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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.
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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.

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Suu Kyi-led commission in denial over Rohingya persecution

A commission probing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state on Wednesday denied security forces have carried out a genocidal campaign against the Rohingya, days after a video emerged showing police beating civilians from the Muslim minority.

 Tens of thousands of Rohingya — a group loathed by many among Myanmar’s Buddhist majority — have fled a military operation in the northwestern state, launched after deadly attacks on police posts in October.
Dozens have died in the crackdown, while escapees now in neighboring Bangladesh have claimed they suffered rape, arson, murder and torture at the hands of police or soldiers.
Myanmar’s government, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has said the allegations are invented and has resisted mounting international pressure to protect the minority.
A state-appointed commission set up to investigate the violence released its interim report on Wednesday, dismissing claims troops and police have embarked on a campaign to force the Rohingya out of the country.
Its interim findings come days after the government detained multiple police officers over a video showing policemen beating and kicking Rohingya villagers.
The footage, shot by one of officers, has sparked outrage and undermined the government’s blanket denials that soldiers and police have carried out rights abuses.
The size of the “Bengali” population, mosques and religious buildings in the unrest-hit area “are proof that there were no cases of genocide and religious persecution,” it said in a statement carried in state media.
Myanmar refuses to recognize the Rohingya as one of the country’s ethnic minorities, instead describing them as Bengalis — or illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh — even though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.
The commission also found “insufficient evidence” of rape but added it was still looking into claims security forces committed arson, illegal arrests and torture of the Rohingya.
Meanwhile, a top Malaysian counter-terrorism official said that Myanmar is facing a growing danger of attacks by foreign supporters of Daesh recruited from Southeast Asian networks in support of Rohingya.
Malaysian authorities have detained a suspected Daesh follower planning to head to Myanmar to carry out attacks, the head of the Malaysian police counter-terrorism division, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, said in an interview.
The suspect, an Indonesian whom he did not identify, was detained in Malaysia last month. The suspect was scheduled to be charged on Wednesday for possession of materials linked to terrorist groups, which carries a seven-year jail term or fine, Ayob Khan said.
More militants are likely to try to follow his lead in support of the Rohingya cause, Ayob Khan said.
“He was planning to perform jihad in Myanmar, fighting against the Myanmar government for this Rohingya group in Rakhine State,” Ayob Khan said.
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UN warns Myanmar that demolishing Rohingya homes will ‘heighten tensions’

The UN has warned authorities that plans to demolish hundreds of homes belonging to ethnic minority Rohingya Muslims will “heighten tensions” in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where the military is accused of abusing civilians during counterinsurgency operations.

The warning came in a 28 December letter, obtained by IRIN and addressed to Rakhine State Chief Minister Nyi Pu. It said that more than 100 structures have already been destroyed, and the UN has “received reports that the Border Guard Police have served orders to demolish 819 buildings owned by Muslims, including 696 houses.”

The UN is also concerned about a “household survey” underway in areas where tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled military operations, according to the letter. The survey could mean that the displaced are struck from the official list of residents, leaving them unable to legally return home once the violence stops.

UN officials have confirmed the authenticity of the letter, which was signed by the UN’s senior advisor on Rakhine State, Chris Carter.

In the letter, Carter called the demolitions and the survey “provocative”.

The demolitions and survey are taking place in northern Rakhine State, where the military has been conducting “clearing operations” after a Rohingya insurgent group attacked border police posts on 9 October. Rohingya who fled over the border into Bangladesh have told journalists and rights groups that soldiers have committed widespread atrocities, including burning houses, as well as raping and killing civilians.

SEE: Myanmar says Rohingya rape and abuse allegations “made up”, despite mounting evidence
Government confusion

Demolitions are not unusual in Myanmar, where laws require the destruction of structures built without permits. But there is confusion among government officials as to why the survey and demolitions are taking place now, while the military is clashing with insurgents and about 80,000 civilians have been displaced.

“We already told them to hold their plan in this very sensitive situation,” said Zaw Htay, a spokesman for the office of President Htin Kyaw, referring to orders given to state officials. “The central government has already intervened.”

A UN official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told IRIN the UN has received similar assurances from the central government, but structures are still being destroyed.

“We are still trying to determine whether the ongoing demolitions are just actions by rogue local officials… or a more calculated move by others,” the official said.

Tin Maung Shwe, the deputy director for Rakhine State at the central government’s powerful General Administration Department, told IRIN there has been “a misunderstanding at the grassroots level”.

