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Exclusive: West edges towards punishing Myanmar army leaders over Rohingya crisis – sources

YANGON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The European Union and the United States are considering targeted sanctions against Myanmar military leaders over an offensive that has driven more than 500,000 Rohingya Muslims out of the country, officials familiar with the discussions say.

Interviews with more than a dozen diplomats and government officials based in Washington, Yangon and Europe revealed that punitive measures aimed specifically at top generals were among a range of options being discussed in response to the crisis.

Nothing has yet been decided and Washington and Brussels may decide to hold off for now, the sources said. There are also discussions about increasing aid for violence-riven Rakhine state.

The active discussion of sanctions – not even on the table a month ago – shows how the dramatic exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar’s northwest is putting pressure on Western policymakers to take action.

While much of the outcry overseas has focused on Nobel laureate and Myanmar’s national leader Aung San Suu Kyi, few Western diplomats see an alternative to her leadership. Suu Kyi does not control the military, which still wields considerable power under Myanmar’s army-written constitution.

The EU Foreign Ministers Council will discuss Myanmar on Oct. 16, although officials do not expect any move on sanctions that soon. Danish minister for development cooperation, Ulla Tornaes, told Reuters that Copenhagen had been working to get the crisis on the agenda, “with the wish to put further pressure on the military”.

Two Washington-based U.S. officials with knowledge of the Trump administration’s Myanmar deliberations said targeted sanctions against commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing and several other generals, as well as leaders of ethnic Rakhine Buddhist militias accused of torching Rohingya villages, were under consideration.

Such sanctions – if decided on – would likely entail U.S. asset freezes, bans on travel to the United States, prohibitions against Americans doing business with them and other unspecified penalties. Washington was moving cautiously as it consulted with governments in Europe, Japan and Southeast Asia, the U.S. officials said.

A senior Yangon-based European diplomat also said Western countries were coordinating their response to the crisis and were in agreement that it was the military, and specifically the commander-in-chief, who needed to be targeted in any punitive action.

Any punishment was likely to be symbolic at first to allow room for further talks, Yangon-based diplomats said, giving the example of formally banning the army chief, who over the past year visited Brussels, Berlin and Vienna, from further travel to Europe.
Western diplomats admit their leverage is limited: compared with China, whose ties with Myanmar have warmed since Suu Kyi took office 18 months ago, U.S. and European investment and military engagement with the country are small.

They are also wary of action that could hurt the wider economy or destabilize already tense ties between Suu Kyi and the army.

PRESSURE BUILDING

The United Nations is pressing for increased humanitarian access to other parts of Rakhine, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya remain. How Myanmar responds to calls for increased aid, the investigation of alleged atrocities or repatriation of refugees would be a key consideration in deciding what action to take, U.S. and EU diplomats in Myanmar said.

“We can pile political pressure, look into financing we have in Myanmar. We have humanitarian aid, as well as development aid … the European Commission won’t invest in the development of Myanmar if the conditions, including security, are not there,” said a Brussels-based EU diplomat who follows Myanmar.

A Rohingya refugee boy runs through a fence onto aid distribution premises at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh October 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
“There is also the arms trade embargo and we discuss regularly whether we should reward the reforms in Myanmar and look at gradual easing of that, or the opposite.”

EU economic sanctions on Myanmar were lifted after the army stepped back from direct rule of the country in 2012, beginning the democratic transition that brought Suu Kyi to power last year, but an arms embargo in force since the 1990s remains. The United States removed most sanctions on Myanmar last autumn. It too has kept an arms embargo in place.

One Washington-based U.S. official said that, while there was no firm deadline, Washington hoped to have a plan of action on Myanmar in place by the time President Donald Trump travels to Asia for a series of summits in the first half of November.

The administration wanted to send a strong message to Myanmar’s military, but was concerned that too drastic action could allow China to expand its growing diplomatic and economic influence in the country, the official said.

There is little support in the administration for the re-imposition of broader economic sanctions, the official added.

Slideshow (2 Images)
The White House declined comment on internal deliberations on the Rohingya crisis.

STRAINED RELATIONS

In another sign of pressure building on Myanmar, New York-based diplomats said the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the U.N. General Assembly was pushing for a human rights resolution on the country.

Last year the EU announced that for the first time in 15 years it would not introduce a resolution at the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which focuses on human rights, condemning Myanmar’s record – rewarding it for progress.

The European bloc could revive the resolution in the current session, taking on board the OIC draft and broadening it out beyond the Rohingya crisis, one diplomat in New York said.

