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Myanmar

    March 14, 2018

    Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia must take a strong stand against ongoing crimes against humanity targeting Rohingya in Myanmar as they meet this weekend, Amnesty International said.

    Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s State Counsellor and de facto political leader, is expected to attend the first ever ASEAN-Australia Summit, taking place in Sydney on 17-18 March.

    “The orchestrated campaign to drive Rohingya out of Myanmar and ensure they cannot return must end. Even if the violence has subsided, ethnic cleansing continues – authorities are starving Rohingya and erecting security force bases on their lands in a bid to force them out,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “The human rights crisis in Rakhine State, and Myanmar as a whole, must be top of the agenda this weekend in Sydney. ASEAN has been shamefully silent on what is happening in one of its member states so far. It is high time for the organisation to take meaningful action, and to call an emergency ASEAN Summit to address the issue.”

    March 12, 2018
    Dramatic increase of security infrastructure since January Military bases, helipads and roads built on burned villages Rohingya people forcibly driven off their lands to make room for construction

    Myanmar’s Rakhine State is being militarized at an alarming pace, as authorities are building security force bases and bulldozing land where Rohingya villages were burned to the ground just months ago, Amnesty International said in a new briefing today.

    Through eyewitness testimony and expert analysis of satellite images, Remaking Rakhine State reveals how flattening of Rohingya villages and new construction have intensified since January in areas where hundreds of thousands fled the military’s campaign of ethnic cleansing last year. New roads and structures are being built over burned Rohingya villages and land, making it even less likely for refugees to return to their homes.

    March 06, 2018

    Reacting to the UN’s claim that Myanmar is continuing its campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya including through “forced starvation”, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “The UN’s findings sadly echo our own – there is no question that the Myanmar authorities’ vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya is still ongoing. Fleeing Rohingya told us how they are still being forcibly starved in a bid to quietly squeeze them out of the country.

    “This is yet more evidence that any plans for organised repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh are extremely premature. No one should be returned to Myanmar until they can do so voluntarily, in safety and dignity – something that is clearly not possible today.

    “The Myanmar authorities must end all operations aimed at forcing Rohingya out of their homeland, whether at gunpoint or through starvation. It is also high time the international community took meaningful action, including by imposing an arms embargo and targeted sanctions.”

    Background

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 14, 2018

    Traumatized, exhausted, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are living out another chapter in their painful history as an unwanted people. Amnesty’s Deputy South Asia Director, Omar Waraich, joined a research mission to document their experiences in Cox’s Bazar, a district shaped by the sufferings of Rohingya people over centuries.

    February 07, 2018

    Released : 00:01 in Yangon on 08 February 2018 (12:31 EST on 07 February 2018)
    The Myanmar security forces’ devastating campaign against the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State is far from over, Amnesty International said today, as it published new evidence of ongoing violations that have forced hundreds more people to flee in recent weeks.
    In late January 2018, the organization interviewed 19 newly arrived Rohingya men and women in Bangladesh, who described how forced starvation, abductions and looting of property drove them to flee. Humanitarian agencies have documented thousands of new arrivals over the course of December and January, and many days still see scores of people streaming across the border.
    “Shielded by official denials and lies, and a concerted effort to deny access to independent investigators, Myanmar’s military continues to get away with crimes against humanity,” said Matthew Wells, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International, who has just returned from the organization’s latest research trip to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

    January 29, 2018
    Fatima Khatun, 60, lies on her hospital bed in Bangladesh in October 2017

    The Myanmar Army must end its campaign of violence in Rakhine State and put an end to crimes against humanity.

    Systematic, organized and ruthless attacks against the Rohingya people in Rakhine State have amounted to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The Myanmar military killed Rohingya women, men and children; raped Rohingya women and girls; and burnt entire Rohingya villages to the ground. More than a half million Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh. Those who stayed behind are still at risk. Myanmar’s authorities are restricting their access to lifesaving humanitarian aid and assistance. The Rohingya continue to live under a system of institutionalized discrimination and segregation which amounts to apartheid.

    No one has been held to account for these atrocities. The Myanmar authorities are trying to stop the world from seeing what’s actually happening on the ground. These crimes against humanity must end and the system of apartheid must be dismantled.

    Call on Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs to demand an end to the human rights atrocities in Myanmar.

    January 17, 2018

    Reacting to the police shooting dead at least eight protesters in Mrauk-U in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “These shocking killings are yet another example of Myanmar security forces’ contempt for human life. Even if protesters were throwing stones and bricks, nothing can justify police apparently firing into a crowd of thousands. This is a clear case of excessive use of force in violation of the right to life.

