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Myanmar Rohingya: The supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi will defend her country against genocide accusations at an international court hearing in The Hague. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has heard allegations Myanmar committed atrocities against Muslim Rohingya. People at a rally in Yangon have been defending the leader. But Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh hope they will soon get justice for the murders ... Read More »

UN Rohingya conference: EU pledges millions in aid for refugees

سوئس شہر جنیوا میں آج دنیا میں پیدا ہونے والے مہاجرین سب سے بڑے بحران کے موضوع پر ایک ڈونر کانفرنس کا انعقاد کیا جا رہا ہے۔ اس دوران روہنگیا پناہ گزینوں کے لیے رقم جمع کی جائے گی۔ اقوام متحدہ نے مختلف ممالک سے درخواست کی ہے کہ جنیوا اجلاس کے دوران روہنگیا برادری کے لیے کم از کم 434 ملین ڈالر اکھٹے کیے جائیں۔ روہنگیا کی ہجرت کا معاملہ بنگلہ دیش اور میانمار کے مابین تیزی سے ایک بحران کی صورت اختیار کرتا جا رہا ہے۔ اقوام متحدہ کے ادارے برائے مہاجرین کے سربراہ فیلیپو گرانڈی کے بقول، ’’یہ بہت ہی نازک صورتحال ہے اور اس سلسلے میں امداد کی شدید ضرورت ہے۔‘‘ یہ رقم اقوام متحدہ کے ان مختلف منصوبوں پر خرچ کی جائے گی، جو بنگلہ دیش میں رہائش پذیر روہنگیا کے لیے جاری ہیں۔ بتايا گيا ہے کہ اس امدادی رقم سے آئندہ برس فروری تک کے ليے روہنگيا مسلمانوں کو بنيادی سہوليات فراہم کی جائيں گی۔ تشدد کی وجہ سے میانمار سے فرار ہو کر بنگلہ دیش پہنچنے والے روہنگیا کی تعداد تقریباً چھ لاکھ ہو چکی ہے۔ بنگلہ دیش کا شمار ایشیا کی غریب ترین ریاستوں میں ہوتا ہے، تاہم اس کے باوجود اس ملک نے اپنی سرحدیں روہنگیا مسلمانوں کے لیے کھولی ہوئی ہیں۔ اقوام متحدہ کے ہنگامی امداد کے ادارے کے سربراہ مارک لوکوک نے کہا ہے کہ سالوں سے روہنگیا برادری کے خلاف جاری ظلم و ستم، زیادتی اور نقل مکانی کی وجہ سے اسے کوئی علیحدہ یا الگ تھلگ بحران قرار نہیں دیا جا سکتا ہے۔ رپورٹس کے مطابق ہر دس روہنگیا مہاجر میں سے چھ بچے ہیں اور ان میں سے اکثریت کو کم خوراکی کا سامنا ہے۔ بنگلہ دیش میں شہر کوکس بازار میں اور اس کے ارد گرد قائم مہاجرین کے مراکز میں مقیم روہنگیا کو پانی کی کمی اور نکاسی آب کا نظام نہ ہونے کی وجہ سے ان کیمپوں میں بیماریوں کے پھوٹ پڑنے کے خطرات بڑھتے جا رہے ہیں۔

The EU has pledged €30 million as the UN holds a fundraising conference to aid Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar. More than 600,000 Rohingya have escaped to Bangladesh amid persecution at home. The European Commission on Monday promised to give €30 million ($35 million) as the United Nations opened a fundraising conference in Geneva that aims to secure some ... Read More »

