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  1. #101
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    Rohingya militants in Burma: Terrorists or freedom fighters?

    By Max Bearak - September 11, 2017

    Over the past 2½ weeks, the coastal borderland between Burma and Bangladesh has become the site of almost incomprehensible misery and suffering.

    The United Nations says 313,000 people, most belonging to Burma's Rohingya ethnic group, have fled with nothing but the clothes on their backs to fetid roadside encampments in Bangladesh. They are escaping what many international observers say is a scorched-earth campaign led by the Burmese military to drive an unwanted, mostly Muslim minority from the country, complete with indiscriminate killing, systematic rape and the burning of entire towns.

    Despite the evidence — which by Monday had led the United Nations' chief human rights officer to call the atrocities “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” — the Burmese military and government say they are not targeting civilians but rather a group of terrorists that claim to protect the Rohingya but are in fact militants bent on creating an Islamic state in southwest Burma's Rakhine state.

    The situation calls to mind the adage: One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter.

    The Rohingya (pronounced ROH-hihn-juh) have been referred to as the world's “most friendless people” and are undoubtedly in need of protection. For decades, they have faced persecution and been denied citizenship in Buddhist-majority Burma, which is also known as Myanmar. With the country's democratic reforms in 2011, ending half a century of military rule, many in the international community hoped the Burmese government would provide that protection, especially since the nation is led by Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and self-proclaimed pacifist.

    But Suu Kyi has no direct control over Burma's military under the new constitution. And she also subscribes to the belief held by many in Burma that the Rohingya are essentially illegal Bangladeshi interlopers, despite evidence of their presence in the region for generations, if not centuries. The Burmese government officially refers to the group as “Bengali.”

    Until recently, Bangladeshis felt similarly about the Rohingya. “Bangladeshis once had hatred for us,” a Rohingya man named Mohammed Yunus told the New York Times earlier this year. “They would call us names. They used to say we were Burmese, with a bad tone, and swear at us in different ways. But now they have the idea that we are persecuted.”

    That idea has spread far and wide, especially among Muslims around the world. Images and testimony shared by Rohingya have galvanized people from Chechnya to Jakarta to come out in mass protest against Burma's treatment of the Rohingya. Bangladesh now hosts 750,000 Rohingya refugees, and the government in Dhaka recently described Burma's actions as “genocide.” Only international pressure could persuade Burma to accept most of the refugees back, given that almost none would hold Burmese citizenship.

    According to an investigation by the International Crisis Group published in December, the plight of the Rohingya has also inspired wealthy individuals in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere to fund a ragtag insurgency. When the report came out, the fledgling Rohingya militancy was known as Harakah al-Yaqin, Arabic for “faith movement." The group now calls itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or Arsa.

    Money and weapons are channeled through groups of Rohingya expatriates living in the Persian Gulf and Bangladesh and eventually reach Burma, where local fighters receive training. The ICG report says Arsa has growing popular support among Rohingya in Burma, but the recent crackdown was sparked by a coordinated Arsa attack on multiple Burmese border police posts that killed at least 12 officers last month. On the other hand, the crackdown may inspire many Rohingya to join the militants.

    Still, calling the conflict between the military and Arsa lopsided would be an understatement. Arsa probably has a only a few hundred fighters. There is little evidence foreigners have joined the fight. On Sunday, Arsa declared a unilateral cease-fire, hoping to assuage the humanitarian crisis. The Burmese government refused to enter into talks with them.

    The Rohingya remain deeply unpopular in Burma, but Arsa's attacks, even if they pale in comparison with Burma's retaliation, only widen the divisions and serve the government's narrative. With the Burmese military essentially treating all Rohingya men as possible terrorists and effectively blocking humanitarian aid, the vicious spiral of persecution and militarization is in full spin.

    Weeks after Arsa's coordinated attack on police posts, villages are still ablaze across Rakhine, and more Rohingya now live as refugees in Bangladesh than remain in Burma. One has to ask: Is Arsa helping or hurting the Rohingya?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...eedom-fighters

  2. #102
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    Southeast Asia summit draft statement skips over Rohingya crisis

    11/16/2017

    A draft of the statement to be issued after a Southeast Asian summit makes no mention of the exodus of Rohingya Muslims
    from Myanmar’s Rakhine state following a military crackdown that has been described by the United Nations as ethnic cleansing.

    One paragraph of the communique, seen by Reuters on Monday, mentions the importance of humanitarian relief provided for victims of natural disasters in Vietnam and a recent urban battle with Islamist militants in the Philippines, as well as “affected communities” in northern Rakhine state.

    The statement was drawn up by the Philippines, current chair of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - which includes Myanmar - whose leaders met for a plenary session in Manila on Monday.

    The draft did not give any details of the situation in northern Rakhine or use the term Rohingya for the persecuted Muslim minority, which Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has asked foreign leaders to avoid.

    The government in mostly-Buddhist Myanmar regards the Rohingya as illegal migrants from Bangladesh and does not recognize the term.

    Well over 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh to find shelter in refugee camps after military clearance operations were launched in response to attacks by Rohingya militants on security posts on Aug. 25.

    The plight of the Rohingya has brought outrage from around the world and there have been calls for democracy champion Suu Kyi to be stripped of the Nobel peace prize she won in 1991 because she has not condemned the Myanmar military’s actions.

    In September, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the situation in Rakhine was best described as ethnic cleansing.

    Some members of ASEAN, particularly Muslim-majority Malaysia, have voiced concern. However, in keeping with ASEAN’s principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of one another, the issue appears to have been put aside at the summit.

    In September, Malaysia disavowed a statement issued by the Philippines on behalf of ASEAN’s foreign ministers as misrepresenting “the reality” because it did not identify the Rohingya as an affected community in Rakhine state.

    Suu Kyi, who did not mention the crisis in a speech after arriving in Manila on Sunday, criticized ASEAN’s principle of non-interference herself in 1999 when she was fighting for democracy in a country then ruled by a military junta.

    “This policy of non-interference is just an excuse for not helping,” she wrote in an opinion column in the Thai daily the Nation at the time. “In this day and age, you cannot avoid interference in the matters of other countries.”

    Roberto Romulo, a former Philippine foreign minister, told the Philippine news channel ANC that there appeared to be no discussion about the Rohingya at the ASEAN summit.

    “They’re treating with a great deal of respect a discredited Nobel Peace Prize winner like Aung San Suu Kyi,” he said.

    Amnesty International Philippines representative Wilnor Papa told ANC that the ASEAN leaders would talk about “terrorism and peace and order ... but there are a whole lot of elephants in the room they won’t be talking about, that people are trying to ignore.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-as...-idUSKBN1DD0CP

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    The Rohingya tragedy shows human solidarity is a lie

    by Tawakkol Karman - 1 Dec 2017

    Nobody argues any more about what is happening in Myanmar.
    The United Nations, international human rights organisations and world capitals all agree that the war being waged on the Rohingya Muslims is a clear example of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

    According to international reports, the number of people who have fled Myanmar military operations in Rakhine state have reached approximately 600,000 refugees by October.

    The crisis continues to get worse, fanned on one hand, by the Myanmar government's intolerance and insistence on continuing their racist exclusionary policies, and on the other hand, by the fact that the world's interest in what is happening in Myanmar is just not deep enough.

    Human solidarity

    The most dangerous thing the Rohingya tragedy has uncovered is that the idea of "human solidarity" may be nothing more than a big lie.

    Those who call and fight for freedoms and human rights regardless of race or religion or colour or ideology - and I am one of those - are facing a huge conundrum. Why is this happening? Why is this human holocaust, happening right before our eyes, not being stopped? Are there unknown conditions that must be met in order to show human solidarity and offer the support needed to end a particular people's suffering?

    These are questions whose answers, I fear, will be terrifying. Is human solidarity something afforded only to the strong and rich who have political or economic power in the international arena?

    Many are starting to understand that human solidarity does not extend to Muslims.
    Regardless of how accurate that opinion is, it is an indicator of the doubts that have taken root in the minds of some, and that is not a good thing.

    And this is not the only loss that has come out of the Rohingya tragedy. The regime in Myanmar, which is perpetrating horrific violations every day, can still find allies who defend what it is doing. The Myanmar regime's responsibility for the extermination of the Rohingya is clear and its statements denying what is happening are mendacious.

    Sacrificing her past as a fighter for rights and freedom in order to embrace tyranny, Aung San Suu Kyi - leader of the Myanmar government and Nobel Peace Prize laureate - serves as a prime example of the damage that can befall someone we thought would keep her principles no matter what.

    It is truly tragic that Aung San Suu Kyi is defying reality and denying with confidence the violence and ethnic cleansing, to an extent that Amnesty International has classified her affirmations as "a mix of untruths and victim blaming". Aung San Suu Kyi could have fought and won a victory for human rights or for her own conscience at the very least. But she preferred to fight for her "nation" and its military vision built on exclusion, marginalisation and rejection of diversity. What a tragic end for a woman who so many counted on.

    The 'terrorism' excuse

    The Rohingya tragedy has confirmed what we've said about the use of "terrorism" by dictatorships as a useful excuse to realise political goals and destroy opposition or political opponents.

    The world has seen how entire villages are destroyed and their inhabitants killed or displaced, all atrocities committed in the name of the "war on terror"; who can accept these justifications? I would think no one.

    The truth is that using "terrorism" as an excuse
    to suppress opponents and to enable tyrannical political leadership to strengthen its bases is an old ruse that everyone can see through. The UN and international community have to be brave and prevent the use of "terrorism" in this way.

