New virtual reality film Forced to Flee drives home dire situation of Rohingya refugees
New virtual reality film Forced to Flee drives home dire situation of Rohingya refugees
Responding to the failed attempt by China, Philippines and Burundi to vote down a UN Human Rights Council resolution on the situation of the Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar, Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International, said:
“The adoption of today’s resolution demonstrates the broad international concern about the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people so brutally impacted by the ongoing crimes against humanity in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. By voting against it, China and others showed how woefully out of step they are with world opinion on the crisis.
“China has the diplomatic, humanitarian and economic resources to make a real difference in the lives of the Rohingya. But its current maneuvering simply seeks to intervene only to preserve impunity for horrific crimes.
The Bangladesh government must abandon all plans to relocate more than 100,000 Rohingya refugees on to an uninhabitable island, Amnesty International said today.
On Tuesday, the Bangladesh government approved a $280 million plan to develop the isolated, flood-prone and uninhabitable Thenger Char to temporarily house Rohingya refugees until they are repatriated to Myanmar.
“It would be a terrible mistake to relocate the Rohingya refugees to an uninhabitable island that is far from other refugee settlements and vulnerable to flooding,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.
“Having opened its doors to more than 600,000 Rohingya over the past three months, the Bangladesh government now risks undermining the protection of the Rohingya and squandering the international goodwill it has earned. In its desperation to see the Rohingya leave the camps and ultimately return to Myanmar, it is putting their safety and well-being at risk.”
The Thenger Char, also known as Bhashan Char island, only emerged into view 11 years ago. During monsoon season, it is highly vulnerable to flooding.
Reacting to the remarks by Pope Francis during his visit to Myanmar today, Ming Yu Hah, Amnesty International’s Deputy Campaigns Director for South East Asia and the Pacific, said:
“While it is disappointing that Pope Francis did not use the word Rohingya during his speech in Myanmar today, his calls for respect for all ethnic groups and an inclusive society are welcome. Pope Francis’ visit has also helped focus international attention on Myanmar and the horrific crimes being carried out against the Rohingya people on a daily basis by Myanmar authorities.
“The real scandal of the visit was the insistence of Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing that ‘there is no discrimination between ethnic groups in Myanmar’. The Myanmar authorities have trapped Rohingya in a system of repression and segregation that amounts to the crime against humanity of apartheid. Myanmar’s security forces, which Senior General Min Aung Hlaing commands, have also carried out a vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya in recent months.
The Rohingya people in Myanmar are trapped in a vicious system of state-sponsored, institutionalised discrimination that amounts to apartheid, said Amnesty International today as it publishes a major new analysis into the root causes of the current crisis in Rakhine State.
“Caged without a roof” puts into context the recent wave of violence in Myanmar, when the security forces killed Rohingya people, torched whole villages to the ground, and drove more than 600,000 to flee across the border into Bangladesh.
By Omar Waraich, Deputy South Asia Director at Amnesty International
STANDING by Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar, we watched the refugees slowly cross the thick, lime-green paddy fields. They wore signs of exhaustion. Their faces were drawn and their bare feet badly bruised. They gratefully accepted the rations being offered by aid workers: a bottle of water to quench their thirst, a high-energy biscuit to restore their strength, and an offer of rest in the shade after days, sometimes weeks-long, arduous journeys.
A European aid worker suddenly turned to me and asked, “Do you think there’s any Western country that would take in this many people?” It was a question that did not anticipate an answer. At a time when refugees face what Pope Francis has hauntingly termed “the globalisation of indifference”, Bangladesh stands out for opening its doors.
In response to findings released today after the Myanmar military’s internal investigation into violence in northern Rakhine State since 25 August, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:
“Once again, Myanmar’s military is trying to sweep serious violations against the Rohingya under the carpet.
More countries need to step up and pledge their support for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh amid an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, Amnesty International said today.
The meeting of high-level representatives of donor countries at the UN’s office in Geneva on Monday must include pledges of new money, including from countries in the region, to support rising numbers of Rohingya refugees who have sought shelter in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district.
The recent influx estimated to be nearly 600,000 people has brought the total Rohingya refugee community in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district to more than 800,000.
“This is an unprecedented crisis that needs an immediate and sustained response from the international community. This means that more countries, particularly those from the region, need to play a much bigger role and share the burden of responsibility. Bangladesh, a poor country which has shown extraordinary generosity, cannot be left to deal with this situation alone,” said Omar Waraich, Deputy South Asia Director at Amnesty International.
More than 530,000 Rohingya men, women and children have fled northern Rakhine State in terror in a matter of weeks amid the Myanmar security forces’ targeted campaign of widespread and systematic murder, rape and burning, Amnesty International said today in its most detailed analysis yet of the ongoing crisis.
‘My World Is Finished’: Rohingya Targeted in Crimes against Humanity in Myanmar describes how Myanmar’s security forces are carrying out a systematic, organized and ruthless campaign of violence against the Rohingya population as a whole in northern Rakhine State, after a Rohingya armed group attacked around 30 security posts on 25 August.
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Southeast Asian leaders must take urgent steps to address grave human rights violations against the Rohingya in Myanmar, Amnesty International said in a letter sent to the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) today.
The letter, signed by directors of 13 Amnesty International offices across the Asia-Pacific region, called for an emergency ASEAN summit to deal with the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state.
“ASEAN is failing to take a stand as one of its member states carries out a violent campaign of ethnic cleansing,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
“Governments in the region must uphold the commitments to human rights enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, commitments which Myanmar’s military is showing clear contempt for as they perpetrate crimes against humanity against the Rohingya.”
Since a Rohingya armed group attacked dozens of security force posts on 25 August 2017, Myanmar has engaged in an unlawful and brutal campaign of violence against the Rohingya.
By Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International.
In her five young years, Buthaina has witnessed the type of violence and brutality that powerful people and governments often want to keep hidden.
Pulled from the rubble of her family home in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, viral images show her sitting up in a hospital bed, clutching a teddy bear. Badly bruised, she struggles to pry open a swollen eye with her fingers, to look out on a world that has dealt her such cruelty. “She had five siblings to play with. Now she has none,”her uncle Ali al-Raymi told Amnesty International.
The international community must help ensure that no Rohingya refugees are forced back to Myanmar as long as they remain at risk of serious human rights violations following the army’s vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing, Amnesty International said today.
The governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar this week announced that they have established a working group to discuss the repatriation of Rohingya refugees. More than 500,000 Rohingya women, men and children fled a military operation in Rakhine State in little more than a month.
“While it is positive that Myanmar and Bangladesh are discussing options for the safe return of Rohingya to their homes, this must be a voluntary process and not lead to a hasty and reckless effort to push people back against their will. No one should be forced back to a situation where they will continue to face serious human rights violations and systemic discrimination and segregation,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Issues.