Friday 26 October 2018

Rohingya crisis: UN warns of ongoing genocide

Source Aljazeera, 25 Oct

The United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar has briefed the Security Council on the results of its investigation into the deadly violence perpetrated by the country's military against Muslim-majority Rohingya
25 October 2018 :6 hours ago

UN investigators say Muslim-majority Rohingya in Myanmar are still facing genocide.
The head of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar told the UN Security Council that up to 400,000 Rohingya who remain in Myanmar face severe restrictions and repression.
Al Jazeera's James Bays reports from the UN.

Rohingyas to be repatriated beginning next year, says Saifuddin

Source Malaymail, 22 Oct

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (centre) meeting with Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) students and staff at UMP Gambang Astaka Hall, Kuantan, October 22, 2018. — Bernama pic
KUANTAN, Oct 22 — The repatriation of the Rohingya ethnic community to Rakhine, Myanmar is likely to be implemented by next year, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said.

He said efforts to help the community return to their homeland were initiated by the Asean Foreign Ministers' Special Taskforce led by Singapore's Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

"This special task force will go to Myanmar at the end of this month to discuss the quickest way to help the Rohingya community return to theirs.

"We do not know how fast this process can be implemented, but it should be initiated, for as ong as it does not start, the problem involving the Rohingya refugees will persist.

"It is important for us to help these people return to their home country, as otherwise, it would be condoning the 'ethnic cleansing' which is currently happening," he told a press conference after opening the Kuantan District Malay Language Teachers Professionalism Enhancement Workshop at the Pahang State Library Corporation here, today.

Saifuddin, who is also Indera Mahkota MP, said among the actions expected to be implemented by the special task force was to set up a monitoring team to ensure the safety of the Rohingya community in Myanmar.

He said the existence of the team was important as the Rohingya people feared to return due to the oppression.

Security risks have also left about one million Rohingyas stranded in Bangladesh, where the Malaysian Government has also assisted through the setting up of field hospitals in the Cox's Bazar Region.

"While the Rohingyas in Malaysia have been helped in terms of their children's education, without involving government funds, as it is being implemented through of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

"So far there have been six NGOs who have set up child education centres for Rohingyas, relying on their own funding or international donations such as from the Qatar Foundation, which helps in the sponsorship of welfare and education," he said.

Saifuddin also informed that the Human Resources Ministry had also tried to help the Rohingya community, however, the pilot programme involving 300 people was unsuccessful.

"Maybe the job provided was not appropriate or the method used... so the ministry involved is looking for a way to help them get jobs," he said.

He added that Malaysia will continue to urge for those involved, including several high-ranking Myanmar military officials to be held accountable for the Rohingya crisis.

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu yesterday said there were over 100,000 Rohingya refugees in Malaysia, and not all of them were registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). — Bernama

Nine U.N. Security Council members ask to discuss Myanmar inquiry

Source Reuters, 17 Oct

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 16 (Reuters) - The chair of a United Nations inquiry that accused Myanmar's military of genocide is likely to brief the Security Council this month after Britain, France, the United States and six other members requested the meeting, diplomats said on Tuesday.

The move comes as global pressure mounts on Myanmar to act on accountability after a Myanmar military crackdown in the western state of Rakhine last year drove some 700,000 of the largely stateless minority over the border into Bangladesh.

The crackdown followed attacks by Rohingya militants on security posts. Myanmar has denied committing atrocities against the Rohingya, saying its military carried out justifiable actions against militants.

The U.N. inquiry's report, released in August, called for the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar, impose targeted sanctions and set up an ad hoc tribunal to try suspects or refer them to the International Criminal Court.

Diplomats say council veto powers China and Russia are likely to protect Myanmar from any push for such measures.

However, they cannot block the briefing on the U.N. report because a minimum nine of the 15 council members support the move, which cannot be vetoed. Diplomats say China and Russia believe the report should first be addressed by the U.N. General Assembly's Third Committee, which deals with human rights.

The letter requesting the briefing was signed by Britain, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Peru, Kuwait, Ivory Coast and the United States.


Myanmar's U.N. Ambassador Hau Do Suan wrote to the Security Council on Tuesday to object to the chair of the inquiry being invited to brief the body, warning that it "will only exacerbate mistrust and polarization among different communities in Rakhine" state, where the military crackdown occurred.

