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  1. #81
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    ‘It only takes one terrorist’: the Buddhist monk who reviles Myanmar’s Muslims

    Critics of Ashin Wirathu and his denim-clad disciples say the monk incites racial violence against Rohingya refugees. He claims he is merely protecting his people

    Myanmar army allegedly left Rohingya refugees with bullet wounds and burns

    “Aung San Suu Kyii would like to help the Bengali, but I block her,” says Ashin Wirathu with some pride.

    Branded the “Face of Buddhist Terror” by Time magazine, Wirathu has his own compound within the Masoeyein monastery in Mandalay. Before being offered a comfortable chair, visitors are greeted by a wall of bloody and gruesome photographs.

    The pictures show machete-inflicted head wounds and severed limbs, disfigured faces and slashed bodies; Wirathu claims, without the slightest evidence, that the images are of Buddhists who were attacked by Muslims.

    Next to the display, under which a monk is methodically sweeping the floor, stands a long table. The newspapers spread across it confirm that, for Wirathu’s followers, daily reading is a matter not just of spiritual texts but also of politics.

    An orange-robed assistant adjusts a film camera on to a tripod; another brandishes a Nikon fitted with a large zoom lens. This interview will be carefully recorded by the monks in every way.

    Wirathu is a man of unassuming features. His baby face belies the power he holds over nationalist activists in Myanmar as the spiritual leader of the 969 movement and head of Ma Ba Tha, the Organisation for the Protection of Race and Religion.

    Wirathu perches on one of two teak armchairs; the wall to his left is covered with poster-sized photographs of him. He stands accused of inciting violence against the minority Muslim population in Myanmar, where racial and religious faultlines are increasingly exposed. In 2012, fuelled by his speeches, riots erupted in Meiktila, a city in central Myanmar, leaving a mosque burned to the ground and over a hundred dead.

    In a soft and measured voice, Wirathu claims his speeches are neither “hate” nor racist, but serve merely as a warning to protect his people. What people make of those warnings is not his doing, he says calmly.

    “I am defending my loved one,” he says, “like you would defend your loved one. I am only warning people about Muslims. Consider it like if you had a dog, that would bark at strangers coming to your house – it is to warn you. I am like that dog. I bark.”

    Wirathu speaks of protecting his flock – “his beloved” – against what he perceives as danger. His denial of responsibility for the violence that has followed his sermons contrasts with eyewitness accounts of knife-wielding monks, denim jeans visible under their robes, leaving Wirathu’s monastery during the Mandalay riots of 2013.

    Islam represents only 5% of Myanmar’s population of 54 million, but nationalists like Wirathu are pushing the idea that the faith puts Buddhism, and the very essence of Myanmar, in jeopardy. He claims the 1 million Rohingya Muslims living in precarious conditions in his country – described by human rights agencies as the most persecuted people on Earth – “don’t exist”.

    “It only takes one terrorist to be amongst them,” he says. “Look at what has happened in the west. I do not want that to happen in my country. All I am doing is warning people to beware.”

    Wirathu adds that if Donald Trump or Nigel Farage need some advice he will happily share his ideas. These include infiltrating the Facebook pages of Muslim groups, getting all Islamic schools to record their lessons, and government surveillance of internet activity, including emails. Wirathu claims he has his own army of individuals screening the net in Myanmar.

    On the well-documented situation of the Rohingya in Rakhine state – where people have been left without access to medicines, aid, and basic human necessities such as clean water, sanitation and food – Wirathu is dismissive. The Rohingya have been mostly couped up in camps since the 2012 violence, and the silence of Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy on their plight has attracted growing criticism.

    Wirathu rejects the stateless Rohingya as illegal immigrants, a view echoed by the government. He will only discuss them if the description “Bangladeshis” is used, and even then Wirashu says the situation is not as it is portrayed.

    “If it is true what [outsiders say], then I would offer help but I have visited the camps on many occasions. The aid agencies are refused access because they are using the refugees to fill their own pockets. Bangladeshis are posing for the media. They are not starving. They have so much food that they are selling it on in their shops – stealing even from their own.”

    On the allegations that women have been abused and raped by the military, he laughed: “Impossible. Their bodies are too disgusting.”

    There have been calls outside Myanmar for Aung San Suu Kyi to return her Nobel peace prize for her failure to tackle the situation with the refugees, which has broken her own promises on human rights.

    Wirathu points to four soldiers marching through the compound, joking that they are there to arrest him, again. In 2003, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his anti-islamic sermons, but was released nine years later. In the event, the soldiers are there simply to make donations to his cause.

    Wirathu is confident that the power of Ma Ba Tha is far from dwindling; that the organisation represents Myanmar Buddhism and its influence over the government is entrenched.

    As a passing mosquito wins his empathy, he switches from his anti-Muslim rhetoric to explain: “I can teach you how to be a better Buddhist and not kill the mosquito. First, you must have compassion for the mosquito, imagine it to need you as it has no family to feed it. Second, you must try to put yourself in its place.”


    Buddhist Monks Lead Genocide in Myanmar.

    In Myanmar, it is the Buddhist monks who terrorize the Muslims.

    Consider some of the violence sparked earlier this summer over the demand for recognition of Myanmar’s million plus Muslim minority, the Rohingya.

    Among other things, a couple hundred Buddhists rampaged through a village in central Myanmar, destroying a mosque and forcing Muslim residents to flee to a local police station, where they sought refuge for the night.

    Around 50 police were deployed to guard the village but residents will relocate to a nearby town. Win Shwe, the mosque’s secretary asserts, “Our situation is not safe, and now we are planning to leave the village. We still feel afraid.”

    Such attacks have become typical in Myanmar. Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific has requested that Myanmar’s new government condemn the attack and clarify that such violence against Muslims and other religious minorities be considered a criminal offense. He advocated an independent investigation, the perpetrators to face justice and for reparations to be made to the victims.

    Djamin appealed to the new government of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Laureate who spent 15 years under house arrest for her pro-democracy activism, to unequivocally condemn all incitement to hatred, violence and discrimination “and take concrete action to protect the rights of all people in Myanmar regardless of their religion.”

    Such action seems unlikely to happen, however, since the government of Suu Kyi is strongly influenced by extremist Buddhist monks, whose Ma Ba Tha association regularly meets with the government minister. Their leader, Ashin Wirathu, uses social media to incite religious hatred and spread false stories, denigrating Muslims as mad dogs and rapists.

    The Rohingya people have lived in Myanmar for hundreds of years but the Buddhist majority oppose all moves to grant them official minority recognition. They insist on calling the Rohingya, “Bengalis,” a derogatory term intended to denote that the Rohingya are illegal migrants from Bangladesh. After extremist monks urged Myanmar’s government to officially refuse the existence of Rohingya Muslims in Burma and advocated the government drive the Rohingya out, Aung San Suu Kyi affirmed that her new government would not use the term “Rohingya,” because it is inflammatory, and has banned officials from using the term.

    Prejudice against the Rohingya is not new but has intensified in recent years. In 1982 the Citizenship Law reduced the Rohingya to the status of “foreigners,” and they have been denied access to education and employment with restrictions imposed on movement, marriage, and reproduction. Many Rohingya children cannot even have their birth registered. Violence incited by extremist monks in 2012 claimed hundreds of lives, including the lives of small children who were hacked to death with machetes. Villages were burnt and thousands of Rohingya displaced. Since that time, some 140,000 people, mainly Rohingya, have been trapped in grim displacement camps in close to the border of Bangladesh. [3]

    A two day conference concerning Rohingya persecution, held in Oslo, Norway in May 2015, concluded with a call from seven Nobel Peace Laureates to describe the Rohingya’s plight as genocide. Desmond Tutu’s appeal to end what he has termed the slow genocide of the Rohingya was backed by six fellow Nobel Peace laureates: Mairead Maguire from Northern Ireland, Jody Williams from the U.S., Tawakkol Karman from Yeman, Shirin Ebadi from Iran, Leymah Gbowee from Liberia, and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel from Argentina. They stated that, “What Rohingyas are facing is a textbook case of genocide in which an entire indigenous community is being systematically wiped out by the Burmese government.”

    Hopes that the situation would improve for the Rohingya, after military rule was replaced by a semi-civilian government, have been disappointed. Since Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory in November she has yet to address the ongoing persecution and Buddhist terrorism. She has even refused to accept the Rohingya Muslim as an ethnic people of Myanmar and requested that foreign dignitaries refrain from using the term. According to a government minister, this includes a request that the American ambassador refrain from using the term during high-level talks, following pressure from Buddhist nationalists. “We told them that the use of the term by the U.S. embassy is not supportive of national reconciliation in Myanmar.”

    The ambassador, Scot Marciel, has affirmed, however, that in accordance with international practice, it is for the Rohingya to decide. “Communities anywhere in the world have the right to choose what they should be called.” His response led hundreds of enraged nationalists, organized by Buddhist monks, to protest outside the U.S. embassy in the capital, demanding the ambassador stop using the term. “It is already clear that there is no such ethnicity as Rohingya in our country,” Win Zaw Zaw Latt, from the Yangon-based Myanmar National Network claimed. “We demand the U.S., as well as Western countries and the EU, stop using the term Rohingya.”

    This month the UN warned the Nobel Peace Prize winner to end government violations against the Rohingya, including torture and executions, since they may amount to crimes against humanity. It is ironic that Suu Kyi who spent 15 years under house arrest and was regarded as a major voice for human rights and freedom in Myanmar is today responsible for human rights abuses. And it is incredible how little American Buddhists talk about it.

    The Rohingya Muslims have often been referred to as “the world’s most forgotten people.” Hence, any effort to inform yourself about their plight can go a long way. Writing about them anywhere, on Facebook, blogs, or letters to the editor, can wake people up. American Buddhists traveling to Myanmar can challenge the monks there to abide by their precepts. And if your sangha is based in Burma, you can challenge teachers in your tradition to take a stand. American Buddhists have not been completely silent concerning the Rohingya, but like most of the rest of the world, we have largely ignored them.


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    Rohingya Hindu women share horror tales

    More than 500 Rohingya Hindus have crossed over to Bangladesh to escape military persecution of the minority group in Rakhine, Myanmar that began in late August

    The morning of August 27 started as any other for Anika Dhar, 18, a resident of Fakira Bazar village in the Maungdaw area of Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state.

    Her husband Milon Dhar, a barber who worked at a salon in the nearby market, was preparing to go to work when a group of men wearing black uniforms burst into their home. They were armed to the teeth with guns and long knives, Anika said.

    “They looted our house, then marched us with more than a hundred of our neighbours to a secluded spot,” she told the Dhaka Tribune. “They had dug holes in the ground. They shot and stabbed people and dumped the bodies into the holes.”

    Milon was among those killed by the militiamen dressed in black. Over one hundred people were killed that day, according to Anika.

    Anika said she was able to escape in the confusion and friendly people helped her get across the river Naf to Bangladesh.

    Anika is among a small group of Hindu Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh along with their Muslim neighbours, Rohingya Hindu men have also been killed by the Myanmar security forces during its latest crackdown on the Rohingya in Rakhine state, human rights activists say, but the number has yet to be confirmed.

    Such accounts are consistent with the stories brought by the mainly Muslim Rohingya, who accuse the Myanmar military and Rakhine militias backed by the army of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya.

    At least eight Hindu women refugees, who fled to Bangladesh from Rakhine in the last few weeks, said armed men killed their husbands in front of them.