    Authoritarian regimes must be deprived of the opportunity to use a just cause such as fighting "terrorism" for their own ends. Not only that, but there must also be a real accounting of those who have perpetrated human rights violations for any reason.

    Fighting racism

    There are numerous calls to end the military operations against the Rohingya today. This can be seen as a positive development, and although it comes very late - better late than never.

    In spite of that fact, the regime in Myanmar likely will not respond to these calls unless there is a unified international stance against the crimes against humanity that are being perpetrated there. The military in Myanmar are still the ones who call the shots, and they don't see anything wrong with denying the Rohingya their rights.

    The Rohingya tragedy has shown how a UN member state can have an internal policy built on racial and religious discrimination without any international consequences. Therefore pressure must be increased on the regime in Myanmar if we are to see real course correction.

    It is time to take a firm stance on Myanmar. We should not pacify a state promoting apartheid policies. It is time to stop a human tragedy that has persisted for decades.

    A few days ago, Bangladesh and Myanmar reached an agreement that allows the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, who were subjected to a campaign of persecution and forcible displacement by the Myanmar army only two months ago. But this agreement, even if implemented, is not enough to go on as if nothing happened.

    It is true that the repatriation of the Muslim-majority Rohingya is very important to put an end to this tragedy, but what guarantees will the Myanmar government provide for not repeating its ethnic cleansing campaign?

    Nevertheless, this agreement should be a prelude to the end of abhorrent discrimination against the Rohingya who should be given political and civil rights as citizens of Myanmar.

    The Rohingya have lived for a long time without knowing the true meaning of humanity and justice
    . Would it not be wonderful if they could find some of that now? We must work to realise that with all our strength, not just for them, but for all of us.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opi...134536371.html

  4. #104
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    Rohingya Muslims: Rape of persecuted minority by Burma’s soldiers 'methodical', investigation finds

    Women interviewed in isolation recount sexual assault experiences at hands of troops revealing 'sickening sameness' and 'distinct pattern' to abuse

    by Kristen Gelineau - 12/11/2017

    F, 22, who says she was raped by members of Burma's armed forces in June and again in September, is photographed in her tent in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh

    The soldiers arrived, as they often did, long after sunset.

    It was June, and the newlyweds were asleep in their home, surrounded by the fields of wheat they farmed in western Burma. Without warning, seven soldiers burst into the house and charged into their bedroom.

    The woman, a Rohingya Muslim who agreed to be identified by her first initial, F, knew enough to be terrified. She knew the military had been attacking Rohingya villages, as part of what the United Nations (UN) has called ethnic cleansing in the mostly Buddhist nation. She heard just days before that soldiers had killed her parents, and that her brother was missing.

    This time, F says, the soldiers had come for her.

    The men bound her husband with rope. They ripped the scarf from her head and tied it around his mouth.

    They yanked off her jewellery and tore off her clothes. They threw her to the floor.

    And then the first soldier began to rape her.

    She struggled against him, but four men held her down and beat her with sticks.
    She stared in panic at her husband, who stared back helplessly. He finally wriggled the gag out of his mouth and screamed.

    And then she watched as a soldier fired a bullet into the chest of the man she had married only one month before. Another soldier slit his throat.

    Her mind grew fuzzy. When the soldiers were finished, they dragged her naked body outside and set her bamboo house ablaze.

    It would be two months before she realised her misery was far from over: She was pregnant.

    The rape of Rohingya women by Burma's security forces has been sweeping and methodical, the Associated Press found in interviews with 29 women and girls who fled to neighbouring Bangladesh. These sexual assault survivors from several refugee camps were interviewed separately and extensively. They ranged in age from 13 to 35, came from a wide swath of villages in Burma's Rakhine state and described assaults between October 2016 and mid-September.

    Foreign journalists are banned from the Rohingya region of Rakhine, making it nearly impossible to independently verify each woman’s report. Yet there was a sickening sameness to their stories, with distinct patterns in their accounts, their assailants’ uniforms and the details of the rapes themselves.

    The testimonies bolster the UN’s contention that Burma's armed forces are systematically employing rape as a “calculated tool of terror” aimed at exterminating the Rohingya people. The Burma armed forces did not respond to multiple requests from the AP for comment, but an internal military investigation last month concluded that none of the assaults ever took place. And when journalists asked about rape allegations during a government-organised trip to Rakhine in September, Rakhine’s minister for border affairs, Phone Tint, replied: “These women were claiming they were raped, but look at their appearances — do you think they are that attractive to be raped?”

    Doctors and aid workers, however, say that they are stunned at the sheer volume of rapes, and suspect only a fraction of women have come forward. Medecins Sans Frontieres doctors have treated 113 sexual violence survivors since August, a third of them under 18. The youngest was nine.

    The U.N. has called the Rohingya the most persecuted minority on earth, with Burma denying them citizenship and basic rights. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees now live in sweltering tents in Bangladesh, where the stifling air smells of excrement from a lack of latrines and of smoke from wood fires to cook what little food there is. The women and girls in this story gave the AP their names but agreed to be publicly identified only by their first initial, citing fears they or their families would be killed by Burma's military.

    Each described attacks that involved groups of men from Burma's security forces, often coupled with other forms of extreme violence. Every woman except one said the assailants wore military-style uniforms, generally dark green or camouflage. The lone woman who described her attackers as wearing plain clothes said her neighbours recognised them from the local military outpost.

    Many women said the uniforms bore various patches featuring stars or, in a couple cases, arrows. Such patches represent the different units of Burma's army.

    The most common attack described went much like F’s. In several other cases, women said, security forces surrounded a village, separated men from women, then took the women to a second location to gang rape them.

    The women spoke of seeing their children slaughtered in front of them, their husbands beaten and shot. They spoke of burying their loved ones in the darkness and leaving the bodies of their babies behind. They spoke of the searing pain of rapes that felt as if they would never end, and of days-long journeys on foot to Bangladesh while still bleeding and hobbled.

    F, 22, clutches her hands around her pregnant belly.


    F, 22, who says she was raped by members of Burma's armed forces in June and again in September, clutches her hands around her pregnant belly as she is photographed in her tent in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh

    They spoke and they spoke, the words erupting from many of them in frantic, tortured bursts.

    N, who says she survived a rape but lost her husband, her country and her peace, speaks because there is little else she can do — and because she hopes that somebody will listen.

    “I have nothing left,” she says. “All I have left are my words.”

    Two months after the men came quietly in the night for F, they came boldly in the daytime for K.

    It was late August, she says, just days after Rohingya insurgents had attacked several Burma police posts in northern Rakhine. Security forces responded with swift ferocity that human rights groups say left hundreds dead and scores of Rohingya villages burned to the ground.

    Inside their house, K and her family were settling down to breakfast. They had only just swallowed their first mouthfuls of rice when the screams of other villagers rang out: The military was coming.

    Her husband and three oldest children bolted out the door, fleeing for the nearby hills.

    But K was nearly nine months pregnant, with swollen feet and two terrified toddlers whose tiny legs could never outpace the soldiers’ strides. She had no place to hide, no time to think.

    K, 25, right, cries as she recounts being gang raped by members of Burma's armed forces.


    K, 30, mother of six who's three-year-old daughter was killed, who says she was raped by members of Burma's armed forces in late August, carries her baby born two months premature

    The door banged open. And the men charged in.

    There were four of them, she thinks, maybe five, all in camouflage uniforms. Her young son and daughter began to wail and then, mercifully, scampered out the front door.

    There was no mercy for her. The men grabbed her and threw her on the bed. They yanked off her earrings, nose ring and necklace. They found the money she had hidden in her blouse from the recent sale of her family’s cow. They ripped off her clothes, and tied down her hands and legs with rope. When she resisted, they choked her.

    And then, she says, they began to rape her.


    She was too terrified to move. One man held a knife to her eyeball, one more a gun to her chest. Another forced himself inside her.

    When the first man finished, they switched places and the torture began again. And when the second man finished, a third man raped her.

    In the midst of her agony, she thought of nothing but the baby inside her womb, just weeks away from emerging into a world that would not want him, because he was a Rohingya.

    She began to bleed.

    She blacked out.

    As she awoke, her great aunt was there, tearfully untying her. The elder woman bathed her, clothed her and gave her a hot compress for her aching thighs.

    When K’s husband returned home, he was furious: not just at the men who had raped her, but at her. Why, he demanded, had she not run away?

    She was pregnant and in no condition to run, she shot back. Still, he blamed her for the assault and threatened to abandon her, because, he told her, a “non-Muslim” had raped her.

    Fearful the men would return, she and her family fled to her father’s house in the hills above the village. When they saw soldiers setting fire to the houses below, they knew they had to leave for Bangladesh.

    K was too crippled by pain to walk. Her husband and brother placed her inside a sling they fashioned out of a blanket and a stick, and carried her for days.

    Inside her cocoon, she wept for the baby she feared was dead.

    A few days after the men burst into K’s house, 10 soldiers arrived at R’s.

    She was just 13 years old
    , but R had already learned to fear the military men.

    Her parents had warned her to steer clear of them, yet it was her father who first fell prey to their wrath. One day last year, R says, soldiers stabbed him in the head with a knife, killing him.

    Yet R’s family had nowhere else to go. And so they stayed in the village. R busied herself by learning Arabic, doting on her chicken and its hatchlings and caring for her two younger brothers.