"Putting accountability above all else without regard to other positive developments is a dangerous attempt that will face utter failure," he wrote.

The U.N. inquiry, established by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, said the military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya with "genocidal intent." Myanmar rejected the findings as "one-sided" and said it was a legitimate counterinsurgency operation.

The European Union is considering trade sanctions on Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis, potentially stripping the country of tariff-free access to the world's largest trading bloc, three EU officials said earlier this month. The EU has already imposed travel bans and asset freezes on several military members.

The United States imposed sanctions on four military and police commanders and two army units in August. New sanctions are under consideration for half a dozen other individuals and at least two military-run businesses, U.S. officials have said.

"Unilateral coercive measures without regard to the situation in Myanmar and imposition of politically motivated external pressure will be detrimental to the existing good will and cooperation of the Myanmar Government with the international community," Myanmar's U.N. envoy wrote to the Security Council.

Separately, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has begun examining allegations of forced deportation of Rohingya to Bangladesh. Myanmar has said it wants to repatriate Rohingya who fled. (Reporting by Michelle Nichols Editing by Paul Tait)

Friday 12 October 2018

Call for China, Russia, India to Support Rohingya

by Admin, 10 Oct 2018

Our Ref: ARNA/2018/063         

Call for China, Russia, India to Support Rohingya

We, ARNA would like to welcome the leaders, countries, organizations around the world that recognizing the treatment of Rohingya as genocide, endorsement of UN Fact-finding Mission in Burma (Myanmar), calling to support referral to ICC and sanctions against Myanmar military generals.

At the same time, we condemn any unfit moves by China, India and Russia favouring of the Myanmar criminal government.

From June 2012, the Rohingya people have been completely destroyed by various vigilant attacks sponsored directly by the government that have killed over 60,000 innocent Rohingyas, about 20,000 women involving girls as young as aged 12 were brutally raped in front of their family members, forcibly pushed out about 90% of total Rohingya population and burnt down more than 400 villages across 13 different townships of Arakan (Rakhine) state. The remaining Rohingyas and Kamans numbering about 400,000 have been systematically trapped into ghetto types of camps and still facing frequent attacks, deadly starvation in Arakan state.

Some of these brutalities and horror stories have been documented by UN Fact-finding Mission, research reports and highlighted in many international conferences.

In order to topple the international pressures, Ms. Suu Kyi government has signed Repatriation Deal, MoU and collected huge amount of foreign funds in the name of Rohingya, but taken no progress for improvement of human rights situation on the ground, nor safe return of Rohingya refugees with guarantee of relocation at origin villages, citizenship rights and lifting all forms of restrictions and oppressions.  

Because of the main perpetrator are top military generals and the government themselves, they will never let to ensure capable of leading to criminal prosecution of all of those responsible and/or address the root causes to end ongoing violence and attacks against Rohingya and minorities.


The military powered Suu Kyi government's authoritarian judiciary, defiance, brutalities, blockages and segregation against Rohingya and other muslims remain widely active across Arakan state that later extended to central Burma. The rejection of Rohingya is being a common politic now open to public jointly with  the authorities, monks, nationalists and the government authorities.


It is therefore relocation of these a million of displaced vulnerable Rohingya refugees, recognition of their status and normalization of the situation on the ground, will not achieve without consideration of a global political commitment of R2P resolution and humanitarian intervention  since' security, safety, existence and welfare have been fallen into heavily risk and national authorities manifestly reluctant to protect, as well as the state has been sponsoring genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

The prosecution of the Myanmar criminal military generals and rulers is also much rely on international communities  as the Myanmar military generals and rulers have never been prosecuted for their heinous crimes and brutalities past and present.


We, Rohingya people therefore seriously concern for any misuse of powers by China, India and Russia against the plights of vulnerable Rohingya and we rather  like to see the powers of these countries better use in addressing of humanitarian crises and the improvement of human rights situation in Myanmar.


Beside China's multi-billion dollar benefit from Myanmar by exploitation of natural resources and continuous sales of arms, ammunition, fight jets and navy ships that using today in waging wars against minorities, the Chinese government is fully responsible for massive displacement of Myanmar civilians, lands seizure, forced labour and humanitarian crisis that result from mega investments of China.