Diplomats said some members of the U.N. Security Council were exploring whether the 15-member body could agree a formal statement, or even a resolution, calling for an end to the violence, full access for aid and the safe return of refugees.

However, Myanmar has said it was negotiating with China and Russia, which have veto powers in the Security Council, to protect it from any possible action. China and Russia have both expressed support for the Myanmar government.

Myanmar’s relations with the U.N. have grown increasingly testy since the discovery of World Food Programme-branded biscuits at a suspected militant camp in July prompted the government to accuse the U.N. agency of supporting the insurgents, forcing it to shut down its operations in Rakhine.

Myanmar is stalling on accepting a plan by the U.N. to upgrade the U.N. country head to the more powerful rank of Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) when its current top official, who is due to be rotated, is replaced.

Thaung Tun, Suu Kyi’s National Security Advisor, told Reuters that the U.N. “must treat us equally”.

“We’ll be fine with anybody if all member states have an ASG assigned. Not just us,” he said.

Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski in Yangon and Matt Spetalnick in Washington; Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations, Simon Lewis in Yangon, Teis Jensen in Copenhagen, Gabriela Baczynska and Robin Emmott in Brussels and John Irish in Paris; Editing by Alex Richardson
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source : www.reuters.com

ျမန္မာ့လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးအေျခအေန ႏုိင္ငံတကာ ေစာင့္ၾကည့္ဖုိ႔ Yanghee Lee တုိက္တြန္း

ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံမွာ ၿပီးခဲ့တဲ့လအနည္းငယ္အတြင္း အေျခအေနေတြက ႏုိင္္ငံတကာ အသိုင္းအ၀ိုင္းအေနနဲ႔ ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံရဲ႕ လူ႔အခြင့္ အေရးအေျခအေနကို သတိထားၿပီး မျပတ္ေစာင့္ၾကည့္သြားရမယ္ဆိုတာ ျပေနတယ္လုိ႔ ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရး အေျခအေန ဆိုင္ရာ ကုလသမဂၢ အထူးစံုစမ္းစစ္ေဆးေရးမွဴး Yang Hee Lee က ေျပာလိုက္ပါတယ္။

ျမန္မာႏုိင္ငံခရီးစဥ္စဖို႔ သံုးရက္အလို ဒီကေန႔ထြက္လာတဲ့ ထုတ္ျပန္ခ်က္တခုထဲမွာ မစၥယန္္ဟီးလီက အဲဒီလို ေျပာထားတာပါ။ ရခုိင္္ျပည္ဘက္မွာ ျဖစ္ေနတာအျပင္ ကခ်င္နဲ႔ရွမ္းဘက္မွာ တိုက္ပြဲေတြ အရွိန္ျမင့္လာတာ၊ အဲဒီကေန အရပ္သားေတြရဲ႕ အေျခ အေနအေပၚ အႏုတ္လကၡဏာေဆာင္ သက္ေရာက္မႈေတြ မလႊဲမေရွာင္သာ ျဖစ္လာတာေတြဟာ အစိုးရအဖြဲ႔သစ္ရဲ႕ ပထမႏွစ္အတြင္း သြားေနတဲ့လမ္းေၾကာင္းေပၚ စိုးရိမ္ပူပန္္စရာတခ်ဳိ႕ ျဖစ္လာေစပါတယ္လုိ႔ မစၥယန္ဟီးလီကေျပာပါတယ္။

မစၥယန္ဟီးလီဟာ ဇန္န၀ါရီလ ၉ ရက္ေန႔ကေန ၂၀ ရက္ေန႔အထိ ျမန္မာႏုိင္္ငံကို လာမွာပါ။ ဒီခရီးစဥ္အတြင္း ကခ်င္ျပည္နယ္ထဲက ျမစ္ႀကီးနား၊ ဖားကန္႔နဲ႔ လိုင္ဇာ၊ ရခုိင္ျပည္နယ္ထဲက စစ္ေတြ၊ ရေသ့ေတာင္၊ ဘူးသီးေတာင္နဲ႔ ေမာင္းေတာၿမိဳ႕ေတြ အျပင္ ေနျပည္ ေတာ္နဲ႔ ရန္ကုန္ၿမိဳ႕ေတြကိုလည္းသြားဖို႔ စီစဥ္ထားပါတယ္။

