Two leading figures of the Rohingya campaign in Europe are fearing for their lives after calls for their abduction were circulated in a racist video message.
London-based Maung Zarni and Germany-based Nay San Lwin said they were targeted by Aye Ne Win, a businessman who allegedly financed the genocide against the ethnic group in Myanmar.
In a video circulated on social media, Win urged Myanmar’s intelligence service to launch an Israel-style operation to kidnap the two activists.
He can be seen as saying: “Concerning Maung Zarni and Nay San Lwin, it is high time for Myanmar military intelligence services to launch an Israeli-style kidnap operation that captured Eichmann in South America.
“These creatures should not dare to come to our country. They scream foul from abroad but they need to be tried here [In Myanmar].”
Zarni told Anadolu Agency that he was taking these threats very seriously.
“We are taking this very seriously as it came from one of the richest and most racist men in Myanmar — Aye Ne Win,” he said.
Win, the grandson of Gen. Ne Win, is widely known to be one of the key financiers of the genocidal monk group known as Ma Ba Tha, according to Zarni.
He stated that they have been targeted because he was “the whistleblower of Rohingya genocide” and along with Lwin helped the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Rohingya genocide.
“The [Myanmar’] military-intelligence-run proxy news organizations have been running extremely vitriolic attacks on us – with our pictures as ‘enemies of the state’,” he underlined.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has approved a full investigation into Myanmar’s alleged crimes against the Rohingya, as the Southeast Asian nation faces mounting legal pressure worldwide over the treatment of the minority ethnic group.
ICC judges on Thursday backed a prosecution request to investigate allegations of crimes against humanity and persecution over Myanmar’s bloody 2017 military crackdown against the majority-Muslim group.
The ICC’s decision came after Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de-facto civilian leader, was named in an Argentine lawsuit over crimes against the Rohingya and Myanmar faced a separate genocide lawsuit at the United Nations’s top court.
More than 740,000 Rohingya were forced to flee over the border into sprawling camps in Bangladesh, in violence that the UN investigators said amounted to genocide.
The Hague-based ICC, set up in 2002 to try the world’s worst crimes, said it had “authorised the prosecutor to proceed with an investigation for the alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction” relating to Myanmar.
These include allegations of “systematic acts of violence”, deportation as a crime against humanity and persecution on the grounds of ethnicity or religion against the Rohingya, it said.
Welcoming the moves towards international justice, George Graham, Director of Children and Armed Conflict at Save the Children said there was an “overwhelming need” to investigate and prosecute the crimes that had been documented.
“The scale and intensity of violence committed against the Rohingya by Myanmar security forces demands an independent and impartial hearing in a court of law,” Graham said in a statement.
In a highly unusual move, the tiny West African nation of The Gambia on Monday filed a lawsuit against Myanmar, accusing it of perpetrating a genocide on ethnic Rohingya Muslims which forced hundreds of thousands to flee the Asian nation.
The Gambia, with the full support of the 57-member Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), filed the case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nations’ leading court in dealing with disputes between nations.
“The Gambia hopes by this case, and the OIC hopes by this case, to obtain a judgment from the International Court of Justice — the highest legal authority in the international community, that Myanmar is guilty of the crime of genocide against the Rohingya people,” said Paul Reichler, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who is leading the Gambian legal team.
Such a ruling could take years. In the interim, the lawyers are seeking what is known as “provisional measures” — an order demanding Myanmar stop harming the Rohingyas while the court considers the full case. The judges at The Hague-based court could rule on that as early as next month.
“We are hopeful to get that kind of protection for the Rohingya people very early in the case as a provisional measure so that the genocidal activities that we are seeking to end do not continue during the lawsuit,” Reichler told VOA.
Starting in August 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled a scorched-earth campaign unleashed by the Myanmar military in response to attacks by Rohingya militants in Rakhine state that killed a dozen police officers. Survivors crossed the border into Bangladesh where they gave accounts of massacres, rape, murder and villages burned to the ground.