    And then one day in late August, R says, the soldiers barged into her house. They snatched up her little brothers, tied them to a tree outside and began to beat them. R tried to run out the front door, but the men caught her.

    R, 13, covers her face with her headscarf while being photographed in her tent in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh.

    Her body is barely pubescent, her limbs still gangly like a child’s. But her youth could not protect her.

    R fought back against the men, but they dragged her out of the house. The skin tore away from her knees as her legs scraped along the ground.

    The men tethered her arms to two trees. They ripped off her earrings and bracelets, stripped off her clothes.

    R screamed at them to stop. They spit at her.

    And then the first man began to rape her.

    She froze. She was a virgin. The pain was excruciating.

    The attack lasted for hours. She remembers all ten men forcing themselves on her before she passed out.

    One of her older brothers later found her on the ground, bleeding.

    R’s two little brothers were missing, but their mother had no time to search for them. She knew she had to get her daughter over the border and to a doctor quickly to get medicine in time to prevent a pregnancy.

    R was barely conscious. So her two older brothers carried
    her across the hills and fields towards Bangladesh. R’s mother hurried alongside them, terrified for her daughter, terrified that time was running out.

    R, 13, shows the scars on her knees and right shin from injuries obtained when members of Burma armed forces dragged her out of her house before gang raping her.

    That R’s family sought treatment for her at all is an anomaly. Despite still suffering pain, bleeding and infections months after the attacks, only a handful of the women interviewed by the AP had seen a doctor. The others had no idea free services were available, or were too ashamed to tell a doctor they were raped.

    In a health centre overflowing with women and wailing babies, Dr. Misbah Uddin Ahmed, a government health officer, sits at his desk looking weary. He pulls out a stack of patient histories for those treated at his clinics and begins to flick through them, reading the case summaries out loud:

    Sept. 5, a patient 7 months pregnant says three soldiers burst into her home 11 days ago and raped her.

    Also Sept. 5, a patient says she was asleep at home when the military broke in 20 days ago and three soldiers raped her.

    Sept. 10, a patient says the military came to her house one month ago and beat her husband before two soldiers raped her.

    Ahmed says the women who manage to overcome their fear and make it to his clinics are usually the ones in the deepest trouble. So many others, he adds, are suffering in silence.

    Though the scale of these attacks is new, the use of sexual violence by Burma's security forces is not. Before she became Burma's civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi herself condemned the military’s abuses. “Rape is rife. It is used as a weapon by armed forces to intimidate the ethnic nationalities and to divide our country,” she said in a 2011 videotaped statement to the Nobel Women’s Initiative.

    And yet Suu Kyi’s government has not only failed to condemn the recent accounts of rape, it has dismissed the accounts as lies. In December 2016, the government issued a press release disputing Rohingya women’s reports of sexual assaults, accompanied by an image that said “Fake Rape.”

    Ahmed seems bewildered that anyone would ever doubt these women. Look at what I have just shown you, he says, gesturing towards his stack of files chronicling one atrocity after another.

    Gynecologist Arjina Akhter has witnessed the results of those atrocities. Since August, so many women began showing up at her two clinics, she stopped asking them to fill out patient history forms so she could treat them faster. Among other women, she estimates between 20 to 30 rape survivors visited her clinics in September and October.

    She ticks off the injuries: Two women with lacerations to their cervixes they said were caused by guns shoved inside their bodies. One woman with horrific tearing she said was caused by a nail driven into her vagina. Several women with severe vaginal bleeding.

    More recently, she says, women who were raped months ago have been coming to her in a panic, asking for abortions. She has to explain to them that they are too far along, but reassures them that officials will take the babies if they cannot care for them.

    Still, for some Rohingya women, giving up the babies they never asked for was not an option.

    Which is how it was for F.

    More than three months had passed since the men burst into F’s home, and her despair had only deepened.

    Neighbours had taken her in and cared for her. But her house was gone, her husband was dead. And the timing of the attack left little doubt that the baby growing inside her belonged to one of the men who had caused all her grief.

    She could only pray that things would not get worse. And then, one night in mid-September, they did.

    F was asleep along with the neighbours — a couple and their five-year-old son — when the men broke down the door, jolting everyone awake.

    There were five of them this time, she remembers. They quickly grabbed the boy and slashed his throat, and killed the man.

    Then they turned to the man’s wife, and to F. And her nightmare began again.

    They stripped off the women’s clothes.
    Two of the men noticed the swell of F’s stomach and grabbed it, squeezing hard.

    They threw the women to the floor. F’s friend fought back, and the men beat her with their guns so viciously the skin on her thighs began to peel away.

    But the fight had gone out of F. She felt her body go soft, felt the blood run between her legs as the first man forced himself on her, and then the second. Next to her, three men were savaging her friend.

    When it was finally over and the men had gone, the two women lay immobile on the floor.

    They lay there for days, so crippled by pain and catatonic from the trauma that they could not even lift themselves to use the toilet. F could smell the blood around them. As the house baked under the punishing sun, the stench from the decaying bodies of her friend’s husband and son finally overwhelmed her.

    She would not die here. And neither would her baby.

    She reached out for her friend’s hand and clasped it. Then F hauled herself to her feet, pulling her friend up with her. Hand in hand, the women stumbled to the next village. They spent five days recovering there and then, alongside a group of other villagers, began the 10-day journey to Bangladesh.

    The monsoon season had begun, but there was nowhere to shelter. So F kept walking through the downpours. She was starving, and her battered body ached with each step. Generous strangers offered her sips of their water, and one man gave her a few sweet rolls.

    One day, she came across a nine-year-old boy lying along the side of a road, wounded and alone. He had lost his parents, he told her, and the soldiers had tortured him. She took him with her.

    Together, the two made it to the shores of the Naf River and boarded a boat to Bangladesh.

    Which is where they live now, in a tiny bamboo shelter between two filthy latrines. And it is here that F prays her baby will be a boy — because this world is no place for a girl.

    For now, the women are left to wonder how long they will live in the bleak limbo of Bangladesh, and if they will ever return to their homeland.

    R, the teen
    , is not pregnant. Her mother sold all her jewellery and got her to the hospital in time. But R can’t stop thinking about her little brothers, and her sleep is plagued by nightmares. Since the rape, she has struggled to eat, and her once-curvy frame has shrunk. Before the rape, she says softly, she was pretty.

    K, who feared the baby inside her had died, gave birth to a boy on the floor of her tent in a dizzying rush of relief. She had kept her son alive through it all.

    But her trauma persists. The thrum of a helicopter hovering over the camp sends her into a panic and she recites the Muslim prayer for the moments before death. She is convinced the aircraft is Burma's military, coming to kill them all.

    When told she is strong, she looks up with tears in her eyes.

    “How can you say that?” she asks. “My husband says he is ashamed of me. How am I strong?”

    F, whose body is starting to ache under the strain of her pregnancy, finds her mind often drifts towards how she will care for the child in the future. She believes God has kept them both alive for a reason.

    Her parents, her brother, her husband are go
    ne now. This baby will be the only family she has left. For her, the most haunting reminder of the agony she endured also, somehow, represents her last chance at happiness.

    “Everybody has died,” she says. “I don’t have anyone to care for me. If I give this baby away, what will I have left? There will be nothing to live for.”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-a8102911.html



    21 Rohingya women recount rape by Myanmar armed forces


    By Kristen Gelineau - December 11, 2017

    This combo photo comprises of portraits of some of the Rohingya Muslim women taken during an interview with The Associated Press in November 2017 in Kutupalong and Gundum refugee camp in Bangladesh. They said they were raped by members of Myanmar’s armed forces.

    video: https://www.facebook.com/ajplusengli...2584886549684/

    The use of rape by Myanmar’s armed forces has been sweeping and methodical, The Associated Press found in interviews with Rohingya Muslim women and girls now in Bangladesh.

    They were interviewed separately, come from a variety of villages in Myanmar and now live spread across several refugee camps in Bangladesh. Yet their stories were hauntingly similar. The military has denied its soldiers raped any Rohingya women.

    Here are the accounts as told by 21 women and girls. They agreed to be identified in this story by their first initial only, out of fear the military will kill them or their families.

    The Associated Press reported this story with a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

    SHE IS ONLY 13

    She is only 13, but R had already learned to fear the military men. Last year, she says, soldiers stabbed her father to death.

    One day in late August, 10 soldiers barged into R’s house. They snatched her two little brothers, tied them to a tree and beat them.

    R tried to run out the front door, but the men caught her. They tethered her arms to two trees. They ripped off her earrings and bracelets, and stripped off her clothes.

    R screamed at them to stop. They spit at her.

    Then the first man began to rape her. The pain was excruciating. All ten men forced themselves on her before she passed out.


    R’s older brothers carried her toward the border. Once in Bangladesh, a doctor gave her emergency contraceptives.

    R desperately misses her little brothers, and her sleep is plagued by nightmares. She struggles to eat.

    Before the rape, she says softly, she was pretty.

    ___

    RAPED TWICE

    F and her husband were asleep at home in June when seven soldiers charged into their bedroom. The men bound her husband with rope and gagged him with a scarf they ripped from F’s head.

    They yanked off F’s jewelry and stripped off her clothes. They threw her to the floor, where the first soldier began to rape her.

    Her husband wriggled the gag from his mouth and screamed. One soldier shot him, and another slit his throat.

    After the assault, the men dumped F’s naked body outside her home and set it on fire.
    The neighbors rescued her. Two months later, she realized she was pregnant.

