Exclusive Stories

Govt targets 100,000 Rohingya for first repatriation

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MNA Exclusive Desk: The government wants to send up to 100,000 Rohingya back to Myanmar in the first batch of repatriations of Muslims who fled ethnic violence this year, officials said Friday. Obaidul Quader said a list of 100,000 names was to be sent to Myanmar authorities on Friday so repatriations could start in late January under an accord between the two governments. More than 655,000 Rohingyas from Myanmar’s Rakhine state have sought refuge in Bangladesh since a military crackdown in late August, fleeing what the US and United Nations have described as ethnic cleansing. That added to more than ...

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US sanctions based on ‘unreliable accusations’: Myanmar

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MNA Exclusive Desk: Myanmar “feels sad” over a US decision to sanction a military general, a government spokesman said, after Washington linked the commander last week to abuses against the Rohingya Muslim minority. “This targeted sanction is based on unreliable accusations without evidence, as we have repeatedly said, so we feel sad for that,” said Zaw Htay, spokesman for Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, reported news agency. The Trump administration announced on Dec 21 that it was sanctioning Major General Maung Maung Soe, who was in charge of a crackdown on the Rohingya minority. The United States, as ...

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Suu Kyi ‘avoided’ discussion of Rohingya rape during UN meeting

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MNA Exclusive Desk: Aung San Suu Kyi avoided discussing reports of Rohingya women and girls being raped by Myanmar troops and police when she met a senior UN official, according to an internal memo seen by the Guardian. Pramila Patten, the special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, travelled to the country for a four-day visit in mid-December to raise the crisis with government officials. But she said Aung San Suu Kyi, a state counsellor in the Myanmar government, avoided to engage in “any substantive discussion” of reports that soldiers, border guard police and Rakhine Buddhist militias carried out “widespread ...

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Analysis: No sign Rohingya will be allowed to return

Rohingya refugees

MNA Exclusive Desk: After facing international outrage and charges of ethnic cleansing, Myanmar made a pledge: Rohingya Muslims who fled the country by the hundreds of thousands would start their journey home within weeks. With so many obstacles, however, and no real sign of good will, few believe that will happen, AP reports. The returns are supposed to be voluntary. But many members of the religious minority, now living in sprawling refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh, are afraid to go back. They don’t trust the nationalist-led government and feel widely hated by the general population. Meanwhile, the military – which ...

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US sanctions Myanmar general for abuses

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MNA Exclusive Desk: The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on 13 “serious human rights abusers and corrupt actors” including Myanmar general Maung Maung Soe, who oversaw this year’s brutal crackdown against the Rohingya Muslim minority. The US government, applying penalties for the first time under a law passed last year, also targeted 39 other individuals and entities with sanctions that block their assets under US jurisdiction, bar most Americans from dealing with them and largely cut them off from the global financial system. The Treasury Department said those sanctioned included Benjamin Bol Mel, who has served as an adviser ...

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Dhaka, Ankara to work together on Rohingya

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MNA Exclusive Desk: Sheikh Hasina and Turkish premier Binali Yildirm on Tuesday agreed to continue to work together for socio-economic development and issues of mutual concerns like Rohingya crisis. The two PMs iterated their commitment to work closely and support each other on bilateral and international matters and issues of mutual concern including the Rohingya crisis. The two premiers made the commitments issuing separate statements after their official talks at Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Sheikh Hasina was aided by foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, industries minister Amir Hossain Amu, commerce minister Tofail Ahmed, education minister Nurul Islam Nahid, home minister ...

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65 media workers killed in 2017: RSF

media workers

MNA Exclusive Desk: Sixty-five journalists and media workers were killed worldwide in 2017, according to annual figures published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Tuesday. Among them were 50 professional reporters, the lowest toll in 14 years. However, the downward trend is due at least in part to journalists giving up working in the world’s deadliest spots. War-torn Syria remains the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, RSF said, with 12 reporters killed, followed by Mexico where 11 were assassinated. They included Javier Valdez, one of the most prominent chroniclers of Mexico’s deadly drug war, whose murder in ...

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About 40 Rohingya villages burned: HRW

Rohingya villages

MNA Exclusive Desk: Analysis of satellite imagery reveals new destruction of Rohingya villages during October and November 2017 in northern Rakhine State in Myanmar, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Monday. The New York-based global rights body identified 40 villages with building destruction occurring in October and November, increasing the total to 354 villages that have been partially or completely destroyed since August 25, 2017. Satellite imagery confirms that dozens of buildings were burned the same week. On November 25, satellite data detected an active fire and building destruction in Myo Mi Chang village in Rakhine State’s Maungdaw Township. Four ...

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About 80pc Rohingyas want to return

Rohingyas

MNA Exclusive Desk: More than 90 per cent Rohingyas, who have taken shelter in Bangladesh, personally witnessed or directly experienced violence in Myanmar, says a survey. The crackdown by Myanmar authorities since then led to a rapid mass migration of more than 647,000 Rohingya to enter Bangladesh, confirmed the “Rohingya Survey-2017” that documented the atrocities against Rohingya Muslims. However, 78 per cent of the Rohingya refugees surveyed said they would willingly return if the situation improves. About 16 per cent had no desire to return and only 6 per cent would return home unconditionally, the survey added. Xchange, an international ...

