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Latest Rohingya News Arakan News Myanmar News The Rohingya, an ethnic group from Arakan, Myanmar (Burma), is one of most persecuted minorities in the

Rohingya immigrants live in small settlements and slums in India
GUWAHATI: Police on Thursday took a Rohingya Muslim family of five to the border by bus, readying to deport them to neighbouring Myanmar as the second such group expelled in four months during a crackdown on illegal immigrants.

The government regards the Rohingya as illegal aliens and a security risk. It has ordered that tens of thousands of the community, who live in small settlements and slums, be identified and repatriated.
The husband, wife and three children comprising the family set to be expelled on Thursday had been arrested and jailed in Assam in 2014 for entering India without valid documents, police said.

"These five people are now at the border gate in the adjoining Manipur state and we are waiting for Myanmar officials to hand them over formally," Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, Assam's additional director general of police, told Reuters.
Jails in Assam held 20 more Myanmar nationals, all arrested for illegal entry, he added. But it was not immediately clear if all were Rohingya, a largely stateless Muslim minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

"We shall send them back to Myanmar once we get their travel permits from that country," Mahanta said. "Most of them sneaked into India in search of a livelihood."
India's first deportation of seven Rohingya men to Myanmar in October sparked fears of further repatriations among those sheltering in its refugee camps, and concern that those returned faced the risk of abuse at the hands of Myanmar authorities.

There has been no word on the fate of the deported men.

The government estimates that 40,000 Rohingya live in India in camps across the country, including the capital, New Delhi, having arrived over the years after fleeing violence and persecution in Myanmar, which denies them citizenship.

In August, a United Nations report accused the Myanmar military of committing mass killings and rapes on the Rohingya with "genocidal intent" in 2017 in an operation that drove more than 700,000 of them to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.

Myanmar has denied the charges, saying its military launched a counter-insurgency operation after attacks on security posts by Muslim militants in August last year.

Latest Rohingya News Arakan News Myanmar News The Rohingya, an ethnic group from Arakan, Myanmar (Burma), is one of most persecuted minorities in the