    In September, her nightmare began again. F was asleep at a neighbor’s house when five soldiers broke down the door.

    The soldiers slashed the throat of the 5-year-old boy who lived there and killed his father. They stripped off the women’s clothes. Two men raped F, and three men raped her friend.

    After the men left, the women lay on the floor for days before fleeing for Bangladesh.

    Despite everything, F is determined to love the child.

    ___

    HER HUSBAND BLAMED HER

    K and her family were settling down to breakfast one morning in late August when they heard the screams of other villagers outside. Her husband and three oldest children bolted out the door.

    But K was nearly 9 months pregnant and had two toddlers to watch. She couldn’t run anywhere.

    The men barged in, threw her on the bed, yanked off her jewelry and stole the money she had hidden in her blouse. They ripped off her clothes and tied down her hands and legs with rope. When she resisted, they choked her.

    And then they began to rape her.


    She was too terrified to move. One man held a knife to her eyeball, one a gun to her chest. Another forced himself inside her. Then they switched places. All three men raped her.

    She began to bleed and was certain her baby was dying.

    She blacked out.

    When she awoke, the men had gone. Her husband blamed her for the assault, admonishing her for not running away.

    The family fled to Bangladesh. Two weeks later, K gave birth to her son.

    ___

    I WAS IN IMMENSE PAIN

    R was at home in late August with her husband and five of her six children when she heard a commotion outside. She saw houses going up in flames in her village.

    Her husband ran out, but she had the children to take care of.

    Five soldiers barged into the house.
    Her children screamed and ran outside.

    The men stripped off her clothes
    , took her necklace and kicked her in her back with their knees. Then one of the men began to rape her, while the other four held her down and hit her with their guns. When it was over, they took money and her husband’s clothes from the wardrobe.

    She fled to Bangladesh with her family the next day. She struggled to move with her injuries, and had to use a walking stick.

    “I was in immense pain,” she says, pausing to take a long breath at the memory. “It hurt so much to walk through the hills.”

    Four days later, she arrived in Bangladesh.

    ___

    ALLAH SAVED US

    A was at home praying with her four children in late August when about 50 soldiers surrounded her village and opened fire on the men.

    A began to shake; she had heard of soldiers raping women in other villages.

    Three men burst into her house and told her to get out. She refused. They beat her.

    Her children screamed. The soldiers slapped them, then threw them out of the house.

    Two of the soldiers hit her until she fell. One pressed his boot against her chest, pinning her down. They took off her jewelry and stripped off her clothes.

    Then all three raped her, punching and kicking her when she screamed. One pressed a knife to the back of her neck, making her bleed. She still bears a faint scar.

    After the attack, she bled so heavily she thought she was dying. A farmer told her that her husband had been shot to death, so her brother, mother and daughter helped her make the painful trek to Bangladesh.

    They wanted to wipe us out from the world,” she says of the military. “They tried very hard, but Allah saved us.”

    In the first few days after the attack, she cried all the time. Now she cries silently in her mind.

    ___

    THE BABY GIRL WAS DEAD

    M was at home feeding her son rice in late August when a bullet from the military blasted through the bamboo wall of her house and struck her teenage brother.

    Her husband and children ran out of the house. But M was 8 months pregnant, and did not want to leave her brother behind. For two days, she stayed by his side, until he died.

    Soon after, four soldiers charged into her house.

    They began slapping and punching her. Three soldiers dragged her outside the house, stripped her and beat her. When she screamed, they put a gun in her mouth.

    The first man began to rape her, while the other two held her down and punched and kicked her pregnant belly.

    After the second rape, she kicked them so ferociously, they finally left.

    M felt intense cramping in her belly. She gave birth that night at home. The baby girl was dead. M buried the infant in an unmarked grave by her house.

    Her husband returned, and they made the three-day walk through the hills to Bangladesh.

    “They humiliated us, they destroyed our land and farm, they took our cows, they took our produce,” she says. “How would I go back? They destroyed our livelihood.”

    ___

    WHEN WILL I HAVE PEACE?

    H was reciting the sunrise prayer at home in late August with her husband and six children when she heard a commotion outside.

    A dozen soldiers burst through her door and started beating her husband. They grabbed three of her children by their feet, carried them outside and bashed them against trees, killing them.

    Her husband screamed, and H ran out of the house. As she fled, she heard gunshots behind her. She never saw her husband again.

    She made it with her three other children to the nearby hills, where other women from her village were hiding. But soldiers descended upon the women and dragged them away to rape them.

    They ripped off H’s clothes, took her jewelry and tied her hands behind her back with her headscarf.

    One man held her head and hands back, while another held her legs. The third raped her. Then they switched. All three men raped her.

    Her crying children refused to leave her side during the assault. The soldiers slapped them, kicked them, tried to shove them away. They refused to budge.

    When the soldiers finished, her 8-year-old daughter tried to cover her naked body with her torn clothing.

    It took her and her children four days to reach Bangladesh.

    “I’ve lost my husband, I’ve lost my children, I’ve lost my country. When will God take me back to my country?” H says. “When will I have peace?”

    ___

    I BURN INSIDE FOR MY CHILDREN

    When seven soldiers stormed into the house in October, 2016, S’s husband fled. The soldiers began beating her parents.

    A soldier beat S with his gun, ripped two of her babies from her arms and dropped them on the floor. They tore the clothes off S, her mother and several other young women in the house, and took S’s earrings and money she had hidden in her clothes.

    Two soldiers took S to a field.
    They covered her mouth with their hands to stop her screams. They held her down and raped her.

    When it was over, she hid in the hills but eventually returned home.

    In August, S was at home with her family when the military began firing rocket launchers at houses, setting them ablaze. Her husband and two eldest children fled, but she stayed behind to pack up her baby girls and a few belongings. One baby was in a swing, the other sleeping on the floor.

    A rocket launcher hit the house. The babies went up in flames before her eyes.

    There was nothing she could do. So she ran. She hid with the rest of her family in the hills for several days before making the 3-day trek to Bangladesh.

    “I burn inside for my children, but what can I do?” she asks. “They burned to death. I guess that was my destiny.”

    ___

    SHE TOLD NO ONE

    The military surrounded N’s village one early morning in late August. Around 18 soldiers stormed her house, and dragged N outside with her sister-in-law and mother-in-law.

    The women were taken to the center of the village, where soldiers robbed them of their jewelry.

    Three men then took her to the hills and stripped her naked. Two men held down her hands while a third raped her. Then they switched positions. All three raped her.

    During the attack, they showed her their knives and beat her. She was too frightened to fight back.

    When it was over, they left her there. She returned home and told no one about the rape.

    She was in agony after the assault and bled for eight days.

    ___

    SHE SAW HER VILLAGE BURNING

    There was no warning before five soldiers suddenly stormed into 16-year-old S’s house one morning in early August.

    They searched the home for money and valuables. Then they slashed her husband’s neck, killing him. The men briefly left to ransack other neighboring houses, before returning.

    Two soldiers pulled her into a room, snatched her 3-month-old son from her arms and put him on the floor. They searched her clothes for valuables and took her earrings. Another three men came in and began to beat her with guns while the others stripped off her clothes.

    One soldier held down her hands, and another put his gun in her mouth. All five men raped her.

    When she struggled, they beat her. She could hear her baby crying and was terrified the men would kill him.

    When they were finished, they let her get dressed and then dragged her bleeding body outside to the center of the village. Soldiers were dragging other women they had assaulted out of surrounding houses. The men beat S and the other women again, then left them.

    S ran back to her house, grabbed her baby and ran. As she fled, she saw soldiers lining men and boys up and shooting them. When she made it to the hills, she looked down and saw her village burning.

    ___

    SHE NEVER SAW HER SON AGAIN

    The soldiers had been harassing T’s family for days: Showing up and stealing their food, urinating in their rice, hitting T and, once, stripping off her clothes.

    And then one morning in mid-August, five men dragged her husband out of the house, where they slashed his neck. They grabbed her 10-year-old son and dragged him outside; she never saw him again. Her 12-year-old daughter managed to flee.

    The soldiers took off T’s earrings and nose ring, then stripped off her clothes. When she screamed, they kicked her.

    Then they pinned her to the floor. Two men held her while the first man raped her. Then they switched. One man put a gun in her mouth to silence her screams.

    Afterward, she bled for two days. Months later, her back still hurts from the attack.

    When they finished, they ate the food in her kitchen and stole her chicken and duck. They also dragged away the body of her husband.

    She ran into the hills and found her daughter and father. They tried to find safety in neighboring villages, but the military kept showing up. With nowhere to go, they headed toward Bangladesh.

    ___

    ALL I HAVE LEFT ARE MY WORDS

    N’s husband was walking down a road in late August when several villagers saw soldiers grab him and drag him into the hills. Later that day, children in the hills came upon his head, along with several other corpses. Soldiers were milling around near the bodies.

    N stayed in her house with her 8-year-old daughter for the next few days, unable to stop crying. Then suddenly, around 80 soldiers descended on the village. Five soldiers came to her door and shouted: “Who’s inside?”

    N was terrified. The men barged in.

    One man held her as she screamed and fought. They covered her eyes with tape, and hit her head with a gun. Two held her in place while three others began rifling through her clothing. There was nothing for them to steal; she’d already hidden her valuables.

    They ripped her clothes off and beat her in the head with a gun until she blacked out. When she awoke, her vagina was swollen, bleeding and covered in sores. She had clearly been raped; by how many men, she does not know.

