create conditions for "voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable" repatriation of Rohingya refugees.
        Myanmar's security forces have been accused of rape, killing, torture and the burning of Rohingya homes in western Rakhine state, where most Rohingya lived. The U.N. and U.S. have described the army crackdown, that began in August last year, as "ethnic cleansing."
        Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed in November to begin repatriating Rohingya. But refugees feared their lives would be at risk in Myanmar, without international monitoring -- while Myanmar insisted they have identity documents, which most Rohingya have been denied.
        Knut Ostby, U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, said the agreement is an important first step toward resolving the crisis.
        "There is a lot of work to be done... about approximately 700,000 people... have to return, but the conditions have to be right for them to return... [involving] their identity in society... their safety... services, livelihoods, a place to live, infrastructure."
        The U.N. has said the agreement provides for its refugee and development agencies to be given access to Rakhine state....
        * * *
        Rights groups remain pessimistic that the safe return of Rohingya refugees will ever be possible. They point to a lack of firm commitments from Myanmar, and its decades of hostility toward [the Rohingya] minority... denied citizenship by a 1982 law that excluded them from a list of recognized ethnic groups in the majority Buddhist nation. ...
        * * *
        Some 125,000 of the Rohingya [still] in Myanmar... are living in camps where their movement is restricted... after being forced from their villages in 2012 -- by a wave of violence led by radical Buddhists and security forces.
        Matthew Smith, the head of advocacy group Fortify Rights:
      There’s still been no movement to ensure Rohingya have equal access to full citizenship... Discourse around repatriation now unfortunately appears to be attempt by authorities to distract from mass atrocities and crimes [that have] taken place.

    • An emotional Bob Rae
      tells [Canada's] Senate
      of rape, oppression of Rohingya
      as UN strikes repatriation deal.

        Canada's special envoy to Myanmar relates brutal stories of violence, calls assignment 'gruelling'.
          - CBC News (Canada)
        The United Nations and Myanmar signed a landmark agreement to repatriate thousands of Rohingya Muslims today, but Canada's special envoy to Myanmar says many victims of rape and oppression don't want to go home.

  • 2018 June 7 - Thursday

  • 2018 June 8 - Friday

  • 2018 June 9 - Saturday

  • 2018 June 10 - Sunday

  • 2018 June 11 - Monday

    • UK's Johnson Repeated Concerns
      About Rohingya Treatment
      in Call With Myanmar Leader.

          - Reuters News Service
        Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he had reiterated concerns about the treatment of the Rohingya Muslims in a call with Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

    • Rohingya refugees fish
      in troubled waters
      to earn living in Bangladesh

          - Reuters News Service
        Some Rohingya refugees who fled from Myanmar are finding work in the fishing industry in neighboring Bangladesh, earning a tiny daily income and occasional share of the catch, all under the official radar.
        * * *
        Although the refugees cannot work legally, some find jobs on fishing boats or help push them out to sea. The vessels are similar to the craft that carried thousands of Rohingya across the waters to Bangladesh.
        * * *
        Others in the camp earn money by shattering ice blocks to preserve the catch in the searing heat, mending nets or repairing boats.
        * * *
        Some Rohingya women have found work drying fish... under a blistering noon sun...

      (same topic, PHOTO ESSAY, at:
      - Reuters / The Guardian (U.K.)
      - Reuters / ABS-CBN (Philippines) )

    • First monsoon rains
      pound Rohingya camps.

          - AFP/ Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        The first monsoon rains have hit camps in Bangladesh housing around a million Rohingya refugees, triggering floods and landslides but no casualties or major damage so far, officials said on Sunday (Jun 10).
        DHAKA: The first monsoon rains have hit camps in Bangladesh housing around a million Rohingya refugees, triggering floods and landslides but no casualties or major damage so far, officials said on Sunday (Jun 10).
        Aid agencies have been warning that the monsoon season could prompt a humanitarian catastrophe in coming months at what is the world's biggest refugee camp, sheltering people fleeing violence in Myanmar.
        The sites in southeastern Bangladesh are predicted to be hit by powerful cyclones and by more than 2.5 metres [(8 feet)] of rainfall over the coming three months of monsoon...
        Bangladesh's meteorological office said the Cox's Bazar area -- where many of the refugees live in makeshift shelters on bare hillsides -- had 138 millimetres [(5 inches)] of rain since Saturday evening.
        "Some areas... are flooded. Some houses have been inundated with water. There have been a few landslides. The conditions are bad," UN refugee agency spokesperson Caroline Gluck told AFP.
        * * *
        "It's just the beginning and the entire monsoon season is ahead of us. Some people have been relocated but the majority are still living under risk," said Mohammad Mohibullah, another community leader.
        Last year heavy rain triggered mudslips in Cox's Bazar and the nearby Chittagong Hill Tracts, killing at least 170 people....
        * * *
        Gluck said that so far nearly 29,000 refugees have been relocated to new areas out of an estimated 200,000 people at very high risk of landslides and flood, who need to be moved to safer areas.
        There are fears that heavy flooding could also cause latrines to overflow and spread disease in the crowded camps [where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled].
        * * *
        Many of the hillsides were cleared of trees to make way for shelters, making the land highly unstable.
       

    • OPINION ESSAY:
      Rohingya crisis receiving
      scant international attention lately.

          - Financial Express (Bangladesh) in OurTimeBD.com
       
       

  • 2018 June 12 - Tuesday

    • Three Rohingya refugees killed
      as monsoon rains hit Cox's Bazar

          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        At least three Rohingya refugees have died and more have been made homeless after lethal mudslides in camps in Bangladesh
        A 3-year-old Rohingya boy died and his mother was injured when the mud walls of their house in Kutupalong settlement collapsed while they were sleeping. Two Rohingya refugees were killed in Balukhali camp. Mohammad Ali, 20, died after he was crushed by an uprooted tree on Tuesday morning, while a Rohingya woman died after she was crushed in her shack when the rain triggered a landslide.
        Over the weekend the Bangladeshi region received more than a third of the rainfall it typically receives during the entire monsoon period, damaging thousands of tents and leaving several refugees homeless.
        * * *
        Noor Hossain, a local Rohingya reporter, told the Guardian at least 500 refugees had been injured after their shacks collapsed in the heavy rain.
        * * *
        There have been 37 landslides so far and agencies are scrambling to move those families in vulnerable areas before there are more casualties. In the Kutupalong settlement, 22 families, totalling 81 people, have been relocated in the past few days.
        Bangladesh’s refugee relief and rehabilitation commissioner, Mohammad Abul Kalam, said that 30,000 of the 55,000 vulnerable refugees had been relocated and that monsoon preparations in the past weeks had already prevented a much bigger death toll

    • Boy Dies, Thousands At Risk
      As Monsoon Rains Lash
      Rohingya Refugee Camps.

          - NPR (National Public Radio)
        Monsoon rains set in over the weekend in Bangladesh, flooding refugee camps and leading to the death of a Rohingya boy, who died when a mud wall of his shelter fell on top of him, according to media reports. His mother also was injured in the collapse.
        Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya — a persecuted Muslim minority — have been living in makeshift shelters of earth, bamboo and plastic. Their homes are huddled on steep hillsides in southeastern Bangladesh that have been cleared of vegetation.
        * * *
        The monsoon season started last weekend with about 15 inches of rain and winds of up to 43 miles per hour. According to the United Nations, 37 landslides occurred and more than 1,000 shelters were damaged, in addition to infrastructure — a health facility, a food distribution site, water points and hundreds of latrines. The UN estimates that 11,000 people have been affected so far.

    • Dhaka uses confidential mode
      of submission to ICC
      [(International Criminal Court)
      about crimes against the Rohingya]

          - Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)
        "It is, therefore, anticipated that Bangladesh made this submission concurring with the main arguments put forward by the office of the Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of ICC," reads the observations sent to the ICC.

    • The U.N. and Burma signed a deal
      to resettle Rohingya refugees,
      but no one knows what’s in it.

          - Washington Post
        ...The agreement has been kept unusually secret.
        The three parties that signed the memorandum of understanding — the U.N. refugee agency, or UNHCR; the U.N. Development Program; and the Burmese government — have declined to make the text of the agreement available to those who have asked to see it, including journalists, other U.N. officials and U.N. donor countries such as the United States.
        Nongovernmental organizations, including Refugees International, have urged that the text be made public and warned in a statement that “conditions for Rohingya in Myanmar remain appalling,” referring to Burma by its official name. A statement from about two dozen Rohingya organizations across the world also raised concerns about keeping the text secret.
        “All previous records showed that the U.N. agencies, including UNHCR as the agent of the interest of the international community, could not provide adequate protection to the Rohingya returnees due to obstinacy of the Myanmar government,” the groups said. “We are intrinsically aware of the false promises of the Myanmar authorities who are characterized by cheating and brutality.” ...

    • Nearly 40 percent of
      Rohingya children in Cox’s Bazar
      are stunted:
      ~new study

          - Save The Children / ReliefWeb.int
        ...The study -- which compares health data in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar from October 2017 to May 2018 -- reveals that while stunting rates have dropped from 44% to 38% in the main camp, this is still near the World Health Organisation's (WHO) critical health emergency threshold of 40%.
        * * *
        Save the Children nutrition expert Caroline Chiedo warned that despite the improvement, the health situation for Rohingya refugee children remains dire.
        * * *
        “Stunting—which is caused by poor nutrition, repeated infection, and a lack of psychosocial stimulation in the first years of a child's life—is linked to terrible long-term outcomes for children, including impaired intellectual development. The situation is still on a knife edge, particularly as we’re at the start of the monsoon season, bringing a heightened risk of an outbreak of disease.”
        * * *
        “Along with landslides and floods, children are particularly vulnerable to diseases like serious respiratory infections and diarrhoea. Malnourished children are much more likely to die if they contract diarrhoea, sometimes within days. Knowing that the nutrition situation for Rohingya refugee children, while seeing some improvements, is still at a critical stage, underlines the need for support to children to be ramped up.”

    • Govt to issue special visa
      for relief workers
      in Rohingya camps:
      ~ PM

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        [Bangladesh Prime Minister] Sheikh Hasina said the government is aware of the intrusion of many foreign nationals in the guise of relief workers which may lead the situation to child and women trafficking, sexual abuse, terrorism and many other social problems.

    • ESSAY:
      First They Came
      For the Rohingya Muslims...

          - Forbes (U.S.A.)
        In April 2018, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (the ICC)... sought a ruling... on the question of the ICC’s jurisdiction in the case: ‘whether the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh.’
        While the ICC consideration is pending -- and the Burmese government continues to deny any involvement in the mass atrocities -- further news of mass atrocities being perpetrated against other religious groups has surfaced.
        A Sky News investigation into the situation in Kachin state -- a mostly Christian region -- revealed that Christian minority groups are also being subjected to mass atrocities at the hands of the Burmese military...
        * * *
        The situation of Rohingya Muslims, Christians, and all other minorities requires an urgent and comprehensive response: to stop the ongoing violence and to help the victims with all their needs before the minorities disappear from the region. The response must include an adequate investigation of the alleged crimes and prosecution. The time for dialogue is over.

    • ESSAY:
      Radio Free Asia Takes a Stand
      for the Word 'Rohingya'

          - National Review
          (U.S. conservative opinion journal)
        [U.S. propaganda broadcaster, "Radio Free Asia," loses Myanmar outlet over insistence on continued use of the name "Rohingya."]

  • 2018 June 13 - Wednesday

    • Rohingya refugees land [back] in Myanmar
      as escape boat breaks up.

          - The Guardian (U.K.) in Nigeria
        Scores of Rohingya refugees leaving Bangladeshi camps by boat have accidentally returned to the crisis-hit area of Myanmar they originally fled from, after their vessel broke up on the sea route south. ...
        * * *
        On Monday morning a boat carrying 104 Bangladeshis and Rohingya ran into trouble off the coast of Rakhine state, a Myanmar government spokesman told AFP, eventually breaking apart and forcing the passengers to head for shore.
        * * *
        Photographs showed the passengers — including women and young children — walking barefoot into Myanmar police trucks with virtually no possessions and drenched under heavy rains.
        * * *
        They were taken to Nga Khu Ya camp in Rakhine’s Muangdaw district – a purpose-built facility meant to process refugees returning under a discredited repatriation deal with Bangladesh.

  • 2018 June 14 - Thursday

  • 2018 June 15 - Friday

    • Bangladesh's Rohingya Refugee Camps
      Prepare for More Monsoonal Rains
      After 3 Die.

          - The Weather Channel (U.S.)
        Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees are at risk as the monsoon season takes a firm hold of southern Bangladesh.
        Last week, the refugee camps were hard hit by the first rains of the season, which reportedly killed three people and triggered at least 131 landslides. An estimated 12 inches of rain fell within a 24-hour period that began June 9 and continued through the weekend.
        * * *
        UNHCR spokesperson... said... the deluge earlier in the week was a preliminary test for the nearly 200,000 refugees at risk and the humanitarian agencies working to support the Government of Bangladesh on the response efforts.
        [He] noted that 41,000... are in particular danger from the threat of landslides. ...
        * * *
        The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says much of the camp was underwater after the deluge. At least 3,000 make-shift shelters were either destroyed or damaged, according to a UHNCR statement. ...

  • 2018 June 16 - Saturday

    • UN, World Bank chiefs
      likely to visit Rohingya camps
      in Bangladesh.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim are likely to make a two-day official visit to Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh on July 1. ...
        * * *
        The World Bank may provide Bangladesh with a grant worth around $200 million to help tackle the ongoing Rohingya crisis, the sources said. ...

    • EDITORIAL: Myanmar is now erasing
      the Rohingya’s very name.

          - Washington Post
        ...In recent weeks, the Burmese information ministry has detected the word “Rohingya” in television broadcasts by Radio Free Asia, a private, nonprofit news organization, funded by the U.S. government, which brings news to closed societies in Asia, and the BBC. Both organizations used “Rohingya” in shows that were shared with Democratic Voice of Burma, which operates on the state’s MRTV channel. The information ministry said that RFA and BBC could no longer air their content if they continued to use the word “Rohingya,” which is “strictly prohibited.” Both RFA and the BBC refused to censor their programs, and quit their partnership, although both will continue to be available to Burmese by shortwave, social media and websites. ...
        * * *
        ...Many people are questioning why Aung San Suu Kyi has let this happen. ... Aung San Suu Kyi has appealed to people not to use either “Rohingya” or “Bengali,” saying they are emotive terms, which is hardly a courageous response. She must be asked why her government is acting as a censor. Surely she remembers during her long years of house arrest tuning in to RFA and the BBC to hear the truth. It is distressing to see it suppressed on her watch.

    • Rohingya refugees mark first Eid
      since Myanmar crackdown.

          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
      [NOTE: Eid is to Muslims, roughly, what Christmas or Easter is to Christians, and Hanukhah is to Jews. ~RH]
        As Muslims around the world celebrated Eid with feasting and gift-giving, Rohingya refugees -- in squalid Bangladesh camps -- marked the festival Saturday with a peaceful demonstration, demanding justice and dignified repatriation.
        For the hundreds of thousands of the Muslim minority who have fled neighbouring Myanmar since an army crackdown last August, this is the first Eid-al-Fitr they have spent in the cramped tent cities.

    • Most Canadians support helping Rohingya,
      split on border crossings:
      ~ Nanos survey

          - CTV News (Canada)
        The majority of Canadians support government efforts to help Rohingya refugees fleeing violence and persecution in Myanmar, but the country is divided over how to handle asylum seekers illegally entering from the United States, a new Nanos Research survey conducted for CTV News suggests.
        * * *
        When asked how welcoming the Canadian government should be to asylum seekers crossing into the country from the U.S., almost half of respondents, or 43 per cent, said “less welcoming.”

  • 2018 June 17 - Sunday

    • Rohingya men in Bangladesh
      revel in the newfound right
      to wear pants

          - Washington Post
        In 28 years, Abdul Aziz had never known the pleasure of wearing pants.
        Rohingya Muslim men like him were restricted to wearing traditional sarongs, or longyis, in their native Myanmar. It was an unofficial uniform that identified Muslims as inferior, Rohingya refugees said. Wearing pants, outside cities and towns, was restricted by local authorities, and Rohingya who did so could be arrested and fined.
        * * *
        Rohingya faced several restrictions in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, including on marriage, childbirth or even making repairs to their homes. Cellphones, sunglasses, motorcycles, anything suggestive of wealth or high status could also get Rohingya fined, arrested or beaten. ...
      (same article at:
      - NDTV (India) )

    • Bangladesh Launches Deadly Drug Crackdown as Rohingya Crisis Fuels Smuggling
          - Wall Street Journal
        ...a new crackdown on drugs in Bangladesh, marked by an aggressive campaign since mid-May in which police have arrested some 13,000 people and killed more than 100 in raids, according to the government. ...

  • 2018 June 18 - Monday

    • UN for sustained
      HR monitoring on ground
      before Rohingya repatriation.

          - United Nations India office
        UN for sustained HR monitoring on ground before Rohingya repatriation. ...

    • New UN Envoy Visits Myanmar's
      Troubled Maungdaw Township
      in Rakhine State.

          - Radio Free Asia
            (U.S. propaganda radio)
        The new United Nations special envoy to Myanmar visited Rakhine state’s Maungdaw township on Monday where she toured repatriation facilities and villages affected by violence during a brutal military crackdown targeting Rohingya Muslims last year.
        Christine Schraner Burgener, who was appointed to her post on April 26 by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, is spending two days in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
        [Article reports things told to her by Rohingya and others.]

    • ESSAY:
      Helping the Rohingya return home

        by James Lynch, U.N. Refugee Agency Southeast Asia regional representative.

          - Washington Post

    • US endorses Myanmar and UN MoU
      on Rohingya return.
      [U.S. aid contributions noted]

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        The United States yesterday welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the UN and Myanmar government for the safe and voluntary return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. ...
        * * *
        The United States has contributed nearly $204 million to the Rakhine crisis response since the outbreak of violence in August 2017, reports the Voice of America.
        The total US humanitarian assistance for displaced people in and from Myanmar comes to more than $299 million since the beginning of fiscal year 2017.
        The United States encourages the Burmese government to fulfill its commitment to work with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Development Program, and implement the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.

    • Myanmar officer in Reuters case
      broke police code
      by copying statements:
      ~lawyer.

          - Reuters News Service
        A police witness in the case against two Reuters reporters accused of possessing state secrets in Myanmar is “unreliable,” the reporters’ lawyer said on Monday, because he obtained testimony from previous witnesses, in violation of police code. ...
        * * *
        The code says when an officer is a witness in a case, “he will not be present in the court while the inquiry or trial is proceeding”, otherwise the magistrate may object to his evidence “on the ground that he has heard all that the other witnesses have said, and will naturally adapt the details of his narrative to the irs”. ...

  • 2018 June 19 - Tuesday

  • 2018 June 20 - Wednesday

    • Rohingya girls face
      'prison-like' conditions
      in refugee camps

          - CNN
        Adolescent Rohingya girls are being kept in stifling conditions in refugee camps in Bangladesh, unable to go out, deprived of education and facing prospects of early marriage whether they want it or not, according to a report by the charity Plan International launched on World Refugee Day. ...

  • 2018 June 21 - Thursday

    • ICC gives Myanmar deadline
      over Rohingya case jurisdiction.

          - Reuters News Service
        Judges at the International Criminal Court have given Myanmar a deadline to respond to a prosecution request that they consider hearing a case on the alleged deportation of Rohingya minorities to Bangladesh. ...
        * * *
        The world’s first permanent war crimes court does not have automatic jurisdiction in Myanmar because [Myanmar] is not a member state [of the ICC]. However, the prosecutor asked the court to look into the Rohingya crisis and a possible prosecution through Bangladesh, which is a member. ...

    • ESSAY & ANALYSIS:
      Will Indonesia bring Rohingya
      to Security Council?

          - Jakarta Post (Indonesia)
        On June 9... Indonesia secured a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the 2019-2020 period.
        * * *
        However, under the slogan of a “true partner for world peace”, can we expect Indonesia to bring in the conflict in the Rakhine state in Myanmar as a Council agenda? To date, the Security Council lacks any resolution addressing the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority. ...

    • Rohingya Crisis
      Is Making Some In Myanmar
      Rethink Their Views of
      Aung San Suu Kyi.

          - NPR (National Public Radio)
        ... "Our hope was that she can make the country a peaceful country, a democratic country, which is good for all people," says Kyaw Min, an ethnic Rohingya and president of the opposition Democracy and Human Rights Party. "But in practice, when she came in power, we found a different Aung San Suu Kyi." ...

  • 2018 June 22 - Friday

    • Gang raped and set on fire:
      ICC pushes to investigate
      Myanmar Rohingya atrocities.

        Exclusive report: Evidence of horrific treatment emerges as the Hague gives Myanmar deadline to respond to claims.
          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        Harrowing accounts of Rohingya women tied to trees and raped for days by Myanmar’s military and men being pushed into mass graves, doused with petrol and set alight have been sent to the international criminal court.
        The evidence has been sent by a coalition of Bangladesh organisations to ICC prosecutors who are pushing to investigate allegations of forced deportation from a country where it has no jurisdiction.
        ICC judges met behind closed doors at the Hague this week to begin their discussions and documents seen exclusively by the Guardian will form part of the case for an investigation. ...

    • Mural Painting Brings Smiles
      To Rohingya Children
      Healing From Trauma.

          - UNICEF USA / Forbes (U.S.)

  • 2018 June 23 - Saturday

    • UN for addressing root causes
      of Rohingya crisis.

        Bangladesh gov't and people biggest donors to Rohingya response, U.N. says.
          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        The United Nations today
      • Commended the commitment demonstrated by the government of Bangladesh in supporting the Rohingya refugees;
      • Highlighted that the root causes of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar must be addressed.
        UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng: "The Bangladeshi people demonstrated very early on its solidarity towards the Rohingya people, providing them with shelter and support when they arrived."
        * * *
        Dieng... stressed the importance of ensuring that Rohingya refugees are given opportunities to uplift themselves educationally and have access to livelihood opportunities in Bangladesh until they can return to Myanmar.
        ...Dieng said religious leaders can play a very important role by promoting messages of peace and tolerance and by fostering dialogue between the Rohingya refugees and host communities. ...

  • 2018 June 24 - Sunday

    • World Cup a welcome respite
      at Rohingya camps.

          - Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)
        ...Uprooted from home and trapped in a foreign land, the refugees seemed to find respite in the frenzy of the World Cup. Football fever has taken over the densely populated camps of displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar. ...

  • 2018 June 25 - Monday

    • EU, Canada,
      sanction Myanmar generals
      over Rohingya;
      Myanmar says two are fired.

          - Reuters News Service
        The European Union and Canada imposed sanctions on seven senior military officials from Myanmar on Monday, including the general in charge of an operation accused of driving more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh
        Within hours of the EU announcement, the Myanmar military announced that one of the sanctioned generals had been fired on Monday and another had left the army last month after being removed from his post.

  • 2018 June 26 - Tuesday

  • 2018 June 27 - Wednesday

    • Amnesty accuses Burma's
      top military brass
      of Rohingya atrocities.

          - [London] Daily Telegraph (U.K.)   The 190-page document... is based on a nine month investigation, involving more than 400 interviews and corroborating evidence including satellite images, photos and videos.
        The group names 13 officials it alleges played a key role in the murder, rape and deportation of Rohingya, including accusing Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the Burmese military Commander-in-Chief, of being implicated in ethnic cleansing during a brutal army crackdown that began on August 25
        Amnesty Int'l senior crisis adviser, Matthew Wells:
        “The explosion of violence - including murder, rape, torture, burning and forced starvation – perpetrated by Myanmar’s security forces in villages across northern Rakhine State was not the action of rogue soldiers or units.” ...
        “There is a mountain of evidence that this was part of a highly orchestrated, systematic attack on the Rohingya population.”
        Also see
        OFFICIAL REPORT:
          “We Will Destroy Everything”:
        Military Responsibility for Crimes against Humanity
        in Rakhine State, Myanmar [Burma]
        ,"
          by Amnesty International

          ...which notes:
          "...new details about the Myanmar military’s command structure and troop deployments, ...arrests, enforced disappearances and torture of Rohingya men and boys in the weeks directly before the current crisis unfolded.
          "...abuses by the armed group the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), before and after it launched coordinated attacks on security posts on 25 August 2017. ...killings of people from different ethnic and religious communities in northern Rakhine State, as well as the targeted killings and abductions of suspected Rohingya informants to the authorities." ...
          * * *
          In the weeks leading up to 25 August, the Tatmadaw [(the Burmese Army)] brought in battalions from... combat divisions that Amnesty International had implicated in war crimes in Kachin and northern Shan State in late 2016 and mid-2017...
          In some Rohingya villages, the incoming military commanders made their intentions clear from the start. Around 20 August 2017, five days before the bulk of the violence erupted, a field commander... threatened that if there was ARSA activity in the area, or if villagers did any “wrong,” his soldiers would shoot at the Rohingya directly, without any distinction.
          [Also, in] an audio recording... of a telephone call between a Rohingya resident of Inn Din, Maungdaw Township, and a Myanmar military officer based in the area. ...the officer says, “We got an order to burn down the entire village if there is any disturbance. If you villagers aren’t living peacefully, we will destroy everything.” ...
          [That village was later the site of military executions. After that was discovered and reported by Reuters News Service, some of the soldiers were prosecuted by the military, as were the reporters. ~Editor]
          ...more...

  • 2018 June 28 - Thursday

    • 'Our men are leaving us':
      the Rohingya women
      facing life alone

          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        On top of the trauma caused by gang rapes in Myanmar, and pressure for girls to get married at a young age, a new issue is emerging for women in the camps: abandonment. Those working there report a rising number of husbands simply leaving – either to slip off into the black economy of Bangladesh beyond the Rohingya settlements, or with other women.
        [NOTE: Thousands of Rohingya women are desperate widows. Thousands more are single girls who have lost their families in the violence in Myanmar. ~RCN Editor]
        The ramshackle and chaotic camps are already beset by violence. Men routinely beat their wives -- and girls are now forbidden to leave their sweltering huts unless in full burqa, in the hope that it will make them less likely targets for rape.
        The problems associated with abandonment are so common, with such grave ramifications, that it is classified as gender-based violence.
        Women who do not have husbands are at greater risk of harassment and attack, and have to undertake – single-handedly – a huge number of arduous tasks to help their often large families survive.... cooking, collecting water, monsoon-proofing their huts, fixing roofs, breastfeeding, chopping and carrying firewood, and collecting rations. ...

  • 2018 June 29 - Friday

  • 2018 June 30 - Saturday

    • UN's Guterres to visit Bangladesh
      on Rohingya crisis.

          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Bangladesh on Sunday (Jun 29), with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, to assess needs for dealing with hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled from Myanmar, leading to a humanitarian crisis.
        The two-day visit will "highlight the generosity of Bangladesh in hosting the largest refugee influx of 2017, and the need of the international community to do more," said a statement from the UN. ...
        * * *
        The delegation also includes UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, and Natalia Kanem, executive director of the UN Population Fund.
        They will study prospects for "a safe, voluntary and dignified return" of refugees to Myanmar, the UN said. ...

    • World Bank to provide up to
      US$480 million
      to aid Rohingya refugees
      in Bangladesh.

          - Reuters / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        * * *
        The World Bank's board approved a US$50 million grant to add to an existing health-sector support project in Bangladesh, the first in a series that could total US$480 million.
        The health-sector grant included contributions based on a partnership between Canada and the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) arm.
        It will help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh receive maternal, neonatal, infant, child, and adolescent health and nutrition services, reproductive healthcare and family planning support, the World Bank said. ...

    • Rohingya 'transit camp' lies empty.
          - AFP / Bangkok Post (Thailand)
        The transit camp in Rakhine state stands ready to welcome back 150 Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh every day. But on most days it lies completely empty, as members of the stateless minority dread returning to a place they were violently driven from by the military, and Myanmar makes little effort to reassure them things will be different this time.

    • Hindu Rohingya refugees
      also wait for a home.

          - The Hindu (India)
       


JULY 2018:

  • 2018 July 1 - Sunday
      Widow Ayesha Begum, 45 -- mother of 7 children -- fears her home, on a steep hillside, is at risk of landslides, as the monsoon season bears down on Kutapalong refugee settlement near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Homes above and below her, on the hill, compound the risk. © UNHCR / Adam Dean. Click on photo to enlarge.

    • Monsoon rains highlight needs of Rohingya refugees
        UN and World Bank chiefs head to Bangladesh to seek support for nearly a million Rohingya refugees facing ongoing displacement from Myanmar
          - United Nations (UNHCR)
        “It would take just one storm to wash us all away,” the Rohingya widow says, rain drumming on the tarpaulin roof of the flimsy shack she shares with her five sons and two daughters. “I’m terrified for my children. We are at the mercy of God,” she says.
        Ayesha, 45, is among hundreds of thousands of women, children and men who have escaped deadly violence in Myanmar since last August – and whose lives remain at risk from monsoon flooding and landslides at the world’s largest refugee settlement in Bangladesh. ...
        * * *
        ...a push by the Bangladesh government, UN agencies and humanitarian partners is in full swing to safeguard up to 42,000 people at greatest risk in the monsoon season. Some 18,000 refugees have already been relocated to safer ground.
        Storms have so far caused at least 315 reported incidents, including 140 landslides, that have injured 33 and killed at least one refugee. More than 29,000 in the sprawling refugee settlement have so far been affected by lashing rains and strong winds, buffeting their fragile shelters. Nearly 2,900 have been displaced. ...

  • 2018 July 2 - Monday

    • Myanmar Not Safe
      for Rohingya Returnees:
      Red Cross chief.

          - Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)

    • UN chief says he heard
      'unimaginable' stories
      from Rohingya.

          - AP / Fox News   U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Monday that he heard "unimaginable accounts of killing and rape" from Rohingya refugees who have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since last August to escape violence.
        Guterres said in a tweet Monday, after visiting sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh... that the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have taken shelter there want "justice and a safe return home." ...
        * * *
        He said... the refugees had to live under terrible conditions in the camps because of massive violations of their human rights in Myanmar. He praised Bangladesh's government for being generous toward the refugees. ...
        * * *
        He said the solidarity the international community was demonstrating toward the crisis was not necessarily being translated into reality when it comes to funding. ...he was worried about the potential threats of flooding and mudslides because of monsoon rains, and urged the international community to step up with funding.
        On Sunday, Guterres met Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and assured her of the U.N.'s continuing support for the Rohingya.
        World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi also visited the camps.
        Kim promised to continue to work with Bangladesh's government to support the refugees. ...
        (semi-official statements of
        U.N. Secretary General
        Antonio Guterres:
        - Twitter account )

  • 2018 July 3 - Tuesday

      --------------

  • 2018 July 4 - Wednesday

    • Rohingya still fleeing violence,
      persecution in Myanmar.

      Series of unexplained killings
      in Bangladesh refugee camps
      adds to fear and desperation.

          - Reuters / CBC News (Canada)   Rohingya Muslims continue to flee Myanmar's Rakhine state, many testifying about violence, persecution, killings and burning of their homes by soldiers and Buddhists, the United Nations human rights chief said on Wednesday.
        [So far this year, 11,432 have arrived in Bangladesh -- where more than 700,000 have fled, since an August 2017 military crackdown in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state. ~Reuters / Straits Times]
        [UN High Commissioner for Human Rights] Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, in his final remarks to the Human Rights Council before stepping down on Aug. 31, questioned a top Myanmar official's assertion that the government was committed to defending the rights of all, not those of any one community:
        "In my four years as high commissioner I have heard many preposterous claims. That claim is almost in its own category of absurdity," Zeid said. "Have you no shame, sir, have you no shame? We are not fools. ...
        "...No amount of rhetoric can whitewash these facts. People are still fleeing persecution in Rakhine — and are even willing to risk dying at sea to escape."

        * * *
        Meanwhile, Bangladesh is deploying thousands of extra police to Rohingya refugee camps in the south, officials said, after a series of mostly unexplained killings that have sown fear among hundreds of thousands of people who have fled from Myanmar.
        Since August,... 19 people, some of them community leaders, have been killed.

    • Killings sow fear
      inside Rohingya refugee
      camps in Bangladesh

          - Reuters News Service   Bangladesh is deploying thousands of extra police to Rohingya refugee camps in the south, officials said, after a series of mostly unexplained killings that have sown fear among hundreds of thousands of people who have fled from neighboring Myanmar
        Since August, when a military crackdown in Myanmar forced many of the Muslim minority to cross the border into Bangladesh and seek shelter in the crowded camps, 19 people, some of them community leaders, have been killed.
        Police have made a number of arrests in connection with some of the killings, but say the motives often remain unclear.
        Conducted after dark and often by groups of men wielding pistols, knives, and sticks, the killings have sent a chill through the camps -- which are guarded by the Bangladesh army during the day, but manned by fewer police officers at night. ...

    • VIDEO:
      (requires Flash player browser plugin)
      Myanmar:
      The Rohingya villages
      UN investigators can't visit

          - BBC   The country has refused to allow access to UN investigators, but officials recently took a group of journalists to Rakhine on a tightly-controlled visit. BBC Myanmar Correspondent Nick Beake joined the trip.

  • 2018 July 5 - Thursday

    • Rohingya refugees reject
      UN-Myanmar
      repatriation agreement

        Leaders say agreement does not address concerns and will not help in repatriation of refugees
          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        Rohingya community leaders have rejected an agreement between the United Nations and government of Myanmar for the return of refugees who fled violence in Rakhine state.
        Having seen a leaked text, the leaders say it does not address their concerns and will not help in the repatriation of the refugees. ...
        * * *
        Bangladesh-based Rohingya political activist Ko Ko Linn:
        The agreement is on the issue of return of the Rohingya to their homes. Strangely, they did not bother to consult the Rohingya community before going for the deal... We have long been seeking a guarantee from the Burmese government of restoration of our citizenship rights before we return. But, they have skirted this issue of citizenship...
        (Although the [Rohingya] community has lived in Myanmar for generations, a 1982 [Myanmar] law stripped the Rohingya of their citizenship and made most of them stateless. In [that] Buddhist majority country, Rohingya Muslims are now identified as interlopers from Bangladesh. Myanmar’s government refers to them as "Bengali," not "Rohingya.")
        * * *
        Rohingya rights activist Tun Khin, president of Burmese Rohingya Organisation [in the] U.K.:
        The Rohingya have the right to know about the details of the agreement relating to the process of repatriation, restoration of the citizenship rights, rehabilitation, reintegration and rebuilding of their bulldozed homes and their future. Our community members are extremely angry and disappointed to know of the details of the MoU, after it has leaked. They are also angry because the Burmese government did not make the the details of the agreement public...