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“We are making inquiries,” he added.

Growing tensions

Rohingya Muslims comprise about a third of Rakhine State’s population of just over three million, where the majority are ethnic Rakhine Buddhists. There have long been tensions between the communities, and violence in 2012 killed hundreds of people and displaced about 140,000. Almost all the victims were Rohingya, and about 100,000 still remain in camps.

Almost all Rohingya are stateless, having had their citizenship stripped by Myanmar’s former military rulers. Although Rohingya have lived in the area for hundreds of years, many in Myanmar consider them illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. They are forced to live under an apartheid system in which their movements are strictly controlled.

Rakhine State conducts the household survey on a yearly basis for the purpose of monitoring the Rohingya community. Only those on the “household lists” produced by this exercise are eligible to reside in their homes.

“It usually takes place in January in northern Rakhine, but began in November this year,” said the UN official. “It’s not happening elsewhere in Rakhine at this time, only in the three northern townships.”

The three northern townships of Rathedaung, Buthidaung and Maungdaw have been highly militarised since 9 October. The townships are home to most of the state’s Rohingya – and all of those displaced by the counter-insurgency operations. That means tens of thousands of people who have fled their villages could be made permanently homeless, since they can’t take part in the survey.

The decision to conduct a household survey now and destroy homes will have the effect of “heightening a state-led campaign of atrocity crimes and ethnic cleansing,” said Matthew Smith, executive director of Fortify Rights, a group that has recently collected testimonies from Rohingya of atrocities committed by soldiers.

“If they aren’t on the list, they will have no choice but to flee to Bangladesh,” he told IRIN. “Giving people no option but to flee the country can be considered forced deportation.”

The UN has similar concerns. The letter refers to reports that the “names of missing people identified by the new household survey are being permanently struck from the household lists.”

More than 50,000 Rohingya have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh in the past three months, according to the government there, while the UN has said another 30,000 people are internally displaced.

As many as half a million Rohingya are already living in overcrowded camps Bangladesh, having crossed the border during attacks against their communities since the 1970s.

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OIC sets meeting in wake of Myanmar beating video of Rohingya Muslims

A Rohingya Muslim woman and her son cry at the Bangladeshi border with Myanmar. A video posted online Sunday showed Myanmar police officers beating Rohingya Muslim villagers.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has scheduled an emergency meeting with foreign ministers following the disclosure Sunday of a video posted online of Myanmar police officers beating Rohingya Muslim villagers.
Myanmar news outlets broadcast the video and it went viral on social media. It depicted several police officers beating and kicking two villagers who were among dozens of Rohingya Muslims being questioned during a military sweep of the region.
The video is rare documentation of abuses by the Myanmar government against Rohingya Muslims in a region virtually closed to non-governmental organizations and aid workers.
Maha Akeel, spokeswoman for the Jeddah-based OIC, told Arab News that the OIC has been “following up closely the situation in Myanmar with the Rohingya villagers for a few months now, and all the attacks, abuses, beatings and burning of their villages.”
“The OIC will hold an emergency meeting at the level of foreign ministers on Jan. 19 in Malaysia to discuss the dangerous violations committed against the Rohingya Muslims,” Akeel said, “and to make a decision to (bring) an end to this humanitarian crisis and take practical steps in terms of humanitarian aid to find a political resolution to grant this persecuted group their full rights.”
The beatings occurred during a crackdown by Myanmar army on Nov. 5 that sent Rohingya Muslims, number about 34,000, fleeing into Bangladesh, according to the United Nations. The operations have led to allegations of abuses, summary executions and rape of villagers. The government of Aung San Suu Kyi has denied the allegations.
However, Suu Kyi’s office confirmed the authenticity of the footage and noted that it recorded by a police officer during a clearance operation in northern Rakhine State.
“Action will be taken against police who allegedly beat villagers,” Suu Kyi’s office said in a statement.
Four policemen have been identified by name, including the leader of the operation. “Further investigations are being carried out to expose other police officers who beat villagers,” the statement said.
The violence in Rakhine State has renewed international criticism that Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi has done too little to help members of the Muslim minority, who are denied citizenship in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.

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UN Security Council urges end to Israeli settlements

The UN Security Council has voted in favour of a resolution demanding the halt of settlement activity by Israel on occupied Palestinian territory with the United States notably abstaining.