အစိုးရရဲ႕ဖိတ္ၾကားခ်က္နဲ႔ လာေရာက္မယ့္ ၁၂ ရက္ၾကာခရီးစဥ္ အတြင္း ႏုိင္ငံေရးေခါင္းေဆာင္ေတြနဲ႔ ရပ္ရြာအႀကီးအကဲေတြ၊ အရပ္ဘက္ လူမႈအဖြဲ႔အစည္းေတြက ကိုယ္စားလွယ္ေတြအျပင္ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရး ခ်ဳိးေဖာက္ခံရသူေတြနဲ႔ ေတြ႔ဆံုဖို႔ရွိသလို ႏုိင္္ငံ တကာအသိုင္းအ၀ိုင္းက လူပုဂၢိဳလ္ေတြနဲ႔လည္း ေတြ႔ဆံုဖို႔ရွိပါတယ္။ ဒီခရီးစဥ္ အတြင္း ေလ့လာေတြ႔ရွိ ခ်က္ေတြကို အစီရင္ခံစာ ေရးၿပီး ကုလသမဂၢ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးေကာင္စီကို ၂၀၁၇ ခုႏွစ္ မတ္လမွာ တင္သြင္းမွာျဖစ္ပါတယ္။

source : VOA

Aid to Maungdaw trickling rather than ‘flowing’, rights groups say

International aid organisations working in Maungdaw Township have not been granted the “flowing” access to the restive region that they were promised, despite a 19 December announcement by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi that her government would welcome assistance from international and local relief groups.

Humanitarian aid and media access to the area was swiftly clamped shut following deadly 9 October attacks on police border posts — a move human rights workers predicted would have disastrous implications for the largely stateless Rohingya Muslim community.

Suu Kyi, who also serves as Burma’s foreign affairs minister, appeared to bow to mounting pressure at the conclusion of a specially convened ASEAN foreign ministers meeting on 19 December, where the ongoing plight of the Rohingya was on the agenda. Accusations of ethnic cleansing had been levelled at Suu Kyi’s administration in the weeks prior, prompting the invitation to her fellow foreign ministers. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had controversially called the situation in Arakan State “genocide” at a Rohingya solidarity rally in Kuala Lumpur on 4 December, infuriating nationalists in Burma.

Speaking after the meeting on 19 December, Suu Kyi announced that aid was now welcome, offering a glimmer of hope to the tens of thousands that rely on international assistance for life-saving food and medical care. A week later, a press release from the President’s Office stated aid was “flowing” into 12 villages in northern Arakan State, with the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement itself distributing “250 rice bags.”

But some of the aid organisations named in that release tell a different story, saying areas in northern Maungdaw remain completely off limits, interrupting existing malnutrition treatment plans for children. On average, clinics had been seeing more than 1,000 new malnutrition cases per month.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told DVB that although much-needed access to the southern part of Maungdaw township has been partially restored, the story is starkly different from the government narrative.

“In past weeks, some ongoing humanitarian programmes have been able to re-start in some areas in Buthidaung, Rathedaung and the southern part of Maungdaw [townships]. This has allowed for about 28,000 people to be reached with cash, food and nutrition support since 19 December. Agencies have also been able to re-open some health clinics and nutrition centres. However, the most-affected areas and communities in the northern part of Maungdaw remain largely off-limits to humanitarian organisations, beyond a small number of one-off distributions,” said Pierre Peron, the public information officer for UNOCHA in Burma, adding that his organisation is unable to help some of the neediest in Arakan State.

“Full and sustained access to all areas in northern Rakhine [Arakan] is urgently needed to resume critically important humanitarian programmes that were already assisting vulnerable communities before 9 October. After almost three months, access to northern Maungdaw remains restricted and we still haven’t fully been able to undertake the humanitarian assessments that are required to evaluate and respond to the needs of people in the hardest-hit communities,” he said.

Rights advocates and medical workers have echoed UNOCHA’s concerns privately to DVB, but say they fear making their frustrations public would see their existing access curtailed further or revoked entirely.

But the Union-level Investigation Commission on Maungdaw, which was tasked with probing both the causes of the October assault and subsequent November attacks, as well as any wrongdoing by security forces, did not appear to share the concerns of the aid community.

It released an interim report on Tuesday, denying accusations of religious or genocidal persecution against the “Bengali population,” citing “the increasing population of Mawlawi [Islamic scholars], mosques and religious edifices.” The threat of malnutrition was also dismissed “due to the area’s favourable fishing and farming condition.”

Zaw Myint Pay, a spokesperson for a separate state-level commission formed by the Arakan State legislature in October, told DVB there are “no restrictions” to aid in Maungdaw, for either local or international workers.

“There aren’t restrictions on aid organisations… we are accepting aid for the Bengali’s and the local population,” he said on 3 January, referring to self-identifying Rohingya Muslims.

