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By Shaikh Azizur Rahman and Michael Safi
December 10, 2016

Woman’s account is one of a wave of reports of murder and rape by soldiers in Myanmar, amid claims of genocide

Noor Ayesha with her only surviving child, Dilnawaz Begum, in Bangladesh. Photograph: Sayed Ullah

Noor Ayesha held her last surviving daughter tight as their boat crossed into Bangladeshi waters. She left behind a firebombed home, a dead husband, seven slain children and the soldiers who raped her.

“A group of about 20 of them appeared in front of my house,” the 40-year-old Rohingya woman recalled of the morning in mid-October when her village was invaded by hundreds of Burmese government troops. “They ordered all of us to come out in the courtyard. They separated five of our children and forced them into one of our rooms and put on the latch from outside. Then they fired a ‘gun-bomb’ on that room and set it on fire.

“Five of my children were burnt to death by the soldiers. They killed my two daughters after raping them. They also killed my husband and raped me.”

She said just one child survived the frenzy: five-year-old Dilnawaz Begum, who hid in a neighbour’s house when the soldiers arrived in the village of Kyet Yoe Pyin, in the Maungdaw township of Rakhine state.

Ayesha’s account is one of a wave of reports of extrajudicial killing, arson and sexual assaults allegedly committed by Burmese soldiers in the north-west of the country. The government strongly denies the allegations, but the UN says the reports of rape and sexual assault are “part of a wider pattern of ethnically motivated violence” against Rohingya communities in Rakhine.

The alleged raid on Kyet Yoe Pyin, also known as Kyariprang, was part of renewed military clashes in the state that followed an assault on Burmese border guards on 9 October. Nine policemen were killed in the attack, which Myanmar’s government has blamed on Rohingya insurgents. 

Security forces have responded with what they claim are counter-insurgency operations, which have driven up to 15,000 Rohingya refugees across the border into Bangladesh in the past months.

Most are squatting in makeshift refugee settlements in the Bangladeshi coastal district of Cox’s Bazar, where the Guardian interviewed three women, including Ayesha, who had recently fled Kyet Yoe Pyin and recounted the human rights abuses they say were perpetrated there and in surrounding villages in the days after 9 October.

Sayeda Khatun was more than five months pregnant, but said that did not deter the soldiers who arrived at her house in the village around noon on 11 October. “They carried me at gunpoint to a large courtyard in the village where they had gathered around 30 other Rohingya women,” the 32-year-old said.

“From among us the soldiers separated around 15 younger ‘good-looking’ women and took them away to an unknown place. I was in the group of about 15 older women who were raped in that courtyard by the soldiers. Fearing that they would shoot and kill us, all of us took off our clothing as the soldiers ordered.”

She considers herself lucky: she lost no family members and eventually found a way to escape to Cox’s Bazar with her husband, Oli Mohammad. But the violence has fractured their relationship, Mohammad believing the men who raped Khatun are also her baby’s fathers, “at least partly”.

Sayeda Khatun with two of her four children and another child (centre). Photograph: Sayed Ullah

“My husband said the baby is impure and should be aborted,” she said. “I resisted the idea of the abortion from the beginning. In Bangladesh some people counselled my husband that only he is the real father of my baby. But he is firm on his belief that the baby has been fathered by many, including him … and he has distanced himself from me.”

Noor Hossain, a resident of a neighbouring village, Ngasaku, told the Guardian by phone that the Burmese soldiers had arrived in Kyet Yoe Pyin on 11 October accompanied by Buddhist settlers known as Natala. 

More than half the Rohingya community’s 850 houses were razed over the next two days and soldiers killed at least 265 people, he claims.

“At least 100 women were raped and 25 of them were killed during the attack in Karyiprang. At least 40 Rohingyas were burnt alive in the village. Apart from killing people with gunshots and burning them, the soldiers also slaughtered many with knife. They also took away about 150 Rohingya men who have not returned as yet,” Hossain said.

The former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan was recently permitted to visit the state and interviewed villagers in Kyet Yoe Pyin on 3 December. He told a press conference in Yangon on Tuesday that his committee was “deeply concerned by reports of alleged human rights abuses” in Rakhine and urged Burmese security forces to act within the law. 

A UK-based Rohingya community leader, Nurul Islam, said at least two Rohingya men who had spoken to Annan were later arrested by security forces.

He claimed Burmese soldiers resumed operations in north Rakhine Rohingya villages two days after Annan’s visit, and that at least 50 women were raped and four killed this week in the village of Kyauk Chaung. 

Myanmar, a majority Buddhist nation, has long been accused of persecuting Muslim Rohingya communities, who have deep roots in the country but are denied citizenship and government services and considered illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Kofi Annan, in grey suit, visits a burnt-out Rohingya village in Maungdaw, Rakhine state, on 3 December. Photograph: Khine Htoo Mrat/AFP/Getty Images

About one million Rohingya are thought to live in Rakhine state. An outbreak of communal violence in 2012 led to more than 100,000 of them seeking refuge elsewhere or settling in highly restrictive displacement camps. 

Aung San Suu Kyi, who became de facto leader of Myanmar in March after two decades of military rule, has said her government will address the reports of violence committed in the north-west. 

But the Nobel laureate, whose control of the country’s military is uncertain, has also accused the media and human rights groups of “concentrating on the negative side of the situation”.

Aung Win, the Burmese official tasked with investigating the 9 October attacks on the border guards, has denied reports of atrocities and argued that “all Bengali [Rohingya] villages are military strongholds”. He also claimed Burmese soldiers would not have raped Rohingya women because they “are very dirty”.

Rakhine has been largely shut to journalists and human rights monitors in the past weeks and none of the accounts given to the Guardian can be independently verified. But the UN estimates about 30,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled their homes in recent months, and satellite images produced by Human Rights Watch show 1,250 structures have been razed in a similar period in Rohingya villages, including 245 in Kyet Yoe Pyin.

The Bangladesh navy has been accused of turning back boatloads of Rohingya refugees trying to flee Myanmar, though thousands more continue to make journey each week. 