Myanmar looks for military plane lost over sea

Rescue teams have reportedly found debris from a Myanmar transport plane that vanished en route to the southern city of Yangon. The Chinese-made aircraft was carrying over 100 people, mostly soldiers and their families. Authorities deployed navy ships and rescue planes to search for the missing aircraft on Wednesday, after the plane broke radio contact while flying over Andaman Sea. At the time, the Shaanxi Y-8 turboprop transporter was flying at over 18,000 feet (around 5,500 meters), towards Myanmar's financial capital of Yangon. According to the military, the transport plane was carrying 14 crew members and 106 passengers, mostly soldiers and their families. Over a dozen children were believed to have been on board. "Communication was lost suddenly" at about 1:35 p.m. local time, the office of military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing said in a statement. Debris found The weather at take off had been "normal" with good visibility when the plane left the airport at the coastal town in Myeik roughly half an hour earlier, aviation official Kyaw Kyaw They said. Rescue teams have found "debris" believed to be from the plane while searching the sea, an air force source and tourism official in Myeik told the AFP news agency. The Chinese turboprop plane was delivered to Myanmar in March last year, according to the army. The military junta often uses these models to transport cargo. Its leadership often bought Chinese-made aircraft to bolster fleet during decades of Western sanctions.

Rescue teams have reportedly found debris from a Myanmar transport plane that vanished en route to the southern city of Yangon. The Chinese-made aircraft was carrying over 100 people, mostly soldiers and their families. Authorities deployed navy ships and rescue planes to search for the missing aircraft on Wednesday, after the plane broke radio contact while flying over Andaman Sea. ... Read More »

Malaysia slams Myanmar over Rohingya ‘genocide’

Malaysia has accused Myanmar of committing "genocide" against Rohingya Muslims. The bloody crackdown is quickly gaining a regional dimension. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sunday called on the world to prevent an unfolding "genocide" carried out by Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims, as a vicious crackdown triggers an exodus of the persecuted ethnic minority. "Please do something. The UN do something. The world cannot sit and watch genocide taking place," Najib told a crowd of several thousand supporters and Rohingya refugees at a rally in Kuala Lumpur. Razak took direct aim at Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and her new government for not doing enough as reports pour in that Myanmar's army is raping, murdering and torturing Rohingya in the western Rakhine state. "What's the use of Aung San Suu Kyi having a Nobel Prize?" asked the leader of the Muslim majority nation. "We want to tell Aung San Suu Kyi, enough is enough ... We must and we will defend Muslims and Islam," he said, calling on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and ASEAN, the 10-country Southeast Asia organization, to act. Stateless and persecuted Several thousand Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh or been internally displaced since Myanmar's army cracked down on the group following an early October border incident in which unknown militants killed nine border guards. Myanmar's army blamed the attack on Islamist Rohingya militants and has rebuffed concerns over the subsequent crackdown as propaganda. Myanmar's 1.1 million Rohingya make up most of the population in the region of Rakhine. They are denied citizenship and suffer from institutionalized discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar despite many of them having lived in the country for generations. There have been repeated reports Myanmar's military has gang raped women, murdered civilians and set ablaze Rohingya villages, pushing thousands of desperate people into neighboring Bangladesh. International observers, journalists and aid agencies face severe restrictions of movement while trying to verify the claims in the area. A top UN humanitarian official in Bangladesh last month accused Myanmar's army of "ethnic cleansing." Tensions rising in Southeast Asia The Rohingya issue has been a major test for Suu Kyi's new administration following decades of military rule. Her unwillingness or inability to do anything about the unfolding atrocities has garnered international criticism that she has done too little to address the plight of the Rohingya communities. But there is also recognition her administration is somewhat limited given the army still holds ministries responsible for security. Systemic discrimination and previous bouts of inter-communal violence between Myanmar's Buddhists and Rohingya sent waves of refugees to neighboring countries. There are more than 50,000 Rohingya in Malaysia, where critics point out that they face discrimination and live on the margins of society. Some observers say Razak is using the Rohingya issue to distract away from a financial corruption scandal. Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya has gained a regional dimension as Indonesia and Bangladesh also call on the international community to take action. Several protests have been held in Indonesia, and last weekend authorities there arrested two militants allegedly planning an attack on Myanmar's embassy in Jakarta. Over the past several years the treatment against Rohingya has become a major issue across the Islamic world Earlier this week the United States' top diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Russel, warned that continued violence against the Rohingya threatened to incite jihadist extremism in Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh. He also urged Malaysia and Indonesia to avoid stoking religious passion over the issue by organizing protests.