Suu Kyi’s perceived inaction with regard to the ongoing suffering of the Rohingya has been fiercely criticised by human rights advocates. The Nobel Prize laureate was widely expected to do more to address the rift between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Arakan State, one of the country’s poorest.

“There’s a wide gap between the humanitarian access that Aung San Suu Kyi and the government have promised and what is actually happening on the ground in Maungdaw and Buthidaung, and in that gap lives are being lost daily,” said Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division.

“Taking her pledges at face value, the most charitable thing one can say is Suu Kyi apparently lacks the ability to persuade the military and local officials to follow her orders. The ASEAN foreign ministers now need to demand that she fulfil her pledges by travelling herself to these affected areas to find out why the aid is not getting through,” he added.

Speaking to DVB after the Investigation Commission on Maungdaw interim report’s release, Matthew Smith of Fortify Rights called parts of the commission’s account “patently untrue.”

“Among its many failings, the report essentially denies that the authorities restricted access to key areas, claiming journalists and aid groups were free to operate. The idea that journalists and aid groups aren’t restricted from areas of Maungdaw Township is patently untrue. Access is still tightly restricted.

“The report flatly denies the existence of malnutrition based on evidence of ‘the area’s favourable fishing and farming conditions.’ Malnutrition is endemic in Rohingya areas, on par with some of worst situations globally,” he added. “It’s embarrassing that the government’s test for malnutrition consisted of observing the existence of rice paddies. Empirical data measuring malnutrition is available. And they seemed to have missed that the army burned rice stores in several villages. We documented this.”

A Malaysian NGO’s aid flotilla is also facing delays, citing diplomatic difficulties between the two nations. The shipment organised by the Malaysian Consultative Council for Islamic Organisations (Mapim), originally scheduled for a 10 January departure, will reportedly now set sail on 31 January. The Burmese government had been caught off guard by the original plans, and warned the coalition of NGO’s to respect national sovereignty and ensure both Muslims and Arakanese communities received assistance.

Source : http://www.dvb.no

ျမန္မာ့လူ႔အခြင့္အေရး အေျခအေန ကန္ေဝဖန္

ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံက လံုၿခံဳေရးတပ္ဖဲြ႔ေတြဟာ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးခ်ဳိးေဖာက္မႈေတြကို သမား႐ိုးက် လုပ္႐ိုးလုပ္စဥ္လို ဆက္လုပ္ေနၿပီး၊ လုပ္ခြင့္ေပးထားပံုရတယ္လို႔ အေမရိကန္ ထိပ္တန္း တာဝန္႐ွိသူတေယာက္က ေျပာလိုက္ပါတယ္။ ရခိုင္ျပည္နယ္ ေမာင္ေတာ ခ႐ိုင္ထဲကနယ္ျခားေစာင့္စခန္းေတြ တုိက္ခိုက္ခံခဲ့ရၿပီးေနာက္ လံုၿခံဳေရးတပ္ဖဲြ႔ေတြ နယ္ေျမ႐ွင္းလင္းစဥ္ ကိုးတန္ေကာက္ေက်း႐ြာမွာ မြတ္ဆလင္ေတြကို လံုၿခံဳေရး တပ္ဖဲြ႔ဝင္ေတြက ႏိုင့္ထက္စီးနင္းျပဳမူေနတဲ့ Video ထြက္ေပၚခဲ့ပါတယ္။

အဲဒီလို လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးခ်ဳိးေဖာက္ေနတဲ့လုပ္ရပ္ဟာ သူတို႔လုပ္ေနက် ခြင့္ျပဳခ်က္ ရထားတဲ့ လုပ္ရပ္မို႔သာ သူတို႔ကိုယ္တုိင္ Video ႐ုိက္ျပေနတာျဖစ္တယ္လို႔ အေမရိကန္ႏိုင္ငံျခားေရးဌာနရဲ႕ ဒီမိုကေရစီ၊ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးနဲ႔ အလုပ္သမားေရးရာ လက္ေထာက္ဝန္ႀကီး Tom Malinowski က AP သတင္းဌာနကို ေျပာၾကားခဲ့ပါတယ္။

