Exclusive Stories

Myanmar monk hits back at international community

monk

MNA Exclusive Desk: An ultra-nationalist monk—dubbed the “Buddhist Bin Laden”—on Sunday condemned the international community for their calls to bring Myanmar’s generals to justice over the Rohingya crisis. Firebrand monk Wirathu, known as the face of Myanmar’s Buddhist nationalist movement, was speaking at a pro-military rally that attracted hundreds of supporters, his first since being barred from giving public sermons last year. The ban, which ended in March, was issued by a council of senior monks who said Wirathu had “repeatedly delivered hate speech against religions to cause communal strife”. The hate speech he espouses—which includes calling the Rohingya Muslim ...

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Bangladesh becomes UNHRC member

UNHCR

MNA Exclusive Desk: Bangladesh has been elected a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the next three years in an election that took place in New York on Friday. Bangladesh bagged 178 votes in the election where the members of the UN General Assembly voted, reported news agency. Bangladesh will serve as the UN rights body member for the 2019-21 tenure. Last time, Bangladesh served the UNHRC as a member from 2015 till 2017. The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human ...

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Japan calls for credible Rohingya probe

credible

MNA Exclusive Desk: Japan urged Myanmar for a credible investigation into alleged human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a joint news conference after holding talks on Tuesday with Aung San Suu Kyi that Japan will support efforts by her country to accommodate Rohingya who return home from refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh, reported news agency. Myanmar’s military is accused of widespread rights violations, including rape, murder, torture and burning villages, which sent about 700,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh since August last year. Buddhist-dominated Myanmar has denied abuses by its military. Suu ...

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Suu Kyi vows ‘transparency’ over Rohingya atrocities

transparency

MNA Exclusive Desk: Aung San Suu Kyi promised Monday to increase transparency over her government’s handling of the Rohingya crisis while pitching for foreign investment in Myanmar ahead of a regional summit in Tokyo. Suu Kyi, once garlanded as a global rights champion, has seen a sharp fall from grace due to her failure to speak up following a brutal military crackdown on Myanmar’s Rohingya minority. “I’m ready to acknowledge that we have challenges to face particularly with regard to the Rakhine and with the struggles we have on the peace front,” Suu Kyi said in a speech before Japanese ...

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UN expresses ‘great concern’ over India’s deportation of Rohingya

great concern

MNA Exclusive Desk: The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) voiced “great concern” for the safety and security of seven Rohingya men who have been sent home by Indian authorities, after reportedly being denied access to lawyers, or full consideration of their asylum applications. “[We] continue to seek clarification from the authorities on the circumstances under which these individuals were returned to Myanmar,” said Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for UNHCR, to journalists at the UN Office at Geneva. The deportation of Rohingya refugees took place as the UN Secretary General Antonio Guteress was visiting India last week. “On learning of their detention ...

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Dhaka protests Myanmar’s claim to St. Martin’s Island

St Martin's Island

MNA Exclusive Desk: Myanmar has come up with another false claim insisting Bangladesh’s St Martin’s Island as part of their territory, reported news agency. The move prompted Dhaka to react sharply and lodge a strong protest officially against the ‘deliberate’ attempt. The government on Saturday summoned Myanmar Ambassador in Dhaka U Lwin Oo and strongly protested the matter. Maritime Affairs Unit Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministry Rear Admiral (retd) M Khurshed Alam summoned the Myanmar envoy to his office in the afternoon and handed over a strongly-worded protest note to him. However, Myanmar Ambassador Lwin acknowledged the ...

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Force Myanmar to take back Rohingyas: UN chief urges India

Rohingyas

MNA Exclusive Desk: UN secretary general Antonio Guterres urged India to pressure Myanmar for the safe and dignified return of Rohingyas to their homeland. Speaking up for Bangladesh, he said, “It was unacceptable that countries like Bangladesh have to accept a million refugees. Generosity is inversely proportional to richness, I think.” Guterres reserved some of his sharpest commentary for the Myanmar authorities. “I have never seen a community so discriminated in the world as the Rohingya.” He acknowledged reform of the UN Security Council is necessary but much as he would want it, he was powerless to do it alone, ...

