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  1. #61
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    Mass Sexual Violence Leaves Rohingya Women Traumatized and Stateless

    The United Nations has documented shocking accounts of sexual violence, including gang rape, against Rohingya women and girls at the hands of Myanmar’s military. News Deeply spoke with a U.N. investigator about what she found when she talked to survivors.

    6.8.17


    Mass sexual violence against the Rohinyga minority in northern Myanmar has been documented in a recent United Nations report.

    The spate of violence, which includes gang rape and involves survivors as young as 11 years old, was found to have been perpetrated by Myanmar’s security forces,


    On October 9, 2016, the Burmese military entered northern Rakhine state – and over the next four months detained and killed men, women and children. Soldiers burned down houses and raped women and young girls. The U.N. report says these actions amount to possible crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.


    The military insists this “clearance operation” was a justified counterinsurgency operation following an October 9 attack on security forces near the Bangladesh border, which resulted in the deaths of nine policemen. The violence caused more than 69,000 Rohingya to flee from Myanmar to Bangladesh, where they are currently living in eight makeshift camps in Dhaka and Cox Bazar.


    Myanmar’s Rohinyga population lives in villages in northern Rakhine state, near the Bangladesh border. They are known as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Their Muslim faith is viewed as a security threat by Buddhist groups in Myanmar, which means they receive limited access to basic services such as education. They are also prohibited from claiming citizenship and moving freely throughout the country.


    The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) sent a four-person team, including human rights officer Ilona Alexander, to Bangladesh in early January of this year to investigate these human rights violations. Their investigation included testimony from 101 Rohingya women who experienced violence at the hands of the military: More than half reported being sexually assaulted.


    Women & Girls spoke to Ilona Alexander about the evidence she gathered on the sexual violence inflicted on Rohingya women and girls.


    Women & Girls: The military indicated that it was conducting “area clearance operations” in the region – what exactly does this mean?

    Ilona Alexander: Based on the interviews we conducted, the “area clearance operations” followed this pattern: Large numbers of armed men (often from both the Myanmar Armed Forces and the police, sometimes accompanied by Rakhine villagers) would arrive in the village. As is confirmed by satellite imagery analysis, they would proceed to destroy many houses, mosques, schools and shops.


    They would separate the women from the men. Women would be rounded up, and either told to stay inside a school or other building or outside in the burning sun. Many would be raped or would experience others forms of sexual violence, often during strip searches, either during roundups or in homes.


    Women & Girls: How did the victims describe the attacks?

    Alexander: The vast majority of those interviewed had experienced multiple violations. Families may have had members killed, beaten, raped or taken away to an unknown location, while at the same time their homes were burned and looted. For most interviewees, separation from their families is a major concern.


    Many of the men have been detained or killed. This is one of the saddest things, because these women have experienced tremendous sexual violence – but sometimes they broke down even more when they talked about their missing husbands.


    For me, the touching thing was hearing stories from the little boys who feel that now that their fathers are gone, they are responsible for protecting their mothers and sisters. But these boys have had to watch their sisters and mothers being beaten and raped, and now they feel like they have failed to protect their mothers.


    Women & Girls: Your investigations found that one girl as young as 11 years old was gang raped by military forces. Can you describe this case?

    Alexander: For this girl, she started by describing to me how life was peaceful in her village before … suddenly the military appeared and started killing people [and] abusing women.


    She told me how she witnessed a man who was about 40 years old have his throat cut with a cleaver in front of her. After, the military came to her house and badly beat her parents.


    After this incident, her father went into hiding from the military and took her two older sisters with him so that they would be safe. He left the girl at home with her mother and two little brothers because he thought the military wouldn’t hurt children.


    The military came back to their house twice. The first time, the military came and removed her clothing and kicked her. After the clothing was removed and the girl was beaten, the military suddenly left. The next day they returned with seven soldiers and removed the mother from the house. The soldiers locked themselves in a room with the girl and gang raped her. The girl told me that she doesn’t even know how many of them raped her because she fell unconscious at times and awoke bleeding and injured after.

    Women & Girls: Why were some of the women you spoke to targeted for gang rape, while others weren’t?

    Alexander: They wanted to terrorize the population, so they took some women into public places like mosques and gang raped them while other women were outside and listening. They wanted the women outside to know what was happening so they were terrorized.


    They would have around eight women and 20 men from the military in the mosque, and the men would take a turn with each woman.


    I had this one 15-year-old girl tell me that she was only raped by one solider because she was not as beautiful as the girls who were gang raped. When she told me this I thought, “My God, what kind of culture is this where women think they aren’t beautiful enough to be gang raped?”

    https://www.newsdeeply.com/womenandg...-and-stateless

  2. #62
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    Myanmar Muslims face charges for holding Ramadan prayers

    Police charge three men who prayed in street after school where they used to worship was shut down by nationalists

    2 June 2017


    Authorities in Myanmar have charged three Muslim men for holding Ramadan prayers in the street after the local school where they used to worship was shut down by a nationalist mob.

    Police brought the charges after about 50 Muslims gathered to pray on Wednesday on a road in Yangon's Thaketa township, the site of one of a growing number of raids by Buddhist hardliners on Islamic events.

    Two nearby Islamic schools were closed in late April after ultra-nationalists complained that local Muslims were illegally using them to conduct prayers.

    Authorities have said the closure is temporary, but have given no timeline for when they may be reopened.

    "We feel sorry. This month is important for us," said the local Muslim leader Zaw Min Latt, referring to the holy month of Ramadan, which began last week.

    "We used those schools for prayer for decades. These restrictions have been brought in after more than 60 years."

    Local authorities issued a statement saying the prayer session threatened "stability and the rule of law" in the mainly Muslim neighbourhood in the east of Myanmar's commercial capital.

    A police officer who asked not to be named confirmed the charges.

    Two officers tried to stop AFP journalists from filming when they visited one of the madrasas on Friday.

    "It's our mosque as well as our school. We don't know when it will be reopened," Khin Soe, a local resident in his 50s, said as he set off to pray in another part of town.

    The case comes as Myanmar’s government has been seeking to clamp down on hate speech after a spike in anti-Muslim actions by hardliners from the country’s Buddhist majority.

    Religious tensions have soared since a group of Rohingya Muslims [allegedly] attacked police posts in Rakhine state in October, sparking a bloody military crackdown that has drawn widespread international condemnation.

    Last week Myanmar’s top Buddhist authority officially banned the Ma Ba Tha, an ultra-nationalist movement affiliated with the firebrand cleric Wirathu, which responded by simply changing its name.

    The move came after nationalists this month clashed with Muslims in another Muslim neighbourhood in Yangon, after pushing police to raid a house there in search of illegal Rohingya Muslim hideouts.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...amadan-prayers

  3. #63
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    Burma: 80,000 Muslim Rohingya children starving after military violence, warns UN agency

    7/18/17

    No children that were assessed in 45 villages met the 'minimum adequate diet'

    Hundreds of thousands of children in Burma are starving and are in need of treatment for acute malnutrition over the next year, a United Nations agency has warned.


    The World Food Programme‘s report was compiled after assessing 45 villages in western Rakhine state, where around 75,000 Muslim Rohingya people have fled military oppression and violence.

    Around 80,500 children under the age of five are malnourished.

    In an area where income is scarce and food prices are going up, the figures are bleak.

    No child in the assessment met the minimum adequate diet. Only 14 per cent of women had any dietary diversity and 225,000 people need humanitarian assistance.

    One third of homes in Maungdaw, one of the areas most impacted by violence, are suffering from extreme food deprivation, such as not eating for 24 hours or having no food in the house.

    “It is estimated that 80,500 children under the age of five are expected to be in need of treatment for acute malnutrition over the next twelve months,” the WFP report said.

    Many men have left their homes due to combat and security issues, and single-women households were found to be the most vulnerable.

    The report noted that people were “wasting”, which meant they were losing weight very fast and their immune system was being eroded as a result.

    “The survey has confirmed a worsening of the food security situation in already highly vulnerable areas following the security incidents and ensuing violence in late 2016,” the report read.

    With almost half of local markets not fully operating or closing down, food prices have become “highly volatile”, and dried fish, the main supply of proteins for local people, was “scarce”.

    People suffering from malnutrition will become increasingly dependent on humanitarian aid, the report said, as the upcoming rainy season and continued restriction to refugees' movement could exacerbate the fragile food situation.

    Last October Rohingya militant attacks on border police prompted violence from the army, with government forces using helicopters to attack villages.

    Burma’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was widely criticised for the military retaliation.

    More than a dozen fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureates – she was awarded the prize in 1991 – wrote an open letter to the UN security council warning of a tragedy “amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” in Rakhine state.

    Authorities have denied reports of abuse. They have forbidden a UN investigation of allegations of murder, gang rape and torture by the government against Rohingya Muslims, who are classed as "non-citizens".

    "The government should act urgently to address the devastation it has wrought," wrote Richard Weir, a fellow at the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch.

    "And it should allow humanitarian access to all those at risk in Burma, ensuring that the rights and welfare of all Burma’s people – including the Rohingya – are upheld."

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...=facebook-post

  4. #64
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    Myanmar pursues ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims: Analyst


    A fresh wave of deadly violence rocks Myanmar’s Rakhine State only hours after a UN-led commission urged the Myanmarese government to stop the use of excessive force against the Rohingya Muslim community. Press TV has asked Catherine Shakdam, director of the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies from London, and Gearoid O Colmain, author and journalist from Cork, Ireland, to give their thoughts on the agony of Muslims in Myanmar.



    Catherine Shakdam said on Friday night the government in Naypyidaw is persecuting the Muslim minority to “cleanse the country of them” and form a Buddhist-only state.


    Shakdam described the situation in Myanmar as “disturbing,” saying the “government is insisting on conflating the idea of religion with a sense of sovereignty and nationality or right to nationality.”


    The Rohingya Muslims, a community of more than a million people, have been denied citizenship and access to basic rights as the Buddhist-majority country views them as intruders from neighboring Bangladesh.


    “There is a real genocide going on against the Rohingya, there has been going for decades,” which is not something new, Shakdam said.


    The comments came on the same day that nearly 80 Rohingya Muslims were killed in clashes with Myanmarese forces in Rakhine State.


    The violence erupted Friday after an armed group attacked an army base in the troubled state, where Rohingya Muslims are mainly based. A dozen Myanmarese soldiers were also killed in the violence.


    Just earlier in the day, a panel, led by former UN chief Kofi Annan, had urged Myanmar to lift restrictions on movement and citizenship for persecuted Rohingya Muslims.


    The commentator further said, “Myanmar has a lot of work to do in understanding that nationalism and religion do not need to be conflated, and that belonging to a certain faith does not automatically equate to nationality.”


    Meanwhile, Colmain, the other contributor on the show, pointed to the long-term clashes between the Muslim community and the Buddhists in Myanmar, saying, “The agenda here is to destabilize the country.”


    Colmain said that the Muslims and the Buddhists have attacked each other, but the Western media are “biased” in disseminating reports about what is going on in Myanmar.


    The commentator further accused the Muslim community in Myanmar of having links to al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorist organizations.


    He insisted that countries are entitled to define their national identity according to their own culture and traditions.


    The journalist also criticized the human rights organizations for what he believes are their attempts to “destabilize” Myanmar.

    http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/0...gya-Muslims-UN

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    Up to 3,000 Muslims killed in Myanmar in 3 days, European Rohingya Council says

    Between 2,000 and 3,000 Muslims were killed in Myanmar's Rakhine state in last three days, the European Rohingya Council said Monday.

    Council spokeswoman Anita Schug told Anadolu Agency between 2,000-to-3,000 Muslims had died in Rakhine state, and thousands other had been injured in what she described as a "slow-burning genocide".

    "It [the situation in Rakhine] is an ongoing slow-burning genocide," Schug said, accusing Myanmar's military of being behind the deaths.

    She said almost a thousand Muslims were killed on Sunday in Saugpara village, Rathedaung alone.

    More than a 100,000 civilians have been displaced in Rakhine, while another 2,000 Muslims are trapped on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border which was closed by the Bangladeshi government, Schug added.

    She also said a hundred villagers from Auk Nan Yar were taken to an unknown location on Wednesday, adding there were concerns for their safety.

    Deadly attacks on border posts in western Myanmar's Rakhine state broke out on Friday, resulting in mass civilian casualties.

    Later, media reports emerged saying Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force and displaced thousands of Rohingya villagers, destroying homes with mortars and machine guns.

    The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

    A security clampdown launched in October last year in Maungdaw, where Rohingya form the majority, led to a U.N. report on human rights violations by security forces that indicated crimes against humanity.

    The U.N. documented mass gang rape, killings, including that of babies and children, brutal beatings and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said approximately 400 people were slain during the operation.

    The Rohingya are the world's largest stateless community and of one of its most persecuted minorities.

    Using a dialect similar to that spoken in Chittagong in southeast Bangladesh, the Sunni Muslims are loathed by many in majority-Buddhist Myanmar who see them as illegal immigrants and call them "Bengali" -- even though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.

    They are not officially recognized as an ethnic group, partly due to a 1982 law stipulating that minorities must prove they lived in Myanmar prior to 1823 -- before the first Anglo-Burmese war -- to obtain nationality.

    Most live in the impoverished western state of Rakhine but are denied citizenship and harassed by restrictions on movement and work.

