Aung San Suu Kyi to skip UN General Assembly amidst Rohingya crisis

Myanmar’s State Counselor and de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi has decided to skip the annual United Nations General Assembly in September, owing to the mounting criticism over the Rohingya Muslim crisis in the country’s state of Rakhine.

A staggering 370,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring countries including Bangladesh and India, seeking refuge from the ongoing violence and bloodshed, since August 25, 2017.

According to the United Nation’s estimate, at an average approximately 20,000 Rohingya are leaving their homes and livelihood and fleeing to safer territory.

As per BBC reports, a spokesperson from the Presidential office confirmed the cancellation of her trip, citing two reasons:

“One is the current situation in Rakhine State. We have terrorist attacks and also there are many works on public safety and humanitarian works,” spokesman Zaw Htay said in a statement.

Suu Kyi has been subjected to high levels of criticism, that has spiralled ever since a new streak of violence surged against the Rohingya community, after attacks on government border posts by alleged Rohingya militants that took place on August 25, 2017.

Refugees continue to pour into Bangladesh, as their lives have been wrecked by rape, murder, and devastation.

The 72nd United Nations General opened on September 12, in New York, and is expected to continue for weeks to come, as world leaders deliberate on important world issues.

The annual United Nations General Assembly is considered to be one of the largest diplomatic gatherings in the world, and Suu Kyi giving it a miss, will definitely be a matter of further diplomatic dinner-table debates.

Sourced from BBC and The Gaurdian

Humanity dies a merciless death in Myanmar

Over the last two weeks over 1,20,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh due to ongoing violence, which has included reports of mass killings, among other crimes.

The silence of leader and noble laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is deafening and nothing has been done much to alleviate the Rohingya’s from one of the most heinous human persecutions.

The Rohingya’s are classified as a stateless Muslim minority group who live primarily in the Rakhine state of Myanmar.

They are locally referred to as ‘Bengali’, implying they are foreigners to the land and aren’t acknowledged as citizens by the Myanmar government. However, the Rohingyas have lived in Myanmar for generations.

While the Rohingya crisis had been sparked off several years ago due to communal clashes between  Rakhine Buddhist and the Rohingya, since 2012 the situation has worsened and more so in the last couple of weeks.

The situation has been dubbed as “Genocide” by the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”You watched the situation that Myanmar and Muslims are in. You saw how villages have been burned … Humanity remained silent to the massacre in Myanmar”, he added.

On Wednesday Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Myanmar over the mounting crisis and assured Aung San Suu Kyi India’s support to curb extremist violence and attacks on the security forces. However, Modi failed to speak about the persecution of the Muslim community altogether.

Suu Kyi, on the other hand, thanked India for taking a strong stand on the “terror threat” faced by her country.

Myanmar has also refused and blocked all help coming from the United Nations. Thousands of civilians are in desperate need of food, water, and medical aid and a thousand others have fled the country.

Most of the neighboring camps are full and cannot intake more refugees.

For the past week, UN has not visited or conducted any field work in the Rakhine area. This not only endangers the life of the Rohingya’s but also the Rakhine Buddhist residents as well.

The world community is growing concerned about the slow and merciless deaths the civilians are dying, while Aung San Suu Kyi sits put.

Today Bangladeshi police say a trawler carrying Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar has capsized in the Bay of Bengal, and an unknown number of people have drowned. More than 20 civilians are feared dead.

In the latest development, Myanmar government says that the insurgents who attacked 30 police personnel’s weeks ago demand a separate state from the Rakhine Buddhists. A group called Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army has taken responsibility for the attacks.

The situation is engorging into one of the goriest genocides we know of today. Unless the Myanmar government seeks the help of world communities, it won’t be long before the entire pocket of Rohingyas will be wiped off the face of the earth.