    Promila Sheel, 25, said she decided to flee to Bangladesh after her husband was killed by militia.

    Like Anika Dhar, Promila has found shelter at Kutupalong’s Hindu camp with roughly a hundred other families.

    Anika, who is expecting a baby, said her husband Milon worked at a salon in Maungdaw’s Fakira Bazar.

    “They shot him dead,” she said. “I joined the Muslims and escaped with them.”

    As of Monday, more than 410,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh after the Myanmar security forces launched “security operations” targeting Rohingya villages following insurgent attacks on police posts and an army base on August 25, according to UN estimates.

    Among the Rohingya refugees are more than 500 Hindus who fled the persecution in their homeland.

    Many of these refugees said their houses were attacked, looted and set afire by the security forces.

    About 30,000 Arakanese Buddhists, Hindus and Arakanese sub-ethnic residents fled violence apart from the Rohingya, according to Myanmar-based media The Irrawaddy.

    Cox’s Bazar Assistant Deputy Commissioner and Executive Magistrate AKM Lutfor Rahman said out of a total of around 409,000 Rohingya in Ukhiya, 7,078 had been registered by the government by Tuesday.

    More than half of the more than 400,000 Rohingya who have escaped Myanmar’s military crackdown live in makeshift sites without proper shelter, clean drinking water and sanitation.

    On Tuesday, police and army officials were checking vehicles coming from the camps towards Cox’s Bazar city, after the government announced restrictions on the refugees’ movement.

    The scenario was the same as the previous days, when many local people joined government agencies and NGOs to distribute relief goods to refugees in Ukhiya’s refugees camps and nearby areas.

    Many of the Rohingya are suffering from a variety of diseases including diarrhea and fever, however medical teams trying to given treatment, the civil surgeon’s office said, although the teams are not enough for all.

    Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader could not hold back his tears when he learnt of the horrible fate the Rohingya refugees had escaped when they fled to Bangladesh.

    Highlighting the grave conditions for Rohingya refugees, aid agencies reported on September 15 that at least two children and one woman were killed in a stampede that broke out as aid was being distributed. The authorities have denied any casualties during aid distribution.



    ‘I saw Myanmar army gang-rape my daughter’

    The UN has branded Myanmar violence a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”

    Mohammad Kasim was an affluent person. He had a house, car and a big happy family in the Rakhine state. Now, everything is gone.

    The Rohingya man, narrating his ordeal to NDTV, said the Myanmar army came to his house and held them hostage at gunpoint.

    Then some soldiers gang-raped his daughter in front of him. When he tried to save his daughter, they branded his thigh with a red-hot knife.

    Kasim said the army killed his daughter as he watched helplessly.

    He does not know where his wife or other children are. He fled to Bangladesh and found shelter at a Rohingya camp in Ukhiya.

    Rohingya, who arrived in Bangladesh since August 25, described how the army and Rakhine Buddhists had been killing Rohingya men, slaughtering the children, raping women, looting and burning Rohingya villages.

    “The army came and burned our homes, they killed our people. There was a mob of Rakhine people too,” Usman Goni, 55, told Reuters after arriving in Bangladesh with his seven children and wife.

    Begum Sanchita, a 40-year-old Rohingya woman, escaped with her children – the oldest child is about 10 – after seeing her husband shot dead. Anwara Begum, cradling her nine-month-old baby in her arms, said little Mohammad Harun’s father was killed too.

    The UN has branded Myanmar violence a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” but Naypyitaw insists its forces are conducting ‘clearing operations’ against Rohingya insurgents.

    Of the more than 400,000 Rohingya refugees, who have fled the persecution, most are women and children. A large number of these women were victims of sexual violence by the Myanmar army.

    Many Rohingya women have been killed after rape. After making it to Bangladesh, they were not seeking medical care as they felt embarrassed, local doctors said, the Bangla Tribune reports.

    Hazera Begum, a Rohingya refugee staying at Ukhiya, said, “Many women like me sought medical help after rape. We asked for contraceptive pills. But we were given none [in Myanmar].

    “I am fortunate to have survived but many others were not so lucky.”



    West Bengal Child Rights Commission oppose deportation of Rohingya children in Supreme Court 

    West Bengal child rights commission moved the Supreme Court on Thursday challenging the Centre’s decision to deport Rohingya Muslims

    West Bengal child rights commission moved the Supreme Court on Thursday challenging the Centre’s decision to deport Rohingya Muslims who are staying in the country to Myanmar.

    West Bengal State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBSCPCR), in its plea before the top court, said, in the state of West Bengal there are 24 Rohingya children in Shelter home and 20 children residing in correctional homes with their mothers and they are less than 6 years of age. They have travelled by road from Myanmar through Bangladesh to India and taken shelter here and the Supreme Court needs to intervene against their arbitrary deportation back to Myanmar .

    The petition adds , the proposed deportation of the children is against the constitution of indian and the principle of Non-refoulment , which prohibits sending back refugees to the country where they will face persecution.

    The petition also challenges Central government notification asking for identification and deportation of all Rohingyas living in India to Myanmar. Rohingyas are being “systematically tortured and killed”, the child rights panel said adding that even the United Nations has described them as the “most persecuted community in the world”.

    The Supreme Court is already seized of a public interest petition filed by two Rohingya Muslim refugees challenging Indian government’s decision to deport an estimated 40,000 people of the community who fled alleged persecution in Myanmar. While the hearing on their plea is scheduled on October 3, it is unclear when the child rights panel’s petition will come up for hearing before the top court.

    Earlier this week, the centre had told the top court that many Rohingya refugees have links with the Islamic State and Pakistan’s spy agency ISI, posing a “serious security threat” to India.

    The government also said if allowed to stay, the Rohingya refugees would exhaust natural resources meant for Indians that could culminate in hostility towards them and lead to social tension and law and order problems.

    It said the plan to deport Rohingya refugees was a policy decision and the court should desist from interfering.

    Former RSS ideologue and Rashtriya Swabhiman Andolan leader KN Govindacharaya had also moved the Supreme Court seeking to intervene in the pending petition on Rohingyas. He has opposed the plea of two Rohingya refugees saying they are a burden on country’s resources and pose serious threat to national security.



    India using chilli sprays, stun grenades to dissuade Rohingya influx

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist government is growing increasingly hostile towards the Rohingya in India, with Home Minister Rajnath Singh calling on Thursday for their deportation as illegal migrants

    India has stepped up security along its largely porous eastern border with Bangladesh and is using “chilli and stun grenades” to block the entry of Rohingya Muslims fleeing from violence in their homeland of Myanmar, officials said on Friday.

    Border forces in Hindu-majority India, which wants to deport around 40,000 Rohingya already living in the country, citing security risks, have been authorised to use “rude and crude” methods to stop any infiltration attempts.

    “We don’t want to cause any serious injury or arrest them, but we won’t tolerate Rohingya on Indian soil,” said a senior official with the Border Security Force (BSF) in New Delhi.

    “We’re using grenades containing chilli spray to stop hundreds of Rohingyas trying to enter India … the situation is tense,” added the official, who declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to media.

    More than 422,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, when a coordinated attack by Rohingya insurgents on Myanmar security forces triggered a counteroffensive, killing at least 400 people, mainly militants. The United Nations has called the assault a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

    Densely populated Bangladesh is struggling to shelter all the refugees desperate for space to set up shacks, sparking worries in India that the influx could spill into its territory.

    RPS Jaswal, a deputy inspector general of the BSF patrolling a large part of the border in India’s eastern state of West Bengal, said his troops were told to use both chilli grenades and stun grenades to push back the Rohingya.

    A chilli grenade makes use of a naturally-occurring compound in chilli powder to cause severe irritation and temporarily immobilise its target.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government is growing increasingly hostile towards the Rohingya in India, with Home Minister Rajnath Singh calling on Thursday for their deportation as illegal migrants.

    Seeking to get legal clearance for the deportation plan, the home ministry told the Supreme Court this week it would confidentially provide it with intelligence information showing Rohingya links with Pakistan-based militants.

    Most of the peaceloving refugees had no link to criminal activity, two Rohingya men protesting against the deportation move told India’s top court on Friday.

    An official of India’s federal investigations agency said it was seeking help from Muslim religious leaders to step up surveillance of the Rohingya.

    Police have arrested a suspected al Qaeda member they believe was trying to recruit Rohingya in the country to fight security forces in Myanmar. More than 270 Rohingya have been in Indian jails since 2014.

    “Our investigations have revealed that Al Qaeda wants to use India and Bangladesh as their base to start a religious war against Myanmar,” said New Delhi police official Pramod Singh Khuswah. “Clearly they are a threat to our security.”



    India to supply arms to Myanmar despite Rohingya genocide

    India is considering supplying arms to Myanmar’s government in a sign of strong support for a neighbour that faces criticism for its crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.

    The arms were discussed during a visit by the chief of Myanmar’s navy, Indian officials said on Thursday. The two sides also talked about training Myanmar sailors on top of the courses taught to its army officers at elite Indian defence institutions.

    India’s decision to discuss enhancing military cooperation with its eastern neighbour appears part of a push to counter Chinese influence in the region.

    It comes at a time when Western countries are stepping up pressure on Myanmar’s government for violence against Rohingya Muslims in its northwestern Rakhine state.

    Myanmar rejects the charge, saying its forces are tackling insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army who it has accused of setting fires and attacking civilians.

    Britain said this week it was suspending its training programme for the Myanmar military, demanding it take steps to end the violence against civilians.

    On Wednesday, the commander-in-chief of the Myanmar navy admiral Tin Aung San met Indian defence minister Nirmala Sitaraman and the chiefs of India’s army, navy and air force.

    The two sides are discussing the supply of offshore patrol boats, a military official said. The Myanmar navy chief also visited the naval ship building site in Mumbai as part of the four-day trip that ends on Thursday.

    “Myanmar is a pillar of our Look East policy and defence is a large part of the relationship,” said the official.

    In 2013, India offered to supply equipment such as artillery guns, radars and night vision devices to Myanmar’s army. Since then, the focus has shifted to naval cooperation as India seeks to push back against Chinese influence in the region.

    The two sides are expected to increase coordinated patrols in the Bay of Bengal that help the two navies operate together.

    “The fact that the Indian government is receiving a high level military officer at a time when the international community is criticising the military sends out a signal,” said K Yhome who specialises on India’s neighbourhood policy at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation.

    “The message is (that) India is with the Myanmar government so far as the Rohingya issue is concerned,” he said.

    Since the crisis erupted in Rakhine last month, New Delhi has been supportive of de facto leader Aung Saan Suu Kyi, condemning insurgent attacks on security forces that prompted a military crackdown against the Rohingya.

    Only later as international criticism mounted, India expressed concern at the flight of hundreds of thousands of refugees into neighbouring Bangladesh.

    China has also stood by the Myanmar government. This week foreign minister Wang Yi told UN secretary-general António Guterres that it supported Myanmar’s efforts to protect its national security and opposes recent violent attacks in Rakhine.


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    Why are posts by Rohingya activists getting deleted?

    A number of Rohingya activists have had their social media accounts curtailed during the recent conflict in Myanmar, leading many to question whether they have been targeted by a co-ordinated campaign.

    Shah Hossain is a prominent activist living in Saudi Arabia. He's been running a Facebook page since 2010, and was surprised when he saw that a number of his posts detailing the recent events in Myanmar's Rakhine state were being deleted.

