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Posts tagged ‘Forgotten Rohingya Muslims’

UN team, in Bangladesh, vows to work to end Rohingya crisis

April 29, 2018

KUTUPALONG, Bangladesh (AP) — A U.N. Security Council team visiting Bangladesh promised Sunday to work hard to resolve a crisis involving hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled to the country to escape military-led violence in neighboring Myanmar.

The diplomats, who visited the sprawling camps and border points where about 700,000 Rohingya have taken shelter, said their visit was an opportunity to see the situation firsthand. Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, said he and his fellow team members would not look away from the crisis after their visit, though he warned that there are no simple solutions.

“It’s very necessary to come and see everything at place here in Bangladesh and Myanmar. But there is no magic solution, there is no magic stick to solve all these issues,” he said at a news conference at the Kutupalong refugee camp in the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar.

The diplomats will conclude their three-day visit to Bangladesh on Monday, when they leave for Myanmar. The recent spasm of violence in Myanmar began when Rohingya insurgents staged a series of attacks on Aug. 25 on about 30 security outposts and other targets. In a subsequent crackdown described by U.N. and U.S. officials as “ethnic cleansing,” Myanmar security forces have been accused of rape, killing, torture and the burning of Rohingya homes. Thousands are believed to have been killed.

The diplomats, comprising representatives from the five permanent Security Council members — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — and 10 non-permanent member states, talked to some 120 refugees, including rape victims.

Peru’s ambassador to the U.N., Gustavo Adolfo Meza Cuadra Velasqez, said he and his fellow team members were ready to “work hard” and were “very concerned” about the crisis. “I think we have witnessed the magnitude of the refugee crisis and very tragic situation of some of the families,” he said.

The refugees are seeking U.N. protection to return home. The U.N. refugee agency and Bangladesh recently finalized a memorandum of understanding that said the repatriation process must be “safe, voluntary and dignified … in line with international standards.”

Karen Pierce, the UK’s ambassador to the United Nations, said that the Security Council would continue to work on enabling the refugees to return to Myanmar, but that the Rohingya must be allowed to return under safe conditions.

“The problem there lies in their expulsion, treatment and the fact that they had to flee to Bangladesh,” she said. Rohingya are denied citizenship in overwhelmingly Buddhist Myanmar, where they’ve faced persecution for decades. They’re derided as “Bengalis,” and many in Myanmar believe they are illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Most of them live in poverty in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, next to Bangladesh.

Thousands of refugees gathered amid scorching heat at the Kutupalong camp to welcome the visiting delegation. They carried placards, some of which read “We want justice.” “We are not Bengali, we are Rohingya. They have killed my family members, they tortured us, they will kill us again,” said one of the refugees, 29-year-old Mohammed Tayab, standing in front of a tent where he was waiting to meet the U.N. team.

Tayab, who was using crutches, said he was shot by Myanmar troops in his right leg. He said he lost a brother, an uncle and a nephew after Myanmar soldiers shot them dead. “I am here to talk to them, we want justice from them,” he said of the diplomats. “I will tell them my stories. They should listen to us.”

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EU prepares new Myanmar sanctions over Rohingya crackdown

February 26, 2018

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union foreign ministers have tasked the EU’s top diplomat with drawing up a list of sanctions to slap on senior Myanmar military officers over rights abuses against the Rohingya minority.

The ministers on Monday also ordered EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to propose ways to toughen an EU embargo blocking the provision of arms and equipment that could be used for internal repression.

They said the measures are needed “in light of the disproportionate use of force and widespread and systematic grave human rights violations committed by the military and security forces.” About 700,000 Rohingya have fled towns and villages in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state since August to escape a military crackdown.

Negotiations for their return are underway but many fear their safety and well-being are not guaranteed.

Malaysia sends first aid ship to Rohingya Muslims

03 February 2017 Friday

Malaysia has sent its first ship carrying 2,300 tons of humanitarian goods to Rakhine state in Myanmar to help the persecuted minority Rohingya Muslim community.

Prime Minister Najib Razak in Klang Port attended the send-off of the aid consisting of food, medical supplies and other basic necessities near the capital Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

The mission has been organized by the 1Malaysia Club and the Malaysia Islamic Organizations Consultative Council with the cooperation of Turkiye Diyanet Vakfi Foundation, which is supported by the Turkish government.

Besides Malaysia, nine other countries have contributed to the mission, including France, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Germany, the U.S. and Bangladesh.

Speaking at the event, Razak said the mission is a testament to the unity of Muslim community globally, when it comes to issue of humanitarianism.

“We the Muslims, can no longer bear our Rohingya brothers and sisters being tortured, raped, burnt alive and killed,” he said.

“The flotilla flagging off is a very historic event for Malaysia, to be able to lead such a noble humanitarian effort.”

Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, who is leading the Food Flotilla for Myanmar mission, told reporters the vessel was expected to reach Yangon in five to six days, depending on weather conditions.

Abdul Rahim said the aid will be handed over to Myanmar’s Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Win Myat Aye on arrival at Yangon, after which it will be supplied to the Rohingya community.

The ship will sail to Teknaf, Bangladesh, after unloading in Yangon on the same day to provide aid to Rohingya refugees in that country, Rahim said.

“We are going in a team of 230 volunteers and activists from various non-governmental organizations are part of the mission,” he added.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=184184.

Turkey builds orphanage in Bangladesh to host Rohingya children

September 24, 2017

An orphanage, which has been built by a Turkish aid agency and hosts currently 100 Rohingya children, is now preparing to welcome more.

The Turkey-based Yardımeli aid agency in March inaugurated the orphanage complex in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh to provide shelter to 100 Rohingya orphans and give education to 500 local students.

The Yardımeli Darul Hikme Education and Social Complex, which reserves three-floor school building and a mosque, was built on an area of 12,000 square meters (129,166 square feet). The school building has 20 classrooms, five dormitory rooms for orphans and two large halls for social activities.

“All these work we have done here is financed by the compassionate Turkish people,” said Yardımeli’s Bangladesh Coordinator Mehmet Çitil.

“On behalf of Rohingya and people of Bangladesh, I thank all of our brothers and sisters from Turkey and Europe for their support to those who are in need.”

Çitil said that Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has also took part in meeting needs such as desks and bunk beds.

“Wherever you go in the world, Turkey is now known as a country that is reaching out to needy people…,” he added.

A statement released by the agency on Friday said that 600 families were provided with food supplies in Tamfali refugee camp under the scope of urgent food aid program, urging donors to contribute more since the number of refugees in camps are rising day by day.

It added that the agency is using the complex and 29 affiliated masjids in the region as centers for its aid efforts.

Describing the complex as a “great structure and a great way to obtain better and educated generation”, the school principal Mujib Siraj thanked Turkish government and those who contributed.

Over 1,100 Rohingya children feeling violence in Myanmar have arrived alone in Bangladesh since Aug. 25, according to UNICEF report and other 600,000 Rohingya children could flee to Bangladesh by the end of the year.

These children are at a risk of sexual abuse, human trafficking and psychological trauma.

Since Aug. 25, more than 429,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN’s migration agency.

In total, more than 800,000 Rohingya refugees are now believed to be in Bangladesh, including the arrivals since Aug. 25.

The refugees are fleeing a fresh security operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan raised the issue with the UN.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Source: Jasarat.

Link: http://en.jasarat.com/2017/09/24/turkey-builds-orphanage-in-bangladesh-to-host-rohingya-children/.

Turkey to build shelters for 100,000 Rohingya

September 24, 2017

Turkey would build shelters for 100,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, an official of Turkey’s state-run aid body said on Sunday.

According to a press release, Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency’s (TIKA) Bangladesh Coordinator Ahmet Refik Cetinkaya held a meeting with Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya.

“Turkey will soon provide 10,000 packets of aid [to Rohingya Muslims],” Cetinkaya told the minister.

He said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag would visit Bangladesh.

Since August 25, more than 429,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN’s migration agency. In total, more than 800,000 Rohingya refugees are now believed to be in Bangladesh, including the arrivals since August 25.

The refugees are fleeing a fresh security operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the issue with the UN.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170924-turkey-to-build-shelters-for-100000-rohingya/.

Amnesty: Myanmar army killed at least hundreds of Rohingya

October 18, 2017

BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar security forces killed hundreds of men, women and children during a systematic campaign to expel Rohingya Muslims, Amnesty International said in a new report Wednesday that calls for an arms embargo on the country and criminal prosecution of the perpetrators.

More than 580,000 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when Myanmar security forces began a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages. Myanmar’s government has said it was responding to attacks by Muslim insurgents, but the United Nations and others have said the response was disproportionate.

The continuing exodus of Rohingya Muslims has become a major humanitarian crisis and sparked international condemnation of Buddhist-majority Myanmar, which still denies atrocities are taking place. Based on interviews with more than 120 fleeing Rohingya, Amnesty International said at least hundreds of people were killed by security forces who surrounded villages, shot fleeing inhabitants and then set buildings alight, burning to death the elderly, sick and disabled who were unable to flee.

In some villages, women and girls were raped or subjected to other sexual violence, according to the report. The witnesses repeatedly described an insignia on their attackers’ uniforms that matched one worn by troops from Myanmar’s Western Command, Amnesty International said.

When shown various insignia used by Myanmar’s army, witnesses consistently picked out the Western Command patch, it said. The 33rd Light Infantry Division and border police, who wear a distinctive blue camouflage uniform, were also frequently involved in attacks on villages, along with Buddhist vigilante mobs, witnesses said.