    Another 400,000 live in Bangladeshi camps, although Dhaka only recognizes a small portion as refugees

    https://www.dailysabah.com/asia/2017...uncil-says/amp

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    Myanmar - The World’s Most Silent Genocide


    It is the world’s most silent genocide. So silent, in fact, that even in the unlikely event you have heard about it, it’s more than likely you know only its foggiest details.

    Under the UN Geneva Convention, the definition of genocide describes both a mental and physical element: “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such,” and includes killing members of the group; Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

    In every sense of the definition, the government of Myanmar is carrying out genocide against its 1.3 million Rohingya Muslim population – one that is being ignored, in the most part, by the international community, despite acknowledgement by the United Nations that mass killings, disappearances, torture, gang rapes, brutal beatings, property dispossession, and forced deportations are occurring in increasing frequency and ferocity.

    The UN’s 2017 report into Myanmar’s savage “crackdown” on the country’s northern Rakhine state described the violence as likely “crimes against humanity,” and that “the gravity and scale of these allegations begs the robust reaction of the international community,” but the international community, particularly Western leaders and media continues to ignore Myanmar’s systematic extermination of Rohingya Muslims.

    “The devastating cruelty to which these Rohingya children have been subjected is unbearable – what kind of hatred could make a man stab a baby crying out for his mother's milk. And for the mother to witness this murder while she is being gang-raped by the very security forces who should be protecting her,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

    The cruelty inflicted upon these people by the state obligated to protect their security is on a par with the level of depraved barbarism carried out by the self-proclaimed Islamic State, but whereas the terrorist group’s psychopathic violence attracts global headlines, the cruelty mete out by Myanmar’s security forces goes largely unknown.

    Cruelty that includes the slaughter of babies and young children with knives; deliberate destruction of food supplies, and the burning and looting of entire villages. Of 101 Rohingya Muslim women interviewed by the UN, more than half said they had been raped or sexually assaulted.

    Sattar Islam Nirob is a 28-year-old Rohingya Muslim refugee in one of the three refugee camps set up inside the Bangladesh border. He and his family have taken refuge in Kutapalong refugee camps, which now holds 13,766 Rohingya Muslim refugees alongside another more than 65,000 held in a neighboring “make shift camp,” Nirob told me.

    Nirob said that fresh assaults carried out by Myanmar’s security forces are pushing a rapidly increasing number of Rohingya Muslims towards the Bangladeshi border. Yesterday he estimated there to be more than 3000 waiting, more like pleading, for refugee status, while he estimated a further 1,200 had been arrested by Bangladeshi border patrol officers for trying to cross without a permit.

    Yesterday, Bangladeshi security forces forcibly sent back 90 Rohingya Muslims trying to flee Myanmar, and then began firing mortars and machine guns at them, according to Al Jazeera.

    But even when the “fortunate” few of the likely hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Rohingya Muslims make it safely into neighboring Bangladesh, the refugee camps that await them can only be described as horrific.

    He described to me conditions inside Kutapalong camp; breaking down in tears as he recounted witnessing babies starving and dehydrating to death due to a lack of water and emergency milk supplies. Others have described pathways “paved with sewage,” and a “claustrophobic crush of mud huts and tents packed so tightly together that they looked like they were built on top of each other.” This has been Nirob’s home for the past two years. Too afraid to return to Myanmar in the knowledge he’d face certain death, torture, or imprisonment.

    When I asked Nirob if he felt his situation was hopeless, he said he had not abandoned hope in the international community, saying, “If the US government and United Nations can work together to pressure the Myanmar government, it will greatly improve the situation for all Rohingya refugees.”

    Despite Nirob’s continued optimism in the face of such indescribable adversary, efforts to pressure Myanmar’s de facto leader, San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, have fallen short. Not only has she blocked the UN from investigating Myanmar’s human rights violations, but also she maligned Rohingya Muslims as “terrorists” and/or supporters of terrorism.

    Clearly, the international community must do more to halt Myanmar’s systematic extermination and expulsion of Rohingya Muslims. To do nothing is to provide the Muslim world of yet another clear example of the West’s refusal to intervene when Muslim lives are endangered.

    https://ahtribune.com/human-rights/1...-genocide.html

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    Thousands of Rohingya stranded on Bangladesh border as Myanmar fighting rages

    At least 6,000 Rohingya civilians fleeing renewed violence in Myanmar are stranded near the border with Bangladesh which is blocking their entry, a senior Bangladeshi official said Tuesday (Aug 29), as the United Nations urged Dhaka to assist them.

    COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh: At least 6,000 Rohingya civilians fleeing renewed violence in Myanmar are stranded near the border with Bangladesh which is blocking their entry, a senior Bangladeshi official said on Tuesday (Aug 29), as the United Nations urged Dhaka to let them in.

    Bangladesh has barred thousands of members of the stateless Muslim minority from entering the country since Friday, when fresh fighting broke out between Myanmar's security forces and Rohingya militants in neighbouring Rakhine state leaving at least 110 people dead.

    The UN refugee agency has said some 5,200 people have managed to cross into Bangladesh in the past three days.

    But the majority have been stopped at the border despite heavy fighting in nearby villages, even coming under fire on Saturday as they huddled along the "zero line" which marks the northernmost part of the border.

    "Around 6,000 Myanmar nationals have gathered on the border and are trying to enter Bangladesh," a senior Border Guard Bangladesh official told AFP, referring to the Rohingya.

    The official said the situation across the border, which is demarcated in parts by narrow stretches of the Naf River, was "still volatile".

    "Last night we heard heavy gunfire by automatic weapons in phases and saw smoke billowing from burnt villages across the border," he said.

    Another border guard official estimated the number of Rohingya in limbo could exceed 10,000, as many were believed to be hiding in hills and forests to escape nearby violence.

    But border guards have been ordered not to let them cross. "How can I deny shelter to (a) newborn who is dying from cold?" said the border guard, who asked to remain anonymous.

    With around 400,000 Rohingya already living in squalid camps in Bangladesh, the government has instructed its border guards to prevent another influx at all costs.

    'VERY GRAVE RISK'

    The UN rights chief said decades of "systematic" abuses against the Rohingya, who are reviled in Myanmar with most refused citizenship, were largely to blame for the spiralling violence and insisted authorities could have prevented the bloodshed.

    Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a statement the "deplorable" violence "was predicted and could have been prevented".

    "Decades of persistent and systematic human rights violations ... have almost certainly contributed to the nurturing of violent extremism, with everyone ultimately losing," Zeid said.

    In a separate statement the UN's refugee agency said barring entry to the fleeing Rohingya posed a "very grave risk" to their lives, reinforcing a message from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who called on Bangladesh to step up assistance to escaping civilians, in particular the wounded.

    Instead nearly 500 Rohingya have been detained and returned trying to cross the border since Monday, according to Shariful Islam Jamaddar, a deputy border guard commander.

    Border guards have been driving Rohingya who have managed to cross into Bangladesh back across the border several times a day, an AFP correspondent said.

    Some Rohingya have made it just inside Bangladeshi territory, momentarily safe from violence but unable to move onwards to shelter.

    Mohammad Ismail had taken shelter from the rain under a plastic sheet erected by border guards, but the shelter has since been torn down.

    "The border guards let us take shelter here but I don't know now what I will do with my son," he told AFP, gesturing to the shivering boy.

    Amid the turbulence and monsoon downpours, an 11-year-old Rohingya girl named Marium was separated from her parents.

    "I went to the toilet when the (border) guards drove away my parents. Where shall I find them now?" the young girl told AFP in tears.

    On Monday Bangladeshi authorities proposed joint military operations with Myanmar against Rohingya militants fighting in Rakhine, hoping to stem the flow of displaced.

    The militants say they are fighting to protect the persecuted roughly one million-strong Rohingya and accuse the state and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists of trying to force them from Myanmar.

    The Rohingya are not recognised as an ethnic group, which would be protected by law, but are instead branded 'Bengalis' - code for illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

    Their ability to move, work and receive basic services is tightly controlled.

    Speaking to ambassadors in Yangon, Myanmar's Home Affairs Minister Kyaw Swe, repeated the official line: "There are no Rohingya."

    The recent attacks by militants are because "Bengali people ... tried to occupy lands" in Rakhine.

    Last week a commission headed by former UN chief Kofi Annan called for Myanmar to find a pathway to citizenship for the Rohingya and ease suffocating controls, or risk inflaming religious hatreds.

    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/...yanmar-9167460

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

    Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar violence face sickness, expulsion

    Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh from fighting in Myanmar face the growing danger of sickness and attempts by the Bangladesh authorities to send them home despite a U.N. appeal that they be allowed to stay.

    A series of coordinated attacks by Rohingya insurgents on Myanmar security forces on Friday, in the north of Myanmar's Rakhine State, has triggered a crackdown by Myanmar forces that has sent a stream of Rohingya villagers fleeing to Bangladesh.

    It also sparked a mass evacuation of thousands of Buddhist residents of the area.

    At least 109 people have been killed in the clashes in Myanmar.

    Bangladesh, which is already host to more than 400,000 Rohingya who have fled persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar since the early 1990s, has said it will not accept any more.

    Bangladesh's border guards are trying to block the Rohingyas from crossing in, and aim to round up and send back those who do.

    Border guard officials told Reuters they had sent back about 550 Rohingya since Monday, via the Naf river that separates the two countries, despite an appeal by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for Dhaka to allow Rohingya to seek safety.

    An estimated 5,000 Rohingya have been able to cross into Bangladesh over the past few days, most slipping in at night over the land border near the Bangladeshi village of Gumdhum.

    Many are sick and at least six have died after crossing in, an aid worker said, adding that fear of being caught and sent back meant some refused to seek help.

    "What we're seeing is that many Rohingya people are sick," said the worker with an international agency in Bangladesh who declined to be identified or have his agency identified.

    "This is because they got stuck in the border before they could enter. It's mostly women and children."

    "We're making all out efforts but a rapid response is needed," the aid worker said. "Some are refraining from getting treatment to avoid arrest."

    Thousands of Rohingya are stranded in the no man's land between the two countries, trying to get into Bangladesh, aid workers and fellow Rohingya say.

    The treatment of about 1.1 million Muslim Rohingya in Myanmar has become the biggest challenge for national leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been accused by Western critics of not speaking out on behalf of the long-persecuted minority.

    Myanmar said late on Monday that a total of 45 insurgent bombs went off on Sunday and Monday. It also blamed the insurgents for torching seven villages, one outpost, and two parts of Maungdaw town.

    Attackers ambushed security forces with small arms and machetes on Monday, and one policeman and one civilian were wounded, the government said in a statement.

    Satellite imagery analysed by New York-based Human Rights Watch showed widespread burnings in at least 10 areas in northern Rakhine State since the Aug. 25 militant raids, the group said in a statement.

    "This new satellite data should cause concern and prompt action by donors and UN agencies to urge the Burmese government to reveal the extent of ongoing destruction in Rakhine State," said Phil Robertson, the group's deputy Asia director.

    "Shuffling all the blame on insurgents doesn't spare the Burmese government from its international obligations to stop abuses and investigate alleged violations."

    https://www.dailysabah.com/asia/2017...ness-expulsion

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

    Turkey condemns Myanmar violence against Rohingya Muslims

    President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday called on the international community to act against the recent atrocities perpetrated against the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar as the number of people killed in the last three days reached thousands.

    Speaking on state-run broadcaster TRT Haber news channel, Erdoğan said Turkey would raise the issue at international organizations: "This [violence in Myanmar] will be on our agenda at the General Assembly of the United Nations [on Sep. 19]."

    Turkish foreign ministry also released a statement, condemning the "disproportionate use of force" by Myanmar security forces that led to the death of hundreds and displaced thousands of Rohingya Muslims.

    "Turkey's concerns were conveyed to the Myanmar authorities as we emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety of civilians during the operations and the humanitarian aid to be delivered to the region without any interruption," the statement read.

    During a joint news conference with Maldivian counterpart Mohamed Asim in Ankara Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also strongly condemned the violence against the Muslim minority in Myanmar.

    Çavuşoğlu said that Rohingya people were systematically being repressed, and the cruelty against them cannot go on as it is, adding that Turkey was already in contacts with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the U.N. to address the issue.

    "56 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation should not stay silent, we must come together and find a solution," Çavuşoğlu said.

    Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Government Spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ said that Turkey condemns Myanmar's massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.

    He said the problems in the state will not be solved through violence, and asked the United Nations and the U.N. Security Council to assume its responsibility to stop the bloodshed in Rakhine state.

    The European Rohingya Council spokeswoman Anita Schug said on Monday that between 2,000-to-3,000 Muslims had died in Rakhine state, and thousands other had been injured in what she described as a "slow-burning genocide".

    She said almost a thousand Muslims were killed on Sunday in Saugpara village, Rathedaung alone.

    More than a 100,000 civilians have been displaced in Rakhine, while another 2,000 Muslims are trapped on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border which was closed by the Bangladeshi government, Schug added.

    Deadly attacks on border posts in western Myanmar's Rakhine state broke out on Friday, resulting in mass civilian casualties.

    Later, media reports emerged saying Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force and displaced thousands of Rohingya villagers, destroying homes with mortars and machine guns.

    The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

    A security clampdown launched in October last year in Maungdaw, where Rohingya form the majority, led to a UN report on human rights violations by security forces that indicated crimes against humanity.