    Much of the content included graphic depictions of violence, but Facebook's guidelines generally allow such images if they deem them to be in the public interest, rather than "shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate or glorify violence." Hossain says he has contacts living in Myanmar who regularly send him images and videos of the conflict unfolding there.

    "We are getting so many images, all of them are graphic. If we are not showing these graphic images to the world, what will we show?" Hossain tells BBC Trending.

    'Posts being deleted'

    Hossain is one of a number of Rohingya activists who have had accounts or videos taken down by big social networks in the wake of the conflict in the region. And the issue is not confined to Facebook. Hossain is also one of the activists who runs the YouTube channel Arakan News Agency.

    "There was nearly 60,000 subscribers and suddenly YouTube deleted that channel. That is not what we were expecting from social media. We were trying to highlight our issue but social media platforms are blocking us," Hossain says.

    After Trending contacted YouTube, the company said the channel had received several "strikes" in quick succession, which resulted in the suspension - but that they had taken the decision to reinstate it.

    The issue Hossain is trying to highlight is, to say the least, a complex one involving violence and competing narratives.

    Since last month, more than 400,000 mainly Muslim Rohingya have fled from Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh amid a military crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine state, which the UN says could amount to ethnic cleansing.

    According to human rights groups, the military have been burning Rohingya villages. Yet the army says it is responding to attacks by militants and denies targeting civilians.

    Some of the posts Facebook removed from Shah Hossain's page are very graphic. One shows a group of men digging a grave for women lying lifeless on the ground. Another video shows a young boy, naked and looking disorientated, with a gash on his head and covered in what looks like ash. The men at the scene say that the boy has suffered burns after militants torched their village. BBC Trending has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of either of these videos.

    But Hossain's story is not an isolated one. And not all of the activist posts being removed are graphic.

    Nay San Lwin, a Rohingya activist based in Germany, runs a network of local activists in Rakhine state. Lwin regularly posts comments on his Facebook page in Burmese detailing what he hears is happening on the ground. Lwin says text-only posts containing allegations against the Burmese military have been taken down, along with posts including poems.

    The fake pictures of the Rohingya crisis

    "My colleague based in Kuala Lumpur was posting very simple news [items] in English," he says. "Those were removed by Facebook and his account was frozen for 72 hours."

    He has thousands of followers on social media, which he says also makes him a target for abuse: "They have sent me death threats because I am posting all this information on my Facebook page."

    Lwin believes the removal of the posts is part of a campaign by government or government backers to discredit Rohingya online by reporting their posts to social media companies. The allegation is difficult to prove but has also been made by human rights groups.

    "We've had reports from a number of Rohingya activists that we know and work with who have had their Facebook and Twitter accounts or their posts being deleted," says Laura Haigh, Amnesty International's Burma researcher.

    "It's actually unclear where this is coming from and why," Haigh says. "What we understand from these activists is the providers, whether it's Facebook or Twitter, are receiving a large number of complaints about their posts. There are a range of posts being removed, and a lot of it from activists who are known to be reporting on the situation in the Rakhine state."

    "It's all part of a propaganda war that's going on behind the scenes here," she says.


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    Not just Rohingya Muslims, Even Hindu women are running from Burma

    video: https://www.facebook.com/SusuSwamy/posts/1991552634436650

    Hundreds of Hindus are fleeing Myanmar

    Hundreds of Hindus are fleeing Myanmar alongside tens of thousands of their Rohingya Muslim neighbors

    video: https://www.facebook.com/ajplusengli...0624848412355/

    The Buddhist monk leading hatred against Muslims

    video: https://www.facebook.com/iKhabr/videos/1391200057663001/

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    Monk-led mob attacks Rohingya refugees in Sri Lanka

    COLOMBO: Radical Buddhist monks stormed a United Nations safe house for Rohingya refugees near Sri Lanka's capital on Tuesday (Sep 26) and forced authorities to relocate the group, officials said.

    Saffron-robed Buddhist monks led a mob that broke down gates and entered the walled multi-storied compound at the Mount Lavinia suburb of Colombo as frightened refugees huddled together in upstairs rooms, a police official said.

    Two police were wounded in the incident, which also saw the mob pelt stones at the safe house and trash the ground floor furnishings upon entry.

    There were no reports of casualties among the group of refugees, which included 16 children.

    "We have pushed back the mob and the refugees have been relocated in a safer place,"
    the official told AFP, asking not to be named as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

    Police said they were going through local media video footage as well as Facebook in the hopes of arresting those who took part in the violence, and the monks who incited them.

    One of the monks who stormed the building posted a video
    on the social networking site filmed by his radical group Sinhale Jathika Balamuluwa (Sinhalese National Force) as he urged others to join him and smash the premises.

    "These are Rohingya terrorists who killed Buddhist monks in Myanmar," the monk said in his live commentary, pointing to Rohingya mothers with small children in their arms.

    The 31 Rohingya refugees were rescued by the Sri Lankan navy about five months ago after they were found drifting in a boat off the island's northern waters. They were thought to be victims of a people smuggler.

    They were eventually to be resettled in a third country, the official said, adding that they were authorised to remain in Sri Lanka pending the processing of their papers.

    Sri Lanka's extremist Buddhist monks have close links with their ultra-nationalist [war criminal terrorist] counterparts in Myanmar. Both have been accused of orchestrating violence against minority Muslims in the two countries.

    Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar in the face of the current wave of violence there.
    The Rohingya Muslims have been the target of decades of state-backed persecution and discrimination in mainly Buddhist Myanmar.

    Many view them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, despite their long-established roots in the country.


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    'I watched my son drown': Rohingya boat survivor

    Survivors of boat tragedy that left more than 60 dead recount the horrors of losing their loved ones.

    Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh - The Rohingya refugee boat was metres away from safety in Bangladesh when a huge wave upended it, throwing Nur Fatima and her nine-month-old son into the choppy surf.

    She grabbed the edge of the boat with one hand and held her son with the other.

    "We went under four times and I saw the bubbles coming out of his mouth as he died," she told Al Jazeera on Saturday, her face impassive as she recounted the September 28 disaster that reportedly killed more than 60 refugees.

    Most of those feared dead were women and children.

    Only 17 survived, rescue workers said.

    At least 23 bodies have been recovered along Inani Beach, a popular tourist spot in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar, and among them was Fatima's son, Saiful Rahman.

    The 20-year-old mother of two and her family were fleeing an army crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine State, which the UN said amounted to ethnic cleansing.

    More than half a million Rohingya have emptied out of northern Rakhine and into Bangladesh since August 25, carrying stories of mass killings, gang rapes, and razing of whole villages.

    "It's very clear that people are quite desperate to flee," said Kitty McKinsey, a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). "And clearly they are risking their lives to do so."

    Fatima lost eight members of her family on the voyage to Bangladesh. Twelve survived, including her husband, three-year-old son, and brother-in-law Nurul Salam.

    Al Jazeera met Salam at a Bangladeshi fisherman's house, hours after the boat capsized near Inani Beach. In shock and exhausted, his voice was hoarse and he kept nodding off to sleep. His wife and only son had drowned that day.

    "I tried to hold on to my son, but I couldn't," he said, too exhausted for tears.

    On Saturday, Al Jazeera caught up with Salam's family at the Kutupalong camp, a vast and squalid tent city, which houses more than 200,000 refugees. They had spent the night at a UNHCR shelter in Kutupalong.

    Salam covered his face and broke down into dry sobs, as he described his two-year-old child's drowning. "He went under six times, and every time I saved him. And every time he called out to me, 'baba'."

    Fatima, wincing in pain, said she held on to her son's body even after his death, letting him go only to save herself. Her arms and thighs were covered in bruises, she said, and her breasts were sore and heavy with milk.

    Their family had fled Myanmar in mid-September when the Myanmar military allegedly razed a village near their home in Mwai Daung in the Rathetaung township.

    Myanmar has denied allegations of ethnic cleansing, saying the military offensive was a "clearance operation" to flush out Rohingya fighters who had staged attacks on border posts in August.

    Myanmar considers the Rohingya illegal immigrants from Bangladesh despite the ethnic minority living there for generations.

    Salam's family left behind 6.5 hectares of paddy fields, and only took a few clothes, blankets, bulbs, all of their gold and 500,000 Burmese Kyat ($366). They trekked for three days through the foothills of the Mayu mountains to Go Zon Dia, a border village where the Naf River flows into the Bay of Bengal.

    There, they boarded a packed and rickety fishing boat organised by a relative in Australia. Thousands remained on the Naf's mud flats as they set off.

    Most refugee boats departing Go Zon Dia dock at Shah Porir Dwip, a Bangladeshi fishing village two hours from the Myanmar coast. But their boat got lost when Myanmar soldiers opened fire, Salam said, causing the captain to take to the open seas, where they remained overnight and through the next day.

    "The weather was so rough. It rained all day. We didn’t eat anything," Fatima said.

    Compounding their misery, the boatmen forced them to throw their belongings, including food, overboard, and attempted to seize their cash and gold, Salam said.

    Later that afternoon the captain, fearing Bangladesh border guards, refused to anchor at Shah Porir Dwip, Fatima recalled. Instead, he took them further west, and was looking to come ashore at an unguarded point when the boat capsized.

    This was not the case for most sea voyages, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said.

    Hala Jaber, an IOM spokeswoman, said a majority of the fishermen only asked for the cost of fuel and that most Rohingya were surviving the journey.

    "A lot of people from Bangladesh from the areas near the border are doing this because they want to help," she said. "Everything we know is that these people are really feeling for the Rohingya."

    Border officials and aid agencies said that Bangladesh's borders remained open to refugees, a claim fishermen from Shah Porir Dwip also backed.

    In Kutupalong, Fatima's family now faces an uncertain future as they try to rebuild their lives.

    "We lost everything," she said.

    Clutching her surviving son Abdul Rahman to her chest, she added: "We lost members of our families, our homes and our neighbours.

    "I hope the world community will ensure us justice."


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    Buddhist Monk Admits Attacks on Muslims

    "We destroyed Muslim homes and their mosques, and built Buddhist homes in their place," boasts one of Myanmar's Buddhist monks.

    video: https://www.facebook.com/iKhabr/vide...0679819048358/

    Myanmar's Rohingya beg for help: 'People are starving'

    Thousands of ethnic Rohingya remaining inside Myanmar live in fear, with many in desperate need of food and healthcare.

    Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh - Rohingya trapped inside Myanmar say thousands are starving and in need of medical care in northern Rakhine State, where a half-million majority Muslim ethnic Rohingya have fled an army crackdown and communal violence.

    Abdulla Mehman, who works for an aid agency in the Buthitaung Township, said more than 2,000 people in his village, Kwan Dine, had run out of food, with many others facing shortages.

    "We are not allowed to move about freely, and people are struggling to survive," Mehman told Al Jazeera by telephone on Tuesday.

    "Some people are starving."

    Rohingya families in at least four other villages in northern Rakhine - Kin Taung, Bura Shida Para, Kyar Gaung Taung, and Sein Daung - also reported urgent food shortages and accused soldiers and Buddhist neighbours of intimidation, looting, extortion and cattle theft.

    The reports are difficult to verify independently, as the region has been under an army lockdown, but the witness accounts are in line with what Rohingya refugees in neighbouring Bangladesh have been telling Al Jazeera.
    About a half-million Rohingya are thought to remain in Myanmar's westernmost state.