    • Out of the shadows:
      Rohingya rape survivors'
      babies arrive.

          - AP / ABC News
        * * *
        ...More than 10 months have passed since Myanmar's security forces launched a sweeping campaign of rape and other brutalities against the Rohingya, and the babies conceived during those assaults have been born. For many of their mothers, the births have been tinged with fear — not only because the infants are reminders of the horrors they survived, but because their community often views rape as shameful, and bearing a baby conceived by Buddhists as sacrilege.
        Theirs is a misery spoken of only in murmurs. Some ended their pregnancies early by taking cheap abortion pills available throughout the camps. Others gave birth to unloved babies; some agonized over whether to give them away. One woman was so worried about her neighbors discovering her pregnancy that she suffered silently through labor in her shelter, stuffing a scarf in her mouth to swallow her screams. ...
        * * *
        Ten such women and girls agreed to interviews with The Associated Press....

    • Hyderabad: 3 Rohingya Muslims
      with Aadhaar, ID cards held.

          - Times of India
        HYDERABAD: Three Rohingya Muslims, including a woman, have been arrested at Balapur here for obtaining Aadhaar cards, voter ID cards, PAN cards and Indian passports by allegedly submitting fake documents, police said... The trio migrated to Hyderabad in 2013 from Myanmar as refugees...

  • 2018 July 6 - Friday

    • U.N. PRESS RELEASE:
      New identity cards
      deliver recognition and protection
      for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

          - UN News / United Nations
        Charlie Yaxley, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
        "[It] will help consolidate a unified database for the purposes of protection, identity management, documentation, provision of assistance, population statistics and ultimately solutions for an estimated 900,000 refugees who have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh in successive waves of forced displacement...
        "Biometric data, including iris scans and fingerprints as well as photographs, are used in the exercise to confirm individual identities for all refugees over the age of 12." ...

    • $100M Grant to Improve
      Rohingya Camps in Bangladesh

          - VOA (Voice of America)
            (U.S. propaganda radio)
        Bangladesh is getting help from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to improve the camps where Rohingya refugees fleeing neighboring Myanmar have sought shelter.
        The bank has approved a $100 million grant to Bangladesh. It’s the first half of a $200 million package. ...

  • 2018 July 7 - Saturday

    • When a Baby
      Is an Everyday Reminder
      of Rohingya Horror:

          - New York Times
        Everyone in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh knows of the rapes and how the Myanmar military has, for decades, used sexual violence as a weapon of war, particularly against ethnic groups that are not from the nation’s Buddhist majority.
        They know that it is not the fault of the Rohingya women and girls, who were often gang-raped at gunpoint, their mothers, sisters or daughters sobbing and screaming nearby.
        Nevertheless, in traditional Rohingya Muslim society, rape brings shame to households. Any resulting pregnancies are viewed as heaping even more disgrace on families, according to counselors working in the refugee camps.
        As a result, many survivors are made to suffer twice — first from the trauma of sexual violence and again from the ostracism of a conservative society that abandons them when they most need support. ...
        * * *
        Traffickers have moved in, spreading the word that they can relieve women of unwanted newborns. ...
        * * *
        While many survivors of rape terminated their pregnancies after arriving in Bangladesh, half of the Rohingya treated for rape in the refugee camp clinics run by Doctors Without Borders, the medical aid group, were 18 or younger. Several had not reached 10 years old. ... [Many did not know they were pregnant until too late for an available abortion option.]
        * * *
        ...some women in the camps have relied on mystery potions or back-room abortions that can result in septic shock.
        “Women who are desperate will do anything,” said Dildar Begum, a Rohingya midwife who said she knows of at least two women who died because of botched abortions. ...

    • Two Charged For Building Homes
      Near Torched Rohingya Village
      in Myanmar’s Rakhine.

          - Radio Free Asia (U.S. propaganda radio)
        Authorities have charged two ethnic Rakhine villagers with “threatening public tranquility” for building homes without official permission beside a burned-out community once occupied by Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine state’s Maungdaw district, villagers said. ...

    • OPINION ESSAY:
      Why isn’t the Dalai Lama
      speaking out
      in defense of the Rohingya?

        by Sally Quinn, columnist,
          - Washington Post
       

  • 2018 July 8 - Sunday

  • 2018 July 9 - Monday

    • Why the hush hush?
          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, has expressed extreme concern that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in June between the UN and Myanmar has been kept secret.
        * * *
        A few weeks after hearing the news of the MoU signed between Myanmar, UNDP and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), she sent a request to Myanmar through its permanent mission in Geneva for a copy of the MoU, she said.
        Instead of giving her the copy, Myanmar shared with her a summary of the MoU prepared by the UN.
        “Over the last three weeks, I also made requests in person to senior officials of the UN, who despite promises, have not shared a copy of the MoU with me,”
        * * *
        The Reuters [News Service] recently reported that Rohingya refugees returning to Myanmar would have no explicit guarantee of citizenship, or freedom of movement throughout the country -- under a secret agreement between the [Myanmar] government and the UN, seen by Reuters.
        * * *
        UN human rights officlal Yanghee Lee:
        “As it is now clear that the government of Myanmar has made no progress or shown any real will to dismantle the system of discrimination in the country's laws, policies and practices, and to make northern Rakhine state safe, the Rohingya refugees will not be returning to Myanmar in the near future.”
        * * *
        “Systemic violence targeted against the remaining Rohingya population continues.” ...

    • Reuters Reporters
      To Face Trial In Myanmar
      After Covering Rohingya Massacre.

          - NPR (National Public Radio)
        Half a year after Myanmar prosecutors announced they'd seek charges against two Reuters reporters for allegedly violating state secrets, a court in Yangon has ruled that the controversial case can proceed. The decision Monday means Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, will stand trial.
        The two journalists were in Myanmar reporting on a massacre of members of the country's Rohingya Muslim minority. ...

  • 2018 July 10 - Tuesday

    • ESSAY:
      The Rohingya are victims
      of ethnic cleansing.
      The world has failed them.

      by United Nations Secretary General
      António Guterres

          - Washington Post
        Small children butchered in front of their parents. Girls and women gang-raped while family members were tortured and killed. Villages burned to the ground.
        Nothing could have prepared me for the bone-chilling accounts I heard last week in Bangladesh from Rohingya refugees who had fled widespread killings and violence in Rakhine state, Myanmar....
        * * *
        These victims of what has been rightly called ethnic cleansing are suffering an anguish that can only stir a visitor’s heartbreak and anger. Their horrific experiences defy comprehension, yet they are the reality for nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees. ...
        * * *
        After a harrowing journey to safety, these refugees are now trying to cope with the harsh conditions in the Bangladesh district of Cox’s Bazar that have naturally resulted from the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis.
        Bangladesh is a developing country with resources stretched to the limits. Yet, while larger and wealthier countries around the world are closing doors to outsiders, the government and people of Bangladesh have opened their borders and hearts to the Rohingya.
        The compassion and generosity of the Bangladeshi people show the best of humanity and have saved many thousands of lives.
        But the response to this crisis must be a global one. ...
        * * *
        ...The crisis will not be solved overnight. At the same time, the situation cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely.
        Myanmar must create the conditions for the return of the refugees with full rights and the promise of living in safety and dignity. This requires a massive investment — not only in reconstruction and development for all communities in one of Myanmar’s poorest regions, but also in reconciliation and respect for human rights.
        Unless the root causes of the violence in Rakhine state are addressed comprehensively, misery and hatred will continue to fuel conflict. The Rohingya people cannot become forgotten victims. We must answer their clear appeals for help with action.

  • 2018 July 11 - Wednesday

    • Amanpour on PBS:
      Victoria Nuland
      and
      Dr. Homer Venters

          - PBS (Amanpour on PBS)
        In the second half of this 30-minute news show (following her interview about NATO affairs with former U.S. ambassador Victoria Nuland), journalist Christiane Amanpour interviews Dr. Homer Venters from "Physicians for Human Rights" (PHR)
        They discuss how PHR has recently documented injuries inflicted at the village of Chut Pyin "not consistent with fighting terrorists," and discusses his work documenting crimes committed against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
        Extraordinary footage from the refugee camps, showing their vulnerability to flooding, and rare detailed footage of injuries and scars on Rohingya victims.

    • She is a Rohingya,
      and she doesn't want your pity

        There is a quiet but remarkable transformation taking place among Rohingya women in the refugee camps of Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar
          - The Hindu (India)
        ...For much of their lives, they suffered domestic abuse and lacked access to basic reproductive health services. But post-genocide, they are talking gender equality and injectible contraceptives. ...
        * * *
        Given the dire economic situation in the camps, women have mobilised as taking part in non-traditional informal work activities outside the household and are becoming more economically and socially empowered as a result.” ...
        * * *
        As [violence against women in the camps] kept happening, the women decided to band together. ...
        * * *
        When the women noticed that the police couldn’t help them, they took matters in their own hands. Zaheeda has since devised a few ‘punishments’ that seem to be working rather well. ... “We have been very successful. The number of domestic violence cases in our camp has come down by 90%."
        CiC Pavel confirms... “Earlier we would spend all our days solving domestic feuds... Now we rarely see such cases in my camp,” he says.
        * * *
        “Every one who comes here wants to talk to rape, rain and repatriation,” Zaheeda says. “They are all important issues and you should go back to your countries and write about what is happening to us. I hope it will help us get justice. But in our every day lives, we want power. Not your pity.”

    • ESSAY:
      Rising criminality in
      Rohingya refugee camps:
      ~Daily Star

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
      in the Straits Times (Singapore)

  • 2018 July 12 - Thursday

  • 2018 July 13 - Friday

    • 'We are always missing you':
      Torn apart by violence,
      Rohingya families connect
      through letters.

          - Reuters News Service
        Scraps of paper carried between prisons in Myanmar and the camps by the International Committee of the Red Cross are a rare source of hope for families torn apart by the largest and fastest refugee influx in the region in the past twenty years, the refugees say.
        More than 1,600 notes have been gathered from the Bangladeshi camps since August, the Red Cross says. About 160 have been delivered to jails in Rakhine and the replies sent back to Bangladesh.
        * * *
        Reuters saw copies of seven notes...
        * * *
        The letters often serve as the first proof of life of loved ones. ....

  • 2018 July 14 - Saturday

      --------------

  • 2018 July 15 - Sunday

    • [Indian Union home minister]
      Rajnath offers more aid
      to Dhaka [Bangladesh]
      for Rohingya.

          - Times of India
        [India's] Union home minister Rajnath Singh, on Saturday, praised [Bangladesh's Prime Minister for fighting terrorism, and promised aid to help feed and shelter Rohingya refugees]...
        Sources said the “humanitarian” aid to Bangladesh to maintain camps [was to keep the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh from crossing over into India]...
        [India is building "homes" for Rohingya in Myanmar's Rakhine state -- the place from which the Rohingya have recently fled for their lives...]

  • 2018 July 16 - Monday

  • 2018 July 17 - Tuesday

    • Myanmar police
      focused interrogation
      on Rohingya story:
      ~Reuters journalist.

          - Reuters News Service
        A Reuters reporter on trial in Myanmar said the police questioning after he and a colleague were arrested in December centered on their reporting of a massacre of Rohingya Muslims, not on secret state documents they are accused of obtaining.
        * * *
        In hours of testimony, delivered over two days before a court in Yangon, Wa Lone also described what he called the police “trap” to arrest him. His account was the most comprehensive challenge heard so far to the prosecution’s accusation...

    • Nowhere to run:
      Rohingya hunker down
      as monsoon arrives.

          - AP / CTV News (Canada)
        The hill on which the young woman's shelter is being built is so unstable that the earth crumbles under your feet. The threat of landslides is so dire that her neighbours have evacuated. Though living here could spell doom as the monsoon rains fall, she will live here anyway. ...there is no other option.
        Hers is a dilemma repeated over and over for many of the 900,000 Rohingya refugees living in ramshackle huts across this unsteady landscape: With the long-dreaded monsoon season now upon them, they have run out of places to run. ...

    • The world ‘must rally’ to support
      one million Rohingya refugees,
      UN Migration chief says.

          - UN News
        A failure to remain focused on the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh “would have tragic outcomes” for the nearly one million children, women and men living in Cox’s Bazar, said William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), on Tuesday...

  • 2018 July 18 - Wednesday

    • Rohingya want
      to return to Myanmar
      as citizens:
      ~UN.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        In a statement Tuesday, the U.N. said that Myanmar's Rohingya refugees, in Bangladesh, have told a UN envoy, who visited their camp this week, that they will return home if it is safe and if they are granted citizenship rights. ...

    • UN seeks political solution
      to Rohingya crisis.

          - The Independent (Bangladesh)
        United Nations Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener has said the Rohingya crisis requires a political solution and stressed the importance of accountability for the crimes committed.
        During her three-day visit to Bangladesh, she underlined the need for greater international assistance to the refugees and host communities for addressing the harsh conditions they continue to face and also in terms of mitigating the monsoon risks.
        Burgener plans to visit New York next week to brief the Security Council...

  • 2018 July 19 - Thursday

  • 2018 July 20 - Friday

  • 2018 July 21 - Saturday

    • Kobsak quits Rohingya panel.
          - AFP / Bangkok Post (Thailand)
        Former Foreign Ministry official Kobsak Chutikul has quit an international advisory panel on strife-torn Rakhine state, saying the body risks becoming "part of the problem" in the conflict that has forced 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee.
        Mr Kobsak was the secretary of the panel hand-picked by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi...

    • Monsoon Rains Threaten Rohingya.
          - AP / Voice of America (VOA)
            (U.S. propaganda radio)
        * * *
        The intensity and speed of the rain causes landslides and serious flooding in the camps. The problem is made worse because many refugees take shelter on hills. But trees no longer hold the soil in place. They have been cut down to clear space and provide wood for shelters. The roots have been cut for firewood. When the rains come, the water turns the soil into heavy mud that slides down the hill and covers anything in its way.
        * * *
        The most intense rain is expected over the next few months.
        Officials have been able to clear some land in the camp and make it flat, but the area does not have enough space for everyone. About 34,000 people have moved to new shelters farther away. However, many now struggle to find firewood because they live far from the mountains, and they do not have money for travel to the markets. ...

  • 2018 July 22 - Sunday

    • Myanmar's Rohingya panel head
      refutes criticism by
      outgoing secretary.

          - Reuters News Service
        The chairman of an international panel set up by Myanmar, to advise on the Rohingya crisis, has rebutted criticism by the body’s ecretary -- saying (instead) that the panel is effective and the government has acted on its recommendations.
        * * *
        His comments follow the resignation of Kobsak Chutikul -- a retired ambassador and former member of Thailand’s parliament -- as secretary of the panel.
        Kobsak told Reuters on Friday that the group had “been kept on a short leash” and achieved little in the six months since its formation in January. ...

    • Finding The Right Words
      To Help Rohingya Refugees

          - NPR (National Public Radio)
        Many local aid workers in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh — home to nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees — are not native Rohingya speakers...
        A November 2017 study... reported that almost two-thirds of... Rohingya refugees surveyed... were unable to communicate with aid providers.
        That can be particularly dangerous when it comes to health care... "If you can't explain to your doctor what's going on, and the doctor can't explain the diagnosis and prescription, it's impossible to [help]."
        ...a new glossary is being developed...
        In June, a nonprofit group called Translators Without Borders, in partnership with Oxfam and UNICEF, created a special online glossary for humanitarians working in Rohingya camps in Bangladesh.
        The app, which aid workers can download on their mobile phones, includes terms with translations in five languages spoken in the camps: English, Bangla, Rohingya, Chittagonian and Burmese. ...

  • 2018 July 23 - Monday

  • 2018 July 24 - Tuesday

  • 2018 July 25 - Wednesday

  • 2018 July 26 - Thursday

      ---------

  • 2018 July 27 - Friday

    • Rohingya Refugees Reject Bangladesh Plan
      to Move Them to a Remote Island.

          - VOA (U.S. propaganda radio)
        Rohingya refugees say they will not accept a plan proposed by Bangladesh to relocate to a remote island, for fear it is unsafe.
        "We will not find a way to move to a safer place if the island, which is surrounded on all sides by water, gets flooded," said Rohingya refugee Masuda Begum, who lives in Jamtoli refugee camp in Cox's Bazar. "We do not want to go to that island."
        * * *
        "Any attempts to force people to go to the island, or create conditions requiring movement there for any reason, is totally unacceptable and will result in a major outcry by the world community against Bangladesh," said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Asia Division of Human Rights Watch. ...
        * * *
        One local land department official told VOA that most of the island gets submerged during the high tide. Another forest department official, who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals from authorities, said the land is unstable and it would take at least 20 years for a small part to be arable.
        * * *
        Rohingya refugees said they are scared to move to Bhasan Char.
        "We knew from many sources that most parts of the island often get drowned when tidal waves hit," Rohingya refugee Nurul Kader told VOA. "For survival, around us we need farm lands and forests which do not exist in that island. Bangladesh is a congested country. Yet, people have not moved to the island to set up villages in Bhasan Char. It's clear the island is unsafe and unlivable." ...
        * * *
        Deputy director of Asia Division
      of Human Rights Watch,
      Phil Robertson:
        "If Bangladesh starts moving refugees to Bhasan Char against their will, the new story of the refugee crisis will not be what Myanmar has done, but rather what [Bangladesh] is doing."

  • 2018 July 28 - Saturday

      ---------

  • 2018 July 29 - Sunday

    • We pose no threat to India,
      says Rohingya militant group.

        Appreciates India for providing shelter to refugees.
          - The Hindu (India)
        An armed group blamed for attacks against the Myanmar military has said that it poses no threat to India and expressed “heartfelt appreciation” for Indian support to the Rohingya refugees.
        In a statement released to the media, Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) said that its struggle is to ensure the rights of the Rohingya refugees and that it is not connected to the Islamic State (IS) or Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.
        * * *
        The statement was issued following reports in an Indian daily that the group had targeted the Assam Rifles recently near the India-Myanmar border and that it aims to build training camps in the Myanmar territories close to Indian frontiers. ARSA denied the attack and termed the news report as “blatant manipulation”.
        The group also claimed that it opposes terrorist attacks and gave assurances of peace to Bangladesh. “ARSA has never carried out and will not carry out any military activity in the territories of any State except in its ancestral home land (Arakan State)...” it said. 

  • 2018 July 30 - Monday

  • 2018 July 31 - Tuesday


AUGUST 2018:

  • 2018 Aug 1 - Wednesday

    • UN council to commemorate
      Myanmar crackdown on Rohingya.

          - AP / Fox News
        UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council is planning to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Myanmar's violent crackdown that led about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh...

          * * *
          Rohingya face official and social discrimination in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, which denies most of them citizenship and basic rights because they are looked on as immigrants from Bangladesh even though the families of many settled in Myanmar generations ago. Dire conditions led more than 200,000 to flee the country between 2012 and 2015.
          The latest crisis began with attacks by Rohingya insurgents on Myanmar security personnel last Aug. 25. The military responded with counterinsurgency sweeps and a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages. It was accused of widespread human rights violations, including rape, murder, torture and the burning of Rohingya homes. Thousands are believed to have died.
          The U.N. human rights chief, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, has insisted that the possibility of genocide against Rohingya was real and has called for the issue to be referred to the International Criminal Court. ...

  • 2018 Aug 2 - Thursday

    • Myanmar Official Line:
      'Rohingya Are Returning'
      ...But Cracks in That Story Abound.

          - New York Times
        ... The men at one of the country’s three repatriation centers shook their heads when asked if they had peacefully come back to Myanmar from Bangladesh.
        They said they had not been repatriated at all. In fact, they said, they had never even left this waterlogged stretch of marsh-and-mountain in Myanmar, and had been swept up in the government’s broad repression of the Rohingya minority.
        One day, last year, three of the men said, soldiers had arrested them in their village in northern Rakhine State. Five and a half months later, they were released and charged with illegal immigration....

    • What next for Myanmar's Rohingya?
          - The Economist (U.K.)
        * * *
        The world’s largest population of stateless people cannot be allowed to rot away in [the] Kutupalong [refugee camp in Bangladesh] for much longer.
        Unfortunately, the immediate options are neither appealing nor practical. The vast majority of the Rohingya would like to return to their homes and villages in Rakhine state. On paper, at least, the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh have agreed to a repatriation programme. But in practice the Rohingya have little or nothing to return to. ...

  • 2018 Aug 3 - Friday

    • Bangladesh Foreign Minister
      to visit Myanmar’s Rakhine State
      on Aug 9 amid Rohingya crisis.

          - BDNews24 (Bangladesh)
        Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali is going to Myanmar on Aug 9 to see the preparations for accommodation facilities, particularly installation of pre-fabricated houses for repatriation of Rohingya refugees. ... [At the 25th ASEAN Regional Forum’s Foreign Ministers Meeting, Aug 3-4 in Singapore, he also conferred with foreign ministers of India and Canada, who promised continuing support.]...

  • 2018 Aug 4 - Saturday

      --------------

  • 2018 Aug 5 - Sunday

  • 2018 Aug 6 - Monday

  • 2018 Aug 7 - Tuesday

    • Myanmar to ICC:
      Rohingya jurisdiction request
      'should be dismissed'

          - Reuters News Service
        Myanmar said on Thursday a request by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to seek jurisdiction over suspected deportations of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar to Bangladesh was “meritless and should be dismissed”. ...

    • Bangladesh says Myanmar
      isn't tackling Rohingya concerns.

          - AP / Fox News
        Bangladesh is accusing Myanmar of failing to tackle the concerns of over 1 million Rohingya Muslims who fled the country and is urging the U.N. Security Council to take action to ensure their safe return home.
        Bangladesh's U.N. ambassador, Masud Bin Momen, said in a letter to the council circulated Tuesday that while his government continues to engage with Myanmar "in good faith" on arrangements to return the Rohingya, "we regret that the necessary conditions for safe and sustainable return do not exist in Myanmar."
        "Nor has Myanmar taken any demonstrable effort to address the concerns of the Rohingyas and the international community," Momen said in the letter. ...
        * * *
        Momen urged the Security Council to adopt a resolution and take "concerted and determined action to address the Rohingya crisis" so the refugees in Bangladesh can return to Myanmar. ...

  • 2018 Aug 8 - Wednesday

    • U.N. urges Myanmar to pave way
      for Rohingya returns,
      grant citizenship.

          - Reuters News Service
        United Nations aid agencies called on Myanmar on Wednesday to improve conditions in Rakhine state for the safe return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh, and provide a clear pathway to citizenship for those eligible. ...
        * * *
        The U.N. agencies said that substantial progress was urgently needed in three key areas: “granting effective access in Rakhine State; ensuring freedom of movement for all communities; and addressing the root causes of the crisis." ...
        * * *
        The U.N. said that Rohingya remaining in Rakhine are under local orders that severely restrict their freedom of movement, preventing them from reaching jobs, school and health care, and called for these to be lifted. ...

    • EDITORIAL:
      The U.S. opts for silence
      in the face of atrocity.

          - Washington Post editorial
        Nearly a year after the Myanmar military drove about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims out of their homes in northern Rakhine state , in one of the worst human rights calamities of recent years, the voice of the world’s leading democracy, the United States, is unconscionably muted.
        Congress and the Trump administration have failed to hold the leaders of Myanmar’s military to account for their intolerable brutality. Stronger measures are needed. ...

    • Rohingya Muslims
      Who Remain in Myanmar
      Struggle to Survive.

          - Wall Street Journal (U.S.)
        On a recent government-organized trip to Maungdaw district in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, The Wall Street Journal spoke to nearly a dozen Rohingya residents who said they lacked access to sufficient food, had been stripped of land and belongings, and faced severe restrictions on movement. ...

  • 2018 Aug 9 - Thursday

  • 2018 Aug 10 - Friday

    • ESSAY:
      Is India Creating Its Own Rohingya?

          - New York Times
        Echoes of the majoritarian rhetoric, preceding the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, can be heard in India -- as four million, mostly Bengali-origin Muslims [in India], have been effectively turned stateless. ...

  • 2018 Aug 11 - Saturday

  • 2018 Aug 12 - Sunday

    • Rohingya refugees:
      Trapped in a half-life,
      yearning to break free.

          - The Straits Times (Singapore)
        This is the day-to-day existence endured by nearly a million Rohingya in refugee camps in Bangladesh, after fleeing violence in Myanmar that culminated in a massacre by the military a year ago this month. The Straits Times visited to give this first-hand account. ...(limited access).

  • 2018 Aug 13 - Monday

    • Catalogue of abuse:
      Seeking justice for the Rohingya.

          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        Different teams of investigators in the world's biggest refugee camp in Bangladesh, home to a million people, have been quietly documenting what the Myanmar Muslim minority suffered in 2017.
        From seasoned professionals working for governments, the UN and international rights groups, to grassroots volunteers armed with pen and paper, a trove of evidence is being amassed which it is hoped will help bring the Rohingya some justice. ...

    • Malaysia PM on China, Rohingya,
      Singapore, graft and sea row.

          - AP / ABC News
        Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad commented on lopsided China-backed projects, treatment of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims, the South China Sea furor, a water treaty with Singapore and the country's financial mess in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. Here are excerpts: ...
        * * *
        He said Myanmar must accept that Rohingya, who have lived in the country for generations, are citizens.
        "It is grossly unjust to do what they have done, killing people, mass murder, that's not the way civilized nations behave."

    • Rohingya refugees:
      'City' of children
      old before their time.

          - The Straits Times (Singapore)
        Of the 919,000 Rohingya who have made their way to the shelters in Cox’s Bazar, 54.6 per cent are children below the age of 17. Some 5,546 households are officially headed by children – because both their parents are dead. ...(limited access).

  • 2018 Aug 14 - Tuesday

    • Crisis update:
      Nearly one million Rohingya refugees
      are in Bangladesh now.

          - ReliefWeb (U.N. affiliate)
        Bangladesh has been hosting Rohingya refugees from Myanmar for nearly three decades. The recent influx of Rohingya refugees fleeing escalating violence in Rakhine State since August 2017 has more than doubled the total refugee population in Bangladesh.
        There are nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar now, and the majority of them are women and girls. The Rohingya, an ethnic group from Myanmar, are now at the centre of one of the fastest-growing refugee crises in the world.
        The camps are overcrowded, needs are immediate and enormous, and resources are stretched. ...

    • PODCAST AUDIO:
      Unearthing the Truth in Myanmar

          - New York Times
        During a reporter’s trip to a part of the country where many Rohingya Muslims once lived, the government’s official narrative began to crack.

    • Myanmar asks Bangladesh
      to stop giving aid
      to stranded Rohingya refugees.

          - AFP / Japan Times
        Myanmar has asked Bangladesh to stop providing aid to 6,000 Rohingya stranded on the border between the two countries since a military crackdown prompted a mass exodus of the Muslim minority last year, the Foreign Ministry in Dhaka said. ...

    • Myanmar Asks Bangladesh
      to Stop Calling Rohingya Refugees
      'Nationals,' 'Forcibly Displaced'.

        Myanmar claims that Bangladesh has agreed to stop labeling the IDs it has been issuing Rohingya refugees “Myanmar National’s Registration Card.”
        The request came during a three-day visit to Myanmar by Bangladeshi Foreign Affairs Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali that included a day-trip to northern Rakhine State’s Maungdaw Township, where military operations triggered by militant attacks on security posts in August 2017 drove some 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh seeking refuge.
        * * *
        On Monday, U Win Myat Aye told The Irrawaddy that Myanmar asked Abul Hassan to change the language on the ID cards Bangladesh was issuing the refugees that describe them as Myanmar nationals and to stop referring to them as “forcibly displaced.”

          - The Irrawaddy (Myanmar)
        (Also see Official Statement on this topic,
          from Human Rights Watch, next day,)

  • 2018 Aug 15 - Wednesday

    • OFFICIAL STATEMENT:
      Rohingya Identity
      Is More Than Words on a Card.

        Myanmar Needs to Recognize Rights of Refugees in Bangladesh.

          - Human Rights Watch
        While changing a few words on a refugee’s ID card may seem inconsequential, for the 700,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh who fled ethnic cleansing in Myanmar a year ago, it is essential.
        In negotiating with Myanmar for the repatriation of the Rohingya, Bangladesh recently agreed to change the wording on their ID cards from “Myanmar nationals” to “displaced persons from Rakhine State.”
        This change signals that Myanmar doesn’t intend to honor the citizenship rights of the Rohingya, nor acknowledge the causes of their displacement
      – security force operations that included murder, widespread rape, mass arson, and pillage.
        It also suggests Bangladesh’s willingness to dismiss the Rohingya’s rights as refugees -- as repatriation plans move forward. ...
        (Also see yesterday's article
        on this topic,
        from The Irrawaddy,)

    • Myanmar Rohingya:
      Facebook 'still hosts hate speech'

          - BBC News
        More than 1,000 anti-Rohingya posts -- featuring calls for their murder among other hate speech -- were live on Facebook last week, according to Reuters.
        A probe, by the news agency, indicates that the network is still being used to encourage violence against the Muslim group in Myanmar, despite the tech firm promising to tackle the issue. ...

    • Belongings and belonging:
      The precious objects
      gathered by fleeing Rohingya.

          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        The Rohingya had no time to consider what to take as Myanmar forces drove the Muslim minority into Bangladesh in a crackdown a year ago likened by the UN to ethnic cleansing.
        Some fled with little more than the clothes on their backs and children on their hips. But what they did manage to bring tells an intimate story about the plight of a long persecuted and stateless people. ...

  • 2018 Aug 16 - Thursday

  • 2018 Aug 17 - Friday

    • One year after crisis began,
      US sanctions Myanmar military
      over Rohingya ethnic cleansing.

          - ABC News   The Trump administration is sanctioning four Myanmar military officials and two military units for the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya,...
        Other than one general sanctioned last December, these are the first commanders and units hit with economic penalties since the crisis started nearly a year ago. While it was a welcome step for human rights groups and activists, they say it took too long and does not do enough. ...
        * * *
        In grim detail, the Treasury Department lays out what the men and their units did – mass executions of men and boys, raping and beating women and girls, burning homes down with families trapped inside. They slaughtered thousands – including the Rohingya and other ethnic and religious minorities like the Kachin, Shan, and others. ...
        * * *
        The U.S. has been hesitant to coming down too hard on Myanmar... the U.S. is also concerned about pushing the country back into China's orbit. ...While the administration developed a list of six to nine sanctions targets earlier this year, the effort stalled amid internal debates... Instead, the U.S. was caught flat-footed when the European Union and Canada led the way with their own sanctions on seven Myanmar military officials on June 25. ...
        ...human rights group say Friday's actions are not enough.
        The State Department is still working on a full investigative report of the Rohingya crisis, [partly] through on-the-ground interviews with survivors in refugee camps.... The administration is reportedly debating whether to call the violence "genocide" when it reveals the report... Last November, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson determined that the violence constituted "ethnic cleansing," but the term "genocide" is stronger, carrying legal ramifications and obligations.

    • VIDEO & TRANSCRIPT:
      Rohingya refugees' own list
      tallies 10,000 dead.

          - Reuters TV
        ...piece by piece... Rohingya refugees are achieving something that aid groups, diplomats and reporters have so far not: A list of the dead that, name by name, says more than 10,000 people were killed in last year's brutal military assault on Myanmar's Rakhine state. ...
        * * *
        The team says they're being very careful, and their numbers are on the low side. But their total is already much higher than surveys done by professional groups. A recent report from aid agency MSF put the total at more than 6,700. But that study only ran for one month and did not include names.
        Rights groups, like Amnesty International, said the list could be extremely valuable for war crimes investigators.
        Many of the refugees said they simply felt they had to do something to document the atrocities they experienced. ...

    • With world's attention on Rohingya Muslims,
      Christians in Burma also face brutal persecution.

          - Fox News
        With the world’s attention fixed on the horribly violent persecution of Burma's Rohingya Muslims, Christians are also suffering from a less visible but also brutal mistreatment and ethnic cleansing campaign at the hands of the Burmese Army, according to aid agencies, human rights groups and U.S. officials.
        The campaign against the Christians, which according to estimates has displaced at least 100,000 people, has also left thousands stranded in the Burmese jungle terrain, either from fleeing heavy bombing, or living in fear of what will come when the current monsoon season ends. ...
        * * *
        “Today, religious and ethnic persecution continues to take place, both against the Rohingya, but also against Christian religious minorities,” affirmed Olivia Enos, policy analyst for the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation. “Christian Karen, Kachin and in Shan state have largely fallen off of the international community’s radar – but their plight is similarly severe. Kachin, for example, are being virtually collectivized – churches burned, land seized, women raped, and children killed before their very eyes. Not unlike what Rohingya experienced.”
        In Kachin state, some 60 churches are reported to have been bulldozed by the Burmese Army in the last five months alone, replaced by Buddhist temples. ...

    • Facebook still carries
      anti-Rohingya hate speech
      despite promising to take action
      for years.

          - Australian Broadcasting Corp.
        A major investigation by the Reuters news agency found over 1,000 anti-Rohingya -- and anti-Muslim -- posts and pornographic images still on the site in Myanmar, as of last week.
        That's despite a pledge, before US senators, by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in April, to act on the problem.

    • OPINION ESSAY:
      Burma's Rohingya Muslims
      Need the Trump Administration's Help.

          - National Review (U.S. conservative journal)
        "President Obama stood idly by as the Burmese government slaughtered the Rohingya. President Trump can and must do better. ..."

  • 2018 Aug 18 - Saturday
      Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former chairman of Myanmar's Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, shown in 2012, whose death was announced August 18, 2018

    • Diplomat Kofi Annan --
      former U.N. Secretary-General
      and chairman of Myanmar's failed
      Advisory Commission on Rakhine State --
      dies within days of the 1st anniversary of
      his commission's final report and the
      bloody ethnic cleansing that followed.

