MYANMAR: “WE ARE AT BREAKING POINT”-ROHINGYA: PERSECUTED IN MYANMAR, NEGLECTED IN BANGLADESH
This report documents a campaign of violence by the Myanmar security forces against Rohingya since 9 October 2016. Soldiers and police have randomly fired on and killed civilians, raped women and girls, torched whole villages and arbitrarily arrested Rohingya men without any information about their whereabouts or charges. These actions have been a form of collective punishment targeting Rohingya in northern Rakhine state, and may amount to crimes against humanity.
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BANGKOK — The actions of Myanmar’s military may constitute crimes against humanity, human rights group Amnesty International has warned, based on accounts of violence against the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority.
Myanmar has come under heavy criticism for its army’s forceful treatment of the Rohingya, and international human rights groups such as Amnesty have accused the military of mass murder, looting and rape.
“The Myanmar military has targeted Rohingya civilians in a callous and systematic campaign of violence,” said Rafendi Djamin, Southeast Asia director for Amnesty International. “The deplorable actions of the military could be part of a widespread and systematic attack on a civilian population and may amount to crimes against humanity.”
Amnesty released a report Monday outlining its accusations. The report comes as Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is set to meet fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asians Nations at a Monday meeting in Yangon.
The military sweeps were sparked by an Oct. 9 attack on police outposts in Rakhine state that killed nine officers.
Rakhine, located in Myanmar’s west, has long been home to simmering tensions between the Rohingya and the country’s Buddhist majority population. The last major outbreak of violence in 2012 left hundreds dead and drove 140,000 people into internal displacement camps.
Amnesty cautioned that the scale and extent of the violence is unclear, as the military has closed Rakhine to outside observers, including aid workers. But eyewitness accounts detail specific cases of murder, looting and rape.
In one incident on Nov. 12, following an alleged skirmish between the army and villagers armed mostly with swords and other simple weapons, helicopter gunships descended on a village and sprayed bullets indiscriminately, killing civilians fleeing in a panic, Amnesty said. This was corroborated to an extent by Myanmar army officials, who said helicopters opening fire that day and killed six people, who officials said were insurgents.
Refugees told Amnesty that the military is torching villages. Satellite images Amnesty obtained show 1,200 burned structures, which they say is in line with images released by Human Rights Watch in November that showed 1,500 burned homes.
Amnesty’s report follows concerns voiced in an International Crisis Group report released last week that repressive government policies are radicalizing the Rohingya, and sharp criticism from the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.
“Myanmar’s handling of northern Rakhine is a lesson in how to make a bad situation worse,” al-Hussein said in Geneva on Friday. “The results have been catastrophic, with mass displacement, the nurturing of violent extremism, and everybody ultimately losing.”
The border attacks were coordinated by a new insurgent group calling itself Harakah al-Yaqin, or the Faith Movement, according to the Belgium-based International Crisis Group. Organized by a network of Rohingya in Saudi Arabia and bankrolled by wealthy donors, the militant group is being called a “game changer” for drawing Muslims disillusioned and desperate from years of disenfranchisement by the Myanmar government.
Amnesty is urging the government to immediately cease hostilities, open Rakhine for humanitarian aid groups, and allow independent investigations.
Source by: http://www.nytimes.com/
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged countries from the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) to make strong efforts at an emergency meeting of the group to resolve the ongoing Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.
ASEAN’s upcoming meeting is scheduled for Monday in Myanmar’s Yangon.
Phil Robertson, the deputy director of the Asia Division at the HRW, said the international rights group as wells as other members of the global community is “hoping that this will be the beginning of an ongoing campaign by some of the ASEAN states to demand answers from Burma (Myanmar), and to expect better treatment of the Rohingya.”
Robertson emphasized that ASEAN nations have the necessary power to exert influence on Myanmar’s government in regard to the Rohingya crisis.
“ASEAN does have efficacy to be able to force Myanmar to answer questions,” he said.
Robertson said the solution to the crisis is to integrate the Muslims, who having been living in Myanmar for generations.
“Ultimately, these governments need to press Burma to allow the Rohingya to stay and to have citizenship and be accepted as full participants in the Burmese state. Otherwise, we’re going to continue to have these occasional pogroms against the Rohingyas,” he said, referring to the instances of murder against the ethnic Muslims in Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine State.