    The U.N. documented mass gang rape, killings, including that of babies and children, brutal beatings and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said approximately 400 people were slain during the operation.

    https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy...hingya-muslims

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    Bangladesh offers help to Myanmar government to fight “Rohingya insurgents”

    The Bangladeshi government has offered its assistance in a proposed joint anti-terrorism operation with Myanmar to counter the “Rohingya insurgency”.

    Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry issued the proposal on Monday after meeting Myanmar’s acting ambassador in Dhaka, Aung Myint.

    A ministry official who wanted to remain anonymous told the Bangla Tribune that it was a completely new proposal.

    He said: “We have shown our interest to help Myanmar get rid of its security concerns.”

    This was the second time the Myanmarese ambassador was summoned to the ministry in two days.

    In an official letter to the ambassador, the Bangladeshi government has proposed a joint operation along its border with Myanmar.

    The operation will entail intelligence sharing and security cooperation between the border security forces of both countries.

    The Myanmarese army have been carrying out horrific atrocities on Rohingya Muslims in the country’s Rakhine State over the last week.

    However, the Myanmar government stated that they were merely responding to violence carried out by Rohingya insurgents and “Bengali terrorists”.

    With regards to the usage of the term “Bengali terrorists”, the Foreign Ministry official said: “We have expressed our grave concern about the term and asked the ambassador to tell the higher authorities of his government not to use it again.”

    The Bangladeshi government had proposed another joint operation to Myanmar last August but it failed to materialise due to a lack to elaboration on remits and resources.

    The Border Guard Police and Border Guard Bangladesh met in April this year to discuss this issue but nothing conclusive was agreed.

    http://5pillarsuk.com/2017/08/29/ban...ya-insurgents/

    Comments:

    In order words, the atheist Bengli government helps the war criminals fight against the freedom fighters trying to stop the genocide of their people.

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

    Nearly 20,000 Rohingya flee to Bangladesh from Myanmar

    Refugee flow gathers pace amid renewed fighting as the international community expresses concern for civilian safety.

    At least 18,500 Rohingya Muslims, many sick and some with bullet wounds, have fled into Bangladesh over the past six days amid renewed fighting in western Myanmar.

    The figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Wednesday came amid increasing concerns by the international community.

    Foreign governments and organisations fear Rohingya villages are being subject to collective punishment after an armed group on August 5 attacked police posts and an army base in Rakhine state.

    The attacks - in which at least 110 were killed - were claimed by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), a group which was formed by Rohingya living in Saudi Arabia after a bout of serious communal violence in 2012, according to the International Crisis Group.

    In the days following the attacks, the Myanmar army has burned down areas of Rakhine state and fired on civilians, according to rights groups and witnesses.

    Scores have reportedly been killed. Al Jazeera has been unable to verify the death tolls.



    While Rohingya Muslims have largely fled to Bangladesh, Rakhine Buddhists have mostly sought sanctuary in towns and monasteries to the south and east of the fighting.

    "As of last night, 18,500 people have come across" from Myanmar's Rakhine state, Chris Lom, the IOM's Asia-Pacific spokesman, told the AFP news agency.

    Lom said exact figures were difficult to obtain because many of those who have made it into Bangladesh might not register with local authorities.

    "We also know there are people stuck at the border but we do not know how many," Lom said.

    Bangladesh, which already hosts some 400,000 Rohingya who have fled Myanmar over the years, has vowed to block new arrivals and has deported some of those it has caught trying to make the crossing.

    "They are in a very, very desperate condition," said Sanjukta Sahany, who runs the IOM office in the southern town of Cox's Bazar near the border.

    "The biggest needs are food, health services and they need shelter. They need at least some cover, some roofs over their heads."

    Sahany said many crossed "with bullet injuries and burn injuries," and that aid workers reported that some refugees "gave a blank look" when questioned.

    "People are traumatised, which is quite visible."

    The UN, while condemning the attacks by ARSA, has pressured Myanmar to protect civilian lives without discrimination and appealed to Bangladesh to admit those fleeing the military counteroffensive.

    Northern Rakhine has been under lockdown since October last year when a previously unknown group of Rohingya fighters ambushed a series of border posts inside Myanmar.

    That prompted a massive military response, leading to some 87,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh, bringing with them harrowing tales of murder, rape and burned villages.
    Fires burning

    The UN believes the Myanmar government's response to the crisis may amount to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

    Satellite data recently accessed by Human Rights Watch show widespread fires burning in at least 10 areas in Rakhine.

    Myanmar authorities say Rohingya "extremist terrorists" have been setting the fires during fighting with government troops, while Rohingya have blamed soldiers who have been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/0...080101646.html



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    Burma: Satellite Images Show Massive Fire Destruction

    700 Buildings Destroyed in Single Muslim Village in Rakhine State




    New satellite imagery shows several hundred buildings burned in Burma’s Rakhine State, Human Rights Watch said today. Imagery from the Rohingya Muslim village of Chein Khar Li in Rathedaung township shows 700 buildings burned, a near total destruction of the village.


    The Burmese government should urgently grant access to independent monitors to determine the sources of fires and assess allegations of serious human rights violations made by ethnic Rohingya refugees who have fled into neighboring Bangladesh.


    “This new satellite imagery shows the total destruction of a Muslim village, and prompts serious concerns that the level of devastation in northern Rakhine State may be far worse than originally thought,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director. “Yet this is only one of 17 sites that we’ve located where burnings have taken place. Independent monitors are needed on the ground to urgently uncover what’s going on.”


    Human Rights Watch identified a total of 700 destroyed buildings in Chein Khar Li from an analysis of satellite imagery recorded on August 31, 2017. The imagery shows that 99 percent of the village was destroyed. Damage signatures are consistent with fire, including the presence of large burn scars and destroyed tree cover.


    This imagery builds on previously published data collected by Human Rights Watch indicating burnings taking place at 17 separate sites across northern Rakhine state between August 25 and 30, 2017. Those burnings followed a series of coordinated attacks by ethnic Rohingya militants of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on the morning of August 25, 2017 against dozens of Burmese government police stations and checkpoints, government offices, and an army base.


    Satellites initially detected active fires in the early afternoon of August 25 in the village tract of Koe Tan Kauk in Rathedaung township, where Chein Khar Li is located. There are two adjacent villages located north and south of Chein Khar Li (Muslim village) that appeared intact in the satellite imagery—Koe Tan Kaung and Chein Khar Li (an ethnic Rakhine-populated village with the same formal name as the destroyed village).


    Human Rights Watch analysis indicates that the large areas shown as burnt in the satellite imagery means it is very likely the burning was deliberate. Given the current monsoon weather conditions in Rakhine State, it would have been very difficult to set fire to such a significant number of buildings. The scale of the fire destruction suggests that burnings either were done with significant numbers of people or over a significant period of time to carry out this widespread degree of burning.


    The Burmese government has blamed the setting of fires on ARSA militants and Rohingya villagers who the government claims set fire to their own homes. The government has not provided any evidence to support these allegations, nor did they ever prove similar allegations made by the government during the burning of Rohingya areas between October 2016 and December 2016. Human Rights Watch and others determined that Burmese security forces deliberately set those fires.

    Numerous Rohingya refugees who had recently fled from various other villages in northern Rakhine State to Bangladesh told Human Rights Watch that Burmese soldiers and police had burned down their homes and carried out armed attacks on villagers. Many of these Rohingya refugees suffered from recent bullet and shrapnel wounds.
    The Burmese government should immediately grant visas to the three commissioners of the Fact Finding Mission appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council.


    “These new satellite images show exactly why it is critical for international investigators to be allowed on the ground in Rakhine State,” Robertson said. “The UN Fact Finding Mission should get the full cooperation of the Burmese government to fulfill their mandate to assess human rights abuses in Rakhine State and explore ways to end attacks and ensure accountability.”

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/09/02/...ampaign=buffer

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    Rohingya exodus continues after 73,000 flee Myanmar

    Aid officials say camps are facing 'tremendous strain' as thousands of Rohingya pour into Bangladesh every day.

    Nearly 75,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled violence in Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh, with aid officials warning relief camps are reaching full capacity as thousands continue to pour in every day.

    Vivian Tan, the regional spokeswoman for UNHCR, told Al Jazeera on Sunday that at least 73,000 Rohingya crossed the border since violence erupted on August 25, with thousands more expected.

    "Most of the people coming in are completely exhausted, some of them say they haven't eaten in days and some are completely traumatised by their experiences," she said.

    "One woman arrived on her own after following a band of refugees across the border. When she met with the UN, she said her husband had been shot and her 18-month-old baby had been left with her in-laws.

    "She has since lost contact with her family and is struggling to process what is happening," Tan added.

    In recent days, tens of thousands of Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh to escape mass killings they say are being perpetrated by Myanmar forces.

    Foreign governments and organisations fear Rohingya villages are being subject to collective punishment after an armed group on August 25 attacked police posts and an army base in the western region of Rakhine.

    Myanmar officials blame the group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) for the violence, but fleeing Rohingya civilians say a campaign of arson and killings by the Myanmar army is aimed at forcing them out of the country.

    "We fled to Bangladesh to save our lives," said a man who paid a smuggler hundreds of dollars to flee the fighting.

    "The military and extremist Rakhine [ARSA] are burning us, killing us, setting our village on fire," he told the AP news agency.

    He said he paid 12,000 Bangladeshi taka, or about $150, for each of his family members to be smuggled on a wooden boat to Bangladesh after soldiers killed 110 Rohingya in their village of Kunnapara, near the coastal town of Maungdaw.

    "The military destroyed everything. After killing some Rohingya, the military burned their houses and shops," he said. "We have a baby who is eight days only, and an old woman who is 105."

    Aid workers told the AP news agency that a large number of refugees required immediate medical attention as they were suffering from respiratory diseases, infection and malnutrition.

    The existing medical facilities in the border area were insufficient to cope up with the influx and more aid and paramedics were needed, they said.

    Another aid official said on Saturday that more than 50 refugees had arrived with bullet injuries and were moved to hospitals in Cox's Bazar, on the border with Myanmar.

    Refugees reaching the Bangladeshi fishing village of Shah Porir Dwip described bombs exploding near their homes and Rohingya being burned alive.

    The United Nations believes the Myanmar government's response to the crisis may amount to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

    Satellite imagery analysed by Human Rights Watch shows hundreds of buildings destroyed in at least 17 sites across Rakhine state, including some 700 structures that appeared to have been burned down in just the village of Chein Khar Li.

    Myanmar authorities say Rohingya "extremist terrorists" have been setting the fires during fighting with government troops, while Rohingya have blamed soldiers who have been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/0...082612403.html

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    Israel Keeps Arming Myanmar's Military Massacring Rohingya Muslims

    Myanmar's military has indiscriminately killed hundreds of Rohingya Muslims since last October. However, Israel's defense ministry couldn't care less.



    Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are among the world's most persecuted ethnic groups. They are also among the world's most neglected persecuted ethnic groups.


    In the latest bout of violence, the United Nations estimates around 120,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar over the past two weeks as Myanmar's military allegedly burned down their entire villages, committed mass rapes, burned people alive and beheaded their children.


    To make matters worse, the Burmese government blocked U.N. aid agencies from delivering food, water and medicine to the Rohingyas.


    There is increasing criticism from across the globe of Myanmar and its de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who, despite being a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has remained criminally silent over the treatment of the ethnic group.
    One country, however, has continued to tighten defense ties with Myanmar, in spite of the alleged genocidal campaign against the Rohingyas.

    Haaretz reports Israel is "refusing to halt weapons sales to the regime in Myanmar."


    The newspaper noted in 2015, Myanmar purchased Super Dvora patrol boats from Israel. Later, in August 2016, TAR Ideal Concepts, an Israeli defense-contracting firm, posted photos on its website of training with Israeli-made CornerShot rifles, while mentioning they were being used in Myanmar.


    In January, Israeli human rights activists, led by Jerusalem-based human rights lawyer Eitay Mack, petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court, demanding it force the Ministry of Defense to stop providing weapons to Myanmar — but to no avail.
    Mack later told The Irrawaddy magazine that the Israeli defense ministry responded to the petition, saying it would continue exporting military equipment to Myanmar as they were "approved by the foreign ministry and stood within international law."


    While Israel's support of Myanmar's military might be immoral, it isn't surprising. Israel itself has been accused of committing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, using military aid provided by the United States.

    http://www.carbonated.tv/news/israel...uslim-genocide


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

    Burma: 400 killed amid 'massacre' of Rohingya Muslims, army says

    Latest violence follows an attack by Rohingya insurgents on police posts in the remote Rakhine region


    Almost 400 people have died in clashes between security forces and Rohingya Muslims in Burma, the country's military commander has said.

    The numbers, posted on the military's official Facebook page, are a sharp increase on the previously reported toll of just over 100. The statement said all but 29 of the 399 dead were insurgents, whom it described as terrorists.

    The statement said there had been 90 armed clashes including an initial 30 attacks by insurgents on 25 August, making the combat more extensive than previously announced.

    Advocates for the Rohingya, an oppressed Muslim minority in overwhelmingly Buddhist Burma, say hundreds of Rohingya civilians have been killed by security forces.

    According to the UN, some 38,000 have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh.

    It comes after Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project pressure group, told ABC: "So far reports—I think quite credible—mention about 130 people including women and children killed.

    "That happened on Sunday when suddenly security forces cordoned [off] the whole area, together with Rakhine villagers. It seems like this has been a major massacre in Rathedaung."