အီရတ္က Abu Ghraib အက်ဥ္းေထာင္မွာ အေမရိကန္စစ္သားေတြ အီရတ္ အက်ဥ္းသားေတြကို ႏိုင့္ထက္စီးနင္းလုပ္ေနတဲ့ ဓါတ္ပံုေတြေၾကာင့္ သင္ခန္းစာရ စရာျဖစ္ခဲ့သလုိ ကိုးတန္ေကာက္႐ြာကိုစစ္ေဆးခဲ့တဲ့ တပ္ဖဲြ႔ထဲမွာ ဒီလို အျပဳအမူေတြ ကို ခြင့္ျပဳထားတယ္လို႔ သူ႔အေနနဲ႔ထင္ေၾကာင္း Mr. Malinowski ကေအပီသတင္းဌာနကို ေျပာတာကို ဝါရွင္တန္ပို႔စ္သတင္းစာမွာ ကိုးကားေဖာ္ျပပါတယ္။ ျမန္မာအစိုးရကေတာ့ ဒီ Video ထြက္ေပၚလာခဲ့ၿပီးေနာက္ သက္ဆိုင္သူေတြကို ဖမ္းဆီးအေရးယူခဲ့ပါတယ္။ ဒီျဖစ္ရပ္ဟာလည္း အဲဒီတေနရာမွာျဖစ္ခဲ့တာလို႔ ဆိုပါတယ္။

မြတ္ဆလင္ေတြဖက္က နစ္နာခံစားခ်က္ေတြကို ေျဖ႐ွင္းဖုိ႔လိုတယ္ ဆိုတာကို ျမန္မာအစိုးရကို အေမရိကန္ဖက္က လြန္ခဲ့တဲ့ ၂ ႏွစ္ေလာက္ထဲက ေျပာၾကားခဲ့တယ္လို႔လည္း ႏိုင္ငံျခားေရးဌာနရဲ႕ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးဆိုင္ရာအႀကီးအကဲက AP သတင္းဌာနကိုေျပာပါတယ္။

အဲဒီလိုမွ မေျဖ႐ွင္းရင္ ခံစားေနရသူကို ျပည္ပအဖဲြ႔အစည္းေတြက အခြင့္ေကာင္းယူၿပီး အၾကမ္းဖက္တံု႔ျပန္ေအာင္ လုပ္လာလိမ့္မယ္လို႔ ေျပာခဲ့တယ္လို႔သူကဆိုပါတယ္။ အခုလက္႐ွိမွာ ႀကီးမားတဲ့ အတိုင္းအတာနဲ႔ မဟုတ္ေပမဲ့ အဲဒီလိုအေျခအေနမ်ဳိး ျဖစ္လာပံုရတယ္လို႔ Mr. Malinowski ကေျပာပါတယ္။

အေမရိကန္အစိုးရအေနနဲ႔ ျမန္မာျပည္သူေတြနဲ႔ နယ္စပ္လံုၿခံဳေရးအတြက္ အကူအညီေပးဖုိ႔အဆင္သင့္ပဲလို႔လည္း အေမရိကန္ႏိုင္ငံျခားေရးဌာနရဲ႕ ဒီမိုကေရစီ၊ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးနဲ႔ အလုပ္သမားေရးရာ လက္ေထာက္ဝန္ႀကီး Tom Malinowski က AP သတင္းဌာနကို ေျပာၾကားခဲ့ပါတယ္။

တခ်ိန္က အထီးက်န္ျဖစ္ခဲ့တဲ့ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံကို ဒီမိုကေရစီႏိုင္ငံျဖစ္ေအာင္ အေမရိကန္က ကူညီေျပာင္းလဲေပးႏိုင္ခဲ့တယ္လို႔ သမၼတအိုဘားမားနဲ႔ သူ႔ရဲ႕အႀကံေပးေတြက ေျပာေနတာျဖစ္ပါတယ္။ ဒါေပမဲ့ ခုလိုလူ႔အခြင့္အေရး ခ်ဳိးေဖာက္မႈေတြ႐ွိေနဆဲျဖစ္တဲ့အတြက္ သမၼတအိုဘားမားရဲ႕ ႏိုင္ငံျခားေရး မူဝါဒဆိုင္ရာ ေအာင္ျမင္မႈမွာ ေထာက္ျပစရာျဖစ္တယ္လို႔ အဲဒီ AP သတင္းထဲမွာ ေရးသားထားပါတယ္။

source : burmese.voanews.com

US Official: In Myanmar Crackdown, Abuses Appear ‘Normal’

Abuses appear “normal and allowed” in Myanmar’s response to an armed uprising by Rohingya Muslims, a senior U.S. official said in an interview, casting a pall over one of President Barack Obama’s legacy foreign policy achievements.

Obama and his advisers have long held up the former pariah nation’s U.S.-backed shift from military rule as a breakthrough for American interests and democratic values in Southeast Asia. But the situation in strife-hit Rakhine State makes the transition no straightforward success story.