International pressure has been mounting on the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, over a military crackdown against the Rohingyas in Rakhine, where the Muslims are concentrated and have been besieged by army forces.
World bodies, including the United Nations (UN), have called on Suu Kyi to fulfill her responsibility in the crisis, visit the state, and take measures to protect the Rohingya Muslim minority there against ongoing atrocities at the hands of the military.
Suu Kyi has done little to address the issue. A task force that she ordered to investigate the situation in Rakhine came out saying that military soldiers there were acting according to law.
The ASEAN meeting
Myanmar called for the emergency meeting of ASEAN nations shortly after the UN said it was receiving daily reports of rapes and killings of members of the Rohingya community in the country.
The UN statement, which was released on Friday, criticized Suu Kyi for her “short-sighted, counterproductive, even callous” approach to the humanitarian crisis involving the Rohingya.
The UN has estimated that 27,000 members of the Rohingya community have been forced to flee the terror waged on them in the region by the military and extremist Buddhists and seek asylum in neighboring countries such as Bangladesh.
A much larger number of Rohingya “boat people” have attempted to flee to other neighboring countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, which are all members of ASEAN.
People in both Malaysia and Indonesia have been protesting against the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims by the military in the Buddhist-dominant country.
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak called for international intervention to resolve the crisis and put an end to the “genocide” of the Rohingyas in Myanmar.
The Monday ASEAN meeting will be held behind closed doors. It will be attended by the foreign ministers of ASEAN countries, including the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar itself.
Rakhine State has been under military siege since October, when unidentified elements launched a deadly raid on a police post. The Myanmarese government blamed the attack on militants whom it said were linked to the Rohingya.
There have been numerous reports of rape, murder, and arson against the Muslim population in the state. But violence against the Rohingya precedes the current military siege.
Rakhine has been the scene of communal violence at the hands of Buddhist extremists since 2012. Hundreds of the Muslims have been killed in the violence. Myanmar’s population is mostly comprised of Buddhists.
The government denies full citizenship to the members of the Rohingya community in Myanmar despite their long-time presence in Rakhine.
The UN says the Rohingyas are one of the most persecuted communities in the world.
“We cannot travel to anywhere; there’s no education or healthcare, no jobs here. We are living here like prisoners. So, I have no more words to express our lives. We need as much help as possible,” said Maung Hla, a Muslim Rohingya who lives in apartheid-like conditions at a camp for internally displaced persons in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State.
Source by: http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/12/18/498391/Myanmar-HRW-Rohingya-ASEAN-meeting
A Rohingya Genocide in the Making
Myanmar is witnessing an ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.
As the world’s attention is focused on the tragedy of Aleppo, a small pocket of western Myanmar is witnessing a genocide of its own in the making. In response to recent attacks against the police by Rohingya militants, the recently-elected government has moved in against the Muslim minority group, armed with everything from fire torches to helicopter gunships. As in most conflicts, the majority of victims—of rape, torture and murder—are women, children and the elderly.
The 1.3 million Rohingya live in Rakhine state and are falsely classified as illegal immigrants by both the Myanmar government and the militant Buddhists, who launch attacks against them. The group has been denied citizenship and even its name itself is recognized neither by the government nor its Nobel Peace Prize-winning international superstar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who herself spent 15 years under arrest during the military dictatorship.
As Suu Kyi turns a deaf ear to the plight of the Rohingya community, the 120,000 who are already displaced are now being followed by tens of thousands more, fleeing collective punishment and facing more “starvation, despair and disease.”
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
Photo Credit: Farid_Ahmed
Source by: http://www.fairobserver.com/world-news/rohingya-genocide-myanmar-burma-latest-news-17724
The arrested men have been identified as Zafar Hossain (72), Bashir Ahmed (70), Abul Hashem (53), Md Salam (50), Saddam (17) and Abu Siddique (15). They were taken to custody and severely tortured. Relatives are fearing for their lives.
One of the woman who had told the commission how the soldiers had raped them was also hunted down. She was forced to apologise on video and had to give the statement that all her allegations were fake.
