December 2018
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.


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 look through barbed wire at a refugee camp in Bangladesh in August
The Myanmar military’s mass killings of the Rohingya minority amount to genocide, according to the law firm hired by the U.S. government to investigate the crisis, a finding that raises pressure on the U.S. to impose harsher sanctions against the country.
The U.S. State Department earlier this year commissioned the Public International Law and Policy Group, a law firm, to send an investigative team to Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh to document Myanmar’s brutal military campaign last year.
Investigators interviewed 1,024 randomly selected Rohingya refugees, recording numerous instances of grave human-rights violations, including mass rapes, beheadings, and the burning and drowning of children, according to a September report by the law firm.
The State Department has so far classified the killings as ethnic cleansing and not as genocide, which under international law is a crime of its own.
Latest Rohingya News Arakan News Myanmar News The Rohingya, an ethnic group from Arakan, Myanmar (Burma), is one of most persecuted minorities in the

He is expected to visit Cox's Bazar on Tuesday and might stay there for a couple of days
Earl R Miller, the new US Ambassador to Bangladesh, will visit the Rohingya camps this week to experience the situation there, as the United States has "remained committed" to helping the Rohingyas.
Miller is expected to visit Cox's Bazar on Tuesday and might stay there for a couple of days, reports UNB.
An official said "things will be finalized soon."
The US government commended the government and the people of Bangladesh, who have responded swiftly and generously to the Rohingyas arriving in Bangladesh, on several occasions.
In October, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced more than $185 million in additional humanitarian assistance for those in Bangladesh and Myanmar who have been affected by the Rohingya crisis.
This additional funding brings US humanitarian assistance in response to the Rohingya crisis to nearly $389 million since the outbreak of violence in Myanmar in August 2017.
According to the US Embassy in Dhaka, the new funding includes $156 million for Rohingyas and host communities in Bangladesh to support the implementation of critical emergency services, including protection, emergency shelter, food, water, sanitation, healthcare, and psychosocial support.
Since August 2017, more than 725,000 Rohingyas have fled violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State, crossing the border into Bangladesh. Bangladesh now hosts over one million Rohingyas.
He emphasised that a strong US-Bangladesh relationship is in the interests of the United States and the American people, Bangladesh and the Bangladeshi people, as well as the regional and global community.
Ambassador Miler who arrived here on November 18 was sworn in as the US Ambassador to Bangladesh at the Department of State in the United States.
Miller was confirmed as US Ambassador to Bangladesh by the US Senate on October 11.
Ambassador Miller presented his credentials to President Md Abdul Hamid on November 29.
Latest Rohingya News Arakan News Myanmar News The Rohingya, an ethnic group from Arakan, Myanmar (Burma), is one of most persecuted minorities in the
Hundreds of Rohingya refugees shout slogans as they protest against their repatriation at the Unchiprang camp in Teknaf, Bangladesh November 15, 2018 Reuters

Following the November 15 failed attempt to begin the Rohingya repatriation process, Bangladesh has communicated with Myanmar to reiterate the concerns of the refugees. 
Dhaka asked Naypyidaw to address the concerns that refugees have to facilitate the safe, voluntary and dignified return of the persecuted people from Rakhine, diplomats in both Dhaka and Yangon told Dhaka Tribune on Sunday.
A note verbale (government to government diplomatic communication), containing the issues to be addressed has recently been sent to the Myanmar government; they said requesting anonymity as they were not authorized to officially speak to the media.
This has been the first official communication between the two governments after the failed attempt to begin the repatriation on November 15, said the diplomats.
“Yes, after the failed attempt, we have sent a note verbale to the Myanmar authorities to address the issues that were raised by the Rohingyas,” a senior diplomat at the embassy in Yangon told this correspondent over phone.
When asked about the content, he said that all the aspects concerning Rohingyas, especially verifiable safety and security in the short term, and citizenship in the long run have been mentioned in the letter.
“Let’s see what they come up with,” said the diplomat.
When contacted, Ambassador to Myanmar Manjurul Karim Khan Chowdhury said: “We are always intent on engaging with Myanmar, the international community and the Rohingyas.”
A senior Foreign Ministry official said: “We have just informed what needs to be done on the other side of the border to begin the repatriation without any problem,”
Dhaka is waiting for the reply, the diplomats said, stressing that living up to the pledges has never been Myanmar’s strong point.
In accordance with a decision taken by the Bangladesh-Myanmar joint working group on repatriation on October 30 in Dhaka, the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas, who had to cross into Cox’s Bazar to escape the unprecedented atrocities orchestrated by the Myanmar security forces, local Buddhist mobs and people from other ethnic groups in Rakhine, was supposed to begin on November 15 with the persecuted people earlier cleared by the authorities in Naypyitaw.
But, the repatriation could not go ahead due to the reluctance of the Rohingyas, who believe that the condition in Rakhine was unfavourable for their return.
Latest Rohingya News Arakan News Myanmar News The Rohingya, an ethnic group from Arakan, Myanmar (Burma), is one of most persecuted minorities in the