    "Please help us," a Rohingya woman from the village of Kin Taung, speaking on the condition of anonymity, begged in a telephone conversation this week.

    "We are sick, but we cannot seek medical treatment. We cannot work and we cannot eat."

    A group of 20 diplomats who visited northern Rakhine on an official tour on Monday described the humanitarian situation there as "dire", and urged Aung San Suu Kyi's government to resume "life-saving services without discrimination".

    People could die in Rakhine State if aid does not arrive soon, Human Rights Watch said.

    The Myanmar government could not be reached for comment.

    It has previously promised to deliver aid to communities affected by the violence.

    Accounts by refugees pouring into Bangladesh of mass killings, gang-rapes, and burning of whole villages has led the UN to accuse the Myanmar government of ethnic cleansing, a claim it denies.

    The woman in Kin Taung told Al Jazeera that soldiers had threatened to rape the civilians and burn down homes of Rohingya, and were extorting money, food and cattle from them.

    Her family had to bribe soldiers to keep their homes safe, she said.

    Her husband, a 30-year-old farmer, said: "If any Rohingya are seen on the streets after the Maghrib prayer (dusk), then we are fined 200,000 Burmese kyat ($147). If they find cattle, they take that also."
    'People will die'

    Nay San Lwin, a Rohingya activist based in Germany, said northern Rakhine was "like a prison" and that thousands of Rohingya were continuing to flee their homes after the army intensified a campaign of intimidation and arson this week.

    Paul Seger, Switzerland's ambassador to Myanmar, who joined the government tour of Rakhine, posted a video on Twitter of smoke rising from some villages on Monday.

    He also posted a video of shuttered shops and deserted streets in the once-bustling town centre of Maungdaw.

    The office of the army chief Min Aung Hlaing, in a Facebook post on Thursday, blamed the fresh bout of arson on the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Front (ARSA).

    The refugee crisis erupted after ARSA fighters attacked border posts on August 25.

    In some areas, the violence has ebbed, but Rohingya said they lived in fear.

    "The situation is calm now, but we cannot go to the shops to buy necessities because we are afraid the Buddhists may beat us," Abu Tayeb, a teacher in Bura Shida Para in north Maungdaw, said by telephone.

    "We cannot get adequate food and we cannot pray [at the mosques]."

    Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch told Al Jazeera that he was "concerned" by the lack of information about the hundreds of thousands remaining in Rakhine.

    He added: "It is imperative that the Myanmar authorities give full humanitarian access to northern Rakhine or people will die."

    Mehman, the aid worker from Kwan Dine, said he will not flee even when his food reserves run out next week.

    "Bangladesh is not my country," he said. "The government wants to push us out. I don't want to leave, even if I have to eat leaves."


    Burma's army uses rape to demoralise ethnic minorities, report says

    Women’s rights group says military uses sexual violence to intimidate women in ethnic minority communities and take control of resource-rich areas

    The Burmese army systematically uses sexual violence against women – including gang rape by soldiers – to “demoralise and destroy the fabric of ethnic [minority] communities” and establish control over resource-rich areas, according to a women’s rights group.

    A report by the Women’s League of Burma (WLB), released on Tuesday to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, says the use of sexual violence is so widespread in ethnic minority areas that abuses may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity under international criminal law.

    The WLB is an umbrella organisation comprising 13 women’s organisations of various ethnicities.

    The report, If They Had Hope, They Would Speak (pdf), highlights 118 incidences of rape, gang rape and sexual assault in both ceasefire and non-ceasefire areas at the hands of Burma’s armed forces since 2010 – but notes that these figures are likely to be “a fraction” of the number of abuses actually taking place. A culture of impunity and intimidation prevents women from reporting the crimes or seeking redress, the group claims.

    Large-scale development projects in ethnic minority communities – including mining, hydroelectric and pipeline projects – have led to an increase in poverty, sexual violence and militarisation in those areas, the report claims, with the armed forces enjoying “de-facto immunity” for their crimes.

    Documenting reports of sexual violence in Kachin, Karen, Mon, Chin, Shan and Karenni states – in some cases of victims as young as eight years old – the WLB alleges that both the number and geographic scope of the abuses proves that “sexual violence remains an institutionalised practice” of Burma’s armed forces.

    “The army are not interested in accountability for sexual violence or human rights abuses,” the Lahu Women’s Organisation says in the report. “If a captain or commander commits rape, they will go to the survivor’s house to apologise, and offer some compensation. Even the highest-ranking officers are doing this. If a gang rape committed by a group of soldiers is made public, they will quickly be moved to another base before they can be held to account.”

    Burma’s president, Thein Sein – who came to power in 2011 after half a century of military-led rule – has reformed the country, from the privatisation of sectors of the economy to releasing political prisoners and easing media censorship. His government has made public pledges to help promote and protect women through a national strategic plan to advance women and a UK-led declaration of commitment to end sexual violence in conflict. But no action has been taken to implement the declaration, and very little has been done to help women in ethnic minority communities, the WLB says.

    “The government of Burma has worked hard to show its reformist credentials to the world, but for women in Burma’s ethnic [minority] communities, human rights abuses and sexual violence at the hands of the Burma army remain a constant threat,” said the organisation’s general secretary, Tin Tin Nyo. “Any positive changes coming out of Naypyidaw [Burma’s capital] have not improved the lived experience of women in Burma.”

    In March, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, called on Thein Sein to investigate crimes of sexual violence and human rights abuses, as well as develop a comprehensive strategy to protect survivors. The WLB has also repeatedly called on the government to demilitarise the nation (one-fourth of all parliamentary seats are reserved for the military); investigate human rights abuses; and promote and integrate women into the peace process.

    Apart from opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who lived for nearly two decades under house arrest and is now an MP, women are largely absent from any decision-making or powerful positions. Burma’s political, economic and social structures have long privileged men, says the WLB’s joint general secretary, Naw Wah Ku Shee, and the nation has the lowest representation of female MPs of any country in the Association of South-east Asian Nations. This dearth of powerful women undermines Burmese women’s capacity to confront and address the abuses they frequently face.

    “As long as women continue to be marginalised from Burmese political and public life, sustainable peace cannot be realised,” Naw Wah Ku Shee told the Guardian, adding that Aung San Suu Kyi needed to do more to help women in her country. “[Aung San Suu Kyi] has not used her celebrity to highlight the scale of ongoing abuses faced by women in ethnic [minority] communities. If she is going to champion the human rights of the women in Burma, she must not be silent on the rape, torture and displacement faced by [these] women.”


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    ‘Humans for Sale’ – Lives of Rohingya Muslims in Thailand Prison

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    Rohingya crisis: Mother says Burmese soldiers 'threw my baby into a fire'

    Muslim minority refugees fleeing to Bangladesh to escape persecution recount horror stories of atrocities carried out by state troops

    Hundreds of women stood in the river, held at gunpoint, ordered not to move.

    A pack of soldiers stepped toward a petite young woman with light brown eyes and delicate cheekbones. Her name was Rajuma, and she was standing chest-high in the water, clutching her baby son, while her village in Burma burned down behind her.

    “You,” the soldiers said, pointing at her.

    She froze.


    She squeezed her baby tighter.

    In the next violent blur of moments, the soldiers clubbed Rajuma in the face, tore her screaming child out of her arms and hurled him into a fire. She was then dragged into a house and gang-raped.

    By the time the day was over, she was running through a field naked and covered in blood. Alone, she had lost her son, her mother, her two sisters and her younger brother, all wiped out in front of her eyes, she says.

    Rajuma is a Rohingya Muslim, one of the most persecuted ethnic groups on earth, and she now spends her days drifting through a refugee camp in Bangladesh in a daze.

    She relayed her story to me during a recent reporting trip I made to the camps, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya like her have rushed for safety. Her deeply disturbing account of what happened in her village, in late August, was corroborated by dozens of other survivors, whom I spoke with at length, and by human rights groups gathering evidence of atrocities.

    Survivors said they saw government soldiers stabbing babies, cutting off boys’ heads, gang-raping girls, shooting 40-millimetre grenades into houses, burning entire families to death, and rounding up dozens of unarmed male villagers and summarily executing them.

    Much of the violence was flamboyantly brutal, intimate and personal — the kind that is detonated by a long, bitter history of ethnic hatred.

    “People were holding the soldiers’ feet, begging for their lives,” Rajuma said. “But they didn’t stop, they just kicked them off and killed them, they chopped people, they shot people, they raped us, they left us senseless.”

    Human rights investigators said that Burma's military killed more than 1,000 civilians in the state of Rakhine, and possibly as many as 5,000, though it will be hard to ever know because Burma is not allowing the United Nations or anyone else into the affected areas.

    Peter Bouckaert, a veteran investigator with Human Rights Watch, said there was growing evidence of organized massacres, like the one Rajuma survived, in which government soldiers methodically slaughtered more than 100 civilians in a single location. He called them crimes against humanity.

    On Wednesday, the United Nations (UN) human rights office said that government troops had targeted “houses, fields, food-stocks, crops, livestock and even trees,” making it “almost impossible” for the Rohingya to return home.

    Burma's army has claimed it was responding to an attack by Rohingya militants on 25 August and targeting only the insurgents. But according to dozens of witnesses, almost all of the people killed were unarmed villagers, and many had their hands bound.

    Satellite imagery has revealed 288 separate villages burned, some down to the last post.

    Human rights groups said the government troops had one goal: to erase entire Rohingya communities. The unsparing destruction drove more than half a million people into Bangladesh in recent weeks. UN officials called the campaign against the Rohingya a “textbook example” of ethnic cleansing.

    Nearly each night here in coastal Bangladesh, up the Bay of Bengal from Burma, bodies wash up in the foamy brown tide — children, men, old women who tried to escape on leaking boats, their faces bloated from seawater.

    Rajuma barely made it to Bangladesh, escaping on a small wooden boat a few weeks ago. She cannot read or write. She does not have a single piece of paper to prove who she is or that she was born in Burma. This may be a problem if she applies for refugee status in Bangladesh, which has been reluctant to give it, or ever tries to go home to Burma. She thinks she is around 20, but she could pass for 14 — painfully thin, with wrists that look as if they could easily break.

    She grew up in a rice farming hamlet called Tula Toli, and she said the place had never known peace.

    The two main ethnic groups in her village, the Buddhist Rakhines and the Muslim Rohingya, were like two planes drawn to never touch. They followed different religions, spoke different languages, ate different foods and have always distrusted each other.

    A community of Buddhists lived just a few minutes from Rajuma’s house, but she had never spoken with any of them.

    “They hate us,” she said.

    Azeem Ibrahim, a Scottish academic who recently wrote a book on the Rohingya, explained that much of the animosity could be traced to World War II, when the Rohingya fought on the British side and many Buddhists in Rakhine fought for the occupying Japanese. Both sides massacred civilians.

    After the Allies won, the Rohingya hoped to win independence or join East Pakistan (today’s Bangladesh), which was also majority Muslim and ethnically similar to the Rohingya. But the British, eager to appease Burma's Buddhist majority, decreed that the Rohingya areas would become part of newly independent Burma, setting the Rohingya up for decades of discrimination.

    Burma's leaders soon began stripping their rights and blaming them for the country’s shortcomings, claiming the Rohingya were illegal migrants from Bangladesh who had stolen good land.

    “Year after year, they were demonised,” Ibrahim said.

    Some influential Buddhist monks said the Rohingya were the reincarnation of snakes and insects and should be exterminated, like vermin.