          - by RCN editor Richard Harris
          Controversial and influential former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan -- who, in his last major role, led a commission of inquiry into Myanmar's Rakhine state -- has died, his foundation announced today.
          Annan served as U.N. Secretary-General in the 1990s, amidst bloody regional conflicts (most notably in the Middle East, Rwanda and Yugoslavia], and attempted to elevate the global moderating influence of the United Nations, while enacting reforms within the organization.
          After his term ended, Annan became a global diplomat and scholar, and was invited by Myanmar's government to chair an "Advisory Commission on Rakhine State" -- composed of Myanmar and foreign officials -- in an attempt to find solutions to the conflict there (chiefly between the Buddhist majority and the Rohingya Muslim minority).
          The commission was met with hostility by the Buddhist majority in Rakine state -- Annan himself was picketed by Buddhist protesters when he arrived in Myanmar to lead the commission. The commission became heavily identified with Annan, and was generally referred to as simply the "Annan Commission."
          In August 2017, when it became apparent that Annan's Commission was about to release a final report calling for rights for the Rohingya, Myanmar's military government moved in heavy troops, who began harassing and arresting local Rohingya. A small, poorly-armed Rohingya rebel group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), responded -- the night after the report's release -- with several coordinated attacks on the government security forces in Rakhine state, killing a dozen officers and troops.
          On the pretext of responding to those attacks, the Myanmar military began a sweeping "anti-terrorist" campaign -- actually widespread indiscriminate, brutal and lethal attacks on tens of thousands of Rohingya civilians -- resulting in the current "Rohingya Crisis," which has driven most of the 1.1 million Rohingya from Myanmar -- in the largest, deadliest humantarian crisis and ethnic-cleansing event of Southeast Asia in decades.
          Despite endorsement of his commission's report by the U.N. Secretary-General and other U.N. officials and foreign governments, Myanmar declined to enact the commission's reform recommendations, as the crisis continued to escalate and expand, killing thousands, injuring tens of thousands and driving hundreds of thousands from their homeland.
          Next week will mark the one-year anniversary of the Annan commission's Final Report and the catastrophic outcome. As it became obvious that the Annan Commission was a failure -- and with the first anniversary of the government violence approaching -- Myanmar's government convened another advisory and investigative commission to assure the world that Myanmar was working on the problem.
          This Thursday, August 16, the new commission announced a policy of "no finger-pointing" -- leading many in the human rights community to conclude that the new commission is a sham, designed to shield the Myanmar government from public accountability for its actions against the Rohingya, rather than solve the problem Annan's commission attempted to address. Within 48 hours, Annan died.

  • 2018 Aug 19 - Sunday

    • 'Everything is business':
      Rohingya crisis presents economic opportunity.

        Poorer Bangladeshis say the Rohingya influx has collapsed wages
          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        The Bangladeshi district of Cox's Bazar now hosts around one million Rohingya from Myanmar, the vast majority of whom fled their country a year ago, driven out by the army and mobs of ethnic Rakhine, who falsely brand the Muslim minority as "Bengali" intruders.
        The makeshift Rohingya camps have now congealed into tent cities spread out across hills and farmland.
        They contain new and dynamic economies, pump-primed by donor money and driven by a captive market of hundreds of thousands in need of food, shelter, work and - for those who can afford it - consumer goods. ...

  • 2018 Aug 20 - Monday

  • 2018 Aug 21 - Tuesday

    • Myanmar:
      Security Forces Torture Rohingya Returnees;
      Refugees Arrested,
      Mistreated as Accused Militants.

          - Human Rights Watch
        Myanmar authorities have tortured and imprisoned Rohingya refugees who returned to Rakhine State from Bangladesh, Human Rights Watch said today. The mistreatment reinforces the need for international protection, including United Nations monitors on the ground, before Rohingya will be able to return safely to Myanmar. ...

    • A year after the assault
      on the Rohingya,
      Myanmar's generals
      are unapologetic.

          - Washington Post
        A year ago, the Myanmar military embarked on a sweeping crackdown in restive Rakhine state — driving out almost a million Rohingya to Bangladesh and creating one of the world’s largest refugee camps while allegedly raping women, killing children and beheading men in the process.
        Today, even as sanctions mount and the U.S. State Department and the United Nations ready reports that are likely to detail premeditated efforts by the military to effectively rid the state of Rohingya Muslims, generals remain defiant. They believe they essentially eliminated a threat that was “growing bigger and bigger,” according to one account of conversations top Myanmar military leaders have had with counterparts from Southeast Asia. ...

    • Aung San Suu Kyi defends policies
      toward Rohingya Muslims.

          - AP / Fox News
        Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday defended her government's actions in Rakhine state, where about 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled from a brutal counterinsurgency campaign to neighboring Bangladesh. She said terrorism, not social discrimination or inequality, triggered the crisis. ...

  • 2018 Aug 22 - Wednesday

    • Race to save
      drowning Rohingya boy
      exposes spiraling crisis.

          - AP / Fox News
        The little boy emerges into view amid a chorus of panicked shouts and the thunder of feet from the horde sweeping past us. He is slumped over the shoulder of a man, his skinny arms flopping around like a marionette's. And though we cannot see his face, we know from his limp body that he is in danger. ...
        * * *
        Though no one knows how the boy ended up in the water, it was not surprising that he had.
        More than half of the Rohingya refugees living in these camps are children. Many clamber over crumbling hillsides to reach aid distribution points, and trek into the mountains in search of firewood. They cross rushing creeks barefoot while balancing piles of tree roots bigger than their bodies atop their heads. And they play in excrement-riddled waterways, which have swelled with the monsoon rains.
        That these children have managed to survive what the United Nations calls textbook ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, and nearly a year in the chaos of the camps, feels like a miracle.
        Some parents say they watched helplessly as members of Myanmar's security forces bashed their babies against trees, threw them into fires, stomped on them with their boots. The children who survived walked for days across mountains and squeezed into rickety boats to cross a river into Bangladesh.
        Here in the camps, the children face other dangers: Malnutrition and disease. Human traffickers. Flooding and landslides. And violence.  ...

    • Rohingya refugees celebrate holiday
      amid memories of home.

          - AP / Fox News
        Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees living in sprawling camps in Bangladesh were celebrating the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha on Wednesday, praying for better lives and wondering if they'll ever again celebrate at their homes in Myanmar. ...

    • Births, marriages and deaths:
      Rohingya lives playing out
      as refugees.

          - AFP / Japan Times
        A newborn yet-to-be-named squirms in a mother’s arms; a marriage party lights up a fetid lane; a dead man’s face makes a soft impression on the blanket covering him — with no route home Rohingya lives are playing out in the refugee camps of Bangladesh. ...

    • OPINION ESSAY:
      The Rohingya refugee crisis
      speaks to the worst acts
      of humanity.

        by Michael Sheen,
      UNICEF's UK ambassador
          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        As a UNICEF's UK ambassador, I’ve seen a lot of the organisation’s work during emergencies. Some of the most inspiring things I saw on this trip were the child friendly spaces. These are places where children who are caught up in horrendous situations can come to receive support to recover from the trauma they have witnessed, and to just play and be themselves.. ...
        * * *
        Children’s drawings are usually so full of innocence, but what I had in my hands were very real accounts of the horrors these children had witnessed. The scale and brutality of the violence they’ve gone through is unimaginable. Their pictures showed villages on fire and people being hung from trees, shot at and killed. As the scale of the situation started to hit home, it became clear to me that it was different from anything I’d ever seen before.
        One of the things that really struck me was the way in which the horrors of the Rohingya situation were balanced out by hope and inspiration. ...

  • 2018 Aug 23 - Thursday

    • U.N. warns of 'lost generation'
      of Rohingya children
      as half a million languish
      in refugee camps.

          - Reuters / Japan Times
        The United Nations warned on Thursday of what it described as a lost generation of Muslim Rohingya children -- with half a million in refugee camps in Bangladesh facing dangers, including disease and floods, and those still in Myanmar lacking access to proper education.
        One year since 700,000 Rohingyas fled a violent crackdown by Myanmar security forces in Rakhine state, the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) gave a bleak assessment of the outlook for children on either side of the border.
        “We are talking about risking the loss or the potential loss of a generation of Rohingya children,” UNICEF spokesman Simon Ingram... after spending six weeks in the camps in Cox’s Bazar.
        “It isn’t just the half a million children or so on the Bangladeshi side of border but it’s also those who are still left behind in Rakhine state, ...

  • 2018 Aug 24 - Friday

    • Rohingya crisis:
      one year on.

          - United Nations WHO
            (World Health Organization)
        Since August 2017, hundreds of thousands have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State and sought refuge in neighboring Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
        25 August 2018 marks one year since hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people fled persecution and violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State and sought refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. This crisis stands out among recent refugee flows due to the large number of people fleeing in an extremely short period of time: about 655 000 Rohingya women, men and children fled to Bangladesh between 25 August 2017 and mid-December 2017, according to the United Nations. We have not seen a displacement of this level in decades.
        The number of Rohingya in Bangladesh stands at about 890 000, according to the most recent situation report from the Inter Sector Coordination Group (as of 31 July). They live in approximately 34 camps in an area spanning about 26 square kilometers. Kutupalong and Balukhali mega camp, known as the Kutupalong-Balukhali extension camp, is one of the largest refugee camps in the world, hosting about 600 000 people. As well as being in one of the world's most densely populated areas, the area is prone to floods and cyclones. ...

    • A year later,
      fractured Rohingya community
      sees little hope.

          - AP / Fox News
        Forged over generations in villages in Myanmar, Rohingya communities are now held together in calls over crackling phone lines. ...
        * * *
        One year later, despite months of discussions among Myanmar, Bangladesh, the United Nations and a string of aid agencies, there are few signs that the Rohingya can go home anytime soon.
        "I can't see my mother or my brother and am unable to receive a mother's love," said Abdullah. "I miss them a lot."
        * * *
        The Rohingyas' woes can seem never-ending. They have long been treated as illegal migrants in Myanmar, denied such basic rights as the freedom of movement, even though some of their families have lived in the Buddhist-majority country for generations. Nearly all have been denied citizenship since 1982, effectively rendering them stateless.
        Anti-Rohingya pogroms have been a part of life in the region for years, and violence against them began ratcheting up again in October 2016, as the Myanmar government started complaining about violence by Rohingya militants. In late August 2017, an influx of Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh became an unstoppable flood.
        Now, separated families depend on mobile phones to remain together.
        "My son can't call me whenever he wants. He has to call secretly" because he's being watched by his Buddhist neighbors, said 70-year-old Dildar Begum, who waited all day Wednesday for a call from her son on Eid al-Adha, a major Muslim holiday.
        The call never came. ...

    • For Rohingya,
      Years of Torture
      at the Hands of a Neighbor.

          - New York Times
      [A detailed history of atrocities against Rohingya by the local administrator for the Myanmar village of Chut Pyin.]

    • Tiny reminders of rape:
      Rohingya mothers
      cradle the unwanted.

          - New York Times
      ...a number of babies [have been] born, in recent weeks, to women who say they were raped by soldiers during a violent campaign in Myanmar's Rakhine state (which the UN has said is a "textbook example" of ethnic cleansing).
        Myanmar's military has previously denied killing, raping or torturing any Rohingya civilians, clearing itself in a widely criticized November 2017 report after an internal investigation.
        At the entrance to the camps, NGOs have set up clinics where the women can come to give birth. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) estimates that, at any one time, there are roughly 30,000 pregnant women in the camps. Every month, 3,000 of them give birth, according to MSF.
       
        No one knows exactly how many of these babies are the result of rape, but a UN Security Council report in March found humanitarians have provided services to more than 2,700 survivors of sexual violence in the camps.
        MSF officials say they have seen 443 rape victims between the end of August 2017 and the end of May. The Hope Foundation, another NGO with a network of clinics, treated 102 in the first five months of the crisis. They say this is just the tip of the iceberg, believing there are thousands -- if not tens of thousands -- of rape victims in the camps.
        "We have seen a slight increase in deliveries in May, nine months after the rapes," explains Giulia Maistrelli, an Italian midwife for MSF. "But most cases go undetected because three quarters of the women have their babies at home."
        Many of the women who visit the clinics have conflicting feeling towards their newborns. "They often plan to abandon the baby after delivery, but when they see it, they start to bond and decide to keep it," says Maistrelli.
        * * *
        Aid agencies and doctors say they have seen countless botched self-abortions. "They come in with severe bleeding," says Nrinmoy Biswas, a gynecologist for The Hope Foundation. "They have either taken the wrong dose of medication or had a surgical abortion done by someone with no medical training."
        Some women take substances normally used to induce labor, like oxytocin, which don't work for abortions. One 14-year-old girl lost so much blood she needed a transfusion and almost died recalls Biswas.
        * * *
        "Given a choice, basically every Rohingya woman who got pregnant following a rape would have had an abortion," Biswas says. "But many didn't know how to get one or came in too late."
        In Bangladesh, abortions are legal up to three months. But most refugees have never been to a doctor, owing in part to the systematic discrimination faced by Rohingya in Myanmar.
        Some women only realized they were pregnant at five or six months, when their bellies began to swell.
        * * *
        Hasina was 15 years old when she says Burmese soldiers came for her. When she found out she was pregnant a few weeks later, she didn't hesitate. "I bought some pills from a pharmacy and had an abortion," says the teen. "I am unmarried and would never have found a husband if I had kept the baby." She still thinks about it though. "I regret killing a life, but I didn't have a choice," she whispers.
        The stigma surrounding these women is extremely strong in this conservative Muslim community. Especially for those who are unmarried and are now seen as tarnished goods. "Although they are victims, other members of the community see the rapes as being their fault, as something shameful they could have somehow avoided," explains Iftikher Mahmood, a pediatrician who founded The Hope Foundation. "The women themselves feel guilty."
        * * *
        To avoid having to go through this, many of the women who say they were raped by soldiers haven't told anyone. Especially if they didn't get pregnant. When the military came into Dildef's house, her husband was away with their two children, aged five and two. She says they murdered her parents and siblings, before brutally raping her. When Dildef met up with her husband in Cox's Bazar, after hobbling through the forest for four days with blood streaming down her legs, she didn't tell him anything.
        * * *
        Aid agencies say they have seen approximately 10 abandoned babies so far.
        In the camps, rumors of unwanted babies sold to traffickers abound. But no one can name a specific case. "Adoptions are forbidden in Bangladesh, since a child trafficking scandal in the 80s."
        * * *
        There are other obstacles too. "These children face the prospect of lifelong discrimination, says Iftikher Mahmood. "People will take one look at them and probably be able to guess they are half Bamar (Myanmar's ethnic majority), because their features are more Chinese and their skin is paler," he says

  • 2018 Aug 25 - Saturday
      SPECIAL NOTE:
      Saturday, August 25, 2018, marks the one-year anniversary since the eruption of violence known as
      "the Rohingya Crisis."

    • Rohingya refugees protest against
      Myanmar crackdown anniversary.

          - BBC
          Tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees have held protests on the first anniversary of Myanmar's crackdown on the predominantly Muslim minority.
          Protesters in the world's largest refugee camp in Bangladesh demanded justice and brandished a banner proclaiming: "Never Again."
          Myanmar's military launched its crackdown on the ethnic group... on 25 August, 2017. More than 700,000 have now fled.
          The United Nations described the military offensive in Rakhine as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" and refugees who have fled the violence have told horrific stories of sexual violence and torture. ...
          (same topic at:
          - AP / Fox News
          - AP / NBC News
           more details at:
          - CTV News (Canada)
            ...which reports:
            Rallies were held across Canada and the world Saturday to mark the first anniversary of a series of attacks that sent some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing their homes in... Myanmar...
          - Chicago Sun-Times (U.S.)
            ...which reports:
            ...about 150 people... gathered and marched in [Chicago's] Federal Plaza, Saturday afternoon, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of a bloody crackdown...
              The Chicago event coincided with similar events in Boston, New York and Washington, organizers said.
              Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, who visited refugee camps in Bangladesh last year, recalled the story of a woman who witnessed the gruesome murder of her husband, brother-in-law and son. Her district has seen an influx of Rohingya Muslims, Schakowsky said.
              “This cannot be overlooked. This is not just something that’s happening in a corner of the world we need to stand up and say, ‘People are being killed,’ ” Schakowsky said. “The soul is just shaken by hearing these stories . . . As much as Bangladesh can do, we need to do more to help them.”
          - Hindustan Times (India)
            ...which adds:
            Humanitarian agencies spearheading the relief effort in Bangladesh say just one third of the roughly $1 billion needed, for the refugees until March, has been raised. )

    • Year After Rohingya Massacres,
      Top Generals Unrepentant
      and Unpunished.

          - New York Times
          On the eve of the anniversary of a military-led ethnic-cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the nation’s commander in chief -- Sen. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing -- was in Russia on an arms-buying expedition.
          Starting a year ago, more than 700,000 Rohingya began fleeing Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh amid a frenzy of massacre, rape and arson by soldiers and Buddhist mobs — acts of violence that have been widely documented.
          Yet since then, General Min Aung Hlaing and Myanmar’s other leaders have escaped international legal censure. And they are maintaining a campaign of denial and avoidance, as well as jailing and intimidating reporters who have documented the attacks. ...

    • Rohingya exodus:
      132 ASEAN MPs seek probe.
        - Straits Times (Singapore)
        More than 130 Members of Parliament from ASEAN [Association of SouthEast Asian Nations] countries... have demanded that Myanmar be investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) -- the most united condemnation from the region since the violence began against the Rohingya a year ago. ...
        The... endorsing parliamentarians are [from] Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Timor-Leste. ...

    • 'Put in a cage'
      Rohingya remaining in Myanmar
      consigned to life of fear.
        - The Guardian (U.K.)
        One year after brutal attacks by the military that drove more than 700,000 Rohingya from their homes in Myanmar, life remains precarious for those who didn’t flee.
        The Rohingya in Rakhine state, where the violence took place, are locked out of healthcare, work and education. Denied citizenship cards, they must apply for permission from the government if they want to travel and face daily discrimination.
        The situation is especially hard for young people. ...

    • After a year in Bangladesh camps,
      Rohingya women
      are finding their feet.

          - Australian Broadcasting Corp.
        Rendered stateless by their own country, Myanmar, Rohingya women officially belong nowhere and have no official right to be heard.
        For women stripped of agency over their lives and their bodies for so long, it's hard to trust strangers. Not surprisingly, suspicion of medical facilities was a major problem when this crisis began.
        About 30,000 of the women who arrived in Bangladesh over the past year were pregnant.
        Children in the Cox's Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh.
        Cox's Bazar, where the world's biggest refugee camp was hastily built, is in a dengue fever zone, and diphtheria, cholera and typhoid are constant challenges in this cramped environment.
        For the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) which took the lead on sexual and reproductive health services for the refugees, it was crucial that women have safe places to give birth, and midwives to help them deliver the babies. ...

    • VIDEO:
      Rohingya girls in danger:
      • Teenage bride,
      • Missing daughter,
      • Sex worker.
        - BBC News
        The stories of three young women from a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. ...

    • From Encounter to Exodus:
      History of the Rohingya Muslims
      of Myanmar
        - Synergy: The Journal of Contemporary Asian Studies
        Munk School of Global Affairs
        University of Toronto (Canada)
      [An academic treatise on the history of the Rohingya].

  • 2018 Aug 26 - Sunday

    • Bangladesh:
      Humanitarian Situation report No.38
      (Rohingya influx)
      3 - 16 August 2018
        - ReliefWeb
        (United Nations affiliate)
      The ongoing cyclone and monsoon season -- which is expected to continue till November -- affects various parts of the country, and has debilitating impact on the Rohingya refugees, and host communities in Cox’s Bazar. Heavy rains since early June have caused localized flooding, landslides, and water-logging. Risk of cholera or [other] outbreak remains high during the monsoon season. ...

    • 'Everybody's talking about them,
      but who's talking with them?'
      Documenting Rohingyas' stories.

          - CNN (Cable News Network)
        A handful of the estimated 700,000 Rohingya refugees -- who have fled across the border from Myanmar to overcrowded, under-resourced refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh -- [have] a rare chance to tell their stories.
        Dispassionately and with a matter-of-fact delivery at odds with their testimony, they recount what they say are the horrors that have led to their present situation.
        Karen Jungblut, Director of Global Initiatives at the Shoah Foundation -- who has conducted several of the Rohingya interviews -- [says] it is important that Rohingya are given an opportunity to tell their own stories in their own words.
        "Everybody's talking about them, but who's talking with them? How do we make sure that they are part of the conversation?" she says.
        Around 100 interviews have, so far, been conducted -- part of a sprawling initiative by the USC Shoah Foundation.
        The project has previously recorded oral accounts from...
      • Holocaust survivors,
        as well as testimonies from:
      • the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi Genocide,
      • the 1937 Nanjing Massacre,
      • the Armenian Genocide, and
      • the Guatemalan Genocide,
      -- and now its eye has turned to eastern Bangladesh on the one-year anniversary of this -- the latest, and one of the largest -- flights of humanity from persecution.
        * * *
      [The rest of the article contains detailed stories from some Rohingya survivors, and commentary on the project and its importance -- and numerous exceptional photos and captions. ~RCN Editor]

  • 2018 Aug 27 - Monday

  • 2018 Aug 28 - Tuesday

    • UN chief urges accountability
      for Myanmar crimes
      on Rohingya

          - AP / New York Times   Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for accountability for the "horrendous persecution" of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar on Tuesday, and Sweden and the Netherlands urged the Security Council to refer the crimes to the International Criminal Court.
        But China, which has close ties to Myanmar's government, said the international community should stop putting pressure on Myanmar and let its government work out the repatriation of Rohingya refugees as soon as possible with Bangladesh, where nearly one million have fled.
        The council meeting, commemorating the one-year anniversary of Myanmar's latest violent crackdown that led about 700,000 Rohingya to flee, reflected the deep division over addressing the Rohingya crisis.
        It followed Monday's report by investigators from the U.N. Human Rights Council that called for Myanmar's military leaders to be prosecuted for genocide against the Rohingya ethnic minority.
       

    • [U.S. ambassador to U.N.]
      Haley says U.S. Rohingya report
      'consistent' with U.N. findings.

        Findings of a U.S. State Department investigation into Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis are “consistent” with those of a report by U.N. investigators released this week -- that called for Myanmar’s commander-in-chief and other generals be tried for genocide -- the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said on Tuesday. ...
        "Most importantly, the report identifies one group as the perpetrator of the overwhelming majority of these crimes: the Burmese military and security forces," she sa id. ...

          - Reuters News Service
        (same topic at:

    • Anguish at U.N.,
      but No Action Plan,
      for Rohingya Atrocities.

          - New York Times
        The leader of the United Nations, backed by ambassadors from major Western countries as well as the actress Cate Blanchett, called for action, on Tuesday, after an investigative report said Myanmar’s generals should face genocide charges for the systematic slaughter of Rohingya Muslims.
        But
      after presenting a familiar catalog of atrocities committed against the Rohingya — mass murder, rape and the expulsion of more than 700,000 people from their homes last year — Secretary General António Guterres and members of the Security Council offered no concrete steps for punishing those responsible. ...

    • Facebook bans
      Myanmar army chief, others
      in unprecedented move over
      spread of 'hate and misinformation'

          - Reuters / Japan Times
        Facebook said Monday it was removing several Myanmar military officials from the social media website and an Instagram account to prevent the spread of "hate and misinformation" after reviewing the content. It was the first time Facebook banned a country's military or political leaders, ...

    • VIDEO:
      Cate Blanchett tells of atrocities
      against Rohingya children.

          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        Oscar-winning actor Cate Blanchett describes to a UN Security Council meeting in New York 'gut-wrenching' accounts from Myanmar of Rohingya people being tortured, raped and killed in front of their relatives. 'How can any mother endure seeing her child thrown into a fire?' she said. ... The UNHCR goodwill ambassador also praised Bangladesh for taking in more than 700,000 refugees, calling it 'one of the most visible and significant gestures of humanity of our time'. ...

    • Suu Kyi's longtime backer,
      [U.S. Senate Majority Leader]
      Mitch McConnell,
      says she was powerless
      to stop atrocities
      against Rohingya.

        Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that Myanmar’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was powerless to intervene in the violent military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims last year, disputing a landmark report by the United Nations that placed some responsibility on the Nobel Peace laureate for what it called a genocide. ...
          - Washington Post

    • ANALYSIS:
      Can Myanmar's generals
      be prosecuted for genocide
      against the Rohingya?
      It's unlikely. [But...]

        UN report still best chance at persuading world not to avert its eyes from Rohingya crisis -- and another avenue may exist to prosecute the guilty.

          - CBC News (Canada)
        * * *
        What is the modern-day threshold for prosecuting war crimes and genocide?
        The crimes perpetrated against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have made that as much of a legal question as a fraught political one.
        The UN fact-finding mission that interviewed nearly 900 Rohingya eye-witnesses concluded in a damning report Monday that the threshold had been met.
        It said there is evidence that Myanmar's top military brass, including the commander in chief, had "genocidal intent," and should stand trial — either before the International Criminal Court, or a special tribunal.
        * * *
      LEGAL POLITICS:
        Myanmar vehemently disagrees. And because the country isn't party to the ICC statute, the United Nations Security Council must refer the case to the court if [the Court] is to hear it.
        This is where politics factors in: Russia and China have indicated they would veto any plans to bring an ally and a business partner before the international court.
        Despite that detailed evidence -- on top of a trove uncovered by other investigators, human rights groups and the victims themselves -- the [UN] Security Council is a dead end, the legal threshold trumped by political considerations.
        So will anyone ever appear in court to answer to such serious charges? ...
        * * *
      BACK DOOR TO PROSECUTION?
        There may be another option -- for getting the case before the international court -- that relies more on legal arguments, instead of political ones:
        Earlier this year, the ICC prosecutor asked for a ruling on whether the court has jurisdiction to look at the very narrow issue of deportation: whether Myanmar forcibly evicted all those Rohingya people to Bangladesh.
        Bangladesh is party to the ICC statute, so -- in theory -- the court would have jurisdiction,
      said Payam Akhavan, a Canadian former UN prosecutor at The Hague, who recently visited Rohingya refugee camps to advise on a potential ICC case.
        "If the response is positive, then the Prosecutor can initiate an investigation and, in due course, issue arrest warrants against members of the Myanmar leadership that bear responsibility for the ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya." ...

  • 2018 Aug 29 - Wednesday

    • Myanmar rejects UN accusation
        of
      'genocide' against Rohingya.

          - BBC News
        Myanmar has rejected a UN report which called for top Burmese military figures to be investigated for genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority.
        Government spokesman Zaw Htay said the country didn't agree with or accept "any resolutions made by the Human Rights Council".
        China had earlier also decried the UN report, saying putting pressure on Myanmar was "not helpful". ...
        * * *
        "We didn't allow the FFM [the UN Fact-Finding Mission] to enter into Myanmar, that's why we don't agree and accept any resolutions made by the Human Rights Council," [Myanmar government spokesman] Zaw Htay told state news outlet, the Global New Light of Myanmar.
        He said Myanmar had its own Independent Commission of Enquiry to respond to "false allegations made by the UN agencies and other international communities".
        Myanmar's army has previously cleared itself of wrongdoing.
        China, which has a close economic and diplomatic relationship with Myanmar, had earlier said the "historical, religious and ethnic background of the Rakhine issue" was "extremely complex".
        "Unilteral criticism or exerting pressure is actually not helpful in resolving the problem," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. ...

    • After damning UN report,
      US still not ready to
      designate Rohingya crisis
      'genocide'

          - ABC News
        Three days after the United Nations released its report saying Myanmar's military had "genocidal intent" in its massacre last year of the Rohingya, the U.S. is still weighing whether to use the same term to characterize the slaughter that drove over 700,000 refugees from their homes and across the border into Bangladesh.
        It's an important designation that has sparked an internal battle in the Trump administration about how to proceed and what obligations it would create for the U.S. ...

    • Call for Rohingya Genocide Prosecution
      to Deepen China’s Support
      of Myanmar.

        The recommendation, by a U.N. team, gives Beijing chance to draw Myanmar further into its orbit. ...
          - Wall Street Journal
        A recommendation by investigators that Myanmar’s military leaders be prosecuted for genocide over their campaign against Rohingya Muslims is dragging China into another fight at the United Nations. For Beijing, that could be a good thing.
        The investigators’ report, released this week by the U.N.’s human-rights agency, gives China a fresh chance to shelter Myanmar’s military and political leaders from international pressure, drawing them further into Beijing’s orbit as the U.S. retreats from the region, analysts say   ...

    • Aung San Suu Kyi
      won't be stripped
      of Nobel peace prize
      despite Rohingya crisis.

          - The Guardian (U.K.)   Prize was awarded for past achievements, says panel after UN report on mass killings by Myanmar’s military  ...

    • Broken cell phones
      could be the key to justice
      for the Rohingya.

          - CNN (Cable News Network)
        Many... phones... were brought into Bangladesh from... Rakhine state in Myanmar, where more than 700,000 Muslim Rohingya... have fled violence since August 2017.
        The cell phones are a precious lifeline that allow Rohingya to keep in touch with friends and family scattered across the camps. In many cases, all that remains from their lives in Myanmar is footage of their homes and villages stored on phones.
        The devices, crucially, also contain videos and photographs that could serve as evidence in efforts to hold the perpetrators of mass atrocities accountable -- many Rohingya used their phones to document the horrors that forced them to flee.
        "Most of the people have pictures of injured people," [a phone technician said.] "Some have pictures or videos of family members attacked." ...
        * * *
        Preserving the data on these phones should be an essential task in the push for justice and accountability. Social media, video and photographic evidence can play a crucial role in bringing justice for victims of genocide and crimes against humanity. ...

  • 2018 Aug 30 - Thursday

  • 2018 Aug 31 - Friday


SEPTEMBER 2018:

  • 2018 Sep 1 - Saturday

    • The Rohingya crisis, a year on:
      four generations of one family
      on life in limbo.

          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        Nur Begum, 70 -- and 13 of her relatives -- are among the million Rohingya sheltering in the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh. ...

    • EDITORIAL:
      Stopping genocide in Burma
      requires a lot more than
      criminal prosecutions.

          - New York Post editorial:
        The UN Human Rights Council last week took a break from its obsession with Israel to focus on a real horror: the genocidal assault on the Rohingya Muslim minority by the armed forces of Burma, aka Myanmar.. ...
        But, as the UN report notes, “Military necessity would never justify killing indiscriminately, gang-raping women, assaulting children and burning entire villages.” The atrocities extended to the beheading of children and burning people alive.  ...
       ... individual nations can and should make the regime feel enough pain to reconsider its course. ...
       ... Washington may need to reimpose all the economic penalties it lifted after the junta allowed elections in 2015 — and every nation that cares about rights, and preventing genocide, should join in.

  • 2018 Sep 2 - Sunday

  • 2018 Sep 3 - Monday

    • Myanmar Rohingya:
      How a 'genocide' was investigated.

          - BBC News
        Indiscriminate killing; villages burned to the ground; children assaulted; women gang-raped - these are the findings of United Nations investigators who allege that "the gravest crimes under international law" were committed in Myanmar last August.
        Such was their severity, the report said, the army must be investigated for genocide against the Rohingya Muslims in the western Rakhine state.
        The investigators' conclusions came despite them not being granted access to Myanmar by the government there, which has since rejected the report.
        This is how the investigators came to their conclusions. ...[more]
       

    • Reuters journalists Wa Lone, left, and Kyaw Soe  Oo, working at Reuters in Yangon. Mynamar, on Dec. 11, 2017.  Photo by  A.Slodkowski, Reuters.
      Reuters journalists Wa Lone, left, and Kyaw Soe Oo, working at Reuters in Yangon. Mynamar, on Dec. 11, 2017. Photo by A.Slodkowski, Reuters.
      Reuters journalists
      investigating Rohingya killings
      sentenced to 7 years in prison.

          - CNN (Cable News Network)
        A Myanmar court has sentenced two Reuters journalists to seven years in jail after finding them guilty of breaking the Official Secrets Act.
        Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were originally detained in December 2017 after working on an investigation into the mass killing of a number of Rohingya villagers in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

        * * *
        A senior United Nations official condemned the ruling. "The United Nations has consistently called for the release of the Reuters journalists and urged the authorities to respect their right to pursue freedom of expression and information," said Knut Ostby, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar.
        "Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo should be allowed to return to their families and continue their work as journalists," Ostby added.
        * * *
        Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson also condemned the decision.
        * * *
        Reuters published a special investigation earlier this year that featured Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo's bylines.
       
      These 10 Rohingya villagers were photographed by a Rakhine Buddhist villager shortly before they were ordered into a mass grave, where they were shot by Myanmar soliders, and some stabbed to death by Rakhine Buddhist villagers. © 2017 SkyNews
      It documented the killing of 10 Rohingya men reportedly carried out by Buddhist villagers and Myanmar troops. Reuters described the groundbreaking report as the first time that soldiers and paramilitary police had been implicated in testimony from security personnel.
        The report used photographs, reporting and interviews conducted in Myanmar and Bangladesh to reconstruct the final moments of the dead men, who were fishermen, shopkeepers, teenage students and a religious teacher.
        The Myanmar military has since admitted its forces had a role in the killings, and jailed seven soldiers.
        * * *
        Wa and Kyaw's imprisonment has also led to increased pressure on Aung San Suu Kyi, with activists and commentators calling on her government to issue a pardon.
        * * *
        "I hope for the sake of these two reporters and their families that ASSK... issues the amnesty," tweeted [Mr.] Connelly, director at the Southeast Asia [Project] at the Lowy Institute, an Australian think-tank, referring to Suu Kyi by her initials.
        * * *
        The Committee to Protect Journalists also condemned the convictions. "Today's ruling against Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo on bogus charges marks a new press freedom low for Myanmar," said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative. ...

    • U.N. and U.K. urge Myanmar
      to free Reuters reporters
      ‘immediately’.

          - AFP / Japan Times
        New U.N. rights chief Michelle Bachelet said Monday she was “shocked” by Myanmar’s jailing of two Reuters journalists for seven years, and called for their immediate release.
        “I was shocked,” the former Chilean president told reporters on her first day as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. “The trial was a travesty of justice.”
        “I urge Myanmar to immediately and unconditionally release Kyaw Soe Oo and Thet Oo Maung,” she said in a statement.
        * * *
        Britain also called for the “immediate” release of the two journalists jailed in Myanmar on Monday, saying the verdict had “undermined freedom of the media.”
        “We are extremely disappointed with this verdict and sentencing and we call for the journalists to be released immediately,” said a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May.
        Mark Field, Britain’s Minister for Asia and the Pacific, “said he was “extremely disappointed” by the verdict, calling it a “bad day” for Myanmar. ...

    • Suu Kyi’s image in tatters
      as Myanmar imprisons
      Reuters pair.

          - AFP / Japan Times
        The jailing of two Reuters journalists shreds what remains of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s reputation as a rights champion, critics say, after she failed to come to their defense -- or speak up for the persecuted Rohingya minority.