At a rally in Kuala Lumpur at the weekend, Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak, likened the persecution of Rohingyas in Myanmar to a genocide.

Penny Green, a professor of law at the University of London, led a 12-month investigation into the Burmese military’s campaign against the Rohingya and concluded that the military was “engaged in a genocidal process” against the minority group.

“It’s important to understand genocide as a process which may evolve over many years, beginning with the stigmatisation of the target community and moving into physical violence, forced isolation, systematic weakening and finally mass annihilation,” she said. 

“For four years now the Rohingya have suffered state-sponsored denial of access to healthcare, livelihood, food and civic life as well as debilitating restrictions on their freedom of movement. 

“And now, since 9 October this year, the Rohingya in northern Rakhine state are facing a terrifying new phase in the genocide: mass killings, rapes, village clearings and the razing of whole communities, committed with impunity by the Myanmar military and security forces,” she said.

BGB stopping Rohingyas Photo: Morshed Ali Khan

By Abdul Aziz
December 10, 2016

Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) troopers have sent back 166 Rohingyas who were trying to enter Bangladesh to flee persecution in Myanmar's Rakhain state.

Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh -- BGB patrols intercepted the trespassers at different points along the Naf River and Palongkhali border on early Saturday.

Teknaf 2 BGB Commander Lt Col Abujar Al Zahid said:“We raided six different points of the river around 6am and pushed back at least 165 Rohingyas on 11 boats.” 

Meanwhile, a Rohingya was also pushed back from the Palongkhali border, Cox’s Bazar BGB 34 Battalion Commanding Officer Lt Col Imran Ullah Sarker said.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims tried to flee into Bangladesh after Myanmar launched a crackdown in the Rakhine state in response to attacks on its border posts on October 9 that killed nine police officers.

Bangladesh has stepped up security along its border with Myanmar to prevent influx of Rohingyas. Rights activists and Rohingyas say more than 80 people have been killed so far and more than 30,000 others have been displaced.

Since November, more than 22,000 Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh, the UN said on Friday.
After losing her husband and two children to the attacks in Myanmar, Robeda and her youngest are now living in this makeshift shelter in the Kutupalong unregistered refugee camp Abdul Aziz/Dhaka Tribune

By Abdul Aziz
December 9, 2016

Rohingyas who have fled the crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine state have described escaping a scene of horror, often with many left behind.

Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh -- “The army announced that they would count the people in the village. We went inside and soldiers surrounded my home. They locked the door and set fire to the house.”

Robeda got out with her youngest in her arms, but the husband and the two other children were trapped inside. Then she escaped her village in Maungdaw, hiding and running for five days until she reached the border of Bangladesh on Wednesday.

This correspondent found the Rohingya woman in the Kutupalong unregistered refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar’s Ukhia. At first she refused to talk, believing she was being interrogated by a police or Border Guard man.

Even after coming this far, she fears being pushed back through the border, where she will be shot dead by the Myanmar Border Guard Police (BGP) for sure.

Her home was in Maungdaw district’s Poangkhali village, Robeda said. She and her husband had made made a good harvest of rice, potatoes and chillies this year and were raising a few domestic animals. All was destroyed in the attack that took place a week ago.

In Poangkhali, the army burned down the entire village and took away hundreds of men, Robeda said. She has no track of her parents, her two brothers and their families. She said she had seen the burned remains of her father’s house.

Achhia and Juhura, two other Rohingya women, said they had swam across the Naf River with others to save their lives. One said her brother was murdered and the other said her sister was raped. Their valuables were looted and and their homes set on fire.

In the Ukhia camp, these Rohingyas are now living with no food, no winter clothes and little shelter.

Deen Mohammad and his wife Roshida, whose two elder sons were taken by the Myanmar military are living with their younger children after their escape from Myanmar in a refugee camp in Teknaf in southern Cox’s Bazar district on November 24, 2016. AFP

Their statements could not be independently verified. The Myanmar government began cracking down on the Rohingya minority in October after an attack on border guards, but it has repeatedly denied the reports of violence. A Myanmar government-appointed commission led by former UN secretary general Kofi Anan has dismissed the allegations of genocide. But UNHCR says an ethnic cleansing is underway in Rakhine state.

A Rohingya man, Nur Mohammad, who is inside Myanmar, told this correspondent over phone that the army’s violence continued every day in the Rohingya populated areas. In his village, soldiers arrested 15 men on Thursday. Every day homes and silos of rice were being set on fire, he said.

On October 9, several BGP outposts were attacked and nine officials killed. Rohingyas have been blamed by the Myanmar government for the incident.

Aung San Suu Kyi, look yourself in the mirror, instead of pointing fingers at genocide victims

"I am somewhat appalled by her dismissive reaction to concerns I raised this morning about the problem of human trafficking in her country." US Senator (GOP) Bob Corker, 14 September 2016

By Haikal Mansor
December 9, 2016

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, reflect on your own complicity in the genocide of my fellow Rohingya people, instead of dismissing well-documented allegations of crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide as "exaggerations" and "fabrications"

Myanmar State Counsellor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, both personally and from her Office, attack the growing allegations of her government's policies of persecution of Rohingya people.

This is the latest and official attack on the video-clip which has been viewed over 96,000 times on YouTube.

I am a Rohingya activist and professional, fluent in Burmese, Rohingya and English languages, living in exile. I made the 2-minutes video-clip with English language subtitles and posted it on YouTube with the purpose of exposing Aung San Suu Kyi's culpability and complicity in the crime of genocide against my peoples, including babies, children, women, men and elderly people. 

Here is my subtitled video of you LAUGHING OUT LOUD at the genocide allegations.

The clip was a complete Burmese language exchange between a questioner and the State Counsellor from the live webcast of her public meeting with the Burmese in Singapore on 1 Dec 2016.

The literal translation of both the question, submitted in writing, which Aung San Suu Kyi herself read to the audience, and her own Burmese language response, was - and still is -100% impossible. For the whole Q and A exchange was coded.

