JRP 2020 stated that Rohingya response should be a real joint venture ensured by aid transparency and management that should be accountable
Demanding a single line authority for ensuring maximum benefit for the displaced Myanmar citizens (Rohingya refugees), a Cox’s Bazar based network has stated that proper planning will benefit the national and local economy at the same time.
The network, Cox’s Bazar CSO NGO Forum (CCNF), was presenting its response to the Joint Response Plan (JRP) 2020 at a press briefing in the city’s press club.
JRP 2020 stated that Rohingya response should be a real joint venture ensured by aid transparency and management that should be accountable.
The JRP in Rohingya response is being prepared by ISCG (Inter-Sectoral Coordination Group). The Rohingya response will formally be launched in Geneva in March. The plan envisages funds to the tune of around $887 million for 2020.
Dozens of Rohingya Muslims, including two children, appeared in court in Myanmar, the latest group to face charges after attempting to flee conflict-torn Rakhine state throughout the week.
The group of about 20 were among 54 people from the Rohingya minority arrested on Wednesday on the outskirts of the commercial capital Yangon while trying to leave for Malaysia, according to judge Thida Aye.
“The immigration officer submitted the case because they found no identification cards from these people,” she said.
Some were barefoot, others clothed in colourful head-scarfs, as they were ushered into the small courtroom in Yangon. A small boy was naked from the waist down.
Defence lawyer Nay Myo Zar said they had fled Rakhine state, the western region where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya live in apartheid-like conditions and have come under increasing pressure as government troops battle ethnic rebels.
More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar to Bangladesh in 2017 to escape a military-led crackdown that U.N investigators have said was carried out with “genocidal intent” and included mass killings and rapes.
Myanmar says the army was fighting a legitimate counter-insurgency campaign against militants who attacked security posts.
Some 600,000 Rohingya remain in the country, confined to camps and villages where they are unable to travel freely or access healthcare and education. The vast majority lack citizenship.
The government says it is working on a national strategy to close camps and that Rohingya would not face movement restrictions if they accepted a so-called national verification card, which many reject, saying it labels them foreigners.
Rakhine state has for the past year been rocked by increasingly intense clashes between government troops and fighters from the Arakan Army, an insurgent group comprised of ethnic Rakhine, another mostly Buddhist minority.
Top official says the main target is to repatriate Rohingya to original homeland, in Rakhine state, Myanmar
Bangladesh announced on Sunday that it may drop previous plans to move 100,000 Rohingya refugees to a remote island located in the Bay of Bengal in the country’s south.
“Our main target is to repatriate Rohingya to their original homeland, Myanmar’s Rakhine state,” Foreign Minister Abul Kalam Abdul Momen on Sunday told reporters in the capital Dhaka following a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Li Jiming.
Lauding recent development projects on the islet of Bhasan Char and plans to turn it into a business hub and “new Bangladesh,” Momen said Bangladeshi citizens left homeless due to river erosion or other reasons should instead be settled there.
Bhasan Char, a remote islet where Bangladesh announced in 2018 it would resettle 100,000 Rohingya refugees who fled persecution in Myanmar, is measured 15,000 acres at low tide and 10,000 acres at high tide, according to the government sources.
The scheme had elicited concerns that the site was less than ideal. Dhaka since said it undertook projects to improve living conditions on the islet.
“We all agree not to send Rohingya there. Now we place our recommendations to the government for a final decision on the alternative use of Bhasan Char project,” said Momen.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
Nearly 50 Rohingya Muslims have been detained at sea by Myanmar’s navy on Friday, local officials said on Sunday (Feb 15), the latest from the persecuted minority to be caught trying to flee camps in Bangladesh and Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state.
It was not immediately clear where the group started their boat journey but they were likely aiming for Malaysia or Indonesia, predominantly Muslim countries with large Rohingya diasporas.
Thousands of Rohingya have taken to the sea over the years in high-risk attempts to escape sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh and oppressive conditions in Rakhine.
Village administrator Myint Thein told AFP by phone the navy had picked up 48 Rohingya men, women and children, as well as five “traffickers”, at sea on Wednesday evening.
A reporter saw the group arrive Friday morning at Pathein township police station.