The resolution was put forward at the 15-member council for a vote on Friday by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal, a day after Egypt withdrew it under pressure from Israel and US president-elect Donald Trump.

Israel and Trump had called on the US to veto the measure.

“This is a day of victory for international law, a victory for civilised language and negotiation and a total rejection of extremist forces in Israel,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Reuters news agency.

“The international community has told the people of Israel that the way to security and peace is not going to be done through occupation … but rather through peace, ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state to live side by side with the state of Israel on the 1967 line,” Erekat said.

READ MORE: UN votes on ending Israeli settlements

The resolution was adopted with 14 votes in favour to a resounding round of applause. It is the first resolution the Security Council has adopted on Israel and the Palestinians in nearly eight years.

“Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms,” a statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The United States’ abstention was the biggest rebuke in recent history to long-standing ally Israel, allowing the Security Council to condemn its settlements and continuing construction in Palestinian territory as a “flagrant violation” of international law.

The resolution said Israel’s settlements on Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, have “no legal validity.”

It demanded a halt to “all Israeli settlement activities”, saying this “is essential for salvaging the two-state solution”.
WATCH: Analysis – UNSC vote on Israeli settlements postponed (4:35)
Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had backtracked on the move to condemn Israel’s settlement policy on Thursday after receiving a phone call from US president-elect Donald Trump, who spoke out in favour of a US veto.

Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said his government had expected a US veto of “this disgraceful resolution”.

“I have no doubt that the new US administration and the incoming UN secretary-general will usher in a new era in terms of the UN’s relationship with Israel,” said Danon after the vote.

Trump said in a tweet: “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan 20th.”

Trump is likely to be a more staunch supporter of Netanyahu’s right-wing policies. He named a hardline, pro-settlement ambassador to Israel and vowed to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

READ MORE: Trump – US should veto UN Israel settlement resolution

Israeli settlements are seen as a major stumbling block to peace efforts as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

The United Nations maintains that settlements are illegal, but UN officials have reported a surge in construction over the past months.

Yuval Steinitz, Israeli energy minister, accused the US of abandoning Israel by abstaining.

“This is not a resolution against settlements, it is an anti-Israel resolution, against the Jewish people and the state of the Jews. The United States tonight has simply abandoned its only friend in the Middle East,” Steinitz, who is close to Netanyahu, told Channel Two News.

Some 430,000 Israeli settlers currently live in the West Bank and a further 200,000 Israelis live in occupied East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians see as the capital of their future state.

READ MORE: Egypt – Trump convinced Sisi to withdraw UN resolution

The passage of the resolution changes nothing on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians, and likely will be all but ignored by the incoming Trump administration.
WATCH: Israeli settlements make money at Palestinian expense (2:09)
But it was more than merely symbolic.

The resolution formally enshrined the international community’s disapproval of Israeli settlement building and could spur further Palestinian moves against Israel in international forums.

Sharif Nashashibi, a London-based analyst of Arab political affairs, told Al Jazeera he feared the vote will be just one of many UN resolutions that Israel will flout.

“We don’t have any mechanism to put tangible pressure on Israel to abide by this resolution, so I fear that despite the passing of this resolution, the Security Council has still proved itself largely irrelevant to this conflict,” Nashashibi said.

Before the vote, a senior Israeli official said if adopted there was “zero chance” the Israeli government would abide by the measure. Under the UN Charter, UN member states “agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council”.

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OIC: Protests against Rohingya oppression must go on

SHAH ALAM: Malaysians must continue to play a proactive role in protesting against the oppression of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, says a senior official of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
OIC Special Envoy to Myanmar, Syed Hamid Albar said this was necessary in order to urge the Myanmar government to give citizenship to the Rohingya and to act against those who spread hatred and incited violence against the minority ethnic group.
“We want Myanmar to recognise the Rohingya as an ethnic group with rights and who were recognised as part of the country’s population by the first president of Myanmar.
“Malaysia upholds human rights and does not want to see discrimination against any ethnic group and therefore needs to continue the fight on the cruelty against the Rohingya,” he said at the ‘Pray 4 Caring Ummah-Rohingya’ rally at Dataran Kemerdekaan Shah Alam, last night.