  • 2018 Sep 4 - Tuesday

    • Myanmar Rohingya:
      Military must face justice,
      says [UK Foreign Secretary] Hunt

          - BBC News
        The UK is to "take a stand" and push for military leaders in Myanmar to be "brought to justice" over claims of genocide, the foreign secretary says.

    • OPINION ESSAY:
      Debating the definition of genocide
      will not save the Rohingya.

        by Charles Petrie, former U.N. Assistant Secretary-General, former U.N. deputy humanitarian coordinator in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.
          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        * * *
        We could possibly reach an answer to the question of whether genocide is being committed. But at what cost? Will naming it so then risk fracturing international commitment to act and undermine a more robust response?
        War crimes and crimes against humanity are sufficiently grave offences to justify international action. However we refer to them, immense crimes have been and are being committed in Myanmar. It is time for the world to stop debating how to categorise them and focus on finding the necessary resolve to act.

    • OPINION ESSAY:
      After the Rohingya Muslim genocide,
      a Nuremberg trial is essential.

        by Maha Akeel, Director of Information,
      Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
          - Euronews
        The UN was right to call last week for genocide charges against Myanmar military commanders. Muslim world leaders (including the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation [OIC], sometimes called “the Muslim UN”) have repeatedly urged the international community to use the International Criminal Court to show that Rohingya Muslim lives matter -- and have been busy gathering evidence and political will to make convictions possible.
        The fact that these trials have not been forthcoming is not a sign of indifference...
        * * *
        But perhaps where more activity is needed, is in following through on these efforts to ensure that there is a safe environment to which the Rohingya can return. This can only be achieved through delivering justice to the victims.
        * * *
        Every recent peacebuilding effort after a genocide, from Rwanda to Bosnia, has included justice for the victims. Myanmar should be no different. Those more recent efforts follow in the tradition established by Nuremberg: that justice must be served before peace can blossom, and lives can begin to be rebuilt.
        It is unlikely, however, in the current diplomatic climate that Myanmar’s rulers will be brought to justice. Calls for Aung San Suu Kyi to resign - despite being repeated by the UN Human Rights Chief last week - have subsided.
        And the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s military ruling class, are currently out of reach of the International Criminal Court: since Myanmar is not a signatory, putting any of the generals on trial will require the consent of all the members of the UN Security Council - including China. And Chinese diplomatic cover has so far allowed the Rohingya genocide to unfold with very few consequences for the perpetrators. ...
        * * *
        Most recently, Muslim Bosniak victims of the Srebrenica genocide were handed justice when Ratko Mladic was convicted in a UN Tribunal. Further back, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda delivered convictions in the months and years following the Rwandan genocide. Both these justice mechanisms allowed neighbouring communities in the Balkans and Africa respectively to push the reset button on intercommunal relationships.
        Will the Rohingya get their day in court too? It is the least we can do.

  • 2018 Sep 5 - Wednesday

  • 2018 Sep 6 - Thursday

    • International Criminal Court
      Opens Door to
      a Rohingya Inquiry.

      ICC rules it can investigate crimes against Rohingya.
          - New York Times
        In a surprise ruling, judges at the International Criminal Court said Thursday that they could exercise jurisdiction to investigate the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from their homes in Myanmar as a crime against humanity. ...
        * * *
        The ruling came in response to a request by the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, who argued that although Myanmar was not a member of the court, the crime continued into Bangladesh, which is a member.
        * * *
        The court’s involvement in this case raises complex legal issues. One judge declined to endorse the ruling, arguing that the court’s job was not to give advisory opinions.
        But the decision drew wide approval from legal experts and human rights groups.
        * * *
        One legal expert said that this offered a new path, given that Myanmar refuses to cooperate in any international investigation into the flights and the reported killings and mass rape of the Rohingya.
        The United Nations Security Council has not addressed the question of holding Myanmar’s leaders accountable, and Myanmar’s close ally, China, would be expected to block any moves to refer the Rohingya crisis to the court. ...

  • 2018 Sep 7 - Friday

    • Myanmar says
      International Criminal Court
      has no jurisdiction
      in Rohingya crisis.

          - Reuters News Service
        Myanmar’s government said on Friday it “resolutely rejects” a ruling from the International Criminal Court (ICC) that said the body has jurisdiction over alleged deportations of Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh as a possible crime against humanity. . ...
        * * *
        In Friday’s statement, the Southeast Asian nation repeated its position that, not being a party to the Rome Statute that set up the ICC, it was under no obligation to respect its rulings.

    • Government Denies
      Suu Kyi’s Comments
      Influenced Court’s Decision
      in Reuters Case.

          - The Irrawaddy (Myanmar/Burma)
        State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s comments in a June interview on the then-ongoing case of two reporters who have subsequently been jailed on charges relating to their coverage of the conflict in Rakhine State did not influence the outcome of their trial, a government spokesman said on Friday. ... U Zaw Htay was asked whether her remarks had put pressure on the court to deliver a guilty verdict, and strongly denied the claim. ...
        * * *
        When asked by journalists whether the government had considered presidential pardons for the jailed Reuters reporters, U Zaw Htay said, “Not so far.”
        On Tuesday, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) urged the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government to “seriously consider all aspects of the larger interest of the country” as international and local criticism of the government mounted over the case.

  • 2018 Sep 8 - Saturday

    • [Some] ASEAN MPs welcome
      decision granting ICC jurisdiction
      over crimes against Rohingya.

        AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
        & FORTIFY RIGHTS
        HAIL ICC
        Int'l community must continue pushing to ensure justice for all victims:
          ~APHR
          - AFP / Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        [Some] ASEAN lawmakers and Amnesty International yesterday welcomed the decision of the International Criminal Court ruling that it could exercise jurisdiction over the alleged crime of deportation of the Rohingyas from Myanmar.
        “This is a milestone decision and a step forward towards accountability for the alleged atrocity crimes against the Rohingya population,” said Charles Santiago, chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Parliamentarians for Human Rights. ...

  • 2018 Sep 9 - Sunday

  • 2018 Sep 10 - Monday
      SPECIAL NOTE:
      Today, Sept. 10, 2018, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton has declared the U.S. immune to the International Criminal Court -- and threatened repercussions if Americans are prosecuted by the court. The White House press secretary issued a concurring statement from President Trump.

      The dispute could have ramifications for the Rohingya of Myanmar.

      The ICC was set up, by a treaty among 123 nations, to investigate, prosecute and judge allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide.

      The major powers (U.S., Russia, China) have not ratified the Rome treaty which set up the court in 2003 -- so they are theoretically immune to the ICC's judgements, for acts on their own soil.

      However, the ICC prosecutor has sought to investigate and prosecute Americans (and Afghans) for war crimes allegedly committed in the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

      Bolton threatened wide-ranging sanctions (including U.S. criminal prosecutions) against the ICC, its attorneys and judges, and any country or company that cooperates with them to prosecute Americans.

      These statements and threats arguably undermine and de-legitimize the ICC, which is widely described as "the only hope" for justice for the Rohingya of Myanmar.

      Despite the fact that Myanmar never joined the ICC, the court recently ruled it has jurisdiction over Myanmar because of the allegations that Myanmar authorities forced most Rohingya out of Myanmar, through criminal acts, resulting in harm to Bangladesh -- which IS a signatory to the ICC.

      Thus the court has declared that it CAN exercise jurisdiction over a country that has NOT ratified the ICC treaty. The U.S. is one such country; Myanmar is another. Detailed articles follow.

      ~ RH, editor

    • [U.S. National Security Advisor] Bolton:
      International Criminal Court
      Will Face Repercussions
      If Americans Prosecuted.

          - NPR (National Public Radio)
       
      The United States will retaliate against the International Criminal Court if it attempts to prosecute any Americans over actions taken in Afghanistan, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said Monday.
        The prosecutor for the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, called for an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been engaged in conflict for nearly 17 years.
        "The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by the illegitimate court," Bolton said during a speech to the Federalist Society in Washington D.C.
        Bolton's speech outlined the Trump administration's opposition to the court.
        He said the court is a threat to American sovereignty and national security, arguing that that the court has very little accountability and that it's definitions of crimes are "vague and subject to wide-ranging interpretation."
        Calling the proposed investigation of war crimes in Afghanistan "utterly unfounded," Bolton said the Trump administration will ban the court's judges and prosecutors from entering the United States if they move ahead with any prosecutions of Americans.
        Bolton also warned that the administration would work to sanction of the funds of ICC officials and that officials would be prosecuted in U.S. criminal courts.
        He said the U.S. would take action against any countries or companies that cooperated with the ICC during the Afghanistan investigation. ...

    • UN rights chief
      urges new panel
      for Myanmar prosecutions.

          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has called for a new 'mechanism' to prepare criminal indictments over atrocities committed in Myanmar amid allegations of genocide against the Rohingya minority. ...

  • 2018 Sep 11 - Tuesday

    • International criminal court (ICC)
      will continue 'undeterred'
      after US threats.

        International criminal court issues statement after US national security adviser John Bolton threatened sanctions.
          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        The international criminal court has said that it will “continue to do its work undeterred”, a day after US national security adviser, John Bolton, threatened sanctions if the tribunal investigated US activities in Afghanistan.
        The Hague-based court said in a statement it was an independent and impartial institution with the backing of 123 countries.
        “The ICC, as a court of law, will continue to do its work undeterred, in accordance with those principles and the overarching idea of the rule of law,” it said.
        ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said last year there was a “reasonable basis to believe” war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed in Afghanistan and that all sides in the conflict would be examined, including members of the US armed forces and Central Intelligence Agency. ...

    • Collect evidence of Myanmar's crimes
        New UN human rights chief calls for establishing international mechanism for it.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        The new UN human rights commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, yesterday called for an international mechanism to collect evidence of crimes committed by the Myanmar army against the Rohingya Muslims in order to pursue prosecutions.
        The new mechanism would also complement and support the preliminary examination of the ICC (International Criminal Court) prosecutor, she told the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva.

    • $72 million needed to
      protect Rohingya women:
      ~Oxfam.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        Oxfam, an international agency, today called for 15% of new funding to be set aside for humanitarian programmes designed to provide better support to Rohingya women and girls, including $72 million of the nearly half a billion dollars recently committed by the World Bank.
        The Rohingya women living in Bangladesh are developing health problems, missing out on aid, and are at the greater risk of abuse, due to unsafe and unsuitable facilities in many parts of the refugee camps, Oxfam warned.

        * * *
        More than a third of women surveyed by Oxfam and partner agencies said they did not feel safe or comfortable going to collect water or using toilets and shower cubicles -- many of which lack a roof and a lockable door.
        Half of the women and three quarters of adolescent girls said they did not have what they needed to manage their periods, including a female-only place to wash sanitary cloths without embarrassment, Oxfam said.
        As a result, women are going hungry and thirsty to avoid needing the toilet as frequently, suffering abdominal pain and infections by not relieving themselves or using unhygienic sanitary cloths, and resorting to defecation by their tents, which increases the risk of a major outbreak of disease -- especially in the monsoon, according to the report.
        Poor facilities are also increasing the risk of sexual abuse and harassment. Hundreds of incidents of gender-based violence are reported each week. ...

    • Bangkok police shut down
      journalists' panel on Rohingya.

          - AP / Bangkok Post (Thailand)
        Police in Bangkok shut down a forum organised by foreign journalists to discuss whether senior military officers in Myanmar should face justice for alleged human rights abuses committed by their forces against Rohingya Muslims and other ethnic minorities.
        About a dozen policemen showed up ahead of Monday evening's scheduled panel discussion at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand and ordered the panellists not to speak. ...

  • 2018 Sep 12 - Wednesday

    • Bangladesh says
      it won't assimilate
      Rohingya Muslims.

          - Reuters News Service
       
      Bangladesh has no plans to take in hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees permanently, its foreign secretary said on Wednesday, adding that they “belong” to Myanmar from where they fled. ...

  • 2018 Sep 13 - Thursday

    • Rohingya Crisis
      ‘Could Have Been Handled Better,’
      Aung San Suu Kyi Says.

      Also defends imprisonment of Reuters reporters.

          - New York Times
        Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s civilian leader, on Thursday, sidestepped widespread accusations that her country’s military had unleashed ethnic cleansing on Rohingya Muslims (so brutally that the UN has recommended top commanders be tried for genocide).
        “There are, of course, ways in which, with hindsight, we might think that the situation could have been handled better, but we believe that for the sake of long-term stability and security, we have to be fair to all sides,” Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi said in a rare appearance at an international forum in Hanoi,... Vietnam...
        * * *
        But Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi declined to criticize what she delicately referred to as “the military aspect” in her talk at the World Economic Forum on Asean.
        Instead, she chastised the international community for not focusing on violence carried out by armed Rohingya militants against members of other ethnic and religious groups in Rakhine. ...
        * * *
        On Thursday, she also addressed the seven-year sentences handed down this month by a Myanmar court to Reuters reporters who uncovered a massacre of Rohingya in one Rakhine village. ...
        “If anybody feels there has been a miscarriage of justice, I would like them to point it out,” she said.
        Vice President Mike Pence has appealed for the reporters, U Wa Lone and U Kyaw Soe Oo, to be released, adding his voice to a chorus of international condemnation of the sentencing.  ...
        * * *
        Although Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement last year to begin repatriating willing Rohingya back to Rakhine, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi blamed Bangladesh for having stymied the process, ...“We cannot go and fetch them from Bangladesh.

    • UN granted access
      to Rohingya villages
      in Rakhine state.

          - CNN (Cable News Network)
        United Nations teams have been granted access to Myanmar's Rakhine State, to assess dozens of villages and townships that housed Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution last year.
        The four teams -- from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and UN Development Program (UNDP) -- will spend two weeks in the northern state where thousands of Rohingyas were allegedly murdered and subjected to attacks, imprisonment and sexual violence at the hands of the Myanmar military.
        Myanmar's military, known as the Tatmadaw, has repeatedly denied that it deliberately attacked unarmed Rohingya.
        While the UNHCR has maintained an office and team in Rakhine State's Maungdaw town throughout the crisis, since August last year, its access to field locations has been "severely restricted," spokesman Aoife McDonnell told CNN.
        The Myanmar government gave UN teams permission to assess 23 individual villages and three other village wards at the weekend.
        This is the first step in the process of repatriation after the UN in June signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with Myanmar in which the government agreed "to create the conditions for safe, voluntary and sustainable return while fostering social cohesion," McDonnell said. ...

  • 2018 Sep 14 - Friday

      -------------

  • 2018 Sep 15 - Saturday

    • Rohingya crisis reinforce
      China-Myanmar bonds.

          - The Hindu (India)
        China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) got a high octane boost last week, when Myanmar — facing the heat from the West because of the Rohingya refugee crisis — inked an agreement with Beijing to establish a cross border economic corridor. ...

  • 2018 Sep 16 - Sunday

      -------------

  • 2018 Sep 17 - Monday
      SPECIAL NOTE:
      U.S. TIGHTENS LIMIT on REFUGEES

      Monday, Sept. 17, 2018, President Trump issued orders to reduce the number of refugees that the U.S. admits annually -- fleeing war, persecution and violence -- to 30,000.

      That is one tenth, of one eleventh, of one percent of the U.S. population -- one refugee per 11,000 Americans.

      This is by far the tightest limit since the program was created in 1980, and a tiny fraction of the refugees taken by many other nations, rich and poor, around the world.

      Trump cut the authorized number in half, last year, down to 45,000 -- and his bureaucracy slowed admissions to the point that less than half of those were admitted last year.

      If the same happens this year, experts indicate that could reduce the actual number of refugees admitted into the U.S. to only 15,000 -- in a nation of 330,000,000 people.

      GLOBAL STANDING

      The U.S., with just 5% of the world's population, has 10% of the world's land (with the world's richest collection of natural resources) and 25% of the world's wealth.

      Yet the roughly 20,000 refugees that the U.S. admitted last year are only about one-tenth, of 1% of the estimated 25,700,000 refugees (of a total of 68,000,000 displaced people) around the world. All the rest are forced to find shelter in less-wealthy, more-generous nations.

      By comparison, much poorer, smaller Bangladesh -- responding to the Rohingya Crisis -- admitted over 750,000 refugees fleeing violence last year (more than 35 times as many as the U.S.), apparently saving the lives of countless thousands of men, women and children.

      Global leaders, and Trump's own State Department and Defense Department leaders, have warned that his unusual anti-refugee policy is undermining global respect and credibility for the United States. He has gone ahead with this policy, anyway. It is now the official policy of the United States.

      Details follow in the articles below:

    • State Department to cap
      admissions of refugees
      fleeing war, violence & persecution
      at lowest point ever:
      30,000.

          - USA Today
        The Trump administration will dramatically restrict the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States next year — permitting no more than 30,000 people fleeing war, violence and persecution across the globe to make a new home in America.
        That's down from the 45,000 refugee cap set last year, which was already the lowest since Congress passed the Refugee Act in 1980. ...

  • 2018 Sep 18 - Tuesday

  • 2018 Sep 19 - Wednesday

  • 2018 Sep 20 - Thursday

  • 2018 Sep 21 - Friday

    • OPINION ESSAY:
      Canada has recognized
      the Rohingya genocide.
      Now what should come next?

        by Irwin Cotler former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, professor emeritus of international law at McGill University, and the founding chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, and Brandon Silver, the centre’s director of policy and projects.

          - McCleans Magazine (Canada)
        We are now in the midst of an ongoing genocide, and the urgent need for action persists. Taking such action is not only a right, but a requirement.
        Indeed, as we mark the historic 70th anniversary year of the UN Convention on Genocide—to which Myanmar and Canada are both signatories—we must recall its legal obligations. In its first article, the Genocide Convention states that “the Contracting Parties confirm that genocide is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.”
        Likewise, the Responsibility to Protect Doctrine (R2P)—adopted unanimously in the UN 2005 World Summit Outcome Document—mandates international action to “protect a state’s population from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.”
        While members of the international community did not fulfill their obligations in either regard—leaving innocents to be murdered and maimed, tortured and tormented—it is not too late for the thousands of Rohingya remaining in northern Rakhine State and the other minorities in Kachin and Shan States who are now similarly being targeted with impunity.
        * * *
        A more compelling alternative, as put forth by the UN fact-finding mission, would be the establishment of an ad-hoc international tribunal—as was done in the cases of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda—that would exclusively and expeditiously undertake the task of investigating and prosecuting the perpetrators of the Rohingya genocide. ...
        * * *
        However, the most important chance for change from the status quo—of imperilled victims, and impunity for oppressors—is contained in the UN Convention on Genocide. Specifically, it allows for Canada to refer the case of Myanmar’s responsibility for the genocide of the Rohingya to the International Court of Justice. ...
        * * *
       

  • 2018 Sep 22 - Saturday

    • World leaders gather at UN
      under threat from unilateralism.

          - AP / Scranton (PA) Times-Tribune (USA)
        With rising unilateralism challenging its very existence, the United Nations convenes its annual meeting of world leaders Monday -- and will try once more to tackle problems together as a community of nations, addressing threats ranging from Mideast conflicts to the effects of global warming — and also encouraging the glimmer of hope over the nuclear standoff in North Korea.
        This year, 133 world leaders have signed up to attend the General Assembly session, a significant increase from last year's 114. ...
        * * *
        [U.N. Secretary-General] Guterres said last week that one of his overriding concerns in an increasingly globalized world is the threat to having the U.N.'s 193 member nations work together, which is the foundation of the United Nations.
        "Multilateralism is under attack from many different directions precisely when we need it most," the U.N. chief told reporters Thursday. "In different areas and for different reasons, the trust of people in their political establishments, the trust of states among each other, the trust of many people in international organizations has been eroded and ... multilateralism has been in the fire."
        * * *
        U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters that [U.S. President] Trump, who champions an "America First" policy, wants to talk about "protecting U.S. sovereignty," and she reiterated Washington's opposition to the 2015 Paris climate agreement on curbing global warming, and [opposition to] a newly agreed international compact aimed at regulating migration.
        "We really value sovereignty of the country," Haley said. "It is not saying multilateralism can't work, but it's saying sovereignty is a priority over all of that, and we always have to make sure we're doing that — and there are many countries that agree with us."
        Before stepping down as U.N. humanitarian chief Aug. 31, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein expressed serious concern that populism, intolerance and oppression are "becoming fashionable again."
        "It all builds, because once you start down the path of intolerance, it's very difficult to stop it, unless at the end of the day you have conflict," he said.
        * * *
        U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the United Nations has received 342 requests for meetings during the high-level week.
        They includes sessions on conflicts in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Mali and Central African Republic as well as the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, aid for Palestinians, education for girls, modern slavery, environmental threats, efforts to end poverty, and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. ...

  • 2018 Sep 23 - Sunday

      --------------

  • 2018 Sep 24 - Monday
      SPECIAL NOTE:
      Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, is the start of the United Nations General Assembly annual gathering of global leaders, at UN headquarters in New York City.
        This is the leading annual event in world diplomacy.
      Leaders of 133 nations will attend and speak, expresssing their values, priorities and concerns on international issues.
        Various gatherings and conferences -- some public, others private -- will be held to discuss, debate and negotiate possible solutions. The Rohingya Crisis will be among the topics discussed.

        At the same time, many nations will take exceptional actions to draw attention to their interests and help establish credibility for themselves and their positions.
        Among the events at the start of this week:

      • Myanmar rejects any right of the UN or ICC to intervene in the Rohingya Crisis.
      • U.S. releases report accusing Myanmar of 'planned and coordinated' Rohingya atrocities, but stops short of the legal term "genocide."
      • U.S. doubles its aid to Rohingya, but declares will not aid unfriendly nations.
      • U.S. radically hikes trade tariffs on China, Myanmar's principal ally.

      Articles detailing these stories and more, follow below (also see the previous Saturday's article):

      ~ RH, editor

    • Myanmar Army Chief Says
      'No Right to Interfere'
      as U.N. Weighs Rohingya Crisis.

          - Reuters / New York Times
        [Monday], Myanmar's army chief... warned against foreign interference, as world leaders gather at the United Nations to find ways to hold the country's powerful generals accountable for atrocities against Rohingya Muslims last year.
        In his first public comments on the subject since a report by a U.N. fact-finding mission this month, [Gen.] Min Aung Hlaing said Myanmar abided by U.N. pacts, but warned that "talks to meddle in internal affairs" cause "misunderstanding".
        "As countries set different standards and norms, any country, organization and group has no right to interfere in and make decision(s) over sovereignty of a country," Min Aung Hlaing said in comments reported in English on his website.
        * * *
        The U.N. mission [has] called for Min Aung Hlaing and five other generals to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity and genocide over allegations of mass killings and gang rapes.
        * * *
        [Gen.] Hlaing referred to the Rohingya as 'Bengalis' -- suggesting they belong in Bangladesh -- and said they must "accept scrutiny" under the country's 1982 Citizenship Law, [which] limits citizenship for those, like the Rohingya, who are not members of officially decreed ethnic groups. ...

    • U.S. accuses Myanmar military
      of 'planned and coordinated'
      Rohingya atrocities.

      [...but stops short of using
      the legal term "genocide."]

          - Reuters News Service
        A U.S. government investigation has found that Myanmar’s military waged a “well-planned and coordinated” campaign of mass killings, gang rapes and other atrocities against the Southeast Asian nation’s Rohingya Muslim minority.
        The U.S. State Department report, which was released on Monday, could be used to justify further U.S. sanctions or other punitive measures against Myanmar authorities, U.S. officials told Reuters.
        But it stopped short of describing the crackdown as "genocide" or "crimes against humanity" -- an issue that other U.S. officials said was the subject of fierce internal debate that delayed the report’s rollout for nearly a month. ...
        * * *
      The results of the U.S. investigation were released in low-key fashion -- posted on the State Department’s website -- nearly a month after U.N. investigators issued their own report accusing Myanmar’s military of acting with “genocidal intent” and calling for the country’s commander-in-chief and five generals to be prosecuted under international law.
        The [U.S.] report, however, proposes no new steps.
        One of the [U.S.] officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it would be up to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo whether to make such a “legal” designation in the future and did not rule out the possibility.
        A declaration of genocide by the U.S. government -- which has only gone as far as labeling the crackdown “ethnic cleansing” -- could have legal implications... committing Washington to stronger punitive measures against Myanmar. This has made some in the Trump administration wary of issuing such an assessment.
        * * *
        Asked whether the new U.S. findings could be used to bolster [an International Criminal Court (ICC)] prosecution [of Myanmar officials], the State Department official said no decision had been made on seeking “judicial accountability” over the Rohingya crisis.
        [NOTE: The U.S. President has recently begun a fierce dispute with the ICC over allegations of war crimes by U.S. personnel in Afghanistan, and repudiates any U.S. accountability to the ICC -- and has even threatened U.S. prosecution of ICC personnel, if the ICC prosecutes the accused U.S. personnel. ~RCN editor]
      The Trump administration, which has been criticized by human rights groups and some U.S. lawmakers for a cautious response to Myanmar, could now face added pressure to take a tougher stand.
        Sarah Margon, director of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch, said: “What’s missing now is a clear indication of whether the U.S. government intends to pursue meaningful accountability and help ensure justice for so many victims.” ...

    • U.S. almost doubles aid
      for Rohingya in
      Bangladesh, Myanmar.

          - Reuters News Service
        The United States almost doubled its aid for displaced Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh and Myanmar, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced on Monday as she pushed for U.N. investigators to brief the U.N. Security Council on the crisis.
        * * *
        She said the United States would give an extra $185 million in humanitarian aid, of which $156 million would go to refugees and host communities in Bangladesh, taking its total for the crisis to nearly $389 million in the past year.
        Haley had said last week that U.S. President Donald Trump would “lay down a marker” on U.S. foreign aid during his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday and that Washington would not be generous to countries “that try and stop the U.S. or say they hate America.”
        British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian hosted the closed-door ministerial meeting on the crisis, which diplomats said focused on accountability.
        “It’s time for the international community to move. I did also request the French and the British that I think we need to bring the fact finding mission and have that reported in the Security Council,” [U.S. Amb.] Haley said.
        About 16 countries plus the EU and top U.N. officials attended the meeting in New York on Monday, diplomats said.
        “It was a constructive meeting, but let’s see,” Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Pororashtrya Montri told Reuters, adding that the U.N. report should be the basis for accountability. ...

    • Trump's tariffs on $200 bn
      of Chinese imports
      kick in.

          - Agence France-Presse
        Donald Trump's threatened tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese imports took effect on Monday, escalating a trade war between the world's top two economies -- clouding the global outlook.
        The latest volley against Beijing brings the amount of goods hit by duties to more than $250 billion, covering roughly half of Chinese exports to the United States, ...
        * * *
        Dialogue between the world's two biggest economies appears severed. Beijing cancelled the visit of a Chinese negotiating team expected September 27-28 in Washington, The Wall Street Journal said. ...
        * * *
        The spiraling trade fight adds to the growing areas of friction between the rival powers.
        [NOTE: One of those areas of "friction" is the Rohingya Crisis, with China strongly supporting the Myanmar government against the Rohingya -- a policy directly at odds with the U.S. and western nations. ~RCN editor]

    • Bangladesh:
      Rohingya Refugees with Disabilities

          - Human Rights Watch
        Bangladesh’s overcrowded, hilly, and rain-soaked mega camp for ethnic Rohingya refugees is precarious for everyone, but especially for people with disabilities, Human Rights Watch said today in a new video. ...
        “Walking through the camps, we found large numbers of Rohingya refugees with disabilities,” said Bill Frelick, refugee rights director at Human Rights Watch. “Many of the people in the camp had acquired their disabilities from brutal attacks by Myanmar’s military.”
        Despite efforts by the United Nations, humanitarian organizations, and the refugees themselves to build handrails, many walkways are impassable for people who have difficulty walking.  ...

  • 2018 Sep 25 - Tuesday

  • 2018 Sep 26 - Wednesday

    • Myanmar's Delaying Tactics
      Blocking Rohingya Return:
      ~ Bangladesh Prime Minister

          - Reuters News Service
        Bangladesh's leader accused neighboring Myanmar of finding new excuses to delay the return of more than 700,000 Rohingya who were forced across the border over the past year, and said... that under no circumstance would the refugees remain permanently in her already crowded country. ...

    • Humanitarian media
      counter
      Rohingya refugee rumours.

          - Reuters / Straits Times (Singapore)
        As aid workers rushed to vaccinate Rohingya refugees against measles earlier this year, rumours swirled through the overcrowded camps in Bangladesh - that the injections would make women sterile and convert children into Christians.
        The anecdote, included in an August report from the United Nations children's agency, Unicef, illustrates how the refugees, who have fled Myanmar, are vulnerable to misinformation, "with little or no access to television, radio, or other media".
        In response, humanitarians are trying innovative projects to counter rumours... and [provide critical information]. ...

    • Lawmakers urge U.S. to call
      Myanmar's Rohingya campaign
      genocide.

          - Reuters News Service
        Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee called on the Trump administration on Wednesday to declare the Myanmar military’s campaign against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority a genocide -- days after a State Department report stopped short of that description.
        “Making a formal determination of genocide must be the next step for the U.S.,” Representative Ed Royce, the committee’s chairman, told a hearing on the issue. “Defining these atrocities for what they are is critical to building international public awareness – and support – to stop them.” ...
        * * *
        Representative Eliot Engel, the top committee Democrat, said the administration should take action, such as referring the matter to the International Criminal Court. ...
        * * *
        Several lawmakers have also asked the administration to press for the release of Reuters reporters Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who were convicted on Sept. 3 under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act in a case seen as a test of democratic freedoms in Myanmar.
        * * *
        Separately, two members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, ranking Democrat Bob Menendez and Republican Todd Young, asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo whether he had asked the Office of the Legal Adviser at the State Department for a formal legal determination of genocide.
        “We ask that you provide a formal legal determination regarding the actions of the Burmese military to Congress without delay,” they said in a letter...

  • 2018 Sep 27 - Thursday

    • Bangladesh point finger at Myanmar
      for Rohingya 'genocide'.

          - AP / Fox News
        Bangladeshi President Sheikh Hasina on Thursday accused Myanmar of failing to honor a verbal commitment to take back Rohingya Muslims who have fled a crackdown she described as tantamount to genocide.
        Hasina's remarks at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations:... "We are appalled by what we have seen in U.N. reports about atrocities against the Rohingya who have now taken shelter in Bangladesh, which are tantamount to genocide and crimes against humanity," Hasina told the General Assembly.
        She appealed for more international support for the 1.1 million Rohingya refugees now sheltering in Bangladesh, and urged an "early, peaceful solution" to the crisis. ...
        * * *
        "Despite their verbal commitment to take back the Rohingya, in reality the Myanmar authorities are yet to accept them back," Hasina said.
        International pressure is mounting on Myanmar, which is to address the General Assembly on Friday. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, on Thursday, hosted a ministerial-level meeting, on the sidelines of the assembly, to address the plight of the Rohingya -- following another hosted by Britain earlier in the week. Both were conducted behind closed doors. ...

  • 2018 Sep 28 - Friday

    • Running Around New York
      For The
      'Most Persecuted Minority
        In The World'

          - NPR (National Public Radio
        The United Nation's annual general assembly is currently underway in New York. The gathering is a smorgasbord of meetings... high-level... bilateral... and side meetings... sessions... special sessions... emergency special sessions. Leaders from around the globe with their... ministers and sub-ministers... [gathered] to tackle the world's problems.
        It's an opportunity to lobby on global issues...
        Hassan Abedin [of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation] came to try to galvanize a solution to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. His goal this week is to highlight the plight of... hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who've been driven out of Myanmar... now living in sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh.
        Despite how dramatic the exodus of Rohingya was from Myanmar last year, getting world leaders to focus on them now is not easy."The challenge is to be everywhere at all times," the 55-year-old Abedin says. "You want to catch ministers and heads of delegation. There so many meetings that are happening on humanitarian issues. You're literally rushing around...
        * * *
        Sarah Margon, the Washington director for Human Rights Watch, who's been active in calling for justice for the Rohingya, says, "keeping this on the forefront of diplomats' agenda is really difficult when the world is in such a state of upheaval."
        The Rohingya refugees have to compete for attention with Syrian refugees. There's the conflict in Yemen, the meltdown in Venezuela and the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
        "With so many large-scale crises," Margon says. "It's hard to get and secure and maintain the attention of a global leaders." To make sure the Rohingya are not forgotten and trapped in camps in Bangladesh, she says the issue needs to be pushed on multiple levels.

    • Confronting Genocide
      [Congressional leaders push
       for State Dept. declaration
       of Myanmar Rohingya genocide]

          - House of Representatives
      Foreign Affairs Committee blog
        Yesterday, Rep. Steve Chabot, Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel introduced a bipartisan measure to declare the Burmese military’s atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim minority genocide.
        This is a straightforward resolution to put the U.S. Congress on record. As Chairman Royce said earlier this week, “confronting genocide of the Rohyinga is a moral issue. And a national security issue.” ...
        [...also call for release of Reuters journalists.]

  • 2018 Sep 29 - Saturday

    • Obtain particulars of Rohingya
      for deportation,
      [India's Home Minister]
      Rajnath Singh tells states.

          - Indian Express (India)
        Calling all Rohingya in India “illegal immigrants”, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said Thursday state governments have been asked to observe their movements and obtain their personal details so they could be deported to Myanmar.
        Talking tough on the issue, he said all states including Kerala have been asked to collect data related to Rohingya as they have moved to different parts of the country.
        Singh, who recently said all Rohingya in India were “illegal immigrants” as none of them had applied for asylum as refugees, asked opposition parties not to make it a “political issue”.
        * * *
        Singh had earlier said India would not be violating any international law if it were to deport Rohingya as New Delhi is not a signatory to the UN Refugees Convention, 1951.

    • Railways alerts [India's] RPF
      [Railway Protection Force]
      over Rohingya exodus to
      [Indian state of] Kerala.

          - Times of India
        Acting on intelligence inputs from [India's] Railway Board, the Southern Railway has directed RPF units across all divisions to watch out for movement of huge number of Rohingyas travelling from northeastern states to Kerala [in southern India], and hand them over to local police.
        * * *
        Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday called all Rohingyas 'illegal immigrants,' and directed the state governments to monitor their movements, to enable their deportation to Myanmar. ...
        International agencies have requested India to adopt a more humane approach to the Rohingya.

    • Rohingya crisis:
      [Bangladesh's Prime Minister]
      pushes for quick solution.