“We don’t know how authorities in Pathein town will proceed,” Myint Thein said.
Some 740,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar’s Rakhine to Bangladesh to escape a brutal military crackdown in 2017 and now languish in sprawling refugee camps.
Hundreds of thousands more remain in Rakhine, living under tight restrictions with little access to healthcare, education or livelihoods in conditions that Amnesty International brands as “apartheid”.
The group detained at sea this week is just the latest in a series of arrests in recent months as seasonal calmer waters tempt more Rohingya to put their lives in the hands of traffickers.
On Tuesday, at least 15 Rohingya refugees drowned when an overloaded boat carrying mostly women and children sank as it tried to reach Malaysia from Bangladesh.
Local authorities have so far responded with various measures.
Dozens of sprawling informal education centers across refugee camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar are providing a glimmer of hope for thousands of Rohingya refugee children who survived a massacre in their home country of Myanmar in 2017.
Across makeshift camps in the refugee city of Kutupalong, hundreds of informal learning centers have been set up by international agencies and Rohingya community leaders to give the refugee children access to education. The opportunity to learn and improve skills is something the youngsters were never offered back in Myanmar.
Sharmeen Noor, a mathematics teacher at Kutupalong Primary School, told VOA that their programs ensure the Rohingya children do not fall behind in their education despite the absence of formal schooling. The centers can also create a positive impact to help those traumatized by the Burmese army’s 2017 crackdown that forced nearly 700,000 ethnic Rohingya to flee from Rakhine state to Bangladesh.
“Those who have seen violence think about it all the time,” said Noor. “They pay very little attention in class. As teachers, we are working on this matter. We are trying our best to bring them into normal life. God willing we will do it.”
About 350 Rohingya children are currently enrolled at Kutupalong Primary School, which provides basic informal education from preprimary through fifth grade. The children are taught subjects such as general science, mathematical, English, Burmese, and Bengali.
Noor said many of their teaching activities focus on play-based learning to provide education and at the same time give the children a chance to forget the daily struggles they face in the overcrowded camps. Particular attention is given to children who are mentally challenged.
At least 15 people drowned, reports said. One official said the 50-person boat was carrying 130 away from refugee camps.
At least 15 Rohingya refugees, including four children, drowned when the overcrowded boat they were in capsized off the coast of Bangladesh on Tuesday, according to the Bangladesh Coast Guard.
A Bangladesh Coast Guard official, Hamidul Islam, told Reuters that the boat was filled with people trying to leave camps near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of refugees have been living since a scorched-earth ethnic cleansing campaign by Myanmar’s military in 2017.
“It was inhumane,” he said. “The boat was carrying roughly 130 people, while it had a capacity of 50.”
Coast Guard officials said that at least 40 people were still listed as missing.
More than 730,000 Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since a campaign of killing, rape and arson began against them in 2017. Though both governments have promised the refugees would imminently return to Myanmar, the promise has not been kept.
Instead, the Rohingya live in miserable conditions near the Myanmar border at the world’s largest refugee camp. Human trafficking runs rampant, with women sold into sex slavery and men sent away for indentured servitude.
The initial ruling by the International Court of Justice on the case brought by Gambia against Myanmar over its treatment of Rohingya Muslims gives a first look at what the U.N. top legal body’s final judgment might look like.
Opinions are split on what the ruling and provisional demands by the court actually mean, and which side has the upper hand. The ICJ case will take years to unfold. Whatever the outcome of the trial, Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, looks set to emerge as the biggest winner.
Contrary to what many have asserted, the ICJ ruling, including the provisional measures, does not actually constitute a finding that Myanmar committed genocide. That judgment will not be made until the end of the case, after extensive collection and adjudication of evidence and arguments by the two sides
In its preliminary ruling on Jan. 23, the ICJ recognized the extreme vulnerability of the Rohingya in Myanmar and the irreparable harm they have suffered, and it orders Myanmar to take all measures within its power to prevent: a) killing members of the group; b) causing serious bod09ily or mental harm to the members of the group; c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.
