Myanmar


    Are Myanmar's Rohingya facing genocide or ethnic cleansing?
    21.09.17
    AFP

    Muslim Rohingya fleeing their homes in Myanmar are facing "ethnic cleansing" but whether they are victims of genocide remains unclear, international justice experts told AFP. About 422,000 refugees from the stateless Muslim minority have fled Myanmar's westernmost Rakhine state to Bangladesh since August 25, alleging torture and rape by Myanmar troops and Buddhist militias. Their plight has sparked UN accusations of military-led ethnic cleansing, but French President Emmanuel Macron has said the attacks amount to genocide. - What is the difference between genocide and ethnic cleansing? - "These are closely related terms and indeed, sometimes the means by which genocide is committed...

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    Burma: Satellite Imagery Shows Mass Destruction
    22.09.17
    HRW

    (New York) – New analysis of satellite imagery from Burma’s Rakhine State shows the near total destruction of 214 villages, Human Rights Watch said today. World leaders meeting at the United Nations should urgently adopt a General Assembly resolution condemning the Burmese military’s ethnic cleansing, while the UN Security Council should impose targeted sanctions and an arms embargo. The detailed satellite images, made possible due to a clearing of monsoon cloud on September 16, 2017, reveal destruction from burning much greater than previously known. They show the destruction of tens...

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    The persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya goes back to independence
    21.09.17
    Engy Abdelkader, JD, LL.M.

    Some 420,000 Rohingya Muslims, a religious and ethnic minority community in Myanmar, have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since August this year. The United Nations has called the Rohingya the world’s most persecuted minority group and described the atrocities by Myanmar’s authorities as “ethnic cleansing,” whereby one group removes another ethnic or religious community through violence.But the persecution of the Rohingya is not new. My research on the Rohingya Muslim experience in Myanmar shows that this pattern of persecution goes back to 1948 – the year when the country achieved...

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    The Rakhine crisis in Myanmar and the government’s options
    19.09.17
    Sithu Aung Myint, Frontier

    The Myanmar government’s policy options for troubled Rakhine state are a choice between an army strategy focused on the 1982 Citizenship Law or implementing recommendations in the final report by the Annan commission. The coordinated attacks by extremists on 30 police posts and a Tatmadaw (army) camp in northern Rakhine in the early hours of August 25 came as no surprise to many political observers and conflict analysts. The attacks, which initially claimed the lives of 10 policemen, a soldier and two government officials, and also left dozens of extremists dead, followed a disturbing rise...

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    Week in Review: How words count in transitional justice
    18.09.17
    François Sergent, JusticeInfo.net

    Transitional justice is also a question of words, like genocide or ethnic cleansing, resonant with bloody memories of Rwanda or the Balkans. Short of words to describe the massacre of Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s army, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres nevertheless recognized this week that it amounted to “ethnic cleansing”. "When one-third of the Rohingya population has got to flee the country, can you find a better word to describe it?" Guterres answered when questioned on his choice of words. But for the country’s de facto leader, Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, this is a...

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    UN council calls for 'immediate steps' to end ethnic cleansing against Rohingyas in Myanmar
    13.09.17
    AFP

    The UN Security Council on Wednesday broke its weeks-long silence on the crisis in Myanmar and called for an end to the violence as UN chief Antonio Guterres said the military campaign amounted to ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims. Following a closed-door meeting, the 15-member council including China, a supporter of Myanmar's former ruling junta, expressed concern about excessive force during security operations in Rakhine state and called for "immediate steps" to end the violence. It was the first time the council agreed on a united response to the crisis sparked by a military...

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    In Myanmar, former child soldier punished for speaking out
    13.09.17
    Hein Ko So, Frontier

    In Myanmar, the recent arrest of a man who gave an interview about his past as a child soldier has brought the issue to a wider audience ­but also raised fears about the military’s commitment to ending underage recruitment. Ko Aung Ko Htwe’s taste of freedom was brief. Barely a month after completing a 10-year prison sentence, he was re-arrested on August 18 and remanded the following day in Insein Prison. His alleged crime was speaking about his experience as a child soldier to the media. The interview prompted an officer from Yangon Region Command to file a complaint directly to Dagon...

