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Myanmar

    September 29, 2017

    By Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Issues.

    *This article was originally published in The Diplomat. 

    For the past month, the world has watched in horror as Myanmar’s army has carried out a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against members of the Rohingya minority in the west of the country. Almost 500,000 women, men and children have already crossed the border into Bangladesh, leaving behind dead family members, burned villages and a shattered homeland.

    While the international community has rightly focused on the horrors precipitating the mass exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar, Myanmar’s neighbors remain woefully unprepared to handle the spillover effects of the crisis.

    September 28, 2017

    UPDATE 28 September 2017: Scroll down for an open letter to the UN from 87 civil society organizations urging immediate action on the crisis in Myanmar.

    The UN Security Council must do everything it can to end the crimes against humanity and ongoing ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya civilian population in Myanmar, including by imposing a comprehensive arms embargo on the country, Amnesty International said.

    The Council is holding a public session on the situation in Myanmar on Thursday, when Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will brief members on the current crisis in Rakhine state.

    “The Myanmar military is forcibly displacing and killing Rohingya, a campaign of crimes against humanity that amounts to ethnic cleansing. When they meet on Thursday, UN member states must ask themselves what side of history they want to be on and do everything they can do end this nightmare. Together, they do have the power to pressure Myanmar to end the violence,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director.

    September 22, 2017

    Myanmar: Video and satellite evidence show new fires still torching Rohingya villages

    Amnesty International has assessed three new videos taken inside Rakhine State as recently as Friday afternoon showing large plumes of smoke rising from Rohingya villages, one of which was already deserted, as well as satellite imagery with smoke visible over burnt-out structures.

    Local sources in northern Rakhine State claim the fires were started by members of the Myanmar security forces and local vigilante mobs.

    September 22, 2017

    Since the coordinated attacks on dozens of security posts on 25 August, the Myanmar security forces have carried out an unlawful and disproportionate campaign of violence and ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya community. Amnesty International has documented killings, indiscriminate firing of weapons in civilian areas, widespread burning of homes and villages, and the planting of landmines on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border.  Over 400,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh since 25 August 2016.


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    September 20, 2017
    Alex Neve, Secretary General, spoke at Parliament Hill rally in support of Rohingya refugees, Sept 16, 2017

    by Gloria Nafziger, Campaigner, Refugees and Migrants, Amnesty International Canada

    September 19, 2017

    Reacting to today’s speech by Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s State Counsellor and de facto leader, on the crisis in Rakhine State, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “Aung San Suu Kyi today demonstrated that she and her government are still burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine State. At times, her speech amounted to little more than a mix of untruths and victim blaming.

    “There is overwhelming evidence that security forces are engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. While it was positive to hear Aung San Suu Kyi condemn human rights violations in Rakhine state, she is still silent about the role of the security forces in this.

    September 18, 2017

    By Olof Blomqvist, Amnesty International

    The stories I heard from Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, the south-eastern tip of Bangladesh, are haunting. Almost 400,000 people have fled across the border from Myanmar in less than three weeks, and many of them tell you they have seen their family members shot dead or their villages burned to the ground by Myanmar security forces just days before. There is no question that ethnic cleansing is unfolding across the border.

    But amid the tales of horror, there is also incredible humanity on display.

    September 18, 2017
    More Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh in the space of three weeks than the total number of refugees who fled by sea to Europe in 2016 Worldwide situation goes from bad to worse as rich countries fail to do their part in addressing the refugee crisis, leaving poorer countries to pick up the pieces

    As almost 400,000 refugees flee ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, world leaders meeting at the UN General Assembly should hang their heads in shame that they have not only failed to make good on their promises to take in more refugees, but have actively dismantled refugee rights in many parts of the world.

    A year on from the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in New York, where leaders pledged to take in more refugees and help vulnerable people forced to flee their countries, global refugee numbers are increasing year on year as conflicts spiral out of control.

    September 14, 2017
    More than 80 sites set ablaze in orchestrated campaign since 25 August More than 370,000 Rohingya fled across border in less than three weeks Testimonies show attacks were planned, deliberate and systematic

     

    Amnesty International can reveal new evidence pointing to a mass-scale scorched-earth campaign across northern Rakhine State, where Myanmar security forces and vigilante mobs are burning down entire Rohingya villages and shooting people at random as they try to flee.

    The organization’s analysis of active fire-detection data, satellite imagery, photographs and videos from the ground, as well as interviews with dozens of eyewitnesses in Myanmar and across the border in Bangladesh, shows how an orchestrated campaign of systematic burnings has targeted Rohingya villages across northern Rakhine State for almost three weeks.