 Bangladesh, myanmar, South Asia

 AASHNA MALPANI WRITES– Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, victims of Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing, are packed into refugee camps just 20 miles from the city of Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh. Their everyday life is riddled with little access to education and restricted cellular reception. And they are social pariahs.
“The average day of refugees looks like a bird in a cage. They face various difficulties in Cox’s Bazar because they aren’t allowed to move freely except in refugee camp areas,” says Mohammad Rafique, President of the Arakan Rohingya Youth Association (ARYA), from his office in Bangladesh.
He describes in detail how identifying as Rohingya—Rafique himself is one— is “considered a crime.” That’s why he, like many others, hides under the label of ‘Bangladeshi’ to avoid harassment and assault by local forces. “All the Rohingya people and their offspring pass their days in mental agony here if they are accused of being Rohingya,” Rafique laments. Most asylum seekers are regularly rebuked by the general public, portrayed as criminals by national media and denied access to proper medical care.
http://asiamedia.lmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/1.jpgCourtesy: Al Jazeera
The Bangladesh government has also imposed cellphone bans on the Rohingya for “security reasons,” so little information leaves the camps. Ko Ko Naing, a founding member of the Los Angeles Rohingya Association (LARA), says this enables “the Bangladeshi media to take advantage and circulate fake news, like when they said some Rohingya boys raped one of their girls. This lie instigated a huge riot, and further angered the public.”
Prices, Jobs, And Discontentment
Things soured after 2017, when more than 7,00,000 Rohingyas crossed over into Bangladesh. The influx led to higher prices on commodities, with demand exceeding supply, and affected the day-to-day lives of locals. While it once cost 5,000 taka ($59) to rent a 3b/2ba apartment, it now costs 15,000-20,000 taka ($176-235), Rafique tells me.
In addition, the many day laborers in and around Cox’s Bazar are suffering significant wage cuts because the Rohingyas will work for less; daily wages have dropped from 500 taka a day ($6) to about 300 taka ($3.5).
http://asiamedia.lmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/CBC.jpgCourtesy: CBC
There has also been rising concern with regard to other forms of employment. Because of the Rohingya crisis, several NGOs have set up camp in Bangladesh and are constantly in need of assistance. As they pay better, local vendors, traders, and teachers have closed up shop to join forces with aid groups, leaving marketplaces and schools empty.
Olivia Nightingale, the Program Associate for Civil and Political Rights at the American Jewish World Service (AJWS), explains: “Their (Bangladesh’s) local teachers are being poached to work in the camps by NGOs who can pay substantially more than local institutions can. As a result of this, we’re seeing girls and host communities not going to school because their parents are worried about a lack of education and faculty.”
The Floating Island, Vasan Char
With the Rohingya resisting repatriation to Myanmar, and fearing to return to the Rakhine State, they face another challenge: relocation to Vasan Char, located in the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh. Approved by Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina Sheikh, this measure is said to be an attempt to stem the tide of refugees flooding Cox’s Bazar.
The island of Vasan Char, mainly composed of heaps of silt, is highly vulnerable to natural disasters such as cyclones and floods; it cannot safely accommodate thousands of refugees. Human rights activists from around the world have condemned this location as a giant “detention center.” Despite international outrage, Bangladesh has been investing millions of dollars and working with both British and Chinese engineers to make the space habitable.
http://asiamedia.lmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/VS.jpg
Reuters: A makeshift restaurant on Vasan Char
AJWS program associate Nightingale has assessed the expedited project as the Burmese and Bangladeshi governments trying to wash their hands of the “Rohingya problem.” She goes on to tell me, “Given the strains on local host communities and the resources themselves, there’s an emphasis on both sides for the Rohingya to resettle back in Rakhine state under whatever terms the Bangladeshi government and Burmese governments agree to.”
What Can We Do?
While the Rohingya population is far safer in Bangladesh, where they can escape mass killings, rapes and arbitrary arrests in Myanmar, they’re still denied many fundamental human rights.
According to Nightingale, several regulatory “international players,” including the United Nations (UN) and the International Criminals Court (ICC), have suffered at the hands of the Trump administration, resulting in a significant decline in global mechanisms for justice, human rights, and accountability. “In many ways, the efficacy of the UN has really been greatly weakened as a result of not just this (U.S.) regime, but similar regimes that have come to power recently. We’re seeing that even referrals to the International Criminal Court don’t seem to have the same value that maybe they once did,” she says.
Speaking on behalf of his organization, LARA founder Naing assigns some blame to Western countries as well, suggesting they need to “do more than sanctions.” He wants to see “an international peacekeeping force that not only pushes for non-violence but also punishes governments. They need to issue a warning of military action against Myanmar, and then bring down the central government.” He proposes that locals around the world encourage their own governments to try to help resolve the Rohingya crisis.
Rafique promises, “When judgment day comes, and if the Almighty Allah conducts another hashar (end) for us, we will ask ‘What was our ultimate crime?’”

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Latest Rohingya News Arakan News Myanmar News The Rohingya, an ethnic group from Arakan, Myanmar (Burma), is one of most persecuted minorities in the
By on December 14, 2018

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution by a vote of 394-1 Thursday, declaring Myanmar’s military campaign against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority a genocide.
A United Nations report released in August said the military carried out mass killings and gang rapes with “genocidal intent” and also definitively called for Myanmar officials to face genocide charges for the first time.
Myanmar’s military has denied previous accusations it had committed genocide, maintaining its actions were part of an anti-terrorism campaign.
The atrocities have prompted the U.N. and a number of political and human rights leaders to question the southeast Asian country’s progress toward democracy.
The Burma Task Force, a coalition of U.S. and Canadian Muslim organizations, applauded the genocide designation.
“The House of Representatives has now officially adopted the position that the ongoing policies of mass violence and displacement against the Rohingya by the Myanmar government constitute genocide, bringing the U.S. closer to the emerging international consensus on the issue.”
The U.S. State Department usually makes such official designations but has not used the term genocide to describe the military’s atrocities against the Rohingya.
The House resolution also called on the Myanmar government to release Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were jailed one year ago.
They were sentenced in September to seven years in prison for violating the country’s colonial-era Secrets Act. Lawyers for the reporters said their clients were set up and have appealed their sentences and convictions.
The Myanmar embassy in Washington did not immediately comment on the House vote.
Credit : Voice of America (VOA) | Photo Credit: AP
Latest Rohingya News Arakan News Myanmar News The Rohingya, an ethnic group from Arakan, Myanmar (Burma), is one of most persecuted minorities in the
Rohingya refugee children walk along the road at Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, Nov 16, 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain)