The situation today faced by minorities in Myanmar is worse than what the Chinese community have experienced in the past from massacres, vandalizing and nationalizing of Chinese properties and displacement during nationalizing campaigns in Myanmar.

We would like to call the president Xi Jinping who personally experienced with persecution under the communist government of Mao Zedong, to acknowledge the suffering of Rohingya people and to support the achievement of justice for Rohingya people, as well as, to ease ongoing attacks and arbitrary imprisonments of Uyghur Muslims in China.


In India, we are witnessing the anti-muslim orders by the Narendra Modi government and opening ways for destroying of its own democratic norms and principles. The Muslims of India have been subjected to subsequent attacks and now landing hands to criminal government of Myanmar.

Apart from India's various investments in oil and gas projects and many other projects in Myanmar, the Modi government's targets turned towards the world most vulnerable Rohingya refugees living in India by criminalizing them throughout various propaganda and forcing them to leave from India. We disappointed with the Modi government's breaches of the Refugee Convention and Non-Refoulement of International Customary Laws and arbitrary deportation of seven pro-long Rohingya refugee detainees into the reign of genocide and now they are facing indefinite imprisonment and possible death from tortures in the hand of Myanmar authorities.


We would like to urge the UNSC and its member countries including China and Russia, countries those signed the convention to prevent genocide, countries those have business ties with Burma, other countries those have heavily bearing of Rohingya refugees and resettlement countries those resettling Rohingya refugees, and funding countries, to take effective strong actions and refer Myanmar military generals to ICC.

As a last resort for  over five decades of systematic genocidal attacks, the UNSC must urgently response with decisive manner with the responsibility to protect (R2P), and also to pave way to a right for Rohingya population to offer militarily organized resistance to protect Rohingyan themselves from genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, war crimes.



M.ILYAS (chairman), M. h/p: +(44) 7780 359718,  

Contact in Other Countries

Habib, h/p: +(61) 413 799 418, Australia  

HF. Hashim Mahmood, h/p: +(88) 1729 872581, Bangladesh  

UK Ayub Khan, h/p: +(60) 11 33315246, Malaysia  

Friday 5 October 2018

Australia must demand Myanmar war crimes tribunal, says investigator

Source brisbanetimes, 30 Sept

The Morrison government should use its regional clout to demand a peacekeeping mission and war crimes tribunal in response to humanitarian crimes in Myanmar, says a top Australian investigator.

Michael Stefanovic, an Australian seconded to the US State Department's Myanmar inquiry, said he was horrified by the evidence he had gathered.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is grappling whether to use the term genocide to describe the Myanmar military's attack on members on the Rohingya ethnic minority.

But Mr Stefanovic said the term was appropriate.

To underscore the shocking nature of the atrocities, Mr Stefanovic described the story of a man forced by an officer with the Tatmadaw, the country's military, to select a woman from a crowd of Rohingya villagers to be gang raped in public.

Mr Stefanovic has held senior posts at the UN and has previously investigated war crimes in the Balkans and Sudan's troubled Darfur region.

He described the evidence gathered by the US State Department – which had interviewed more than 1000 Rohingya – as the most harrowing he has ever encountered.

"It needs to be acted on. [The] Australian government has a lot of weight in this area of international humanitarian law and I think it needs to throw it around," he said.

Inline image
War crimes investigator Michael Stefanovic. Photo: Simon Schluter

Mr Stefanovic is also calling on Australia to consider severing ties with Myanmar's military.

The pending release by Mr Pompeo of the final conclusions of the US inquiry will supplement a summary of the State Department's "factual" findings released last week, which accused Myanmar's military of waging a coordinated campaign of mass killings, gang rapes and other atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

UN investigators estimate 10,000 Rohingya have been killed.

The investigation

In May, Mr Stefanovic conducted interviews with dozens of Rohingya in camps in Bangladesh, where almost 700,000 Rohingya are living as refugees.

Inline image
Rohingya refugee women wait in their line as the men in their line run past for a meal provided by a Turkish aid agency.Photo: Kate Geraghty

The interviews helped inform the State Department's findings that Myanmar's military engaged in attacks in Rakhine State that were "extreme, large-scale, widespread, and seemingly geared toward both terrorising the population and driving out the Rohingya residents".