          - Daily Star (Bangaldesh)
        Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has demanded immediate and effective implementation of the Myanmar-UN agreement on the solution to Rohingya crisis which is putting immense socioeconomic pressure on Bangladesh.
        Addressing the 73rd UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters on Thursday, she said the crisis has its origin in Myanmar and its solution also needs to be found there.
        The PM said Bangladesh was appalled by what it saw in UN reports about atrocities against the Rohingyas, which are tantamount to genocide and crimes against humanity.
        * * *
        Bangladesh wants an early and peaceful solution to the crisis, she said. “We expect the international community, particularly the UN, to give due importance to the atrocities and injustice suffered by the Rohingya population in Myanmar.” ...

  • 2018 Sep 30 - Sunday

    • [Association of SouthEast Asian Nations]
      (Asean) will help,
      but Myanmar has to
      exercise responsibility
      on Rohingya issue,
      [says Singapore's Foreign Minister]

          - Straits Times (Singapore)
        Myanmar should start repatriating the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh, and it must ensure that they return to a society where there is security, peace, justice and better prospects for everyone, said Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan ...[to] Singapore media in New York on Saturday (Sept 29).
        * * *
        At an Asean meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the key point made to Myanmar was that "we stand ready to help", said Dr Balakrishnan. And the important step next is that the refugees are repatriated in a safe and dignified manner, which needs to occur soon.
        * * *
        Asean supported the Independent Commission of Enquiry appointed by the Myanmar government in July to collect evidence of serious international crimes committed in Myanmar.
        * * *
        "We expect this inquiry to be conducted impartially, expeditiously, independently - and hold people who are responsible fully accountable," Dr Balakrishnan said.
        * * *
        But he also urged focus on the humanitarian crisis. ...


OCTOBER 2018:

  • 2018 Oct 1 - Monday

      --------------

  • 2018 Oct 2 - Tuesday

    • Myanmar's Neighbors
      Urge Accountability
      for Rakhine Violence

          - Reuters / New York Times
        Southeast Asian foreign ministers have urged Myanmar to give a full mandate to an inquiry commission to hold accountable those responsible for the violence in Rakhine state, Singapore said on Tuesday.
        The ministers, who met informally on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly last week, expressed grave concern over the violence, Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan told parliament, calling it a "man-made humanitarian disaster". ...
        Singapore chairs ASEAN [(the Association of SoutEast Asian Nations)] this year and regional leaders will meet next month in the city-state.
        * * *
        ASEAN, formed more than half a century ago, has historically struggled with challenges facing the region because it works only by consensus and is reluctant to get involved in any matter deemed to be internal to any of its members. ...
        But amid the international condemnation, it appears to be taking a firmer stance. ...

    • Canada Revokes
      Myanmar Leader's
      Honorary Citizenship.

      Parliament declares Myanmar actions 'genocide'

          - AP / New York Times
        Canada's Parliament formally stripped Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary Canadian citizenship, on Tuesday, for complicity in the atrocities committed against Myanmar's Rohingya people.
        The Senate voted unanimously to strip Suu Kyi, Myanmar's civilian leader, of the symbolic honor bestowed on her in 2007.
        The upper house's move follows a similar unanimous vote in the House of Commons last week. ...

  • 2018 Oct 3 - Wednesday

    • EU Considers Trade Sanctions
      on Myanmar
      Over Rohingya Crisis

          - Reuters / New York Times
        The European Union is considering trade sanctions on Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis, potentially stripping the country of tariff-free access to the world's largest trading bloc, three EU officials said.
        The sanctions, under discussion at the European Commission, would include Myanmar's lucrative textile industry and potentially put at risk thousands of jobs there but would not come into effect immediately, giving the EU leverage to stop what the West says is ethnic cleansing of Muslim Rohingya. ...

    • India sends seven Rohingya to border
      to be deported to Myanmar
      despite U.N. alarm.

          - The Star (Myanmar)   Indian police bused seven Rohingya Muslims to the border on Wednesday to be deported to neighbouring Myanmar for illegal entry, officials and activists said, the first such move against the community.
        An estimated 40,000 Rohingya, a stateless Muslim minority, live in India after having fled persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar over the years. The seven men being sent back had been held in prison since 2012 for illegal entry into the country.
        Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government has described illegal Rohingya immigrants as posing a national security threat, and asked state governments last year to identify and deport them. ...
        * * *
        But a UN human rights official said the forcible return of the Rohingya violates international law.
        “The Indian Government has an international legal obligation to fully acknowledge the institutionalised discrimination, persecution, hate and gross human rights violations these people have faced in their country of origin and provide them the necessary protection," UN Special Rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume, said in a statement.
        Myanmar’s government spokesman, Zaw Htay, did not answer telephone calls on Wednesday from Reuters seeking comment on the handover of the men. Last month, he said he would no longer speak to the media over the phone but only at a biweekly conference. ...

  • 2018 Oct 4 - Thursday

    • India deports Rohingya Muslims,
      drawing U.N. ire.

          - Washington Post
        India deported seven Rohingya Muslims who had fled their native Myanmar back to their country Thursday, sparking concerns that the move could endanger their lives and violate international laws that protect refugees.
        The move comes as India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has escalated its rhetorical attacks on migrants who have entered the country illegally. The party’s powerful president, Amit Shah, has repeatedly promised to deport all such migrants, and portrayed them as a security threat. At a public rally in September, he likened them to “termites.”
        The northeastern state of Assam, where the seven men were imprisoned since 2012, has been ramping up efforts to identify and deport immigrants who are in the country illegally. ...
        (Official statement at:
        - Human Rights Watch
          Forced Returns Threaten Life, Liberty; Violate International Law. ... )

    • India deports Rohingya Muslims
      to Myanmar.

          - Associated Press / Fox News
        India on Thursday deported its first group of Rohingya Muslims since the government last year ordered the expulsion of members of the Myanmar minority group and others who entered the country illegally.
        The deportation was carried out after the Supreme Court rejected a last-minute plea by the seven men's lawyer that they be allowed to remain in India because they feared reprisals in Myanmar. They were arrested in 2012 for entering India illegally and have been held in prison since then.
        * * *
        An estimated 40,000 other Rohingya have taken refuge in parts of India. Less than 15,000 are registered with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
        Many have settled in areas of India with large Muslim populations, including the southern city of Hyderabad, the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, and the Himalayan region of Jammu-Kashmir. Some have taken refuge in northeast India bordering Bangladesh and Myanmar.
        The Indian government says it has evidence there are extremists who pose a threat to the country's security among the Rohingya. India is fighting insurgencies in northern Kashmir and in its northeastern states.

  • 2018 Oct 5 - Friday

    • UN blasts India's deportation
      of Rohingya to Myanmar.

          - AFP / Times of India
        The United Nations (UN) on Friday slammed India's deportation of seven Rohingya men to Myanmar despite warnings they could face persecution in a country where the military is accused of genocide against the Muslim minority.
        The UN refugee agency said it was "greatly concerned" for the safety and security of the seven men who were returned to Myanmar from India on Thursday.
        The men, who had been in detention for immigration offences since 2012, were handed over to Myanmar authorities at a border crossing in India's northeast state of Manipur.
        Before their deportation, the UN had voiced concern that returning the men ignored the danger they faced in Myanmar, where for decades the Rohingya have been targeted in violent pogroms by security forces. ...

    • ASEAN Talks Tough
      on Rohingya Crisis.

          - VOA (Voice of America)
            (U.S. propaganda radio)
        A groundswell of international condemnation of Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and her government's refusal to take action on atrocities committed against Myanmar's Rohingya minority, is spreading closer to home.
        * * *
        Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- who usually stand by the block's mantra of non-interference in each other's internal affairs -- have now joined the chorus of outrage — calling for prosecutions of those responsible. ...

    • Myanmar's 'Buddhist bin Laden' Wirathu
      blasts international community.

        Myanmar protesters rally in support of military.

          - South China Morning Post (China)
        An ultra-nationalist monk – dubbed the “Buddhist Bin Laden” – on Sunday criticised the international community for calls to bring Myanmar’s generals to justice over the Rohingya crisis.
        Firebrand monk Wirathu, known as the face of Myanmar’s Buddhist nationalist movement, was speaking at a pro-military rally. ...
        * * *
        The hate speech he espouses – which includes calling the Rohingya Muslim minority “Bengali” in an attempt to delegitimize their identity as being from Myanmar – has also caused Facebook to ban him from their platform. ...
        * * *
        He lauded China and Russia in the UN Security Council as “nationalist giants who stand with the truth” in their role of preventing any firm action against Myanmar. ...
        * * *
        While much of the world has regarded the unfolding Rohingya crisis with horror, most people within Myanmar side with the military, as the Muslim minority group is widely detested. ...

  • 2018 Oct 6 - Saturday

    • EU to hit Cambodia
      with trade sanctions,
      says Myanmar may follow.

          - Reuters News Service
        The European Union told Cambodia on Friday it will lose its special access to the world’s largest trading bloc, and said it was considering similar trade sanctions for Myanmar in a toughening of EU policy on human rights in Southeast Asia
        * * *
        The EU warned Cambodia in July that it could lose its special trade status after elections returned a strongman to power after 30 years in office, and it has censured Myanmar over its treatment of the Muslim Rohingya. ...

    • Uncertainty shadows the Rohingya
      in Bangladesh's Kutupalong refugee camp.

          - The Hindu (India)
        Safe now in Bangladesh’s sprawling camps, refugees are haunted by the violence that forced them to flee, and seek assurances before they return. ...

  • 2018 Oct 7 - Sunday

    • India’s Rohingya refugees
      struggle with hatred, fear
      as first group is expelled.

          - Reuters News Service
        * * *
        ...on Oct. 3,... India moved seven Rohingya men out of a... detention center and took them to the [Myanmar] border.
        They were handed to the Myanmar authorities the next day -- the first ever such deportations of Rohingya here -- spreading panic among an estimated 40,000 refugees who have fled to India
      from its neighbor.
        About 16,500 of the refugees... have been issued identity cards by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that it says helps them “prevent harassment, arbitrary arrests, detention and deportation”.
        India says it does not recognize the cards and has rejected the UN’s stand that deporting the Rohingya violates the principle of refoulement -- sending back refugees to a place where they face danger. ...
        * * *
        In recent days, Reuters interviewed dozens of Rohingya in two settlements, one in the northern city of Jammu and a smaller one in the capital, Delhi, and found communities who feel they are being increasingly vilified.
        Many now fear Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government is about to act on its stated position – that it wants to deport all Rohingya Muslims from the country. With a general election due by next May, they worry that targeting them will be a populist tactic used by Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
        Addressing an election rally in the central state of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, BJP chief Amit Shah said that all illegal immigrants were “like termites eating into the nation’s security”.
        “Elect us back next year and the BJP will not allow a single one of them to stay in this country,” Shah said,
      without specifically mentioning any group of migrants.
        [RCN EDITOR's NOTE: The BJP is not only nationalist, but rather "religionist", affiliated with India's 80% Hindu majority, and antagonistic to its 20% Muslim minority; the Rohingya refugees are also Muslim.]
        * * *
        The atmosphere facing the Rohingya in India has been getting increasingly ugly.
        Jammu’s Chamber of Commerce & Industry last year threatened to launch an “identify and kill movement” against the settlers, which it said pushed the government into taking the issue of Rohingya more seriously.
        The chamber’s president, Rakesh Gupta, told Reuters on Friday that there was nothing new in taking the law into one’s hands if “someone becomes a threat to our security, to the nation’s security, and the security forces don’t tackle them”.
        In some of the more virulent parts of India’s media, the Rohingya are not only accused of being terrorists but also of trafficking in drugs and humans, and of having the money to elbow out local businesses. ...

    • Rohingya refugees refuse to return,
      say ‘deported Rohingyas
      will be killed soon’

          - Economic Times / Times of India
        Rohingya Refugees staying in Indian camps have expressed concern over being deported to Myanmar.

  • 2018 Oct 8 - Monday

    • Aung San Suu Kyi
      promises 'transparency'
      over Rohingya atrocities.

          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        Embattled leader Aung San Suu Kyi vowed Monday (Oct 8) to increase transparency over her government's handling of the Rohingya crisis, while pitching for foreign investment in Myanmar, ahead of a regional summit in Tokyo.
        Aung San Suu Kyi -- once garlanded as a global rights champion -- has seen a sharp fall from grace, due to her failure to speak up, following a brutal military crackdown on Myanmar's Rohingya minority.
        "I'm ready to acknowledge that we have challenges to face, particularly with regard to the Rakhine, and with the struggles we have on the peace front," Aung San Suu Kyi said -- in a speech before Japanese businessmen -- referring to Myanmar's westernmost state, where the minority dwelled.
        "We are not hiding this fact from our friends," she said.
        In the speech ahead of the summit in Tokyo, Aung San Suu Kyi said she was aware that peace and stability in her country were necessary for attracting foreign investment.
        "We understand that peace, reconciliation, harmony, stability, rule of law, human rights -- all these have to be taken into consideration when we are looking for more investment, for greater economic opportunities," she said.
        "We wish to be very open and transparent to our friends," she said. "If you have concerns, if you have worries, please discuss this openly with us." ...
        * * *
        Aung San Suu Kyi's supporters say her hands are tied by a still-powerful military, which controls a quarter of parliament's seats and three ministries.
        On Tuesday, she is to hold a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who chairs the regional summit drawing Southeast Asian leaders.

    • Madrassas a place of prayer and peace for Rohingya kids
          - AFP / Philippine Daily Inquirer (Philippines)

  • 2018 Oct 9 - Tuesday

    • Myanmar must back
      'credible' Rohingya inquiry,
      Japanese Prime Minister
      tells [Myanmar's] Suu Kyi.

          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        Myanmar leaders agrees need for ‘accurate’ investigation but her government has rejected foreign efforts

        Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has told Myanmar’s leader that a credible investigation into alleged human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims is key to resolving the crisis.
        Abe told a joint news conference after talks with Aung San Suu Kyi that Japan would support efforts by Myanmar to accommodate Rohingya who returned home from refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh.
        “This problem is complicated and serious, and Japan will think with Myanmar and support its effort in resolving the problem,” Abe said on Tuesday. “A credible investigation by the independent panel is particularly important.” ...

    • Myanmar 'unwilling'
      to probe Rohingya abuse
      - UN must act:
      ~ Rights envoy

          - AFP / France 24
        Myanmar is "unable and unwilling" to investigate its abuses against Rohingya Muslims, a UN rights envoy has said, bolstering calls for the country's generals to be hauled before an international court.
        A UN fact-finding mission has called for Myanmar's top brass to be investigated for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes over a brutal crackdown against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state that forced more than 720,000 of the beleaguered minority to flee the country to Bangladesh.
       , Myanmar has dismissed the allegations, slamming the UN body as biased, and the government has set up its own committee to investigate the crimes.
        But UN special rapporteur to Myanmar, Yanghee Lee -- who has been barred from entering the country since December -- said the government has shown little capacity for an unbiased probe into the violence, saying it has taken "limited and insufficient steps".
        "[Myanmar] is unable and unwilling to discharge its obligation to conduct credible, prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations and prosecutions," Lee said in a report she published via her Twitter account on Monday.
        Given Myanmar's refusal to hold itself accountable, she added, it was up to international courts to seek justice.
        "The onus is on the international community to take action... Any delay in instituting justice will only result in more violations."
        In her conclusions she recommended the UN should "refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court immediately".

    • The world decries
      Myanmar’s Rohingya abuses.
      Myanmar’s reply:
      denial, defiance and propaganda.

          - Washington Post
        Faced with international pressure and mounting calls for accountability over their atrocities against the Rohingya, Myanmar has mounted a defense of denial and defiance. Among the collateral damage is the reputation of Suu Kyi, which many see as tarnished and compromised.
        For diplomats, aid groups and others, the attempt to shift the narrative is more evidence that Myanmar is unable or unwilling to correct long-standing discrimination against the beleaguered Rohingya. ...

  • 2018 Oct 10 - Wednesday

    • UN Envoy Meets With Myanmar’s
      Aung San Suu Kyi
      to Discuss Rohingya Crisis.

          - RFA (Radio Free Asia)
            (U.S. propaganda radio)
        The United Nations special envoy to Myanmar met with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw on Friday to discuss the Rohingya crisis in beleaguered Rakhine state -- where the repatriation of some of the 720,000 Muslim refugees (who fled to Bangladesh last year during a crackdown)has yet to get fully under way.
        Christine Schraner Burgener, appointed to her post in April by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, spoke with Myanmar’s leader about how the U.N. can help with the return and resettlement of the Rohingya, said Chan Aye, director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
        * * *
        Myanmar political analyst Aung Thu Nyein said Burgener's current visit is very important, especially considering that the U.N. has recently put a lot of pressure on Myanmar, and that earlier this year the government refused to let a U.N.-mandated commission into the country to investigate the situation in Rakhine.
        “Considering the way she was welcomed on arrival at the airport, it seems that the government is not placing much emphasis on the visit,” he said. “[But] we have to realize that this woman has the power to serve as a negotiator to address the differences between the U.N. and the Myanmar government.”
        Burgener will also likely broach the topic of Myanmar’s stalled peace process which Aung San Suu Kyi is spearheading to try to end seven decades of civil war in the country.
        “In the past, special envoys did not have the opportunity to talk about the peace process, but now this woman has the chance to give suggestions or advice on the issue to the parties concerned,” said Aung Myo Min, executive director of Equality Myanmar, an NGO that facilitates human rights education and advocacy programs.
        “But the question is how much the Myanmar government or the world will listen to her recommendations,” said Aung Myo Min, who met Burgener during her first visit to Myanmar in June.
        * * *
        Besides the U.N.-appointed fact-finding mission, Myanmar has also refused to let in representatives from the U.N.’s human rights office and the special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar to probe the Rakhine crisis.
        * * *
        The government, however, has agreed to work with the U.N.’s refugee and development agencies, which are conducting field assessments and surveys in northern Rakhine to facilitate the return and reintegration of Rohingya refugees.
        * * *
        Meanwhile, six Rohingya, including a family of five who had fled to Bangladesh, returned to Rakhine state on Wednesday after authorities approved them for repatriation, Maungdaw district administrator Myint Khine told RFA's Myanmar Service. ...
        * * *
        “Their houses had been ravaged by fire, so they are now living with friends in the town,” he said, adding that the refugee reception center has provided them with basic staples such as rice, oil, and beans, as well as blankets and mosquito nets.

    • Myanmar newspaper journalists held
      after handing themselves in to police

          - Reuters News Service
        Three senior journalists at Myanmar's largest private newspaper were remanded in custody after handing themselves in to police on Wednesday, facing accusations of causing "fear or alarm" following a complaint from the Yangon regional government.

    • Rohingya teen
      dreams of higher ed
      from squalid refugee camp.

          - Associated Press

  • 2018 Oct 11 - Thursday

    • Bangladesh to relocate 25,000 Rohingyas
      in first batch
      to Bhasanchar [island]

          - BDnews24.com (Bangladesh)
        * * *
        Bhasanchar is 10,000 acres at high tide and 15,000 acres at low tide. No-one lives on the island, which is mostly used for cattle grazing.
        In 2013, the area was declared a forest reserve. Motor boats are the only mode of travel to the river islands.
        Earlier this year, Reuters published a report calling the island dangerous for habitation, saying it was prone to bandit attacks, floods and cyclones. A report from the Bangladesh Forests Division last February also called it unsuitable for habitation.

    • Rohingya family
      makes rare return
      to Myanmar
      from Bangladesh.

        Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a deal to bring back the Rohingya but many fear returning without guaranteed rights
          - Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)
        A Rohingya family of five has returned to Myanmar from Bangladesh, sources said Thursday, a rare development while a large-scale repatriation deal remains stalled. ...

  • 2018 Oct 12 - Friday

      --------------

  • 2018 Oct 13 - Saturday

    • Returning to Myanmar’s
      troubled Rakhine state,
      this time more closely watched
      than ever.

      This is what journalists are shown
      on a Myanmar propaganda tour.

          - Washington Post
        Between 2013 and 2016, I made almost 10 trips to Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state. But none was quite like this one.
        After months of waiting, the Myanmar government granted me a seven-day visa to travel to Rakhine as part of a carefully organized media trip.
        * * *
        From the moment the foreign journalists landed in Rakhine’s capital, we were ferried around in convoys with police escorts, and our rules of engagement were clear: no unauthorized stops, a specified amount of time at each location, no going out on our own after nightfall. ...
        * * *
        In one of the few Muslim villages left standing, the Myanmar government gathered Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist men in the village hall, and instructed them to tell us how they were all living peacefully. Only a few Muslim men would say anything to reporters; others remained silent, uncomfortable at the whole exercise.
        When we contacted one later, he told us they were essentially given a script — one that he did not feel comfortable parroting because it was so far removed from reality. ...

  • 2018 Oct 14 - Sunday

    • Rohingya Refugees in India
      Rattled After
      First-Ever Deportations.

          - VOA (Voice of America)
            (U.S. propaganda radio)   The Rohingya camps in India’s Haryana state, adjoining the capital, New Delhi, lie far from the country’s northeast from where Indian authorities deported seven Rohingya men to Myanmar earlier this month. But the first-ever deportations have caused deep worries here of more repatriations of the Muslim minority that fled persecution and violence in Myanmar.
        As it takes a tougher stand on illegal immigrants, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has said it plans to send back the estimated 40,000 Rohingyas living in the country.
        They are scattered throughout India, living in dreary camps. ...

  • 2018 Oct 15 - Monday

  • 2018 Oct 16 - Tuesday

    • U.N. says Rohingya refugee girls
      sold into forced labor
      in Bangladesh

          - Reuters News Service
        Rohingya refugee girls are being sold into forced labor to raise money for desperate families in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh, according to the United Nations’ migration agency.
        The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it had identified 99 cases of human trafficking during the year starting September 2017, although it cautioned that the true number was likely far greater.
        Of the victims, 35 were girls and 31 were women, the IOM said in a report this week. Thirty-one of the girls ended up in forced labor as did 26 of the women.
        “The stories we commonly hear are of vulnerable people being approached by traffickers with false promises of work and a better life,” said IOM spokeswoman Dina Parmer, adding some refugees were unaware of the risks.
        “Others may be aware it is dangerous, but feel their situation is so desperate that they are willing to take extreme measures, perhaps sacrificing one family member for the sake of the rest of the family,” she said in a statement.
        The rest of the trafficking survivors comprised of 25 adult men and eight boys who were forced into labor. Five women and four girls ended up in situations of sexual exploitation. ...
        * * *
        The Bangladeshi charity Young Power in Social Action (YPSA)... has been collecting reports from Rohingya community leaders, as well as local and international groups.
        “More than 1,000 have been identified as victims of human trafficking,” said Jishu Barua of the YPSA. ...

  • 2018 Oct 17 - Wednesday

    • Nine U.N. Security Council members
      ask to discuss Myanmar inquiry.

          - Reuters News Service
        The chair of a United Nations inquiry -- that accused Myanmar’s military of genocide -- is likely to brief the Security Council this month, after Britain, France, the United States and six other members requested the meeting...
        * * * *
        The U.N. inquiry’s report, released in August, called for the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar, impose targeted sanctions and set up an ad hoc tribunal to try suspects or refer them to the International Criminal Court.
        Diplomats say Security Council veto powers China and Russia are likely to protect Myanmar from any push for such measures.
        However, they cannot block the briefing on the U.N. report ...

    • VIDEO:
      Rohingya refugees stuck
      in horrific stalemate.

          - CNN (Cable News Network)

    • Senate leader: Congress
      should not join 'pile-on'
      on Myanmar's Suu Kyi.

          - Reuters News Service
        Republican leader of the U.S. Senate said on Wednesday that civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains the best hope for Myanmar and that it would not be helpful for Congress to join an international “pile-on” against her over a military crackdown on the country’s Rohingya Muslims.
        “The pile-on has been quite obvious. It’s also noteworthy that it hasn’t done any good,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said...
        * * *
        She and McConnell have had a close relationship for years, and he has an enduring interest in the country. ...
        * * *
        So far he has not allowed Senate votes on legislation to punish or condemn Myanmar’s action against the Rohingya.
        Asked what might change his stance, McConnell said he did not see a “helpful” role for Congress to take action. ...

  • 2018 Oct 18 - Thursday

  • 2018 Oct 19 - Friday

    • VIDEO:
      A Rohingya Villager’s
      Forensic Quest for Justice.

          - Wall Street Journal
        Ahammed Hossain, a Rohingya village leader who survived one of Myanmar’s biggest massacres, has investigated and listed crimes allegedly committed by the military against his people. “If we get justice, we might be happy again,” he said. ...

    • Six Rohingya Die in
      IDP Camp Blaze
      in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

      [IDP camps 'Like... living in a jail’']

          - RFA (Radio Free Asia)
            (U.S. propaganda radio)
        Six Rohingya died in a blaze early Friday caused by embers from a kitchen fire at the Ohn Daw Che camp in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state, highlighting the dangers of overpopulated camps housing the stateless Muslim minority group, Rakhine fire department officials said.
        Among the dead at the internally displaced persons (IDP) camp -- which houses about 4,000 Rohingya in Sittwe township -- are two children, aged 11 and 12, they said. The others who perished are men aged 20, 30, 45, and 60.
        Charges have been filed against a Rohingya man who caused the fire... fire department officials said.
        The blaze burned down 15 buildings that housed more than 800 people from 141 households, forcing them to seek shelter with relatives or in makeshift tents, they said.
        “Two-thirds of the fire victims are staying in temporary tents because their relatives don’t have any more room in their homes,” a local resident who did not provide his name told RFA’s Myanmar Service. “They urgently need food and waterproof plastic sheets for their temporary tents.”
        * * *
        Myanmar is in the process of closing down IDP camps in Rakhine’s Sittwe district and in Kyauktaw and Myebon townships, where mostly Rohingya were housed following waves of clashes in the ethnically and religiously divided state in 2012 that left more than 200 people dead and displaced about 140,000 Muslims.
        More than 94,000 Rohingya live in the dozen IDP camps that remain in Sittwe township.

        Colonel Phone Tint, Rakhine state’s security and border affairs minister, told RFA on Friday that the government has built 100 houses for Muslim IDPs in Myebon, and plans to build 642 additional houses so that the township’s camps can be shut down.
        “We are also working to shut down IDP and refugee camps in Sittwe township,” he said.
        In August, authorities closed the Nidin IDP camp in Kyauktaw township and resettled the nearly 600 Rohingya who had been living there in new homes in Nidin village.
        The camp closures are being overseen by a Myanmar government committee responsible for implementing recommendations by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, a group led by late former U.N. chief Kofi Annan that proposed ways to solve sectarian tensions between Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists in the state.
        The commission’s report called for
      • the closure of IDP camps,
      • reviews of Myanmar’s 1982 Citizenship Law (which prevents the Rohingya from becoming citizens), and
      • an end to restrictions on Rohingya
      • ...to preclude further violence in the region.

        * * *
        ‘We are living in a jail’
       
        Those still confined to the camps complain about restrictions on their movements and other limitations that are part of the systematic discrimination that the Rohingya face in Myanmar --
      where they are denied citizenship, because they are viewed as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
        “We face many hardships in the camp,” said Thein Maung, an official at the Darpaing IDP camp in the rural area of Sittwe township.
        “We could travel freely before when we lived in Sittwe, [but] we now have to travel with security guards, even when we really need to travel for emergency health care,” he said. “It is like we are living in a jail.”
        Though the Muslims who live in the camp have rice, cooking oil, salt, and some medicine, they didn’t have cooking oil for two months, but were given money instead, he said.
        * * *
        “If they pay us money instead for rice and cooking oil, these items are very expensive, and we are not allowed to travel to buy them,” he said.
        Kyaw Sein, a resident of the Bawduba IDP camp in Sittwe, said that donor organizations that have provided food to the Rohingya, who have been living there since 2012, don’t always provide enough for them to eat.
        “We have food if there are donors, but we have nothing to eat if there are no donors,” he said. “The donors haven’t given us enough rice this month, and they don’t give us any more cooking oil.”
        “We can’t work outside the camp because we are not allowed to leave,” he said. “It’s terrible.” ...

  • 2018 Oct 20 - Saturday

    • 8000 Rohingyas to return
      to Myanmar soon,
      [Bangladesh's Foreign Minister]
      tells ASEM Summit.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        [Bangladeshi] Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali has expressed hope that the first batch of eight thousand Rohingya people would be able to return to their original villages in Rakhine State of Myanmar soon. ...
        * * *
        He made the remark while delivering his statement... in Brussels on Friday [at] the 12th Asia-Europe Summit (12thASEM)... in Brussels... October 18-19.
        ...Leaders from fifty-three ASEM partners attended...

  • 2018 Oct 21 - Sunday

  • 2018 Oct 22 - Monday

    • OPINION ESSAY:
      Why the U.S. Should Issue
      a Legal Determination on
      Crimes Committed Against Rohingya.

      by Olivia Enos, Policy Analyst,
          - Asian Studies Center
            The Heritage Foundation
            (conservative U.S. political think-tank)
        The Rohingya crisis is an opportunity for the U.S. to demonstrate that it will continue to lead in promoting human rights and freedom worldwide.
        The U.S. should:
      • Issue a legal determination on crimes committed against Rohingya,
      • Continue to provide robust humanitarian assistance,
      • Issue additional targeted financial measures against those responsible for crimes committed, and
      • Undertake a comprehensive reset of U.S. policy toward Burma.
      U.S. leadership is crucial to galvanizing critical, life-saving support in the aftermath of the Rohingya crisis. The U.S. should take these steps to demonstrate its enduring leadership in promoting rights and freedoms across the globe. ...

  • 2018 Oct 23 - Tuesday

    • U.S. Threatens to Punish Myanmar
      Over Treatment of Rohingya.

          - New York Times

    • EU delivers on its pledge
      to support Rohingyas
      in Bangladesh.

          - UNB (United News of Bangladesh)
        The European Union has said it is committed to help finding a sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis, and delivered additional €15 million [US$17million] in support to assist Rohingyas in Bangladesh.
        * * *
        The EU has so far made available €65 million [US$75million] in humanitarian assistance, EU Embassy in Dhaka said on Tuesday. It has been providing substantial political, development and humanitarian support in response to the Rohingya refugee crisis from the outset.

    • MPs accuse government
      of complacency over
      'fake news' on Facebook.
      [attacks on Rohingya noted]

          - BBC
        The [British] government is not taking the urgent action needed to protect democracy from "fake news" on Facebook and other social media, [Members of Parliament] have warned.
        * * *
        Mr. Collins praised the government's efforts to tackle "hate speech" in Burma, which the committee said was "a further example of Facebook failing to take responsibility for the misuse of its platform".
        Facebook insisted it was tackling the problem after UN investigators said the platform had played a "determining role" in stirring up hatred against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
        Mr Collins said he would be raising this and other issues with Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, when he appears before the committee on Wednesday.

    • EDITORIAL:
      Put the pressure on Myanmar.

          - Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)
        International pressure is crucial to ensure that Myanmar recognizes the terrible crimes that have been committed
      The world is finally waking up to the atrocities carried out by Myanmar against the Rohingya people.
        * * *
        Unless and until Myanmar is forced to change its ways, and recognize the Rohingya as citizens of their country with all their rights restored, the Rohingya have no hope of ever returning to their homeland.

  • 2018 Oct 24 - Wednesday

    • Rohingya genocide
      is still going on,
      says top UN investigator.

        Head of fact-finding mission says Myanmar’s leaders are denying abuse of Muslim group.

          - Associated Press / Washington Post
      • Genocide is still taking place against Rohingya Muslims remaining in Myanmar,
         
        and
      • The Myanmar government is increasingly demonstrating that it has no interest in establishing a fully functioning democracy,
      • according to UN investigators.

          * * *
          Marzuki Darusman, chair of the UN fact-finding mission on Myanmar, said thousands of Rohingya are still fleeing to Bangladesh, and the estimated 250,000 to 400,000 who have remained... “continue to suffer the most severe” restrictions and repression. “It is an ongoing genocide that is taking place at the moment,” he told a news conference on Wednesday.
          Darusman said the requirements for genocide, except perhaps for killings, “continue to hold” for Rohingya still in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state. These include
        • causing serious bodily harm,
        • inflicting conditions designed to destroy the Rohingya, and
        • imposing measures to prevent births,
        ...he said.
          Yanghee Lee, the UN special investigator on human rights in Myanmar, said she and many others in the international community hoped the situation under Aung San Suu Kyi “would be vastly different from the past — but it is really not that much different from the past”.
          She added later that she thinks Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace prize laureate, and former political prisoner, who now leads Myanmar’s civilian government, “is in total denial” about accusations that the military in Buddhist-majority Myanmar raped, murdered and tortured Rohingya and burned their villages, sending about 700,000 fleeing to Bangladesh since last August.
          “The government is increasingly demonstrating that it has no interest and capacity in establishing a fully functioning democracy, where all its people equally enjoy all their rights and freedoms,” Lee said. “It is not upholding justice and rule of law”,...she added.
          * * *
          Suu Kyi’s government has rejected independent international investigations into the alleged abuses and has commissioned its own probe....
          “The Myanmar government’s hardened positions are by far the greatest obstacle,” Darusman told reporters.
        • “Its continued denials,
        • “its attempts to shield itself under the cover of national sovereignty, and
        • “its dismissal of 444 pages of details about... recent human rights violations that point to the most serious crimes under international law”
        ...strengthens the need for international action, because “accountability cannot be expected from the national processes,” he said. ...
          * * *
          At the [U.N. Security Council] meeting, Darusman said the fact-finding mission concluded that last year’s events were “a human rights catastrophe that was foreseeable and planned,” and it conservatively estimates there were “10,000 Rohingya deaths.”
          “Remaining Rohingya in Rakhine state are at grave risk,” he said, and returning Rohingya from Bangladesh would be “tantamount to condemning them to life as sub-humans and further mass killing.”
          Darusman said the Security Council should:
        • Refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or another international tribunal, and also
        • Impose an arms embargo on Myanmar,
        • Impose a ban on transactions with all military-related enterprises
        • Impose sanctions against those alleged to be most responsible for atrocities against the Rohingya.

          “There can be no ‘moving on’ from this crisis without addressing its root causes — all of which continue to exist today, primarily the presence of an unaccountable military that acts with complete impunity,”
        he said.

          The Netherlands’ deputy U.N. ambassador... said her government will push quickly for a Security Council resolution [to] refer Myanmar to the ICC.
          But council action appeared highly unlikely because of its deep divisions, and almost certain opposition from China and Russia, both veto-wielding council members. ...
        [MORE...]


    • Australia slaps sanctions
      on Myanmar army top brass
      over violence against Rohingya.