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    ‘That guy should be killed’: Escaping a mob in Maungdaw, Myanmar
    12.09.17
    Mratt Kyaw Thu, Frontier

    Hostility greeted three journalists who made a clandestine trip to Maungdaw, in Myanmar's troubled Rakhine state, late last month after the security operation had began against those behind the August 25 attacks. When 10 journalists with domestic and international media organisations, including Frontier, arrived at Buthidaung jetty by river ferry from Sittwe on August 28 in the hope of travelling to Maungdaw, special branch police were everywhere. We’d taken the ferry with Border Guard Police escorting a consignment of yellow packages wrapped tightly with yellow tape. No one we asked knew...

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    18,500 Rohingya cross into Bangladesh since fresh Myanmar fighting: IOM
    30.08.17
    AFP

    At least 18,500 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh in the last six days since renewed fighting broke out between militants and the army in neighbouring Myanmar, the International Organization for Migration said Wednesday. "As of last night, 18,500 people have come across," from Myanmar's Rakhine State, Chris Lom, the IOM's Asia-Pacific spokesman, told AFP. Lom said exact figures were difficult to obtain because many of those who have made it into Bangladesh might not register with local authorities. Bangladesh, which already hosts some 400,000 Rohingya who have fled Myanmar over the years, has vowed to block new arrivals and has deported some of those it has caught trying to make...

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    Annan 's Commission calls on Myanmar to end Rohingya repression
    24.08.17
    AFP

    Myanmar must scrap restrictions on movement and citizenship for its Rohingya minority if it wants to avoid fuelling extremism and bring peace to Rakhine state, a commission led by former UN chief Kofi Annan said Thursday. Rights groups hailed the report as a milestone for the persecuted Rohingya community because the government of Aung San Suu Kyi has previously vowed to abide by its findings. The western state, one of the country's poorest, has long been a sectarian tinderbox and mainly Buddhist Myanmar has faced growing international condemnation for its treatment of the Muslim...

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    Women's struggle in Myanmar is not a myth
    16.08.17
    Khin Chan Myae Maung, Frontier

    The argument that gender inequality is not an issue in Myanmar is simply not borne out by the facts on the ground.Women’s rights is not a topic that needs a long-winded introduction; it has been a fight that has been taken up by millions across the globe in the hope of achieving basic human rights for women - young and old, born or chosen - everywhere. Despite the protests and movements made in the name of women rights, in this day and age there are still those who believe our struggle is not real. The issue of a lack of gender equality is by no means a myth – as was argued by the author of...

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    Thai smuggling crackdown leaves Myanmar's Rohingya in limbo
    19.07.17
    Hla-Hla HTAY,AFP

    Five years have passed since Hla Hla Sein was forced into a displacement camp in western Myanmar for Rohingya Muslims, where disease and deprivation are rife and armed guards patrol a barbed-wire perimeter.  But after a crackdown on the international smuggling routes that once offered a dangerous -- but viable -- escape route, she now sees no way out.  "We have no idea how many years we will have to live like this," the 40-year-old widow told AFP inside the tiny bamboo hut she shares with her son, tugging nervously at her purple headscarf.  "Our lives are worse than animals... we...

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    Myanmar villagers tell of abuses during crackdown in Rakhine
    18.07.17
    Oliver Slow, Frontier

    Residents of villages in Myanmar's northern Rakhine State have told reporters of accounts of human rights abuses by security forces during clearance operations conducted in the aftermath of the October 9 attack on police outposts in the beleaguered region. The accounts, told to reporters from local and foreign media outlets who were in the region as part of a government-sponsored trip, included accusations of extrajudicial killing, arson and arbitrary arrest. The government and military have repeatedly denied that such incidents took place. In Kyar Gaung Taung village, Maungdaw Township,...