Rakhine has been largely closed off to foreigners, including aid workers, since a deadly insurgent attack against police in October. Subsequent “clearance operations,” led by the military and reminiscent of its decades of junta rule, have left at least dozens dead. Tens of thousands of Rohingya have escaped to neighboring Bangladesh.

A Myanmar government-appointed commission, led by a former general, this week said there was insufficient evidence so far to support allegations of rape and killings by security forces that have been made by Rohingya villagers fleeing northern Rakhine, which remains off-limits to journalists.

Tom Malinowski, the State Department’s human rights chief, questioned the credibility of that investigation. He said a video of Myanmar police kicking and beating Rohingya — filmed by the police and recently surfaced on social media — suggests a disturbing pattern.

“People don’t film themselves committing a human rights abuse unless they think that doing so is normal and allowed,” Malinowski told The Associated Press.

“What that video suggests to me is that this kind of behavior, at least with respect to whatever unit or elements of the security forces was involved, has become normalized, much as the photographs at Abu Ghraib taught us the same lesson about things that were going on in our military in Iraq at the time,” he said.

The government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, has verified the video and detained the police officers involved. But it insists the incident is an “isolated case.”

Human rights groups and neighboring, Muslim-majority Malaysia accuse Myanmar’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, of failing to protect the Rohingya. The Nobel peace laureate is hobbled by her lack of control over the powerful military but harsh national politics also play a role.

Myanmar’s majority Buddhists loathe the Rohingya. Many of the more than 1 million-strong community have lived there for generations, but they lack citizenship. The Rohingya bore the brunt of intercommunal violence with Buddhists in Rakhine in 2012 that left hundreds dead and forced more than 100,000 into squalid camps.

The plight of the Rohingya has attracted the attention of Muslim extremists. U.S. officials say there are credible reports that wealthy backers in Gulf nations and the Rohingya diaspora are providing funds and training for a newly emerged insurgency in Rakhine.

The Myanmar government says the insurgent group — known as Harakah al-Yaqin, or Faith Movement — has hundreds of fighters. It says the group is led by Havid Tuhar, a 45-year-old Rohingya who was raised in Saudi Arabia. The government claims he trained with Taliban in Pakistan.

Havid Tuhar has appeared in several videos posted on social media surrounded by rag-tag, barefoot guerrillas, urging young Rohingya men to fight.

As early as two years ago, Malinowski said, the U.S. expressed fears to Myanmar’s government that the grievances of Muslims needed to be addressed. Otherwise, he said, “outside forces would eventually exploit those grievances to promote a violent reaction.”

“It does seem that something like that, at least on a small scale, has happened,” Malinowski said.

The U.S. would be prepared to share with Myanmar credible threat information to help the civilian leadership respond effectively to attacks, he said. He would not say if any actionable intelligence has been shared to date.

“We do want to support the government of Burma in protecting its people and its borders. We want to help them do it the right way. That means not falling into the trap of an indiscriminate response that fuels recruitment for groups that may be using violence,” Malinowski said.

Source : abcnews.go.com

Iran’s Zarif writes to UN chief to urge action on plight of Rohingya in Myanmar

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has written to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres to demand international action to stop rights violations against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

In a letter addressed to Guterres on Friday, Zarif said the plight of the Rohingya has caused international concern.

The ethnic Muslims have not only been deprived of their most basic right — i.e. the right to belong to a country and a government that would protect them — they are also being exposed to killings and violent and inhumane treatment on a daily basis, he wrote.

The Iranian foreign minister referred to an upcoming ad hoc meeting by the foreign ministers of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on January 19 to address the situation of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and said the meeting reflects the depth of concern on the part of Islamic governments about the ethnic Muslims’ conditions.

The Rohingya have been subjected to persecution in Myanmar since 2012. Extremist Buddhists have attacked the Muslims, mainly in the northern Rakhine State, recurrently, torching their houses and causing them bodily harm.

Since October last year, however, the Muslims have faced increased violence. Back then, the Myanmarese military imposed a siege on Rakhine, and the government of Myanmar has blocked humanitarian and media access to the Muslims in the state ever since. There have been numerous reports of killings, rapes, and other forms of abuse being carried out against the besieged Muslims.

Tens of thousands of the members of the minority group have been forced to flee to neighboring regions, in Kachin State or across the border to Bangladesh.

Zarif said the “the systematic violation of the Rohingya Muslims’ basic rights and denying them citizenship… and forcing them to leave their homes” would have adverse consequences on peace and stability in Myanmar as well as in neighboring and regional countries.

He said it was expected of Myanmar’s government to take immediate and effective action to protect the rights of the Rohingya and not allow extremist groups to tarnish the peaceful image of Buddhism.

