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Stop calling Rohingyas ‘Bengalis’ and return them safely to Myanmar, says Hasina

Hasina made the proposal at a meeting of the OIC Contact Group at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Tuesday and urged the OIC countries to unite to tackle the crisis.

“Today our Muslim brothers and sisters in Myanmar are faced with ‘ethnic cleansing’,” she said. “The ongoing military operations by the Myanmar authorities have created havoc in the Rakhine State”

The Bangladesh prime minister’s other proposals included an immediate end to atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, the creation of ‘safe zones’ in Myanmar for the protection of civilians, the immediate and unconditional implementation of the recommendations put forward by the Kofi Annan Commission, and urgent humanitarian assistance for the refugees from OIC countries until they can return to Myanmar.

Hasina is currently attending the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations, which began on Sept 19 and will continue until Sept 25.

The meeting of world leaders began soon after militant attacks in the border state of Rakhine on Aug 25 triggered a crackdown by the Myanmar military which has forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas to cross the border into Bangladesh.

Over 400,000 Rohingya refugees have fled into Bangladesh since the crackdown began, which Hasina called ‘the largest exodus of Rohingyas of all time’. UNICEF estimates nearly 60 percent of the refugees are children.

If the situation in Rakhine state persists, UN agencies estimate the total number of refugees entering Bangladesh may hit one million.

The UN has called the incident a ‘textbook case of ethnic cleansing’.

Hasina spoke of her own visit to the refugee camps at the OIC meeting and attempted to highlight the ‘grave suffering, particularly of women and children’. She urged OIC nations to visit Bangladesh and see the situation for themselves.

She criticised Myanmar for claiming Rohingyas to be ‘illegal migrants’ from Bangladesh.

“The historical records suggest that the Rohingyas have been living in Rakhine State for centuries.”

The Rohingya Muslims are being forced out in a planned and organised manner, Hasina said. She referred to the minority’s exclusion from the list of Myanmar’s recognised ethnic groups, the denial of their right to citizenship in 1982 and their confinement to camps for internally displaced peoples.

“We have continued our diplomatic efforts to return all the Rohingyas to their homeland,” the prime minister said.

“But Myanmar is not responding to our calls. You may have also seen in the media that Myanmar is laying landmines along their stretch of border to stop return of Rohingyas to their homeland.”

She urged the OIC countries to unite and resolve the crisis before it is too late. Bangladesh is ready to join any joint initiative on the issue, she said.

Hasina will speak on the Rohingya issue in her General Assembly address on Sept 21. She will meet with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres for bilateral talks afterwards.

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Trump urges ‘strong and swift’ U.N. action to end Rohingya crisis: Pence

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump is urging the United Nations Security Council to take “strong and swift action” to bring Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis to an end, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Wednesday

Speaking at the United Nations, Pence reiterated a call for Myanmar’s military to end the violence immediately, warning that if it continued, it would “sow seeds of hatred and chaos that may well consume the region for generations to come and threaten the peace of us all.”

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Aung San Suu Kyi award suspended by UK union over Myanmar crisis

Unison one of a number of institutions in Britain to withdraw honours in response to humanitarian crisis

One of Britain’s largest trade unions has suspended an award given to Aung San Suu Kyi during her time as a political prisoner, as international criticism mounts over her tepid response to Myanmar’s humanitarian crisis.

The move comes as a number of British institutions say they are reviewing or removing honours bestowed on Aung San Suu Kyi during her campaign for democracy under Myanmar’s oppressive military junta.

Unison, the country’s second largest trade union, announced that it is to suspend Suu Kyi’s honorary membership, and urged Myanmar’s de facto leader to do more to denounce the plight of the country’s Rohingya people.

“The situation facing the Rohingya of Myanmar is appalling,” Margaret McKee, Unison’s president, told the Guardian. “Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary membership of Unison has been suspended, and we hope that she responds to international pressure.”

