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Human Rights

Myanmar denies using landmines along Bangladesh-Myanmar border areas

Myanmar has denied all allegations of using landmines along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border areas.

Myanmar’s Border Guard Police (BGP) made the claim during a regional commander-level meeting with Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) at Regional Headquarters in Cox’s Bazar on Monday.

After the meeting, BGB Cox’s Bazar Region Commander Brig Gen Sajedul Rahman briefed journalists at a press conference held at The Central Resort in Teknaf at 6:30pm.

Brig Gen Sajedul led the BGB delegation while BGP 1 Brig Gen Ming Tu led a 14-member Myanmar delegation.

“They (BGP) said they did not implant any landmines or improvised explosive device (IED) in the common border areas with Bangladesh. However, they told us that they would inform their government about the matter once they go back to Myanmar,” the BGB commander said.

“The Myanmar delegation was asked to cooperate with Bangladesh to stop yaba pills from entering into Bangladesh and in reply the Myanmar delegation head assured full cooperation,” he added.

During the meeting, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed to keep the good relations between the two countries intact.

BGB Teknaf 2 Commander Lt Col Faisal Hasan Khan and BGB Cox’s Bazar 34 Commanding Officer Lt Col Ali Haider Azad Ahmed were present, among other senior officials from both sides.

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction, known informally as the Ottawa Treaty, the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, or often simply the Mine Ban Treaty, aims at eliminating anti-personnel landmines around the world. Bangladesh ratified the treaty on May 7, 1998.

Till now, Myanmar remains a non-signatory state to the treaty. (Source: DT)

Human Rights

Bangladesh hands over list of 50,000 Rohingyas to Myanmar for verification

Bangladesh has handed over a new list of 50,506 Rohingyas, sheltered in different camps in Cox’s Bazar, to Myanmar for the verification in order to take them back to their homes in Rakhine.

Delwar Hossain, director general (South East Asia wing) of the foreign ministry, provided the list in a meeting with Myanmar ambassador to Bangladesh U Lwin Oo at the former’s office on Tuesday, according to sources concerned.

Earlier, Bangladesh has provided about 55,000 Rohingya names in three phases.

“You see there are 11 lakh (1.1 million) Rohingyas living in Cox’s Bazar. We did not give them a full list in the last year. So we are hurrying a bit in providing the list now,” foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told reporters at his office on Tuesday.

“There are also different rules in providing the lists like those based on families, so that it gets easy for them (Myanmar) to identify. They will accept them. So, we are giving them a new list,” he said.

“About 50,000…Earlier, it was 55,000. I cannot tell you the exact figure,” he added.

About a tripartite mechanism agreed between Bangladesh, Myanmar and China to expedite Rohingya repatriation, the foreign minister said, “The meeting will be held. The Chinese ambassador is physically ill.”

However, he said, “The process is ongoing.”

Mentioning his upcoming visit to Germany and France, Dr Momen said that he will raise the Rohingya issues in both the countries. (Dhaka Tribune)


UN mission accuses accountability for Myanmar ‘genocide’


A special U.N. fact-finding mission has urged that Myanmar be held responsible in international legal forums for alleged genocide against its Muslim Rohingya minority.

The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar said in a report Monday wrapping up two years of documentation of human rights violations by security forces that counterinsurgency operations against Rohngya in 2017 included “genocidal acts.”

It said the operations killed thousands of people and caused more than 740,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh.

The mission said the threat of genocide continues for an estimated 600,000 Rohingya still inside Myanmar living in “deplorable” conditions and facing persecution. The situation makes the repatriation of Rohingya refugees impossible, it said.

“The threat of genocide continues for the remaining Rohingya,” mission head Marzuki Darusman said in a statement.

The report summarized and updated six others previously issued by the mission that detailed accounts of arbitrary detention, torture and inhuman treatment, rape and other forms of sexual violence, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary killings, enforced disappearances, forced displacement and unlawful destruction of property.