    She was in too much pain that day to leave the house. She and her daughter fled the next day for Bangladesh. She bled for eight days, and three months later still has trouble urinating.

    “I have nothing left,” she says, blinking back tears. “All I have left are my words.”

    ___

    SHE BLED FOR SIX DAYS

    N, 17, was at home with her parents and siblings
    in late August when she heard the crackle of gunfire. Suddenly, 10 men burst into the house. They began slashing open sacks of rice looking for valuables.

    Then the soldiers tied her hands with rope behind her back and put tape over her mouth.

    Five of the men held her frantic family back, hitting them with their guns. They ripped off her clothes, snatched her earrings and took the money she had hidden in her new blouse.

    When she tried to protest, they hit her with their guns.

    They threw her to the floor. Five men then took turns raping her, while the others helped hold her down.

    Her parents were forced to watch
    . When they screamed, the soldiers beat them. Eventually, they stood in silence as their daughter was assaulted.

    After the men left, N’s parents untied her and washed her. She bled for six days.

    The family left for Bangladesh the next day. N was in too much pain to walk, so her father carried her over the border.

    ___

    IT WAS JUST ALL PAIN

    Around 100 soldiers surrounded A’s village one afternoon in late August. A’s husband fled, leaving her alone in the house with their 2-year-old son.

    Two soldiers came into her house. One soldier threw her baby on the floor, then grabbed A by the neck. Both men slapped her and pointed their guns at her.

    They tore off her clothes.
    She wept and begged them to stop. One of the men took off her earrings. Then they shoved her to the ground, laughing at her.

    One soldier pressed his knife to her right hip and cut into her flesh. Both of them punched her in the face.

    The men then took turns raping her
    . She could hear her son crying. She prayed to Allah, terrified the men would kill her and her boy.

    “It was just all pain,” she says now.

    As the soldiers walked out, they fired their guns toward the sky.

    After the rape, she couldn’t eat for days and struggled to walk. She hid in the nearby hills with her son until she found her husband. Together, the family walked for 14 days until they finally crossed the border into Bangladesh.

    ___

    TEARING HER FLESH WITH THEIR TEETH

    M was at home with her husband, her sister-in-law and her sister-in-law’s brother in late August when security forces stormed their village. The husbands fled, leaving M alone in the house with her sister-in-law, who was in the shower.

    Three men kicked the door open.
    They tied M’s arms behind her back.

    They dragged her sister-in-law out of the shower. They bit her face and body, tearing her flesh with their teeth. All three men raped her, then stabbed her torso and her breasts with their knives, killing her.

    One of the men came over to M, stripped her clothes off and took her earrings.

    He unzipped his pants, pushed her down onto her back and then raped her. He choked her and punched her in the face and chest, and bit her eyebrow.

    She was terrified she would be killed like her sister-in-law. She screamed so loudly that her neighbors came running. The men then fled.

    She has no plans to return to Myanmar.

    “How can I go where there is all this pain and suffering?” she says.

    ___

    SHE DOES NOT KNOW HOW THEY DIED

    D was at home one evening in late August when she heard noise outside. Her two older sons and husband rushed out of the house, leaving her alone with her 3-year-old boy.

    Three men entered her home.
    She screamed and her son began to cry.

    They took her nose ring and earrings, then ripped off her clothes.

    One man restrained her arms and held a knife to her hip while the other two men raped
    her. She feared the men would kill her, so she stifled her screams.

    After two hours, the men finally left. When her husband returned, he found her naked. But she was too ashamed to tell him what had happened to her.

    She was so swollen and bled so much that she found it difficult to walk for nearly three weeks after the rape.

    They fled to another village. While there, people from her village told her that her home had been burned, and that they had seen the dead bodies of her eldest sons. She does not know how they died.

    D and her family arrived in Bangladesh in October.

    ___

    IT WAS NEVER-ENDING

    It was late August and K was around four months pregnant when soldiers swarmed her village.

    Four men smashed the door open
    , tied up her husband and began beating and kicking the couple’s children. They kicked K’s 3-year-old daughter in the head so hard that she died of her injuries three days later.

    They dragged K’s husband out of the house and took him to a police station.

    They snatched the money she had hidden in her blouse and took her earrings. Then they ripped off her clothes.

    They hit her face and kicked her back. They tied her up and began to rape her, one after the other. The men kicked her so viciously, she feared the baby inside her would die.

    “It was never-ending,” she says now.

    Just before the men left, they shoved a gun inside her vagina. The pain was excruciating.

    The next day, a village leader helped raise the money the soldiers demanded to release K’s husband from the police station.

    In November, K gave birth to a baby boy. He was two months’ premature, and his skinny arms are barely wider than an adult’s thumb. K is too malnourished to produce much milk for him, so he is subsisting on sugar water.

    ___

    SHE FEARED HER BABY WAS DYING

    S was pregnant and at home
    with her family in late August when 20 soldiers surrounded her village. All the men in the area fled, including her husband.

    Four soldiers burst into the house
    , grabbed her two crying toddlers and beat them. She tried to run, but they caught her and dragged her deeper inside the home to a bathing area.

    One man threatened her with a gun, another with a knife. They ripped her clothes off, and took her gold earrings and gold chain. They threw her to the floor.

    One man held her left arm, one held her right arm and one held down her legs, while the fourth man raped her. Then they switched. All four men raped her. When she screamed, they threatened to shoot and stab her.

    They kicked and punched her so hard, she feared the baby inside her was dying. Finally, they left.

    After the attack, she felt sharp pains in her belly and bled for a month. For two weeks, she thought the baby had died. Finally, she felt something moving inside her.

    Her husband never returned home. She does not know whether he is dead or alive.

    ___

    IF WE CAN LIVE PEACEFULLY

    It was mid-afternoon one day in late August when about 10 men in camouflage uniforms entered M’s house. Her three children began to scream and cry. Five men took her husband away, and four forced her out of the house and into the nearby hills.

    One of the men held a gun to her. They tore her clothes off and took her earrings. They bit her face and her body and hit her.

    They tied her mouth with her own headscarf. And then three of the men held her down while the other man raped her. The attack lasted for hours; all four of the men raped her.

    The men eventually released her and she stumbled back to her house. Her husband was not there.

    After resting for five days, she took her children and began the three-day journey to Bangladesh. She had to use a walking stick to move her battered body.

    Despite the horror she endured, she would consider returning to her homeland — if she is assured of her family’s safety.

    “If we can live peacefully side by side like we do here in Bangladesh, then I will go back,” she says.

    ___

    WE’VE HAD ENOUGH TORTURE

    F was at home in late August when she heard screaming outside. Her husband went to investigate and saw that about 300 soldiers and Buddhist villagers had surrounded the area. The men began burning houses and arresting people. Soldiers separated the men from the women.

    About eight soldiers and villagers grabbed F’s husband and tied his hands behind his back. They tore off her and her mother’s jewelry. Then they took the women outside and set fire to F’s house.

    Around 100 men took F, her mother and about 20 other women to another village. The soldiers beat them with guns, kicking and slapping them.

    Once they reached the next village, the women were forced to lie down on the ground next to each other. The men tied their wrists together with rope and began to rape them.

    Ten men raped F, beat her with their guns, kicked her and slapped her. She could hear her mother crying and calling “Allah” as she, too, was raped.

    It was dark when the men finally left. F managed to wriggle her wrists free of the rope and ran into a field. In the morning, she returned to search for her mother, but she had vanished. She saw at least five women lying dead on the ground, their throats cut.

    She has no idea what has become of her husband. And she cannot imagine returning to her homeland.

    “We’ve had enough torture,” she says.

    ___

    SHE DOES NOT KNOW IF HER HUSBAND IS ALIVE

    S was lying in bed with her husband and son after dinner in late August when around 10 soldiers burst into the house. A few took her husband outside. Five stayed behind, and one pointed his gun at her.

    She tried to run, but they grabbed her and kicked her back, stomach and chest. They stripped off her clothes and took her necklace and earrings. Three men raped her.

    Her young son began to cry. A soldier pointed his gun at the child and he screamed louder.

    S was in agony. After the men were finished, they took her outside, naked. Her son followed them. About two dozen other women, also naked, had been dragged outside as well.

    The soldiers forced the women to march toward a rice paddy, beating and kicking them as they walked. S felt blood running down her legs. Once they arrived, the men ordered them to lie down. S fought back and soldiers kicked her. She fell to the ground.

    Three more soldiers began to rape her.


    When at last the assault was over, S fled back toward her house with her son, only to find her home had been burned along with many others. She does not know if her husband is alive.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world...c76_story.html

    comments:

    You won't hear feminists and especially "Muslim" Feminists say anything about these women or campaign for them, but they're busy with false rape accusations of men and campaigning against Muslim men in their fictional 'marital rape'. It's because feminism is not about helping women, but using them for exploitation


    Rohingya Children Forced To Watch Their Mothers Being Gang-Raped By Myanmar Soldiers

    By Skye Wheeler - 11/27/17

    We knew there had been sexual violence in some of the massacres carried out against the Muslim Rohingya in Myanmar, but we didn't know how widespread it was. So my job was to find out.

    What I discovered was that rape was one of the ways the Burmese military conducted their ethnic cleansing operations, terrifying the Rohingya and making them feel worthless.