DHAKA: Bangladesh summoned the Myanmar ambassador on Wednesday (Dec 6) to condemn “irresponsible remarks” made by Myanmar’s religion minister about Rohingya Muslims, and called for action against him, senior officials at the Bangladesh foreign ministry said.
Rohingya Muslims living as refugees in Bangladesh after escaping Myanmar are being “brainwashed” into “marching” on the Buddhist-majority nation, Myanmar’s religion minister Thura Aung Ko said in a video released by the news website NewsWatch.
“We strongly protest their minister’s provocative remarks. It also hurt Muslim sentiments,” a senior official in the Bangladesh foreign ministry told Reuters on Thursday.
Condemning the comments about “marching on Myanmar”, he said: “We have zero tolerance towards militancy. We have never encouraged radicalism.”
“If you give them citizenship and their property back, they will run for Myanmar. Instead of doing that, you are making provocative statements? This is unfortunate,” the official said.
More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state in the wake of a brutal army crackdown last August, UN agencies say, and are now living in crowded Bangladeshi refugee camps.

UN investigators have accused Myanmar soldiers of carrying out mass killings, rapes and burning hundreds of villages with "genocidal intent". Myanmar denies most of the allegations.
When Bangladesh summoned Myanmar ambassador U Lwin Oo, he “tried to dilute the comments by saying they were the religion minister’s personal opinion,” said an official at the Bangladesh foreign ministry who was present at the meeting. “But we asked for action against the minister.”
The religion minister’s comments come as both countries have been engaged in negotiations for more than a year to repatriate the Rohingya to Myanmar, often blaming each other for delays in the process.
The latest plan was scuppered last month after no refugees agreed to return, saying they wouldn’t go back unless Myanmar met a series of demands, chiefly granting them citizenship rights.

Latest Rohingya News Arakan News Myanmar News The Rohingya, an ethnic group from Arakan, Myanmar (Burma), is one of most persecuted minorities in the

Rohingya refugees crew on a fishing boat in the Bay of Bengal near Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh, March 24, 2018. Now the Rohingya may be pushed even farther from home: banished to a remote island off the coast of Bangladesh. 
       Credit: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters
The Rohingya Muslims have been driven out by their homeland along the coast of Myanmar and into Bangladesh through army purges that United Nations officials call “genocidal.”
Now the Rohingya may be pushed even farther from home: banished to a remote island off the coast of Bangladesh. There are nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees living in squalid camps in Bangladesh, one of the world’s most crowded nations. Officials there are planning to relocate many of them to this tiny island as soon as next year.
The island is out in the middle of the Bay of Bengal — about three hours off of mainland Bangledesh — and it's mostly composed of silt. It's been created naturally over the past 20 years but even 50 years ago, you couldn't find it on a map.


So far, there’s been no official poll on how Rohingya broadly feel about the move but there is vocal pushback. A Rohingya-run advocacy news outlet called Arakan Times has been posting footage of roughly a hundred or so refugees in the camps chanting “no way, no way” — meaning, “no way” will they go to this island.
A Rohingya man named Nay San Lwin is an activist and blogger living in Germany who has visited refugee camps in Bangladesh multiple times this year, namely camps near Cox’s Bazaar — which is now flooded with international aid groups.
“Nobody likes this plan. I have talked with many fellow Rohingya in the camp. Nobody wants to move there, said Nay San Lwin. "At least in Cox’s Bazaar, they have access to everything. There are humanitarian organizations. Aid organizations. UN organizations. But once they move to this island, they will have everything limited.”

The island is incredibly small with no real human settlement and very possibly no electricity. It’s about 20 miles from mainland Bangladesh, meaning it would take hours to get there by boat. And it sits right in the path of vicious monsoons that come every year.
Nay San Lwin worries the island is too small to build up a big presence of aid workers, hospitals, clinics and so on. He said he thinks it could be even worse than the apartheid conditions in the Rohingya homeland, a part of Myanmar called Northern Rakhine State.
“This island is [even] worse than the Northern Rakhine State.
You know, Northern Rakhine State, we call it the 'killing fields.' This island is also considered like a killing field. Because you don’t know what will happen in the monsoon season," he said. "They could be killed in an hour or in a few minutes when there is a cyclone. There is no guarantee at all."
(Editor's note: The phrase “killing fields” is very potent in Southeast Asia because it alludes to the Khmer Rouge genocide in 1970s Cambodia.)
It’s hard to say what the next steps will be. Myanmar has talked about repatriating a very small number of people but Rohingya are terrified about a return to apartheid conditions and refuse to go.
For now, the government of Bangladesh is building cement complexes on the island that will house Rohingya refugees in the future. The rooms are about two meters by two meters and have bars on the windows. 
The UN and aid groups have warned against the move.