The first randomly selected survivor Mr Stefanovic interviewed described "no less than three significant massacres, one of which involved hundreds of bodies floating in a waterway".

When Mr Stefanovic, a former homicide detective with Victoria Police, debriefed with his inquiry team after his first day on the ground in Bangladesh, his fellow investigators told similar stories.

"Often … it takes a while before the crimes of that extent emerge," he said. "But everyone had hit the ground running with a fairly horrendous account of what had occurred in Myanmar."

"I had got to that point of my career where I was sort of a fairly cold, objective, dispassionate, detached… a cold bastard," Mr Stefanovic said. Yet the accounts of the Rohingya moved him.

He said one story more than others had stayed with him. A man who fled from Myanmar in October 2017 described being forced by a military official to select a woman from a crowd of Rohingya villagers.

The man said she was then raped by several soldiers in front of horrified villagers. When a fellow villager protested, he was executed by a Tatmadaw commander.

"He was a broken man," Mr Stefanovic recalls of the survivor.

Report findings

The State Department's summary "factual" report describes a "well-planned and coordinated" military operation to terrorise the Rohingya. It documents the use of public gang rape as a military weapon, as well as the murder of toddlers. Some people were buried alive in a military campaign prompted by attacks by Rohingya insurgents in August 2017.

Mr Pompeo is now weighing whether to declare the acts a genocide, a move that would increase pressure on the international community to act but which might be resisted by Russia and China and be contrary to President Donald Trump's desire for the US to step back from its role as a global watchdog.

Mr Stefanovic said the evidence that a genocide has occurred is compelling.

"There were mass killings, there were atrocities that were committed with a view to terrorising a population to force them out of the country and that all qualifies as genocide," he said.

In August, a United Nations investigation described the "genocidal intent" underpinning the military's campaign. The UN report called for six high-ranking military officials, including commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, to be prosecuted for genocide.

Mr Stefanovic said he was speaking out about his work with the State Department – which usually communicates via senior diplomats and press releases – to urge Australia to respond more forcefully to the humanitarian catastrophe.

Australia must act

Australia's newly appointed foreign affairs minister Marise Payne recently said the government was "considering its options, including targeted sanctions" in response to the UN findings.

Ms Payne is expected to meet Mr Pompeo this week and discuss the Myanmar report.

On Saturday, she told the UN General Assembly that Australia was deeply disturbed at the reports of atrocities and was "working with Myanmar and with ASEAN and regional partners ... to find long-term solutions to this complex crisis".

Mr Stefanovic said the release of the State Department report was cause for Australia to act, using its standing in the region to champion a peacekeeping force and a tribunal .

"Someone needs to get in there and intervene, provide stability to enable the return of the Rohingya into Myanmar [and] to set up methods to ensure they have got national recognition, they've got citizenship and that there's some form of justice mechanism put in place."

Mr Stefanovic also called for targeted sanctions of military officials and a review of the support given by Australia to the Tatmadaw, which in the last financial year reportedly included $400,000 for training.

"It needs to be definitely looked at with the view to being cut."

Limited expectations

Mr Stefanovic said resistance by the Russian and Chinese governments may stymie any US-led intervention and Australia may be more successful if it led efforts to form a regional coalition.

"This is where the Australian government can come in. Some sort of regional approach might be more palatable and much quicker to come to bear."

"I think Australia could bring its experience from [the Solomon Islands], Bougainville and other places to help drive that."

He is not hopeful that those responsible for genocidal acts in Myanmar will ever be fully held to account.

"You don't dwell on it too much," he said.

"I'll do my work, assemble it, put it towards people who can develop the appropriate policies and appropriate global responses to these things and I'll park it for a while and move on to the next [war crimes inquiry].

"I actually want my children when they grow up to understand what it is that I've done. I want them to understand what the nature of these horrific crimes are and what's out there and how lucky they are to be in Australia where they don't have to contend with horrific events like that.

Nick McKenzie

Nick McKenzie is a leading investigative journalist. He's won Australia's top journalism award, the Walkley, seven times and covers politics, business, foreign affairs and defence, human rights issues, the criminal justice system and social affairs.