Daily Archives: November 4, 2017

Rohingya refugees continue their way after crossing from Myanmar into Palang Khali, near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on November 2, 2017. Hannah McKay/Reuters

Next Steps in the Rohingya Crisis

  Today, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a bill that would not allow certain types of military cooperation with the Myanmar armed forces, and would place sanctions and travel restrictions on top members...
Photo: Rohingya refugee Akram Maungkyawmin at his Year 12 graduation from Christian Brothers College in Adelaide. (ABC News: Simon Royal) Related Story: UN on 'full alert' as more than 11,000 Rohingya flee Myanmar in a day Related Story: Rohingya refugee builds new life in Adelaide Map: Adelaide 5000 As a member of Myanmar's persecuted Rohingya minority, Akram Maungkyawmin was not allowed to go to school in his homeland. But a few days ago, on the last school day of his life, the 18-year-old stood before his year 12 classmates and teachers in Adelaide to say thanks. "I shall never forget this gift," Mr Maungkyawmin said to a school chapel crowded with kids, parents and teachers. "All the teachers who have walked with me on this journey, thank you." The ABC followed the young man's journey through his final year at Adelaide's Christian Brothers College (CBC). It began five years ago in Myanmar. Mr Maungkyawmin said in 2012 his older brother, Imran, was arrested, beaten and jailed by the military. It was just after their mother had died, leaving Akram and his four siblings orphaned. Eight men kneeling in a row with their hands tied behind their backs Photo: Akram Maungkyawmin's brother Iram (circled) was arrested, beaten and jailed by the military in 2012. (Supplied: Akram Maungkyawmin) The siblings decided to send Akram away to avoid the same fate as his brother. In his final address at CBC, the young man told his classmates and teachers a bit about that story. "My family provided the money for me to escape to Bangladesh, then Malaysia and finally Indonesia," Mr Maungkyawmin said. "Upon reaching Indonesia I boarded an illegal vessel with Australia as my destination." He spent time in immigration detention before being granted a bridging visa and offered a place at CBC. Australian family present for graduation None of Mr Maungkyawmin's brothers or sisters saw his final day at school but the people he calls his Australian family were there. Who are the Rohingya? The plight of Myanmar's Rohingya refugees, a Muslim ethnic minority group rendered stateless in their homeland and detained in transit nations, is desperately bleak. This includes Sarah Ayles, whom Mr Maungkyawmin has been living with along with her husband and two children for the past 12 months. "I loved being here [at his graduation]," Ms Ayles said. "I'm proud of him. He's worked really hard and I'm just happy that I could be here today to share it with him." It was just as important to the young student. "I feel like someone is here from my family, my own family," Mr Maungkyawmin said. Two children, a teenager and mother sitting on grass patting the family dog Photo: Akram Maungkyawmin with his host family, the Ayles family Sarah, Holly, Jacob and Schoonar the dog. (ABC News: Simon Royal) Each step taking him further from family He is acutely aware that each step of his journey in this country takes him further from the experiences of his brothers and sisters. But that doesn't mean he's not sharing what they've been through. A few months ago all but one of Mr Maungkyawmin's siblings fled to Bangladesh after their village was torched. Last week his brother Imran sent videos of conditions in the refugee camp and Mr Maungkyawmin explained their content. "They are finding life very, very hard in the camp and the camp condition is really bad," he said. Mr Maungkyawmin said the situation was toughest on his younger brother and sister. "Whenever I call my younger brother he says, 'man I wish I could go somewhere like you and study, but in Bangladesh in the camp I have no hope. I have no future. I see there is no future for me so I am just waiting to die'," Mr Maungkyawmin said. "That breaks my heart." A crowd of Rohingya Muslim children, including a few in the front row carrying a bamboo stick. Photo: Rohingya Muslim children wait to receive handouts near the Balukhali refugee camp in Bangladesh. (AP: Dar Yasin, file) A refugee population the size of Adelaide UNICEF's Australian spokesperson Oliver White has just returned from visiting those same Bangladeshi camps. He said the influx of Rohingya refugees had created a new city. "The population now is 1.2 million people who are in need of assistance — that's the same population as Adelaide," Mr White said. "The speed at which people arrived is unprecedented, much faster than when people left Rwanda [during the 1990s]. "We haven't seen this since the '70s." Mr White is particularly concerned about the thousands of refugee children "The children that we met are in danger of being trafficked — forced into child labour or early marriage." UNICEF argues the first priority is to assist Bangladeshi care for the flood of refugees. But the organisation said it was also important to see that children started getting an education in the camps. It's the key to the future, as one young Rohingya man in Adelaide knows well. "I wish to give thanks to all of the CBC community that perhaps one day my dream of being a policeman will one day be realised," Mr Maungkyawmin said. Two women sitting in a crowd watch on at a high school graduation ceremony Photo: Akram Maungkyawmin was supported at his graduation by his Australian family Sarah Ayles and Emma Lewis. (ABC News: Simon Royal)