Malaysia has accused Myanmar of committing “genocide” against Rohingya Muslims. The bloody crackdown is quickly gaining a regional dimension. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sunday called on the world to prevent an unfolding “genocide” carried out by Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims, as a vicious crackdown triggers an exodus of the persecuted ethnic minority. “Please do something. The UN do ... Read More »

Myanmar parliament begins historic new session

New members of parliament have taken up their seats in Myanmar after Aung San Suu Kyi's pro-democracy party wrested control from the military. Among its roles will be the selection of a new president. Hundreds of new delegates took their place in Myanmar's parliament on Monday, after last year's historic election win for the National League for Democracy (NLD). The NLD lawmakers, led by pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, won a landslide majority in November's polls, and have promised to reform the constitution and curb the powers of the military. The party won 80 percent of elected seats, although it still faces hurdles in its quest for reform. "We will work to get human rights and democracy as well as peace," NLD MP Nyein Thit told the AFP news agency as he arrived at parliament in the capital, Naypyidaw. One of the first decisions for the new parliament will be to vote on new parliamentary speakers, but it will also choose the next president. Suu Kyi is barred from the role by a constitution drafted by the military, because she married and had children with a foreigner. However, she has vowed to sidestep this hurdle by ruling "above" a proxy president. Military keeps ministries There is no clear schedule for the selection of presidential candidates, but it could take place within days. Military appointees still hold a quarter of the seats in both the lower and upper houses of parliament, enough to block any changes to the constitution. The army also holds important ministries. Both elected members and the military will nominate three candidates to succeed President Thein Sein, who stays in his post until the end of March and has promised a smooth transition of power. His successor will be chosen by a vote of the combined houses. The outgoing president told parliament on Thursday that the country still has problems, such as an incomplete peace process with ethnic minority rebels, a crumbling infrastructure and stalled economic development. The military has held power since 1962, ruling either directly or through proxy governments. It called an election in 1990, which Suu Kyi's party won handsomely. However, the military annulled the results and Suu Kyi was place under house arrest for 15 of the next 22 years.

New members of parliament have taken up their seats in Myanmar after Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy party wrested control from the military. Among its roles will be the selection of a new president. Hundreds of new delegates took their place in Myanmar’s parliament on Monday, after last year’s historic election win for the National League for Democracy (NLD). The ... Read More »

Scores killed in Myanmar jade mine landslide

A landslide near a jade mine in Myanmar has killed at least 100 people. More than 100 are still missing. Victims were thought to have been scavenging through mining waste to make a modest living. Most of the missing after a landslide in Myanmar are villagers who were sifting through a mountain of tailings and waste, a local community leader said on Sunday. At least 100 people died in the landslide, according to officials. Lamai Gum Ja, a community leader and businessman, said the slide occurred Saturday afternoon in Hpakant in Kachin state. It crushed dozens of huts clustered on the barren landscape, where an unknown number of itinerant workers had made their homes. Informal miners put themselves at risk and often lose their lives digging through scraps from the giant mines. "Large companies, many of them owned by families of former generals, army companies, cronies and drug lords are making tens or hundreds of millions of dollars a year through their plunder of Hpakant," said Mike Davis of Global Witness, a group that investigates the misuse of revenue from natural resources. He said "scores of people at a time are buried alive in landslides." Parts of Myanmar and the surrounding region are home to some of the world's highest quality jade, sales of which brings in billions of dollars a year. Hpakant, which is the epicenter of the country's jade boom, remains desperately poor. Local people complain of various abuses associated with the mining industry, including the frequency of accidents and land confiscations. Industrial-scale mining by big companies made Hpakant "a dystopian wasteland where locals are literally having the ground cut from under their feet," said Mike Davis. He called on firms to be held accountable for accidents.