    Rape is obviously incredibly traumatizing. It's a violation of someone's most private sacred space and basic sense of selfhood. But it also affects women's memories, and their sense of being safe at home. If this is destroyed, it's much harder for them to be able to ever return home. So it's an effective method of ethnic cleansing.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Rape is not a new tactic for the Burmese army: We documented it during another brutal campaign against the Rohingya that forced tens of thousands to flee last year. 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.

    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.

    Violence against the Rohingya in Rakhine state has resulted in more than 600,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh.

    It is really hard for everyone, not just those who had been raped. The sun is burning and it's incredibly hot, there's this pungent smell of excrement and rubbish. The camp 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.

    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. How could this happen?

    https://www.newsweek.co.uk/rohingya-...oldiers-534745

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    Rohingya Mother's tears for toddler burnt alive

    Snatched from his mother's arms, a three-year-old boy is burnt alive.

    This is not a warped horror film plot but the lived reality of a Rohingya mother called Mina, 20, who escaped military atrocities in Myanmar (Burma) to Bangladesh.

    She's one of the 620,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled what the United Nations have dubbed "ethnic cleansing" since late August.

    "He was burnt to ashes to paper, his skin turned black,"
    Mina, which is not her real name, told Save the Children.

    "When we screamed, they dragged us parents away across the ground."


    Mina, her husband and her other son aged two undertook a treacherous three-day journey through mountains to reach the relative safety of an overcrowded refugee camp across the border.

    The death of her son haunts her by day and night.

    "I dream of my baby burning and wake up screaming,"
    she said.

    But she must find the strength to keep going, she's expecting another child in coming months.

    The UN's Human Rights Council is holding a special meeting on the crisis on Tuesday.

    Save the Children country director Mark Pierce is urging the council to oppose plans for Rohingya refugees to be returned to Bangladesh in a matter of weeks.

    "We only risk re-traumatising people who've seen unimaginable horrors and risk leaving the most vulnerable, including pregnant mothers and children, at the mercy of the very people who raped, murdered and brutalised them," Mr Pierce said.

    Amnesty International called for Australia to show leadership on the Rohingya crisis and lobby the council to send a strong message to the Myanmar government.

    "Australia under Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was once one of the world's most outspoken critics of South Africa's then apartheid regime," spokeswoman Diana Sayed said.

    "But there is an apartheid regime in operation right now on our doorstep against the Rohingya, which Australia has done very little about."

    Meanwhile, another expectant mother, Bitani, 25, told Save the Children of walking in mud up to her waist to escape her village.

    She claimed military personnel had raped some women immediately after they had given birth.

    The Australian government has launched a fundraising appeal with aid groups, pledging to match public donations up to a total of $5 million.

    https://www.sbs.com.au/news/mother-s...er-burnt-alive

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    The Rohingya tragedy shows human solidarity is a lie


    Nobody argues any more about what is happening in Myanmar. The United Nations, international human rights organisations and world capitals all agree that the war being waged on the Rohingya Muslims is a clear example of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

    According to international reports, the number of people who have fled Myanmar military operations in Rakhine state have reached approximately 600,000 refugees by October.

    The crisis continues to get worse, fanned on one hand, by the Myanmar government's intolerance and insistence on continuing their racist exclusionary policies, and on the other hand, by the fact that the world's interest in what is happening in Myanmar is just not deep enough.
    Human solidarity

    The most dangerous thing the Rohingya tragedy has uncovered is that the idea of "human solidarity" may be nothing more than a big lie.

    Those who call and fight for freedoms and human rights regardless of race or religion or colour or ideology - and I am one of those - are facing a huge conundrum. Why is this happening? Why is this human holocaust, happening right before our eyes, not being stopped? Are there unknown conditions that must be met in order to show human solidarity and offer the support needed to end a particular people's suffering?

    These are questions whose answers, I fear, will be terrifying. Is human solidarity something afforded only to the strong and rich who have political or economic power in the international arena?

    Many are starting to understand that human solidarity does not extend to Muslims. Regardless of how accurate that opinion is, it is an indicator of the doubts that have taken root in the minds of some, and that is not a good thing.

    And this is not the only loss that has come out of the Rohingya tragedy. The regime in Myanmar, which is perpetrating horrific violations every day, can still find allies who defend what it is doing. The Myanmar regime's responsibility for the extermination of the Rohingya is clear and its statements denying what is happening are mendacious.

    Sacrificing her past as a fighter for rights and freedom in order to embrace tyranny, Aung San Suu Kyi - leader of the Myanmar government and Nobel Peace Prize laureate - serves as a prime example of the damage that can befall someone we thought would keep her principles no matter what.

    It is truly tragic that Aung San Suu Kyi is defying reality and denying with confidence the violence and ethnic cleansing, to an extent that Amnesty International has classified her affirmations as "a mix of untruths and victim blaming". Aung San Suu Kyi could have fought and won a victory for human rights or for her own conscience at the very least. But she preferred to fight for her "nation" and its military vision built on exclusion, marginalisation and rejection of diversity. What a tragic end for a woman who so many counted on.
    The 'terrorism' excuse

    The Rohingya tragedy has confirmed what we've said about the use of "terrorism" by dictatorships as a useful excuse to realise political goals and destroy opposition or political opponents.

    The world has seen how entire villages are destroyed and their inhabitants killed or displaced, all atrocities committed in the name of the "war on terror"; who can accept these justifications? I would think no one.

    The truth is that using "terrorism" as an excuse to suppress opponents and to enable tyrannical political leadership to strengthen its bases is an old ruse that everyone can see through. The UN and international community have to be brave and prevent the use of "terrorism" in this way.

    Authoritarian regimes must be deprived of the opportunity to use a just cause such as fighting "terrorism" for their own ends. Not only that, but there must also be a real accounting of those who have perpetrated human rights violations for any reason.
    Fighting racism

    There are numerous calls to end the military operations against the Rohingya today. This can be seen as a positive development, and although it comes very late - better late than never.

    In spite of that fact, the regime in Myanmar likely will not respond to these calls unless there is a unified international stance against the crimes against humanity that are being perpetrated there. The military in Myanmar are still the ones who call the shots, and they don't see anything wrong with denying the Rohingya their rights.

    The Rohingya tragedy has shown how a UN member state can have an internal policy built on racial and religious discrimination without any international consequences. Therefore pressure must be increased on the regime in Myanmar if we are to see real course correction.

    It is time to take a firm stance on Myanmar. We should not pacify a state promoting apartheid policies. It is time to stop a human tragedy that has persisted for decades.

    A few days ago, Bangladesh and Myanmar reached an agreement that allows the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, who were subjected to a campaign of persecution and forcible displacement by the Myanmar army only two months ago. But this agreement, even if implemented, is not enough to go on as if nothing happened.

    It is true that the repatriation of the Muslim-majority Rohingya is very important to put an end to this tragedy, but what guarantees will the Myanmar government provide for not repeating its ethnic cleansing campaign?

    Nevertheless, this agreement should be a prelude to the end of abhorrent discrimination against the Rohingya who should be given political and civil rights as citizens of Myanmar.

    The Rohingya have lived for a long time without knowing the true meaning of humanity and justice. Would it not be wonderful if they could find some of that now? We must work to realise that with all our strength, not just for them, but for all of us.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/op...134536371.html

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    Myanmar government 'bulldozing Rohingya mass grave to hide evidence'

    Rights group says site of massacre in Rakhine state is being flattened on government orders after exposés of two other mass graves






    The government of Myanmar is bulldozing over the site of a Rohingya mass grave in an effort to destroy evidence of a massacre committed last year by the military, according to a rights monitoring group.


    The claim follows investigations conducted by the Associated Press and Reutersnews agencies, which revealed evidence of other mass graves.


    The Arakan Project, which uses on-the-ground networks to document abuses against the Rohingya community in western Rakhine state, Myanmar, provided the Guardian with a video of the grave site before its destruction. The footage shows half-buried tarpaulin bags in a forest clearing, with a decaying leg visibly protruding from one of the bags.


    Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, said the bulldozing appears to be part of an effort to hide evidence of the grave permanently following the exposés that appeared in the press.


    “Two of the mass graves sites we know about have appeared in the media, but on Thursday one of the other mass grave sites was bulldozed. This means that evidence of the killings is being destroyed,” she said.

    “Private companies are doing the bulldozing. They come from central Myanmar, not Rakhine,” she said. “It’s clear this is happening under the orders of government.”


    The reported site of the mass grave, in Maung Nu, Buthidaung township, in northern Rakhine state, was the location of a massacre that rights groups report took place in August last year. Human Rights Watch said survivors had told them the army had “beaten, sexually assaulted, stabbed, and shot villagers who had gathered for safety in a residential compound” in the village.

    Dozens were said to have been killed. Satellite imagery obtained by Human Rights Watch showed that Maung Nu had been razed in the aftermath.


    The Rohingya are a largely stateless Muslim minority primarily located in Rakhine. Rights organisations say they have suffered decades of systematic persecution and three ethnic cleansingcampaigns since 2012, a charge the government denies. The group are not recognised by the government as a native minority of Myanmar and are often referred to as “Bengalis” in official discourse, a term implying that they are foreigners.


    Thousands of Rohingya are estimated to have been killed during a military crackdown which began in August 2017, following an attack on security outposts by an insurgent group known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa). Nearly 700,000 Rohingya fled to nearby Bangladesh during the violence.


    Last week, Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, said the crisis had the “hallmarks of genocide”.



    The government of Myanmar has denied claims that the military conducted ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya. An army investigation into its own conduct during the 2017 crackdown exonerated itself of any blame. However, in a surprise move last month, the military admitted that Rohingya found in a mass grave at the village of Inn Din had been killed by its soldiers.