Myanmar authorities should immediately release 30 Rohingya Muslims detained for attempting to travel from Rakhine State to the city of Yangon, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should lift all travel restrictions on ethnic Rohingya and repeal discriminatory regulations that limit their right to freedom of movement.
Police arrested the group of Rohingya on September 26, 2019. A week later, a court sentenced 21 of them to two years in prison, and sent eight children to a child detention center. The youngest, a 5-year-old, is being held at Pathein prison with his mother.
“Myanmar authorities seem intent on persecuting Rohingya whether they stay at home or try to travel freely in the country,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “These 30 men, women, and children are being punished for simply seeking an escape from the daily brutality they’ve been subjected to for years.”
The authorities apprehended the group for traveling without official permits and documentation after they arrived in Ayeyarwady Region via boat from Sittwe township in central Rakhine State. The group was en route to Yangon, where they planned to seek work or attempt to continue onward to Malaysia, according to media reports.
On October 4, the Ngapudaw Township Court sentenced 21 of the Rohingya to two years in Pathein prison following a one-day hearing during which they were reportedly denied access to legal representation. They were convicted under section 6(3) of the 1949 Residents of Burma Registration Act, which carries a maximum two-year sentence. Rohingya frequently face arrest and prosecution for attempting to travel between townships or outside of Rakhine State.
The UN’s independent investigator on Myanmar says it’s not safe for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled to Bangladesh to return because Myanmar has failed to dismantle its “system of persecution” of Rohingyas.
Yanghee Lee said in a report to the General Assembly circulated Friday that living conditions for the remaining Rohingyas in northern Rakihine state “remain dreadful”, reports Associated Press.
The Rohingya can’t leave their villages and earn a living, she said, making them dependent on humanitarian aid whose access “has been so heavily diminished that their basic means for survival has been affected.”
“While this situation persists, it is not safe or sustainable for refugees to return,” said the UN special rapporteur appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, adds AP.
Lee also expressed concern that a household-counting exercise in Rohingya villages “is an effort to erase the Rohingya from administrative records and make their return less possible.”
She said the government’s requirement that any refugee who returns must be issued “a national verification card” is not a solution to citizenship for the Rohingya, the news agency also adds.
Rohingya Muslims demand that Myanmar give them citizenship, safety, and their own land and homes they left behind. The Buddhist-majority nation has refused to recognize Rohingya as citizens or even as one of its ethnic groups, rendering them stateless.
More than 700,000 Rohingya fled across the border to Bangladesh after Myanmar’s military began a harsh counterinsurgency campaign against them in August 2017 in response to an insurgent attack. The campaign, which has been called ethnic cleansing, involved mass rapes, killings and burning of Rohingya homes.
The prime ministers of India and Bangladesh have agreed on the need for greater efforts to facilitate the safe return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have fled violence in Myanmar and taken refuge in Bangladesh, a joint statement said Saturday.
The statement, issued during a visit to India by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said that she and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed that the measures should include improving security and socio-economic conditions in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
India will provide additional humanitarian aid to help refugees living in camps in Bangladesh, according to the statement.
In what has become Asia’s largest refugee crisis in decades, some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have taken shelter in Bangladesh.
The two leaders also signed agreements on security, energy and transport.
Hasina highlighted that the people of Bangladesh are awaiting implementation of a 2011 agreement for sharing water from the Teesta river, which flows from India into Bangladesh. Modi told her that his government is working with all stakeholders in India for the implementation of the agreement.
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Authorities in Bangladesh will build barbed-wire fences around sprawling camps housing Rohingya refugees to stop their expansion, a Cabinet minister said Thursday.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said the fences were ordered by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who had earlier told authorities to open the border to allow hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya to escape from a harsh military crackdown in neighboring Myanmar two years ago.
Khan did not say exactly when construction of the fences would begin at more than 30 camps near the border.