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Malaysia to no longer support Suu Kyi

Kyi

MNA Exclusive Desk: Stating that he lost all faith in Aung San Suu Kyi, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said his country will no longer support the leadership of Myanmar’s leader over handling of the Rohingya crisis in her country. In an interview with Turkish international news channel TRT World, Dr Mahathir said Suu Kyi seemed to be a “changed person” in over the plight of the Rohingya people, reports Malaysia’s The Star Online on Sunday. “Over this issue, she seems to be a changed person. She did not want to say anything against the action taken by ...

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Bangladesh, UN agree to address sexual violence against Rohingyas

sexual violence

MNA Exclusive Desk: The government of Bangladesh and the United Nations will jointly address conflict-related sexual violence committed against members of the Rohingya population forcibly displaced from Myanmar to Bangladesh. The United Nations and the government of Bangladesh signed a ‘Framework of Cooperation’ in this regard, reported news agency. The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, after signing the document, said, “I believe that through this Framework of Cooperation the Rohingya survivors of sexual violence will benefit from enhanced service-delivery, accountability and protection.” During her two official visits to Bangladesh, in November 2017 ...

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PM receives ‘Int’l Achievement Award’ & ‘Special Distinction Award for Outstanding Leadership’

Outstanding Leadership

MNA Exclusive Desk: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been conferred with the prestigious ‘International Achievement Award’ and the ‘2018 Special Distinction Award for Outstanding Leadership’ for her humanitarian and responsible policy in hosting the Rohingyas. Inter Press Service (IPS), a global news agency, conferred her on the ‘International Achievement Award’, while the Global Hope Coalition, a network of three not-for-profit foundations based in New York, Zurich and Hong Kong, honoured with the ‘2018 Special Distinction Award for Outstanding Leadership’. The prime minister received the awards at two separate functions in New York Thursday evening. She received the ‘International Achievement Award’ ...

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‘Flying news’: Humanitarian media counter Rohingya refugee rumours

rumours

MNA Exclusive Desk: As aid workers rushed to vaccinate Rohingya refugees against measles earlier this year, rumours swirled through the overcrowded camps in Bangladesh – the injections would make women sterile and convert children into Christians. The anecdote, included in an August report from the United Nations children’s agency, Unicef, illustrates how the refugees, who have fled Myanmar, are vulnerable to misinformation, “with little or no access to television, radio, or other media”. In response, humanitarians are trying innovative projects to counter rumours – translated as ‘flying news’ in the Rohingya language – and to let refugees know how to ...

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Myanmar’s delaying tactics blocking Rohingya return: PM

Myanmar

MNA Exclusive Desk: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina accused neighbouring Myanmar of finding new excuses to delay the return of Rohingya who were forced across the border over the past year. “I already have 160 million people in my country,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, when asked whether Bangladesh would be willing to walk back its policy against permanent integration. “I can’t take any other burden. I can’t take it. My country cannot bear.” Hasina was speaking to Reuters in New York, where she is attending the annual United Nations meeting of world leaders. The prime minister, who faces a national ...

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Resolve Rohingya crisis from its root: PM

Sheikh Hasina

MNA Exclusive Desk: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday placed three recommendations, including abolishing discriminatory laws, policies and practices by Myanmar against Rohingyas, to solve the protracted Rohingya crisis from its root. Sheikh Hasina placed there commendations at the ‘High-level Event on the Global Compact on Refugees: A Model for Greater Solidarity and Cooperation’ held at the UN headquarters here with UN Secretary General António Guterres in the chair. Her second recommendation is Myanmar must create conducive environment by building trust and guaranteeing protection, rights and pathway to citizenship for all Rohingyas. If needed, create a ‘safe zone’ inside Myanmar ...