Also present was vice-president of International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), Abdul Hadi Awang.
Syed Hamid said Malaysians should continue to fight for the rights of the Rohingya so that the humanitarian conflict in Myanmar could be resolved.
“The Myanmar government is belittling a minority in the country. The Rohingya have been denied the right to citizenship, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee Myanmar.
“We will fight for justice and will gather evidence to show the international court the crimes against humanity involving the Rohingya.”
Meanwhile, Hadi described the oppression of the Rohingya in Myanmar as very disappointing for Muslims around the world.
Hadi, who is also PAS president, said Malaysians must unite in addressing humanitarian issues in Myanmar.
“The world community regardless of religion must cooperate. What is happening in Myanmar is wrong and contrary to humanity,” he added.

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Malaysian envoy reveals inside story on UN vote on Israel

NEW YORK: Malaysian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ramlan Ibrahim, who returns home tomorrow after a two-year stint in New York, has described Friday’s Security Council’s vote calling on Israel to stop the illegal building of settlements as his “crowning experience”.
Ramlan, whose tenure here coincides with Malaysia’s two-year non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) ending Dec 31, said he was elated over the anti-settlement vote.
This was clearly a diplomatic success story for Malaysia – and for Ramlan – who together with three other non-permanent members New Zealand, Senegal and Venezuela, had put the text of a draft resolution to vote yesterday in a largely tense and unexpected climax to the chain of events.
The text, which after the voting came to be known as Security Council Resolution 2334, was to have been presented on Thursday when Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, who left Thursday evening, was also present in New York.
That text was postponed amid rumours that it may even be dropped, given the opposition from United States President-elect Donald Trump.
Eighteen members of the Security Council — including the four permanent members China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom — voted in favour of the resolution, while the US abstained, and Israel voted against it.
The resolution was adopted, prompting a burst of applause. The resolution has stunned Trump circles, who had expected the US to veto.
Late until Friday, the US media was discussing with foreign policy experts the repercussions of the passage of Resolution 2334 in the Security Council.
“I could not have asked for anything better as a farewell gift,” Ramlan said of the resolution while discussing Malaysia’s role at the UN in an interview in his office after the Security Council voting.
“The collective efforts of Malaysia and the other Council members finally paid off.”

During his “memorable posting” in New York, Ramlan pursued the priorities which the Malaysian government had set for its work at the Security Council.
Malaysia used moderation as an approach to conflict resolution and mediation as a tool for peaceful settlement of disputes, besides enhancing UN’s peacekeeping operations, supporting peace-building in countries emerging from conflict and encouraging the continued discussion on Security Council reform.
Malaysia used this approach to tackle ‘hard issues’ which it raised: the downing of the Malaysia Airlines MH17, the Palestinian humanitarian issues, counter-terrorism and children in armed conflict were some of the priority issues it had tried to tackle.
Ramlan recalled that these issues got a strong impetus during Malaysia’s presidency of the UNSC, first, in June 2015 and, later, in August 2016.
The UNSC presidency had afforded Malaysia the opportunity to organise, for example, a high-level open debate in June 2015 on children and armed conflict.
Malaysia succeeded in having its resolution – it sought increased accountability from perpetrators of abduction of children in situations of armed conflict – unanimously adopted by the Security Council and co-sponsored by 56 UN members.
Ramlan pointed out that this could be one of Malaysia’s lasting contributions to the UN system on the protection of children in conflict situations.
Malaysia, Ramlan said, had also organised in August 2016 a high-level open debate on weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The debate increased awareness of the consequences of WMD falling into the hands of terrorists and criminals, and the need for UN members to work together to prevent this from happening.
Malaysia actively highlighted the Palestinian’s plight, chairing Arria-formula meetings – these meetings have an informal character and are named after former Venezuelan ambassador Diego Arria who had introduced this form of discussions. They were on the situation in Gaza, protection for the people of Palestine, and illegal Israeli settlements.
“We succeeded in highlighting the plight of the Palestinians by bringing in Israeli NGOs at Arria meetings to present the problems caused by Israeli settlements. The Arria meetings were successful, as we saw today, with the adoption of Resolution 2334,” Ramlan said.
However, a move to set up an international tribunal to bring to justice those responsible for the downing of the MH17 flight, was not successful – the move was vetoed in the Security Council.
Ramlan maintained that the two-year Council membership had also elevated Malaysia in the eyes of the world.

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Malaysia calls for Asean to lead push for end to Rohingya crisis

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman says Asean needs to coordinate humanitarian aid and investigate alleged atrocities committed against the Rohingyas.

YANGON: Malaysia said on Monday the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar was a regional concern and called for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to coordinate humanitarian aid and investigate alleged atrocities committed against them.

Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said progress in improving the human rights of the Rohingya people in Rakhine state had been “rather slow” and reports of arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, and rape by soldiers were continuing.

“We believe that the situation is now of a regional concern and should be resolved together,” Anifah told a meeting with his Asean counterparts in Yangon, according to a transcript of his speech provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Myanmar’s handling of northern Rakhine lesson in how to make ‘bad situation worse’ – UN rights chief

Residents of the Thet Kae Pyin camp for displaced people in Sittwe, Rakhine State, Myanmar. (file) Photo: OCHA/P.Peron

Expressing concern over the situation in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine, the top United Nations human rights official warned that the Government’s “short-sighted, counterproductive, even callous” approach to the handling of the crisis could have grave long-term repercussions for the country and the region.

In a news release today, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that he was deeply disappointed that access by his Office (OHCHR) to some of the worst areas in northern Rakhine had still not been approved, particularly given numerous alarming allegations of rights violations, including killings, rapes and the burning of Rohingya homes.

“The repeated dismissal of the claims of serious human rights violations as fabrications, coupled with the failure to allow our independent monitors access to the worst affected areas in northern Rakhine, is highly insulting to the victims and an abdication of the Government’s obligations under international human rights law,” Mr. Zeid said.

“If the authorities have nothing to hide, then why is there such reluctance to grant us access? Given the continued failure to grant us access, we can only fear the worst,” he added.

Noting that the country’s handling of the crisis in northern Rakhine “is a lesson in how to make a bad situation worse,” Mr. Zeid called on the authorities to reflect on the best approach towards a durable resolution to the long-standing grievances of different communities in northern Rakhine.

Further in the release, he also strongly condemned attacks on border police posts in early October by armed assailants as well as the killing of a senior army officer on 12 November.

“These are serious crimes for which the individual perpetrators and their masterminds must be brought to account with full respect of their right to due process,” the High Commissioner stressed.

“But accounts we have received suggest that security forces may have imposed collective punishment on an entire community, with reprisals against already vulnerable Rohingya Muslims continuing more than two months after the border post attacks, causing some 27,000 people to flee across the border into Bangladesh,” he added.

“Sadly, the world today is full of examples where States have responded to security breaches with heavy-handed military responses, with little or no regard for the root causes. The results have been catastrophic, with mass displacement, the nurturing of violent extremism, and everybody ultimately losing,” he cautioned.

He also urged the Government to accept the international community’s offer of support to help resolve the crisis as well as by his Office to provide training and assistance to authorities in improving the human rights situation for all the people of Myanmar.

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Asean to discuss Rohingya issue in Yangon on Dec 19

A meeting between Asean foreign ministers will take place on Monday in Yangon to discuss the oppression of and violence towards the Rohingya ethnic minority group in Myanmar, the Dewan Negara was told today.
Deputy Foreign Minister Reezal Merican Naina Merican said the ministers would seek a long-term solution to the current situation in Rakhine state in Myanmar’s northern region during the meeting.
“The decision was made when Myanmar eventually agreed to the continuous recommendations by Malaysia after both sides traded statements to back their stand (on the issue),” he said.
He said this when winding up the debate on the Supply Bill 2017.
Reezal said his ministry had earlier written a letter to the foreign minister of Laos, to propose an Asean foreign ministers’ emergency meeting on the issue, but was rejected.

“Malaysia has insisted that the situation in Rakhine has become an international issue which has implications to regional political and economic stability, and is not merely an internal issue of Myanmar,” he said.
In the meantime, Reezal said the secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had informed all OIC member nations to seek their agreement of the emergency meeting and Malaysia’s preparedness in organising it.
In another development, Reezal said the government had four humanitarian projects in Gaza estimated at US$6.5 million (RM29 million) following Prime Minister Najib Razak’s visit there on Jan 22, 2013.
He said the projects, among others, were the construction of a ministry building, the rebuilding of the Al-Nour Al-Mohammadi Mosque, the construction of a new block for the Al-Rantisi Hospital and the setting up of a Malaysian vocational school.
“The new block (of the hospital) will house new departments, including a coronary care unit, haemodialysis unit, emergency unit and outpatient unit.
“The haemodialysis and coronary care units are the only such units in Gaza,” said Reezal.
He said the Malaysian embassy in Egypt was entrusted with monitoring the development and implementation of the humanitarian projects.

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