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8,44,227 Rohingyas’ registration complete

MNA Exclusive Desk: Bangladesh has completed biometric registration of 8,44,227 Rohingya refugees who have crossed the border to escape persecution in neighbouring Myanmar’s Rakhine state. A total of 8, 44,227 Rohingyas have undergone biometric registration till December 14, reports the ANI news agency citing an official release. Bangladesh’s Department of Immigration and Passport (DIP) carrying out the registration work in 12 makeshift camps in Ukhia and Teknaf. The registration process started on September 11. Out of the registered refugees, 36,373 have been identified as orphans, which include 17,395 boys and 18,978 girls. Earlier on Thursday, the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) ...

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6,700 Rohingya killed in Myanmar: MSF

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MNA Exclusive Desk: Global humanitarian NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) announced on Thursday that at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed after violence broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine state late August. Based on surveys of refugees in Bangladesh, the number is much higher than Myanmar’s official figure of 400, reports the BBC. ‘In the most conservative estimations’ at least 6,700 of those deaths have been caused by violence, including at least 730 children under the age of five, MSF said in a reports. MSF also known as Doctors Without Borders, said it was ‘the clearest indication yet of the widespread violence’ ...

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IOM scales up Rohingya healthcare operations

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MNA Exclusive Desk: International Organization for Migration (IOM) now runs 13 health posts and one primary healthcare centre for Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar as the UN migration agency has scaled up its operations. The IOM has been providing healthcare to Rohingyas and local Bangladeshis living in Cox’s Bazar since 2013, reported news agency. It also supports nine government health facilities and works with over 350 community health workers – making it one of the largest health responders on the ground. IOM is harnessing solar energy to power its remote health posts in Cox’s Bazar’s giant Kutupalong and Balukali makeshift settlements, ...

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Bilateral, global action to solve Rohingya crisis

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MNA Exclusive Desk: Bangladesh has said not only bilateral, but the international community’s urgent action is needed for the permanent solution to Rohingya crisis. Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN Ambassador Masud Bin Momen made the remark at an event titled ‘Strengthening of the Coordination of Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance of the United Nations, including Special Economic Assistance’ held at General Assembly, UN Headquarter in New York, said the Bangladesh Mission on Monday. Mentioning Bangladesh government’s continued engagement with the Myanmar authorities in good faith, the Ambassador said, ‘We stress that Bangladesh can bilaterally address only perhaps the ...

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They tried to take me across the border: Farhad Mazhar

Farhad Mazhar

MNA Exclusive Desk: Poet and writer Farhad Mazhar has claimed that he was forced during interrogation to say that he had gone out on a leisure trip. Speaking at a press conference at his Shyamoli residence, he said certain plainclothesmen had tried to take him from RAB and his abductors had tried to take him across the Khulna-Jessore border to the other side. Mazhar convened the press conference two days after a court granted police to file a counter case against Mazhar and his wife Farida Akhtar for lodging a “false abduction” case. Claiming to have been kidnapped while he ...

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Thousands protest against Trump’s Jerusalem plan

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MNA Exclusive Desk: Thousands of protesters in Muslim-majority countries in Asia rallied on Friday to condemn the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as authorities tightened security outside US embassies. Leaders in both Indonesia and Malaysia have joined a global chorus of condemnation of President Donald Trump’s decision. Protesters, some shouting anti-US slogans and burning an effigy of Trump, gathered in front of the American embassy in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. In Indonesia, a few hundred demonstrators mostly clad in white rallied outside the US embassy in Jakarta, capital of the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country. Some ...

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Bangladeshi-British remanded over plot to kill Theresa May

Brexit deal

MNA Exclusive Desk: One of the two men remanded over a plot to assassinate British Prime Minister Theresa May has introduced himself as a Bangladeshi-British. Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman, 20, from north London, planned to detonate a homemade bomb and attack the May with a suicide vest and a knife, reports the BBC. A second man also appeared in Westminster Magistrates’ Court charged with preparing terrorist acts. Both men will appear at London’s Old Bailey on Dec 20. Rahman is charged with the preparation of terrorist acts and also with assisting another man to prepare separate acts of terrorism, according to ...

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Rohingya crisis: UN HR chief for action to stop this madness

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MNA Exclusive Desk: The UN human rights chief on Tuesday condemned the ‘widespread, systematic and shockingly brutal’ attacks on Rohingyas as well as decades of discrimination and persecution. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged a Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on the current situation of the minority Rohingya Muslim population in northern Rakhine State ‘to take the appropriate action to stop this madness now’. He asked: ‘How much do people have to endure before their suffering is acknowledged and their identity and rights are recognised, by their government and by the world?’ The High Commissioner urged the Council ...