Therefore, the inferences were made against the backdrop of Myanmar's overwhelming public and official dismissal as "exaggerations" and "fabrications" the Rohingya identity, existence and genocidal policies - all to the best of my linguistic capabilities and in complete honesty.

This dismissal has dominated the Burmese public discourse, official statements by the governments (both the previous Government of Thein Sein and the current NLD Government or formerly opposition party) and in the social and real time mass media in Burmese language, over the past 4 years since the two bouts of large scale organized violence against Rohingyas broke out in June and October of 2012.

In her press meetings, Aung San Suu Kyi has used consistently the word "exaggerations" in reference to allegations of ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Rohingya people in the months leading up the election in November 2015. She has also reportedly used that expression "fabrications", "biases" and "exaggerations" in her official meetings with foreign diplomats whom she chided them as relying on false or biased media reports.

The subtitles were the result of the deciphering of what those "fabrications" might be, when she laughed them out, apparently finding these "exaggerations" and "fabrications" to be nothing more than a laughing matter.

Even the following YouTube which was posted by a Facebook user named "Thura Soe". in Aung San Suu Kyi's defence in the comment session in the State Counsellor Office's Facebook page Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi needs to reflect on her own complicity in the genocide.

In that alternative deciphering or interpretation of the completely coded Q and A 'fabrications' were interpreted as "reference to the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party" or USDP. 

The fact is USDP is never referred to by either Aung San Suu Kyi or her government's Information Committee led by former USDP Government spokesperson ex-Major Zaw Htay. Nor USDP, which NLD dealt a crushing electoral defeat, has presented Aung San Suu Kyi any major headache, unlike the growing and worldwide accusations and criticisms of her complicity and silence. 

Furthermore, Aung San Suu Kyi herself has openly dismissed any credible allegations of genocide and ethnic cleansing as "biased" or "fabrications" or "exaggerations". 

Additionally, the Myanmar Information Committee from her office has directly scathing if baseless accusations against Human Rights Watch, BBC, CNA, CNN, Reuters, etc. rejecting even the satellite images of charred Rohingya villages.

Both these pieces of contextual information and the reports of Ms Suu Kyi's dismissal of our Rohingya people's collective plight as 'exaggerations' as well as her reported and repeated characterisation of Rohingya - including our identity as a once officially recognised ethnic minority of the Union of Burma - as "non-factual" had compelled me to come up with the only plausible deciphering as reflected in my subtitle.

I had also checked with other native speakers of Burmese who are fluent bi-lingual English-Burmese speakers and scholars. They all agreed with my deciphered subtitles.

Of course, you can also deny because the Burmese speech pattern that you resorted to will allow you "the space of deniability." Admittedly, I could never presume to know exactly what you had in your anti-Rohingya, anti-Muslim racist mind. 

However, I would like to ask Ms Suu Kyi to tell me, the accused, what exactly was coded in that Q and A on 1 Dec.

Finally - and more importantly, as a Rohingya in exile, I would like to urge strongly Ms Suu Kyi to search her soul deep and see why she finds these well-researched findings of ethnic cleansing, genocide and crimes against humanity "exaggerations". 

How could you, Ms Suu Kyi possibly know, let alone dismiss, these international allegations, since you have never documented any human rights abuses in your entire life, nor ever bothered to travel to the crime scenes of my birthplace - N. Arakan - and set foot on a Rohingya IDP camp or an impoverished and oppressed Rohingya village?

After all, the name of the crime of Rohingya persecution have been accepted as crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing or genocide by some of the most world's credible organizations, university research centres, UN special rapporteurs - including Ms Suu Kyi's friend and teacher Nobel Laureates Amartya Sen, Desmond Tutu, Jodi Williams and Jose Ramos-Horta, Human Rights Watch, Yale University Human Rights Law Clinic, respected legal scholar and practitioners Sir Geoffrey Nice and Katherine Southwick (of Yugoslavia), renowned scholars of mass atrocities Professors Gregory Stanton and Penny Green, Human Rights Watch, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, just to name a few. 


Haikal Mansor

Eye-opener on genocide against my People:

Amartya Sen, “The Term ‘slow genocide’ is appropriate because you deny [Rohingya] people health care, nutritional opportunities.”

George Soros, “In Aung Mingalar, I heard the echoes of my childhood. You see, in 1944, as a Jew in Budapest, I too was a Rohingya. Much like the Jewish ghettos set up by Nazis around Eastern Europe during World War II, Aung Mingalar has become the involuntary home to thousands of families who once had access to health care, education and employment. Now, they are forced to remain segregated in a state of abject deprivation. The parallels to the Nazi genocide are alarming.”

Desmond Tutu, “The government of Myanmar has sought to absolve itself of responsibility for the conflict between the Rakhine and the Rohingya, projecting it as sectarian or communal violence. I would be more inclined to heed the warnings of eminent scholars and researchers including Amartya Sen, the Nobel laureate in economics, who say this is a deliberately false narrative to camouflage the slow genocide being committed against the Rohingya people."

Tomas Ojea Quintana (UN Special Rapporteur on human rights), “The International State Initiative… arrives at a convincing conclusion: that a process of genocide against the Rohingya population is underway in Myanmar.” 

Yale Law School: Clinic Study Finds Evidence of Genocide in Myanmar

“Aung San Suu Kyi’s influence with the international community helped keep Myanmar’s military in check and strengthened her political position. Now she has lost some of her lustre, and her hold on the military is slipping. Her strategy of pragmatic compromise and ignoring the plight of the Rohingya no longer seems tenable,” Motokazu Matsui, 9 December 2016

By Ahmed al-Masri
December 9, 2016

Union criticizes silence of Islamic world and international community regarding Myanmar's campaign of extermination

DOHA, Qatar -- The Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has called on Muslims worldwide to stage a "Friday of rage" Dec. 9 to show solidarity with Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority.

In a statement released late Thursday, the IUMS said it was "following the unfortunate circumstances faced by the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar".

The union went on to criticize the "silence of the Islamic world and the international community regarding the campaign of extermination being waged against them [Rohingya]".