    The persecution fuelled a new Rohingya militant movement, which staged attacks against Burma security outposts on 25 August.

    From her village, Rajuma said, she heard explosions from one of those attacks — or at least from the government response to it.

    Over the next few days, Rajuma watched huge fires burn on the horizon. The military was beginning what it called “clearance operations.” Rohingya villages all around Tula Toli were burned to the ground, and on the night of 29 August, an elder came from the mosque to Rajuma’s house to deliver a message: The Buddhists say we should go to the river, for our safety.

    Her family decided to stay put. “Nobody trusts a Buddhist,” Rajuma said.

    The next morning, Rajuma was busy making potato curry. As she sprinkled ginger and chiles into a big pot, she sensed something and stopped.

    She crept to the window and peeked out: soldiers, dozens of them, jogging toward Tula Toli.

    Rajuma and her family tried to run but were quickly captured and marched to a riverbank where hundreds of other terrified villagers had been taken prisoner.

    The soldiers separated the men from the women. The villagers pleaded for their lives and dropped to their knees, hugging the soldiers’ boots. The soldiers kicked them off and methodically killed all the men, said Rajuma and several other survivors from Tula Toli, all interviewed separately.

    The women and young children were sent into the water and told to wait.

    In terms of the tactics used, the weapons fired, the openness of the killings, the gang rapes and the level of military organization, the accounts from many different Rohingya areas present a distressing harmony.

    “Stories of atrocities are universal,” said Anthony Lake, the executive director of UNICEF.

    He said he was deeply troubled by what Rohingya children had been drawing in the camps — guns, fires, machetes and people on the ground with red streaming out of them.

    In a hospital bed near Cox’s Bazar, the biggest town in this part of Bangladesh, Muhamedul Hassan, a Rohingya shopkeeper from a village called Monu Para, lies on a clean white sheet. Doctors say the fact he is still alive is a miracle.

    On 27 August, Hassan said, around 20 soldiers from a nearby army base stormed into Monu Para and ordered all the men and any boys older than 10 to report to the house of a prominent Rohingya cattle trader.

    The soldiers tied everyone’s hands behind their backs. They made them sit in the yard, heads down.

    Around 400 men and boys were hunched over, Hassan said. They were sweating through their shirts. An army sergeant whom the villagers knew then pulled out a long, thin knife.

    “People were calling for help,” Hassan said. “The boys were screaming out their mother’s name, their father’s name.”

    Hassan said that in front of his eyes, dozens of people were decapitated or shot. He was shot three times — twice in the back and once in the chest — but all the bullets missed vital organs.

    After the soldiers left, Hassan said, he stumbled away to his house, where his sister stuffed turmeric powder, the best they could do for an antiseptic, into his wounds.

    Human rights investigators said the gravest atrocities they have documented were committed from 25 August to 1 September, the period right after the militant attacks. Many witnesses described government troops wantonly killing anyone they could get their hands on

    In Tula Toli, Rajuma fought as hard as she could to hold onto her baby, Muhammad Sadeque, about 18 months old.

    But one soldier grabbed her hands, another grabbed her body, and another slugged her in the face with a club. A jagged scar now runs along her jaw.

    The child was lifted away from her, his legs wiggling in the air.

    “They threw my baby into a fire — they just flung him,” she said.

    Rajuma said two soldiers then pulled her into a house, tore off her veil and dress and raped her. She said that her two sisters were raped and killed in the same room, and that in the next room, her mother and 10-year-old brother were shot.

    At some point, Rajuma thought she had died. She lost consciousness. When she woke, the soldiers were gone, but the house was on fire.

    She sprinted out naked, past her family’s bodies, past burning homes, and hid in a forest. Night fell, but she did not sleep.

    In the morning she found an old T-shirt to wear and kept running.

    Many people in the refugee camps have been eerily stoic — seemingly traumatised past the ability to feel. In dozens of interviews with survivors who said their loved ones had been killed in front of them, not a single tear was shed.

    But as she reached the end of her horrible testimony, Rajuma broke down.

    “I can’t explain how hard it hurts,” she said, tears rolling off her cheeks, “to no longer hear my son call me ma.”

    She hunched over on a plastic stool in another family’s hut, covered her mouth with a red veil and started sobbing so hard she could barely breathe.

    A few other refugees looked over at her but went on cooking or cleaning. Outside, on a road not far away, trucks blared their horns, fighting through traffic.


    The “ethnic cleansing” of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims

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    Images show desperate scene of Rohingya refugees

    Fleeing for their lives from Myanmar's 'ethnic cleansing': Images show the desperate scenes facing the Rohingya who escape to Bangladesh as Suu Kyi admits the crisis is 'appalling'

    More than half a million Rohingya refugees have flooded into Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, since August
    They're fleeing an offensive by Myanmar's military the UN called 'a textbook example of ethnic cleansing'
    Survivors arrive in Bangladesh with accounts of villages burned, women raped, and scores killed
    Myanmar's military has launched a probe into the conduct of soldiers during the counteroffensive

    More than half a million Rohingya refugees have flooded into Bangladesh to flee an offensive by Myanmar's military that the United Nations has called 'a textbook example of ethnic cleansing'.

    The refugee population is expected to swell further, with thousands more Rohingya Muslims said to be making the perilous journey on foot toward the border, or paying smugglers to take them across by water in wooden boats.

    Hundreds are known to have died trying to escape, and survivors arrive with horrifying accounts of villages burned, women raped, and scores killed in the 'clearance operations' by Myanmar's army and Buddhist mobs that were sparked by militant attacks on security posts in Rakhine state on August 25, 2017.

    Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is 'appalled' at the Rohingya refugee crisis in her country and is determined to fix it, but needs to be careful not to inflame the situation further, an adviser to Suu Kyi told reporters on Friday.

    'She is appalled by what she has seen. She does care deeply about this. I know that does not always come across. But she really does,' said the adviser, who asked not to be quoted by name.

    Aid agencies now estimate that 536,000 people have now arrived in Cox's Bazar district, straining scarce resources of aid groups and local communities.

    What the Rohingya refugees flee to is a different kind of suffering in sprawling makeshift camps rife with fears of malnutrition, cholera, and other diseases.

    About 200,000 Rohingya were already in Bangladesh after fleeing persecution in Myanmar, where they have long been denied citizenship and faced restrictions on their movements and access to basic services.

    Aid organizations are struggling to keep pace with the scale of need and the staggering number of them - an estimated 60 per cent - who are children arriving alone.

    Bangladesh, whose acceptance of the refugees has been praised by humanitarian officials for saving lives, has urged the creation of an internationally-recognized 'safe zone' where refugees can return, though Rohingya Muslims have long been persecuted in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.

    World leaders are still debating how to confront the country and its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who championed democracy, but now appears unable or unwilling to stop the army's brutal crackdown.

    Coordinated Rohingya insurgent attacks on 30 security posts on August 25 sparked a ferocious military response in the Muslim-majority northern part of Rakhine state that the United Nations has said was ethnic cleansing.

    Myanmar's military has launched an internal probe into the conduct of soldiers during the counteroffensive. The country has insisted that military options ceased on September 5.

    A committee led by military Lieutenant-General Aye Win has begun an investigation into the behaviour of military personnel, the office of the commander in chief said on Friday, insisting the operation was justified under Buddhist-majority Myanmar's constitution.

    According to a statement posted on Senior General Min Aung Hlaing's Facebook page, the panel will ask, 'Did they follow the military code of conduct? Did they exactly follow the command during the operation? After that (the committee) will release full information.'

    Myanmar is refusing entry to a UN panel that was tasked with investigating allegations of abuses after a smaller military counteroffensive launched in October 2016.

    But domestic investigations - including a previous internal military probe - have largely dismissed refugees' claims of abuses committed during security forces' so-called 'clearance operations'.

    Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has pledged accountability for human rights abuses and says Myanmar will accept back refugees who can prove they were residents of Myanmar.

    The powerful army chief has taken a harder stance, however, telling the US ambassador in Myanmar earlier this week that the exodus of Rohingya - who he said were non-native 'Bengalis' - was exaggerated.

    In comments to Japan's ambassador carried in state media on Friday, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing denied ethnic cleansing was taking place on the grounds that photos showed Muslims 'departing calmly rather than fleeing in terror'.

    images at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...gees-face.html

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    Buddhist Protesters Block Aid to Rohingya

    Mob in Myanmar blocks relief supplies while fatal road accident hits truck carrying food to refugees in Bangladesh.

    21 September 2017

    Police in Myanmar have clashed with a mob blocking an aid shipment in Rakhine state while nine people have died in a road accident involving a Red Cross truck in Bangladesh.

    Wednesday's developments hamper urgently needed relief efforts for Rohingya who have fled violence in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

    A 300-strong mob of Buddhist protesters in Rakhine's capital Sittwe gathered late on Wednesday at a jetty where a boat carrying relief goods was preparing to travel upriver to Maungdaw, Reuters news agency said.

    The mob forced the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) to unload the aid from the boat and prevented the vessel from leaving, state-backed Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported on Thursday, quoting Myanmar's Information Committee.

    Police officers arrived as the crowd neared the jetty, while Buddhist monks tried to calm the mob, but people began to hurl "stones and Molotov [cocktails] at the riot police," the report said.

    Eight people were detained, and several police were injured before order was restored.

    The ICRC confirmed the incident and said it would continue to try and deliver relief to the area.

    "We will carry on; nothing has been put on hold," Graziella Leite Piccoli, ICRC spokeswoman for Asia, told AFP news agency.

    Communal tensions remain high across Rakhine where raids by Rohingya fighters at the end of last month prompted a major army crackdown, driving more than 420,000 people into Bangladesh in what the UN calls a campaign of "ethnic cleansing".

    Aid groups fear that tens of thousands trapped in Rakhine are desperate for support, even though humanitarian access remains difficult despite the government's promise to allow safe passage.

    The crisis has prompted condemnation of the country's de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, for refusing to blame Myanmar's powerful military for the crackdown, which French President Emmanuel Macron said amounted to "genocide".

    News of the clashes in Rakhine, where security forces have been accused of razing scores of Rohingya villages, emerged as a truck hired by the Red Cross and ICRC crashed in Bangladesh, killing nine people and injuring 10 others.

    "It was carrying food to Rohingya refugees on the border, including those stranded in the no-man's land," Yasir Arafat, deputy police chief of Bandarban border district, told AFP.

    Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have streamed into Bangladesh since the end of August, crowding into ill-equipped camps and makeshift shelters near the border town of Cox's Bazar.

    Aid groups have been overwhelmed by the scope of the influx and warned of an unfolding humanitarian crisis in the camps, where they are struggling to build housing and provide food rations.

    The Bangladesh government is building a massive new camp nearby to shelter 400,000 people, but the UN says it will take time before it is equipped with tents, toilets and medical facilities.

    Myanmar's government has come under fire by global leaders urging the country to address the crisis and condemn the military for attacks on the Rohingya, who are widely reviled as "Bengali" immigrants in Myanmar.

    But Myanmar, which has been accused of playing down the violence, insists the crisis is easing. "I am happy to inform you that the situation has improved," Henry Van Thio, Myanmar's second vice president, told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday. He said there have been no clashes since September 5 and added that his government was committed to allowing aid in. "Humanitarian assistance is our first priority. We are committed to ensuring that aid is received by all those in need, without discrimination," he said.