Among better-informed legal experts and analysts, the pursuit of a genocide verdict is perhaps the biggest weakness in Gambia’s case. To meet that standard, Gambia will have to prove that the Myanmar security forces acted with genocidal intent against the Rohingya. Precedent is not in Gambia’s favor. In the genocide case against Serbia in 2006, the ICJ did not find such intent and dismissed the genocide charge. Had Gambia adopted a more realistic strategy of focusing on war crimes, or even ethnic cleansing, it would probably have a better chance of winning.
The UN Security Council on Tuesday discussed the International Court of Justice’s order that Myanmar do all it can to prevent genocide against the Rohingya Muslims, but failed to agree on a statement.
China, an ally of Myanmar, as well as Vietnam, which is a member of the regional Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) along with Myanmar, objected, diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because it was a closed-door meeting.
Instead, the European Union members of the council urged Myanmar in a joint statement to reporters afterwards to comply with the measures ordered by the UN’s top court, stressing that they were “compulsory under international law.”
France, Germany, Belgium and Estonia along with former council member Poland also urged Myanmar “to take credible action to bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations.”
“Myanmar must address the root causes of its conflicts, in Rakhine State, but also in Kachin and Shan States,” the EU members said.
“Accountability of perpetrators of human rights and humanitarian law violations is a necessary part of this process.”
Some 740,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh after Myanmar security forces launched a crackdown on the Muslim minority in August 2017 in response to an attack by a Rohingya armed group. More than one million Rohingya refugees are currently living in Bangladesh.
Thousands of Rohingya are suspected to have been killed in the crackdown which has been described by UN investigators as a genocide.
Refugees reported widespread rape and arson in Rakhine state by Myanmar’s military and local Buddhist militias.
In a tea room just outside Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps, a group of young activists fiddle with their phones, which have suddenly started pinging in chorus now they are finally reconnected to the internet.
To circumvent a government internet blackout around the camps in Cox’s Bazar, they have to break a ban on travelling to nearby Bangladeshi towns, from where they can communicate and coordinate messages for the international community.
With simple smartphones the activists have been able to build some kind of Rohingya voice, speaking to the world through WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. But their efforts have often been frustrated, mostly for a more fundamental reason than the technological barrier in place since August: they believe the aid community sent to help them is not listening.
“The Rohingya community are not weak, but the situation makes us weak,” says Mohammad Arfaat, an activist who was part of a Rohingya team that made a short film about how violence had forced them from Myanmar in 2017.
He has been calling for more help for Rohingya to launch their own initiatives, for everything from education to arts, but complains there has been no support. “The Rohingya youth are very talented … but nobody sits, nobody talks with them, so their voices have stopped,” says Arfaat.
These concerns have risen since August, when Bangladesh responded to a failed attempt to repatriate the Rohingya – for which not a single refugee volunteered – by imposing tighter restrictions on their movement and communication.
Myanmar has put in place measures to protect Rohingya Muslims, a spokesman for the ruling party said on Friday, shrugging off an order from the International Court of Justice a day earlier to stop genocidal acts against the ethnic minority.
The Hague-based court-ordered Myanmar to protect the persecuted Rohingya against further atrocities and preserve evidence of alleged crimes, after mostly Muslim Gambia launched a lawsuit in November accusing Myanmar of genocide.
“The government is already doing most of the orders,” Myo Nyunt, a spokesman for the ruling National League for Democracy, told Reuters by phone, without elaborating.
“One more thing we need to do is submit reports,” he said, referring to one of several measures approved by the court requiring Myanmar to write regular summaries of its progress.
But he said the civilian government, who rule jointly with the military in an awkward constitutional arrangement that reserves great powers for the commander-in-chief, could not control troops.
“Under the current political circumstances, we have difficulties solving some issues – such as the (order) that the government must ensure its military or armed insurgents do not commit genocide or attempt to commit genocide against Rohingya or Bengali,” he said.
More than 730,000 Rohingya fled western Rakhine state for neighboring Bangladesh in 2017 to escape a military-led crackdown that the U.N has said was executed with genocidal intent. Myanmar says the military campaign was a legitimate counter-insurgency operation launched in response to militant attacks on security forces.
Some 600,000 Rohingya remain inside Myanmar, confined in apartheid-like conditions to camps and villages, unable to freely access healthcare and education.