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Myanmar social media anger after Pope uses ‘Rohingya’

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MNA Exclusive Desk: Pope Francis’s embrace of the Rohingya during a trip to Bangladesh has sparked some angry comment on social media in Myanmar, where just days earlier he chose not to publicly air their plight. On Friday the head of the Catholic church met a group of refugees from Myanmar’s stateless Muslim minority in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. He referred to them as “Rohingya” — a term unacceptable to many in Myanmar where they are reviled as alleged “Bengali” illegal immigrants rather than as a distinct ethnic group. During his public addresses on the previous leg of his trip ...

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Pope says his defence of Rohingya got through in Myanmar

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MNA Exclusive Desk: Pope Francis on Saturday defended his strategy of avoiding the term ‘Rohingya’ in Myanmar, saying he believed he got his message across to both the civilian and military leadership without shutting down dialogue. Speaking to reporters aboard the plane returning to Rome from Bangladesh, the pontiff also indicated that he had been firm with Myanmar’s military leaders in private meetings about the need for them to respect the rights of Rohingya refugees. He also disclosed that he cried when he met a group of Rohingya refugees on Friday in Bangladesh, where he defended their rights by name ...

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Pope Francis arrives in Dhaka

Pope Francis

MNA Exclusive Desk: Pope Francis landed in Bangladesh on Thursday after a diplomatically sensitive trip to neighbouring Myanmar, where he made no direct reference to the plight of Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh in their hundreds of thousands. President Abdul Hamid received Pope Francis, who is now visiting Myanmar, at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka at around at 3:00pm. Pope Francis is the second Pope visiting Bangladesh. About 31 years ago, on November 19, 1986, His Holiness Pope John Paul II officially visited Bangladesh. From the airport, the highest Catholic priest will visit National Martyr’s Memorial at ...

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Pope Francis avoids using ‘Rohingya’ in Myanmar

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MNA Exclusive Desk: Pope Francis on Tuesday urged the leaders of majority-Buddhist Myanmar, mired in a crisis over the fate of Muslim Rohingya people, to commit themselves to justice, human rights and respect for “each ethnic group and its identity”. The pope avoided a diplomatic backlash by not using the highly charged term “Rohingya” in his addresses to officials, including leader Aung San Suu Kyi. However, his words were applicable to members of the beleaguered minority, who Myanmar does not recognise as citizens or as members of a distinct ethnic group. Francis made his comments in Naypyitaw, the country’s capital, ...

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Myanmar has ‘no religious discrimination’, army chief tells Pope

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MNA Exclusive Desk: Pope Francis met Myanmar’s powerful army chief on Monday at the start of a highly sensitive trip, with the military man saying he told the pontiff there was “no religious discrimination” in his country despite allegations of ethnic cleansing. The 80-year-old pope, the first to travel to Myanmar, received Senior General Min Aung Hlaing for a 15-minute meeting at the archbishop’s residence in Yangon, where the pontiff is staying during his visit. The UN and US have accused the military of “ethnic cleansing” in a campaign sparked by attacks by a militant Rohingya group on police border ...

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Pope flies for Myanmar amid Rohingya crisis

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MNA Exclusive Desk: Pope Francis flew to Myanmar on Monday in one of his most sensitive trips yet, as religious tensions fester in the mainly Buddhist nation that has bristled at global outrage over its treatment of Rohingya Muslims. Myanmar’s military is accused of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against the stateless Muslim minority, more than 600,000 of whom have fled a crackdown in northern Rakhine State for neighbouring Bangladesh. Francis will meet powerful army chief Min Aung Hlaing during the trip in a highly anticipated encounter between a religious leader who has championed the rights of refugees and the ...

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Myanmar to take back only recent Rohingyas

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MNA Exclusive Desk: Myanmar will take back only those refugees who fled to Bangladesh following the violence on Oct 9, 2016 and Aug 25 this year. Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali briefed the media on Saturday on his recent trip to Myanmar and a Rohingya repatriation agreement signed with the Southeast Asian nation on Nov 23. The deal covers the residents of Rakhine State who have crossed over to Bangladesh after Oct 9, 2016 and Aug 25, 2017. The repatriation of residents who crossed over to Bangladesh earlier will be considered separately on the conclusion of the present agreement, according ...

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Colourful rally on “March 7: Aloker Jharnadhara”

Mourning Day

MNA Exclusive Desk: A colourful rally and seminar on “March 7: Aloker Jharnadhara” will be held in Dhaka on Saturday. The rally will be held at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital in the afternoon where Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be the chief guest. A discussion will also be held at 10am in the BMA auditorium here. Information and Research Sub-Committee of Awami League will organize the seminar on the occasion of UNESCO recognition to the historic March 7 Speech of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as a world documentary heritage. Awami League General Secretary and Road ...

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Pope to meet Rohingyas in Bangladesh camps

Pope Francis

MNA Exclusive Desk: Pope Francis will meet the head of Myanmar’s army and Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, both late additions to a tour of the two countries next week. Human rights monitors and UN officials have accused Myanmar’s military of atrocities, including mass rape, against the stateless Rohingya during operations that followed insurgent attacks on 30 police posts and an army base. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said on Wednesday that the pope would meet army head Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on 30 November in a church residence in Yangon. Myanmar Cardinal Charles Maung Bo had talks with the pope ...

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