    A UN fact-finding mission has been denied access to Myanmar while the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights has been barred from entering the country.



    “We’ve heard about the allegations of the destruction at Maung Nu and we’re concerned that this could be part of broader efforts to conceal the atrocities committed by Burmese security forces,” Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Asia director, told the Guardian.


    Other parts of Rakhine state appear to have been bulldozed, according to an AFP report last week, which contained aerial photography showing former Rohingya villages completely flattened. The bulldozing appeared to target villages that had been razed during the military crackdown last year, the report said.


    “The bulldozers are destroying not just parts of some villages that were burned but also parts where houses were abandoned but still intact,” Lewa observed.


    When asked about the reported bulldozing of Rohingya villages, government spokesman Zaw Htay objected to use of the word Rohingya, saying: “No Rohingya – Bengali, please.”


    He followed this by saying, “Local government is clearing that area. No villagers there. No housing. Only plain land.”


    “We have to construct new villages there,” he said, for the “resettlement” of returning Rohingya.


    When asked about reports of the destruction of the mass grave, he said: “I want to know what evidence you are talking about? Was it Arsa terrorist group? Bengali people around the world?


    “Please give me the reliable, concrete, strong primary evidence, please – not based on the talking story of Bengali people around the world, Bengali lobbyists,” he added.

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-d...ampaign=buffer

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    Myanmar Feels Like A Big Cage for Rohingyas, Says Maung Zarni

    Maung Zarni is a Myanmarese academic exiled in the UK who is an activist, commentator and expert on Myanmar. He is currently a scholar with the Documentation Centre of Cambodia at the Sleuk Rith Institute. In an exclusive interview with the Dhaka Tribune, he talks about the Rohingya repatriation to Myanmar which, he says, from the Myanmar army’s perspective is a tactical retreat in the face of heavy artillery of international condemnations, criticisms and reimposition of sanctions, and it might take around 10-20 years to complete.

    OVER 688,000 Rohingya entered Bangladesh between August 25, 2017 and February 11, 2018, after Myanmar security forces launched a brutal crackdown against the mainly Muslim minority – following militant attacks on border outposts and an army base by insurgents.

    As agreed between Bangladesh and Myanmar on November 23, the Rohingya repatriation process was supposed to start on January 23. However, it was delayed, and on Friday (February 16), Bangladesh handed over its first list of 1,673 Rohingya families (8,032 individuals) to Myanmar to start the first phase of repatriation to their homeland.

    Do you think the Rohingya repatriation ever will take place?


    Yes, the repatriation will take place because both Dhaka and Naypyidaw wants it. Dhaka wants it to take place because the pressure of 688,000 (in addition to the pre-existing Rohingya refugees from the previous waves since 1991) needs to be relieved and wants to set the new process of reducing the number of Rohingyas from its soil. Myanmar wants repatriation because it wants to show the world that its intention is not genocide or ethnic cleansing, and it has this mistaken belief that taking back the Rohingyas who survived the Myanmar troops’ mass-slaughter will make it difficult for the world to press charges of ethnic cleansing or genocide. As the former Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson, the veteran US envoy and diplomat, said it openly: “Repatriation is a big whitewash,” of Myanmar’s international state crimes against Rohingya. From the Myanmar military’s perspective repatriation is a tactical retreat in the face of heavy artillery of international condemnations, criticisms and reimposition of sanctions.

    How long do you think it might take?


    Well, there are estimated one million Rohingyas who fit the textbook example of refugees – although Dhaka chose to invent its own term “displaced people of Myanmar,” even under the most conducive circumstances it will take 10-20 years, especially at the rate Myanmar side wants to receive.

    Do you think the Rohingya people’s return will be “safe, voluntary and dignified”?


    Absolutely not. I actually avoid that international mantra coming from INGOs, UN agencies and governments following Kofi Annan’s phraseology. How can the return ever be “safe, voluntary and dignified” for a million people whose physical, cultural, economic, social and intellectual existence, as a minority community has been completely and intentionally destroyed from its very foundations? Myanmar military burned nearly 350 villages systematically in a region stretching 100 kilometres within several months. Myanmar’s Commander in Chief Min Aung Hlaing viewed – and officially told the nation of anti-Rohingya racists – that the army is engaged in completing the “unfinished business” from the WWII. I will say the “finished business” is charred villages where any physical traces of Rohingyas are being bulldozed. Those thousands of Rohingya who still remain inside Myanmar today just told the Canadian Special Envoy to Myanmar, Bob Rae, last week that they feel like they are “in a big cage” where they have absolutely no freedom of movements for accessing food, medicine, jobs, etc. I want to ask those politicians and officials who spit out this mind-numbing delusional phrase, why they are knowingly pussyfooting around Myanmar’s blatant violations of the Genocide Convention – an inter-state treaty, and focusing on sending the Rohingya survivors back to what really is a vast complex of past and future concentration camps inside Myanmar.

    What role can the UNHCR play?


    UNHCR is primarily mandated to protect Rohingyas. Its leadership has been doing a good job, telling the Security Council – and the world at large – the unpalatable truth being that the conditions inside Myanmar are absolutely non-conducive to any form of return of Rohingyas. It should continue to discharge its main mission of protecting and promoting the well-being of the one million Rohingyas on Bangladeshi soil. It should persuade Dhaka to accept Rohingyas as legally defined refugees and genocide survivors – not simply “forcibly displaced persons from Myanmar.”

    How much power does the military still have over the state and how much power does the government have to address this crisis?


    The military has all the power to end the persecution of Rohingya. But the military will not cease the genocide because it has since late 1960’s institutionalized the eradication of Rohingyas from the group’s very foundations on the false, racist and paranoid ground that they are Bangladesh’s “proxy” Muslim population inside the strategic Western region. Suu Kyi’s civilian leadership shares these paranoid and anti-Muslim racist policies as well. The difference between the Myanmar generals and Suu Kyi government, particularly Suu Kyi herself, is not in kind, but in degree. This is the racist woman who cannot bring herself to respect the right of Rohingya to self-identify as Rohingya or cannot embrace the truth that Rohingyas are a part of Myanmarese society at large, despite her Oxford education and decades of life in liberal western societies. It’s no longer about whether if Suu Kyi had more power would she have been able to end it. The fact is whatever limited power the civilian government has it uses it to deny, dismiss and cover up the military’s crimes against humanity and genocide against Rohingyas. Remember, Suu Kyi has consistently praised the ethnic cleansing and Myanmar army for “doing a good job.”

    How effective do you think are the recommendations made by the Advisory Commission?


    Absolutely zero effect, despite the loud chorus of support from UN and government quarters for its recommendations. To start with, the military did not welcome Kofi Annan’s involvement from day one at all. It attempted to derail, block or otherwise mitigate the commission’s influence on policy and public opinion. As a matter of fact, it was Myanmar military that was determined to kill the final report upon delivery in August 2017: Annan’s recommendations stand in the way of the military’s attempt to complete its “unfinished business.” One has to be absolutely delusional and stupid not to see how this report plays right into the hands of the Myanmar generals. The military strategists simply honey-trapped the young, primitively armed angry Rohingya militants to attack a few military and police outposts as they wanted the pretext to launch the large scale genocidal campaign of terror within a few days of Kofi Annan’s report.

    My reading of the turn of events since August 26, 2017 stands in sharp contrast with the mainstreamed but patently false view that ARSA triggered these military operations by Myanmar that led to the displacement of 688,000 Rohingyas, burning of nearly 350 villages. ARSA is no Hamas in terms of its capacity or strength. Not even Israel has inflicted this level of genocidal destruction of its target. Myanmar is worse than Israel.

    Lt General Kyaw Swe, the home affairs minister, who was in Dhaka on an official visit mentioned that Myanmar was keen to implement a few Annan Commission recommendations. It is a complete act of deception. When the military failed to derail Kofi Annan commission’s work, it attempted to use Annan as its outermost shield internationally. The ex-major and Myanmar spokesperson Zaw Htay said this openly.

    What should be done to ensure the security and basic rights of the Rohingya people?


    In the short run, the world needs to monitor the Rohingya’s plight very closely. Four types of large Rohingya populations exist today: 307,500 pre-existing Rohingya refugees and 688,000 new arrivals in Bangladesh; nearly half a million inside Myanmar among whom 120,000 are in IDP camps where they are languishing in inhuman conditions; then there are Rohingyas in vast open prisons in areas that are not yet attacked or destroyed by Myanmar military and its Rakhine local militia and vigilantes. Dhaka needs massive infusion of humanitarian assistance both in cash and in kind so that no public health epidemics break out in these large refugee areas of Cox’s Bazaar and Chittagong. 100,000 Rohingyas who are apprised as the most vulnerable as soon as the monsoon season begins, need urgent assistance with relocation, and material support.

    In the long run, the only viable safeguard for Rohingyas against Myanmar’s evidently genocidal national policies is to help establish North Arakan sub-region – which has been predominantly Rohingya since Myanmar’s independence – and historically, as UN-protected self-administered Rohingya home. Of course, Myanmar will resist any attempt to help put Rohingyas back on their own ancestral soil. But no genocides ever end without the intervention of some sort from outside power. The Security Council will never authorize intervention although it is tasked with the principal duty of promoting peace and protecting world’s population. Just remember how Bangladesh was liberated from the nasty genocidal attacks by West Pakistan in 1971. Bangladesh had 12 million Bengali or East Pakistani refugees back then. Now you are a nation with a vibrant economy.