    The latest violence follows an attack by Rohingya insurgents on police posts in the remote region, prompting a huge military crackdown.

    The insurgent group that claimed responsibility for last week's attacks, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, said it acted to protect Rohingya communities.

    Burma's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi has said the "terrorist" attacks were "a calculated attempt to undermine the efforts of those seeking to build peace and harmony in Rakhine state".

    The Burmese government has repeatedly denied claims the Rohingya are facing genocide. It previously brushed away evidence of human rights violations as fake news and "propaganda".

    Bangladeshi border guards have tried to keep out the fleeing Rohingya, but thousands could be seen on Friday making their way across muddy rice fields.

    Young people helped carry the elderly, some on makeshift stretchers, and children carried newborns.

    Some, carrying bundles of clothes, cooking utensils and small solar panels, said they had walked at least three days to get to the border.

    Sham Shu Hoque, 34, crossed the border with 17 family members. He said he left his village of Ngan Chaung on 25 August after it was attacked by Burmese security forces who shot at the villagers. He said troops also used rocket-propelled grenades, and helicopters fired some sort of incendiary device.

    Five people were killed in front of his house, he said. His family survived the attack but was told by the soldiers to leave. They took a week to reach Bangladesh, hiding in villages along the way, he said.

    Most of Burma's estimated 1 million Rohingya live in northern Rakhine state. They face severe persecution, with the government refusing to recognize them as a legitimate native ethnic minority, leaving them without citizenship and basic rights.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-a7924411.html

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

    Gang rape, torture and murder. Rohingya Muslims are being “ethnically cleansed” by Myanmar's army.


    https://www.facebook.com/iKhabr/vide...7109618072045/

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    Myanmar laying landmines on Bangladesh border: reports

    Minister denies reports of laying landmines whose purpose may be to prevent return of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence.

    Myanmar has been laying landmines across a section of its border with Bangladesh for the past three days, according to reports citing two government sources in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.

    The sources say the purpose may be to prevent the return of Rohingya Muslims fleeing the violence.

    Bangladesh will on Wednesday formally lodge a protest against the laying of landmines so close to the border, the sources - who had direct knowledge of the situation but asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter - told Reuters news agency.

    Since the latest round of violence began in Myanmar's Rakhine state, at least 400 people have been killed, and nearly 125,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, leading to a major humanitarian crisis.

    "They are putting the landmines in their territory along the barbed-wire fence" between a series of border pillars, one of the sources told Reuters.

    Both sources said Bangladesh learned about the landmines mainly through photographic evidence and informers.

    "Our forces have also seen three to four groups working near the barbed wire fence, putting something into the ground," one of the sources said.

    "We then confirmed with our informers that they were laying landmines."

    The sources did not clarify if the groups were in uniform, but added that they were sure they were not Rohingya.

    Reacting to the reports, Phone Tint, Rakhine's minister for border affairs, told Al Jazeera: "We did not do such a thing."

    Manzurul Hassan Khan, a Bangladeshi border guard officer, told Reuters earlier that two blasts were heard on Tuesday on the Myanmar side.

    Two similar blasts on Monday had already prompted speculation that Myanmar forces had laid landmines.

    One boy had his left leg blown off on Tuesday near a border crossing before being brought to Bangladesh for treatment, while another boy suffered minor injuries, Khan said, adding that the blast could have been a mine explosion.

    A Rohingya refugee who went to the site of the blast on Monday - on a footpath near where civilians fleeing violence are huddled in what is being described as "no man's land" on the border - filmed what appeared to be a mine: a metal disc about 10cm in diameter partially buried in the mud.

    He said he believed there were two more such devices buried in the ground.

    Two refugees also told Reuters they saw members of the Myanmar army around the site in the immediate period preceding the Monday blasts, which occurred at around 2:25pm local time (07:55 GMT).

    Reuters was unable to independently verify that the planted devices were landmines and that there was any link to the Myanmar army.

    Myanmar's army has not commented on the blasts near the border.

    Zaw Htay, spokesperson for Myanmar's national leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was not immediately available for comment.

    On Monday, Htay told Reuters that clarification was needed.

    "Where did it explode, who can go there and who laid those landmines. Who can surely say those mines were not laid by the terrorists?" he said.

    No comment

    The border pillars mentioned by the Dhaka-based sources demarcate the boundaries of the two countries, along which Myanmar has a portion of barbed wire fencing.

    Most of the two countries' 217km-long border is porous.

    "They are not doing anything on Bangladeshi soil," one of the sources said.

    "But we have not seen such laying of landmines in the border before."

    Myanmar, which was under military rule until recently, is one of the few countries that have not signed the 1997 UN Mine Ban Treaty.

    The more than one million Rohingya in Myanmar are seen as illegal immigrants in the mainly Buddhist country.

    They have been forced to live under apartheid-like restrictions on movement and citizenship.

    The areas where Rohingya live, mainly in Rakhine, have been under a constant military crackdown, with reports of extrajudicial killings, rape, arson and torture by security forces - allegations the government has denied.




    Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, called on the government of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday to end the violence against the Rohingya.

    He warned of "regional destabilisation" if the violence continues.

    Myanmar contends the security crackdowns are necessary to fight "terrorism".

    In a statement issued by her office on Facebook, Aung San Suu Kyi said the government had "already started defending all the people in Rakhine in the best way possible" and warned against misinformation that could mar relations with other countries.

    Al Jazeera's James Bays, reporting from the United Nations headquarters in New York, said: "There is a real concern from the UN about the humanitarian situation because of this human exodus and the sheer number of people crossing the border into Bangladesh."

    The UN Security Council met last week to discuss the crisis, but there was no formal statement following the closed-door meeting.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/0...014211124.html

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    ‘At night, soldiers would barge into our homes, looking for a pretty girl’

    Sep 14, 2017

    Begum Bahar walked barefoot for three days through the forest, with her eight-month-old baby tied to her back with a cloth, that, in her better days, used to be her hijab. When she cringed with hunger pangs, she pulled out plants from the soil and looked for worms in the ground. When she was thirsty, she drank straight from the brackish stream that gave her company for much of her journey.

    Finally, when Bahar finally reached the Naf river and spotted the boats that would carry her and her child to safety, she slumped to the ground and wept. But once on the boat, the survival instinct that numbed her senses, ebbed. She began to feel the pain rise from the tattered bloodied feet.

    Crossing the river on the crescent-shaped boat — the kind that has ferriedthousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing certain death+ in Myanmar to safety in Bangladesh — Bahar cast a glance back at the shrinking bank that used to be her home. She felt relieved, yet sad and devastated. The land where she was born had condemned her to a stateless and homeless existence.

    Welcome to Begum Bahar's — and the 3,00,000-plus Rohingyas' — world, which has shrunk drastically over the last few weeks. "The place one is born is always the motherland. No matter what, unless pushed to the extreme, one doesn't give up on one's mother. But we had no option but to do that. The military entered our village and started killing indiscriminately," Bahar, seated inside a tent that her husband had managed to arrange for use as shelter, recounted on Tuesday.

    Rohingyas from the Rakhine state of Myanmar have for decades been stateless people. The estimated Rohingya population in Myanmar is pegged at 13 lakh and the diaspora spread across South and South-East Asia is believed to be 15 lakh-strong; together, they make up what the United Nations in 2013 called one of the most persecuted minorities in the world+ .

    It is the struggle for existence and legitimacy that seems to have pushed the Rohingyas beyond the brink. The Myanmar army recently began a brutal crackdown, burning scores of villages and forcing lakhs to flee, after charging the insurgent group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army with instigating the conflict.

    Hamida Khatun, another of the hundreds of thousands who have managed to flee and who now lives in a shelter in Kutupalang Camp, Cox's Bazar, recounts the nights of unending horror that the past three months had been. "At night, the army men would bang on the doors. They would barge in to look for a pretty girl. If they found one, she would be dragged to the jungle and raped. The fortunate ones would be dropped back on the village road, half-dead. Others would end up with their throats slashed," she said, shuddering at the very recollection of those nights of terror. "We may have to stay hungry now. But we can at least sleep in peace," she said.

    Her husband, Aminulla, had escaped by the skin of his teeth. He was on his way back from work one day when he heard the rat-a-tat of bullets. He felt a searing pain in his left hand even before he could duck. He somehow managed to drag himself home. The couple set off for Bangladesh that very night; and, on the way, Aminulla got the bullet removed by a quack before entering the jungle.

    Once inside the forest, they encountered thousands of fellow Rohingyas walking towards the Naf river. No one knew the way. All they knew was that they had to avoid the main roads. For three days and nights, they survived on leaves, worms and salty stream water. Then, they reached the Naf.

    The boatmen charged 10,000 Bangladeshi takas from each for the choppy river crossing and then over the choppier waters of the Bay of Bengal. But, with no Bangladeshi currency on them, the refugees have been handing over whatever valuables they have to the boatmen for the ride to Teknaf in Bangladesh.

    The boat that Hamida and Aminulla took reached Teknaf in 17 hours after having to make a detour as the sea turned choppier than usual. Bangladesh officials said many had died of exhaustion while making the crossing.

    The United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimates about 3 lakh refugees have crossed the border+ in past two weeks to enter Bangladesh. But, even before the recent exodus, Rohingya Muslims facing persecution have been slipping across the border into Bangladesh in small groups.


    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/w...w/60505590.cms

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    Religion is not the only reason Rohingyas are being forced out of Myanmar

    September 11, 2017

    Recent weeks have seen an escalation of violence against the Rohingya in Rakhine, the poorest state of Myanmar. A tide of displaced people are seeking refuge from atrocities – they are fleeing both on foot and by boat to Bangladesh. It is the latest surge of displaced people, and is exacerbated by the recent activity of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).


    Religious and ethnic differences have been widely considered the leading cause of the persecution. But it is becoming increasingly hard to believe that there are not other factors at play. Especially given that Myanmar is home to 135 official recognised ethnic groups (the Rohingya were removed from this list in 1982).


    In analysing the recent violence, much of the western media has focused on the role of the military and the figure of the de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Her status as a Nobel Peace prize laureate has been widely questioned since the latest evidence of atrocities emerged.
    She continues to avoid condemning the systematic violence against the Rohingya. At least the media gaze has finally shifted somewhat towards their plight.


    But there remain issues that are not being explored. It is also critical to look beyond religious and ethnic differences towards other root causes of persecution, vulnerability and displacement.


    We must consider vested political and economic interests as contributing factors to forced displacement in Myanmar, not just of the Rohingya people but of other minorities such as the Kachin, the Shan, the Karen, the Chin, and the Mon.




    Land grabbing

    Land grabbing and confiscation in Myanmar is widespread. It is not a new phenomenon.


    Since the 1990s, military juntas have been taking away the land of smallholders across the country, without any compensation and regardless of ethnicity or religious status.


    Land has often been acquired for “development” projects, including military base expansions, natural resource exploitation and extraction, large agriculture projects, infrastructure and tourism. For example, in Kachin state the military confiscated more than 500 acres of villagers’ land to support extensive gold mining.


    Development has forcibly displaced thousands of people - both internally and across borders with Bangladesh, India, and Thailand - or compelled them to set out by sea to Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia.


    In 2011, Myanmar instituted economic and political reforms that led it to be dubbed “Asia’s final frontier” as it opened up to foreign investment. Shortly afterwards, in 2012, violent attacks escalated against the Rohingya in Rakhine state and, to a lesser extent, against the Muslim Karen. Meanwhile, the government of Myanmar established several laws relating to the management and distribution of farmland.


    These moves were severely criticised for reinforcing the ability of large corporations to profit from land grabs. For instance, agribusiness multinationals such as POSCO Daewoo have eagerly entered the market, contracted by the government.
    A regional prize

    Myanmar is positioned between countries that have long eyed its resources, such as China and India. Since the 1990s, Chinese companies have exploited timber, rivers and minerals in Shan State in the North.


    This led to violent armed conflicts between the military regime and armed groups, including the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and its ethnic allies in eastern Kachin State and northern Shan State.


    In Rakhine State, Chinese and Indian interests are part of broader China-India relations. These interests revolve principally around the construction of infrastructure and pipelines in the region. Such projects claim to guarantee employment, transit fees and oil and gas revenues for the whole of Myanmar.


    Among numerous development projects, a transnational pipeline built by China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) connecting Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine, to Kunming, China, began operations in September 2013. The wider efforts to take Myanmar oil and gas from the Shwe gas field to Guangzhou, China, are well documented.


    A parallel pipeline is also expected to send Middle East oil from the Kyaukphyu port to China. However, the neutral Advisory Commission on Rakhine State has urged the Myanmar government to carry out a comprehensive impact assessment.


    In fact, the Commission recognises that pipelines put local communities at risk. There is significant local tension related to land seizures, insufficient compensation for damages, environmental degradation, and an influx of foreign workers rather than increased local employment opportunities.


    Meanwhile, the Sittwe deep-sea port was financed and constructed by India as part of the Kaladan Multi-modal Transit Transport Project. The aim is to connect the northeast Mizoram state in India with the Bay of Bengal.


    Coastal areas of Rakhine State are clearly of strategic importance to both India and China. The government of Myanmar therefore has vested interests in clearing land to prepare for further development and to boost its already rapid economic growth.