Bristol University, one of a string of universities that awarded honorary degrees to the Burmese leader during her time in opposition, also said it was reviewing its award in light of accusations of brutal mistreatment of the Rohingya, described by the UN as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

“The university shares the growing concern with the ongoing situation in Myanmar,” a spokesperson for Bristol university said.

“In 1998 we awarded an honorary degree of doctor of laws to Dr Aung San Suu Kyi, who at the time was leading the struggle for human rights and democracy in the then Burma.

“In terms of this award it would be wrong to make any decision at this time to consider revoking such an honour but we will continue to monitor and review the situation as necessary.”

The London School of Economics student union said it would be stripping the former political prisoner of her honorary presidency.

“We will be actively removing Aung San Suu Kyi’s honorary presidency as a symbol of our opposition to her current position and inaction in the face of genocide,” said Mahatir Pasha, the union’s general secretary.

Over the last 30 years Aung San Suu Kyi has been awarded with honorary degrees from several UK universities including Glasgow, Bath and Cambridge, as well as the freedom of several cities, and other honours.

Oxford councillors have announced that they may reconsider the freedom of the city of Oxford awarded to Aung San Suu Kyi in 1997 at next month’s council meeting.

“If nothing changes, I think it is very likely that the city council will be stripping her of the freedom of the city,” John Tanner, an Oxford council board member, told the Oxford Mail.

“It’s something that we very much regret but clearly the reasons for giving her support have now changed.”

Aung San Suu Kyi has close links with the city of Oxford, having studied at St Hugh’s College there as an undergraduate in the 1960s. Her late husband, Michael Aris, was an academic at the university.

Oxford awarded an honorary doctorate to Aung San Suu Kyi in 1993 but she was unable to collect it until 2012.

As a leader of Myanmar’s opposition Aung San Suu Kyi won international praise and a Nobel peace prize in 1991. Despite being barred from running for president, she won a decisive victory in the country’s 2015 election, and was eventually given a title of state counsellor.

But in recent months she has been the object of criticism for her failure to stem the attacks against the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority living along the border with Bangladesh.

Among the critics has been Malala Yousafzai, herself a Nobel peace prize laureate, who earlier this month called on Aung San Suu Kyi to condemn the “tragic and shameful” treatment of the Rohingya after violence that left hundreds dead.

The prime minister, Theresa May, has been under pressure to act after Myanmar’s military forces were accused of driving hundreds of thousands of Rohingya out of the country.

“We are very concerned about what’s happening to the Rohingya people,” May said, calling on Aung San Suu Kyi “to make it very clear that the military action should stop”.

On Tuesday May announced that the UK would be suspending the training of the Burmese military by the Ministry of Defence “until this issue is resolved”.

But in a speech this week Aung San Suu Kyi failed to roundly condemn the military forces, and instead claimed that there had been “no conflicts since 5 September and no clearance operations” against the country’s Muslim minority.

Amnesty International called the speech a “mix of untruths and victim-blaming”.

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Nigeria compares Myanmar crisis to Bosnia and Rwanda

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari urged fellow leaders at the United Nations General Assembly to condemn Myanmar’s “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya people.

Comparing the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine province to the massacres in Bosnia in 1995 and Rwanda in 1994, the leader of Africa’s most populous nation declared: “The international community cannot remain silent.”

More than 420,000 people have fled violence in Rakhine, which Buhari said bears the hallmarks of a “state-backed program of brutal depopulation” targeting Rohingya on the basis of their ethnicity and Muslim religion.

“We fully endorse the call by the secretary-general on the government of Myanmar to order a halt to the ongoing ethnic cleansing and ensure the safe return of the displaced Rohingya to their homes in safety and dignity,” the 74-year-old leader said.

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also urged Myanmar to halt its military campaign.

The 1.1 million-strong Rohingya people have suffered years of discrimination in Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship even though many have longstanding roots in the country.

Myanmar’s second vice president, Henry van Thio, is to take the podium at the UN assembly on Wednesday after Nobel laureate and de facto Myanmar leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi declined to attend this year’s world gathering.