Sources: ReutersWashington Post

Image source: Mintpressnews

 

The truth about the Rohingya crisis

Amidst PM Modi’s visit to Myanmar and talks on shared sentiments about “extremist violence,” Myanmar is under immense international pressure at the moment. Since 25th of August, there has been a slew of attacks started by the Rohingyas on an army base and police. This led to violence on a large-scale against the ethnic group causing close to 125,000 Rohingyas to flee Myanmar. The attack made by rebels saw several innocent Rohingyas being targeted.
The army retaliated against the attacks by killing close to 370 people according to numbers from the previous week. Reliable sources have stated that in a single village, the numbers are close to 130 which also includes the indiscriminate killing of women and children. The UN foresees that this type of ‘ethnic cleansing’ could amount to genocide very soon.
Who are the Rohingyas?
The Rohingyas are an ethnic minority originally from the district from Rakhine. They have been thriving among the Buddhist-majority population of Myanmar since centuries. Since Myanmar achieved independence from British rule in 1948, the Union Citizenship Act was passed and reportedly the Rohingyas were not included in the list of recognized ethnicities. They have been outright denied citizenship since 1982 and persecuted ruthlessly in great numbers.
Close to the entirety of the 1.1 million population of Rohingyas are still living in Rakhine and are disallowed to leave the state without express permission from the government. Thus, consequently, Rohingyas have become stateless- persona non-grata in their own country. Rakhine has one of the poorest living states in the whole country. Due to such dismal conditions, Rohingyas have fled Myanmar in scores all through the decades to Bangladesh and such neighboring countries.
Why Isn’t the Violence Against them Recognized?
In October 2016, rebel groups killed 9 police men from the state which led to a crackdown in Rakhine by the state army. The manner in which the army conducted the ‘cleansing operations’ and the nature of acts committed define the horrific narrative against this community. Rapes, extrajudicial killings and arson and a variety of human rights were abused. This was completely denied by the government.
There were separate instances in 2013 as well when allegations of a similar nature were made but to no avail. Rohingyas preferred to undertake the dangerous journey of trying to reach Malaysia by boat across the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Thousands attempt to cross the borders and enter Bangladesh sometimes only to be captured and sent back to Myanmar.
What Does the Government Say About the Crisis?
The State Chancellor Aung San Suu Kyi has no control over the army. However, the Nobel laureate has been widely criticized for completely failing to recognize the extreme and widespread violence against the group. She has refused to acknowledge the state of them and has made statements saying how exaggerated the reports were.
The plight of the Rohingyas appears to be bleak with no intervention from the international community yet. No member is willing to sacrifice sovereignty on the face of these brazen atrocities. It is yet to be seen how much will ultimately be too much.
Sources-
Image Source- Dawn

India and Myanmar sign 11 agreements

As a step to further strengthen their relationship, India and Myanmar signed eleven agreements on September 6, 2017. This was done during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first bilateral visit to Myanmar, where he held wide-ranging talks with the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

Maritime Security cooperation was one issue covered, while another agreement was concerned with sharing white shipping information to improve data sharing on non-classified merchant navy or cargo ships. An MoU was signed between the Election Commission of India and the Union Election of Myanmar and another was signed to organise cultural exchange programme for the period 2017-2020.

Cooperation between Myanmar Press Council and Press Council of India, cooperation in Medical Products Regulation, in the upgradation of the women’s police training centre at Yamethin in Myanmar, and an extension of agreement on the establishment of India-Myanmar Centre for Enhancement of IT skill were other arenas covered by separate agreements.

Modi arrived in Myanmar as part of his two-nation trip, during which he travelled to the Chinese city Xiamen for the annual BRICS summit.

The signing of these agreements is a step to enhance the relationship with one of India’s most strategic neighbors, which also shares a 1,640-km-long border with a number of north-eastern states including Nagaland and Manipur.

 

Sources: India Today, Economic Times

Myanmar Military Chief on an 8-day visit to India

The commander-in-chief of Myanmar defence forces, senior general Min Aung Hlaing will be on an eight-day tour to India commencing on July 7. The military chief is scheduled to travel extensively across India covering the cities of Gaya, Varanasi, Ahmedabad and Vishakhapatnam. Hlaing is to visit New Delhi on July 14 to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, defence minister Arun Jaitley and national security adviser Ajit Doval, which also  indicates the the strategic importance of the meet.