Matthew Wells, an Amnesty crisis researcher who spent several weeks at the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, said the rights group plans to issue another report in the coming months examining individual criminal responsibility, including specific commanders and others that may be involved in abuses.

He said hundreds of Rohingya have been treated for gunshot wounds and doctors say that the injuries are consistent with people being shot from behind as they fled. There were credible indications that a total of several hundred people had been killed in just five villages that were the focus of Amnesty’s reporting. Wells said that given that dozens of villages across northern Rakhine State have been targeted in a similar fashion, the death toll could be much higher.

He said satellite imagery, corroborated by witness accounts, show that Rohingya homes and mosques have been burned entirely in villages, while non-Rohingya areas just one or two hundred yards (meters) away were untouched.

“It speaks to how organized, how seemingly well-planned this scorched-earth campaign has been by the Myanmar military and how determined the effort has been to drive the Rohingya population out of the country,” Wells said.

Among almost two dozen recommendations, the human rights group called for the U.N. Security Council to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar and financial sanctions against senior officials responsible for violations that Amnesty says meet the criteria for crimes against humanity.

It said the council should explore options for bringing the perpetrators to justice under international law if Myanmar authorities do not act swiftly. “It is time for the international community to move beyond public outcry and take action to end the campaign of violence that has driven more than half the Rohingya population out of Myanmar,” Amnesty said.

Witnesses and a drone video shot Monday by the U.N. refugee agency show that Rohingya are continuing to flee persecution in Myanmar and crossing into Bangladesh. The video showed thousands upon thousands of Rohingya trudging along a narrow strip of land alongside what appears to a rain-swollen creek in the Palong Khali area in southern Bangladesh. The line of refugees stretches for a few kilometers (miles).

The new wave of refugees started crossing the border over the weekend, witnesses said. An Associated Press photographer saw thousands of newcomers near one border crossing Tuesday. Several said that they were stopped by Bangladeshi border guards and spent the night in muddy rice fields.

Nearly 60 percent of the refugees are children. The U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF, warned Tuesday that without immediate additional funding, it will not be able to continue providing life-saving aid and protection to Rohingya children. UNICEF said it has received just 7 percent of the $76 million it needs.

On Aug. 25, a Rohingya insurgent group known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked at least 30 security posts on Aug. 25, causing dozens of casualties, according to Myanmar authorities. The brutal attacks against Rohingya that followed have been described by the U.N. as “textbook ethnic cleansing.”

Buddhist-majority Myanmar has denied citizenship for the Rohingya since 1982 and excludes them from the 135 ethnic groups officially recognized, which effectively renders them stateless. They have long faced discrimination and persecution with many Buddhists in Myanmar calling them “Bengalis” and saying they migrated illegally from Bangladesh, even though they have lived in the country for generations.

AP journalists Matthew Pennington and Dar Yasin in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh contributed to this report.

UN: Myanmar violence a deliberate strategy to expel Rohingya

October 12, 2017

GENEVA (AP) — A report by the U.N. human rights office says attacks against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar point to a strategy to instill “widespread fear and trauma” and prevent them from ever returning to their homes.

The report released Wednesday is based on 65 interviews conducted in mid-September with Rohingya, individually and in groups, as more the half a million people from the ethnic group fled into Bangladesh during a violent crackdown in Myanmar.

The attacks against Rohingya in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state by security forces and Buddhist mobs were “coordinated and systematic,” with the intent of not only driving the population out of Myanmar but preventing them from returning, the report said.

Some of those interviewed said that before and during attacks, megaphones were used to announce: “You do not belong here — go to Bangladesh. If you do not leave, we will torch your houses and kill you.”

According to the U.N. researchers, measures against the minority group began almost a month before the Aug. 25 attacks on police posts by Muslim militants that served as a pretext for what Myanmar’s military called “clearance operations” in Rakhine.

“Information we have received indicates that days and up to a month before the 25th of August, that the Myanmar security forces imposed further restrictions on access to markets, medical clinics, schools and religious sites,” Karin Friedrich, who was part of the U.N. mission to Bangladesh, said at a news conference. “Rohingya men aged 15 to 40 were reportedly arrested by the Myanmar police” and detained without any charges, she said.

U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said the Myanmar government’s denial of rights, including citizenship, to the Rohingya appeared to be part of “a cynical ploy to forcibly transfer large numbers of people without possibility of return.” He has also described the systematic attacks and widespread burning of villages as “textbook ethnic cleansing.”

The report said efforts were made to “effectively erase signs of memorable landmarks” in Rohingya areas to make the landscape unrecognizable. Myanmar’s Buddhist majority denies that Rohingya Muslims are a separate ethnic group and regards them as illegal immigrants.

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