          - Reuters / Straits Times (Singapore)
        Australia on Tuesday (Oct 23) slapped travel and financial sanctions on five top Myanmar military officers -- accused of overseeing brutal violence against Rohingya Muslims by units under their command -- following similar moves by the European Union [(in June)] and United States [(in August)].
        * * *
        ...Australia, which has previously provided training for Myanmar's army and refrained from imposing sanctions, on Tuesday responded to the UN report by targeting four of the men named, and one other senior commander. ...
        * * *
        A separate document named the officers; Aung Kyaw Zaw, Aung Aung, Maung Maung Soe, Than Oo and Khin Maung Soe. It said financial dealings with them can now attract penalties of A$1.7 million (S$1.66 million) for companies and 10 years jail for individuals.
        * * *
        ...Like the United States, Australia omitted Myanmar's military chief, Min Aung Hlaing from the sanctions.

  • 2018 Oct 25 - Thursday

    • OPINION ESSAY:
      The Rohingya deserve
      dignity and a safe home.
      [Two possible solutions...]

      by
      Michael Bociurkiw,
      a global affairs analyst, and
      a former spokesperson for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
          - CNN (Cable News Network)
        [Horrifying] stories are typical among the 700,000 or so Rohingya, who fled what they describe as unspeakable violence in their former homes in Rakhine State, since the end of August 2017. But aside from having a shared violent and abrupt end to their lives in Myanmar, what is clear is that few, if any, want to go back -- and this is exactly what concerns their Bangladesh hosts.
        * * *
      ...Two things [are] demanded by those who fled:
            security and full citizenship rights.

        So, what's the international community to do?

      First is the orderly relocation to safe alternative countries such as Canada (which already has a small community of Rohingya) -- starting with those who are most vulnerable such as the sick and unaccompanied children.
        ...however... Bangladesh authorities refuse to issue them exit permits, for fear it would encourage the remaining population of Rohingya still in Rakhine State (said to be around 240,000), to bolt for [Bangladesh] in the hopes of being selected for relocation abroad. Bangladesh authorities [assert that] the Rohingya are not refugees, and therefore are not entitled to resettlement abroad.
        But diplomatic pressure -- by alternative countries, willing to take the Rohingya -- could influence a policy change for Bangladesh to reconsider its tough stance, and allow refugees to be considered for resettlement abroad.
        * * *
      The second option -- even though probably unpalatable to the Bangladesh government, at the moment -- is to create opportunities for the Rohingya refugees to contribute to the growth of the regional economy in Cox's Bazar [in Bangladesh].
        A potentially win-win solution, it could take the form of a "special economic zone" where the Rohingya, known for their entrepreneurial streak, would receive skills training to work in foreign-owned factories -- or on one of the many infrastructure projects [planned] for the Cox's Bazar region. ...


    • UNICEF USA BrandVoice:
      Rohingya Refugee Crisis
      Signs Of Hope In Bangladesh.

          - Forbes (U.S. business journal)

  • 2018 Oct 26 - Friday

      -----------

  • 2018 Oct 27 - Saturday

      --------------

  • 2018 Oct 28 - Sunday

      --------------

  • 2018 Oct 29 - Monday

      --------------

  • 2018 Oct 30 - Tuesday

    • Bangladesh, Myanmar Agree
      to Begin Rohingya Repatriation
      by Mid-November.

          - Reuters / New York Times
        Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on Tuesday to begin by November the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims -- who fled to Bangladesh to escape a Myanmar army crackdown -- though doubts about a speedy return are likely to persist.
        * * *
        However, the U.N. refugee agency said conditions in Rakhine state were "not yet conducive for returns", stressing that they must be voluntary. Necessary safeguards are "absent" in the region, where it has had only limited access amid continuing restrictions for media and other independent observers, it said.
        "It is critical that returns are not rushed or premature," UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic told Reuters in Geneva. "We would advise against imposing any timetable or target figures for repatriation."
        * * *
        Leaders of the largely stateless Rohingya community have said they will not return without various demands being met, including the right to Myanmar citizenship.
        * * *
        Earlier this month, Bangladesh's foreign minister said Myanmar had cleared the list of 8,000 Rohingya people sent by Dhaka for verification after last year’s deal.
        * * *
        Rohingya are still crossing the border into Bangladesh, with nearly 14,000 arriving this year, according to U.N. officials.
        * * *
        Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told Reuters last month that under no circumstance would the refugees be allowed to remain permanently.
        Hasina, who faces a general election at the end of the year, also accused Myanmar of finding new excuses to delay the return.
        Myanmar, however, has blamed Bangladesh for the delay and says it is ready to take back the refugees and has built transit centers to house them initially on their return.
        Given the delays, Bangladesh has been preparing new homes on a remote island called Bhasan Char, which rights groups have said could be subject to flooding.

    • Rohingya Returns to Myanmar
      Must Not Be Rushed or Premature
      ~ UNHCR

          - New York Times

  • 2018 Oct 31 - Wednesday

    • Myanmar officials visit
      camps in Bangladesh
      in effort to kick-start
      Rohingya repatriation process.

          - Reuters / Toronto Globe & Mail (Canada)
        Myanmar officials visited camps for Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh, on Wednesday, in an effort to kick-start a process to repatriate hundreds of thousands who fled an army crackdown last year.
        (More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees crossed into Bangladesh from western Myanmar, UN agencies say, after Rohingya insurgent attacks on Myanmar security forces in August 2017 triggered a sweeping military response.)
        Officials said -- after meetings in Dhaka on Tuesday -- returns would begin next month, but the UN refugee agency said conditions in Rakhine state were “not yet conducive for returns."
        The agency had completed the second phase of assessment in Rakhine, but its access remained “limited”, UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic said in Geneva on Wednesday.
        Rohingya and other Muslims in three townships suffer hardship and economic vulnerability due to restrictions on their movement and the prevailing sentiment is “fear and mistrust”, he said.
        A group of about 60 Rohingya community leaders met a delegation of about a dozen Myanmar officials in the Kutupalong camp, the largest refugee settlement in the world in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazaar district, said two Rohingya men who were present.
        Myanmar says it has been ready to accept back the refugees since January, and has built camps near the border to receive them.
        Myint Thu, permanent secretary at Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and leader of the Myanmar delegation, said Myanmar had verified about 5,000 names of refugees and that repatriation would begin with a first batch of 2,000 returnees in mid-November.
        * * *
        Bangladesh handed over an additional list of more than 22,000 Rohingya refugees to be verified by Myanmar, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Abul Kalam told Reuters.
        FIRST STEP TO CITIZENSHIP?
        Rohingya leaders said after Wednesday’s meeting that they were unconvinced about the proposed repatriation.
        “They told us we don’t have to stay (in a camp) for long, but when we asked for how many days they could not say,”
      said Mohib Ullah, an influential organizer in the camps, reflecting what the officials said.
        Mohib Ullah said Rohingya leaders wanted Myanmar to recognize them as an ethnic group with the right to Myanmar citizenship before they return.
        Myanmar does not consider the Rohingya a native ethnic group. Many in the Buddhist-majority country call the Rohingya “Bengalis”, suggesting they belong in Bangladesh.
        A pamphlet given to refugees by Myanmar officials on Wednesday, seen by Reuters, encourages them to accept new identity cards as a “first step” to citizenship. Many Rohingya reject the cards, which they say treat them as foreigners.
        Those with “national verifications cards” – known as NVCs – would be guaranteed “socio-economic development”, but those without will be “stateless”, the pamphlet says.

        “When we asked about our citizenship there was no answer,” said Abdur Rahim, another Rohingya at the meeting. “They told us to accept NVCs. We are not accepting NVCs. We are not Bengali.”
        The Rohingya leaders handed over a letter to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi setting out their demands, including “compensation and reparations” for violence committed against Rohingya.
        * * *
        China, which has provided diplomatic cover to Myanmar over the exodus, has brokered talks with Bangladesh aimed at speeding up repatriation.
        Western countries and the United Nations, while calling for accountability for abuses committed by the military, have stressed that any returns must be voluntary.
        The repatriation faces resistance from Rakhine Buddhists who make up the majority in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state -- which the Rohingya also consider their homeland.
        Than Tun, a Rakhine community leader, said those who return should be confined to a part of the Maungdaw area close to the border and not allowed to resettle some formerly Muslim-majority areas. ...

       

    • Myanmar Officials Try to
      Convince Rohingya to Return,
      Accept ID Cards.

          - New York Times


NOVEMBER 2018:

  • 2018 Nov 1 - Thursday

      --------------

  • 2018 Nov 2 - Friday

  • 2018 Nov 3 - Saturday

  • 2018 Nov 4 - Sunday

  • 2018 Nov 5 - Monday

      --------------

  • 2018 Nov 6 - Tuesday

    • Too Soon to Send Rohingya
      Back to Myanmar
      ~ U.N. Rights Envoy

          - Reuters / New York Times
        The United Nations' human rights investigator on Myanmar urged Bangladesh on Tuesday to drop plans to start repatriating hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees to Rakhine state this month, warning they would face a "high risk of persecution".
        * * *
        Yanghee Lee, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said in a statement that she had received credible information from the refugees in Cox’s Bazar that "they are in deep fear of their names being on the list to be repatriated, causing distress and anguish".
        She had not seen any evidence of the government of Myanmar creating an environment where the Rohingya can return to their place of origin and live in safety with their rights guaranteed.
        It has "failed to provide guarantees they would not suffer the same persecution and horrific violence all over again," Lee said.
        The root causes of the crisis must first be dealt with, including the right to citizenship and freedom of movement, she said. ...

    • Facebook admits failings
      over Rohingya persecution
      in Myanmar.

        The company admits failing to prevent people using Facebook to encourage what the UN called "ethnic cleansing" in damning reports.

          - Sky News (U.K.)
        Facebook has admitted failing to do enough to prevent users inciting violence against Myanmar's minority Rohingya population -- following an independent assessment of its services impact on human rights... by BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), an independent non-profit company. ...

      SPECIAL NOTE:
      U.S. Mid-Term Elections

        Today, Nov. 6, 2018, the United States mid-term elections changed the balance of power in Washington, but not necessarily to the benefit of the Rohingya.

        President Trump -- opposed to U.S. acceptance of refugees, while giving token aid and verbal support to the Rohingya -- remains in power -- but soon facing a hostile Democrat-controlled House of Representatives in the Congress.

        However, his influence over the U.S. Senate has grown, as his Republican opponents in the Senate were largely replaced by a larger number of supporters.

        Further, the increase in Republican Senators bolsters the role of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a "personal friend" of Myanmar's civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who is widely regarded as complicit in the persecution and lethal ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, and hostile to them.

  • 2018 Nov 7 - Wednesday

    • UN Rights Resolution
      Would Condemn Abuses
      Against Rohingyas.

          - AP / New York Times
        A draft U.N. resolution would strongly condemn the continuing "gross human rights violations and abuses" against Rohingya Muslims and urgently call on Myanmar's government to end discrimination and provide a path to citizenship for the embattled minority.
        The draft resolution, sponsored by the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation [and] more than 25 European countries and Canada, was officially circulated Wednesday. The General Assembly's human rights committee is expected to vote on the measure on Nov. 15.
        The draft expresses deep concern that violence against the Rohingya has forced over 723,000 people to flee to Bangladesh since August 2017.

  • 2018 Nov 8 - Thursday

    • Nonprofit Says Rohingya Men
      Also Victims of Sexual Violence.

          - AP / New York Times   A refugee organization says new research indicates that Rohingya Muslim men and boys were victims of sexual abuse by Myanmar's army and border police.
        The Women's Refugee Commission said in a report released Thursday that 30 of the 89 Rohingya men and adolescent boys who participated in focus groups in Bangladesh "personally knew a Rohingya man or boy who had directly experienced conflict-related sexual violence in Myanmar." ...

    • Rohingya refugee attempts suicide
      as repatriation fears rise.

          - [London Daily] Telegraph (U.K.)
        A Rohingya refugee attempted suicide this week after being told he was on a repatriation list to Burma, highlighting deep-seated fears among the Muslim minority about being forced out of their current refuge in Bangladesh.
        * * *
        [His] drastic actions were prompted by false rumours that he was going to be repatriated against his will. Doctors managed to save his life after he was rushed to a nearby hospital.
        “My husband said Burma, where we may face rape, murder and other violence again, is unsafe for all Rohingyas and so we should not return,” Somira Begum, his wife, told the Telegraph.
        “Since his name was on the list, he feared he would be picked up by police and forcibly sent across the border. He looked very tense and scared,” she said. ...
        * * *
        Bangladesh and Burma, a country also known as Myanmar, announced last week that the first repatriations of about 2,000 refugees would begin in “mid-November.”
        United Nations officials have objected to the plan, underlining that the conditions in Rakhine state are “not yet conducive for returns”.
        * * *
        On Tuesday, Yanghee Lee, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, said that repatriation plans should be dropped, warning that Burma had "failed to provide guarantees [Rohingya] would not suffer the same persecution and horrific violence all over again.”

        * * *
        Human rights groups have joined the UN in criticising attempts to remove the refugees from Bangladesh.
        Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch:
        “Having faced crimes against humanity and quite possible genocide at the hands of Myanmar's military generals, no wonder that the Rohingya are worried. They are being told it's alright to head back to within striking distance of the military, with no protection at all.
          "If the Rohingya don't stand up for their own security, the sad reality is no one else will either.” ...

    • Dozens of Rohingya
      [in Myanmar and Bangladesh]
      Flee Camps by Boat
      -- Reviving Memories
      of 2015 Tragedy.

          - Reuters / New York Times
        Dozens of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and Bangladesh have boarded boats to try to reach Malaysia, officials and aid workers said on Thursday -- raising fears of a fresh wave of such dangerous voyages, after a 2015 crackdown on people smugglers. ...
        * * *
        A spokeswoman for the U.N refugee agency in Myanmar said the organization had heard "similar reports" of boats leaving the country but could not confirm their location.
        "With the prospect of boat movements increasing following the end of the monsoon season, it is increasingly urgent for the authorities to take measures to address the root causes of displacement...and create conditions which foster social cohesion and economic opportunities for all communities," the [U.N.] spokeswoman said.
        * * *
        For years, Rohingya on both sides of the border have boarded boats organized by smugglers in the dry months between November and March, when the sea is calm. The perilous journey to Thailand and Malaysia, often undertaken in overcrowded, rickety vessels, has cost many lives.
        Thailand cracked down on the trade after discovering a series of mass graves in 2015, leading to a crisis when smugglers abandoned their human cargo and left boats adrift in the Andaman Sea.
        * * *
        The new departures come as Myanmar prepares to take some of the refugees back after agreeing with Bangladesh to start repatriation on Nov. 15, despite widespread opposition from Rohingya, who say they will not return without guarantees of basic rights, including citizenship and freedom of movement.
        The United Nations has said conditions in Rakhine, where Buddhists have protested against the repatriation, are not conducive for returns and the special envoy on human rights, Yanghee Lee, on Thursday urged a halt to the “rushed plans”.
        * * *
        An aid worker in Sittwe [in Myanmar] said they had received information that at least four boats had departed [Myanmar] since the start of October, and some of them had already arrived in Malaysia. Some of those boarding the boats were women and children joining other family members, the aid worker said.
        “The living conditions in the camp [in Myanmar] are very bad and there’s not enough food to survive,” said Kyaw Hla, a Rohingya leader from Thae Chaung camp outside Sittwe, [Myanmar] -- where he said one boat carrying some 80 people left last week. ...

    • Rohingya Crisis, Suu Kyi
      Under the Microscope
      at Southeast Asia Summit.

          - Reuters / New York Times   The customary cordiality of Southeast Asian summits may be missing, when the region's leaders meet next week, due to sharp differences over Myanmar -- whose military has been accused of genocide against the country's Rohingya Muslim minority.
        * * *
        The Rohingya crisis is one of the biggest man-made disasters involving a member since ASEAN [the Association of SouthEast Asian Nations] was founded in 1967 -- and it is one of the thorniest issues yet faced by a group that traditionally works by consensus.
        Many diplomats and rights activists say ASEAN's credibility is at risk if it fails to tackle the matter head-on.

        * * *
        The Rohingya issue comes at an important juncture for a region pushing for more economic integration in response to rising protectionism and a trade dispute between the United States and [Myanmar's main ally] China.
        * * *
        ...some ASEAN elders also worry about the risk of the group polarizing along religious lines
        ASEAN's Muslim-majority members - Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei - tend to take the toughest line on the Rohingya question -- while [Buddhist-majority] Myanmar has close regional allies in [Buddhist-majority] Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Under military control in recent years, [Buddhist-majority] Thailand has also provided cover for Myanmar.
        * * *
        ...leaders from outside the region, who will attend the meetings in Singapore, will be asking difficult questions about Myanmar.
        U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are among those expected to join ASEAN leaders in meetings later in the week. ...

    • Bangladesh silent on
      Canadian offer to take
      Rohingya refugees:
      ~ Officials.

          - Reuters / Toronto Globe & Mail (Canada)
        Bangladesh did not accept an offer by Canada to take in Rohingya refugees, including women who were raped, Canadian officials said, as the South Asian country pushes ahead with controversial plans to repatriate the displaced to neighbouring Myanmar.
        Several requests for comment were made to government officials in Bangladesh. A foreign affairs ministry spokesman and the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner declined to comment.
        Canada offered to take in a limited number of vulnerable refugees, including victims of sexual violence, in May when Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland visited Bangladesh, according to Canadian officials, adding that the proposal still stands.
        * * *
        Canada was one of the top providers of asylum to Rohingya refugees until Bangladesh stopped the program [in 2018], saying it could encourage more people from Myanmar to leave their homes to seek asylum in the West. ...

    • World Bank, Canada
      to provide $25m grant to educate
      350,000 Rohingya children
      living in Bangladesh.

          - Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)

    • 8 held from
      militant-linked NGO
      on Wednesday.

        [Group alleged to be pretending to raise money for humanitarian aid to Rohingya refugees, while actually using the money to spread extremist and fundamentalist ideologies, and recruiting in the Rohingya refugee camps. Allegededly linked to the banned militant group Ansar-al-Islam -- previously named Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT). ]
          - Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)

  • 2018 Nov 9 - Friday

    • US Aid Groups Warn of
      Forced Return of
      Rohingya Refugees

          - AP / ABC News
        The United Nations, the United States, and 42 humanitarian and civil society groups, are warning about a plan to begin repatriating Rohingya refugees that may be without the refugees' consent, and may send them back into dangerous conditions.

        Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a deal last week to start returning some of the more than 723,000 Rohingya who fled state-sponsored violence against their communities in August 2017. That campaign... the U.N. has said should be investigated as a genocide,
        * * *
        The U.S. has stopped short of declaring the violence a genocide, instead using the non-legal term "ethnic cleansing."
        When ABC News first asked about the joint repatriation plan on November 1, the State Department said it "would look closely at any plans to ensure that it is, in fact, voluntary," but had no comment on the plan itself.
        * * *
        Now, [the U.S] is joining the U.N., and others, in condemning [the plan], and urging both Myanmar and Bangladesh to allow "for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of refugees from Bangladesh," according to a spokesperson.
        The U.S. statement follows a joint letter Thursday by 42 humanitarian and civil society organizations that work in Myanmar and Bangladesh, warning of the dangers of premature return.
        "[The Rohingya] are terrified about what will happen to them if they are returned to Myanmar now -- and distressed by the lack of information they have received," the groups, including the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, and Save the Children, wrote in their letter. While many Rohingya want to return home, they said, they fear doing so without protections like citizenship and those responsible for the slaughter being held accountable.
        * * *
        Myanmar has refused access to Rakhine to aid groups, and the U.N.'s refugee agency, who want to ensure that conditions are safe for the Rohingya's return. Instead, the [Myanmar] government has denied any wrongdoing at all -- saying they conducted a legitimate counter-terrorism operation against Rohingya militants.
        Those that have been able to access Rakhine have reported detention facilities where Rohingyas' freedom of movement is limited or their access to services and jobs is cut off.
        In central Rakhine state, 128,000 Rohingya and other Muslims have been confined to camps with no freedom of movement for six years, according to the NGOs' letter.
        But it's unclear what the U.N. or even the U.S. can or will do about it. Over 2,000 Rohingya are expected to be repatriated on November 15, and neither [the Bangladesh or Myanmar] government seems to be backing down from the plan.
        * * *
        Rather than face repatriation, some Rohingya are now trying to flee Bangladesh into Malaysia -- hundreds of miles away. ...

    • Denmark to provide
      additional Tk 65 crore.
      [(US$ 7.75 million) in aid]

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        Denmark will contribute an additional Tk 65 crore (approximately DKK 50 million) [(US$ 7.75 million)] to the Government of Bangladesh, to support the Rohingya crisis, and address the adverse implications of the crisis on the host communities in Cox's Bazar [in Bangladesh]. ...

    • 'Can't eat, can't sleep'
      - Rohingya on
      Myanmar repatriation list.

          - Reuters News Service
        Reuters identified and spoke to more than 20 of the roughly 2,000 Rohingya refugees on a list of people Myanmar has agreed to take back. Though officials say no-one will be forced to return against their will, all say they have been terrified since learning this month their names were on the list prepared by Bangladeshi officials and vetted by Myanmar.
        The list has not been made public and not all those whose names are on it have been informed, say Bangladeshi camp officials, due to concerns of sparking widespread panic in a camp that shelters 52,000 refugees. ...
        * * *
        This week, the U.N.’s human rights investigator on Myanmar urged Bangladesh to drop the repatriation plan, warning that Rohingya still faced a high risk of persecution in Myanmar.
        A Bangladesh foreign ministry official, who asked not to be named, said on Friday the country would not send any Rohingya back forcefully.
        * * *
        Refugees who spoke to Reuters said they did not trust the Myanmar authorities to guarantee their safety. Some said refugees would go back only if they got to return to their own land and were given citizenship.
        * * *
        On Friday, an alliance of humanitarian and civil society groups working in Rakhine and in refugee camps in Bangladesh, in a joint statement, warned sending people back would be “dangerous and premature”.
        The group called on the governments of the two countries to ensure that refugees in Bangladesh were able to make a free and informed choice about their return. It also said U.N. agencies should have unimpeded access to all parts of Rakhine in order to monitor the situation in areas of potential return.

  • 2018 Nov 10 - Saturday

    • OPINION ESSAY:
      Facebook's Link To
      The Rohingya Muslims.

          - NPR (National Public Radio)
        This week, Facebook released a report from Business for Social Responsibility that showed how the company's social media platform has been used to incite violence against the Rohingya. At least 25,000 people have been killed.
        Myanmar isn't widely wired for the Internet. The regime is dominated by generals who try to suppress news, and have jailed reporters. But people in Myanmar have cellphones. Facebook says about 20 million people in the country use Facebook to connect with each other.
        But, many of them have also read malicious messages aimed at the Rohingya and truly fake news, including a false and inflammatory chain letter that said Rohingya Muslims planned to attack Buddhists. Many of those lies and distortions came from sham accounts run by Myanmar's military. ...
        * * *
        Alex Warofka of [Facebook] conceded the report, and says, "We weren't doing enough to help prevent our platform from being used to foment division and incite offline violence. We agree that we can and should do more."
        * * *
        Facebook fairly points out they didn't create racism or human rights crimes in Myanmar, and is taking steps to avoid being an inflammatory platform.
        But this high-tech, social media and American company... began to do business in a country run by repressive generals, without much apparent regard for the consequences for the people who live there.
        They cared about algorithms and revenues, over all.

        [RCN Editor's note: Shares of Facebook stock dropped significantly on Wall Street, in November, following widepsread criticism -- and controversial Congressional testimony -- revealing many flaws about the organization, including, particularly, Facebook's pivotal role in fomenting the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar. ]

  • 2018 Nov 11 - Sunday

    • Rohingya fears grow
      as refugees face
      forcible return to Myanmar

          - The Guardian
        Aid agencies give warning as Myanmar and Bangladesh begin return of ‘terrified’ refugees to Rahkine state...

        The governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar are to push ahead with the repatriation of thousands of Rohingya this week, despite objections by the UN, and against the wishes of the refugees, who spoke of being “terrified” at being sent back.
        Last week fear gripped the camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh at the news that, without their consent, 4,355 people had been placed on a list of Rohingya approved for return by Myanmar. The first repatriations are due from Thursday, but not everyone who is on the list has been informed and it is unclear how it was compiled. ...

  • 2018 Nov 12 - Monday

    • UN Refugee Agency
      Warns Against Returning
      Rohingya Refugees.

          - AP / New York Times
        The United Nations refugee agency on Monday cautioned against returning ethnic Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar from Bangladesh at this time, urging that officials be allowed to assess whether it is safe for them to return.
        The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees issued the warning after the Myanmar government said Sunday that this week it would begin repatriating the more than 700,000 Rohingya who have fled from the Rakhine state in western Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape deadly violence carried out by Myanmar security forces.
        "Myanmar authorities should allow these refugees to undertake such go-and-see visits without prejudice to their right to return at a later date, if indeed the refugees decide after the visits that the current conditions in Rakhine State would not allow them to return in safety and dignity," the UNHCR said in a statement. ...
        * * *
        Sunday's Myanmar government statement said the returning Rohingya would stay at repatriation camps for two days, and receive food and clothing, before moving on to transit camps. It said China, India and Japan were "providing necessary assistance" for the repatriation process, but did not give details. ...

    • Bangladesh Must Ensure [That]
      Rohingya Not Confined
      To Camps in Myanmar,
      Says US.

      Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to begin, by mid-November, the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims.
          - NDTV (India)
        WASHINGTON: Seeking a voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar, the US asserted that Dhaka must ensure that the returnees have freedom of movement, and are not confined to camps.
        [Bangladesh] and [Myanmar] agreed last month to begin by mid-November the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled to Bangladesh to escape a Myanmar army crackdown.
        Under the agreement, Myanmar will take back 2,000 Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh in the first batch, which will be followed by a second batch.
        "We have engaged both governments at the highest levels to express our serious concerns about premature returns, and to emphasize that, consistent with international practice, returns be informed, voluntary, safe, and dignified. Further, returnees to Burma [(Myanmar)] must have freedom of movement and not be confined to camps," the US State Department said in a statement on Sunday.
        However, the State Department also said it agrees with the assessment of the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) that conditions in Myanmar are not yet conducive for returns of the Rohingyas.
        "This is because full access to Burma is needed to understand the conditions in areas of return and to allow refugees and internally displaced persons to make an informed choice about returning to Burma," it said.
        * * *
        Urging Myanmar to play a constructive role in resolving the Rohingya issue, the US said [Myanmar] should address the root causes of the crisis in the Rakhine state, and provide access to a transparent and efficient citizenship verification process, freedom of movement and access to livelihoods, to the minority Muslims.

    • Rohingya Repatriation
      Set To Begin,
      As Amnesty Revokes Award
      To Aung San Suu Kyi.

          - NPR (National Public Radio)
        The long-planned repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh back to Myanmar is set to begin later this week — and refugees are reportedly fleeing camps, to avoid being sent back to the country they fled.
        Many refugees have said they fear for their lives if they should return to Myanmar.

        Aid groups and international organizations have warned that repatriation, given current conditions in Myanmar, cannot possibly be voluntary, safe and dignified.
        "The Bangladesh authorities have said they will not force people to go back, but no return under present circumstances can be voluntary," the International Crisis Group wrote on Monday.
        The U.N.'s refugee agency says refugees must be given the chance to independently assess conditions in Myanmar before deciding whether to go home.
        While the governments prepare for repatriation, the refugees themselves have expressed deep concern about their safety in Myanmar. [Some were interviewed, who expressed fear they will be killed. A woman who witnessed Myanmarese troops kill her husband and little son, and beat her little girl, would rather "drink poison" than return.]
        Now, as the date of the repatriation approaches, a Rohingya leader told Reuters that refugees are refusing to cooperate:
        Myanmar insists it has made preparations for the Rohingya to return safely, [It] says it has built housing and issued "national verification cards" to Rohingya.
        But there are concerns about the land that refugees left behind — specifically, whether it has been seized by the military, or whether refugees will be allowed to return to the site of their homes — and there are concerns that the ID cards amount to second-class citizenship. ...
        Some Buddhists in Myanmar have taken to the streets to protest the return of Rohingya to the country.
        * * *
        Meanwhile, the human rights group Amnesty International has withdrawn the award it gave to the woman who is now Myanmar's de facto civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Nearly a decade ago, while she was still under house arrest, Suu Kyi received Amnesty's highest honor, called the "Ambassador of Conscience" award, for her defense of human rights.
        * * *
        The group criticized Suu Kyi's "apparent indifference to atrocities committed by the Myanmar military and increasing intolerance of freedom of expression." ...

    • Amnesty International strips
      Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi
      of 'conscience' award
      over Rohingya crisis.

        "We are profoundly dismayed that you no longer represent a symbol of hope, courage, and the undying defense of human rights," the human rights group said.
          - Reuters / NBC News

  • 2018 Nov 13 - Tuesday

    • [Malaysia's Prime Minister]
      Mahathir slams Myanmar's Suu Kyi
      for handling of Rohingya

      [at ASEAN summit in Singapore].

          - AP / Fox News
      (same topic at:   Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed sharply criticized Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on Tuesday, for her handling of an ethnic crisis that led to mass killings and the exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from her country.
        Mahathir said Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi was "trying to defend the indefensible" in justifying violence by Myanmar security forces against Rohingya in Rakhine state.
        "They are actually oppressing these people to the point of, well, killing them, mass killing, and burial in graves dug by the victims and that kind of thing. That may be relevant in ancient times, but in modern days, we don't do that kind of thing," said Mahathir, a 93-year-old political veteran whose own past treatment of dissidents at times drew opprobrium. ...
        Asked about the issue at a news conference on the sidelines of a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore, Mahathir said that as a former political prisoner, Suu Kyi should understand suffering.
        It is unusual for leaders in the 10-nation group to publicly criticize each other. ...

    • Rohingya flee camps
      fearing forcible return
      to Myanmar.

          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)   TEKNAF, Bangladesh:  Rohingya Muslims were fleeing Bangladeshi refugee camps, to avoid being repatriated to Myanmar later this week, community leaders said on Monday (Nov 12).
        Authorities [in Bangladesh and Myanmar] plan to begin returning Rohingya refugees -- who have fled what the UN has called "ethnic cleansing" -- [back] to... Buddhist-majority [Myanmar] from Thursday.
        But the prospect has created panic in the camps -- prompting some families, who were due to be among the first to be repatriated, to flee -- according to community leaders. ...
        * * *
        Some 2,260 Rohingya Muslims had been scheduled to leave the Bangladesh border post, in the southeastern Cox's Bazar district, in the first repatriations, from Thursday, under the voluntary scheme.
        But [a Rohingya refugee community leader,] Nur Islam, said the plan has created "massive confusion and fear" among the Rohingya, and many were unwilling to return to Rakhine unless they were guaranteed citizenship and other rights.
        * * *
        The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, who received a list from the Bangladesh government on Monday to assess whether the refugees wanted to go back to Myanmar voluntarily, said the start date of November 15 was an "ambitious plan".
        UNHCR senior spokesman Chris Melzer said "logistical problems" needed to be solved first.
        "This is the matter of the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar. Although we still think that the conditions are not conducive now for the refugees to return in Myanmar," he told AFP.
        The UN assessment may take at least two more days, according to both UN and Bangladesh officials, which may delay repatriation.
        Bangladesh refugee commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam said the country was ready to start returning the refugees to two centres at the border. ...

    • Official Statement:
      [U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights]
      Bachelet:
      Returning Rohingya refugees to Myanmar
      would place them at serious risk
      of human rights violations.

          - United Nations OHCHR
            (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights)
        GENEVA (13 November 2018) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, on Tuesday, urged the Government of Bangladesh to halt plans for the repatriation of more than 2,200 Rohingya refugees to Myanmar -- warning that the returns would be in violation of international law, and put their lives and freedom at serious risk.
        The refugees in Cox’s Bazar are the victims of human rights violations committed in the midst of the violence that erupted in August 2017, which led to the flight of more than 725,000 people. Many witnessed the killings of members of their families, and the burning down of their homes and villages. Refugees have stated, repeatedly, that they do not wish to return under current conditions.
        The Office also continues to receive reports of ongoing violations of the rights of Rohingya remaining in northern Rakhine -- which include allegations of killings, disappearances and arbitrary arrests, as well as widespread restrictions on the rights to freedom of movement, health and education.
        About 130,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), many of whom are Rohingya, remain in camps in central Rakhine. Another 5,000 IDPs remain in No Man’s Land between Myanmar and Bangladesh -- while more than 4,000 are in Aung Mingalar ward in Sittwe, where they are subjected to a wide range of restrictions.
        Hundreds of thousands of people in other parts of Rakhine also remain deprived of their rights to freedom of movement, to basic services and livelihood – as well as their right to a nationality.
        Some of the refugees have threatened suicide if they are forced to repatriate, and two elderly men in Cox’s Bazar have already attempted suicide.
        “We are witnessing terror and panic among those Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar who are at imminent risk of being returned to Myanmar against their will,” High Commissioner Bachelet said.
        “Forcibly expelling or returning refugees, and asylum seekers, to their home country, would be a clear violation of the core legal principle of non-refoulement, which forbids repatriation where there are threats of persecution, or serious risks to the life and physical integrity, or liberty, of the individuals.”
        “The human rights violations committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar amount to the worst atrocities -- including crimes against humanity, and possibly even genocide.

        With an almost complete lack of accountability – indeed with ongoing violations – returning Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, at this point, effectively means throwing them back into the cycle of human rights violations that this community has been suffering for decades.”
        Bachelet called on the Government of Myanmar to show its seriousness in creating the conditions for return by addressing the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine state, in particular the systematic discrimination against and persecution of Rohingya.
        High Commissioner Bachelet appealed to the Government of Bangladesh to ensure scrupulously that any repatriation takes place in line with international standards of voluntariness, safety and dignity, with full transparency, and only when the conditions are right.
        “The history of the Rohingya in Myanmar is one filled with repeated episodes of violence, flight and return,” Bachelet said. “We need to speak with one voice to stop this cycle from repeating itself yet again.”

