Tuesday, 21 November, 2017

Pope to Visit Myanmar, Bangladesh Amid Rohingya Crisis

Pope Francis to visit Bangladesh and Myanmar in November Pope Francis' comments on the liturgy need to be heard by traditionalists and reformers alike.
Sammy Stanley | 30 August, 2017, 01:50

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi spoke to Myanmar's National Security Adviser U Thaung Tun on Tuesday, to discuss the disproportionate use of force by Myanmar security forces in Rakhine state which had reportedly displaced thousands of Rohingya Muslims.

The UN refugee agency said today more than 3,000 had arrived in the past three days, as people told of how they fled for their lives from Myanmar's army.

"We've been ordered not to allow Rohingya to enter Bangladesh", said one border guard, who asked to remain anonymous as he was not permitted to speak to media.

The Myanmar government called on Rohingya civilians to cooperate with the security forces and said those not related to the insurgents would not be affected.

'Soldiers and police have randomly fired on and killed civilians, raped women and girls, torched whole villages and arbitrarily arrested Rohingya men without any information about their whereabouts or charges, ' the report's summary read. Rohingya are denied citizenship in Myanmar and classed as illegal immigrants, despite a heritage there that can go back hundreds of years.

Their flight comes as Human Rights Watch said it has satellite data "consistent with widespread burnings" in 10 populated areas of the violence-wracked wedge of Rakhine State near Bangladesh. Cramped in refugee camps, these asylum seekers face the dangers of epidemics and the possible wrath of the Bangladesh army who want to turn them away. A military source, however, blamed what he described as insurgents for torching the buildings.

Many Rohingya trying to enter Bangladesh were sick and at least six have died after making the crossing, an aid worker said, adding that fear of being caught and sent back meant some refused to seek help.

"I call on the Government of Myanmar to follow the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, headed by Kofi Annan, for an integrated and calibrated response to the situation in Rakhine state, to address rather than sacrifice human rights concerns in the interests of maintaining peace and order", he said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, ARNO President Nurul Islam urged "the attention of the United Nations and the global community, powerful countries, the OIC, ASEAN and Myanmar's neighbors to bring consistent pressure to bear on the Myanmar government and the military". "We can not distinguish who are insurgents or who are villagers".

In May, the Pontiff received the de facto head of the Myanmar government and Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, at the Vatican, in a meeting that also marked the beginning of bilateral diplomatic relations.

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