It also urged Arab and Muslim governments to adopt harder diplomatic stances with Myanmar regarding the persecution, and called on Islamic, Arab and international relief organizations to provide immediate assistance to Rohingya.

Rohingya advocacy groups claim some 400 Rohingya have been killed in military operations in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State since Oct. 9.

The Myanmar government, for its part, says 74 alleged "attackers" (including four who reportedly died during interrogation) have been killed over the same period.

A law passed in Myanmar in 1982 denies Rohingya -- many of whom have lived in Myanmar for generations -- citizenship, making them stateless.

The law denies Rohingya the right to carry Myanmar nationality; curtails their freedom of movement, access to education and public services; and allows for the arbitrary confiscation of their property.

Myanmar nationalists have since taken to referring to the Rohingya -- which the UN calls one of the most persecuted people in the world -- as Bengali, suggesting they are not Myanmar nationals but interlopers from neighboring Bangladesh.

Rohingya have fled Myanmar in droves for decades, with a fresh wave of migration beginning in mid-2012 following an episode of communal violence in Rakhine between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya.

Reporting by Ahmed al-Masri; Writing by Mahmoud Barakat
A Rohingya woman and child who fled Myanmar at a camp in neighboring Bangladesh this month. The United Nations said that close to 22,000 Muslims had arrived in Bangladesh since Nov. 1.CreditA.M. Ahad/Associated Press

By Mike Ives
December 9, 2016

HONG KONG — Fourteen governments urged Myanmar on Friday to allow a full resumption of aid to a predominantly Muslim part of Rakhine State, as the United Nations described an apparent escalation of what activists have called a humanitarian crisis there.

The United Nations also reported on Friday that thousands of people in the northern part of the state, a conflict-torn border area, have not had access to health services or food assistance for two months and that close to 22,000 Muslims had arrived in neighboring Bangladesh since Nov. 1.

The main ethnic group in the northern part of Rakhine is the Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority whose members are barred from citizenship in Myanmar, which is mostly Buddhist.

“As friends of Myanmar, we are deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation” in the northern part of Rakhine, the diplomatic missions of Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States said in the statement on Friday.

Aid is “desperately needed to address serious humanitarian needs, but also to begin to restore the confidence and hope that are essential to a restoration of peace and stability,” the statement added.

Rights activists say that Rakhine’s north has been unstable since Oct. 9, when nine police officers were killed in an attack on a border post there. The Myanmar government has largely sealed off the area to journalists, diplomats and aid workers as it conducts a brutal counterinsurgency in Rohingya villages that has included rapes, arson attacks and the killing of unarmed civilians, activists say. Myanmar officials have denied any wrongdoing.

Kofi Annan, the former head of the United Nations, visited the northern areas of the state last weekend as part of a government-appointed commission that is studying conditions there.

“We have been given the assurance that humanitarian assistance is allowed access and trust that all communities in need will receive the assistance they require,” Mr. Annan told reporters in Yangon on Tuesday.

But Pierre Péron, a spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in a statement on Friday that only about 20,000 of the more than 150,000 people who were receiving food, cash or nutrition assistance in northern Rakhine before Oct. 9 had received any since. He said the aid shortfall was the result of recent “movement restrictions.”

Most people who live outside the area’s main population centers, including 7,600 pregnant women, have not had access to primary health care services or emergency referrals, Mr. Péron said in the statement.

(Photo: AP)

As Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Myanmar, I wish to underline that the United Nations remains seriously concerned by the developing situation in Northern Rakhine. The UN has called on the security forces to act in accordance with the rule of law and accepted international norms of conduct, and to exercise caution in avoiding disproportionate responses that could cause violence to civilians, loss of innocent lives, or damage the properties of the local population. The authorities also need to take proactive measures to protect the local civilian population and allow humanitarian access to the areas of conflict. Though the appointment of the national investigation commission by the government has raised some questions relating to its composition and mandate, I hope it will conduct its work in a credible and independent manner so as to build confidence among the local population in the affected area as well as reassure the people of Myanmar and the wider international community.

After the November visit by nine local ambassadors and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator to several of the affected areas, various UN agencies have voiced concerns at the deteriorating human rights situation in the state. I agree with the assessment of the situation of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has just concluded a visit to the region as Chairperson of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine state, including his call for unimpeded humanitarian and media access and strengthened efforts to defuse tensions and promote harmony.

In the present situation, I feel that, while taking the necessary security measures to curb any fresh outbreak of attacks by criminal elements in the region, the authorities in Myanmar must also take steps to build confidence and reassurance among the local population that their security, dignity and well-being will be protected. Those who have fled or suffered displacement should be allowed to return to their homes. Senior government leaders need to send a strong message underlining their determination to protect all residents regardless of their ethnicity, religion, gender or status. In this volatile situation, it is everyone’s responsibility to handle allegations and rumors with great care.

I am persuaded that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi hears and understands the concerns of the international community. However, the refusal by the Myanmar authorities to take a strong stance against hardliners, and the adoption of a generally defensive rather than proactive approach to providing security to the local population, have caused frustration locally and disappointment internationally. Only by responding concretely to these concerns will the government be able to resolve the crisis and preserve its international standing. I call upon Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to reflect on the situation and, as she has done on so many occasions, to listen to her “inner voice” and speak directly to the people of Myanmar, asking them to rise above their ethnic, religious and other differences and to advance human dignity, harmony and mutual cooperation between all communities. Meanwhile, people of all communities in Myanmar must jointly oppose the violence, disunity and division that are being instigated by a small group of criminal elements in the region. I also appeal to Daw Suu to visit Maungdaw and Buthidaung and reassure the civilian population there that they will be protected. 

Furthermore, a reiteration of her promise to address the root causes affecting the local population, namely that of citizenship and status, and to provide relief to the internally displaced since 2012, would go a long way to relieve tension and promote realistic and sustainable solutions.