    All of this takes place within the wider context of geopolitical maneuvering. The role of Bangladesh in fuelling ethnic tensions is also hotly contested. In such power struggles, the human cost is terribly high.
    Compounding the vulnerability of minorities

    In Myanmar, the groups that fall victim to land grabbing have often started in an extremely vulnerable state and are left even worse off. The treatment of the Rohingya in Rakhine State is the highest profile example of broader expulsion that is inflicted on minorities.
    When a group is marginalised and oppressed it is difficult to reduce their vulnerability and protect their rights, including their property. In the case of the Rohingya, their ability to protect their homes was decimated through the revocation of their Burmese citizenship.


    Since the late 1970s around a million Rohingya have fled Myanmar to escape persecution. Tragically, they are often marginalised in their host countries.


    With no country willing to take responsibility for them, they are either forced or encouraged to continuously cross borders. The techniques used to encourage this movement have trapped the Rohingya in a vulnerable state.


    The tragedy of the Rohingya is part of a bigger picture which sees the oppression and displacement of minorities across Myanmar and into neighbouring countries.


    The relevance and complexity of religious and ethnic issues in Myanmar are undeniable. But we cannot ignore the political and economic context and the root causes of displacement that often go undetected.

    https://theconversation.com/religion...facebookbutton

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    Saudi ambassador to Turkey: KSA has stood by Rohingyas for 70 years

    9 September 2017

    Saudi Ambassador to Turkey Waleed Al-Khereiji said that the Kingdom has been standing by the side of the Rohingya Muslims for 70 years at the international level, and by providing assistance and donations.

    The ambassador's statement, released by the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah, said that King Salman's government has given a lot of attention to the protection of human rights, at both the international and regional levels. The Saudi leadership has taken the initiative to join various international human rights organizations and conventions that call for ending discrimination and mistreatment since 1997.

    Concerning the Rohingya crisis, the ambassador said: "The Kingdom has exerted all possible efforts to help Myanmar's Muslims in this human tragedy. The Kingdom is all about action, and not words. Nobody can claim that they have exerted more efforts for the Rohingya people than the Kingdom has during the past 70 years, as history stands witness that the
    Kingdom was one of the first states that supported their case at the international level and in the UN Human Rights Council."

    "The Kingdom has also condemned Myanmar's government for denying the Rohingya people citizenship since 1982, considering them illegal immigrants. Thus, the Rohingya people have been restricted from freedom of movement and the simplest human rights, including food and health care services. The Kingdom has also
    made a donation of $50 million for the Muslim minority, through health rehabilitation and educational programs, and started receiving refugees in 1948. Today, there are 300,000 Rohingya people in the Kingdom."

    He added: "The Kingdom has released many statements condemning the violence against the Rohingyas, including rape, murder, forced eviction, persecution and ethnic cleansing campaigns. The Kingdom has also contacted the UN secretary-general and the Rohingya crisis has become an international issue and thus, Myanmar is facing international condemnation over the Rohingya crisis. As the leader of the Islamic world, the Kingdom will continue its efforts and contacts in order to find solutions."

    The history of the Rohingya Muslims living in Riyadh


    The tragedy of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar's Rakhine State once again highlights the story of Rohingya groups which emigrated to Makkah.

    Many years ago, Rohingya Muslims, fleeing the persecution of their own government, emigrated to Makkah from Rakhine State in western Myanmar on a journey which lasted about two years. The UN classified the Rohingya as the most persecuted people in the world.

    In this context, the director of the Rohingya Media Center, Saleh Abdul Shakur, stated that the Rohingya Muslims form a minority of about 1 million people who live in the west of Myanmar (formerly Burma). They have been stripped of Burmese nationality by the government and
    subjected oppression for the past 70 years for one reason only - being Muslim.

    Abdul Shakur told Alarabiya.net that continuous persecution pushed some Rohingya Muslims to flee to Saudi Arabia. Upon their arrival, the late King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz offered them special residency status, and since then, "the Burmese community has found in the Kingdom the care and mercy they lacked in their home country."

    Abdul Shakur added that four years ago, a special program was launched to revise the situation of the Burmese community, and
    they were offered free residency permits for four years which entitled them to free education, health care and employment. The program, which was implemented by the governorate of Makkah and offered settlement for more than 250,000 Burmese, was classified by the UN Commissioner for Refugees as the biggest humanitarian program.

    Abdul Shakur maintained that the Kingdom is the biggest supporter of the Rohingya case in the world.


    Burma - Hundreds of Buddhist extremists protesting and calling for the halt of aid relief being sent to Rohingya Muslims.

    https://www.facebook.com/doamuslims/...26867047360857


    Buddhist extremists marching and calling for the removal of Rohingya Muslims.

    https://www.facebook.com/doamuslims/...6850837362478/


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    Rohingya tragedy: Failed democracy, fake peace and most importantly, oil

    Journalist and author Ramzy Baroud says the West is standing behind the brutal Myanmar regime because of its desire to exploit the country’s oil and to counter Chinese hegemony in Asia.


    To a certain extent, Aung San Suu Kyi is a false prophet. Glorified by the West for many years, she was made a “democracy icon” because she opposed the same forces in her country, Burma, at the time that the US-led Western coalition isolated Rangoon for its alliance with China.


    Aung San Suu Kyi played her role as expected, winning the approval of the Right and the admiration of the Left. And for that, she won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, she joined the elevated group of “The Elders” and was promoted by many in the media and various governments as a heroic figure to be emulated.


    Hillary Clinton once described her as “this extraordinary woman.” The “Lady” of Burma’s journey from being a political pariah in her own country, where she was placed under house arrest for 15 years, finally ended in triumph when she became the leader of Burma following a multi-party election in 2015.


    Since then she has toured many countries, dined with queens and presidents, given memorable speeches, received awards, while knowingly rebranding the very brutal military that she had opposed throughout the years. (Even today, the Burmese military has a near-veto power over all aspects of government.)


    But the great “humanitarian” seems to have run out of integrity as her government, military and police began conducting a widespread ethnic cleansing operation that targeted the “most oppressed people on earth,” the Rohingya. These defenseless people have been subjected to a brutal and systematic genocide, conducted through a joint effort by the Burmese military, police and majority Buddhist nationalists.

    Israeli sponsorship


    In recent months, hundreds of Rohingya were killed in the so called “Cleansing Operations,” driving over 250,000 people to escape for their lives. Hundreds more have perished at sea, or hunted down and killed in jungles.


    Stories of murder and mayhem remind one of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people during the Nakba of 1948. It should come as no surprise that Israel is one of the biggest suppliers of weapons to the Burmese military.


    Despite an extended arms embargo on Burma by many countries, Israel’s Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, insists that his country has no intentions of halting its weapons shipments to the despicable regime in Rangoon, which is actively using these weapons against its own minorities, not only Muslims in the western Rakhine state but also Christians in the north.


    One of the Israeli shipments was announced in August 2016 by the Israeli company TAR Ideal Concepts. The company proudly featured that its Corner Shot rifles are already in “operational use” by the Burmese military.


    Israel’s history is rife with examples of backing brutal juntas and authoritarian regimes, but why are those who have positioned themselves as the guardians of democracy still silent about the bloodbath in Burma?


    Nearly a quarter of the Rohingya population has already been driven out of their homes since October last year. The rest could follow in the near future, thus making the collective crime almost irreversible.

    The “official” narrative versus reality


    On the one hand, Aung San Suu Kyi did not even have the moral courage to say a few words of sympathy to the victims. Instead, she could only express an uncommitted statement: “we have to take care of everybody who is in our country.”


    Meanwhile, her spokesperson and other mouthpieces launched a campaign of vilification against the Rohingya, accusing them of burning their own villages, fabricating their own rape stories, while referring to Rohingya who dare to resist as “Jihadists,” hoping to link the ongoing genocide with the Western-infested campaign aimed at vilifying Muslims everywhere.


    On the other hand, however, well-documented reports provide more than a glimpse of the harrowing reality experienced by the Rohingya. A recent UN report details the account of one woman whose husband had been killed by soldiers in what the UN described as “widespread as well as systematic” attacks that “very likely commission of crimes against humanity.”


    “Five of them took off my clothes and raped me,” said the bereaved woman. “My eight-month-old son was crying of hunger when they were in my house because he wanted to breastfeed, so to silence him they killed him with a knife.”


    Refugees that did make it to Bangladesh, following a nightmarish journey, related grim stories including murder of children, rape of women, and burning of entire villages. Some of these accounts have been verified thanks to satellite images provided by Human Rights Watch, showing wiped out villages throughout the state.

    Oil and countering China


    Certainly, the horrible fate of the Rohingya is not entirely new. But what makes it particularly pressing is that the West is now fully on the side of the very government that is carrying out these atrocious acts.


    There is a reason for that: oil. Reporting from Ramree Island, Hereward Holland wrote on the “hunting for Myanmar’s (Burma) hidden treasure.” Massive deposits of oil that have remained untapped due to decades of Western boycott of the junta government are now available to the highest bidder. It is a big oil bonanza, and all are invited.


    Shell, ENI, Total, Chevron and many others are investing large sums to exploit the country’s natural resources, while the Chinese – who dominated Burma’s economy for many years – are being slowly pushed out.


    Indeed, the rivalry over Burma’s unexploited wealth is at its peak in decades. It is this wealth – and the need to undermine China’s superpower status in Asia – that has brought the West back, installed Aung San Suu Kyi as a leader in a country that has never fundamentally changed, but only rebranded itself to pave the road for the return of “Big Oil.”


    So, who pays the price for the hunger for oil? The Muslim Rohingya minority do, along with humanity.

    The myth of “Bengali” migrants


    Do not let Burmese official propaganda mislead you. The Rohingya are not foreigners, intruders or immigrants in Burma.
    Their kingdom of Arakan dates back to the 8th Century. In the centuries that followed, the inhabitants of that kingdom learned about Islam from Arab traders and, with time, it became a Muslim-majority region.


    Arakan is Burma’s modern-day Rakhine state, where most of the country’s estimated 1.2 million Rohingya still live. The false notion that the Rohingya are outsiders started in 1784 when the Burmese King conquered Arakan and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Many of those who were forced out of their homes to Bengal eventually returned.


    Attacks on Rohingya, and constant attempts at driving them out of Rakhine, have been renewed over several periods of history. For example: following the Japanese defeat of British forces stationed in Burma in 1942; in 1948, following the takeover of Burma by the Army in 1962; as a result of so-called “Operation Dragon King” in 1977 when the military junta forcefully drove over 200,000 Rohingya out of their homes to Bangladesh, and so on.


    In 1982, the military government passed the Citizenship Law that stripped most Rohingya of their citizenship, declaring them illegal in their own country. The war on the Rohingya began again in 2012.


    Every single episode since then has followed a typical narrative: “communal clashes” between Buddhist nationals and Rohingya, often leading to tens of thousands of the latter group being chased out to the Bay of Bengal, to the jungles and, those who survive, to refugee camps.

    International silence


    Amid international silence, only a few respected figures like Pope Francis spoke out in support of the Rohingya in a deeply moving prayer last February. The Rohingya are “good people,” the Pope said. “They are peaceful people, and they are our brothers and sisters.” His call for justice was never heeded.


    Arab and Muslim countries remained largely silent, despite public outcry to do something to end the genocide.


    Reporting from Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine, veteran British journalist, Peter Oborne, described what he had seen in an article published by the Daily Mail on September 4:


    “Just five years ago, an estimated 50,000 of the city’s population of around 180,000 were members of the local Rohingya Muslim ethnic group. Today, there are fewer than 3,000 left. And they are not free to walk the streets. They are crammed into a tiny ghetto surrounded by barbed wire. Armed guards prevent visitors from entering — and will not allow the Rohingya Muslims to leave.”


    With access to that reality through their many emissaries on the ground, Western governments knew too well of the indisputable facts, but ignored them anyway.


    When US, European and Japanese corporations lined up to exploit the treasures of Burma, all they needed was the nod of approval from the US government. The Barack Obama Administration hailed Burma’s “opening” even before the 2015 elections brought Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy to power.


    After that date, Burma has become another American “success story,” oblivious, of course, to the facts that a genocide has been under way in that country for years.


    The violence in Burma is likely to escalate and reach other ASEAN countries, simply because the two main ethnic and religious groups in these countries are dominated and almost evenly split between Buddhists and Muslims.


    The triumphant return of the US-West to exploit Burma’s wealth and the US-Chinese rivalries are likely to complicate the situation even further, if ASEAN does not end its appalling silence and move with a determined strategy to pressure Burma to end its genocide of the Rohingya.


    Call for action


    People around the world must take a stand. Religious communities should speak out. Human rights groups should do more to document the crimes of the Burmese government and hold to account those who supply them with weapons.


    Respected South African Bishop Desmond Tutu has strongly admonished Aung San Suu Kyifor turning a blind eye to the ongoing genocide. It is the least we expect from the man who stood up to Apartheid in his own country, and penned the famous words: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

    http://5pillarsuk.com/2017/09/14/roh...portantly-oil/





    The Genocide of the Rohingya: Big Oil, Failed Democracy and False Prophets


    September 12, 2017

    To a certain extent, Aung San Suu Kyi is a false prophet. Glorified by the west for many years, she was made a ‘democracy icon’ because she opposed the same forces in her country, Burma, at the time that the US-led western coalition isolated Rangoon for its alliance with China.


    Aung San Suu Kyi played her role as expected, winning the approval of the Right and the admiration of the Left. And for that, she won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991; she joined the elevated group of ‘The Elders’ and was promoted by many in the media and various governments as a heroic figure, to be emulated.