After that, the army got hold of three women and gang raped them.
The commission members had earlier visited nearby Ra Bai La. After they had left, the Tatmadaw and Hlun Htein entered the village tract where they raped at two minor girls and a mother of three children and brutally beat up more than 15 others on Monday morning.
When the force entered the village tract, all the women tried to run for safety but around 20 of them were caught from a house where they had hidden. Soldiers dragged them out of their hiding places and beat them mercilessly with bamboo sticks. Three of the women were taken to a secluded spot and gang raped one after another.
Since the first week of this month, many women in Ra Bai La were raped and sexually abused on a daily basis. Soldiers routinely entered the village tract, herded more than a hundred women, took them to an open field and forced to strip. Some would be singled out for gang rape. The similar practise continued in nearby Sa Li Frang for a week.
The area along with Bor Gazi Bil and Sau Ra Gazi Bil was pounded with helicopter gunships, heavy artillery and rocket launchers on November 12 and 13 killing at least 150 people, many of them women and children. Since then, the Tatmadaw continued to arbitrarily arrest and torture the men, while the women were sexually abused and raped.
Soldiers started the carnage when Rohingya protesters armed with sticks prevented a Tatmadaw team from carrying out rapes. Since the beginning of the conflict, the army had continued to insist the Rohingyas from that area hand over women to them.
In another incident, an army team entered Saung Khaw La Para on Tuesday morning. As they entered the area, many of the women fled, but around eight of them were found in a house where they had hidden. The women were taken to a room in turns, and raped by multiple men.
In the evening, soldiers went house to house and raped four more women. One of them fled from the soldiers and hid in a paddy field, but the men found her and raped her on the spot. She was also brutally beaten up.
At the same time, soldiers found three elderly men in their houses, who had not run away as they were too weak to do so. The elderly men identified as Saar Ahmed (70), Zahid Hossain (71) and Doliya (75) were brutally beaten up and received serious injuries from the assault. They are currently in critical condition.
In the night, the soldiers stayed in a local mosque. Here they desecrated the Quran, tore out pages from the holy book and kicked it outside the mosque so that the entire village could witness the incident.
During the raid, the soldiers fired in the air to spread panic among the Rohingyas. Many of the houses were also looted.
There are also reports that two women were gang raped in Kya Maung on Tuesday morning. The victims are sisters.
Locals also discovered a corpse with hands tied behind his back near a creek in Yay Myet Bil. The nature of his death suggests he was killed after being arrested. Many of the arrested Rohingyas have had their eyes gouged out, hands cut off and subjected to brutal torture leading to fears the death toll could be higher than currently reported, as many of the arrested men are likely to die a slow and painful death.
Source by: http://myanmarobserver.com/
December 18, 2016
Army personal raided Nari Bil in Maungdaw North on Friday and raped at least eight women.
More than 80 soldiers entered the village tract at around noon, apprehended eight women and proceeded to gang rape them.
They also smashed up property and looted valuables.
In a separate incident, Hlun Htein personal set fire to houses in Kawa Bil. The villagers were earlier forced out in late October for allegedly providing shelter to Muslim rebels.
In Maungdaw South, Hlun Htein forces demolished 12 houses in Kiladong on Saturday. The incident happens a week after security forces ordered the demolition of a mosque and houses on the roadside on December 12.
While Kiladong and other Maungdaw South villages have been spared the terror of the recent crackdown, it is a traditional hotspot for violence. In one of the worst incidents, scores of women and children were hacked to death when a Rakhine mob backed by security forces attacked the village tract in January 2014. Since then there has been tension in the area as security forces cracked down on the survivors.
Local sources have also said there has been a steady movement of Tatmadaw troops into Maungdaw South.
Altogether while there has been incidents of rape and arson attacks on Rohingya settlements, there is an eerie calm in the area. Rohingya activists however warn the situation might take a turn for the worse anytime.
Hundreds have been killed and arrested, while many women have been raped since Tatmadaw forces unleashed a draconian crackdown on Rohingyas since October 9. Many of those arrested have been tortured to death, with some having their eyes gouged out and wrists cut off
Source by: http://myanmarobserver.com/
Rise of tyranny in Myanmar
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 – The world needs to act soon rise because of atrocities in Burma is the worst event in the history of human civilization.