A landslide near a jade mine in Myanmar has killed at least 100 people. More than 100 are still missing. Victims were thought to have been scavenging through mining waste to make a modest living. Most of the missing after a landslide in Myanmar are villagers who were sifting through a mountain of tailings and waste, a local community leader ... Read More »

Election campaigning kicks off in Myanmar in first contested general election

More than 90 political parties have taken part in the parliamentary campaign, which are being closely watched as the next step toward democracy. Myanmar had been run by a military junta for 50 years. Campaigning in Myanmar officially opened Tuesday with politicians turning to pictures, buzzwords and personalities to mark themselves out. The November 8 polls will be the first since a nominally civilian government was installed in 2011. But with the military still firmly in control of the process, there is widespread speculation as to whether the election will be free and fair. Parties have taken to using brightly colored images featuring fighting peacocks, lions and bamboo hats to dazzle voters and attract attention. Despite relatively high levels of literacy in the nation of 53 million people, the run-up to the vote has been notable for the absence of any debate or policy platforms. Maung Zarni, a Myanmar analyst based in Britain, is concerned the elections could prove a wasted opportunity to educate a public unfamiliar with electoral debate. "In some places people won't even know the name of the candidate (when they vote) but this is also driving unhappiness among more informed voters who want to know about policy," Zarni told the AFP news agency. High expectations for opposition National League for Democracy The polls will still be the first time opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party has contested a general election in 25 years. "For the first time in decades, our people will have a real chance of bringing about real change," Suu Kyi said, in a message posted on her party's Facebook page. "We hope that the whole world understands how important it is for us to have free and fair elections." The NLD is expected to make impressive gains at the expense of the ruling party, and may even win a majority. The last time the NLD took part in a national election was in 1990 when it won by a landslide. But the results were annulled by the ruling military junta which arrested Suu Kyi and put her under house arrest for 15 years where she was held virtually incommunicado. The party boycotted the nationwide poll in 2010 because their leader, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, was still under house arrest and barred from taking part. International observers condemned 2010 polls for widespread irregularities. After the democratic reforms of 2011, in which the ruling military elite shed uniforms and began running as electoral candidates, a by-election was held in 2012. Her party entered the race, winning 43 of the 44 seats it contested - including Suu Kyi's first elected post as a member of parliament. "We hope to take our country to that point where there can be no return from genuine development in the democratic direction," Suu Kyi said in the video message Tuesday. "Please help us by observing what happens before the elections, during the elections and, crucially, after the elections."

More than 90 political parties have taken part in the parliamentary campaign, which are being closely watched as the next step toward democracy. Myanmar had been run by a military junta for 50 years. Campaigning in Myanmar officially opened Tuesday with politicians turning to pictures, buzzwords and personalities to mark themselves out. The November 8 polls will be the first ... Read More »

Don’t point fingers says Myanmar at migrant summit

Delegates from 17 governments along with international organizations have met in Thailand to address the refugee crisis in Southeast Asia. Myanmar has taken exception to being blamed for the problem. At an intergovernmental meeting on Friday, Thailand's foreign minister called for Southeast Asian nations to work together to combat the "alarming level" of refugees fleeing anti-Muslim persecution in Myanmar. Seventeen governments from across Asia, as well as the US and Switzerland, along with organizations such as the UN refugees agency (UNHCR), attended the summit in Bangkok convened to address the area's migrant crisis as more than 3,500 starving Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees have come ashore in Malaysia and Indonesia in recent months, with thousands more thought to be stranded on rickety boats at the mercy of human traffickers in the Bay of Bengal. "No country can solve this problem alone," said Foreign Minister Thanasak Patimaprakorn. "The influx of irregular migrants in the Indian Ocean has reached an alarming level," Thanasak added, suggesting that the "root causes that motivated these people to leave must also be addressed." A problem gone largely ignored Observers, however, were skeptical that the one-day meeting which is not being attended by all nations at the ministerial level can solve an issue that has plagued the region for years and gone largely ignored by authorities. Earlier this month, Thailand began a long-awaited crackdown on the human trafficking industry which has forced the boats to continue on to Malaysia or Indonesia to go ashore. On Friday, the Bangkok acquiesced to a request from US authorities to allow American surveillance aircraft to search Thai waters for boats trafficking migrants. Myanmar criticizes 'finger-pointing' Myanmar, where the Rohingya have been stripped of their citizenship and face increasingly strong anti-Muslim sentiment from Buddhist nationals, took exception to being singled out in the international outcry over the crisis. On "this issue of illegal migration of boat people, you cannot single out my country," Burmese Foreign Ministry Director General Htin Lynn said in stern response to a UNHCR comment that Myanmar must accept "full responsibility" for the problem. "Finger-pointing will not serve any purpose and take us nowhere," Htin Lynn added. Malaysia, which recently made the grim discovery of mass graves for would-be migrants within its borders, offered to host a follow-up emergency summit with the leaders of Thailand, Indonesia, and Myanmar. An official from the foreign ministry declined to say when such a meeting would take place, because "it will take time to put together, and we don't know yet."