Rohingya refugee remembers those left behind as he graduates grateful in Adelaide

  As a member of Myanmar's persecuted Rohingya minority, Akram Maungkyawmin was not allowed to go to school in his homeland. But a few days ago, on the last school day of his life, the 18-year-old...
Buddhist monks protest alongside activists (not pictured) against United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon for using the term Rohingya during the ASEAN summit, in Yangon November 29, 2014. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun (MYANMAR - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR4G1C4

Top Myanmar Monk: Non-Buddhists Are ‘One And A Half Real Human Beings’

https://twitter.com/cjwerleman/status/926093740388708353 In light of the genocide going on in Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims, a revered Buddhist monk suggested it's OK to take a human life if it's non-Buddhist. As Myanmar's military continues indiscriminately killing, raping and...
Understanding the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Understanding the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

  Following a military crackdown in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, approximately 400,000 Rohingya refugees have poured into Bangladesh, creating sprawling refugee camps in the seaside town of Cox’s Bazar. This exodus of the Rohingya...
Glasgow council

Glasgow council withdraws city freedom award to Aung San Suu Kyi

Councillors have voted to withdraw an offer to award Aung Suu Kyi the freedom of Glasgow following a string of alleged human rights violations in Myanmar. The honour had been offered in absentia to the...
Aung San Suu Kyi calls Rohingya conflict a ‘quarrel’ in surprise visit to affected areas

Aung San Suu Kyi calls Rohingya conflict a ‘quarrel’ in surprise visit to affected...

Burma's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, visited the troubled Rakhine state for the first time since the violent military crackdown on the Rohingya ethnic minority two months ago. More than 600,000 Rohingya...
Rohingyas in danger, aid groups forced out

Under intense pressure, Suu Kyi visits scorched Rakhine state

YANGON, Myanmar -- Aung San Suu Kyi made her first visit as Myanmar's leader Thursday to the conflict-torn region where more than half a million Rohingya Muslims have fled state-led violence that has spiraled...

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More than 620,000 Rohingya people have fled into Bangladesh [Andrew Stanbridge/Amnesty International]

Virtual reality 360 film shows Rohingya’s plight

  A man forced to bury his son after watching Myanmar's military kill him, a woman who was gang-raped by soldiers, and another woman who...
Reuters reporter Ko Wa Lone, left, and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo. (Facebook)

Two journalists covering Rohingya crisis in Burma arrested for possessing ‘secret papers’

Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who in recent months have covered the military crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma,...
The remains of burnt villages near Maungdaw in Northern Rakhine State are seen on Oct. 10, 2017. Rohingya Muslims remaining in Myanmar's Rakhine state and other communities in the violence-racked region are so terrified of each other that life has basically ground to a halt, the Red Cross said on Dec. 13, 2017. (Marion Thibaut / AFP/Getty Images)

Aid group says at least 6,700 Rohingya killed in Myanmar in first month of...

The international aid group Doctors Without Borders has released the first survey-based estimate of how many Rohingya were killed during the first and bloodiest...
What is important is the fact that the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s high-level meeting with Chief Ministers of five North-Eastern States

Facing the Rohingya challenge

India is spot on in its approach of tightening borders controls to handle the influx of Rohingya Muslims. However, unless New Delhi takes the...
Described as ‘wretched of the earth’ they are unwanted in Myanmar and across the border in Bangladesh where they have have taken shelter.video

VIDEO: The Rohingyas ‘Long March to Freedom’

ROME, Dec 13 2017 (IPS) - Over 800 000 of the 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims from the Rakhine state in Myanmar have been on...