    • OPINION ESSAY & ANALYSIS:
      Why the Rohingya refugees
      should not be repatriated yet

      by
      Angshuman Choudhury,
      Senior Researcher & Coordinator of the Southeast Asia Research Programme, at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.
          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
          Last month, Bangladesh and Myanmar announced the signing of a new agreement to begin the repatriation of Rohingya refugees from their makeshift camps in Cox’s Bazar to Rakhine State within the coming weeks.
        * * *
        ...[the] spokesman for the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said the deal had taken the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) by surprise -- adding that “conditions in Rakhine state are not yet conducive for a return to Myanmar.” The UN’s top refugee agency was not a party to the agreement, according to one senior UNHCR official.
        This is startling. Both countries had agreed to keep UNHCR involved in the return process in the original bilateral repatriation agreement signed last November.
        The UN agency’s involvement in the repatriation process is not just preferred, but imperative, to ensure authorities abide by international standards of refugee return.
        More importantly, this is not the right time to send the Rohingya back to Rakhine, where circumstantial and structural conditions prevent full resettlement and reintegration of this displaced community.
        * * *
        NO GUARANTEE OF SAFETY
        There is nothing to suggest returning Rohingya won’t be attacked.
        In fact, repatriation could, in itself, spur reprisal or false-flag attacks by local detractors and vigilantes who would like to see the whole process derailed
        * * *
        More worryingly, institutional attitudes, that underpin anti-Rohingya violence, remain.
        * * *
        There is also NO indication that the security establishment has altered its policy or outlook towards the Rohingya since last year, and no doubt they stand ready to counter potential Rohingya militant threats more aggressively.
        In August this year, Human Rights Watch released a report documenting how six Rohingya returnees were tortured and detained by Myanmar forces at different points in time since last year.
        * * *
        Local media outlets continue to highlight instances of torture, extortion, and harassment of Rohingya by security forces in Rakhine, incidents suggestive of a broader trend in the context of a damning report from the UN International Fact-Finding Mission of Myanmar (released in September) accusing the Myanmar military of ongoing genocide.
        * * *
        NO GUARANTEE OF INFORMED REFUGEE CONSENT
        A key precondition, to refugee repatriation, is determination of informed consent, as outlined in the UNHCR Handbook on Voluntary Repatriation.
        Potential returnees must be made aware of the exact security, political, social, and economic conditions in their country of origin, at the time of return, before they can give their consent.
        Yet, there is no clear indication the 4,600-odd Rohingya refugees, approved by Myanmar for return, have given their informed consent to authorities.
        * * *
        The refugees themselves have indicated that [they want] to go back to their villages, instead of camps, -- and live as citizens, not immigrants. They informed [Myanmar's] delegation that they would not give their consent for repatriation until they “see evidence” of their demands being fulfilled.
        * * *
        NO RETURN TO ORIGINAL RESIDENCE
        Separate investigations by Amnesty International and non-profit have confirmed that Myanmar forces have razed and bulldozed several Rohingya villages, to build military installations, since last year. According to the UN Fact-Finding Mission, the intent of this geo-physical erasure is “the removal of the Rohingya and all traces of them -- and their replacement with non-Rohingya.”
        Majoritary sentiments in Myanmar seem to support these moves. A section of the ethnic Arakanese population has already demanded the creation of “Muslim-free zones” along the frontiers of Northern Rakhine.
        Further, the Myanmar government is currently building “model villages” to house the returning refugees. 19 of these villages have so far been earmarked for ethnic Arakanese. How many of them would house the Rohingya and for how long remain unclear.
        What is clear, however, is that the returning refugees won’t [be settled] in their “original places of residence” or a “safe and secure place, nearest to it, of their (returnees’) choice,” as outlined in the original November 2017 bilateral agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar
        The Rohingya may also be confined in these “model villages” for longer than they prefer, allowing state authorities to manage their demographic spread in Northern Rakhine.
        * * *
        CONTINUED POLITICAL DISENFRANCHISEMENT
        There is also no clear indication, yet, that the Myanmar government would give full citizenship to the Rohingya when they return -- or even work towards creating “a clear and voluntary pathway to citizenship”, as laid down in the May 2018 tripartite agreement between the Myanmar government, UNHCR, and UNDP
        As an alternative to citizenship, the Myanmar government has, instead, been encouraging the Rohingya refugee community to accept National Verification Cards (NVCs), a pre-citizenship ID given to immigrants who intend to apply for full citizenship at a later stage.
        But the NVCs identify the Rohingya as "Bengali," and thus immigrants, and [thus, the NVCs] have been rejected by large sections of the Rohingya community.
        Further, Pamphlets recently distributed by Myanmar authorities, to the Rohingya, have portrayed the NVC as a mandatory precondition for access to social, economic, and political entitlements.
        Hence, the NVC, as a legal instrument of the state, not only permanently invalidates the Rohingya identity, but also coerces the community into demographic isolation, and socioeconomic deprivation.
        NVC or no NVC, it is practically impossible for the Rohingya to gain full citizenship by virtue of the 1982 Citizenship Law, which gives this privilege to only 135 accredited national races. The Rohingya do not fall in this arbitrary demographic cluster.
        Further... the Rohingya remain squarely out of the electoral process -- robbing them of agency to influence their political future in Myanmar. ...

    • Myanmar prepares for Rohingya’s return
          - Reuters / The Star (Myanmar)
            (NOTE: This publication subject to actions of the Myanmar military)
        Myanmar officials said the country was ready to receive more than 2,000 Rohingya Muslims sheltering in Bangladesh on Nov 15 -- the first group from 5,000 people to be moved under a deal between the neighbours struck last month.
        But more than 20 individuals on a list of potential returnees submitted by Bangladesh have said they will refuse to go back to northern Rakhine state from where they fled. Bangladesh has said it will not force anyone to do so.
        The United Nations also says conditions are not yet safe for their return, in part because Myanmar Buddhists have been protesting against the repatriation. ...

  • 2018 Nov 14 - Wednesday

    • First Rohingya Are
      to Be Returned to
      Myanmar Killing Grounds.

          - New York Times
        United Nations doesn’t want it to happen. Dozens of rights groups say they are shocked. Even the people who will be affected the most, Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, are upset that their future, once again, is being decided without their input.
        On Thursday, a few of the more than 720,000 Rohingya who fled slaughter, rape and village burnings in their homeland, [Myanmar,] last year, are due to be repatriated to Myanmar from Bangladesh.
         It is a process that has been repeatedly delayed, and one that few -- apart from the Myanmar and Bangladesh governments -- seem to think is a good idea. ...

    • VIDEO & TEXT
      [U.S. Vice President] Mike Pence
      slams Myanmar's leader Suu Kyi
      during meeting over
      Rohingya refugee violence --
      telling her the killings
      are 'without excuse.'

          - [London] Daily Mail (U.K.)
        U.S. Vice President Mike Pence criticised Myanmar's military for the persecution of Rohingya Muslims, in a meeting with the country's [civilian] leader on Wednesday.
        Pence also told Aung San Suu Kyi he was keen to hear that those responsible for the violence would be held accountable.
       
      'The violence and persecution, by military and vigilantes, that resulted in driving 700,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh, is without excuse,' he told Suu Kyi at the Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore.
        'I am anxious to hear the progress that you are making, of holding those accountable who are responsible for the violence that displaced so many hundreds of thousands, and created such suffering, including the loss of life,' he added.
        * * *
        He said Washington was also keen to hear about progress in making it possible for the Rohingya to voluntarily return to the western Myanmar state of Rakhine from vast refugees camps in southern Bangladesh where they now live.
        Suu Kyi, responding to Pence, said: 'Of course people have different points of view but the point is that you should exchange these views and try to understand each other better.'
        She added, 'In a way, we can say that we understand our country better than any other country does; and I'm sure you will say the same of yours, that you understand your country better than anybody else.' .
        * * *
        Pence also said that Washington wanted to see a free and democratic press in Myanmar -- and the jailing of two journalists last year was 'deeply troubling' for millions of Americans. ...

    • Rohingya repatriation process stalls
      amid refugee protests,
      recriminations.

          - Reuters News Service
        A plan to begin repatriating hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees to Myanmar stalled on Thursday, amid protests by refugees at camps in Bangladesh and recriminations between the officials in both countries. ...

    • Rohingya Repatriation to Myanmar
      Will Not Begin on Thursday:
      ~ Sources.

          - Reuters / New York Times
        The repatriation of Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar will not begin on Thursday as planned, two sources directly briefed about the matter said late on Wednesday.
        Bangladesh had begun preparations to repatriate an initial batch of Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar on Thursday, in line with a bilateral plan agreed on by the two governments in October.
        The plan has been opposed by the United Nations' refugee agency and aid groups, who fear for the safety of the Rohingya in Myanmar.
        Bangladesh has vowed not to force anyone to return and it has asked the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to make sure those short-listed to return really want to go back.
        "It is not happening tomorrow as nobody wants to go back," said one of the sources.
        The sources, who spoke on condition on anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, said an official announcement from the Bangladesh government confirming that was likely to come on Thursday. ...
        * * *
        U.S. Vice President Mike Pence expressed the Trump administration's strongest condemnation yet of Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya on Wednesday, telling leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Singapore that "persecution" by the Myanmar army was "without excuse".
        Suu Kyi, responding to Pence, said people had different points of view. ...

  • 2018 Nov 15 - Thursday

    • Rohingya return to Myanmar:
      Confusion and fear
      in refugee camps

          - BBC News
        On the first day of a planned repatriation programme, NO Rohingya refugees voluntarily chose to return to Myanmar from camps in Bangladesh. ...
        * * *
        After the planned repatriations were halted on Thursday, amid protests in the camps, senior Myanmar officials said they had been ready to process returnees and blamed the Bangladeshi side.
        * * *
        The refugees are mostly living in basic conditions in sprawling camps near the Bangladeshi border town of Cox's Bazar.
        Myanmar and Bangladesh have agreed they should gradually be returned to Myanmar and thousands of people have been approved for return by Myanmar.
        This has led to panic among the refugees, many of whom experienced violence in Myanmar, or had family members killed and their homes burned. ...
        * * *
        The biggest fear for the Rohingya is that they would be living among the Buddhist mobs accused of burning their villages, and would be protected by the same army troops who are accused of committing genocidal acts against them.
        It's true that the Rohingya people are detested by large parts of Burmese society -- and particularly in Rakhine state, where the worst persecution has played out.
        Ethnic Rakhine villagers told me, on a recent trip, they believed all Rohingya were illegal and dangerous immigrants. The village administrator quietly said they were all "terrorists". These views -- extreme and unswerving -- are widespread in Rakhine state.
        So while the Myanmar government talks about building temporary shelters, offering medical care and sufficient food rations for Rohingyas who return, many international observers insist the root causes of the violence, and hate-filled attitudes, need to be properly tackled before Rohingyas can return home and live with safety and dignity.
        * * *
        The UN, charities and human rights groups are concerned there is no effective plan, in place, to independently monitor the Rohingyas' safety, if they return.
        "We are witnessing terror and panic among those Rohingya refugees, in Cox's Bazar, who are at imminent risk of being returned to Myanmar against their will,"
      Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.
        She warned that lives would be put at "serious risk"   if the repatriation was to go ahead.

    • Rohingya Repatriation:
      US for 'go-and-see' visits.

          - United News of Bangladesh
        U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), Richard Albright, has laid emphasis on the value of ‘go-and-see’ visits -- as recommended by UNHCR -- to enable Rohingyas to visit their villages of origin and the transit facilities in Myanmar.
        This will help Rohingyas and their families make ‘informed choices’ about their voluntary returns, said the US official,
      who completed his six-day Bangladesh visit on Thursday.
       
      Albright visited Rohingya refugee camps and host communities in Cox’s Bazar from November 11 to 13 to assess conditions and speak directly with Bangladeshis and refugees, including some who had just recently arrived from Myanmar.
        While in Cox’s Bazar, Albright, accompanied by the USAID Mission Director Derrick Brown, visited the Kunapara Border crossing, Rohingya camps, including the UNHCR Transit Center, as well as a number of facilities providing services such as medical care, food distribution, and nutrition services, implemented by partners, including WFP, Unicef, the government , Red Cross Movement, and IOM.
        The US has provided more than $345 million to assist Rohingyas and host communities in Bangladesh since the start of the current crisis in August 2017.
        Besides, the US has contributed 40 percent of the total contributions to-date to the 2018 Joint Response Plan, said the US Embassy here.

        The USA commended the government of Bangladesh’s generosity in keeping its borders open to Rohingyas
        * * *
        The US said they agree with UNHCR’s assessment that conditions in Myanmar are not yet conducive to returns -- [and that] full access to Myanmar is needed, to understand the conditions in the areas of return, and to allow refugees and internally displaced persons to make an informed choice about returning...

    • [Canada's Prime Minister] Trudeau
      expresses concern
      over possible return
      of Rohingya to Myanmar.

          - CBC News (Canada) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he's worried about a proposed repatriation of Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar -- the very country they fled, citing rape and murder.
        * * *
        A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said the government is open to working with the government of Bangladesh and the UNHCR about potentially resettling refugees. ...

    • Bangladesh admits
      no Rohingya willing
      to take repatriation offer.

        Buses standing ready to return refugees to Myanmar -- but no one is willing to board.

          - The Guardian (U.K.)
        Bangladesh has conceded that it will be unable to voluntarily repatriate Rohingya refugees to Myanmar as it had planned because it cannot find anyone willing to go back -- though efforts to “motivate” people to leave will continue.
        Four trucks and three buses were stationed at Unchiprang camp in Cox’s Bazar on Thursday morning, ready to carry refugees who have been “approved” to a transit camp by the border -- but not one refugee was willing to board them. Most refugees on a list of those approved to return have gone into hiding.
        Mohammad Abul Kalam, Bangladesh’s refugee relief and rehabilitation commissioner, said his team had completed the “physical and logistical preparations” to facilitate the repatriation but has been forced to accept by Thursday evening local time that the refugees “are not willing to go back now.”
        Bangladesh was “totally committed to the principle of non-refoulement and voluntary repatriation”, Abul Kalam said. “We will not force anyone to go back to Myanmar against his or her will,” he added -- though authorities would continue to try to “motivate” refugees to leave.
        More than 2,000 Rohingya refugees had been put on a list approved by Myanmar for return, without their consent. While the plan was to send them back in batches of 150 per day starting on Thursday, by Wednesday night almost all had gone into hiding in other camps and in the nearby forest, amid fears they would be sent to Myanmar against their will.
        Hours before repatriation was due to begin, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees had located just 50 families listed for repatriation, all of whom said they did not want to return to Myanmar in the current conditions.
        * * *
        The few who are reportedly willing to return are 420 Hindus – but Kalam said authorities were focusing on repatriating Rohingya, for the time being, and would repatriate Hindus at a later stage.
        * * *
        Rohingya refugees told the Guardian of the multiple ways the Bangladesh authorities were trying to “persuade” refugees to go back -- including telling them that it was the only way they would get the Myanmar government to give them rights and citizenship.
        They also made direct threats.
      Saifullah, who lives in Balukhali camp, said the (Camp in-Charge) CIC had warned the majhis of “stern actions” if the Rohingya who are in the repatriation list did not return to Myanmar.
        “The CIC have been telling Rohingya refugees [they] will face hardship if they do not return to Myanmar,” he said. “They are threatening to stop supplying rations to refugees, saying they will be barred from working with the different NGOs and will not have the freedom to move around freely.”
        The UN has called on both governments to halt the “rushed” repatriation plans but the pleas appear to have fallen on deaf ears. Bangladesh, however, tried to quell the panic by instructing NGOs that it maintained its commitment to voluntary returns and that all NGOs should continue their work as usual.
        * * *
        According to the head of the UN fact-finding mission [(reporting in September)], the genocide in Rakhine against the Muslim minority was ongoing , and there were demonstrations this week among Buddhist Rakhine communities who protested against the return of the Rohingya.
        * * *
        Myanmar has insisted it is ready for returns and laid the blame for any delays at Bangladesh’s door. Officials have stated that refugees [returning] from Cox’s Bazar will be processed in one of the two centres built by Bangladesh and then transported to Myanmar either by boat or on land to Hla Phoe Khaung "transition" camp, in Rakhine state.
        The Myanmar government has assured the international community the Rohingya will then be housed in new homes built in Maungdaw, one of the three areas in which the Rohingya had lived before the crackdown, though they will not be allowed to travel outside of [Maungdaw] township. Most will also be unable to return to their original homes and villages because they were destroyed by the military.
       
      SPECIAL NOTE:

      BANGLADESH HALTS REPATRIATION,
      FOR NOW.

    • The Latest:
      Bangladesh Scraps
      Rohingya Repatriation Plan.

          - AP / New York Times
        Bangladesh officials say plans to begin repatriating more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees, to Myanmar, have been scrapped, after officials failed to find any who wanted to go.
        Refugee Commissioner Abul Kalam told The Associated Press on Thursday that the refugees "are not willing to go back now," adding that officials "can't force them to go" but will continue to try to "motivate them so it happens."
        The announcement came after about 1,000 Rohingya demonstrated against returning to Myanmar, from where hundreds of thousands fled army-led violence last year. ...
        * * *
        Bangladesh had planned to send an initial group of 2,251 back from mid-November at a rate of 150 per day.
        Speaking late Thursday in the Myanmar capital, Naypyitaw, Myanmar officials said they were ready to receive the refugees. Despite those assurances, human rights activists said conditions were not yet safe for the Rohingya to go back. ...

  • 2018 Nov 16 - Friday

    • Rohingya refugee camp quiet
      after Bangladesh delays return.

          - CTV News (Canada)
        COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh -- Normal life returned to a Rohingya Muslim refugee camp in Bangladesh on Friday, a day after government authorities postponed plans to begin repatriating residents to Myanmar when no one volunteered to go.
       
      United Nations officials and international aid agencies praised the government of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina -- who hopes to retain power in elections next month -- for upholding a commitment not to force the repatriation.
        Hasina has repeatedly discussed the toll on Bangladesh of hosting more than a million Rohingya -- including more than 700,000 who fled military-led violence in Myanmar since August 2017 and tens of thousands of others who escaped previous bouts of violence and persecution.
        Residents of Cox's Bazar district often complain that they have been undercut by refugees willing to work illegally for lower wages. Thousands of acres (hectares) of national forests -- usually roamed by wild elephants -- have been taken over by the cramped and unsanitary camps.
        But Hasina's decision not to force the repatriation is unlikely to hurt her bid to win a third term in December, according to Pinak Chakravarty, India's former ambassador to Bangladesh and a fellow with the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation.
        * * *
        As it became apparent that refugees were unlikely be sent back, tensions eased in the camps.
        * * *
        U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said earlier this week that the agency continues to receive reports of ongoing violations of the rights of Rohingya remaining in Rakhine, including "allegations of killings, disappearances and arbitrary arrests," as well as widespread restrictions on freedom of movement, health and education.
        Fearful of returning home, some people on Bangladesh's repatriation list left their shanties and disappeared into other camps.
        After a demonstration involving about 1,000 Rohingya broke out at Unchiprang, Refugee Commissioner Abul Kalam said plans had been shelved because no refugees were willing to return.
        Kalam did not immediately return calls and messages on Friday, and it was unclear when the process would begin again.
        * * *
        SEA ESCAPE ATTEMPTS:
        Even as refugees in Bangladesh protested against repatriation, concerns grew that another Rohingya exodus from Myanmar by sea may be in the works.
        Authorities in Myanmar arrested 106 people -- believed to be Rohingya -- whose boat drifted to shore Friday morning, in Kyauktan township, south of Yangon, during what they said was an effort to sail to Malaysia.
        One of the people detained... told reporters that the group came from a displacement camp for Rohingya near Sittwe, the capital of [Myanmar's] Rakhine [state]. He said the group departed on Oct. 25 -- and one passenger, a 20-year-old woman, had died of hunger.
        The boat drifted to shore after they decided to return to Rakhine because of the lack of supplies and tried to turn it around, he said.
        Sittwe is a frequent exit point for Rohingya seeking to make the dangerous and illegal voyage by sea to Malaysia, which is a Muslim majority country which generally tolerates their arrival.
        In 2015, a mass of such journeys caused a regional crisis -- especially as the policy of some nations, especially Thailand, was to turn away the boats, even when those aboard were in desperate circumstances. Unknown hundreds of refugees are believed to have perished at sea. Several boats made the same voyage in April this year.
        Another boat believed to be carrying Rohingya refugees was sighted Friday near Indonesia. ...fishermen reported seeing a wooden boat carrying about 80 people believed to be Rohingyas.
        * * *
        Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said Friday that the continued Rohingya flight from Myanmar shows that Bangladesh's repatriation plans should remain shelved.

    • UN Committee Condemns
      Rights Violations Against Rohingya.

          - AP / New York Times
        UNITED NATIONS — A key U.N. committee overwhelmingly approved a resolution Friday strongly condemning the continuing "gross human rights violations and abuses" against Rohingya Muslims -- who are treated as outsiders in Myanmar, and were victims of a brutal campaign by the country's military.
        The General Assembly's human rights committee approved the resolution by a vote of 142-10, with 26 abstentions. It is virtually certain to be formally adopted by the 193-member world body in December.
        Among those voting against the resolution were Myanmar neighbors China, Cambodia and Laos, along with Russia.
        Bangladesh, which hosts 1.1 million Rohingya refugees, voted in favor.
        The resolution expresses deep concern that violence by Myanmar's military against the Rohingya has forced over 723,000 people to flee to Bangladesh since August 2017.
        It urgently calls on Myanmar's government to end discrimination and provide a path to citizenship for the embattled minority. ...
        * * *
        The resolution , sponsored by the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the European Union and Canada, reiterates "deep distress" at reports that unarmed Rohingya are still being subjected to excessive use of force and rights violations by Myanmar's military and security forces, including killings and rapes.
        The resolution expresses "grave concern" at the findings of the U.N. fact-finding mission on Myanmar [(released in September)], which concluded that some top Myanmar military leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Rohingya.
        It strongly condemns all rights abuses set out in the commission's report and calls for "a full and independent investigation" of human rights abuses against the Rohingya and other minorities [of Myanmar].
        * * *
        Myanmar's U.N. ambassador, Hau Do Suan, called the resolution "politically motivated and one-sided and discriminatory. ... It will only aggravate distrust between the people of Myanmar and the international community."

    • Myanmar Holds 106 Rohingya
      Aboard Boat to Malaysia,
      Official Says.

          - Reuters / New York Times
        KYAUKTAN, Myanmar — Myanmar immigration authorities detained 106 Rohingya Muslims aboard a boat off Yangon on Friday, officials said, raising fears of a fresh wave of dangerous voyages after a 2015 crackdown on people smugglers.
        * * *
        The group boarded the vessel from internal displacement camps outside Sittwe, the capital of western Rakhine state, he said.
        "Their destination was Malaysia. The boat was stopped after the engine failed," he said.
        Tens of thousands of Rohingya have been confined to sprawling camps outside Sittwe since violence swept Rakhine in 2012. ...
        * * *
        In a Facebook post, Aye Mya Mya Myo, a lower house lawmaker for Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling National League for Democracy party from Kyauktan, said there were 50 men, 31 women and 25 children in the group.
        Early on Friday she posted pictures of a rickety boat crammed with people. It resembled vessels the Rohingya typically use to escape the apartheid-like conditions in Rakhine (where they are denied free movement and access to decent education and healthcare).
        For years, Rohingya on both sides of the border have boarded boats organized by smugglers in the dry months between November and March, when the sea is calm. The perilous journey to Thailand and Malaysia, often undertaken in overcrowded vessels, has cost many lives.
        Thailand cracked down on the trade after discovering a series of mass graves in 2015, leading to a crisis when smugglers abandoned their human cargo and left boats adrift in the Andaman Sea.

  • 2018 Nov 17 - Saturday

      --------------

  • 2018 Nov 18 - Sunday

    • Myanmar Police Shoot,
      Injure Four
      in Raid on Rohingya Camp:
      ~ Witness.

          - Reuters / New York Times
        YANGON — Myanmar police shot and injured four Rohingya Muslims on Sunday, after detaining two men accused of smuggling people out of a camp for displaced people in [Myanmar's] western Rakhine state, a witness and police told Reuters.
        Some 20 police entered Ah Nauk Ye camp, about 15 km (9 miles) east of the state capital Sittwe on Sunday morning, apprehending the two men accused of owning a boat used in an attempt to smuggle 106 Rohingya out of the country on Friday.
        The rickety vessel, which carried 25 children among its passengers, had been bound for Malaysia when authorities stopped it south of Yangon, detaining those on board. ...
        * * *
        A 27-year-old Rohingya Muslim from the camp who witnessed the shooting, told Reuters four people were injured in the incident, with two of them in serious condition.
        “People from the camp went out to look, and police shot at people,” he told Reuters by phone.
        Police said the Rohingya surrounded them with swords and threw stones at them, injuring some officers.
        Police inspector Than Htay, from a nearby police station, said, “I heard that Bengali* from the camp tried to grab the arrested people back from the police and police had to fire warning shots. I heard some Bengali* got injured. I don’t know the details.”
        *(Many people in Myanmar call the Rohingya “Bengali,” implying they are interlopers from Bangladesh.)
        Local witness Maung Maung Aye disputed that version of events. He said the Rohingya did not attack the police or try to grab the arrested men. He said police fired at residents and not into the sky. ...
        * * *
        Tens of thousands of Rohingya have been confined to camps outside Sittwe since violence swept Rakhine in 2012. They are denied free movement, access to decent healthcare, and education.
        In August last year, Solidarites International, an international aid group, warned the conditions at Ah Nauk Ye -- home to more than 4,000 Rohingya -- were severe.
        It said the “natural environment” at the camp was “unsuitable to human settlement,” and warned of water shortages, poor access to livelihood opportunities, and communal violence. ...

    • Rohingya repatriation,
      relocation plans,
      set to be pushed back to 2019:
      ~ government official.

          - Reuters News Service
        Bangladesh’s plans to tackle the Rohingya refugee crisis are set to be stalled until the new year with repatriation and relocation programs only likely be revisited after year-end general elections, a top Bangladeshi official said on Sunday. ...
        Abul Kalam, Bangladesh’s refugee relief and repatriation commissioner, told Reuters “a new course of action” needed to be adopted on repatriation that took into account refugees’ key demands. He later clarified these were his own personal views and not those of the government.
        * * *
        In late October, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to begin to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled -- but the plan has been opposed by the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and the U.N. refugee agency and aid groups, who fear for the safety of Rohingya in Myanmar.
        The repatriation of the first batch of 2,200 refugees was to begin officially on Nov. 15, but it stalled amid protests at the refugee camps. None of those on the list agreed to return if their demands for justice, citizenship, and the ability to go back to their original villages and lands, were not met.
        “I don’t think anyone’s agreeing to go back without these,” said Kalam...
        * * *
        Kalam said he believed Myanmar needed to propose a “clearer path” to citizenship for the Rohingya if any returns were to take place...
        * * *
        With Bangladesh now set to go to the polls on Dec. 30, any decision either to repatriate people -- or to relocate refugees, from the crowded camps, to Bangladesh’s Bhasan Char island -- will not proceed until 2019, Kalam said, adding later a final decision had not been taken and it would be the government’s call.
        * * *
        Bangladesh has vowed not to force anyone to return and has asked the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ensure those short-listed to return really want to go back. ...

    • Leaked data on
      persecuted minorities
      like Rohingyas
      dangerous in wrong hands.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        Aid experts fear 'Cambridge Analytica moment' over big data; aid agencies urged to become more 'tech-savvy' and aware of the risks

  • 2018 Nov 19 - Monday

    • UN calls for calm
      after shots fired
      in Rohingya camp
      in Myanmar.

          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        The UN has called for calm after several Rohingya Muslims were shot and wounded in a Rakhine state camp, [in Myanmar,] in a raid linked to the failed escape of more than 100 of the stateless minority from the grim settlements. ...
        Villagers told AFP that four Rohingya were shot and wounded as Myanmar police entered the Ah Nauk Ye camp in central Rakhine state's Pauktaw township Sunday morning.
          More than 4,000 people live in Ah Nauk Ye.
          The NGO Solidarites International described it last year as a "natural environment unsuitable to human settlement", citing water shortages, hostile host communities, lack of proper shelter and toilets.
          Some 120,000 Rohingya have languished in [Myanmar] in displacement camps near Rakhine [province]'s capital, Sittwe, since riots in 2012.
          Their movement, access to healthcare, work and education is severely restricted -- in conditions decried by Amnesty International as amounting to "apartheid."
          Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh, [to escape] a [Myanmar] military crackdown, refuse to return to Rakhine without equal rights, citizenship and safety -- fearing similar long-term confinement if they do.
      One witness said that officers were trying to arrest two Rohingya suspected of links with a boat, carrying 106 Rohingya, that was found, last week, off the coast of Myanmar's biggest city, Yangon. (The discovery fueled speculation of a fresh exodus of Rohingya by boat.) The [passengers], who told reporters they were trying to reach Malaysia, were taken back to Rakhine on Sunday by Myanmar's navy.
        An Ah Nauk Ye resident, Noor Hakim, told AFP that the trouble started on Sunday, soon after 20 police arrived and crowds gathered. "I am not sure where the police shot, but four people got injured -- and among them, one seriously," he said.
        Police in Sittwe declined to comment.
        [NOTE: Reuters quoted one officer as saying that the villagers surrounded police with swords and threw stones (injuring officers), and tried to pull the captives away from police.
        (See: "Myanmar police shoot, injure four in raid on Rohingya camp: witness", by Reuters, Nov. 18, 2018.)]

        In an emailed statement, the head of the UN office in Myanmar, Knut Ostby, called for "calm, non-violence and restraint" in an area which can be accessed only with official permission -- but is believed to suffer from some of the worst conditions in the displacement camps.

  • 2018 Nov 20 - Tuesday

    • International support a must
      for Bangladesh to
      make shift to
      inclusive education for Rohingyas:
      ~ UNESCO

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        International support is vital for countries like Bangladesh to make the shift to inclusive education -- ensuring education for Rohingyas living in Bangladesh -- said a new global report today.
        Published by UNESCO [(the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization)], the report says that Bangladesh is one of only two countries, in the list of top 10 host countries, not to provide inclusive education to refugees -- though Bangladesh officially does not term Rohingyas as "refugees."
        Some 93 percent of the education sector's US$26 million requirement for the Rohingya emergency in Bangladesh was NOT met in 2017 -- while the food security sector exceeded its target
        Among the top 10 countries hosting refugees, Bangladesh has so far excluded Rohingyas from its national education system. ....
        * * *
        For decades, Bangladesh refused to recognize the majority of Rohingya residing in the country since 1978 as refugees.
        Bangladesh, according to the report, was reluctant about addressing their education needs, did not accept international assistance, to the extent that it would dismantle centres set up by humanitarian organisations, and it was sensitive on the language of instruction.
        * * *
        Bangladesh, along with Malaysia and Thailand, has not ratified key treaty commitments to non-discrimination, says the report. Without this legal status and protection, Rohingya children are often denied access to education.
        Instead, education for refugees [in Bangladesh] continues to be in separate, community-based or private schools, which may or may not be certified.
        * * *
        The report called for development aid to help fill the gap and provide much needed long-term and predictable resources to national education systems to support refugees and host communities. ...

    • Danish envoy to
      [Bangladesh Prime Minister]:
      Myanmar should
      take back Rohingyas

          - Dhaka Tribune (Bangaldesh)
        The newly-appointed Danish Ambassador to Bangladesh Winnie Estrup Petersen met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on November 20, 2018 PID
        The Danish ambassador said Denmark wants to infuse new dynamism into bilateral cooperation between the two countries
        * * *
        "Myanmar should take back the Rohingyas," Petersen said when she met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), on Tuesday.
        [Hasina]'s Press Secretary... said the prime minister emphasized the subject of repatriating the over-one-million Myanmar Rohingyas living in Bangladesh.
        Sheikh Hasina said her government is preparing an island, in Noakhali district, to temporarily shelter the Rohingyas. ...

  • 2018 Nov 21 - Wednesday

      --------------

  • 2018 Nov 22 - Thursday

  • 2018 Nov 23 - Friday

    • 'All Our Lives, They Wanted to Ruin Us.':
      For Decades, Myanmar Sought
      to Drive Out Rohingya.

        Investigators say years of attacks on the ethnic minority amount to genocide. One man’s family shows the scars of government policy through the generations.

          - Wall Street Journal
            (subscriber access required)
        Myanmar’s government described the country’s bloody military clampdown on Rohingya Muslims, last year, as a one-off spasm of violence, triggered by local terrorists.
        A consensus is building among international investigators that it was something else: a decisive and deliberate purge of the ethnic minority, after decades of intensifying atrocities, that amounts to genocide.

    • SF gardener drawn to a mission:
      photograph plight of
      persecuted Rohingya.
      (TEXT & PHOTOS)

          - San Francisco Chronicle (U.S.)
        ...in 2011, Beale became one of the first photographers — if not the first — to document Rohingya life from within the secretive, authoritarian nation as it tried, and failed, to become one of the world’s newest democracies
        * * *
        His first trip to Myanmar in 2011... he found the oppressed minority still living in relative peace.
        He returned to Rakhine state twice more, in 2013 and 2016, and visited refugees in Bangladesh three times, in 2014 and twice in 2017.
        Traveling to Rakhine state became trickier. But Beale found ways to go where few Americans had gone...
        He never saw that peaceful co-existence again.
        “Apartheid had happened,” Beale said. By 2013, “all the mosques not burned down were surrounded by police and barricades.” In one town, the military encircled the entire neighborhood of Aung Mingalar with barbed wire, trapping 5,000 Rohingyas. The military pushed another 140,000 people from the region into camps served by a single health clinic.
        Beale shot it all. ...

  • 2018 Nov 24 - Saturday

      --------------

  • 2018 Nov 25 - Sunday

    • Protests In Myanmar's
      Rakhine State
      Opposing Rohingya Return.

          - AFP / NDTV (India)   Sittwe, Myanmar: Protesters in Myanmar's troubled Rakhine state demonstrated on Sunday against the planned repatriation of Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh, referring to them as "runaway refugees".
        About 100 people, led by Buddhist monks, marched through the state capital Sittwe, holding red banners and chanting slogans.
        * * *
        Rohingya [refugees], in the camps [in Bangladesh], fear returning [to Myanmar] without guarantees of citizenship, safety, and equal access to healthcare and education.
        But they also are wary of hostility from the non-Muslim residents in Rakhine, many of whom are not eager for the Rohingya to return.

        The Buddhist protesters in Sittwe on Sunday reflected that view, holding signs that included calls on authorities to "take action" against illegal immigrants and to not "allow resettling (of) the runaway refugees" in parts of northern Rakhine state.
        * * *
        Demonstrations against the Rohingya are not uncommon in Sittwe, where intercommunal violence broke out in 2012, killing hundreds and sending more than 120,000 Rohingya into internal displacement camps where most remain today.