    There were more than one million Rohingya in Myanmar before the current crisis, though nearly half have fled
    since deadly attacks on military posts by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) fighters on August 25 prompted a massive military retaliation.

    They have long been ostracised in Myanmar, where they are considered "illegal immigrants" and face severe restrictions.


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    Senior Myanmar Buddhist monk boasts “we destroyed Muslim homes and mosques”

    Buddhist Army Killing Muslim Babies and Raping Their Mothers

    A Rohingya Muslim mother describes the night her son was murdered by Myanmar's army.

    "My baby was thrown into the fire - and then they raped me.”

    video: https://www.facebook.com/doamuslims/...9128097801418/

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    Burma: At least 228 Rohingya Muslim villages destroyed in just one month, says Human Rights Watch

    Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed by Burmese military forces, say monitors

    At least 288 Rohingya villages in Burma’s Rakhine state have been partially or totally destroyed since violence in the area worsened at the end of August, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

    Analysis of satellite images suggests tens of thousands of homes have been razed amid violent clashes that have been blamed mostly on the Burmese army.

    Many of the buildings were destroyed after Burmese officials claimed they were no longer carrying out “clearance operations”, the charity said.

    Images also suggested that villages belonging to the country’s Rohingya Muslims were destroyed while nearby areas occupied by non-Muslims were left largely untouched. In villages of mixed ethnicity, Rohingya homes were burned to the ground while others were left intact, it added.

    Burmese officials have accused the Rohingya of setting fire to their own villages but international observers say there is overwhelming evidence that the atrocities were committed by the country’s military forces.

    Burma’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has claimed operations by security forces ended on 5 September but HRW said at least 66 villages have been destroyed since then. Ms Suu Kyi has faced widespread condemnation from the international community over her failure to speak out about violence against the Rohingya.

    The latest round of violence erupted on 25 August, when Rohingya militants attacked more than 20 police outposts in Rakhine. The military response of Burmese state forces has forced almost 600,000 Rohingya to flee the country, mostly into neighbouring Bangladesh, and reportedly left thousands dead.

    Phil Robertson, HRW’s deputy Asia director, said: “These latest satellite images show why over half a million Rohingya fled to Bangladesh in just four weeks.

    “The Burmese military destroyed hundreds of Rohingya villages while committing killings, rapes, and other crimes against humanity that forced Rohingya to flee for their lives.

    “The shocking images of destruction in Burma and burgeoning refugee camps in Bangladesh are two sides of the same coin of human misery being inflicted on the Rohingya. Concerned governments need to urgently press for an end to abuses against the Rohingya and ensure that humanitarian aid reaches everyone in need.”

    According to HRW, the worst destruction was in Rakhine’s Maungdaw township, where most of the violence took place. There, around 62 per cent of all villages were either partially or totally destroyed in just one month between 25 August and 25 September – a figure that rises to 90 per cent in the southern part of the area.

    In the majority of villages, between 90 and 100 per cent of buildings were destroyed.

    HRW demanded the UN Security Council impose an arms embargo on Burma and implement individual sanctions on the military leaders that are believed to be responsible for the abuses.

    It comes as the UN said up to 15,000 Rohingya refugees had entered Bangladesh via one border crossing point since Sunday – many of them having walked for a week to flee Rakhine after their homes were set on fire.

    UN officials said thousands of refugees are living in rice fields near the border while they await permission to enter Bangladesh.


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    Buddhist Army Killing Muslim Babies and Raping Their Mothers

    A Rohingya Muslim mother describes the night her son was murdered by Myanmar's army.

    "My baby was thrown into the fire - and then they raped me.”

    video: https://www.facebook.com/doamuslims/...9128097801418/

    Rohingya children facing 'hell on earth' after fleeing Burma, says UNICEF

    UNICEF says the children who make up most of the nearly 600,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in Myanmar are seeing a "hell on earth" in overcrowded, muddy and squalid refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.

    The U.N. children's agency has issued a report that documents the plight of children who account for 58 percent of the refugees who have poured into Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, over the last eight weeks. Report author Simon Ingram says about one in five children in the area are "acutely malnourished."

    The report comes ahead of a donor conference Monday in Geneva to drum up international funding for the Rohingya.

    "Many Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh have witnessed atrocities in Myanmar no child should ever see, and all have suffered tremendous loss,
    " UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in a statement.

    The refugees need clean water, food, sanitation, shelter and vaccines to help head off a possible outbreak of cholera a potentially deadly water-borne disease.

    Ingram also warned of threats posed by human traffickers and others who might exploit children in the refugee areas.

    "These children just feel so abandoned, so completely remote, and without a means of finding support or help. In a sense, it's no surprise that they must truly see this place as a hell on earth,"
    Ingram told a news conference in Geneva.

    The report features harrowing color drawings by some children being cared for by UNICEF and other aid groups who are scrambling to improve living conditions in Cox's Bazar. Some of the images show helicopter gunships and green-clad men firing on a village or on people, some of whom are spewing blood.

    The influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar began on Aug. 25 following militant attacks on border guards. Refugees have fled burning villages and provided accounts like the children's drawings of security forces gunning down civilians.

    The U.N. and humanitarian agencies seek $434 million for the Rohingya refugees about one-sixth of which would go to UNICEF efforts to help children.


    No Rohingya woman safe from risk of being raped in Myanmar, experts say

    Rape is being used as a weapon of war in the Rohingya crisis, with no woman safe from the risk of sexual attack as Myanmar's Muslim minority is driven out of its homeland, according to experts in the field and those caught up in the crisis.

    Doctors treating some of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar in recent weeks have seen dozens of women with injuries consistent with violent sexual attacks, according to U.N. clinicians.

    And women interviewed by the Thomson Reuters Foundation tell of violent rape by Myanmar security forces as they flee their homes, part of a mass Rohingya exodus.

    "The Burmese (Myanmar) military has clearly used rape as one of a range of horrific methods of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya," said Skye Wheeler, a sexual violence expert with Human Rights Watch who has assessed the fast-filling camps.

    "Rape and other forms of sexual violence has been widespread and systematic as well as brutal, humiliating and traumatic," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Myanmar dismisses all such accusations of ethnic cleansing, saying it has to tackle insurgents, whom it accuses of starting fires and attacking civilians, as well as the security forces.

    Yet villagers fleeing the violence say rape is a routine weapon in the military's armoury, with the [Useless] United Nations now deliberating whether the violence amounts to genocide.

    Gang rape

    Whatever the legal definition, 18-year-old Nurshida knows only too well what happened to her.

    Speaking to Thomson Reuters Foundation from the relative safety of her camp, Nurshida recalled how her class of 30 was marched in silence to their school last month, held at gunpoint by uniformed soldiers, then manhandled into the main auditorium.

    The schoolgirls, she said, cowered as one in a corner; the men - breathing heavily and dripping sweat - occupied another.

    The gang rape began immediately.

    Fair-skinned Nurshida, with bangles looping her wrist and a loose scarf shrouding her hair, said she was chosen first by the group, six clean-shaven soldiers carrying guns and machetes.

    "One of the men held me tightly on the floor. I started screaming, but a second soldier hit me in the face with his hand and undressed me fully. I was silent when they raped me, there was nothing I could do," Nurshida said.

    Her two friends were thrown to the floor next. As they were raped, smoke was rising in the distance – her native Naisapru village was on fire, one of many set alight in the exodus.

    "All of the schoolgirls were raped and there were loud screams everywhere,"
    said Nurshida, sitting in a mud hut in Bangladesh's Kutupalong camp where she is waiting to register as a refugee.

    Authorities say her story fits a horribly familiar pattern.

    "The stories we hear point to rape being used strategically as a weapon of war," aid Rashed Hasan, a lieutenant colonel in the Bangladesh army.

    Women of all ages and backgrounds have reported similarly brutal sexual assaults - as well as witnessing family killings, losing children and being forced from their homes.

    "Rape is an act of power. It knows no discrimination in terms of age, sex or ethnicity," Saba Zariv of the United Nations Population Fund told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Pregnant, raped, abandoned

    At nine months pregnant, Jannet says she was brutally tortured and raped at her home in Myanmar.

    "My husband was killed five days before soldiers attacked our village. Our three children have never been seen again since," she said, cradling five-day-old Fatima in the flimsy makeshift tent she now calls home.

    Fatima, who was delivered in a rice field, is her only remaining family member.

    Late into her pregnancy, Jannet said she was alone when the army marched into Fakira Bazaar village. While everyone scattered into the jungle, the 22-year-old chose to hide.

    "Several soldiers broke the door. They saw that I was pregnant, but they all raped me." At the end of the day she was left naked, beaten, her children gone.

    "I cried and screamed for them, but I still don't know where they are," she said. "I never want to go back to Myanmar ... I have lost everything."

    Yet safety is not guaranteed in the chaotic Rohingya refugee camps that are quickly becoming the world's largest.

    Parvin, 20, said she has been rejected by her in-laws after soldiers beheaded her husband and raped her while she was five months pregnant.

    "They beat me unconscious," she said. "I woke up to an empty village and my in-laws searching for me. I was lying naked on the floor of their house."

    The last thing Parvin's mother-in-law did for her was help her wash after the rape. "They told me they didn't want to take responsibility for me and rejected me."

    Now she lives alone in a bamboo house, terrified of men.

    "I can never get married again now that I was raped. I have no choice but to raise my baby alone," she said. "That's all that drives me now. I have lost all else."


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    Rohingya running out of space to bury their dead

    Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh - Eighteen-year-old Rohingya refugee Amir Mia is carrying his deceased grandfather's body through the Balukhali expansion camp in the Bangladeshi port city of Cox's Bazar. He is taking his grandfather to be buried in a graveyard that was created after the recent influx of Rohingya refugees, fleeing violence by the Myanmar army that the UN has described as ethnic cleansing, began on August 25.

    He was elderly and died of age-related diseases, he explains as he winds his way through the camp's narrow, muddy lanes.

    As various waves of Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar over the past few decades, filling the camps, which have in turn expanded, camp residents have buried their dead wherever they could find the space. Without any land being set aside for graveyards by the Bangladeshi government, the refugees have identified their own sites.

    The small graveyard in which Amir is burying his grandfather already looks overcrowded. The graves are packed closely together, temporary bamboo fences separating one from another.

    In the neighbouring Kutupalong registered camp, 16-year-old Mohammad Alam, who was born in Bangladesh after his parents fled Myanmar in the 1990s, explains that his father is the leader of one block of the camp and a gravedigger who is responsible for digging graves for the residents of his block.

    The graveyards have become overcrowded, Mohammad explains, with three or four bodies being placed in each grave after the recent influx of refugees.

    "Unlike life, death is an inevitable truth and here no one can be buried peacefully as we must dig old graves to make new ones," Mohammad elaborates as he stands at a tea stall beside one of the new graveyards in the Kutupalong expansion camp.

    He has seen people burying their dead in front of their houses, he adds. "New refugees don't know about this place. They don't know where to go or what to do. I have seen a family burying a dead body just beside their newly built house.

    "A few days later, the rain had washed the sign of the grave away and more new refugees came and built their tent over that grave."

    'I dug up one grave more than four times'
    Fifty-two-year-old Nur Hossain has been living in the Kutupalong registered camp for the past 26 years. He was a farmer back in Myanmar, but in Bangladesh he works in a soup factory in the camp and as a gravedigger.

    He came here in the early 1990s, with his wife and three sons.