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    Myanmar slammed over visa refusal to UN Rohingya probe
    12.07.17
    AFP

    Aung San Suu Kyi's government in Myanmar risks getting bracketed with "pariah states" like North Korea and Syria over its refusal to grant visas to a UN team investigating the plight of Rohingya Muslims, activists said Wednesday. The civilian government of the Nobel peace laureate said on June 30 that the three investigators designated by the UN's Human Rights Council were not welcome, insisting it was conducting its own probe into alleged atrocities against the minority group. That refusal amounts to "a slap in the face to victims who suffered grave human rights violations by Myanmar's state security forces", John Fisher, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch, said in a...

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    Where to now for the UN in Myanmar?
    03.07.17
    Frontier

    The lack of a unified message from the UN has weakened its influence on the Myanmar government in the Rakhine conflict.The battle within the United Nations country team over the direction of its work on human rights, particularly in Rakhine State, was one of the worst kept secrets in Myanmar. It was a bitter struggle between two sides that both believed their approach was the most effective to tackle the myriad challenges. The UN is far from monolithic; its various agencies, by the nature of their work and leadership, have different operating philosophies. In Myanmar, the battle lines went...

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    Film festival reflects state of Myanmar transition
    29.06.17
    Sing Lee, Frontier

    Myanmar's fifth Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival was an insight into how far the country has progressed in its political transition, with some liberalizatation but a film on conflict in Rakhine state still banned.  Four years can seem a long time. In 2013, the Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival was launched amid an uncertain political transition. The term “human rights” had until very recently been taboo; the country’s prisons still housed scores, if not hundreds, of political inmates. For organisers and participants, the fifth incarnation of the...

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    Myanmar journalists face jail for meeting rebel group
    28.06.17
    Nyan Hlaing Lynn, Frontier

    NAY PYI TAW — Three journalists detained by Myanmar's military in northern Shan State have been transferred into police custody in Hsipaw and formally charged with Section 17(1) of the Unlawful Associations Act, Frontier has been told. Ko Lawi Weng of The Irrawaddy, also known as Thein Zaw, along with DVB reporters Ko Aye Naing and Ko Pyae Bone Aung, will appear before a judge in Hsipaw on July 11 after being arrested on suspicion of meeting members of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army in Namhsan Township, near the Chinese border. If convicted, the trio face a maximum sentence of three...

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    The challenge of forging a new army in Myanmar
    20.06.17
    Sithu Aung Myint, Frontier

    One of the greatest challenges of the peace process in Myanmar will be to decide what kind of national army ("Tatmadaw") will be most compatible with the people’s aspirations for a future democratic federal Union. During the second 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference that ended on May 29, delegates discussed 45 topics under four headings dealing with politics, the economy, the social sector and land and the environment. Agreement was reached on 37 topics and in an official statement, the six-day event was described as a success. Frankly speaking, the statement was not complete...

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    Mixed results at Myanmar peace conference
    31.05.17
    NYAN HLAING LYNN & OLIVER SLOW | FRONTIER

    Myanmar's second 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference in Nay Pyi Taw last week ended with some signs of progress but also highlighted the huge challenges the country faces to finally achieve peace.It began with a good-cop, bad-cop routine: State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s optimistic speech followed by a threat from the commander-in-chief towards armed groups rejecting the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement. But the outcome of the second 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference was similarly mixed – there was disagreement over the right to “secede” from the Union, but also...

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    ICRC chief pleads for humanitarian access in Myanmar
    31.05.17
    Frontier Myanmar

    The International Committee of the Red Cross works to provide relief to people within conflict zones. During a recent visit to tour ICRC projects and meet Myanmar officials, committee president Peter Maurer sat down for an interview with Frontier’s Jared Downing and reporters from several other outlets. Your first visit to Myanmar was in 2013. What has been your biggest surprise, coming back this time? From a relatively small operation of the ICRC, [ICRC Myanmar] has become the second largest in Asia, among the top 20 operations of ICRC worldwide. It has now a US$34 million budget, more...

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