    Rohingya people deserve and need a piece of earth they can call home, where they can be Rohingya, where they go to school, access medical services, have proper villages, tend to their farms and look after their families – without having to fear being locked in this cycle of large scale terror and violence, forced repatriation, living in “big cages” inside Myanmar – until the next waves of killing and destruction comes.

    http://caravandaily.com/portal/myanm...s-maung-zarni/

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    Sri Lanka: Police inaction as Muslim shops torched by Buddhists Terrorists

    Authorities set curfew to combat new wave of violence directed at the country's Muslim minority.


    video: https://5pillarsuk.com/2018/03/09/vi...andy-district/

    Sri Lanka imposed a curfew in a central town popular with tourists after days of unrest between religious communities with a Buddhist man killed and Muslim businesses set ablaze.

    Police said on Monday there had been riots and arson attacks since the weekend in Kandy district, while sources told Al Jazeera the violence was spreading throughout the South Asian island nation.

    "The curfew was imposed to control the situation in the area," said police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera.

    Police officers were placed on heightened alert in Kandy to ensure the "situation does not spiral into inter-communal conflagration", the government said in a statement.

    Mobs set fire to Muslim-owned businesses and attacked a mosque in the east of the country.

    Local officials said more than two dozen suspects had been detained by police in connection with the spate of arson attacks, while senior officers also launched an investigation into the conduct of the police.

    Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, executive director of the Centre for Human Rights Sri Lanka, condemned the "unfathomable police inefficiency" that he said led to the violence.

    "Social media pages rallied Sinhalese mobs to assemble in Teldeniya town at 10am. At 11am, there was a proclivity for violent confrontations to take place as mobs gathered. The destruction of Muslim properties started taking place from around 1pm," Tennakoon told Al Jazeera.

    Kandy is the latest region to be plagued by religious and ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, a nation of 21 million people.

    Najah Mohamed, secretary of the National Front for Good Governance party in Sri Lanka, told Al Jazeera attacks are spreading all over the country, not just in Kandy.

    "We are facing the same situation that we had experienced with the previous government with tension, hate, and violence against Muslims are rampant especially where they are a dispersed community,” said Mohamed.

    Religious and ethnic violence can turn deadly in Sri Lanka, where Muslims account for 10 percent of the population and Buddhists Sinhalese make up nearly 75 percent.

    Some observers blame the hardline Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) group for the ongoing violence.

    "The violent BBS mobs manipulated the situation to fuel attacks against Muslims in an unprecedented way and started attacking people. In the afternoon the police and curfew were here, but there are still rising underreported incidents taking place,” Mohamed said.

    Religious violence is not new to the island. An anti-Muslim campaign was launched following the deadly Aluthgama riots in June 2014.

    President Maithripala Siresena had vowed to investigate anti-Muslim crimes after assuming power in 2015, but no significant progress has been reported.

    Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe are yet to make an official statement on the recent unrest.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/...165900594.html

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    State medics refuse treating Muslim assaulted by Sri Lanka elite police unit


    Details are emerging of Sri Lanka security forces and public officials collaborating with ultra nationalist Sinhala Buddhist mobs in a riot against Muslims.

    Doctors on duty in a government hospital denied treatment to injuries from a severe beating by members of the island's elite police combat unit, alleges a Muslim official from the central hills.


    A Sinhala doctor at the Theldeniya hospital had turned down the request to treat bleeding head wounds received at the hands of the Special Task Force (STF), Abdul Saleel Mohamed Fazil told JDS by phone.


    'Muslim terrorist'


    The doctor had repeatedly referred to the wounded man as 'Thambi', a derogatory Sinhala term widely used against Muslims, while other medical officers looked on.


    "The doctor accused me of being a 'Thambi' terrorist," said the 43 year local councillor who says that the STF tried to frame him and two others for racial hatred when Muslims were under attack by Sinhala extremist mobs on 5 March.


    "I was with my friend Faizal, when the STF broke into the house. The women and children started screaming as they were terrified. We were dragged down the steps by the STF members, thrust plastic bags filled with petrol on us and bound our hands and feet. They beat us with wooden poles, forcing to admit that we were plotting to attack Sinhala shops."


    Nightmares


    Mohamed Masood Faizal (40) and a student of Madawala Medina Central College were also mercilessly beaten up alongside Councillor Fazil by more than a dozen of STF personnel.

    Mohamad Fazil received head injuries and the police had to take him to the hospital.


    “The doctors accused me of a Muslim terrorist who is destroying the country and asked the police officer to go and dump me in a cell.”


    Released on bail by court the next day and admitted to the Kandy district hospital, Fazil’s head wound had to be sutured.


    They had not been given an opportunity by Theldeniya District Judge MH Fariqdeen to explain the circumstances surrounding their presence in court.


    "Since the day of that incident, my kids wake up every night screaming" said Masood Faizal.


    "They ask whether the armed troops would come and beat us again. Now I am scared for my family's safety" he added.


    "Lost faith on security forces"


    Five days after anti Muslim riots hit the central hills, Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake visiting the area announced that thousands of troops have been deployed in the Kandy district as the "police were unable to bring the situation under control".



    However, addressing a top level meeting in Kandy the minister of Muslim affairs detailed incidents where the military was also assisting rioters.

    "Muslims have lost faith on the security forces," said a visibly frustrated Minister Abdul Haleem, who hails from the area.


    "They know who attacked them. But, they are afraid to complain. All this happened when the military, police and STF looked on."


    He went on to describe an attack where the STF chased away Muslims who gathered to safeguard a mosque and allowed a Sinhala mob to "finish their job within an hour".


    Abdul Latif, an elderly Muslim from Endarutenna, Katugastota broke down in front of the meeting when he went on to describe how telephone calls to three military commanders for help was ignored.


    "None of them even bothered to answer the phones. We have nothing left now. The mobs have destroyed everything" he said.


    Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visiting the riot torn area thanked the security forces for "bringing the situation under control".


    He placed the number of damaged places of worship, buildings and vehicles at 465.


    In a public appeal for relief, officials of the Masjidul al Akbar Jumma mosque in Rajawella, Digana say that over 4000 families in many Muslim neighbourhoods have been affected by the violence.


    http://www.jdslanka.org/index.php/ne...te-police-unit

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    Sri Lanka: Police inaction as Muslim shops torched by Buddhists

    Authorities set curfew to combat new wave of violence directed at the country's Muslim minority.


    by Tasnim Nazeer - 5 Mar 2018

    video: https://www.facebook.com/ajplusengli...6636127811226/

    Sri Lanka imposed a curfew in a central town popular with tourists after days of unrest between religious communities with a Buddhist man killed and Muslim businesses set ablaze.

    Police said on Monday there had been riots and arson attacks since the weekend in Kandy district, while sources told Al Jazeera the violence was spreading throughout the South Asian island nation.

    "The curfew was imposed to control the situation in the area," said police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera.

    Police officers were placed on heightened alert in Kandy to ensure the "situation does not spiral into inter-communal conflagration", the government said in a statement.

    Mobs set fire to Muslim-owned businesses and attacked a mosque in the east of the country.

    Local officials said
    more than two dozen suspects had been detained by police in connection with the spate of arson attacks, while senior officers also launched an investigation into the conduct of the police.

    Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, executive director of the Centre for Human Rights Sri Lanka, condemned the
    "unfathomable police inefficiency" that he said led to the violence.

    "
    Social media pages rallied Sinhalese mobs to assemble in Teldeniya town at 10am. At 11am, there was a proclivity for violent confrontations to take place as mobs gathered. The destruction of Muslim properties started taking place from around 1pm," Tennakoon told Al Jazeera.

    Kandy is the latest region to be plagued by religious and ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, a nation of 21 million people.

    For 30 years #SriLanka you witnessed your streets run red with the blood of your children. Have you forgotten the loss? The fear? The pain? The suffering? Have you learned nothing? When will you see reason? When will you act? #StandAgainstRacism #OneNationOnePeople #lka pic.twitter.com/hJefq0d14G

    — Aman Ashraff (@amanashraff) March 5, 2018

    Najah Mohamed, secretary of the National Front for Good Governance party in Sri Lanka, told Al Jazeera
    attacks are spreading all over the country, not just in Kandy.

    "We are facing the same situation that we had experienced with the previous government with tension,
    hate, and violence against Muslims are rampant especially where they are a dispersed community,” said Mohamed.

    Religious and ethnic violence can turn deadly in Sri Lanka, where Muslims account for 10 percent of the population and Buddhists Sinhalese make up nearly 75 percent.

    Some observers blame the hardline Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) group for the ongoing violence.

    "The
    violent BBS mobs manipulated the situation to fuel attacks against Muslims in an unprecedented way and started attacking people. In the afternoon the police and curfew were here, but there are still rising underreported incidents taking place,” Mohamed said.

    Religious violence is not new to the island. An anti-Muslim campaign was launched following the deadly Aluthgama riots in June 2014.

    It would be great to see a statement from @PresRajapaksa callling for an end to attacks on #SriLanka Muslims and prosecutions of all who take part in religious violence & targeting of Muslim businesses. Silence is destructive.

    — Alan Keenan (@akeenan23) March 5, 2018


    President Maithripala Siresena had vowed to investigate anti-Muslim crimes after assuming power in 2015, but no significant progress has been reported.

    Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe are yet to make an official statement on the recent unrest.



 

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