    "The Myanmar army killed my brother Komol Hossain in early '90s. They took him to be a slave and two months later, we were informed that he had died. We ... don't know how he died," says Nur.

    "They [the Myanmar army] said we don't belong in Myanmar.

    "Along with my family members I fled to Bangladesh to save my life ...

    "We live like prisoners here - free but not allowed to work outside [the camps]. Even after death, we do not have a specific place [to be buried]," he says.

    "I dug up one grave more than four times for burial. One of our oldest graveyards is now somebody's garden."

    Nur says death scares him more than anything. "When I dig graves, I always say Allah's name, as [I know] I have to die some day. This fear of death haunts me all the time."

    'I don't know whose grave I will share'
    Nazu Mia came to Bangladesh when he was an adolescent. He's now in his early 40s, and says he's accepted his fate. "My life spent in a jail [refugee camp]. I will be here until my death and I don't know whose grave I will share in my next life after death," says the gravedigger who lives in the Kutupalong registered camp.

    "We buried dead bodies in the old graveyard which was allocated for the refugees of the '80s. In all graves, more than three dead bodies were buried. Now the situation is worse: people are living over new graves," he explains.

    "We have been asked if we need food, shelter and health assistance but no one asked if we need a bigger place for a graveyard or if we need to expand an old one. Even the place that has been allocated for new refugees is very small. In future, we might bury more than 10 dead bodies in a single grave."

    "We need more space for graveyards otherwise people will start digging graves in their own houses. It will take a decade to transform houses into tiny personal family graveyards," Nazu says.

    "Won't we get a place to rest in peace?"


    Rohingya girls under 10 raped while fleeing Myanmar, charity says

    Médecins Sans Frontières says more than half the girls it has treated after sexual assaults are under 18

    Rohingya children, some of them under 10 years old, are receiving treatment for rape in camps on the Bangladesh border, according to medics who say that young refugees account for half of those sexually assaulted while fleeing violence in Myanmar.

    Médecins Sans Frontières says dozens of Rohingya girls have been given medical and psychological support at its Kutupalong health facility’s sexual and reproductive health unit – a specialist clinic for survivors of sexual assault based in the largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar.

    Of those fleeing Rakhine state who come to the clinic for treatment relating to rape, “about 50% are aged 18 or under, including one girl who was nine years old and several others under the age of 10”, an MSF spokesperson said.

    The organisation stressed this was just a fraction of those believed to have been sexually assaulted and raped since military operations began on 25 August, as most survivors faced practical and cultural barriers to accessing treatment.

    “Women and girls often don’t seek medical care for sexual violence due to the stigma, shame and fear of being blamed for what’s happened to them,” said Aerlyn Pfeil, an MSF midwife focusing on support for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Cox’s Bazar.

    In the last week a nine-year-old girl was among the new arrivals who received medical treatment after being raped, as military violence against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine continues.

    Rohingya refugees have repeatedly described incidents of gang rape and sexual assaults by the Myanmar army during military operations the UN has said amount to ethnic cleansing, but this is the first timeevidence of a large number of children being targeted has emerged.

    According to another SGBV medical specialist working in the camps, who asked not to be named because of patient privacy, most cases she has dealt with involve the army gathering all the women and girls in a village in one place and picking “the most beautiful” to be taken away and raped, either by individual soldiers or groups.

    “A lot of them are just 12 or 13 years old,” she said.

    One recent case she dealt with involved a child under 10 with severe bleeding who had been raped by three soldiers, she said.

    Her account backs the stories of numerous refugees who describe similar incidents of mass rape, with many saying some victims were subsequently killed.

    After speaking to psychological experts in the camps who warned such interviews could increase trauma for victims, the Guardian did not seek to speak directly to child rape survivors.

    However, during an interview with a 27-year-old woman from the Buthidaung area of Rakhine, who said her husband and father were rounded up and killed by the Myanmar military shortly after 25 August, it emerged the woman’s 14-year-old sister had been raped during the attack.

    “The military put all the male people to one side and took all the female people into the jungle,” she said, adding that the soldiers then selected some girls and women.

    “I cried when they took away my little sister, but I couldn’t stop them.

    “They tortured and raped many girls and women. When they stopped and left I went looking for my sister and saw many bodies on the ground. When I found my sister I didn’t know if she was alive or dead, but she was breathing.

    “She was bleeding a lot so I carried her to a little river and washed her. Then I took her on my shoulders till I found a small medical clinic [in Rakhine] and got some medicine for her.”

    The woman said her sister had later told her she had been raped by two soldiers and by one of the ethnic Rakhine Buddhist civilians who had been involved in the attack on their village.

    She said she had not heard about the specialist clinics in the camp and that her sister had not received any support or medical care since reaching Bangladesh.

    “What I’m finding is that many of the survivors I’ve met are recent arrivals from Myanmar and have not previously been aware that there are specific medical services, or any medical services at all, available to them,” said Pfeil.

    “When I’ve been speaking to survivors of sexual violence, one of the more heartbreaking and common requests I’ve had is for new cloth skirts, because [weeks] later, they’re still wearing the same clothes they were raped or assaulted in.”

    More than 600,000 people have fled from Myanmar into Bangladesh since 25 August and are now struggling to survive in terrible conditions in sprawling makeshift camps.

    Human Rights Watch said last week: “The Burmese military has clearly used rape as one of a range of horrific methods of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya.”


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    Buddhist Monk Admits Attacks on Muslims

    "We destroyed Muslim homes and their mosques, and built Buddhist homes in their place," boasts one of Myanmar's Buddhist monks.

    video: https://www.facebook.com/iKhabr/vide...0679819048358/

    Buddhist Monk Justifies Killing

    Top Myanmar Buddhist Monk, Sitagu Sayadaw, says "Non-Buddhists are not human, so killing them is justified."


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    China to help Myanmar in Rakhine fencing

    To strengthen and extend border fencing on the border with Bangladesh, China’s Asean Economic and Cultural Association will help in border fencing at Rakhine State to meet international standard and to work for regional development.

    Personnel from Hintha Akari Co. from Myanmar, and personnel from the association arrived Sittwe on November 7 and met chairman of Rakhine State parliament, Rakhine State government, towns’ elders from Sittwe and discussed matters concerning fencing and regional development.

    “They visited here to learn more about the current situation. This association is continuously reporting the situation in Rakhine State. They will meet with heads of government on November 14 and implement their plans. They will utilize latest modern technology,” said Nwe Nwe Aye, managing director of Hintha Akari Co.

    In meeting with parliament speaker of Rakhine State, chairman of the association said that as China and Myanmar are neighbors, they are ready to help Myanmar in time of need. He’s been handling this department for eight years and also experienced in poppy substitute plantation projects.

    The speaker San Kyaw Hla also spoke words of thanks.


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    Why Is the U.S. Government Funding Anti-Rohingya Propaganda?

    Partly underwritten by Washington as a free press paradigm, ‘The Irrawaddy’ now embraces racist Burmese government rhetoric that fuels ethnic cleansing.

    RANGOON, Burma—U.S. taxpayer money is funding a media organization in Burma that rights campaigners say has sided with racists against the Rohingya, even as the State Department withdraws military aid and considers sanctions in response to army-led atrocities against the minority.

    The Irrawaddy, which receives money as part of U.S. efforts to promote independent media in the country, has parroted Burmese government propaganda, former journalists there and Rohingya advocates told The Daily Beast.

    In September the website, which takes its name from country’s most important river, falsely claimed a former U.S. ambassador to Rangoon had warned of a “Muslim State” in Burma if Rohingya were granted rights.

    Last year the National Endowment for Democracy, which is funded by Congress, gave the publication $150,000. It has made similar donations of up to $175,000 a year since at least 2005, and has been funding the organization to some extent for over 20 years.

    Three of The Irrawaddy’s journalists have resigned since September over its coverage of the Rohingya tragedy.

    More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since the military began systematically massacring and raping villagers in a small corner of western Rakhine state in late August.

    As debate simmers internationally about whether the attacks amount to genocide, most Burmese media have either ignored reports of atrocities or joined in with a propaganda campaign aimed at branding the Rohingya terrorists, denying the legitimacy of their ethnic name, and reinforcing the false belief that they are illegal immigrants.

    Until recently The Irrawaddy was among the few outlets in the country that defied this narrative.
    But as hatred of the Rohingya inside Burma has reached new highs, its position on the issue has become increasingly hard-line. The publication’s coverage has, to be fair, been more balanced than that of most Burmese media. Then again that is a very low bar to clear.

    A recent decision to use the term “self-identifying Rohingya” for most references to members of the group drew fierce criticism from rights campaigners, who say it panders to extremists who would like to see the group’s identity erased entirely.

    “Decades of hard work building the reputation of The Irrawaddy has been undermined by the editor in chief deciding to abandon journalistic independence and come down on the side of racists saying the Rohingya don’t belong in Burma,” said Mark Farmaner, director of the rights group Burma Campaign U.K.

    The site’s Burmese edition has for years shunned the term Rohingya and instead used “Bengalis,” the name favored by the military and used by most in Burma to suggest they are interlopers.

    Defending the policy, editor in chief Aung Zaw told The Daily Beast: “We have to be extremely careful to present different voices… We also use ‘Rohingya people,’ ‘Rohingya population.’ It’s not just ‘self-identifying,’ so there is no discriminatory editorial policy.”

    He added: “They will be called Bengali anyway… that’s why I think the Burmese language editor has chosen to use Bengali.”

    The publication appears to have ditched its use of the “self-identifying” qualifier since being contacted by The Daily Beast.

    The Irrawaddy has also joined in with anti-Rohingya jeering
    . After thousands of Rohingya fleeing persecution were stranded at sea by human traffickers in 2015, the website published a cartoon last year depicting a darker-skinned man wearing a sign reading “Boat People.”

    The man is seen cutting in line ahead of Burma’s other ethnic minorities, suggesting Rohingya are demanding preferential treatment.

    During a video panel discussion published last month on The Irrawaddy’s website, the publication’s English-language editor falsely claimed the former U.S. Ambassador to Rangoon, Derek Mitchell, had warned the Rohingya “would demand territory—a Rohingya State or Muslim State” if their ethnic name were officially recognized.

    Mitchell told The Atlantic in September that people in Burma were afraid the Rohingya had a separatist agenda; he did not say he shared those fears.

    After The Daily Beast drew his attention to the error, he wrote to The Irrawaddy saying, “I understand the pressures you all may feel to make a statement on these things but I don’t want to be co-opted into that and misrepresented.”

    Kyaw Zwa Moe, the editor who misquoted Mitchell, replied with an apology and said the error was due to a mistranslation of his words in the English transcript. But a review of the footage by The Daily Beast revealed the original Burmese to be just as misleading.

    Last month the outlet stoked fears about “Bengali terrorists” when it rewrote an article from the AFP news agency about armed attackers raiding border guard posts at Rohingya camps in Bangladesh. The story was packaged as if it had just happened, when in fact it was over a year old.

    The Irrawaddy swiftly removed the article and apologized, adding that the error was unintentional, but not before the former information minister shared it to his Facebook followers, fueling anti-Rohingya sentiment.

    The controversy raises tough questions for donor organizations funding independent media. While some, including Ambassador Mitchell, think donors have no place influencing editorial policy, others think the National Endowment for Democracy should threaten to take its money elsewhere unless the publication changes its stance on the Rohingya.