It is to be presented Tuesday in Geneva to the Human Rights Council, which established the mission in 2017.

Muslim Rohingya face heavy discrimination in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar, where they are regarded as having illegally immigrated from Bangladesh, even though many families have lived in Myanmar for generations. Most are denied citizenship and basic civil rights.

The homes of many were destroyed during the counterinsurgency operation and there is little sign that refugees will not face the same discrimination if they return.

A plan to repatriate an initial group last month collapsed when no one wanted to be taken back.

The U.N. mission has focused on the Rohingya in Rakhine state but also covered actions by Myanmar’s military — known as the Tatmadaw — toward other minorities in Rakhine, Chin, Shan, Kachin and Karen states.

It said those groups also experienced “marginalization, discrimination and brutality” at the military’s hands.

“Shedding light on the grave human rights violations that occurred and still are occurring in Myanmar is very important but not sufficient,” said Radhika Coomaraswamy, a Sri Lankan lawyer who was one of the mission’s three international experts.

“Accountability is important not only to victims but also to uphold the rule of law. It is also important to prevent repetition of the Tatmadaw’s past conduct and prevent future violations,” he said in a statement.

According to the mission, it has a confidential list of more than 100 people suspected of involvement in genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, in addition to six generals whom it already named a year ago.

Citing the problem of military impunity under Myanmar’s justice system, the report called for accountability to be upheld by an international judicial process.

This could include having the U.N. Security Council refer the matter to the International Criminal Court, establishing an ad-hoc tribunal on Myanmar, such as was held for crimes in the former Yugoslavia or Rwanda, or invoking the 1948 Genocide Convention — which Myanmar has ratified — to ask the International Court of Justice to rule on compensation and reparations for the Rohingya.

With its work concluded, the mission has handed over the information it collected to another specially established U.N. group, the new Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar.

The new group’s mandate is to “build on this evidence and conduct its own investigations to support prosecutions in national, regional and international courts of perpetrators of atrocities in Myanmar.”

Myanmar’s government and military have consistently denied violating human rights and said its operations in Rakhine were justified in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents.

Human Rights, International

Rohingyas trying to get refugee certificate from UN for staying in India

Rohingya Muslims, who have illegally entered India, are trying to obtain certificate of refugee status from United Nations. This has come to light on Tuesday when Railway police arrested five Rohingyas from Guwahati Railway Station here.

The GRP officials said the five arrested Rohingyas were trying to go to Delhi to obtain a certificate of refugee status from United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) in New Delhi.

Police officials said the Government Railway Police (GRP) staff arrested them from platform no. 1 of the railway station.

At first, GRP staff had apprehended two boys and a girl when they were not able to provide valid identity proofs. After interrogation, two boys were also arrested along with the other three persons.

As per reports, the arrested persons are originally from Myanmar and were trying to go to Delhi. The arrested persons have been identified as Makakmyayum Sahenas, MD Zubar, Mohammad Kamal Hussain, Nurul Hakim and Mohammad Kalimula.

They had earlier been arrested by the Manipur police in 2018.

The GRP sleuths found Myanmar made preserved fruit packets, sweets , white coffee and various kinds of edibles in their possession.

Mizoram police had recently arrested 12 suspected Rohingya refugees—eight women and four boys—for illegally entering the state from Bangladesh.

The suspected Rohingyas entered Mizoram from Bangladesh sans valid travel documents. They were found in the residence of a woman in Bawngkwan area of Mizoram.

They had claimed that her cousin, who lives at Tahan in Myanmar, had asked her for a favour for keeping the “guests” before being taken to the neighbouring country.

Earlier in April, eight Rohingya women were detained at Vairengte along India-Myanmar border for trying to enter Mizoram illegally and were pushed back.

More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled from Myanmar’s Rakhine state to neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017 after a military crackdown, triggering a massive refugee crisis. (Source: NE Now)