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.
On 6 November 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale released new directions aimed to keep children out of Canada's immigration detention system.
“The key objective of the Ministerial Direction is to – as much as humanly possible – keep children out of detention, and keep families together. The Ministerial Direction makes it clear that the Best Interests of the Child must be given primary consideration. This will be achieved by actively and continuously seeking alternatives to detention when unconditional release is inappropriate.”
The directive is welcome; detention is never in the best interests of children and it is shocking that children are detained for immigration purposes in Canada, even for short periods of time.
Amnesty International and many other human rights groups in Canada have actively campaigned to keep children out of immigration detention. Several thousand Amnesty International members and supporters signed petitions and called on the Minister to stop detaining children for immigration purposes.
Responding to the news that the Papua New Guinea authorities have sent in immigration officials armed with sticks and knives into the Lombrum refugee detention centre at around 8.00am on Thursday 23 November on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, Amnesty International said:
“The risks of serious injury if the authorities use force now is completely foreseeable. The government is knowingly placing the refugees at risk,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher who has just returned from Manus.
“There is no justification for this action. International law and standards demand that refugees enjoy international protection. The country where they sought refuge – Australia - has violated their rights at every turn. PNG has aided and enabled Australia’s policy of cruelty and degradation of the refugees. Now the PNG authorities are putting their lives at risk.”
An AI USA Release
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the sustained and systemic attacks on the Rohingya population by the Myanmar military “ethnic cleansing” today in an acknowledgment of the nature of the humanitarian crisis. He also called for an independent probe into north Rakhine State. The announcement comes a week after promising an additional $47 million in humanitarian aid.
“As our own researchers have documented on the ground, the Myanmar military has been brutally murdering, raping, and burning the Rohingya for months. Secretary Tillerson’s acknowledgement of ethnic cleansing and call for an investigation sets an example for how the world can respond to this crisis. The time for outrage and condemnation has passed. The international community must impose a comprehensive arms embargo and targeted financial sanctions against senior Myanmar military officials responsible for crimes against humanity,” said Joanne Lin, national director of advocacy and government relations for Amnesty International USA.
Responding to the attack on the Pashto-language Shamshad TV station – a partner of the BBC – in Kabul by armed gunmen, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director, Omar Waraich, said:
“The attack on Shamshad TV is a horrific crime that tragically demonstrates the risks Afghanistan’s journalists face for their legitimate work. The Afghan authorities must do what they can to protect the country’s media, allowing them to work freely and without fear. The perpetrators must be brought to justice through fair trials without recourse to the death penalty. Impunity for attacks on journalists must end.
“This latest attack also underscores the grim fact that Kabul continues to be one of the most hazardous places in the country. European countries, which continue to forcibly return people to Afghanistan, must confront this reality and dispense with the dangerous fiction that Afghanistan and its capital are safe. By sending asylum-seekers back to Afghanistan, they are putting them in harm’s way.”
How can Bangladesh cope with the influx of 600,000 Rohingya?
Published from the The Washington Post
Omar Waraich is deputy South Asia director at Amnesty International
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh — They may be out of harm’s way, for now, but their ordeal continues. Over the past two months, more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed the border from Myanmar, also known as Burma, to seek shelter in Bangladesh. Not since the Rwandan genocide has a humanitarian crisis unfolded so fast and on such a scale. If one counts the hundreds of thousands who were already based here, driven out by earlier waves of violence in Rakhine state, there are now more than a million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
Critical services - including food, water and medical treatment - must be restored to the more than 600 refugees and vulnerable men inside the Lombrum detention centre on Manus Island before a major tragedy occurs, Amnesty International said today as researchers returned from Manus Island.
Refugees and vulnerable men should not be forcibly relocated until such time as their dignity and safety can be guaranteed.
“Today, Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court rejected a last ditch attempt by refugees to have these essential services restored and their rights protected. The decision is an abhorrent attack on the right to life,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.
The Norwegian government will be putting a teenage girl and her family at grave risk of serious human rights violations if it goes ahead with plans to return them to Afghanistan, Amnesty International said today.
Eighteen-year-old Taibeh Abbasi, who has never even visited Afghanistan, is in danger of being returned at any moment along with her mother and two brothers. Amnesty International is backing a grassroots campaign to stop their return, led by classmates at Taibeh’s school in Trondheim.
“Taibeh Abbasi is a popular, well-integrated teenager who dreams of becoming a doctor. But her life could be about to change forever. Like thousands of other Afghans who have found safe homes in European countries, she now faces being uprooted and sent to a war zone,” said Charmain Mohamed, Head of Refugees and Migrants Rights at Amnesty International.
The Algerian authorities have launched a discriminatory crackdown against foreign nationals, rounding up and forcibly expelling more than 2,000 sub-Saharan African migrants from a range of countries to neighbouring Niger and Mali over the past three weeks, said Amnesty International. Those expelled include more than 300 minors, among them at least 25 unaccompanied children.
The new wave of arrests started on 22 September when Algerian police and gendarmes began arbitrarily detaining migrants in the capital, Algiers, and neighbouring suburbs. Research by Amnesty International indicates they made arrests on the basis of racial profiling as they did not seek to ascertain whether the migrants had the right to stay in the country, either by checking their passports or other documents. Some of those arrested and deported are undocumented migrants, while others have valid visas.
“There can be no justification for rounding up and forcibly deporting hundreds of people based on the colour of their skin or their assumed country of origin – a blatant case of mass racial profiling,” said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director at Amnesty International.
The civil engineering company Canstruct International Pty Ltd (‘Canstruct’) has taken on a toxic contract to run facilities on Nauru where the Australian government has trapped refugees in a system that amounts to torture, Amnesty International said today.
Canstruct, an Australian family-run company, has signed a contract to run refugee processing centres on the island, where hundreds of people have been forcibly transferred after trying to seek asylum in Australia. Australian officials have admitted this system is intentionally harsh.
“What is so deeply shocking is that Canstruct has taken on this contract despite a mountain of evidence which shows that Australia’s whole offshore processing system is inherently abusive,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Issues.
“The company will provide the very services that sustain a system that keeps women, men and children trapped in a cycle of cruelty and desperation.”
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.
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.
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.
On learning of the reported death of a refugee who had been held in the Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island, Kate Schuetze, Pacific Researcher at Amnesty International said:
“This tragic and avoidable death is the sixth death related to the Manus Island centre, and the ninth overall connected to Australia’s offshore processing regime.
“Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has blood on his hands. This death proves, yet again, that offshore processing is untenable, and must end immediately.
“This death comes only a few days after a small number of refugees were offered asylum in the United States, making the situation increasingly desperate for those who are left behind in Australia’s offshore processing centres.
“Australia must immediately ensure the safety of all people held on Papua New Guinea and Nauru. The fairest and quickest way to ensure safety for all remains bringing them to Australia to process their asylum claims, and welcome refugees into our community.”