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UN has no right to interfere in Myanmar: Army chief

right

MNA Exclusive Desk: The head of Myanmar’s defence forces says that the UN has no right to interfere the country’s sovereignty, reports news agency. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s remarks came after UN investigators called for the prosecution of Hliang and other top Myanmar military brass for the ‘genocide’ perpetrated against the Rohingyas. “Protecting the interests of the country and ethnics amount to waging a just war,” Hliang said at a meeting with military personnel on Sunday. “Take a look at the democratic practices in the world. Countries exercise the democratic system suited to them. So, the democratic practices of ...

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ICC recognizes its capacity to deal with the Rohingya issue: UN chief

Rohingyas

MNA Exclusive Desk: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said the International Criminal Court (ICC) has recognized its capacity to deal with the Rohingya issue to investigate widespread allegations that Myanmar forces have driven Rohingyas from their homes, reported news agency. “As far as I understand, the ICC has recognized its capacity to deal with the issue. So, I think that this is already on course,” he said. The UN chief said there was an initiative already by Bangladesh in relation to the ICC. “So, the question is already on the table.” The UN chief made the remarks at a ...

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WB okays $25m for Rohingya children’s education

Rohingya children

MNA Exclusive Desk: The World Bank (WB) has approved US$25 million to help Bangladesh provide education and support to heal the psychological wounds of Rohingya children and youth. The second in a series to help Bangladesh deal with the crisis, the additional financing on grant terms expands an existing World Bank project to help about 350,000 Rohingya children and adolescents get basic education in learning centers. The existing ‘Reaching Out of School Children Project II (ROSC II)’ project is also being extended for two years, which will enable the enrollment of poor children in the host communities in Cox’s Bazar, ...

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Justice Sinha claims to be ‘exiled’ by govt

Sinha

MNA Editorial Desk: Former Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha said that he resigned in the face of intimidation and threats and was ‘exiled’ by the government. Justice Sinha made the claim in his book titled “A Broken Dream: Rule of Law, Human Rights and Democracy” which is available on Amazon. “I had the opportunity and honour to observe this transformation and the hindrances as a participant of the Bangladeshi judiciary since 1974 — rising from a practitioner at a lower court in the north-eastern district of Sylhet to the highest judicial position of the country, the Chief Justice of the ...

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Myanmar’s ‘gravest crimes’ against Rohingyas demand action: UN

Min Gyi

MNA Exclusive Desk: Catching up with villagers from Min Gyi who had escaped the Myanmar Army’s assault on their homes, the soldiers first killed all the men, shooting them and then methodically slitting the throats of those who lingered. Then they turned on the women and children. A United Nations Fact Finding Mission report on Tuesday cited the slaughter in Min Gyi, in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, as evidence that the army committed “the gravest crimes under international law” in clearance operations a year ago targeting the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. In Min Gyi, troops shot some of the ...

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Rohingya crisis reinforce China-Myanmar bonds

Myanmar

MNA Exclusive Desk: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) got a high octane boost last week, when Myanmar — facing the heat from the West because of the Rohingya refugee crisis — inked an agreement with Beijing to establish a cross border economic corridor. The 1,700-km corridor will provide China yet another node to access the Indian Ocean. Already Gwadar port — one of the terminal points of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) — has become Beijing’s star gateway to the Arabian Sea. “The China Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) can become a major factor in lifting the economies of ...

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Rakhine issue could’ve been handled better: Suu Kyi

handled

MNA Exclusive Desk: Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday said in hindsight her government could have handled the situation in Rakhine state better, reported news agency. Some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine after government troops led a brutal crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on 30 Myanmar police posts and a military base in August 2017. “There are of course ways in which, with hindsight, the situation could’ve been handled better,” Suu Kyi said at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi. “But we believe that in order ...

