Burmese Military admits murdering 100 Rohingya Muslims

The Rohingya Muslims, troubled and in an exodus, have been struggling to find their identity and live a peaceful life. In a rare admission of wrongs, the Burmese troops and villagers were behind the killing of a number of Rohingya Muslims, during insurgent attacks at the beginning of September. The bodies were found in a mass grave in Rakhine state’s Inn Din Village, the military’s commander in chief Min Aung Hlaing, said in a statement on Facebook. The local Buddhist villagers had forced the men into a grave they had dug.

In just a few months more than 6,50,000 members of the Rohingya community fled across the border into Bangladesh. The United Nations has branded the actions as ethnic cleansing.Myanmar insists they were carrying a legitimate counterinsurgency operation.

“200 Bengali terrorists attacked using sticks and swords”, which led to a clearance operation in September by the security forces. This statement was made on the Facebook page of its commander-in-chief. The Rohingya Muslims are referred to as Bengalis, which the minority dislikes as it implies they are illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

The statement on the social media page mentions the captives should have been handed over to the police, but the migrants were attacking unceasingly and had destroyed two military vehicles with explosives. The military decided to start killing as according to them situations were out of control. Angry ethnic Rakhine Buddhists wanted to kill the minority and stabbed them after forcing them into a grave on the outskirts of the village. The members of the security forces proceeded to shoot them, the military said.

The statement also affirms strict actions against the villagers and security officials involved in the heinous participation. The extensive investigation has featured the Burmese military condemning their mistakes.

Sources – Washington Post, The Guardian

Exiled Tibetans protest outside UN HQ in Geneva

Exiled Tibetans protested in front of the iconic “Broken Chair” in Geneva ahead of the 36th United Nations Human Rights Council Session against the atrocities being committed by the Chinese Government and demanded independence for Tibet.

Holding placards ‘Who is responsible for self-immolation -The Chinese government’ and raising slogans “we want justice”, exiled Tibetans protesters called for a “Free Tibet”.

ANI quoted Dawa Norbu, representative of Tibetan community of Switzerland, saying, “We are here to protest ahead of the 36th United Nations Human Rights Council Session meeting as we want to make them (UN members) aware of the prevailing human rights situation in Tibet. We want our voices to be heard and the reason is why UN is not acting against the Chinese government. We want to make them aware that what wrong Chinese Government has done in past few years.”, “Chinese have demolished Larung Gar Tibetan Buddhist Institute, one of the largest centres of Buddhist learning in Tibet. Now, they are trying to control the entire Buddhist institutes in Tibet,” he added.

Voicing concern over the increasing Chinese oriented development activities, others present at the protest voiced that they were concerned about indigenous Tibetans who live in the absence of freedom of speech, freedom to practice their religion, about arbitrary arrests that are made and the Human rights violation of those arrested who have no access to the lawyers, languishing in jails and deprived of justice.

Tibetans raised issues ranging from the gross violations of human rights in Tibet, the resurgence of immolation protests in Tibet to the 1949 China’s illegal occupation of Tibet.

Sources:ANI, Reuters





30 crore families have bank accounts under Jan-Dhan : Arun Jaitley

Addressing the Conclave on Financial Inclusions organised by the United Nations in India in Delhi on Wednesday, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley highlighted the three-year progress of the central government’s Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) programme.

Talking about the launch of the initiative three years ago, Jaitley emphasised that the programme came at a time, “when banking was just a prerogative of a small section of society, with almost 42 percent of India being excluded from it”.

Further, the FM went on to discuss the progress of the scheme. So far 30 crore new accounts have been opened under the PMJDY. Also, zero balance accounts have also decreased to about 20 percent from 77 percent in these three years.

Underlining the value of financial inclusion in the Central government’s policies, Jaitley also mentioned how the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will help make formalisation “beneficial” for the country.

Discussing how another initiative Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana has aided the cause of financial inclusion, he explained that the scheme has helped in providing small loans and financing small businesses and the recipients have been women and vulnerable sections.

Sources – Deccan Chronicle , Firstpost

Image Source – Dalip Kumar


UN Security Council adopts tough new sanctions against North Korea

The UN Security Council has unanimously voted to impose a fresh round of sanctions on North Korea following its sixth and largest nuclear test.

With support from China and Russia, the council voted 15-0 on Monday to back the US-drafted ban on textile exports and restricting shipments of oil products to North Korea.  The resolution also prohibits North Korea from importing all natural gas liquids and condensates.