With respect to other parts of the country, especially the ethnic states of Shan and Kachin in northeastern Myanmar, I am deeply disappointed at the growing tensions and deadly military confrontations between the Tatmadaw and the ethnic armed groups, which is taking a toll of human lives, destabilizing the local population, impeding peace and causing a breakdown of confidence and trust, so painstakingly built up during the past few years of ceasefire negotiations between the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team and the Union Peacemaking Working Committee. At this juncture, without making any value judgment on the causes or provocations behind the present tensions, I feel, it is the responsibility of all parties to exercise restraint and avoid actions that can reverse the gains of the peace process so far. I call on all parties, groups and stakeholders to engage in urgent consultations to defuse the situation and get back to the negotiating table. As the stronger partner, the Government and Tatmadaw must show humility and respect for the minority groups. On their part, the armed groups must respect the institutional considerations and other imperatives that must guide the approach of the Government and the Tatmadaw. The United Nations stands ready to help support this process.

Original here.

RB News 
December 8, 2016

Maungdaw, Arakan – On December 4th, 2016, a mother and two minor daughters were raped by the Myanmar military in front of each other.

The military and Na Ta La villagers raided Myaw Taung village tract in Northern Maungdaw on the above mentioned day at 1pm. Seven soldiers entered into the house of one man situated at the middle hamlet. The man in the house was in fear of arrest and torture when he saw the military inside the hamlet. He left home immediately and could manage to escape. In his absence, his 36-year-old wife and two minor daughters became rape victims. The mother and two daughters were barbarically gang raped by all seven soldiers.

Today, on December 8th, 2016 at 3:20pm five men wearing civil dress who could be soldiers, border guard police and some Rakhine extremists from Tha Yet Oak village tract entered into Myaw Taung village tract by riding on two motorbikes. They were carrying two guns and three swords. They found two Rohingya villagers riding two motorbikes and they stopped them. Two of the men snatched the keys and the rest started beating the Rohingya villagers. 

The two Rohingya villagers managed to escape but they couldn’t secure their bikes so they were robbed of them. The armed men took their bikes and went ahead then. After reaching some distance, they found a small shop selling some electrical items and foodstuffs. They started looting the goods from the shop and left from the village. 

The shop owner is Eliyas s/o Siddik (25-year-old) and the owners of the motorbikes are Kamal s/o Mahmod Kawbir (40-year-old) and Furkhan (23-year-old).

Pha Wet Chaung Village Tract

On December 7th, 2016, at 8am more than 25 security forces entered into North hamlet of Pha Wet Chaung village tract and as usual they looted motorbikes, bicycles, furniture and valuable properties. They vandalized household goods and unmovable properties. Before the troops enter into the hamlet, all villagers including women and children fled to Ywa Ma hamlet.

After looting, the troops loaded everything on the boat and took them to Na Ta La village which is about a mile away from the hamlet. 

The troops were believed to be seeking the women and girls to be used as sex slaves and they remained in the hamlet till 7pm. However they found no one returning except a man who is in-charge of hundred houses [locally elected leader of hundred houses] and two middle aged women. When the troops tried to catch the women, the women jumped into the stream and went Ma Yin Taung hamlet in Pwint Phyu Chaung village tract. Finally the troops decided to give up.

Today, on December 8th, 2016, the same troops entered other two hamlets, Ywa Ma and Thae Chaung. They carried out the same looting and vandalizing as they did in North hamlet. Moreover they burned down all the tents at the fishing ponds and the bars of the harvested crops on the farms. They also looted many cattle including of Salay Ahmed and Kawbir Ahmed.

Report contributed by Rohingya Eye.

(Photo: Getty Images)

‘The world cannot sit and watch genocide taking place’: Bangladeshi activists from Islamic organisations march towards the Myanmar embassy in Dhaka on December 6, 2016, to protest against the persecution of Rohingya Muslims.

December 8, 2016

Myanmar has halted sending workers to Muslim-­majority Malaysia as relations sour over a bloody military crackdown on the Buddhist country’s Rohingya minority.

The move came after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak lashed out during a rally in Kuala Lumpur at Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi for ­allowing “genocide”during a rally in Kuala Lumpur.

The crowds were protesting against the crackdown in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine that has pushed more than 20,000 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh. Survivors have told of gang rape, torture and murder at the hands of Myanmar security forces, while dozens have died trying to cross the river that separates the two countries.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar has long discriminated against the stateless Rohingya and the recent crisis has galvanised protests in Muslim countries around the region, including Malaysia.

“We want to tell Aung San Suu Kyi, enough is enough ... We must and we will defend Muslims and Islam,” Mr Najib said at Sunday’s rally.

“The world cannot sit and watch genocide taking place.”

A Malaysian government minister has also called for a review of Myanmar’s membership of the regional ASEAN bloc.

Myanmar officials have ­denied the allegations of abuse and Ms Suu Kyi has told the international community to stop stoking the “fires of resentment”.

Late on Tuesday, Myanmar’s immigration ministry said it had stopped issuing new licences for its nationals to work in wealthier Malaysia, for years a top destination for migrant labour.

“Myanmar has temporarily stopped sending workers to ­Malaysia from 6/12/2016 ­because of the current situation in Malaysia,” it said.

Myanmar also summoned Malaysia’s ambassador to protest at Mr Najib’s accusations of ethnic cleansing.

“Such irresponsible remarks could worsen the already deepening polarisation between the two communities and violent ­extremism,” Myanmar’s foreign ministry said yesterday.

Malaysia hosts tens of thousands of Myanmar workers, most of them in low-paid jobs.

About 56,000 Rohingya have arrived in Malaysia in recent years, many taking perilous boat journeys to flee poverty and ­discrimination in Rakhine.

On Tuesday, former UN ­secretary-general Kofi Annan, who heads a commission on Rakhine, said he thought the crisis would not split the region apart.

“I think it can be contained. There is a possibility here to ­contain what is going on,” he said in Yangon at the end of a week-long visit.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Termsak Chalermpalanupap
December 8, 2016

The regional organization cannot turn its back on this issue, and should be given the chance to help resolve it.