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US with Bangladesh on Rohingya issue, Trump tells Hasina

This is the first time Trump made any remark on the Rohingya issue

US President Donald Trump has said the United States is with Bangladesh on Rohingya refugee issue and will see how this problem can be resolved.

“On Myanmar issue (Rohingya issue) we’re with you,” Trump told Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the sidelines of the high-level meeting titled ‘Reforming the United Nations: Management, Security, and Development’ hosted by the US President at ESCOS Chamber of the UN Headquarters here on Monday.

Sheikh Hasina is now in New York to attend the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), reports UNB.

While briefing reporters, Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque said Trump also told Hasina that the US will see how the Rohingya refugee problem can be resolved.

This is the first time Trump made any remark on the Rohingya issue and this was also his maiden visit to UN Headquarters after becoming the US President.

Trump enquired about the economic progress of Bangladesh and Sheikh Hasina in reply said, “Doing well.”


Meanwhile, Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj had a brief meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on board the plane while travelling from Abu Dhabi to New York on Sunday and reiterated her country’s stance on Rohingya issue saying, “India is definitely with Bangladesh and they will help it (Bangladesh) to resolve the problem.”

Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said the Indian Minister for External Affairs will visit Bangladesh on October 23-24 to attend the India-Bangladesh joint commission meeting.

She apprised the Prime Minister about the upcoming meeting.

Meanwhile, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) head Filippo Grandi expressed his willingness to help Bangladesh on the issue of Myanmar refugee problem.

“He also wanted to visit Bangladesh,” Shahidul Haque said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Haisna said all the organisations of the UN will help Bangladesh, but the registration of the Rohingya refuges will be done by Bangladesh Army.

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Myanmar: Aung San Suu Kyi “burying her head in the sand” about Rakhine horrors

Reacting to today’s speech by Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s State Counsellor and de facto leader, on the crisis in Rakhine State, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

“Aung San Suu Kyi today demonstrated that she and her government are still burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine State. At times, her speech amounted to little more than a mix of untruths and victim blaming.

“There is overwhelming evidence that security forces are engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing through murder and forced displacement. While it was positive to hear Aung San Suu Kyi condemn human rights violations in Rakhine state, she is still silent about the role of the security forces in this.

“Aung San Suu Kyi’s claims that her government ‘does not fear international scrutiny’ ring hollow. Myanmar has repeatedly said it will not co-operate with the UN-mandated Fact Finding Mission established earlier this year. If Myanmar has nothing to hide, it should allow UN investigators into the country, including Rakhine State. The government must also urgently allow humanitarian actors full and unfettered access to all areas and people in need in the region.

“The military’s campaign of violence and human rights violations in Rakhine State must end immediately. But the government should also address the entrenched discrimination that has left Rohingya trapped in a cycle of abuse and deprivation for decades.

“Contrary to Aung San Suu Kyi’s claims, Rohingya are essentially segregated in Rakhine State, effectively denied citizenship and face severe barriers in accessing health care and other basic services. Refugees who have fled to Bangladesh cannot return to this appalling status quo.

“Aung San Suu Kyi rightly pointed to challenges around conflicts in other parts of the country. But the fact remains that ethnic minorities are also suffering severe human rights violations by the military, notably in Kachin and northern Shan States. These patterns will continue as long as the security forces enjoy near total impunity.”

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လံုျခံဳေရးတပ္ဖြဲ႔အၾကမ္းဖက္မႈ ျမန္မာအစိုးရ မသိက်ိဳးကၽြံျပဳေနေၾကာင္း AI ေဝဖန္

ရခိုင္ျပည္နယ္မွာ လံုျခံဳေရးတပ္ဖြဲ႔ေတြရဲ႕ အၾကမ္းဖက္မႈေတြနဲ႔ ပတ္သက္လို႔ ႏိုင္ငံေတာ္ အတိုင္ပင္ခံပုဂၢိဳလ္ ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္နဲ႔ ျမန္မာအစိုးရအဖြဲ႔ဟာ မသိက်ိဳးကၽြံျပဳေနၾကတယ္လုိ႔ ၿဗိတိန္ အေျခစိုက္ အျပည္ျပည္ဆိုင္ရာ လြတ္ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းသာခြင့္အဖြဲ႔ AI က ေဝဖန္ေျပာၾကားလိုက္ပါတယ္။

ဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္ မိန္႔ခြန္းကို အစိုးရ သတင္းမီဒီယာေတြကေန တိုက္ရိုက္ထုတ္လႊင့္ အၿပီးမွာ အခုလို ေၾကညာခ်က္ထုတ္ျပန္ၿပီး ေဝဖန္လုိက္တာပါ။

ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္နဲ႔ ျမန္မာအစိုးရဟာ ရခိုင္ျပည္နယ္မွာ ျဖစ္ပ်က္ေနတဲ့ ထိတ္လန္႔တုန္လႈပ္စရာ အျဖစ္အပ်က္ေတြကို မသိက်ိဳးကၽြံျပဳ ေခါင္းေရွာင္ေနၾကေၾကာင္း၊ မိန္႔ခြန္းထဲမွာ မမွန္ကန္တဲ့ အခ်က္အလက္ေတြ၊ နစ္နာထိခိုက္ရသူေတြကို အျပစ္တင္တာေတြ မၾကာခဏ ပါဝင္ေနေၾကာင္းလည္း AI ရဲ့ ေၾကညာခ်က္မွာ ေထာက္ျပထားပါတယ္။

ျမန္မာအစိုးရက ႏုိင္ငံတကာ စိစစ္မႈေတြကို မေၾကာက္ပါဘူးလို႔ ေဒၚေအာင္ဆန္းစုၾကည္က ေျပာလိုက္တာဟာလည္း နက္နဲမႈမရွိေၾကာင္း၊ အမွန္တကယ္ ဖံုးကြယ္ထားစရာ မရွိဘူးဆိုရင္ ကုလသမဂၢ စံုစမ္း စစ္ေဆးေရးမွဴးေတြကို ရခိုင္ျပည္နယ္ အပါအဝင္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံထဲကို ဝင္ေရာက္ခြင့္ ျပဳသင့္ေၾကာင္းလည္း AI အဖြဲ႔က ေဝဖန္ထားပါတယ္။

Source : RFA Burmese

Aung San Suu Kyi Has Had Her Oxford Freedom Award Withdrawn Over Her Response To The Rohingya Crisis

Council leaders in Oxford have confirmed they’ll withdraw a freedom award given to honour Aung San Suu Kyi over her inaction to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.

The city’s council leader and its lord mayor issued a statement in which they called for her to condemn the violence in Rakhine province back in September – something she has failed to do.

They said they would withdraw the Freedom of the City award, given to people of distinction or who have “rendered eminent services” to Oxford, which was granted to her in 1997.

Last night, a motion to remove the award as it was “no longer appropriate” was unanimously passed by councillors, a spokesperson for the council confirmed to BuzzFeed News.

Bob Price, Oxford city council leader, confirmed to the BBC that it was an “unprecedented step” for the council to remove the honour, and said that it was “extraordinary” Aung San Suu Kyi had not spoken out about the situation.

Oxford councillor Tom Hayes said it was “significant” that the councillors had voted to rescind the honour. There would be a special meeting, he told BuzzFeed News, to establish how that would work. “That said, we are still hopeful of some kind of miracle will happen and she’ll change her mind.”

“We need to make clear that you are not guaranteed to keep this award in perpetuity,” he said. “We know that our voice is a small one, but we hope that will stir something in her.”

Hayes added that all councillors, across the political spectrum, had come together having been moved by the images on TV showing the suffering of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

The decision follows the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. At least 400,000 Rohingyas have fled the country after indiscriminate attacks by the Burmese military and decades of persecution, but Aung San Suu Kyi has defended the army’s handling of the crisis and refused to allow international observers into the region.

Hayes said in September that Aung San Suu Kyi’s actions had “cruelly betrayed” the city. “It’s an absolute tragedy,” he told BuzzFeed News.