The top Iranian diplomat said it is also expected of Guterres and his special envoy for Myanmar to communicate to the Myanmarese government the demand of the international community and the Islamic world concerning immediate humanitarian access to affected areas.

He also expressed hope that the UN, through the mechanisms available to it, would take the necessary measures to address the situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

The UN said on Friday that a special rapporteur would be visiting Myanmar on Monday to investigate reports of abuse against the ethnic Muslims in Rakhine. Special Rapporteur on Myanmar Yanghee Lee will start a 12-day visit to Rakhine and Kachin states on Monday, the UN said.

The Myanmarese army denies the allegations of mistreatment against the Rohingya. A committee set up by the government recently concluded that law was not being violated in the state, an assertion widely derided by international rights organizations.

လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးခ်ိဳးေဖာက္မႈ ဖံုးကြယ္ဖို႔ ျမန္မာအစိုးရႀကိဳးပမ္းေနတယ္လုိ႔ HRW ေဝဖန္

ျမန္မာအစိုးရဟာ ရခုိင္ျပည္နယ္က မြတ္ဆလင္ေတြအေပၚ လံုျခံဳေရးတပ္ဖြဲ႔ေတြက လူ႔အခြင့္အေရး ခ်ိဳးေဖာက္ေနတာေတြ ဖံုးကြယ္ဖာေထးဖို႔ ႀကိဳးပမ္းေနတယ္လုိ႔ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရးအဖြဲ႔ေတြက ဇန္နဝါရီလ (၅) ရက္ေန႔ ဒီကေန႔ ေဝဖန္ လိုက္ပါတယ္။ ေမာင္ေတာေဒသ စံုစမ္းစစ္ေဆးေရးေကာ္မရွင္ အစီရင္ခံစာမွာ… လူနည္းစုမြတ္ဆလင္ေတြကို လူမ်ိဳးတံုး သတ္ျဖတ္တာမရွိဘူးလို႔ ေရးသားေဖာ္ျပထားတာကို ေထာက္ၿပီး အခုလိုေဝဖန္လိုက္တာပါ။ HRW လူ႔အခြင့္ အေရး ေစာင့္ၾကည့္ေရးအဖြဲ႔ရဲ႕ အာရွေရးရာ ဒုတိယညြန္ၾကားေရးမွဴး Phil Robertson က… အရင္စစ္အစိုးရ လက္ထက္ ဒု-ဗိုလ္ခ်ဳပ္ႀကီးတဦးျဖစ္တဲ့ ဒုသမၼတဦးျမင့္ေဆြကို ပြဲထုတ္ထားတဲ့ ရခုိင္ျပည္နယ္ စံုစမ္းေရး ေကာ္မရွင္ဟာ မိမိတို႔ စိုးရိမ္ထားသလို တျဖည္းျဖည္းနဲ႔ အစိုးရရဲ႕ ဖံုးဖိဖာေထးေရး လုပ္ငန္းစဥ္ႀကီးလို ျဖစ္လာ ေနတယ္လုိ႔ ရိုက္တာသတင္းဌာနကို ေျပာပါတယ္။ ဗလီအေရအတြက္ အမ်ားအျပား ရွိေနတာေၾကာင့္ ရိုဟင္ဂ်ာ မြတ္ဆလင္ေတြအေပၚ ဖိႏွိပ္မႈ မရွိဘူးလို႔ ေကာက္ခ်က္ခ်တာဟာ အံ့ၾသစရာျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း၊ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရး ျပႆနာေတြကို အေလးအနက္ စံုစမ္းတာထက္ ျပည္ပ စြပ္စြဲမႈေတြကို မွားယြင္းေၾကာင္းတံု႔ျပန္ ႏုိင္ဖို႔ ေဆာင္ရြက္ခ်က္သာ ျဖစ္ေနေၾကာင္းလည္း Phil Robertson က ေျပာဆုိထားပါတယ္။ Fortify Rights အဖြဲ႔ တည္ေထာင္သူ Matthew Smith ကလည္း… ေကာ္မရွင္ရဲ့ ၾကားျဖတ္အစီရင္ခံစာဟာ လူ႔အခြင့္အေရး ေလ့လာစံုစမ္းသူေတြနဲ႔ ဘဂၤလားေဒ့ရွ္ဘက္ ထြက္ေျပးလာသူေတြရဲ႕ ေျပာၾကားခ်က္ေတြနဲ႔ လံုးဝ ကြဲျပားေန ေၾကာင္း၊ စစ္တပ္က က်ဳးလြန္တဲ့ျပစ္မႈေတြကို ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္ ဦးေဆာင္တဲ့ အစိုးရဝန္ႀကီးဌာနေတြက ဖံုးကြယ္ဖုိ႔နဲ႔ ျငင္းပယ္ဖို႔ ဝါဒျဖန္႔ေရး ႀကိဳးပမ္းခ်က္သာျဖစ္ေၾကာင္း ေဝဖန္လိုက္ပါတယ္။

Suorce : RFA

Burma/Myanmar – Situation of the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state (January 5, 2017)

France reiterates its deep concern over the unacceptable violence perpetrated against those belonging to the Rohingya minority in Burma and calls for an end to that violence.