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Rohingya women need $72m in aid: Oxfam

Oxfam

MNA Exclusive Desk: Oxfam has said $72 million is required for humanitarian programs designed to aid the Rohingya women and children currently living in Cox’s Bazar’s refugee camps. It said the Rohingya women have been developing health problems, missing out on aid, and are at a greater risk of abuse due to unsafe and unsuitable facilities—in many parts of the camps. Speakers made the assessment at an Oxfam report launch on Monday. “One Year On: Time To Put Women and Girls At The Heart Of The Rohingya Response,” was launched at the Raowa Complex in Dhaka. State Minister for Foreign ...

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UN urges ICC to probe atrocities against Rohingyas

Rohingyas

MNA Exclusive Desk: United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng has urged ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to consider the recommendation of its Chamber to decide on the opening of an investigation into the atrocities against Rohingyas without delay. He said the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) provides victims an opportunity to access justice for some of the crimes they have endured, which is an important first step, reported news agency. Myanmar has refused to cooperate with any impartial investigation into the matter and continues to insist hiding behind its sovereign ...

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ICC decision opens a clear avenue for justice for Rohingya: AI

Rohingya

MNA Exclusive Desk: Amnesty International has said the ICC decision is a significant step in the right direction which opens up a clear avenue of justice for the Rohingya who were driven out of their homes, often as soldiers opened fire on them and burned down their villages. The comment came following the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) ruling on Thursday that it has jurisdiction over Myanmar’s deportation of the Rohingya population to Bangladesh, a crime against humanity. Amnesty International’s South Asia Director Biraj Patnaik said during the Myanmar military’s horrifying campaign of ethnic cleansing more than 725,000 Rohingya women, men ...

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World criticism fails to wake up Suu Kyi

international community

MNA Exclusive Desk: Myanmar’s government looks as if it’s under siege from an international community concerned about the condition of its nascent democracy, with widespread calls for a genocide tribunal to hold its military to account for the brutal treatment of its Muslim Rohingya minority. But experts say not to expect any change of course from the country’s leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, even after a fresh round of withering criticism from abroad following Monday’s show-trial conviction of two Reuters reporters who helped expose extrajudicial killings of 10 Rohingya men and boys. Suu Kyi’s motivations are opaque. Even ...

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Myanmar army apologizes for mistaken photos in book on Rohingya crisis

book

MNA Exclusive Desk: The Myanmar military issued a rare apology on Monday, acknowledging that two photographs it published in a book on the crisis over the Rohingya Muslim minority were “published incorrectly”. Reuters published an exclusive report on Friday revealing that two of the pictures in the book that aimed at illustrating the army’s account of last year’s events in the western Myanmar state of Rakhine, were in fact archive pictures of different conflicts, and one was posted with an incorrect caption. The erroneous publication of the photographs comes amid a series of government steps against what it has seen ...

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Myanmar rejects UN probe on Rohingya crackdown

probe

MNA Exclusive Desk: Myanmar rejected Wednesday the findings of a UN probe alleging genocide by its military against the Rohingya, in a strident government response to a damning report on the crisis. Myanmar has come under immense pressure this week over last year’s military crackdown that pushed more than 700,000 of the Muslim minority into Bangladesh. Monday’s report by a UN fact-finding mission said there was evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity “perpetrated on a massive scale”. In a session of the UN Security Council late Tuesday several countries—including the United States—called for Myanmar’s military leaders to face international ...

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Myanmar generals had “genocidal intent” against Rohingyas: UN

genocidal intent

MNA Exclusive Desk: Myanmar’s military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with “genocidal intent” and the commander-in-chief and five generals should be prosecuted for orchestrating the gravest crimes under law, UN investigators said on Monday. The civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi has allowed hate speech to thrive, destroyed documents and failed to protect minorities from crimes against humanity and war crimes by the army in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states, they said in a report. In doing so, it “contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes”, the report said. A year ago, government ...

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