The reluctance of the Myanmar government to seek external assistance in dealing with the Rohingya crisis is reminiscent of the initial recalcitrance of the military dictatorship of Senior General Than Shwe in the aftermath of the devastation of Cyclone Nargis in May 2008. Although over 130,000 in Myanmar’s delta townships perished in that disaster, the Myanmar junta at first refused to accept most of the external offers of emergency humanitarian assistance.

The delays and inability of the Myanmar junta to provide timely emergency assistance caused additional deaths and sufferings. Some Western governments accused the Myanmar military leadership of failing in its government responsibility to protect citizens. Some even mentioned the possibility of doing unilateral “humanitarian intervention” by air dropping food and other aid supplies in the disaster areas. Some Myanmar military leaders were concerned that an influx of foreign aid workers could interfere in the national referendum of a new constitution on May 10, 2008.

The dire situation prompted the ASEAN foreign ministers to convene an emergency meeting in Singapore on May 19, 2008. At the meeting, in which the author was present as a special assistant to ASEAN Secretary-General Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, the ASEAN foreign ministers asked Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win to consider three options: coping with the humanitarian crisis alone and facing the intensifying wrath of the international community if delays persisted; opening up to working with the UN and the international community; or involving as well ASEAN in international concerted efforts to save lives in the disaster areas.

After reporting back to Nay Pyi Taw, the foreign minister of Myanmar soon returned to the meeting with a breakthrough good news: the Myanmar military government wanted to involve all, including ASEAN. Subsequently, ASEAN successfully teamed up with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar and the UN in organizing coordinated massive international humanitarian assistance for the cyclone survivors.

Now in the wake of the Rohingya crisis, the Myanmar government should refresh memories of lessons learned from Cyclone Nargis.

Hiding behind the obsolete narrow interpretation of non-interference is again not tenable. Over 10,000 Rohingya have fled to seek sanctuary in Bangladesh border areas in recent weeks of violence. More may follow suit. Others might risk their lives by fleeing on unsafe boats to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Muslims in Malaysia and Indonesia have raised vehement hues and cries against what they believe to be “ethnic cleansing” against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Last Sunday Malaysian Prime Minister Naijb Razak joined a gathering in Kuala Lumpur to call urgent international attention to the plight of the Rohingya. Like it or not, the Rohingya crisis is an international concern.

Unfortunately the Myanmar government considers the Rohingya as “Bengalis” and “illegal migrants.” It even objects to calling them “Rohingya”; no such ethnic minority group is recognized under the law or the constitution of the country. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, during her official visit to Singapore last week, wouldn’t say anything in public about the crisis. She also doesn’t like the name “Rohingya.”

Clearly the government under her NLD leadership is incapable of coping with the Rohingya crisis, partly because a majority of Buddhists in Myanmar don’t empathize with the Rohingya. Some senior Buddhist monks have even campaigned to expel the Rohingya out of the country — no compassion whatsoever from these Buddhist monks. A new commission set up to investigate the recent flare-ups of violence against the Rohingya may not be able to recommend any new solutions.

This is why the Myanmar government must look into new ideas and pragmatic solutions. Obviously, cooperation with the UN and the international community to at least stop the violence is a sensible option.

Better yet, the Myanmar government can involve ASEAN, just like in the case of Cyclone Nargis eight years ago. ASEAN has the organizational know-how, international connections, and resource mobilization experience. ASEAN can once again build a bridge for Myanmar and the international community to save lives in Myanmar.

In fact, all other ASEAN member governments are duty-bound to offer their assistance to the Myanmar government. This is what community-building in the spirit of caring and sharing is all about. A people-centered ASEAN Community must empathize with the plight of the Rohingya, regardless of whether they are illegal migrants or stateless people. For they are helpless human beings in distress in one corner of our regional community.

ASEAN’s credibility and centrality are directly at stake here should ASEAN member governments continue to shy from offering the assistance. They cannot pretend to be oblivious of the suffering of these human beings.

Offering assistance must not be mistaken as interfering in the domestic affairs of Myanmar. This is part of the collective responsibility in ASEAN to maintain and enhance regional peace, security, and prosperity, as well as promote the well-being of all peoples in the ASEAN Community.

The Myanmar government’s response to such an offer of ASEAN assistance will reveal its true attitude toward ASEAN membership and the ASEAN community spirit.

Dr. Termsak Chalermpalanupap is a fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute and lead researcher on ASEAN political and security affairs at the Institute’s ASEAN Studies Centre.

Leaders -- President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo (left) and Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika (right), welcome former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan (center) prior to the opening of the 9th Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) in Nusa Dua on Thursday. Jokowi and Annan discussed humanitarian assistance for the Rohingya people in Myanmar. (Antara/Nyoman Budhiana)

By Desy Nurhayati
December 8, 2016

Nusa Dua, Bali -- President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo held a meeting with former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Thursday to discuss humanitarian aid for the Rohingya people in Rakhine state, Myanmar.

The 30-minute bilateral meeting took place before the President officially opened the ninth Bali Democracy Forum, in which Annan, who served as UN secretary-general from 1997 to 2006, became the keynote speaker.

Annan, who founded the Kofi Annan Foundation, is now the head of the Advisory Committee for Rakhine State. During the meeting, he explained to Jokowi his findings during his visit to the conflict area and advised countries to take urgent steps to help victims of the humanitarian crisis.

"Indonesia will soon dispatch humanitarian aid for the Rohingya people. I have ordered the relevant ministers to prepare the necessary logistics, especially food and blankets," Jokowi said after the meeting.

Accompanying the President at the meeting, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said Annan appreciated the Indonesian government for taking prompt action to provide humanitarian assistance for victims in the troubled state.

"In the longer term, we will also support Myanmar in terms of providing capacity building in the field of good governance, democracy and human rights. We have started these programs and will continue to do that, because it is very important," she explained, citing results of her recent discussion with Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Delegations from 94 countries and observers from several organizations are attending the two-day conference to discuss democracy, religious tolerance and pluralism and strengthen global cooperation.

BGB stopping Rohingyas Photo: Morshed Ali Khan

By Abdul Aziz
December 8, 2016

Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh -- Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) has sent back 135 Rohingyas who fled Myanmar in the face of ongoing crackdown in Rakhine state.