    Hillary Clinton once described her as “this extraordinary woman.” The ‘Lady’ of Burma’s journey from being a political pariah in her own country, where she was placed under house arrest for 15 years, finally ended in triumph when she became the leader of Burma following a multi-party election in 2015. Since then, she has toured many countries, dined with queens and presidents, given memorable speeches, received awards, while knowingly rebranding the very brutal military that she had opposed throughout the years. (Even today, the Burmese military has a near-veto power over all aspects of government.)


    But the great ‘humanitarian’ seems to have run out of integrity as her government, military and police began conducting a widespread ethnic cleansing operation that targeted the ‘most oppressed people on earth’, the Rohingya. These defenseless people have been subjected to a brutal and systematic genocide, conducted through a joint effort by the Burmese military, police and majority Buddhist nationalists.


    The so-called “Cleansing Operations” have killed hundreds of Rohingya in recent months, driving over 250,000 crying, frightened and hungry people to escape for their lives in any way possible. Hundreds more have perished at sea, or hunted down and killed in jungles.


    Stories of murder and mayhem remind one of the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people during the Nakba of 1948. It should come as no surprise that Israel is one of the biggest suppliers of weapons to the Burmese military. Despite an extended arms embargo on Burma by many countries, Israel’s Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, insists that his country has no intentions of halting its weapons shipments to the despicable regime in Rangoon, which is actively using these weapons against its own minorities, not only Muslims in the western Rakhine state but also Christians in the north..


    One of the Israeli shipments was announced in August 2016 by the Israeli company TAR Ideal Concepts. The company proudly featured that its Corner Shot rifles are already in ‘operational use’ by the Burmese military.


    Israel’s history is rife with examples of backing brutal juntas and authoritarian regimes, but why are those who have positioned themselves as the guardians of democracy still silent about the bloodbath in Burma?


    Nearly a quarter of the Rohingya population has already been driven out of their homes since October last year. The rest could follow in the near future, thus making the collective crime almost irreversible.


    Aung San Suu Kyi did not even have the moral courage to say a few words of sympathy to the victims. Instead, she could only express an uncommitted statement: “we have to take care of everybody who is in our country”. Meanwhile, her spokesperson and other mouthpieces launched a campaign of vilification against Rohingya, accusing them of burning their own villages, fabricating their own rape stories, while referring to Rohingya who dare to resist as ‘Jihadists‘, hoping to link the ongoing genocide with the western-infested campaign aimed at vilifying Muslims everywhere.


    But well-documented reports give us more than a glimpse of the harrowing reality experienced by the Rohingya. A recent UN report details the account of one woman, whose husband had been killed by soldiers in what the UN described as “widespread as well as systematic” attacks that “very likely commission of crimes against humanity.”


    “Five of them took off my clothes and raped me,” said the bereaved woman. “My eight-month-old son was crying of hunger when they were in my house because he wanted to breastfeed, so to silence him they killed him with a knife.”


    Fleeing refugees that made it to Bangladesh following a nightmarish journey spoke of the murder of children, the rape of women and the burning of villages. Some of these accounts have been verified through satellite images provided by Human Rights Watch, showing wiped out villages throughout the state.


    Certainly, the horrible fate of the Rohingya is not entirely new. But what makes it particularity pressing is that the west is now fully on the side of the very government that is carrying out these atrocious acts.
    And there is a reason for that: Oil.


    Reporting from Ramree Island, Hereward Holland wrote on the ‘hunting for Myanmar’s (Burma) hidden treasure.’


    Massive deposits of oil that have remained untapped due to decades of western boycott of the junta government are now available to the highest bidder. It is a big oil bonanza, and all are invited. Shell, ENI, Total, Chevron and many others are investing large sums to exploit the country’s natural resources, while the Chinese – who dominated Burma’s economy for many years – are being slowly pushed out


    Indeed, the rivalry over Burma’s unexploited wealth is at its peak in decades. It is this wealth – and the need to undermine China’s superpower status in Asia – that has brought the west back, installed Aung San Suu Kyi as a leader in a country that has never fundamentally changed, but only rebranded itself to pave the road for the return of ‘Big Oil’.

    However, the Rohingya are paying the price.


    Do not let Burmese official propaganda mislead you. The Rohingya are not foreigners, intruders or immigrants in Burma.
    Their kingdom of Arakan dates back to the 8th Century. In the centuries that followed, the inhabitants of that kingdom learned about Islam from Arab traders and, with time, it became a Muslim-majority region. Arakan is Burma’s modern-day Rakhine state, where most of the country’s estimated 1.2 million Rohingya still live.


    The false notion that the Rohingya are outsiders started in 1784 when the Burmese King conquered Arakan and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Many of those who were forced out of their homes to Bengal, eventually returned.


    Attacks on Rohingya, and constant attempts at driving them out of Rakhine, have been renewed over several periods of history, for example: following the Japanese defeat of British forces stationed in Burma in 1942; in 1948; following the takeover of Burma by the Army in 1962; as a result of so-called ‘Operation Dragon King’ in 1977, where the military junta forcefully drove over 200,000 Rohingya out of their homes to Bangladesh, and so on.


    In 1982, the military government passed the Citizenship Law that stripped most Rohingya of their citizenship, declaring them illegal in their own country.


    The war on the Rohingya began again in 2012. Every single episode, since then, has followed a typical narrative: ‘communal clashes’ between Buddhist nationals and Rohingya, often leading to tens of thousands of the latter group being chased out to the Bay of Bengal, to the jungles and, those who survive, to refugee camps.


    Amid international silence, only few respected figures like Pope Francis spoke out in support of the Rohingya in a deeply moving prayer last February.


    The Rohingya are ‘good people’, the Pope said. “They are peaceful people, and they are our brothers and sisters.” His call for justice was never heeded.


    Arab and Muslim countries remained largely silent, despite public outcry to do something to end the genocide.
    Reporting from Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine, veteran British journalist, Peter Oborne, described what he has seen in an article published by the Daily Mail on September 4:

    Just five years ago, an estimated 50,000 of the city’s population of around 180,000 were members of the local Rohingya Muslim ethnic group. Today, there are fewer than 3,000 left. And they are not free to walk the streets. They are crammed into a tiny ghetto surrounded by barbed wire. Armed guards prevent visitors from entering — and will not allow the Rohingya Muslims to leave.
    With access to that reality through their many emissaries on the ground, western government knew too well of the indisputable facts, but ignored them, anyway.


    When US, European and Japanese corporations lined up to exploit the treasures of Burma, all they needed was the nod of approval from the US government. The Barack Obama Administration hailed Burma’s ‘opening’ even before the 2015 elections brought Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy to power. After that date, Burma has become another American ‘success story’, oblivious, of course, to the facts that a genocide has been under way in that country for years.

    The violence in Burma is likely to escalate and reach other ASEAN countries, simply because the two main ethnic and religious groups in these countries are dominated and almost evenly split between Buddhists and Muslims.


    The triumphant return of the US-west to exploit Burma’s wealth and the US-Chinese rivalries is likely to complicate the situation even further, if ASEAN does not end its appalling silence and move with a determined strategy to pressure Burma to end its genocide of the Rohingya.


    People around the world must take a stand. Religious communities should speak out. Human rights groups should do more to document the crimes of the Burmese government and hold to account those who supply them with weapons.
    Respected South African Bishop Desmond Tutu had strongly admonished Aung San Suu Kyi for turning a blind eye to the ongoing genocide.


    It is the least we expect from the man who stood up to Apartheid in his own country, and penned the famous words: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20...alse-prophets/





    Burmese govt fake images to frame Rohingya for violence


    Photos showing a group of men and women setting light to a house in Burma have been circulating online since September 6. According to the authorities, they show how the Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority in the country, are deliberately setting fire to their own houses to receive international sympathy. However, the Burmese government posed the photos itself as part of an anti-Muslim propaganda campaign.

    Activists for the Rohingya and Jonathan Head, a correspondent for the BBC, revealed that the photos are not quite what they seem. Head was part of a group of local and foreign journalists that were invited on a government-organised trip to Maungdaw, a town in Buddhist-majority Rakhine state in the west of the country. Government officials distributed these photos to the journalists, saying that they showed the Rohingya burning their own homes in order to frame the Burmese government. But the photos were posed, as was soon discovered by Head and other journalists.


    One of the photos showing the actors pretending to be Rohingya torching a house.

    These photos were also posted on the Facebook group Rohingya Community, which posts news about the situation for Rohingya in the country. They wrote a post explaining why the photos were fake [we have edited it for clarity].

    Note the white caps the men actors are wearing. Those caps are totally new. Rohingya people aren’t wearing caps in these moments of life or death. And even if they wore Islamic caps, they wouldn’t be as clean and shiny as in those photos.

    The women in the photos tried to resemble real Rohingya women by wearing hijab. But Rohingya women never wear hijab that way at all. It is very clear that they do not even know how to wear a piece of cloth on their heads.

    The men in the photos are hiding their faces under masks [bandanas].

    None of them are facing the camera to hide their real faces.

    Most of all: why on earth would someone be so foolish as to document his crime by letting a cameraman take shots from all angles?

    The truth: This was the house of a real Rohingya family. Most probably some of the family members were killed and others managed to flee. Later these actors (Buddhists) came to change the scenario of the reality.

    Photo showing a woman posing as a Rohingya and torching a house.

    “The women are wearing tablecloths on their heads”


    In a Facebook post and an article, Head confirms this analysis, and picks up on other details that serve to further indict the Burmese government.

    One of the women who appears in the photos torching a home is wearing a distinctive bright orange top, a grey and purple longyi, and a white lacy headscarf. Photos show that this same woman, minus the headscarf, spoke to the journalists at a school in Maungdaw that was serving as a shelter for displaced Hindu families. She told the journalists about Muslim abuse against Hindus.


    This photo collage shows that one of the women posing as Rohingya to burn down the house was the same Hindu woman who later on spoke vehemently against Muslims in a tirade to journalists.

    Amongst other actors, she was used by the government to pose as a Muslim militant torching houses, and also to speak persuasively to a troupe of journalists about Muslim-perpetrated violence.


    Two of the photos sent to us by an Observer.


    In a Facebook post that has been shared 2,400 times, Head wrote: “I realise now that among Hindus arranged by the government to be filmed and interviewed on Sept 6 in Maungdaw were two people who dressed up as Muslims for the fake photos given to us there." He said that the “acting” in the photos was “unconvincing”, and “the women are wearing tablecloths on their heads”.

    The Rohingya have been accused of attacking the Buddhist and Hindu populations in the country, as well as security forces. While these photos were clearly posed and prove that it was not in fact Rohingya who were burning down their own houses on this occasion, this does not mean that it is always the case.


    Another photo showing the women "with tablecloths on their heads", setting light to the house.

    According to the Burmese government, the violent crackdown in the country is in response to attacks by militants from the rebel group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). Authorities also deny that the military has targeted Rohingya civilians. More than 300,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled across the border to Bangladesh since August 25.

    In an address to the UN Human Rights Council on September 11, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called the military operation by the Burmese government a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.


    http://observers.france24.com/en/201...ingya-violence

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    Weekend Roundup: Rohingya Plight Stirs Global Conscience

    The brutal crackdown on Myanmar’s Muslim minority is a reminder of ethnic violence in Rwanda and Bosnia.



    Ethnic cleansing. Genocide. Apartheid. Once again, these terrible words have leapt into the headlines. This time, the concern arises in Asia, where a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state has forced some 400,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh in less than a month. The latest spate of violence follows decades of exclusion and persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.



    “The horrors we’re seeing in Rakhine,” writes Farahnaz Ispahani, “are similar to those we witnessed in the 1990s during the slaughter of the Tutsi minority in Rwanda and the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats.” Yet another fledgling democracy, she fears, has yielded to the siren call of “communal majoritarianism.” “Majorities,” Ispahani pleads, “must not be allowed to attack minorities to create religiously or ethnically pure societies.” She also calls for intervention by United Nations peacekeeping forces to stem the violence.



    Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace laureate who is Myanmar’s nominal leader, has been the focus of international outrage for failing to condemn and stop the assault on the Rohingya. But as Mark Farmaner explains, “under Myanmar’s military-drafted constitution, Suu Kyi does not have control over the army. It is independent of her civilian-led government. The army controls the police, security services, prisons, border affairs and most of the civil service, and also appoints 25 percent of the members of parliament.” The one person who can stop the violence, says Farmaner, is the commander-in-chief of the military, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. “Because 75 percent of [members of parliament] need to vote in favor of a constitutional change,” Farmaner further explains, “Min Aung Hlaing effectively has a veto. He leads a second government in Myanmar, one armed with guns.”



    Writing from Paris, Saskia Sassen notes that the current crisis in Rakhine state isn’t “only about religion ― it’s also about land.” “The military may be supporting extremist Buddhist sects who are spurring the persecution of the Rohingya,” she writes, because “invoking prejudice against the Muslim population and the ‘criminality’ of the Rohingya community may well suit military leaders’ ultimate goal better than if they truthfully declared what they’re really after ― the business of development.”


    Yet another troubling aspect of the Rohingya story, according to a recent U.N. survey released even before the current convulsion of refugees, is that “more than half of Rohingya Muslim girls who fled violence in western Myanmar [earlier] ended up becoming child brides.” The so-called “bride market” that has capitalized on vulnerable young Rohingya girls flourishes elsewhere under various circumstances and in different forms.