“This is somebody who has been so inspiring to so many for so many years, who has stood as a symbol of resistance against oppression, and now we are seeing this deafening silence being replaced by comments that would suggest that the situation is not serious.

“When the Freedom of City was given to her, it was given because she was that symbol for all of us. But she has actually betrayed the trust we have placed in her as an inspiration and as a freedom fighter. We feel especially cruelly betrayed.”

He said the city of Oxford could not condone giving her the Freedom of the City.

Aung San Suu Kyi studied at Oxford University in the 1960s. She settled in the city with her husband Michael Aris and their two children in the 1980s until her return to Burma in 1988 to visit her ill mother. She was placed in solitary confinement by the Burmese military until 2010.

In 2012, following the fall of the junta and her release, the Nobel Peace Prize winner said she had been “upheld” during “the most difficult years” by memories of her time at Oxford. “Those were among the most important inner resources that helped me to cope with all the challenges I had to face,” she said.

Oxford’s criticism follows that from international aid organisations, such as Amnesty InternationalHuman Rights Watch, and the United Nations, which have all warned of horrific crimes against the Rohingya Muslims.

Hayes said: “We realise that as a city council there are a small number of ways we can try to influence her, and we realise that other international actors will have a bigger impact, but we are just trying to play on that emotion, on that loyalty, from a city that she called home for so long.

“Just try and remind her of the time when she was a better person.”

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Last chance for Suu Kyi, UN chief says

Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has “a last chance” to stop ethnic cleansing, UN chief Antonio Guterres told the BBC in an exclusive interview.

He said: unless Suu Kyi acts now and intervenes, “the tragedy will be absolutely horrible”.

“If she does not reverse the situation now, then I think the tragedy will be absolutely horrible, and unfortunately then I don’t see how this can be reversed in the future,” he said.

The UN has warned the offensive could amount to ethnic cleansing. Myanmar says it is responding to last month’s deadly attacks by militants and denies it is targeting civilians.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also said that the Rohingyas should be allowed to return.

Aung San Suu Kyi – a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who spent many years under house arrest in the junta-run Myanmar (Burma) – is now facing growing criticism over the Rohingya issue.

Guterres’ warning comes after Bangladesh said it was now limiting the movement of more than 400,000 Rohingya who have fled from Myanmar.

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UK for permanent solution to Rohingya crisis: British envoy

British High Commissioner in Dhaka Alison Blake today said there is now a global understanding that the decades-old crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State’s cannot be allowed to continue and the UK is active to find a lasting solution to the Rohingya situation.

“And this understanding is not just to stop violence, it’s to come to a lasting solutions,” she said, referring to the statements of her government and the UN Security Council where UK along with the Sweden tabled the issue.

The Security Council at a meeting on September 13 agreed on the importance of a long term solutions to the situation in Rakhine and called for implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission of Rakhine State, chaired by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Blake said there is no “magic wand” to solve the decades-old crisis overnight. “But there is a global understanding that this cannot be allowed to continue.”

Talking to a select group of journalists, including The Daily Star at her residence today, the British envoy said that Bangladesh has set an example for the world with its response to the Rohingya crisis.

About the current situation, she said the UK was not just active on the humanitarian ground, but as the member of Security Council and friend of Bangladesh, they have been clear to say that people responsible for violence which is the armed forces and security forces must stop it.

“This is a crisis Bangladesh dealing with. But it’s not made in Bangladesh,” she said, adding since the crisis is created in Rakhine, so Myanmar government must take the lead to resolve it.

Alison Blake also said her government has already announced £30 million to meet the humanitarian needs of vulnerable Rohingyas following the August 25 military crackdowns that forced more than 400,000 Myanmar nationals to flee Rakhine State and take shelter in Bangladesh.

Head of DFID Bangladesh Jane Edmondson who was also present with the High Commissioner said there is a “huge coordination” challenges to manage all the resources coming for the humanitarian need.

“We are working with the partners on how to improve this and manage that,” she said, adding that they are also preparing for the “worst-case” scenario.

The UK government, earlier, called for violence to stop after hundreds of thousands of people fled their homes.

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