    The outlet is “increasingly serving the interests of the government and those engaged in ethnic cleansing,” said Jonathan Hulland, who has worked in Burma with the Open Society Foundations, which used to fund The Irrawaddy but stopped for reasons it says were unrelated to their Rohingya coverage. “Donors should withdraw funding if The Irrawaddy’s position on and characterization of the Rohingya crisis doesn’t change.”

    “We are not a human rights agency, we are a news agency,” said Aung Zaw. He added: “I don’t see any message, any sign that [donors] are withdrawing.”

    A spokesperson for the National Endowment for Democracy declined to comment on whether or not it would withdraw funding.

    The Irrawaddy’s move toward a government-friendly stance on the Rohingya reflects a change in Aung Zaw’s own public stance.

    Like Burma’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Aung Zaw was once lauded internationally, albeit far less prominently, for his defiance of the military junta.

    In 2014 he received an International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists, and in 2013 a New York Times op-ed under his name expressed heartfelt sympathy for the Rohingya, denouncing “hatemongers” who claimed that “Rohingya… were being joined en masse by illegal migrants from Bangladesh.”

    Fast forward to September this year, when the editor in chief told CNN: “Rohingya is just a name. Rohingya is not an ethnic minority that belongs to Burma.”

    Aung Zaw has also bought the government’s line that the international community’s concerns about the Rohingya are an attempt to damage Burma’s reputation, and that Burmese journalists have a responsibility to correct this.

    “We might ask if we are getting defeated at the diplomatic level because our response and countering with public relations has been very weak,” he said in a video posted to The Irrawaddy’s Facebook page in September.

    In the same video he said foreign journalists and aid agencies supported the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a small militia whose attacks on police posts in August gave the Burmese military an excuse for its massacres.

    “We can definitely see that ARSA gets support and sympathy from the media, especially Western media organizations, lobbyists, NGOs, and campaigners,” he said.

    Jason Nelson, who worked at The Irrawaddy for more than 10 years, and who, like many foreign journalists there, left on bad terms, said Aung Zaw has hardened his stance on the Rohingya because he wants to appeal to potential investors inside Burma to make him less reliant on donors.

    “There’s no reason foreign taxpayers should be subsidizing his efforts to curry favor… inside the country,” Nelson said.

    Aung Zaw’s salary might be partly funded by the U.S., but in his view a good journalist ought to reject the international consensus on the Rohingya tragedy.

    In the September video he complained about some unnamed young reporters he deemed to be ill-informed on the issue: “These kids… think what the white people say is true and are blathering on about human rights.”


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    'The Darkness of Humans’: Investigating Mass Rape in Burma

    The Burmese military is carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State. Scores of people have been murdered and hundreds of villages destroyed, and more than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh. One of the military’s most feared weapons is mass sexual violence, with untold numbers of women and girls brutally gang raped by government soldiers. Human Rights Watch’s emergencies women’s rights researcher, Skye Wheeler, tells Stephanie Hancock how she was able to investigate these disturbing crimes.

    What was your plan when you arrived on the ground in Burma?

    We’ve been documenting this crisis since the very beginning. We knew there had been sexual violence in some of the massacres we’d looked into, but we didn’t know how widespread it was. So my job was to find out. And what we found was that the rape has been widespread, and that rape was one of the ways that the Burmese military conducted their ethnic cleansing operations. This is very much a part of this military’s way of terrifying the Rohingya and making them feel worthless. One woman said: “They see us as nothing but leaves they can throw out,” and made a sweeping movement with her hand, like the way you would toss away dead leaves.

    What do you mean by rape being part of ethnic cleansing?

    Rape is obviously incredibly traumatizing. It’s a violation of someone’s most private sacred space and your basic sense of selfhood. But it also affects women’s memories, and their sense of being safe at home. If this has been destroyed, it’s much harder for them ever to be able to return home. So it’s an effective method of ethnic cleansing, to remove – by violent and terror-inspiring means – a certain ethnic or religious group from an area.

    Was there any warning these mass rapes were about to happen?

    Rape is not a new tactic for the Burmese army: we documented it during another brutal campaign against the Rohingya last year that forced tens of thousands to flee. This time, the rapes often followed many weeks and months of sexual harassment, sometimes by military forces stationed in or near Rohingya villages, sometimes by Rakhine Buddhist villagers who had been harassing Rohingya. But when the mass rapes by soldiers happened, it was sudden and it was terrifying.

    How did the attacks unfold?

    It was horrific. As described to me, in many of the villages it was total chaos and complete terror. People said their villages were surrounded, and then the shooting started, with soldiers launching what we think were some kind of rocket-propelled grenades and setting roofs on fire. Soldiers shot villagers as they fled. They pushed others into burning houses. In other villages, people were gathered together and then women were raped, and men were shot or beaten. Almost all the rapes I documented were gang rapes.

    Were any stories particularly hard to hear?

    One woman who was gang raped told me that her house was burning down and she was able to grab one child, but not the other. She was in a complete panic, and now she doesn’t know where her child is. She feels so guilty even though there is nothing she could have done.

    One girl, no more than 14 or 15, had this really bad scar on her shin and knee, which she said was from the rape. She said that soldiers dragged her out of the house, tied her to a tree and around 10 of them raped her from behind. She was really clear and well-spoken, and had such a presence about her, and it was awful to think this happened to such a young person.

    Did soldiers do other cruel things?

    Many women and girls told me the rapes were very violent: there was beating, slapping, kicking, and punching. Two women’s breasts were bitten during the rapes. Some of the women’s children had to watch the rapes, or were themselves beaten by soldiers. One woman begged for her kids to be allowed to leave while she was raped, but the soldiers did not allow it.

    What do we know about who carried out the rapes?

    All the women we spoke to were raped by men in uniform of the Burmese security forces, almost all soldiers. There were also some border police, who have a slightly different uniform. All of the rapes involved many soldiers, there was no attempt to hide it.

    You’ve documented mass rape in other places like South Sudan and Burundi. How does what you found in Burma compare?

    Well, I’ve never investigated ethnic cleansing before. In South Sudan the rape was part of the conflict, and in Burundi the rape was part of wider political attacks. In Burma it’s not just the rape, it’s that people have lost everything. It’s just mind-boggling that you would destroy hundreds of villages and force over half a million people to flee. And the devastation was so fast; it’s equivalent to the impact of a really long, terrible war in just two weeks. All of a sudden the world was watching thousands and thousands of people pour across a border every day having lost everything. It’s unbelievably tragic.

    There are so many efforts to stop rape in conflict, yet we see it happening again and again. We saw it with the Chibok girls in Nigeria, then the Yazidis in Iraq, now the Rohingya. Do we just have to accept wartime rape?

    Absolutely not. In armies that have better command and control, there is less rape. In armies where there is punishment for soldiers who rape, there is less rape. It’s not like suddenly soldiers in the fog of war can’t help but rape. It’s all about the context – seeing some people as less human, and exercising power over people you see as the enemy. I don’t think it’s something inherent about conflict.

    Does hearing these awful stories all day make you feel depressed?

    No. Actually, that’s how I feel when I leave the UN Security Council! Yes, the stories are devastating, no question – my translator, me, we’re all affected. In the field, you see the horrific side, but you also see how people protect each other and fight to survive, and how people would do anything for their kids. It’s when you do the advocacy with governments and people say “OK, maybe we will do something, maybe we won’t.” That’s when you think ‘maybe I’m going crazy.’
    When you’re in the field does it feel like just like an ordinary job?

    No, it’s an incredible privilege to hear these important stories. These are not just stories of victimhood, these are people who have survived unbelievable cruelty and often you’re the first person to hear their story. After the interview, you feel that you’ve discussed something incredibly important about the darkness of humans, but also how amazing people are. For example, this one woman who walked for days with horrific injuries from being gang raped, but made sure she got her four children all safely to Bangladesh. It was so humbling.

    Then there’s what drives you. Like the ridiculous statement from a Burmese military commander who said: “Look at these ugly Rohingya women, who would want to rape them?” That makes you determined to do justice to these stories, because the denial and rejection of their experience is another attack on them, it’s just so offensive.

    What’s life like now for survivors?

    It’s really hard for women and girls. The sun is burning and it’s incredibly hot, the camp is sprawling and a scene of desperation, there’s this pungent smell of excrement and rubbish, it is really far from the main roads, and some of the health services are really chaotic – they’re just in tents or someone under an umbrella. But I would say that everyone that I met was really struggling, not just those who had been raped. It is 600,000 women, men, and children who have been unearthed and thrown into another country, and they don’t even know if they’re welcome to stay or not. I still don’t understand how this could have happened.


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    Myanmar’s military is terrorizing the Rohingya with gang rape


    Violence in Myanmar is WORSE than ISIS as infants are killed, filmmaker reveals

    THE VIOLENCE of ISIS does not come close to that being carried out by the military against the Rohingya in Myanmar, a documentary filmmaker has revealed.

    By TARYN TARRANT-CORNISH - Nov 14, 2017

    The journalist who has previously reported on ISIS in Syria has claimed a massacre carried out against Rohingya Muslims is even worse after uncovering evidence of the murder of infants.

    Speaking on BBC's Newsnight, filmmaker Gabriel Gatehouse said: “I have reported on Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, but none of that really comes close.

    “This is by far the most disturbing story I have ever covered.”

    While making a filming investigating the fate of a village in Myanmar Mr Gatehouse uncovered a series of horrifying events, which he added were not an isolated incident.

    His comments come as Theresa May said the current crisis in Myanmar "looks like ethnic cleansing".

    Speaking at the Lord Mayor's Banquet, Mrs May said: "This is a major humanitarian crisis which looks like ethnic cleansing. And it is something for which the Burmese authorities - and especially the military - must take full responsibility.

    "The UK is already the largest donor in response to this crisis.

    “And we will continue to play a leading role in bringing the international community together - working through the UN and with regional partners to do everything possible to stop this appalling and in human destruction of the Rohingya people."

    It is extremely difficult to travel to the Rakhine State where the violence is taking place.

    Mr Gatehouse instead spoke to survivors over the border in Bangladeshi refugee camps where they have fled and saw video evidence of atrocities.

    The investigation focused on the events of a massacre in Tula Toli where residents believed they were safe after signing a ‘peace pact’.

    Speaking to Newsnight said: “We are talking about mass murder mass rape, the killing of infants and of children.”

    Soldiers entered the village on the morning of August 30 driving many villagers to flee to the river bank.

    One survivor who managed to escape with one of his daughters while the rest of his family were lost revealed what he witnessed.

    He said: “There were 150 soldiers from the Burmese military. They were shooting and burning the houses as they marched.”

    The film includes disturbing footage filmed by survivors of Tula Toli and contains testimony of several survivors still baring the scars of the massacre.

    Mr Gatehouse said: “It is not an isolated case it is the kind of thing that has been going on throughout the Rakhine State since the end of August and indeed continues to go on until this day.

    “We are talking about whole villages being burnt, razed, ethnic cleansing in effect. This is violence that is perpetrated against a people who, in any case, have few the human rights that human beings would expect.”

    Authorities in Myanmar have been accused of seizing on attacks carried out by militants in the region as an excuse for ethnic cleansing against the Rhoninga.

    The countries civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who does not control the military has been criticised for not speaking out more over the campaign against the minority.

    Bob Geldof yesterday returned his Freedom of Dublin in protest against the Nobel Peace Prize winner who held the same honour.

    [visit link for video]


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