Last year, the U.N.-established Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar recommended the prosecution of top Myanmar military commanders on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Myanmar has rejected the allegations.
Earlier this month, Bangladesh’s telecommunication regulator asked cellphone companies to halt service in the camps and restrict internet access because of a “security threat.” The regulator said a recent survey in the camps revealed that cellphones are being used there illegally.
In recent months, more than 40 Rohingya have been killed amid concerns that some refugees are involved in smuggling illegal drugs from Myanmar. At least five Rohingya have been killed in recent weeks in what police described as shootouts between suspected Rohingya criminals and law enforcers.
A special United Nations team is calling for an international investigation into the dangers faced by Rohingya people in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The U.N. says 600,000 Rohingya who remain in the country live under the threat of genocide.
The three-member Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar presented its report on Monday to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. It said the government-led human rights crisis in the country continues.
Marzuki Darusman leads the mission. He noted last year’s report, which found evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes by Myanmar’s Tatmadaw army against ethnic communities. He said these same crimes continue.
“We found genocidal acts…in the Tatmadaw’s 2017 ‘clearance operations’ against the Rohingya population,” Darusman said.
He also said Myanmar’s security forces have enjoyed impunity for their crimes for many years.
Darusman said the Mission’s report is based on information from almost 1,300 discussions with victims and eyewitnesses. He said the report also considered tens of thousands of documented human rights abuses of ethnic minorities.
Darusman said the evidence shows that the dangers that forced more than 740,000 Rohingya refugees to flee to Bangladesh continue today.
The situation for about 600,000 Rohingya remaining in Rakhine State is largely unchanged, he said. He noted that laws that discriminate against Rohingya remain in effect and enforced. These include a 1982 citizenship law that bars Rohingya from all basic rights.
Bangladesh police have now killed six Rohingya refugees they claim were involved in the August 22 murder of Omar Faruk, a local leader of the ruling Awami League’s youth organization, in Cox’s Bazar.
Several United Nations human rights experts warned the Bangladesh government that ensuring justice for Faruk’s murder should not be “reactionary, summary and ad hoc.” Forcibly disappearing or killing suspects after taking them into custody has long been a problem in Bangladesh. After the recent killings, Bangladesh authorities said that these people were killed in “crossfire” or a “gunfight.” These familiar explanations are often a euphemism for extrajudicial executions.
The killings have created a climate of intense fear in the area’s refugee camps.
There are nearly one million Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh after fleeing atrocities committed by the Myanmar military. Tensions increased after the Bangladesh government attempted to begin repatriation of Rohingya, which failed because refugees feared conditions in Myanmar remained unsafe.
Faruk’s murder sparked violent attacks against Rohingya by some in the host community. One refugee living in Camp 27 told Human Rights Watch that local residents continue to “threaten to beat or kill them,” saying “‘Why don’t you [Rohingya] leave our land?’”
Instead of quelling the tensions, law enforcement officers allegedly refused to intervene and protect the refugees from these attacks. The authorities also engaged in collective punishment, cutting access to the internet and instructing carrier companies to halt the sale of SIM cards and phone connections to refugees, insisting that it was necessary to contain criminal activities.
Bangladesh is likely to sit across the table with representatives of China and Myanmar in New York this month to resolve the much-talked-about Rohingya repatriation issue.
The trilateral meeting will be held on the sideline of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to be held in New York by this month, Lt Col (Retd) Muhammad Faruq Khan, president of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs said today.
The parliamentary committee today held a meeting at the Jatiya Sangsad Complex with Faruq Khan in the chair and discussed the latest development about the repatriation process of Rohingyas to Myanmar.
During the meeting, the foreign ministry informed that representatives of the three countries will hold talks during the general assembly of the United Nations, he said.
The parliamentary committee also expressed disappointment over the diplomatic efforts which have been so far to repatriate the Rohingya to their homeland in the Rakhine State of Myanmar, he said.