We emphasize that it is the Burmese authorities’ responsibility to protect civilian populations.

It is vital to fully investigate that violence in the most transparent, impartial way, and for those engaging in atrocities to stand trial.

The authorities must do everything necessary to ensure that all those in need in northern Rakhine state receive humanitarian assistance as quickly as possible. France, working with its European partners and within the UN, will see to it.

Burma/Myanmar – Situation of the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state (January 5, 2017)

France reiterates its deep concern over the unacceptable violence perpetrated against those belonging to the Rohingya minority in Burma and calls for an end to that violence.

We emphasize that it is the Burmese authorities’ responsibility to protect civilian populations.

It is vital to fully investigate that violence in the most transparent, impartial way, and for those engaging in atrocities to stand trial.

The authorities must do everything necessary to ensure that all those in need in northern Rakhine state receive humanitarian assistance as quickly as possible. France, working with its European partners and within the UN, will see to it.

Source ; http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/country-files/myanmar/events/article/burma-myanmar-situation-of-the-rohingya-minority-in-rakhine-state-05-01-17

Myanmar says ‘no evidence’ of Rohingya genocide

Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar who tried to cross the Naf river into Bangladesh are guarded by Bangladeshi security officials in Teknaf on December 25 2016Image copyrightAFP

Rohingya Muslims have been trying to flee into Bangladesh to escape the violence
A commission set up by Myanmar’s government says it has so far found no evidence of genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
In its interim report, the commission also said there was not enough evidence to support widespread rape allegations.
It did not mention claims that security forces had been killing people.
There have been repeated allegations of abuses of Rohingya people since a military counter-insurgency campaign was launched in Rakhine in October.
Some have even said the state’s actions amount to ethnic cleansing, and Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel peace laureate, has faced international criticism.
Who will help Myanmar’s Rohingya?
Nobel laureates urge action on Rohingya
The commission, set up by the Myanmar government and led by a former general, Myint Swe, is due to make its final conclusions before the end of January.
But, in its interim findings, it dismissed allegations of genocide on the basis that there are still Rohingya Muslims living in Rakhine and that Islamic religious buildings have not been destroyed.
It said it had so far found “insufficient evidence” that anyone had been raped by security forces, despite widespread claims. Accusations of arson, arbitrary arrest and torture are still being investigated.
Strangely, the commission made no mention of the most serious claim – that Burmese security forces have been killing civilians as collective punishment for attacks by Rohingya militants, the BBC’s Myanmar correspondent Jonah Fisher reports.
Three months since this crisis began, little progress appears to have been made to solve it, he notes. The report says hundreds of Rohingya have been arrested but armed militants are still moving around easily and that looted weapons have yet to be recovered.

Media captionVideo of the beatings first appeared on Burmese social media, as David Campanale reports
Earlier in the week, several police were detained after a video surfaced appearing to show officers beating Rohingya Muslims during a security operation in November.
The admission that security forces may have carried out abuses is an unusual development, as leaders have previously insisted they are following the rule of law.
Rakhine state is closed to journalists and investigators, making it difficult to independently verify any allegations.

Who are the Rohingya?

Media captionRohingya Muslims ‘hated and hounded from Burmese soil’
The estimated one million Muslim Rohingya are seen by many in mainly Buddhist Myanmar as illegal migrants from Bangladesh. They are denied citizenship by the government despite tracing their ancestry back generations.
Communal violence in Rakhine state in 2012 left scores dead and displaced more than 100,000 people, with many Rohingya still remaining in decrepit camps.
They face widespread discrimination and mistreatment.
Hundreds of thousands of undocumented Rohingya are estimated to live in Bangladesh, having fled Myanmar over decades.
Bangladesh says around 50,000 Rohingya have crossed its border over the past two months.
The situation has drawn global condemnation. Over a dozen Nobel laureates wrote to the UN Security Council demanding action to stop the “human tragedy amounting to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity” in northern Rakhine.

Source ; www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38505228