Syed Hamid Albar
Special envoy the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for Myanmar, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the OIC strongly condemned Myanmar’s military oppression against Rohingya Muslims worsening in northern Rakhine state.
“Buddhism even prevent inhumane acts occurred. So, the world must stop immediately likened the events in Rwanda tragedy in Southeast Asia.
“United Nations (UN) and the ASEAN should take the necessary steps as stipulated in the provisions of the UN Charter that protects and respects the rights of all human beings,” he said in a statement on Facebook today.
Earlier, the watchdog group Human Rights successful attempt to disassemble the Myanmar government troops closed the atrocities committed against the Rohingya Muslims when burning over 1,000 settlements and 30,000 Rohingyas were left homeless and thousands were killed.
In the meantime, former Senior Diplomat Malaysia, Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, urged the government to become a member of the High Commission of United Nations for Refugees (UNHCR) and the signing of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
He said this was because Malaysia is an active UN member states and is believed by many to hold office.
“We need to be an expert and be bound by the agreement to be more vocal in urging UNHCR assistance and security to the war-torn country.
“Our relationship with UNHCR now in an informal or like friends,” he said.
Hasmy also explained that Malaysia is still reluctant to ratify the agreement for fear bound by the principle to accept refugees and is likely to be an attraction to more refugees coming into Malaysia.
Meanwhile, President of the Human Rights Malaysia Myanmar Ethnic Rohingyas (MERHROM), Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani, asking Malaysia as a responsible ASEAN member countries.
“I call on the government to provide food aid, medical and security to the Rohingya there. In addition, the 192 UN member states have to adopt the law on refugees persecuted and intervene to resolve this issue.
“If the world can not intervene, we have supplied arms and let ourselves fighting with the military junta of Myanmar,” he said.
Otherwise the foreign minister might as well not attend the Asean Foreign Minister’s meeting on Rohingya
Myanmar’s most famous personality, state counsellor and Foreign Minister, Aung San Suu Kyi, has asked for Asean Foreign Ministers to come together for a briefing on the fast-deteriorating Rohingya humanitarian crisis, next week.
Although Suu Kyi has come under heavy criticism for dismissing the allegations of heightened violence against the Rohingya, this is certainly an opportunity for Malaysia to show it is serious about advocating for the minority community whom the United Nations describes as one of the most persecuted people in the world.
The meeting should not be treated as a form of political cover for the Myanmar government.
Asean foreign ministers should use the opportunity to address the crisis head-on. They must impress upon Aung San Suu Kyi the importance of protecting civilian life and ensuring that abuses are properly and urgently investigated.
Few weeks ago, Prime Minister Najib Razak broke ranks with Asean’s non-interference policy and observed the killings of the Rohingya in Rakhine state as targeted persecution.
It’s now time for the Malaysian government to make good its concern for the Rohingya, who have been butchered, murdered, burnt and raped since October this year.
Instead of passively listening to a briefing by Myanmar, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman has to ask the tough questions – did the Myanmar military undertake systematic ethnic cleansing and commit crimes against humanity against the Rohingya’s in Rakhine state?
This is an important given recent revelations by Human Rights Watch satellite imagery, suggesting over 1,500 buildings have been burned down in the Rakhine area in the past two months and revealed patterns suggesting that the Myanmar military is responsible for the arson.
There are easily 150,000 Rohingya in Malaysia. And they are in a legal limbo here.
Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and therefore the government doesn’t recognise the rights of the asylum seekers or refugees.
As such the government must ratify the convention, recognise the rights of the Rohingya, allow the refugees to work and send their children to school before it can indulge itself in sloganeering at a political rally.
The Rohingya have very little access to medicine and are too poor to afford the costs of medical attention for critical cases. This too must change.
Asean is known as a toothless tiger. The long meetings, countless conferences of heads of states and endless meetings between foreign ministers don’t bring about effective change. They remain as a mere back-slapping routine at dinner tables.
This must change and Malaysia can spearhead that shift if it cleans up its own backyard and allows the Rohingya and other refugees the dignity of being treated with respect and the space to ensure their rights are met.