BGB personnel prevented the trespassing at different points of the Naf river on Thursday morning.

“We raided four different points of the river around 7:30am and pushed back at least 135 Rohingyas boarded in nine boats,” said Teknaf 2 BGB Commander Lt Col Abujar Al Zahid

Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims tried to cross into Bangladesh illegally after Myanmar troops launched a crackdown in Rakhine state in response to attacks on three border posts on October 9 that killed nine police officers.

Bangladesh has stepped up security along its border with Myanmar to prevent influx of Rohingyas fleeing violence in Rakhine state that has killed at least 86 people and displaced 30,000 others.

Myanmar and the military have denied accusations by Rohingyas and rights groups of raping women, torching houses and killing civilians during their operations.

Myanmar does not recognise the Rohingyas as its citizens and dubs them ‘Bangali’. Rohingyas, who managed to land in Bangladesh, have taken shelter at refugee camps and other places in Cox’s Bazar.

Bangladesh has so far pushed back thousands of Rohingyas.

The latest violence is the most serious since the 2012 communal clashes. Many have criticised Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi for her silence although her party is in power.

PM talking during the Question-Answer Session in the parliament . Photo- PID

December 8, 2016

Hasina says the government cannot open the border for Rohingyas on a large scale as it is the matter of two sovereign countries

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that her government is very much sympathetic towards the Rohingyas, but hard against the culprits, who want to use Bangladesh’s land against neighbours.

“Bangladesh has already allowed many distressed Myanmar nationals to enter its territory amid recent trouble in Myanmar but under no circumstances Bangladesh will allow any criminals responsible for recent attacks on the Myanmar Army and border guards [that left nine dead],” she told parliament yesterday.

In reply to a question from Jatiya Party lawmaker Fakhrul Imam, Hasina said: “Bangladesh’s soil will not be allowed to use for any subversive activities against our neighbours.”

She said that her government had been giving all possible supports, including food, shelter and medical facilities, to the Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar. “But we cannot open our gate for their influx on a large scale as it is the matter of two sovereign countries.”

Hasina said that the Foreign Ministry had already summoned the Myanmar envoy in Dhaka and asked him to refrain from creating any situation which would aggravate the situation.

“We have taken all steps which we should do. We are careful about both humanity and discouraging any subversive activities in the neighbouring country,” she said.

The prime minister said that the government had asked the border guards and intelligence agencies to trace the culprits responsible for the recent attacks on the border guard police and the army in Myanmar.

These culprits are responsible for the current unrest in Myanmar and putting thousands of people into troubles. “We have to find out whether any of those culprits has taken shelter inside our territory. They will be handed over to the Myanmar authorities soon after arrest,” she told parliament.

According to IOM Bangladesh, an estimated 21,000 Rohingyas arrived in Cox’s Bazar between October 9 and December 2 to escape violence in Myanmar.

In September, Hasina told Myanmar State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi that the Rohingya issue should be solved by the two next-door neighbours after the latter sought her help.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal recently said that the Rohingyas who had entered Bangladesh recently must go back to Myanmar.

Bangladesh has two registered and several unofficial Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar whereas some 300,000-500,000 undocumented Rohingyas are living in the country illegally. The government claims that many of the Rohingyas are involved in crimes and militant activities.

The government is communicating with the international community and urging them to take strong position against oppression on the Rohingya people.

Earlier, more than 100 people were killed in violence in Rakhine and some 125,000 Rohingyas took refuge in camps for internally displaced persons while several thousand others entered Bangladesh to save their life in 2012.

Pardon Me, My Little!

Ro Mayyu Ali
RB Poem
December 8, 2016

Oh, my little!
In your dinghy age,
Bullet has frightened.
Sword has wretched.
Arson has blazed.
Perhaps, you had nights on shoulder in fears.
You had days crying on in deficiencies.
And you had a history of apex denials.

Oh, my little!
Even in your tender age,
A lots has happened.
And the world just sees it in silence.
But it didn't save your life.
Yes, as you're a Muslim.
Yes, you're.
Ah! What a racial trial!

Oh, my little!
Even you didn't know...
Why you had to face like that!
But you didn't deserve it, at all.
However, a mercy wipes my tear when I mourn for you.
As you're bestowed a small funeral.
You're a groom of innocence.
You're a great martyre in mankind.
And you'd be remembered...
As one of the most adventurous blossoms in the garden of humanity.

Oh, my little!
What could I do for you?
Though I'm survived for today
For me, no insurance of tomorrow like you.
Nay! No one guaranteed for your identity in worldly life.
But now I'ld warranty for your destiny in afterwards.
It's the highest range for you in Jannah!

Oh, my little pride!
Pardon me!
Just once pardon me!
What could I do for you?
My life has no insurance like you!

A deep condolence with a wretched poem for those innocent Rohingya deceased children whom were opened fire to drawn down in Naf river by BGP while trying to reach to Bangladesh.

Rohingya migrants scramble for food supplies dropped by Thai army helicopters in the Andaman Sea near Thailand. PHOTO: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

By Surin Pitsuwan
December 8, 2016

Being denied their basic human rights has left them stateless and suffering—and prone to radicalization.

Four years ago, violence between Muslim and Buddhist communities in Burma’s Rakhine state left scores dead and entire villages smoldering in ash. Some 140,000 people, mostly ethnic Rohingya, were internally displaced, and tens of thousands more fled by land and sea to countries stretching from India to Malaysia. 

As secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at the time, I called for a regional response to provide humanitarian assistance to the displaced and alleviate the suffering of the Rohingya. They have lived in Burma for generations but are excluded from citizenship by virtue of their ethnicity. 

Neglecting their plight, I feared, would entrench the segregation of Rakhine state along ethnic and religious lines, breed conflict, and potentially radicalize a desperate minority. And it would not be Burma’s problem alone; security concerns and an outflow of refugees would implicate the entire region.