    Reporting from Kampong Cham, Cambodia, Cristina Maza tells the sad tale of three girls who end up forced into marriages while searching for a way to help their families. Lured by the promise of greater economic opportunity, they become pawns in a market of dozens of Cambodian women trafficked each year to China and sold as brides to Chinese men who cannot find a wife due to their country’s gender imbalance. When they realize life in China is not what they signed up for, the Cambodians luckily make their escape ― but not without trauma. One woman finds out she is pregnant after fleeing. Another is held in a Chinese detention center for a year while she awaits repatriation. And the third, who was told she’d get a good job in China, didn’t, and is now back home and unemployed, still “recalls sitting at a dinner table and watching her new husband pay the equivalent of $10,300 for her.” The money, Maza reports, never made it back to the girls or their families.



    Ilgin Yorulmaz reports from Van, in southeastern Turkey, where child marriage is particularly high, and economics and tradition help keep the practice alive. She follows the story of one woman who, years earlier, had been attacked in the middle of the night after she tried to escape from a forced marriage. Today, the woman, now divorced, has an ingenious way to stamp out child marriage ― by “hit[ting] business owners where they feel it the most: their pockets.” She’s targeting one wedding-related business at a time, from hairdressers and caterers to entertainers and florists, in an effort to appeal to their conscience and put a stop to the financing of underage marriage. It hasn’t been easy ― weddings “are an especially big business” in Turkey, Yorulmaz explains ― and people in Van are stretched thin for cash as it is. But she’s seen progress. During the latest wedding season, a local hair salon prominently displayed a sign that read: “In our premises, we do not offer hairdressing services to brides under 18.”



    Turning back to Myanmar, Alan Davis reminds us that civil society and democracy are often also threatened by unchecked social media. Hate speech and fake news ― widely disseminated by social media in Myanmar ― he explains, have inflamed passions that spurred this latest round of violence. In Europe and America, debates about how to regulate social media occur regularly. Italy’s antitrust chief, Giovanni Pitruzzella, delineates the divergence between American and European concepts of free speech when it comes to social media. He rejects the long-held American notion that robust competition in the “marketplace of ideas” will sort it all out, that the good will somehow drive out the bad. But beyond this, he points out that the focus of the United States and European Union constitutions are substantively different.


    “While the First Amendment mainly addresses the active dimension to the right to freely express one’s own thoughts,” Pitruzzella writes from Rome, “Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 11 of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights, emphasize the passive dimension to the right to be pluralistically informed. In this respect, it could be argued that fake news is not constitutionally covered by the European vision of free speech.” This European view suggests governments there will have few qualms in regulating social media to limit fake news. In the U.S., where the First Amendment is absolute, the likely remedy will involve self-regulation by the big media platforms instead of the government. In both cases, the latest technology is taking us back to the reexamination of first principles.



    Finally, in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, Scott Knowles proposes a “National Hurricane Memorial And Museum” like other national memorials for soldiers and the casualties of terrorism to commemorate the victims and destruction of communities, linking them to human-induced climate change instead of only recalling them as “natural” disasters.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...432b069584?bqb






    Erdogan to Muslim countries: 'use every means available' to stop 'cruelty' against Rohingya

    Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled their homes in western Myanmar's Rakhine State

    September 10, 2017

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Sunday urged Muslim countries to "use every means available" to stop the "cruelty" perpetrated against Myanmar's Rohingya.

    "We want to work with the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh to prevent the humanitarian plight in the region," he told the opening session of an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in the Kazakh capital Astana.

    Erdogan said Turkey had offered aid and said he expected that Bangladesh authorities admit and help Rohingya Muslims fleeing the violence in Myanmar.

    "International organisations, and we as Muslim countries in particular, should fight together by using every means available to stop that cruelty,"
    he said. Erdogan had previously promised to raise the Rohingya issue at the annual meeting of UN General Assembly later this month.

    A final statement was agreed on at Sunday's OIC summit - the first such summit on Science and Technology. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev said it was thanks to the efforts of the Turkish delegation that such a statement was prepared.

    OIC statement

    Erdogan called on "the brothers around the table" to follow and implement the decisions.

    "The meeting called upon the government of Myanmar to accept the UN Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into all alleged violations of international human rights law and to bring the perpetrators to justice," said the statement.

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

    Last October, following attacks on border posts in Rakhine's Maungdaw district, Myanmar security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.

    The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings - including infants and young children - brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel.


    In a report, UN investigators said the human rights violations constituted crimes against humanity. Fresh violence erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine state nearly two weeks ago when security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya community.

    Bangladesh, which already hosted around 400,000 Rohingya refugees, has faced a fresh influx of refugees since the security operation was launched.On Saturday, the UN said at least 290,000 Rohingya have sought refuge in Bangladesh.

    Erdogan arrived in the Kazakh capital on Saturday for a two-day visit, and has pledged to raise the issue of Rohingya's at the UN.

    Following the summit, the Turkish president also had a closed-door meeting with Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid as well as with other leaders.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20...help-rohingya/


    Malaysia sends troops to help Rohingya

    https://www.facebook.com/RecepTayyip...4567136220910/



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    'At night, soldiers would barge into our homes, looking for a pretty girl'

    by Rohit Khanna - Sep 14, 2017

    Begum Bahar walked barefoot for three days through the forest, with her eight-month-old baby tied to her back with a cloth, that, in her better days, used to be her hijab. When she cringed with hunger pangs, she pulled out plants from the soil and looked for worms in the ground. When she was thirsty, she drank straight from the brackish stream that gave her company for much of her journey.

    Finally, when Bahar finally reached the Naf river and spotted the boats that would carry her and her child to safety, she slumped to the ground and wept. But once on the boat, the survival instinct that numbed her senses, ebbed. She began to feel the pain rise from the tattered bloodied feet.

    Crossing the river on the crescent-shaped boat - the kind that has ferried thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing certain death in Myanmar to safety in Bangladesh - Bahar cast a glance back at the shrinking bank that used to be her home. She felt relieved, yet sad and devastated. The land where she was born had condemned her to a stateless and homeless existence.

    Welcome to Begum Bahar's - and the 3,00,000-plus Rohingyas' - world, which has shrunk drastically over the last few weeks. "The place one is born is always the motherland. No matter what, unless pushed to the extreme, one doesn't give up on one's mother. But we had no option but to do that. The military entered our village and started killing indiscriminately," Bahar, seated inside a tent that her husband had managed to arrange for use as shelter, recounted on Tuesday.

    Rohingyas from the Rakhine state of Myanmar have for decades been stateless people. The estimated Rohingya population in Myanmar is pegged at 13 lakh and the diaspora spread across South and South-East Asia is believed to be 15 lakh-strong; together, they make up what the United Nations in 2013 called one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

    It is the struggle for existence and legitimacy that seems to have pushed the Rohingyas beyond the brink. The Myanmar army recently began a brutal crackdown, burning scores of villages and forcing lakhs to flee, after charging the insurgent group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army with instigating the conflict.

    Hamida Khatun, another of the hundreds of thousands who have managed to flee and who now lives in a shelter in Kutupalang Camp, Cox's Bazar, recounts the nights of unending horror that the past three months had been. "At night, the army men would bang on the doors. They would barge in to look for a pretty girl. If they found one, she would be dragged to the jungle and raped. The fortunate ones would be dropped back on the village road, half-dead. Others would end up with their throats slashed," she said, shuddering at the very recollection of those nights of terror. "We may have to stay hungry now. But we can at least sleep in peace," she said.

    Her husband, Aminulla, had escaped by the skin of his teeth. He was on his way back from work one day when he heard the rat-a-tat of bullets. He felt a searing pain in his left hand even before he could duck. He somehow managed to drag himself home. The couple set off for Bangladesh that very night; and, on the way, Aminulla got the bullet removed by a quack before entering the jungle.

    Once inside the forest, they encountered thousands of fellow Rohingyas walking towards the Naf river. No one knew the way. All they knew was that they had to avoid the main roads. For three days and nights, they survived on leaves, worms and salty stream water. Then, they reached the Naf.

    The boatmen charged 10,000 Bangladeshi takas from each for the choppy river crossing and then over the choppier waters of the Bay of Bengal. But, with no Bangladeshi currency on them, the refugees have been handing over whatever valuables they have to the boatmen for the ride to Teknaf in Bangladesh.

    The boat that Hamida and Aminulla took reached Teknaf in 17 hours after having to make a detour as the sea turned choppier than usual. Bangladesh officials said many had died of exhaustion while making the crossing.

    The United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimates about 3 lakh refugees have crossed the border in past two weeks to enter Bangladesh. But, even before the recent exodus, Rohingya Muslims facing persecution have been slipping across the border into Bangladesh in small groups.

    Hafez Khairul Amin managed to escape last November and has been staying at the Kutupalang camp since. "I have seen my friends being shot and hacked to death by the armed forces. I managed to survive by hiding inside a drum when they attacked our village. I was plain lucky that one day but, my entire life, I feel cursed to have been born a Rohingya," he said.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/w...w/60505590.cms

    Pakistani soldier on Rohingya and Burma

    https://www.facebook.com/iKhabr/vide...1205377662469/

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    Rohingya crisis: Seeing through the official story in Myanmar

    The 300,000 people who have fled Rakhine state to Bangladesh over the past two weeks all come from the northern districts of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung, the last areas of Myanmar with sizeable Rohingya populations not confined to displacement camps.

    These districts are hard to reach. Roads are poor, and the government requires permits to go there, which journalists rarely get.

    So we grabbed the opportunity to join a government-organised visit to Maungdaw, for 18 local and foreign journalists.

    It would mean seeing only places and people they wanted us to see. But sometimes, even under these restrictions, you can glean valuable insights.

    Besides, the government has arguments that need to be heard. It is now facing an armed insurgency, albeit one some would argue has been self-inflicted. The communal conflict in Rakhine state has a long history, and would be difficult for any government to deal with.

    On arrival at Sittwe, the Rakhine state capital, we were given instructions. No-one was to leave the group and try to work independently. There was a curfew at 6pm, so no wandering after dark. We could request to go to places that interested us; in practice we found such requests were rejected on grounds of security. To be fair, I believe they were genuinely concerned for our safety.

    Most of the travel in this low-lying region of Myanmar is along the maze of creeks and rivers on crowded boats. The journey from Sittwe to Buthidaung takes six hours. From there we travelled for an hour on a rough road over the Mayu Hills to Maungdaw. As we drove into the town we passed our first burned village, Myo Thu Gyi. Even the palm trees were scorched.

    The government's purpose in bringing us was to balance the overwhelmingly negative narrative coming from the Rohingya refugees arriving in Bangladesh, who have almost all spoken of a deliberate campaign of destruction by the Myanmar military and Rakhine mobs, and appalling human rights abuses.

    But right away these efforts faltered.

    We were first taken to a small school in Maungdaw, now crowded with displaced Hindu families. They all had the same story to tell of Muslims attacking, of fleeing in fear. Oddly, Hindus who have fled to Bangladesh all say they were attacked by local Rakhine Buddhists, because they resemble Rohingyas.

    In the school we were accompanied by armed police and officials. Could they speak freely? One man started to tell me how soldiers had been firing at his village, and he was quickly corrected by a neighbour.

    A woman in an orange, lacy blouse and distinctive grey and mauve longyi was especially animated about the abuses by Muslims.

    We were then taken to a Buddhist temple, where a monk described Muslims burning down their own homes, nearby. We were given photographs catching them in the act. They looked strange.

    Men in white haji caps posed as they set light to the palm-thatch roof. Women wearing what appeared to be lacy tablecloths on their heads melodramatically waved swords and machetes. Later I found that one of the women was in fact the animated Hindu woman from the school, and I saw that one of the men had also been present in among the displaced Hindu.

    They had faked the photos to make it look as though Muslims were doing the burning.

    We had an audience with Colonel Phone Tint, the local minister for border security. He described how Bengali terrorists, as they call the militants of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, had taken control of Rohingya villages, and forced them to offer one man per household as a fighter. Those who refused to comply have their houses burned, he said. He accused the militants of planting mines and destroying three bridges.

    I asked whether he was saying that all of the dozens of burned villages had been destroyed by the militants. He confirmed that was the government's position. Responding to a question about military atrocities, he waved it away. "Where is the proof?" he asked. "Look at those women," he meant the Rohingya refugees, "who are making these claims - would anyone want to rape them?"

    The few Muslims we were able to see in Maungdaw were mostly too scared to talk in front of a camera. Breaking away from our minders, we spoke to some who described the hardship of not being allowed to leave their neighbourhood by the security forces, of food shortages, and intense fear.

    One young man said they had wanted to flee to Bangladesh, but their leaders had signed an agreement with the authorities to stay. In the now quiet Bengali market, I asked a man what he was frightened of. The government, he said.

    The main destination on our itinerary outside Maungdaw was the coastal town of Alel Than Kyaw. This was one of the places attacked by Arsa militants in the early hours of 25 August. As we approached, we passed village after village, all completely empty. We saw boats, apparently abandoned, along with goats and cattle. There were no people.

    Alel Than Kyaw had been razed to the ground. Even the clinic, with a sign showing it had been run by the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, had been destroyed. To the north, in the distance we could see four columns of smoke rising, and heard bursts of automatic weapons fire. More villages being put to the torch, we guessed.