The resolution limits North Korea’s imports of crude oil at the level of the last 12 months, and it limits the import of refined petroleum products to 2 million barrels a year. It also prohibits all the countries from authorizing new visas for North Korean overseas workers. these measures are appraised to cut off $ 500m of tax revenue per year.

The initial US proposal included an assets freeze and travel ban on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un but was dropped to come to terms with China and Russia.

After the vote, The US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that the US is not looking for war with North Korea and Pyongyang has “not passed the point of no return”. “If it agrees to stop its nuclear programme, it can reclaim its future. If it proves it can live in peace, the world will live in peace with it,” she told the UN Security Council.


Sources: Al Jazeera, BBC

BNP Paribas accused of involvement in Rwandan genocide

French bank BNP Paribas has been accused of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, after complaints were lodged by three different civil society organisations in French courts on Thursday. The lawsuits allege that the bank knowingly approved a transfer worth $1.3 million from the Rwandan central bank to an arms dealer.

The complaints were lodged by Sherpa, Ibuka France and the Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda. Sherpa is an organisation that defends victims of economic crimes, while Ibuka France and the Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda are organisations that attempt to pursue claims linked to the Rwandan genocide and provide aid to victims.

The NGO’s that filed the lawsuit stated that Hutu colonel Théoneste Bagosora agreed to purchase close to 80 tonnes of arms and ammunition from a dealer on June 17, 1994. The transaction occurred just one month after the United Nations had placed an embargo on the delivery of weapons to Rwanda, due to political conditions.

These arms were delivered to Gisenyi, a city located near Rwanda’s border, via Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The money was transferred from Rwanda’s national bank to a Swiss bank account held by Willem Tertius Ehlers, a South African who was an intermediary for the arm-dealing brokerage Delta Aero.

The four-month long genocide that occurred after the arms deal resulted in the death of around 8,00,000 people, with a large majority of them being from Rwanda’s Tutsi minority. The bank reached out to Reuters and AFP, saying that it didn’t have adequate information on the incident and that it could not make a statement.

Sources: Reuters, Daily Mail

China against North Korea’s U.N. suspension call

Geneva, March 1: China insisted on maintaining calm and restraining from taking hurried steps after South Korea expressed possible suspension of North Korea from the United Nations for using the weapon of mass destruction in killing its leader’s half- brother.

According to the statement issued by Malaysian Police, two women smeared VX nerve agent, a chemical listed in the United Nation banned weapons of mass destruction, in an assault on Kim Jong Nam at the Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13.

The U.S and South Korea believe that this murder was planned by North Korea.

“Many international media pointed out that North Korea’s use of chemical weapons for the targeted killing in a third country sent a very clear message to the world,” said South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Sethe, speaking in Geneva at a U.N. forum, reported US News. “Namely this impulsive, unpredictable, trigger-happy and brutal regime is ready and willing to strike anyone, anytime, anywhere.”

North Korea said on Tuesday it “categorically rejects” what it called “fictitious and preposterous assumptions”.

China is one of the few remaining supporters of North Korea. However, angered by the Korean nation’s recent excesses at the nuclear front, China has also supported some tough U.N sanctions. China has pushed for talks to resolve the stand-off and is playing host to the senior North Korean diplomat, Vice Foreign Minister Ri Kil Song.

The U.N. Security Council can recommend to the 193-member General Assembly – likely through the adoption of a resolution – that a state be suspended or expelled. Such a move would need to be approved by two-thirds majority of the General Assembly.

Source: US News, Reuters

Rodrigo Duterte admits to personally killing drug addicts

In a startling revelation, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted to personally killing drug users and criminals during his tenure as Mayor of Davao.

Duterte made this announcement during a speech in the Presidential palace, where he was discussing his war on drugs in Philippines. He used to patrol the city at nights looking for a confrontation to ‘kill’ drug addicts.

According to Duterte, he wanted to send a strong message to drug addicts in Philippines. As mayor, he told the police officers under him, “If I can do it, why can’t you”.

After assuming Presidency on June 30, 2016, the police administration under him has killed approximately 5000 people in an effort to crack down on the growing drug menace in Philippines. Masked assailants have also been reported to sneak into the homes of suspected drug traffickers and kill them.

In an earlier speech, Duterte compared himself to Adolf Hitler, where he said he would be ‘happy to slaughter’ three million criminals and drug users. Within just five months into his Presidency and anti-drugs campaign, the United Nations and the United States have severely condemned his decisions of killing suspected criminals. Firmly defiant, the former mayor said that he will not apologize for his measures.

SOURCES: The Independent, The Guardian

Image Source: Getty Images