Malaysia, at the briefing session, can pledge to change its policy to recognise the Rohingya and other refugees.
And it can then surely raise tough questions and hard issues about the Rohingya with Myanmar and Suu Kyi.
If the Malaysian government doesn’t want to rock the boat any further and would rather keep nodding his head, it’s best to avoid this meeting, especially since the Rohingya are facing the last stages of genocide now.
Charles Santiago is the MP for Klang
Source by: http://www.beritadaily.com/rohingya-crisis-anifah-must-raise-tough-questions
Suspended in Time: The Ongoing Persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma [EN/MY]
More than four years ago, two waves of sectarian violence struck Rakhine State. In the time since, Rohingya Muslims, Rakhine Buddhists, and individuals of other ethnicities and beliefs throughout the state have suffered grievous deprivations of basic rights, including inadequate access to food, water, shelter, education, and health care; restrictions on freedom of movement; denial of needed humanitarian aid; limited opportunities to obtain an education or earn a living; egregious human rights abuses resulting in death, injury, and displacement; and, in the case of Rohingya Muslims, the denial of the right to a nationality and citizenship.
Severe poverty across Rakhine State has exacerbated the situation for all who live there. Moreover, ongoing attacks by Burma’s Army, the Tatmadaw, against the Arakan Army (an ethnic armed group) and civilians have displaced hundreds of people and condemned countless children into forced labor. It is critical that all affected communities in Rakhine State receive both domestic and international humanitarian aid to lift them out of poverty and neglect.
All of this has occurred under intense international scrutiny that—paradoxically—imposed on Burma few practical consequences for such a serious escalation of abuses. Indeed, the situation is so dire for many individuals that some have called the violations crimes against humanity, or even genocide. Meanwhile, Burma’s government directly and indirectly fomented a groundswell of sometimes violent ethnoreligious nationalism with strong anti-Muslim undertones, and at the same time shunned international criticism of its growing human rights abuses.
The full scale of this crisis has been decades in the making. Historically, ethnic Rakhine (predominantly Buddhist) and ethnic Rohingya (predominantly Muslim) have experienced periods of both peaceful coexistence and ethno-religious tensions in the geographical area known today as Rakhine (or Arakan) State. In the absence of clear, well-defined borders, it is difficult to distinguish individuals indigenous to the area from those who for centuries regularly moved along the fluid western edge of Rakhine State. Muslims, including Rohingya Muslims, were among both those with organic roots to the land and those who commonly flowed across this porous region.
Following the 1962 coup led by General Ne Win, Burma’s military government maintained power in part through a divide-and-conquer strategy that pitted Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims against each other, and, in Rakhine State, ethnic Rakhine against their Rohingya neighbors. Reflecting this strategy, the government in 1982 stripped the Rohingya of citizenship and subsequently allowed violence, discrimination, and human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims to occur with impunity.
This ill treatment continues today. For several reasons, however, conditions for Rohingya Muslims deteriorated during the presidency of Thein Sein, who took office following the 2010 general elections—the first since 1990. First, the government legislated new discriminatory measures—the four “race and religion laws”—that target Rohingya Muslims and other religious minorities. Second, some individuals, including within the government and monkhood, took advantage of greater freedom to advance anti-Muslim hatred, using Facebook and other online media to fabricate and spread rumors that incited and legitimized discrimination and violent acts. Third, the government rarely held accountable perpetrators or inciters of violence.
Fourth, and perhaps most significant, is the overall political framework in which abuses against Rohingya Muslims occurred. Before Thein Sein took office, the military-controlled government characterized the elections as Burma’s return to civilian rule and a critical element in the so-called “seven-step roadmap to democracy,”2 which originated in 2003. The roadmap primarily centered around the drafting of a new national charter that ultimately resulted in the 2008 Constitution, still in effect today. That constitution, however, further entrenched the military’s power, and the military government proceeded with the national referendum vote shortly after the devastating Cyclone Nargis. Although the military outwardly stepped aside, the new quasi-civilian government3 under President Thein Sein portrayed a façade that in practice made only nominal progress toward democratic norms.
Source by: http://reliefweb.int/report/myanmar/suspended-time-ongoing-persecution-rohingya-muslims-burma-enmy