    September 13, 2017
    ‘Your brother has been killed,’ the Myanmar soldier said. ‘You can come out of hiding and take him.’

    By Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International crisis response director

    As you approach the fishing village of Shamlapur, near the long, sloping sand beach of Cox’s Bazar, the sense that something is wrong grows. Tens of thousands of exhausted people step out of ramshackle boats that have carried them across the Naf River after an arduous journey from Myanmar. Weary and traumatized, they seek shelter anywhere they can — in one school I entered, hundreds, about half of them children, had gathered in silence. There wasn’t a cry or a laugh; even the babies were listless and deathly silent.

    September 12, 2017

    Follow Tirana Hassan, Amnesty's director of the research and crisis response unit, for live updates from Bangladesh @TiranaHassan.

    In recent weeks, around 250,000 Rohingya refugees have fled into Bangladesh, as a result of an unlawful and totally disproportionate military response to attacks by a Rohingya armed group.

    Here, Amnesty International explains this people’s plight, their state-sponsored persecution, and the crisis’ wide-ranging humanitarian effects.

    TAKE ACTION > Sign Amnesty's petition to the government of Myanmar

    A persecuted people 

    The Rohingya is a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority of about 1.1 million living mostly in Rakhine state, west Myanmar, on the border with Bangladesh.

    Though they have lived in Myanmar for generations, the Myanmar government insists that all Rohingyas are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. It refuses to recognize them as citizens, effectively rendering the majority of them stateless. 

    September 11, 2017

    Two new landmine incidents today, including a blast blowing off a young man’s leg, bring to three the number of known sites where Myanmar authorities have mined border crossings used by Rohingya fleeing violence, Amnesty International said.

    A Bangladeshi farmer in his early 20s stepped on a landmine near the Bangladeshi village of Baish Bari this morning when he was herding cattle in a buffer zone along the border with Myanmar. Witnesses told the organization of a Rohingya man being rushed to medical treatment in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh today, after a separate landmine blast near the Bangladeshi village Amtali, another known border crossing point.

    “All indications point to the Myanmar security forces deliberately targeting locations that Rohingya refugees use as crossing points. This a cruel and callous way of adding to the misery of people fleeing a systematic campaign of persecution,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty international's Crisis Response Director, who is currently on the Bangladeshi side of the border.

    September 09, 2017

    Myanmar’s security forces planted internationally banned antipersonnel landmines along its border with Bangladesh which have seriously injured at least three civilians, including two children, and reportedly killed one man in the past week, Amnesty International confirmed today.

    Based on interviews with eyewitnesses and analysis by its own weapons experts, Amnesty International has documented what seems to be targeted use of landmines along a narrow stretch forming part of the north-western border of Rakhine State, where the United Nations estimates 270,000 people have fled a major military operation in the past fortnight.

    “This is another low in what is already a horrific situation in Rakhine State. The Myanmar military’s callous use of inherently indiscriminate and deadly weapons at highly trafficked paths around the border is putting the lives of ordinary people at enormous risk,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director, who is currently near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

    September 05, 2017
      Prime Minister Narendra Modi should use his official visit to Myanmar to urge authorities there to take urgent steps to protect civilians in violence-hit Rakhine State and lift restrictions on international humanitarian aid to Rakhine, Amnesty International India said today. Thousands of people, mainly Rohingya, are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign in Rakhine.

    “Prime Minister Modi needs to tell Myanmar’s leadership that they are not doing enough to protect all communities in the state, whether it is stopping military abuses targeting the Rohingya or restricting crucial humanitarian access for people in need,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.

    “As a historic friend of Myanmar, India can play an important role in defusing tensions and saving civilian lives. Prime Minister Modi must urge the Myanmar authorities to address the long-standing and systematic discrimination against Rohingya and other Muslims in Rakhine State, which has left people trapped in a cycle of violence and deprivation.”

    September 04, 2017

    The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign, Amnesty International said today.

    Aid workers told Amnesty International of an increasingly desperate humanitarian situation in Rakhine state, where the military has been engaged in a large-scale operation since attacks on dozens of security posts on 25 August, claimed by the armed group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

    “Rakhine state is on the precipice of a humanitarian disaster. Nothing can justify denying life-saving aid to desperate people. By blocking access for humanitarian organizations, Myanmar’s authorities have put tens of thousands of people at risk and shown a callous disregard for human life,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Director for Crisis Response.

    “These restrictions will affect all communities in Rakhine State. The government must immediately change course and allow humanitarian organizations full and unfettered access to all parts of the state to assist people in need.”

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