    • Call for participation of locals
      in Rohingya response planning.

          - UNB (United News of Bangladesh)
        Speakers at a dialogue [between government and NGO representatives, and others], on Sunday, demanded transparency in the Rohingya aid, and participation of locals in the response planning, as per the commitments of the UN agencies made in the Grand Bargain agreement.
        They also expressed their dissatisfaction at the preparations for the UN-led joint repatriation process (JRP) and the present coordination process. ...

  • 2018 Nov 26 - Monday

    • Bangladesh faces refugee anger
      over term 'Rohingya',
      data collection.

          - Reuters News Service
        Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in camps in Bangladesh began a protest on Monday, demanding that Bangladesh recognize their ethnicity as "Rohingya," and that officials and aid agencies stop sharing their family information with Myanmar.
        Markets were shut at several of the refugee camps in southeast Bangladesh because of the protest. Rohingya working with non-government groups and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees also boycotted their jobs as part of the strike.

      IDENTITY & RIGHTS:
        Rohingya regard themselves as native to western Myanmar’s Rakhine State -- but Myanmar authorities, and many citizens, regard them as illegal immigrants from the Indian subcontinent.
        Many are stateless, as a 1982 law restricts citizenship for the Rohingya and other minorities not considered members of one of Myanmar’s “national races”.
        The Myanmar government refuses even to use the word “Rohingya”, as that would imply a distinct identify -- instead calling them “Bengali”.
        Bangladesh has been urging the refugees to accept smart cards, which help with identification and the distribution of aid. The smart cards however, identify an individual as a “forcibly displaced Myanmar national” and not as Rohingya.

      PRIVACY & SECURITY:
        The protesters also expressed concern about a UNHCR [(United Nations refugee agency)] plan to collect biometric data and copies of documents, as they fear the UNHCR and Bangladeshi authorities could share the data with Myanmar, who could use the information against the [Rohingya].
        * * *
        ...a UNHCR representative, said data was being collected, for a verification process, which would help Rohingya refugees get better protection and ensure their access to services in Bangladesh.
        “It is not linked to repatriation,” he said, adding that the data was jointly maintained by Bangladesh and the UNHCR. ...

    • A General Kicked Off Facebook
      Can Still Glorify Military
      at Grandiose Museum.

          - New York Times
        NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar — In the colossal museum built by Myanmar’s military, to honor itself, the general barred from Facebook has his face up everywhere.
       
      Photo: ©2018 New York Times
      Myanmar's "Defense Services Museum": A mostly-empty massive building -- in a mostly-empty "capital" city -- showing off (to almost no one) the history and power of the Myanmar military... particularly its leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. Hlaing has recently driven 700,000 Rohingya from their Myanmar homeland, with firearms, fire and rape -- while confining most of the remaining Rohingya to concentration camps.
      ~ RCN Editor.
      His portrait graces the cavernous entrance hall of the museum, with its soaring ceilings and marble floors. In an exhibition recounting Myanmar’s martial history, his photo is at the top of a pyramid of 32 framed shots of other military leaders.
        In other halls, his image hangs alone.
        For years, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing -- one of the most powerful people in Myanmar -- presided over ruthless campaigns targeting minority groups along Myanmar’s borders.
        Under his charge, the military drove out more than 700,000 Rohingya from the country’s west.

        An important part of the campaign against the Rohingya was waged on Facebook, and the general, along with other military leaders, used troll farms and fake accounts to seed ethnic hatred, and build support for what the United Nations has called “ethnic cleansing.”
        Now, though, the general has been driven off Facebook; the company shut down his accounts in August.
        Yet the museum remains — a kind of Facebook profile for his accomplishments, and those of the military.
        * * *
      CAPITAL CITY:
        The museum sits in the country’s capital, Naypyidaw -- itself an even larger show of the military’s long legacy of almost unlimited power in the country.
          In 2005, with little warning, the military announced that the artificial city would become the country’s new capital -- even though it was still a construction site. Bureaucrats dutifully picked up and relocated [from Yangon] to a half-complete city that lacked basic amenities.
        Some have theorized that the [isolated, in-land] new city was created as a safeguard against invasion... and also protests. It has remained the seat of political power -- even as the military stepped back, and allowed for elections that paved the way for the country’s partial democracy.
        Fifteen years on, Naypyidaw is a reminder that -- although the country now has the veneer of democracy -- the military retains true power.
        Much in the city is a testament to [the Myanmar military's] authority, and its desire to shape how it is perceived.
        The monumental buildings seem designed to impress -- but mostly they accentuate an overwhelming lack of people.
        The roads in the city -- which, in places, swell to 16 lanes -- would seem unnecessarily huge even with a crush of vehicles;  but there is almost no traffic at all, at rush hour or anytime. ...
        The Parliament complex -- a series of giant concrete structures -- has the air of a fortress, with the reservoir surrounding it resembling a moat.
        A gilded pagoda towers over the nearby jungle.
      A replica of the country’s famed Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, it stands just a tad shorter than the original to show a smidgen of deference to the sacred Buddhist monument.
        The military has a self-appointed role as a protector of Buddhism, the majority religion in this country with Muslim and Christian minorities.
        * * *
      MASSIVE MUSEUM:
        Yet even in a city filled with reminders of the military’s might, the country’s sprawling Defense Services Museum, set on 600 acres, perhaps best showcases the mind-set of a military force preoccupied with its reputation and showing off its power. Unofficial estimates of the museum’s floor space put its size at around 540,000 square feet, not much smaller than the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
        * * *
        A dozen display halls -- each easily as big as a football field -- show off bombs, mines, machine guns, mortars, warplanes and artillery. Photos of military leaders saluting and congratulating one another are everywhere.
        * * *
        For decades, the military used newspapers, radio, and television to spread propaganda.... New technology has both threatened, and amplified, those abilities.
        As Facebook began to proliferate in the country in 2012, many voices on the platform were anti-military.
        But Myanmar’s military quickly recognized Facebook’s potential as a convenient way to connect to people -- making [Facebook] an important new tool in an ongoing information war -- even if [the Myanmar military's] senior general is no longer allowed on the site.
        facebook viewer “Facebook is great for propaganda,” said U Myat Thu, a researcher who works to combat hate speech on the site.
        And while the museum may struggle to attract visitors, the military has figured out how to draw crowds to a far more accessible location:
      the internet:
        “No one watches military television or reads their newspaper,” : Mr. Myat Thu said. : “But they do look at social media. And there the military has a big audience.”

  • 2018 Nov 27 - Tuesday

    • Myanmar seizes boat
      carrying 93
      fleeing Rohingya camps
      for Malaysia.

          - Reuters / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        Authorities in Myanmar have seized a boat carrying 93 people, apparently Rohingya Muslims, fleeing displacement camps in western Myanmar's Rakhine State and hoping to reach Malaysia, an official said on Tuesday (Nov 27).
        The boat is believed to be the third bound for Malaysia stopped in Myanmar waters since monsoon rains began to subside last month, bringing calmer weather, raising fears of a fresh wave of hazardous voyages, after a 2015 crackdown on people smugglers. ...

    • Rohingya refugees flee India
      amid panic over
      data-collection drive.

          - [London Daily] Telegraph (U.K.)
        Rohingya refugees are fleeing India and going into hiding amid fears that a government campaign to collect their personal information is a prelude to mass deportation.
        The data-gathering, which includes biometric information, follows the government’s first transfer of seven Rohingya back to Burma last month.
        Critics say the ruling, Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is targeting the persecuted Muslim community ahead of a general election due in May
        * * *
        Abu Hossain, 65, told the Telegraph he fled a refugee camp in Jammu after six years and entered Bangladesh last week.
        “Our camps were set alight by people we suspect were from the Hindu groups. Police said they could not help us... The situation was turning very hostile,” Mr Hossain said from his new home in Cox’s Bazar refugee camp.
        * * *
        As it has not signed the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, India treats the roughly 40,000 Rohingya in the country as illegal immigrants rather than refugees.
        Around 18,000 are registered with the UN's refugee agency, UNHCR, which issues ID cards to help avoid arrest, detention and deportation. But many ID-card holders are still scared of deportation, said Ko Ko Linn, a Bangladesh-based Rohingya political activist.
        Even card-holders are now also "on the run", Mr Linn told the Telegraph, having been frightened by last month's deportations and the move to collect personal details and biometric information.
        * * *
        Although Rohingya lived in India without much trouble for decades, Narendra Modi's BJP has been fanning resentment since it won election in 2014.
        Last year the government ordered all states to identify and deport Rohingya, saying they were “more vulnerable for getting recruited by terrorist organisations”. Deportation efforts now appear to be getting underway.
        * * *
        Calcutta-based Human rights activist Ranjit Sur said the BJP-led government has launched the anti-Rohingya drive with an eye on the general elections next year.
        “Rohingya human rights have been sacrificed at the altar of electoral and communal politics,” he said.

  • 2018 Nov 28 - Wednesday

  • 2018 Nov 29 - Thursday

    • Rohingya refugees say
      they would choose death
      over repatriation to Myanmar.

        Nearly all Rohingyas fear for their safety, and do not trust how they will be treated by authorities in Myanmar, if they were to return. ...

          - ABC News
        Two weeks ago the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar deemed it safe to start repatriating Rohingya refugees to their home country.
        More than 2,000 refugees were put on a list, without their knowledge, processed and then were told that the conditions were right to send them back.
        * * *
        Not a single Rohingya, however, has volunteered to go back. Bangladesh has asserted that it will not forcibly return any of the Rohingyas to Myanmar.
        Earlier this month, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, called on Bangladesh to “halt” this process of repatriation, saying:
        “With an almost complete lack of accountability -- indeed with ongoing violations -- returning [any] Rohingya refugees to Myanmar, at this point, effectively means throwing them back into the cycle of human rights violations that this community has been suffering for decades.” ...

    • OFFICIAL REPORT:
      ISCG Situation Report
      (Data Summary):
      Rohingya Crisis
      - Cox's Bazar
      29 November 2018
      (covering 13- 26 November)

          - The Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG)
        -- hosted by Int'l Org. for Migration and
        the UN High Commissioner for Refugees --
        coordinating overall humanitarian assistance
        for the Rohingya Refugee Crisis.
        as posted on ReliefWeb.int
        [This summary of the report summarizes recent developments; full report can be downloaded HERE.]
      • On 25 November, refugee community outreach members, refugee volunteers and protection partners participated in an array of activities to mark the start of ‘16 Days of Activism’ against gender-based violence.
      • Over 29,713 persons have been verified through the Government of Bangladesh and UNHCR joint verification exercise, as of 28 of November.
      • To ensure awareness raising and participation by all children, a Back to Learning Campaign is being conducted in all camps.
      • The Site Management Sector is engaging with all actors to define a holistic and joint macroplanning strategy.

  • 2018 Nov 30 - Friday

    • Myanmar Authorities Force Rohingya
      to Return to Home
      After Failed Bid to Escape by Boat.

          - RFA (Radio Free Asia)
            (U.S. propaganda radio)
        Nearly 100 Rohingya Muslims -- who tried to flee Myanmar by boat -- have been sent back to their home villages and displacement camps in Rakhine state, and issued identification documents, local authorities said Friday.
        The 93 Rohingya had left their villages near Sittwe township and the Darpaing displacement camp on Nov. 18 after paying traffickers 500,000 kyats (U.S. $312) each to take them to Malaysia in hopes of a better life, but were picked up by a naval vessel a week later off the coast of Tanintharyi’s Dawei district in southern Myanmar and held at sea until Nov. 27.
        * * *
        Authorities provided all Rohingya in the group over the age of 10 with national verification cards (NVCs) —the first step for any foreigner interested in getting Myanmar citizenship— before returning them to their villages and displacement camps, he added.
        * * *
        Rohingya have balked on accepting NVCs, saying they prefer the restoration of their citizenship.
        * * *
       
      Communal violence between Muslims and Buddhists in Rakhine state in 2012 left more than 200 people dead and displaced about 140,000 others, mostly Rohingya who ended up in displacement camps.
        In recent years, tens of thousands of them have fled -- or attempted to flee -- persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, on boats organized by human traffickers, and bound for other Southeast Asian nations.
        Instances of Rohingya leaving displacement camps also occurred under the previous government, with some who were caught and returned sentenced to between five and seven years in prison. But authorities say that those who have left since 2016 have been returned to their places of origin after they were intercepted at sea.
        Escape attempts from displacement camps in Rakhine state are common, and some speculate that corrupt officials are also involved in trafficking activities.

    • EDITORIAL:
      What Myanmar must do
      before taking back
      a single refugee.

          - CNN (Cable News Network)
        The ideal outcome of the Rohingya situation is for them to be able to return to their homes in Myanmar. The problem is that for the most part those homes no longer exist. They have been either burned to the ground or redistributed to Buddhist citizens. The repatriation plan is not for the Rohingya refugees to be returned to their homes: It is for them to be moved from refugee camps in Bangladesh to refugee camps in Myanmar.
        That would be catastrophic
        * * *
        So the plan is to move the refugees from precarious, but largely safe, conditions -- to precarious conditions where they would be at the mercy of their previous attackers, and out of sight from the international community or anyone who might want, or be able, to protect them.
        * * *
        In the long run, it may (in principle) be possible to allow for the Rohingya to return to Myanmar. But before that can be even contemplated, Myanmar must change.
        The country must overhaul its 1982 Citizenship Law which rendered the Rohingya stateless. They must receive the same status and the same legal rights and protections as everyone else in the country.
        In addition, the individuals inside Burmese institutions and civil society organizations who orchestrated this genocide must be fired -- and held accountable before international tribunals.
        But the highest priority must be given to ensuring the safety of the remaining Rohingya people. And realistically, for the foreseeable future their safety can only be ensured by the international community -- who only have access to Bangladesh, not [to the Rohingya homeland in Myanmar's] Rakhine State.
        To that end, the international community must work together with Bangladesh to invest in the refugee communities, and in Bangladesh, itself, so the Rohingya and Bangladesh can -- together -- build a sustainable, thriving community.
        And, so far as it is possible, the international community must seek to recover the costs of this endeavor from those who have instigated the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya from Myanmar: the Burmese government and the military leaders -- who, incidentally, also control most of Myanmar's wealth.


DECEMBER 2018:

  • 2018 Dec 1 - Saturday

    • Rohingyas are genocide victims,
      says human rights law group
      that helped US probe.

          - Daily Star (Bangladesh)
        A human rights law group, contracted by the State Department to interview [Rohingya] refugees (as part of an investigation into atrocities against Rohingyas in Myanmar) has found that there is a reasonable basis to conclude that genocide was committed -- even though the US government stopped short of saying so.
        A report due to be released on Monday -- by the Washington-based Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG) -- will also say there was a reasonable basis to conclude that the Myanmar military committed crimes against humanity, and war crimes, as well as genocide.
        * * *
        PILPG based its report on more than 1,000 interviews with Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh. The group said its mission was conducted in March and April "to provide an accurate accounting of the patterns of abuse and atrocity crimes."

    • Aung San Suu Kyi
      calls for peace
      in speech which avoids
      Rohingya crisis.

          - AFP / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        ...The Nobel Peace prize winner did not mention the Rohingya crisis... in her keynote address to an international meeting [in Nepal], organised by a group linked to the Unification Church [of Korea]. ...

  • 2018 Dec 2 - Sunday

    • No possibility of
      Rohingya returning soon:
      ~ U.N. coordinator

        U.N. coordinator in Cox’s Bazar says most of the 900,000 refugees fear persecution.

          - The Hindu (India)
        There is no “real possibility” of Rohingya refugees returning to Myanmar from Bangladesh [at this point] -- despite serial attempts to repatriate them -- said Sumbul Rizvi, a senior United Nations coordinator in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.
        “The UNHCR, UNDP and Myanmar are talking to create a conducive atmosphere [to send refugees back] but at this point the return is not a real possibility,” Ms. Rizvi said.
        Following attacks by both the military and Rakhine ethnic groups, about [900,000] Rohingya refugees reached Bangladesh in phases. Indicating that “80% of these 900,000 are women and children”, Ms. Rizvi said the attacks were made with a “clear genocidal intent”.
        “I have not seen such population, practically all, fearing direct persecution,” Ms. Rizvi said at the [key] session of a six-day workshop and seminar on “Protection system for refugees and migrants”, organised by the Kolkata-based Calcutta Research Group.
        A resolution, titled "Kolkata Declaration," on the status of refugees and migrants, was also adopted in Kolkata -- in the presence of refugee and migrant studies experts analysing the September resolution of the UN General Assembly that set in motion a complex global negotiation process on refugees, migrants and a wide variety of stateless people. ...

  • 2018 Dec 3 - Monday

    • Law Group Calls for Tribunal
      for Crimes Against Rohingya.

      A human rights law group, working for the U.S. State Department, calls for urgent establishment of a criminal tribunal to prosecute crimes against Myanmar's Rohingya.

          - Reuters / New York Times
        A human rights law group contracted by the U.S. State Department, to investigate atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, called on Monday for the urgent establishment of a criminal tribunal to bring those responsible to justice.
        There were reasonable grounds to believe the Myanmar military committed crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes against the minority group, [says a report by] the Washington-based Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG).
      The report was based on more than 1,000 interviews with Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh.
        The group's use of the term "genocide" adds pressure on President Donald Trump's administration to harden its own characterization of the treatment of the Rohingya -- something that could oblige Washington to take stronger punitive measures against Myanmar.
        * * *
        The PILPG's interviews with refugees formed the basis of a U.S. State Department report released in September, but the U.S. government stopped short of using the terms "crimes against humanity," "genocide" or "war crimes." The PILPG's report on Monday added the group's legal analysis to its findings on the atrocities.
        The State Department report, the subject of internal debate that delayed its rollout for nearly a month, referred to a "well-planned and coordinated" campaign of mass killings, gang rapes and other atrocities.
        A declaration of "genocide" by the U.S. government, -- which [so far] has only gone as far as labeling the crackdown "ethnic cleansing" -- could have legal implications that may commit Washington to stronger punitive measures against Myanmar. This has made some in the Trump administration wary of issuing such an assessment.
        * * *
        U.S. senators from both sides of the aisle have criticized Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for not going further in his condemnation. ...

        "The State Department had access to the exact same data when developing its report, yet we don’t have any policy announcement from Secretary Pompeo on a genocide determination, nor any other public statement on how the administration views the brutality. What is the reason for this silence?" Democratic Senator Ed Markey said in a statement to Reuters.
        Republican Senator Marco Rubio called last week for an immediate determination of genocide.
        The lawyers' report, based on the work of 18 investigators from 11 countries, found that Rohingya men, women, and children were the victims of "mass shootings and aerial bombardments, gang rapes and severe beatings, torture and burning, and attacks from flamethrowers and grenade launchers."
        It focused on the build-up to and conduct of "major systematic attacks" in Rakhine State between Aug. 25 and Sept. 4 last year.
        Even as the Rohingya fled their villages for Bangladesh they were fired on by military helicopters while the Myanmar Navy sought to sink overcrowded ferries, the report said, adding this showed the campaign went beyond the aim of merely driving the people out.
        "The scale and severity of the attacks and abuses ... suggest that, in the minds of the perpetrators, the goal was not just to expel, but also to exterminate the Rohingya," the report said.

    • Rohingyas not to return
      without security, citizenship:
      ~ ISCG

          - United News of Bangladesh
        The Rohingya community has continued to express ‘unwillingness’ to go back to Myanmar unless their security, basic human rights and citizenship are ensured.
        UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has stated repeatedly at different levels that the repatriation of Rohingyas should be premised “upon the free and informed decision by refugees, on an individual basis, to return”.
        The Refugee return should only take place at their freely expressed wish and based on relevant and reliable knowledge of the conditions within the country of origin and the area of return, says the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) [which coordinates UN and other relief agencies for the Rohingya Refugee Crisis] in its latest report.
          [A summary of the report, listed above on Nov. 29, summarizes recent developments; full report can be downloaded HERE.]

    • Rohingya Repatriation:
      ‘Do the right thing’,
      Bangladesh writes to Myanmar.

          - Dhaka Tribune (Bangladesh)
        Following the November 15 failed attempt to begin the Rohingya repatriation process, Bangladesh has communicated with Myanmar to reiterate the concerns of the refugees on Sunday.
        Dhaka asked Yangon to address the concerns that refugees have to facilitate the safe, voluntary and dignified return of the persecuted people from Rakhine, diplomats in both Dhaka and Yangon told Dhaka Tribune on Sunday. ...

  • 2018 Dec 4 - Tuesday

    • 2 key groups
      label Rohingya slaughter 'genocide'
      as Trump administration stays mum.

          - ABC News
        Myanmar's violence against the Rohingya, a Muslim-majority ethnic group, constituted a genocide, according to two new reports released Monday -- a determination that the Trump administration still has not made, even after releasing an exhaustive fact-finding report, in September, that documented the atrocities in horrifying detail.
        The administration's silence on genocide is particularly striking because the Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), one of the two groups that made a genocide determination on Monday, worked with the U.S. State Department on the administration's fact-finding report. PILPG reviewed the same evidence that the State Department has and undertook its own legal analysis to reach its conclusion Monday.
        But the U.S. has stopped short of using the term "genocide" -- instead saying the slaughter of thousands of Rohingya, and displacement of over 700,000 refugees across the border into Bangladesh, is "ethnic cleansing."
        * * *
        The U.S. and other countries have agreed to never commit genocide, and to take steps to prevent it under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide -- which defines it 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. "Ethnic cleansing" -- which is not defined by international law in the same way -- is seen as a lesser charge, and defined as expelling one of those groups from that area with violence.
        * * *
        The second report, by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, warned that the Rohingya [who] remain in Myanmar are still under threat of genocide -- and called on the international community to prevent future atrocities and hold those responsible accountable.
        * * *
        The two organizations are now aligned with the United Nations, which concluded in August that the violence was a genocide and recommended a criminal investigation. So far, the U.N. Human Rights Council has established an independent investigative mechanism to collect and analyze evidence, but no Myanmar military officials have been penalized beyond U.S. and European Union sanctions on less than a dozen officials and units.
        * * *
        Myanmar (formerly known as "Burma") has denied any wrongdoing -- defending its actions as a legitimate counterterror operation, and dismissing international outcry as meddling in their domestic affairs.
        * * *
        "The scale and severity of the attacks and abuses ... suggest that, in the minds of the perpetrators, the goal was not just to expel, but also to exterminate the Rohingya," PILPG found in their new report. "The violence against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine State was well-planned, widespread, systematic, and aimed at terrorizing the Rohingya, rendering them defenseless, and ensuring their removal from Myanmar -- whether by displacement or death."
        Based on interviews with 1,024 Rohingya refugees, randomly selected and living in camps in Bangladesh, their report was conducted on behalf of the U.S. State Department, which quietly released the findings in September.
        While many had expected a genocide determination to be made then, it did not come. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said at the time, "There weren't legal judgments expressed in it because that wasn't the point of the report," leaving the door open for a determination later.
        More than two months later, however, the administration still has not made an announcement on whether the violence amounts to genocide
        But PILPG took the step Monday to release its own legal analysis, finding that the Myanmar military committed genocide, as well as war crimes and crimes against humanity. ...

    • Indonesia rescues
      20 Muslim Rohingya
      adrift off Aceh.

          - AP / New Zealand Herald   KUALA IDI, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian fishermen rescued a wooden boat carrying 20 hungry, weak Rohingya Muslims on Tuesday after it was found adrift off Indonesia's northernmost province of Aceh, an official said.
        * * *
        The group of men and boys was discovered on the rickety boat about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) off the coast, said Syahrial, the head of East Aceh's local disaster mitigation office.
        * * *
        The group, ranging in age from 14 to 28, were weak from hunger and dehydration after a 15-day voyage, Syahrial said, adding that villagers donated clothes, food and drinking water.
        * * *
        Some 300 Rohingya are still being sheltered in Aceh. Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation, is a strong supporter of the Rohingya cause.

    • Myanmar religion minister
      says Rohingya 'brainwashed'
      to 'march' on the country.

          - Reuters / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        YANGON: Myanmar’s Minister for Religion on Tuesday (Dec 4) said Rohingya Muslim refugees living in neighbouring Bangladesh are being "brainwashed" into "marching" on the Buddhist-majority nation [of Myanmar] -- amid a diplomatic feud over the fate of the persecuted minority.
        * * *
        Thura Aung Ko said Bangladesh was "not letting them return", referring to the Rohingya as "Bengalis", a term commonly used in Myanmar to imply that they are recent interlopers from Bangladesh. (Rohingya say they are native to Rakhine state.)
        "If release them, the population will drop," he said in a video shared by NewsWatch, a news website. "And then, they, at the camps, also feed and brainwash Bengali youths to truly march. They will march on Myanmar. The future goal of those over-populated Bengalis is to march on Myanmar."
        * * *
        Thura Aung Ko, a former general who was appointed to the cabinet by Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi after she came to power in 2016, was expanding on comments he made at the funeral of a prominent monk last week. On Nov 27, he expounded on birth rates among members of an unnamed "extreme religion" and the threat it posed to Buddhism in Myanmar.
        "While we Buddhists practise monogamy and have only one or two children, an extreme religion encourages to have three or four wives and give birth to 15 to 20 children," he said in a video published by [U.S. propaganda radio network] Radio Free Asia. "After three, four, five decades in this Buddhist country, the Buddhist community will certainly become the minority."
        On Tuesday, he clarified: "In fact, ‘other religion’ means Bengalis."

  • 2018 Dec 5 - Wednesday

    • End of monsoon prompts
      fresh wave of boats
      fleeing Myanmar.

        Recent flurry of departures is close to reaching 2015 levels, as members of Muslim minority seek to escape displacement camps

          - AFP / The Guardian (U.K.)
        A new exodus of boats -- carrying Rohingya fleeing from Myanmar -- has begun, with at least six boats, carrying hundreds of refugees, intercepted at sea or washing ashore over the past month. ...

    • Rohingya survivors face
      a new indignity:
      banishment to a
      half-sunken island.

          - PRI (Public Radio International)
        ...Now the Rohingya may be pushed even farther from home: banished to a remote island off the coast of Bangladesh. There are nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees living in squalid camps in Bangladesh, one of the world’s most crowded nations. Officials there are planning to relocate many of them to this tiny island as soon as next year.
        The island is out in the middle of the Bay of Bengal — about three hours off of mainland Bangladesh — and it's mostly composed of silt. It's been created naturally over the past 20 years but even 50 years ago, you couldn't find it on a map.
        * * *
        The island is incredibly small with no real human settlement and very possibly no electricity. It’s about 20 miles from mainland Bangladesh, meaning it would take hours to get there by boat. And it sits right in the path of vicious monsoons that come every year.

        * * *
        [A Rohingya activist and blogger, Nay San Lwin, who is living in Germany and has visited refugee camps in Bangladesh multiple times this year, says:]
        “Nobody likes this plan. I have talked with many fellow Rohingya in the camp. Nobody wants to move there,"
        "At least [in the current refugee camps] in Cox’s Bazaar, they have access to everything. There are humanitarian organizations. Aid organizations. UN organizations. But once they move to this island, they will have everything limited.”
        Nay San Lwin worries the island is too small to build up a big presence of aid workers, hospitals, clinics and so on. He said he thinks it could be even worse than the apartheid conditions in the Rohingya homeland, a part of Myanmar called Northern Rakhine State.
        “This island is [even] worse than the Northern Rakhine State. You know, Northern Rakhine State, we call it the 'killing fields.' This island is also considered like a killing field. Because you don’t know what will happen in the monsoon season... They could be killed in an hour or in a few minutes when there is a cyclone. There is no guarantee at all."
        * * *
        For now, the government of Bangladesh is building cement complexes on the island that will house Rohingya refugees in the future. The rooms are about square, six and a half feet per side, and have bars on the windows.
        The UN and aid groups have warned against the move.

    • Cardinal Tagle visits
      Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

          - Vatican News
        The president of Caritas Internationalis -- the global federation of national Catholic charities -- is calling on the international community to continue to help the displaced Muslim minority in Bangladesh.
        Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle made the appeal after visiting a refugee camp for Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh who fled atrocities in Myanmar. ...

  • 2018 Dec 6 - Thursday

    • Bangladesh seeks action
      against Myanmar minister
      over Rohingya 'brainwashed' remark.

          - Reuters / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
        DHAKA: Bangladesh summoned the Myanmar ambassador on Wednesday (Dec 6) to condemn “irresponsible remarks” made by Myanmar’s religion minister about Rohingya Muslims, and called for action against him, senior officials at the Bangladesh foreign ministry said.
        In a video released by the news website NewsWatch, Myanmar’s religion minister Thura Aung Ko said that Rohingya Muslims -- living as refugees in Bangladesh, after escaping Myanmar -- are being “brainwashed” into “marching” on the Buddhist-majority nation [of Myanmar]. ...
        [see Dec. 4 article]

    • 'We can't go anywhere':
      Myanmar closes Rohingya camps
      but 'entrenches segregation'.

          - Reuters News Service   As the world was focused on abortive efforts to begin repatriating hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar last month, hundreds of their fellow Muslims, still in Myanmar, were boarding boats seeking to escape the country.
        Their attempted flight cast the spotlight back on 128,000 Rohingya and other displaced Muslims still living in crowded camps in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, six years after Buddhist mobs razed most of their homes.
        The government of Aung San Suu Kyi, under international pressure to address their plight, says it is now closing the camps on the grounds that doing so will help development and put the labor of camp residents to good use.
        But Reuters interviews with more than a dozen residents from five camps and internal United Nations documents show the move simply means building new, more permanent homes next to the camps -- rather than allowing [the Rohingya] to return to the areas from which they fled -- leaving their situation little changed. ...

    • Address root causes
      of Rohingya crisis:
      ~US Ambassador.

          - UNB / Daily Star (Bangladesh)   US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller has urged Myanmar to address the root causes of Rohingya crisis -- expressing strong support to hold accountable those who are responsible for the atrocities committed against Rohingyas in Myanmar.
        "It's Myanmar's responsibility to address the root causes of the refugee crisis, including providing the Rohingyas access to citizenship, freedom of movement, access to livelihoods, and other key recommendations of the Annan Commission," he said.
        The US envoy made the remarks in a statement as he completed his first visit to Cox's Bazar today. he visited several Rohingya camps and Bangladesh host communities from December 4. ...
        * * *
        The US has provided nearly $346 million to assist Rohingyas and host communities in Bangladesh affected by the displacement since the current crisis started in August 2017, said the US Embassy in Dhaka.
        In addition, the US contributes more than $200 million annually in development assistance.
        * * *
        In all of his meetings, Ambassador Miller expressed US gratitude and admiration for the extraordinary generosity of the Bangladesh people in sheltering the more than 700,000 Rohingyas who have fled to Bangladesh since August 2017, said the Embassy. ..

    • OPINION ESSAY:
      Breaking resistance to human rights:
      Democracies and Rohingya.

        by Dinna Wisnu,
        Indonesian representative to the
        ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission
        on Human Rights.

          - Jakarta Post (Indonesia)
        President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has confirmed Indonesia is ready to help resolve the Rohingya issue in Rakhine, Myanmar. He referred confidently to the ongoing process of giving more responsibility to the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Center) for exploring the steps and types of cooperation needed for repatriating the Rohingya from Bangladesh to Myanmar.
        The AHA Center is ASEAN’s current entry point into Myanmar. Usually Myanmar uses bilateral relations with some ASEAN member states or communicates through the ASEAN chair. This time it is through an ASEAN body -- the first time that ASEAN leaders have given one a mandate beyond what has been given to any other ASEAN body. This reflects how some in ASEAN are pushing for a more visible way for ASEAN to engage in Myanmar’s issues. ...
        Given ASEAN’s operating principles of consensus and noninterference, the rather swift agreement among ASEAN leaders to expand the AHA Center’s mandate suggests a promising direction for ASEAN engagement on Rakhine.
        * * *
        Myanmar today shows how hard it can be for the citizens of nondemocracies to even imagine the happiness and satisfaction of living under a democracy. For Myanmar’s leaders, voices of nongovernment actors and discussions on human rights are seen as highly unnecessary force or pressure.
        Some even say I am hindering the growth of prosperity by opening too much room for dialogues on human rights. Technological disruption, the opening of many new markets and the protectionism of the more developed economies are seen as reasons for states like Myanmar to place democracy as their last priority.
        This is why democracies must work together. Democracies cannot afford to be disfigured and leave openings for excuses by nondemocratic regimes to undermine freedoms and rights that have brought hundreds of millions out of fear, torture, forced choices, arbitrary arrests and poor quality of living — including some 260 million Indonesians. Indonesians have swallowed the bitter pill of living under a nondemocratic regime, and we learned that human rights work just fine with prosperity.
        We should all continue working tirelessly, not just to open minds in Myanmar, but also in neighboring countries with limited imagination about the beauty of a human rights-based approach for handling the Rohingya issue.

  • 2018 Dec 7 - Friday

    • Malaysia appreciates U.K. assistance
      in addressing Rohingya issue,
      says [Malaysia's] Deputy Prime Minister.

          - Bernama / Malay Mail (Malaysia)   LONDON, Dec 7 — Malaysia appreciates the United Kingdom’s assistance, including financial aid, in addressing issues involving the Rohingya refugees, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
        She said the financial aid provided by the United Kingdom was to finance humanitarian, education and health programmes in Malaysia, as well as for operation of the Malaysian Field Hospital at Cox Bazar in Bangladesh.
        “I am thankful to United Kingdom for helping the Rohingya refugees, now totalling almost 100,000 people (in Malaysia), she told Malaysian journalists covering her first official visit to the United Kingdom (UK) last night.

  • 2018 Dec 8 - Saturday

    • Ensuring sexual and reproductive
      health and rights
      of Rohingya women and girls.

          - The Lancet (U.K.'s top medical journal)
        According to the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission (May 9, p 2642),
      the sexual and reproductive health and rights of displaced people and refugees are being compromised in humanitarian settings because essential life-saving sexual and reproductive health and rights services are inadequate or not available.
        After the eruption of violence in the Rakhine state of Myanmar in August, 2017, nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees arrived in neighbouring Bangladesh, resulting in one of the biggest refugee settlements in the world in Cox's Bazar.
        More than half of these refugees were women and girls whose sexual and reproductive health and rights needs were, and continue to be, immense. ...


Also see:
  • Current Affairs Summary
  • 2017 News





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