According to the Times of India, India is ready to increase its military supplies to Myanmar to counter Chinese strategic inroads into the country, as part of the overall plan to expand defence cooperation with ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries under the action-oriented `Act East’ policy.

India has been slowly but steadily stepping up defence cooperation, ranging from expansion in military visits and exercises to training and technology-sharing, with ASEAN member-states like Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

As far as strategic partnership with Myanmar is concerned, India already provides 105mm light artillery guns, rocket launchers, rifles, radars, mortars, bailey bridges, communication gear, night-vision devices, war-gaming software and road construction equipment as well as naval gun-boats, sonars, acoustic domes and directing gear to Myanmar. A $37.9 million deal for supply of lightweight torpedoes was also recently finalized.

While Indian warships make regular port calls to Myanmar and undertake coordinated patrolling along the bilateral maritime boundary, Indian Army too has stepped-up cooperation with Myanmarese forces along the porous 1,643-km land border to turn the heat on Indian insurgent groups operating in the region.

India had earlier largely disregarded China’s expanding footprint in Myanmar, the only Asean country with whom its shares land and maritime boundaries, but later switched gears to make amends. Since then, India has assiduously upgraded diplomatic, economic and military cooperation with Myanmar, apart from prime ministerial (Manmohan Singh and Modi) and other high-level visits to the country.

Dinosaur tail preserved in amber found in Northern Myanmar

Nature never fails to surprise us with its wondrous discoveries. It was a euphoric moment for the scientists when an appendage from 99 million years ago was found preserved in amber in Northern part of Myanmar. According to the journal Current Biology, the appendage is of a baby dinosaur that had many feathers attached to it. In addition to that, there were bones and soft tissues to the structure.

The research was conducted by a Chinese Palaeontologist of China University of Geosciences and was partly funded by the National Geographic Society’s Expedition Council. In the search, a mid-cretaceous amber sample that was chest-nut brown in colour was found. In its apricot-like lumpy raisin structure was a 1.4-inch appendage.

After the sample underwent CT scans and microscopic analysis, it was found that the structure was of eight vertebrae of a thin tail. The tail seemed to belong to a juvenile coelurosaur, a class of dinosaurs that included modern bird dinos as well as the tyrannosaurs.

The Burmese amber was often used to make jewellery and other items. The pieces often contained particles of ancient dinosaurs or extinct birds that provided fodder for thought to several scientists throughout the world. Though the speculations are rife that a Jurassic Park might happen again, Xing believes that maybe more exploration and research could enable the team to find a complete dinosaur.

SOURCES : CNN , National Geographic

Image sourced from National Geographic.

11 dead in Northern Myanmar during a tussle between army and insurgents

Conditions in Myanmar are taking a turn for worse, as more and more people are being killed in the growing clashes between security forces and armed insurgents. 11 deaths in northern Myanmar have been reported in the month of December.

The situation intensified since late November when violence broke out in the  northern Shan state. As per reports, thousands have fled the state in fear and have crossed borders into China.

AFP reported that the scuffle on December 2 led to the killing of 9 policemen and 2 civilians. According to state media record, 30 soldiers, policemen and civilians have died since the clash began. Looking at the conditions in Myanmar, Beijing has put its military on high alert fearing violence outbreak into its territory.

The ongoing clashes pose a great threat on State Counselor Suu Kyi’s attempt in building a nationwide peace agreement to end the decade-long violence in Myanmar. The spokesperson of rebel group Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) said that the rebel groups are ready for negotiation only if the army will talk in good faith. “Our alliance from Northern Shan state will stand our ground and defend if they launch more attacks. But if they stop the fighting, we welcome negotiations to find a solution.”, said Colonel Tar Phone Kyaw, TNLA spokesperson.

Sources: Indian Express, Zee News India

Image Source: South China Morning Post