    “The lethal use of force must be independently investigated, and those responsible held to account. Far too often, police in Myanmar are allowed to escape unpunished after committing violations, allowing the cycle of impunity and abuse to continue.

    “The Myanmar authorities have a long and chequered history of using any means necessary to curb expressions of dissent. It is high time the Myanmar police better train and equip their staff in non-violent methods of crowd control. In particular, the authorities need to ensure that police have non-lethal means of force at their disposal to use where unavoidable.”

     

    January 16, 2018

    Responding to an announcement by the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry that it will aim to repatriate all Rohingya refugees within two years, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “With memories of rape, killing and torture still fresh in the minds of Rohingya refugees, plans for their return to Myanmar are alarmingly premature. The timeframe announced today was made without any consultation with the Rohingya themselves, and offers no assurances that people will be able to return voluntarily.

    “The most recent campaign of violence against the Rohingya was preceded by years of entrenched discrimination and abuse and for most of the 650,000 refugees who fled Myanmar last year, returning so soon will be a terrifying prospect. The obfuscation and denials of the Myanmar authorities give no reason to hope that the rights of returning Rohingya would be protected, or that the reasons for their original flight no longer exist.

    January 10, 2018

    Following today’s admission by Myanmar’s military that security forces and villagers summarily killed 10 captured Rohingya people and buried them in a mass grave outside Inn Din, a village in Maungdaw, Rakhine State, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “This grisly admission is a sharp departure from the army’s policy of blanket denial of any wrongdoing. However, it is only the tip of the iceberg and warrants serious independent investigation into what other atrocities were committed amid the ethnic cleansing campaign that has forced out more than 655,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State since last August.

    “It is appalling that soldiers have attempted to justify extrajudicial executions by saying they were needed as reinforcements elsewhere and did not know what to do with the men. Such behaviour shows a contempt for human life which is simply beyond comprehension.

    January 09, 2018

    The Myanmar authorities must immediately release two journalists from the Reuters news agency who have been arbitrarily detained for investigating military abuses in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, Amnesty International said.

    The two journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, are due in court tomorrow. They had been investigating the recent military operations in Rakhine State when they were arrested on 12 December 2017.

    “Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo must be immediately and unconditionally released. They have done absolutely nothing but carrying out their legitimate work as journalists. This is clearly an attempt by the authorities to silence investigations into military violations and crimes against Rohingya in Rakhine State, and to scare other journalists away from doing the same,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    December 20, 2017

    Reacting to the news that the Myanmar authorities have denied access to UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “The Myanmar government’s decision to bar the Special Rapporteur from accessing the country is outrageous. It is a further indication that authorities will do anything they can to avoid international scrutiny of their human rights record.

    “At a time when the security forces stand accused of crimes against humanity during their vicious campaign against the Rohingya, accountability for human rights violations are crucially important. The international community must urge the authorities to allow Yanghee Lee access. It is the ordinary people and victims of human rights abuses who continue to suffer.

    “The Myanmar military claim they have done nothing wrong during the past months. If so, the authorities should have nothing to hide – why are they denying access for independent and impartial investigators?”

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    December 14, 2017

    Contrast VR and Amnesty International immerse viewers in Rohingya crisis with Forced to Flee

    DOHA, SAN FRANCISCO, LONDON (December 12, 2017) – A man forced to bury his son after watching Myanmar’s military kill him, a woman who was gang-raped by soldiers, and another woman who had her family murdered and house burnt down – these are only three of the Rohingya refugees who share their harrowing stories in a hard-hitting new virtual reality documentary released today.

    Forced to Flee, launched jointly by Contrast VR, Al Jazeera Media Network’s new immersive studio and Amnesty International was directed and produced by Contrast VR Editorial Lead Zahra Rasool, co-produced by Viktorija Mickute and edited by Maria Fernanda Lauret. It was shot in late October in Kutupalong camp, Bangladesh, which is now home to more than 620,000 Rohingya refugees who fled ethnic cleansing in neighbouring Myanmar’s Rakhine State since late August.

    In the immersive film, Rohingya women and men recount the horrors of fleeing systematic and widespread violations and urge the world to secure their basic rights.

    December 11, 2017

    New virtual reality film Forced to Flee drives home dire situation of Rohingya refugees

    December 05, 2017

    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.

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