I wish I was wrong. Two months ago, a small group of alleged Rohingya militants stormed a Burmese border post in the town of Maungdaw, near Bangladesh. They staged several more attacks in the following days and weeks, killing a number of security personnel and looting weapons. This is the first time in decades that any Rohingya are suspected of taking up arms.

The Burmese military responded in force, killing dozens of suspected militants. In some cases, it burned homes in a security-clearance operation. Human-rights groups and some of the thousands of Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh in recent weeks have said that the military response is indiscriminate and excessive, with disturbing reports of mass killings and rape.

The security operation also prevented the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies from providing lifesaving aid to tens of thousands of Rohingya. They depend on that aid because, being stateless, they have no regular access to livelihoods. 

In recent weeks, peaceful demonstrations have sprung up across the region protesting Burma’s treatment of the Rohingya. But as I implored four years ago, this is not Burma’s problem alone. It is time all of us in the region accept some measure of responsibility for the Rohingya and begin working together to solve the problem. 

Naysayers may point to the Asean principle of noninterference, but there is a precedent for this kind of regional cooperation. In 2008, I helped mobilize an Asean-led humanitarian response inside Burma after Cyclone Nargis tore through large swaths of the country. If that was possible when the country was still closed to the world, surely it is possible now in a newly democratic Burma.

The effort must begin inside Burma. Humanitarian and human-rights organizations should be granted unfettered access so that they can resume aid and independently investigate whether abuses have been perpetrated by the military and the militants. Basic human rights, especially the freedom of movement, should be restored to Rohingya in Rakhine state so that they can find work and go to school. Other countries can help: Malaysia and Thailand, which have done a remarkable job regularizing large groups of stateless persons, could provide guidance on how to replicate that experience for the Rohingya in Burma.

Enfranchising Rohingya is only the first bulwark against radicalization. Equal opportunity must follow. To ease intercommunal tension and build trust, the whole of Rakhine state should be integrated into Burma’s ambitious development plans, but also into the Asean Economic Community.

Helping the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in the region is also part of South and Southeast Asia’s responsibility. Almost none have a legal right to work. Malaysia has just announced a pilot work program for 300 Rohingya; other countries should follow suit so that refugees can find gainful employment, contribute to their host communities and support relatives still in Burma.

Paradoxically, the countries that have seen the largest demonstrations in support of the Rohingya—Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand—are the same ones that pushed boats carrying Rohingya refugees back out to sea in May 2015. Thousands of Rohingya languish in immigration detention in these countries because they couldn’t obtain a passport in Burma. They had no choice, therefore, but to enter these countries illegally. We need to stop punishing them for simply exercising their right to seek asylum from persecution.

That right is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 68 years ago this Saturday. It was the same year that the Union of Burma became an independent country. On Dec. 10, 1948, in one of its inaugural roll calls at the General Assembly, Burma was drawn by lot to cast the first vote on the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It voted in favor.

Burma can lead the way forward again, but only if the countries of South and Southeast Asia stand behind it. Inside the country and out, the Rohingya are our neighbors. They live in all our communities. At a time when so much of the world seems to be turning inward, ours can be one region that reaches out and embraces our diversity. Only then will the troubled history of the Rohingya stop repeating itself.

Mr. Surin is a former secretary-general of Asean and a former foreign minister of Thailand.

Myanmar and Bangladeshi Rohingya migrants rescued by local Indonesian fisherman arrive in Kuala Langsa, East Aceh, Indonesia, on May 15, 2015. Photo by Hotli Simanjuntak/EPA

By Apriadi Gunawan
The Jakarta Post
December 7, 2016

The United Nations body and the United States representatives in Indonesia have interviewed Rohingya people who had been harbored in Aceh, fleeing persecution in their home country, as the beginning of a resettlement process to the US. 

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have escaped Myanmar following longtime state-sponsored persecution in the hope of reaching Australia, but many were stranded in Aceh and Medan, as well as Malaysia and Thailand, as their boats crashed before reaching their desired destination. 

The biggest flow of refugees occurred two years ago when hundreds washed ashore on the coast of Aceh.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) public information officer Mitra Salima Suryono said the US, as the host country for the resettlement, has been questioning the refugees since the beginning of this month. 

“The interviews are expected to run through the end of this month,” she said on Tuesday. 

US Consulate in Medan, North Sumatra, announced that 184 Rohingya refugees will be interviewed for the resettlement process. Deputy Consul Tamra Greig said the interview results would determine the number of refugees that would be resettled in the US.

About 800 Rohingya people are currently staying in Indonesia, all of whom have been granted refugee status by the UNHCR. 

The Medan Immigration office recorded that there are currently 290 Rohingya people living in Medan, 119 were transferred recently from Aceh for the relocation process. Medan currently hosts 2,064 asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia and Sri Lanka waiting to be sent to third countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US. 

The US government had expressed interest in accepting the refugees through the Office of Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister last month. 

The interviews have been conducted by US officials overseeing refugees from Bangkok.

Separately, groups and residents in Medan, North Sumatra, have been gathering charity to support Rohingya people currently living in the city after fleeing from their home country to escape persecution. 

Sulaiman, one of the fund-raisers, said residents were enthusiastic to contribute. “The funds collected from the street were about Rp 3 million [US$225] and Rp 20 million from the mosques,” he said. 

As of April, Indonesia was home to over 13,500 refugees and asylum seekers. The majority are in Greater Jakarta, while the remainder reside in cities such as Batam, Makassar and Medan.

As a non-signatory of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, Indonesia does not have the authority to determine the status of asylum seekers and must wait for verification from the UNHCR. However, as part of international law, Indonesia cannot expel people facing persecution in their countries of origin.

In the wake of global migrant crises that have seen at least 65 million people flee from wars, armed conflicts and persecution in their countries, the UNHCR has urged Indonesia to reconsider signing the refugee convention as part of concerted efforts to resolve the issue of irregular migration.

The UNHCR Assistance High Commissioner for Protection, Volker Türk, argued that all countries were affected by forced displacement of people and suggested that Indonesia would be best served by being a party to the convention.

“The solution doesn’t lie in one country alone; it requires an approach with all countries in the region,” Turk said.

Rohingya Exodus