Delegates from 17 governments along with international organizations have met in Thailand to address the refugee crisis in Southeast Asia. Myanmar has taken exception to being blamed for the problem. At an intergovernmental meeting on Friday, Thailand’s foreign minister called for Southeast Asian nations to work together to combat the “alarming level” of refugees fleeing anti-Muslim persecution in Myanmar. Seventeen ... Read More »

Hundreds of migrants brought ashore in Indonesia

More than 350 migrants have come ashore in Indonesia after drifting for several weeks at sea with little food and water. Most of the migrants are Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar. Hundreds of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants who had been stranded for months at sea landed in the northwestern Indonesian province of Aceh early Wednesday morning, according to search ... Read More »

Migrants in ‘maritime ping-pong’ in Southeast Asia

Despite rising international outrage, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have signaled that they will not allow migrant boats to their shores. Meanwhile, Myanmar has refused to shoulder the blame on the crisis. A boat packed with migrants was towed out to sea by the Thai navy and then held up by Malaysian vessels on Saturday, the latest round of "maritime ping-pong" of migrants being denied access to Asian states, the Reuters news agency reported. The United Nations has called on countries around the Andaman Sea not to push back the thousands of desperate migrants and to rescue them instead. Myanmar: 'It is not our problem' Myanmar's government placed the blame for the ongoing migrant crisis on its neighbors. It also expressed doubt on whether it will attend a meeting to be hosted by Thailand on May 29 aimed at discussing the sea migrants and easing the humanitarian emergency in the Bay of Bengal. Maj. Zaw Htay, director of the office of Myanmar's president, told the Associated Press on Saturday that Myanmar will decide whether to attend the meeting based on what is up for discussion. According to the news agency AFP, Myanmar's government has already rejected the Thai call for regional summit, saying the migrant crisis was not their problem. He said his country "will not accept the allegations by some that Myanmar is the source of the problem," AP quoted him as saying. Also Malaysia's Prime Minister said on Saturday he would seek help from Myanmar to address the "humanitarian catastrophe," AFP reported. Rohingya Muslim, Bangladeshi refugees Many of those on board the boats are Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution and oppression in the mainly Buddhist Myanmar. Others are Bangladeshis, who are mainly believed to be economic migrants. Both groups seem to intent on reaching Malaysia, a Muslim-majority country that has hosted more than 45,000 Rohingya over the years but now says it cannot accept anymore. Indonesia and Thailand have voiced similar positions on this issue. Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia ping-ponging migrants Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia have all their navies stationed in boats at maritime borders to push boats away or conduct a so-called "help-on" policy of providing the boats with food and water and then pointing them to other countries. Mahmud Rafiq, a 21-year-old Rohingya man who left Myanmar a month ago, recounted how an Indonesian navy ship had given them food and medicine before towing their boat to Malaysian waters, where they were again stopped, given supplies and taken right back. Boats filled with more than 2,000 desperate and hungry refugees have arrived in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia in recent weeks. The UN refugee agency has reported a surge in departures from Bay of Bengal ports in recent months. Activists say 8,000 people may be adrift on overcrowded vessels.

Despite rising international outrage, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have signaled that they will not allow migrant boats to their shores. Meanwhile, Myanmar has refused to shoulder the blame on the crisis. A boat packed with migrants was towed out to sea by the Thai navy and then held up by Malaysian vessels on Saturday, the latest round of “maritime ping-pong” ... Read More »

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