    Police Lieutenant Aung Kyaw Moe described to us how he had been given advance warning of the attack. He had taken the non-Muslim population for protection into his barracks, and his men fought off the assailants - armed, he said, with guns, swords and home-made explosives, for three hours until they were driven off. Seventeen of the militants lay dead, and one immigration officer. The Muslim population fled shortly afterwards.

    But he struggled to explain why parts of the town were still smouldering, two weeks after the attack, and in the rainy season. Perhaps a few Muslims stayed on, and then set their homes alight before leaving more recently, he suggested half-heartedly.

    Then, on our way back from Alel Than Kyaw, something entirely unplanned happened.

    We spotted black smoke billowing out of some trees, over the rice fields. It was another village going up, right by the road. And the fires had only just started. We all shouted at our police escort to stop the van. When they did, we just ran, leaving our bewildered government minder behind. The police came with us, but then declared it was unsafe to enter the village. So we went ahead of them.

    The sound of burning and crackling was everywhere. Women's clothing, clearly Muslim, was strewn on the muddy path. And there were muscular young men, holding swords and machetes, standing on the path, baffled by the sight of 18 sweaty journalists rushing towards them. They tried to avoid being filmed, and two of them dashed further into the village, bringing out the last of their group and making a hasty exit.

    They said they were Rakhine Buddhists. One of my colleagues managed a quick conversation with one of them, who admitted they had set the houses on fire, with the help of the police.

    As we walked in, we could see the roof of the madrassa had just been set alight. School texts with Arabic script had been thrown outside. An empty plastic jug, reeking of petrol, had been left on the path.

    The village was called Gawdu Thar Ya. It was a Muslim village. There was no sign of the inhabitants. The Rakhine men who had torched the village walked out, past our police escort, some carrying household items they had looted.

    The burning took place close to a number of large police barracks. No-one did anything to stop it.

    pictures at link: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-41222210


    -----------

    China backs Myanmar security force crackdown in Rakhine state

    Beijing has tightened its embrace under Aung San Suu Kyi's civilian government as part of its giant trade, energy and infrastructure strategy for Southeast Asia

    International divisions emerged on Tuesday ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on a worsening refugee crisis in Myanmar, with China voicing support for a military crackdown that has been criticised by the US, slammed as “ethnic cleansing” and forced 370,000 Rohingya to flee the violence.

    Beijing’s intervention appears aimed at heading off any attempt to censure Myanmar at the council when it convenes on Wednesday.

    China was one of the few foreign friends of Myanmar’s former junta.

    International pressure on Myanmar heightened this week after United Nations rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the violence seemed to be a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

    The US also raised alarm over the violence while the Security Council announced it would meet Wednesday to discuss the crisis. Britain and Sweden requested the urgent Security Council meeting amid growing international concern over the ongoing violence. The council met behind closed doors in late August to discuss the violence, but could not agree a formal statement.

    But Beijing offered more encouraging words to Myanmar authorities on Tuesday, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang voicing support for the Myanmarese government’s efforts to “uphold peace and stability” in Rakhine.

    “We hope order and the normal life there will be recovered as soon as possible,” he told a press briefing.

    Beijing has tightened its embrace under Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government as part of its giant trade, energy and infrastructure strategy for Southeast Asia.

    In a statement late Monday Suu Kyi’s Foreign Ministry defended the military for doing their “legitimate duty to restore stability,” saying troops were under orders “to exercise all due restraint, and to take full measures to avoid collateral damage.”

    The exodus from Myanmar’s western Rakine state began after Rohingya militants attacked multiple police outposts and an army base on August 25, prompting a military backlash that has sent a third of the Muslim minority population fleeing for their lives.

    Exhausted Rohingya refugees have given accounts of atrocities at the hands of soldiers and Buddhist mobs who burned their villages to the ground. They can not be independently verified as access to Rakhine state is heavily controlled.

    Myanmar’s government denies any abuses and instead blames militants for burning down thousands of villages, including many belonging to Rohingya.

    The Rohingya minority are denied citizenship and have suffered years of persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

    “An estimated 370,000 Rohingya have entered Bangladesh,” since August 25 Joseph Tripura, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency, said.

    The real figure may be higher as many new arrivals are still on the move making it difficult to include them in the count, the UN said, adding 60% of refugees are children.

    http://www.dhakatribune.com/world/so...rakhine-state/

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    Buddhists to Rohingya: Leave, or we will kill you all

    Thousands of Rohingya Muslims in northwestern Myanmar are pleading for safe passage from two remote villages besieged by Buddhist extremists.

    Media reports said the situation was particularly dire in the village of Ah Nauk Pyin and the nearby Naung Pin Gyi, where any escape route to neighboring Bangladesh is long and arduous.

    Maung Maung, a Rohingya official in Ah Nauk Pyin, said the villagers were resigned to leaving, but authorities had not responded to their requests for security. “We’ll starve soon and they’re threatening to burn down our houses,” he told Reuters by telephone. “We’re terrified.”

    Another Rohingya, who asked not to be named, said extremist Buddhists came to the same village and chanted, “Leave, or we will kill you all.”

    Elsewhere in his remarks, Maung Maung, said he had called Myanmar's police at least 30 times to report threats against his village.

    On September 13, the Rohingya official said he had received a call from a Rakhine villager he knew. “Leave tomorrow or we’ll come and burn down all your houses,” the man on the phone had said. When the Rohingya official protested that they had no means to escape, the man replied, “That’s not our problem.”

    Maung Maung also said the village elders had sent a letter to Rathedaung authorities on September 7, asking to be moved to “another place”. They had yet to receive a response, he said.

    On August 31, Myanmar's police convened a roadside meeting between the two villages. Rohingya residents who attended the meeting said that instead of addressing the Rohingya complaints, the Rakhine officials delivered an ultimatum.

    “They said they didn’t want any Muslims in the region and we should leave immediately,” said the Rohingya resident of Ah Nauk Pyin who requested anonymity.

    Ah Nauk Pyin sits on a mangrove-fringed peninsula in Rathedaung, one of three townships in Rakhine state. The villagers say they have no boats to leave the volatile region.

    Until three weeks ago, there were 21 Rohingya Muslim villages in Rathedaung, along with three camps for Muslims displaced by the previous wave of violence.

    Sixteen of those villages and all three camps have since been emptied and in many cases burnt.

    Human rights monitors say Rathedaung’s five surviving Rohingya villages and their thousands of inhabitants are encircled by Rakhine Buddhists.

    Since 2012, the Rohingya have been too scared to leave the village or till their land, surviving mainly on monthly deliveries from the World Food Program (WFP).

    The recent violence halted those deliveries after the WFP pulled out most of its staff and suspended operations in the region after August 25.

    Residents in the two Rohingya villages said they could no longer venture out to fish or buy food from Buddhist traders, and were running low on food and medicines.

    Since October 2016, Myanmar’s government has laid a siege to the western state of Rakhine, where the Rohingya Muslims are concentrated. There, horrific violence, including killing, rape and torching property, has been taking place against the minority Muslims, according to reports and eyewitnesses.

    The attacks have seen a sharp rise since August 25 after dozens of police and border outposts in Rakhine came under attack purportedly by a group claiming to be the defenders of the Rohingya. The alleged assaults were launched in response to a government clampdown in the area, where over a million Rohingya are based.

    Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence and persecution in their home country of Myanmar continue to arrive in Bangladesh. Refugees are waiting for handout from aid agencies since they lack food, clean water and shelter. Locals say many of the Rohingya refugees are also sick and wounded. Thousands of the displaced people have been stranded or left without enough food for weeks.

    The United Nations says so far more than 400,000 desperate Rohingya Muslims have fled the violence in Myanmar and crossed into neighboring Bangladesh.

    Myanmar’s government denies full citizenship to the Rohingya, branding them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Dhaka, in turn, regards the desperate refugees as Myanmarese and harshly pushes them back. The Rohingya, however, track their ancestors many generations back in Myanmar.

    http://presstv.com/Detail/2017/09/17...hingya-Muslims


    Rohingya crisis: Why Aung San Suu Kyi is becoming a hero in China

    Rohingya crisis: Myanmar State Counselor and former Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has become popular among Chinese netizens for her dealing with the issue.

    Rohingya crisis: Even as she has been facing criticism over the Rohingya issue from several quarters, Myanmar State Counselor and former Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has become popular among Chinese netizens for her dealing with the issue. Chinese state daily Global Times today reported that Chinese netizens have praised her defiance against “outside pressure while safeguarding her people’s interest.”

    The daily says that Suu Kyi was earlier seen as a “proxy” of the West by nationalistic Chinese netizens because of her “close relationship” with the West. The Global Times says that Chinese online communities are “routinely indignant” over the pressure from the West on developing countries for dealing with the issues concerning their respective national security.

    According to the Chinese daily, on sites like guancha.cn and ifeng.com, Suu Kyi is being hailed as “a stateswoman who serves her people’s interest” and a “tough and wise woman who knows much better than the Western politicians who make political correctness a business”

    According to Reuters, over 400,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh to escape alleged “ethnic cleansing” from Rakhine in Myanmar. Scores of them have also fled to India. As the Rohingya issue unfolds as a grave humanitarian crisis, Western media have been highly critical of Suu Kyi’s silence. In an article recently, The New York Times even suggested that Suu Kyi be stripped off her Nobel Prize.

    Global Times says Chinese citizen’s concerns about “domestic Islamic extremism” have made the Myanmar crisis a sensitive issue. “Chinese people shared some concern on religious extremism with Myanmar, so their attitude toward Suu Kyi is also their attitude toward the Myanmar people,” Liu Yun, an analyst on Myanmar issue told Global Times.

    Suu Kyi’s popularity is also rising in China because of he “friendly policy” towards China, which was not expected by many, Liu told the daily.


    http://www.financialexpress.com/worl...-china/860248/

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    Myanmar Buddhist mob attacks aid shipment for Rohingya

    21 Sep 2017

    Police in western Myanmar fired warning shots after a Buddhist mob tried to block humanitarian aid headed to an area where ethnic Rohingya Muslims were driven from their homes, police said Thursday. No injuries were reported and police arrested eight participants.

    Around 300 men started throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at officers protecting a truck delivering supplies from the International Committee of the Red Cross to a jetty in the Rakhine state capital, Sittwe, said police officer Phyo Wai Kyaw.

    The bottled water, blankets, mosquito nets, food and other supplies were being delivered by boat to northern Rakhine, where members of the long-persecuted Rohingya community have been without any meaningful form of humanitarian assistance since violence broke out last month, sending an estimated 421,000 fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh.

    The exodus followed a military crackdown in response to coordinated attacks by Rohingya militants on security forces. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims and Buddhist Rakhine are still in the area.

    Though Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi assured diplomats earlier this week that humanitarian assistance was being delivered to those in need, the government has blocked United Nations aid agencies that have worked in the area in the past.

    Buddhists in Rakhine have accused international aid groups of favouring Rohingya.

    “We are explaining to the community members who approached the boats about the activities of the Red Cross,” said Maria Cecilia Goin, a communications officer at the ICRC Yangon.

    “It's important for them to understand that we are working in neutral and impartial way,” she said, adding that the work is being done “with full transparency with the Myanmar authorities.”

    The protest was testament to rising communal animosity that threatens to complicate the delivery of vital supplies, and came as US President Donald Trump called for a quick end to the violence that has raised concern about Myanmar's transition from military rule.



    The aid shipment, being organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was bound for the north of the state where insurgent attacks on Aug 25 sparked a military backlash.

    The violence has sent more than 420,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh but many remain in Myanmar, hiding in fear of being caught up in more violence without food and other supplies, aid workers believe.

    Tension between majority Buddhists and Rohingya in Rakhine state has simmered for decades but it has exploded in violence several times over the past few years, as old prejudices have surfaced with the end of decades of military rule.



    The latest bout of bloodshed began in August when Rohingya insurgents attacked about 30 police posts and an army camp, killing about 12 people.

    The government says more than 400 people, most of them insurgents have been killed since then.

    Rights monitors and fleeing Rohingya say the army and Rakhine Buddhist vigilantes have mounted a campaign aimed at driving out the Muslim population and torching their villages.

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

    The violence and the exodus of refugees has brought International condemnation and raised questions about the commitment of government leader Aung San Suu Kyi to human rights, and prospects for Myanmar's political and economic development.


    Ms Suu Kyi addressed the nation about the crisis on Tuesday and condemned abuses and said all violators would be punished, adding that she was committed to peace and the rule of law.

    However, she did not address UN accusations of ethnic cleansing by the military, which is in charge of security.

    US President Donald Trump wanted the UN Security Council to take "strong and swift action" to end the violence, US Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday, declaring the crisis a threat to the region and world.

    Pence repeated a US call for the military to end the violence and support diplomatic efforts for a long-term solution for the Rohingya, who are denied citizenship in a country where many Buddhists regard them as illegal immigrants.

    It was the strongest US government response yet to the violence.

    US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Murphy is in Myanmar and was due to meet government officials and representatives of different communities in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state.

    Military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on Wednesday visited an army camp in the state that was attacked on Aug 25.

    "This was a British colony over 100 years ago, we are facing the consequences of their reckless acts until now," he was quoted as saying in a military release.

    This week, Britain suspended a training programme for Myanmar officers because of the violence and called on the army to stop the violence.

    The Myanmar military said five officers in Britain were being brought home and "no trainees .. will be sent to Britain any more".

    http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asea...t-for-rohingya


 

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