Amidst Myanmar’s Rohingya criticism, Noble Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi will be stripped of her honourary freedom of French Capital by Paris, over her failure to “express her concerns” to the Rohingya minorities – victim of crimes against their community by Myanmar’s military forces.
According to news reports, Mayor Anne Hidalgo has decided to revoke her because of the “multiple violations of human rights recorded in Myanmar and the violence and persecution by Myanmar’s security forces against the Rohingya minority”.
The move follows the same decisions by Oxford, Edinburg and Glasgow and due to of this move, it would Myanmar’s de facto leader will become the first person in order to lose the honoury freedom of French Capital- a purely true symbolic award.
Spokesperson said that in the mid-December, the city council will organize a meeting and then the move will be finalized.
Over 70,000 Rohingya’s has fled to India and Bangladesh to refuge there after facing lots of criticism, discrimination, crimes against them.
In fact, the UN rights team has noticed and founded many evidence related to the crimes – rape, torure, widespread murder and arson, done against Rohingyas. It also called up for top generals to investigate for genocide, crimes and war crimes against the humanity.
Mayor Hidalgo also said that last year she has wrote to Suu Kyi to “express her concern and call for respect for the rights of the Rohingya minority”, but however, no response was greeted from Suu Kyi.
Suu Kyi’s supports rebuke the statement saying that Suu Kyi has no power to guide the army.
Suu Kyi has been already stripped of her Amnesty International’s “Ambassador of Conscience Award” and of her honoury Canadian citizenship.
Latest Rohingya News Arakan News Myanmar News The Rohingya, an ethnic group from Arakan, Myanmar (Burma), is one of most persecuted minorities in the
In this handout photograph released by Nepal's Ministry of Information on November 29, 2018, Myanmar's de-facto leader and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (center R) poses with Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ishwor Pokhrel (center L) upon her arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport to attend the Asia Pacific Summit in Kathmandu. (AFP/Nepal Ministry of Information)

 
KATHMANDU: Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is facing international criticism over her country's crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, called Saturday for "a culture of peace" to end conflict between communities.The Nobel Peace prize winner did not mention the Rohingya crisis -- which has led the United Nations to call for a genocide investigation -- in her keynote address to an international meeting organised by a group linked to the Unification Church.
"At the basis of conflict is ill-will which seeks to hurt and to destroy and thus to open the way to conflict, which in turn spews out an ever-renewing cycle of hate and fear, snuffing out the light of peace," Suu Kyi said.
Suu Kyi called for cooperation between nations to seek peace and mutual prosperity.
"Only by promoting a culture of peace in this world of interdependence will it be possible to create harmony between diverse countries and societies," she said.
Suu Kyi, whose position of state counsellor in Myanmar is considered the equivalent of a prime minister, has faced a wave of condemnation since Myanmar launched its military crackdown on the Rohingya in August 2017.
More than 700,000 have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state to camps in neighboring Bangladesh. Many told horrific stories of widespread killings, rapes and villages razed to the ground.
Myanmar's military insists it only targeted Rohingya militants and Suu Kyi has deflected all criticism.
Other top officials at the meeting, which was accompanied by boosted security in the Nepali capital to head off protests, did not mention the conflict which has overshadowed many of Suu Kyi's international appearances.
Her speech at the Kathmandu meeting, backed by the Universal Peace Foundation, came a day after Paris announced will it will strip her of her honorary freedom of the French capital over her failure to speak out against the Rohingya crackdown.
The British cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Oxford have taken similar action against Suu Kyi over her refusal to condemn the military violence.
A UN rights team found evidence of widespread murder, rape, torture and arson, and called for top generals to be prosecuted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
About 300 Rohingya live in Nepal and one of the refugee community based in Kathmandu, who requested anonymity, called for Nepal to raise their issue with Suu Kyi.
Latest Rohingya News Arakan News Myanmar News The Rohingya, an ethnic group from Arakan, Myanmar (Burma), is one of most persecuted minorities in the
Aung San Suu Kyi has faced international criticism for refusing to speak out over the Rohingya crisis, and has been stripped of various honours by European countries. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

KATHMANDU: Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is facing international criticism over her country's crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, called Saturday (Dec 1) for "a culture of peace" to end conflict between communities.
The Nobel Peace prize winner did not mention the Rohingya crisis - which has led the United Nations to call for a genocide investigation - in her keynote address to an international meeting organised by a group linked to the Unification Church.

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"At the basis of conflict is ill-will which seeks to hurt and to destroy and thus to open the way to conflict, which in turn spews out an ever-renewing cycle of hate and fear, snuffing out the light of peace," Aung San Suu Kyi said.
Aung San Suu Kyi called for cooperation between nations to seek peace and mutual prosperity.

"Only by promoting a culture of peace in this world of interdependence will it be possible to create harmony between diverse countries and societies," she said.
Aung San Suu Kyi, whose position of state counsellor in Myanmar is considered the equivalent of a prime minister, has faced a wave of condemnation since Myanmar launched its military crackdown on the Rohingya in August 2017.
More than 700,000 have fled Myanmar's Rakhine state to camps in neighbouring Bangladesh. Many told horrific stories of widespread killings, rapes and villages razed to the ground.

READ: 'We don't need their prize': Myanmar defiant as Amnesty pulls Aung San Suu Kyi award

Myanmar's military insists it only targeted Rohingya militants and Aung San Suu Kyi has deflected all criticism.
Other top officials at the meeting, which was accompanied by boosted security in the Nepali capital to head off protests, did not mention the conflict which has overshadowed many of Aung San Suu Kyi's international appearances.
Her speech at the Kathmandu meeting, backed by the Universal Peace Foundation, came a day after Paris announced will it will strip her of her honorary freedom of the French capital over her failure to speak out against the Rohingya crackdown.
The British cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Oxford have taken similar action against Suu Kyi over her refusal to condemn the military violence.
A UN rights team found evidence of widespread murder, rape, torture and arson, and called for top generals to be prosecuted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
About 300 Rohingya live in Nepal and one of the refugee community based in Kathmandu, who requested anonymity, called for Nepal to raise their issue with Aung San Suu Kyi.
"We are suffering. I think if she wants to help us, she can," he said.
Source: AFP