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World's Largest "Ethnic Cleansing" Humanitarian Crisis

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ABOVE: Torched Rohingya homes burn.
  © 2017 Australian Broadcating Corp.
BELOW: Rohingya refugees walk on a muddy path as others travel on a boat after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar (Burma) border, in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 6, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
LATE-2017
(CURRENT CRISIS ERUPTS)

Major Media Reports






CURRENT EVENTS:

AUGUST 2017:

SEPTEMBER 2017:

OCTOBER 2017:

NOVEMBER 2017:

DECEMBER 2017:

  • 2017 Dec. 1 - Friday

  • 2017 Dec. 2 - Saturday

  • 2017 Dec. 3 - Sunday

  • 2017 Dec. 4 - Monday

  • 2017 Dec. 5 - Tuesday

    • Myanmar forces may be guilty of genocide
      against Rohingya, U.N. says

          - Reuters News Service
        (same topic at:
          - The Irrawaddy (Burma/Myanmar) )
      • Myanmar’s security forces may be guilty of genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority, and more of them are fleeing, despite a deal between Myanmar and Bangladesh to send them home, the top U.N. human rights official said on Tuesday.
      • He described reports of “acts of appalling barbarity committed against the Rohingya, including deliberately burning people to death inside their homes, murders of children and adults; indiscriminate shooting of fleeing civilians; widespread rapes of women and girls, and the burning and destruction of houses, schools, markets and mosques”.
      • Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, was addressing a special session of the Human Rights Council which later adopted a resolution condemning “the very likely commission of crimes against humanity” by security forces and others against Rohingya.

    • UN: China fails to scupper resolution
      on Myanmar’s persecution of Rohingya

          - Amnesty International
      • UN Human Rights Council resolution on the situation of the Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar,
      • opposed by China, Philippines and Burundi
      • “China has the diplomatic, humanitarian and economic resources to make a real difference in the lives of the Rohingya. But its current maneuvering simply seeks to intervene only to preserve impunity for horrific crimes." ~Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director, Amnesty International.

    • Opinion:
      Behind China's Attempt to Ease the Rohingya Crisis

      ~ by Amnesty International East Asia director Nicholas Bequelin.
          - New York Times

    • Hospitals fill as Rohingya refugees shiver through winter
          - Agence France-Presse /
            Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)

  • 2017 Dec. 6 - Wednesday

    • US House Passes Resolution
      'Condemning Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya'

          - VOA - Voice of America
            (U.S. propaganda media)
      • A bipartisan resolution -- co-sponsored by Congressmen Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Steve Chabot (R-OH):
          "[We] introduced H.Con.Res. 90 to condemn this ethnic cleansing and show the American people’s outrage at these attacks."
      • Passed by at least 2/3 voice vote (reported as 423-to-3)
      • First step in Congressional action.
      • Could eventually include a stand-alone sanctions bill aimed at putting financial pressure on the Burmese military
      • Could eventually include U.S. economic assistance for the resettlement of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh back to Myanmar.
      • "This is a moral issue and a national security issue... No one is secure when extremism and instability is growing in this part of the world.” ~ House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.)
      • Calls for “an end to the attacks in -- and an immediate restoration of humanitarian access to -- the state of Rakhine in Burma.”
      • Simultaneously calls on...
        • Burmese authorities, to work with the international community to resolve the crisis.
        • U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson, to impose sanctions on those responsible for human rights abuses
      • A bipartisan sanctions bill, introduced last month by ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Chabot, would
        • end U.S. military ties with Myanmar;
        • impose harsh sanctions on industries that fund the Burmese military;
        • reimpose sanctions, that were lifted last year, on the lucrative Burmese gem trade.
      • A companion bill in the U.S. Senate is sponsored by 2 Republicans and 2 Democrats.
      • "If [Burma/Myanmar] want(s) to go back to the bad old days when we had all sorts of restrictions on them – economic restrictions, trade restrictions, political restrictions – then we’re forced to go back to those bad old days because if they’re going to perpetuate ethnic cleansing, we don’t want to be complicit,” ~ Rep. Engel to VOA, last month.

    • UN rights chief 'cannot rule out genocide'
          - BBC News

    • OpEd:
      Why the Rohingya Can't Yet Return to Myanmar
          - New York Times

    • VIDEO:
      Where the plight of the Rohingya
      stands today.

          - ABC News

    • VIDEO & TEXT:
      Bangladesh moves ahead with plan to relocate 100,000 Rohingya [to an island frequently underwater].
          - CNN ISLAND RELOCATION:
      Bangladhesh planning minister's office:
      • Rohingya will be moved to Thengar Char (a remote, flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal) by November 2019.
      • "Although the land is flooded due to tidal effect of sea, it is very much controllable by land development and shore protection work."
      • A Bangladesh Navy study determined the island could be habitable with land reclamation, and work to the shore line.
      • Bangladesh plans to build nearly 1,500 barrack houses and 120 shelter centers on 60 hectares (150 acres) of the island.
      Amnesty International...
      • ...called upon the Bangladeshi government to abandon the proposal, calling it a "terrible mistake."
      • ...says: "The Bangladesh government... in its desperation to see the Rohingya leave the camps and ultimately return to Myanmar... is putting their safety and well-being at risk." ~ Biraj Patnaik, South Asia director.

      GENOCIDE:
      UN Human Rights Council...
      • held an emergency meeting in Geneva, Tuesday, to discuss the Rohingya crisis.
      UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said:
      • "Can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?"
      • "Witnesses in different locations have given concordant reports of acts of appalling barbarity committed against the Rohingya, including:
        • "deliberately burning people to death inside their homes;
        • "murders of children and adults;
        • "indiscriminate shooting of fleeing civilians;
        • "widespread rapes of women and girls;
        • "burning and destruction of houses, schools, markets and mosques."
      U.N. definition of "genocide":
      • Acts committed with an "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group."
      U.N. consequences for "genocide":
      • If a situation is defined as genocide, the UN Security Council may then be legally obliged to intervene.

  • 2017 Dec. 7 - Thursday

      -------------------------

  • 2017 Dec. 8 - Friday

  • 2017 Dec. 9 - Saturday

    • Diphtheria Comes Back To Haunt Yemen And Rohingya Refugees In Bangladesh
          - NPR (National Public Radio)

    • Aid groups vow to boycott
      new Myanmar camps
      for Rohingya returnees

          - Agence France-Presse /
            Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
      • More than a dozen humanitarian organizations, (including Save the Children and Oxfam), protest the idea of returning Rohingya refugees being forced into "temporary" camps in Myanmar.
      • Aid groups say:
        • "There should be no form of closed camps or camp-like settlements. INGOs [international non-governmental organizations] will not operate in such camps if they are created,"
        • Returning refugees must be allowed to settle in their original homes.
        • All refugee returns must be voluntary.

  • 2017 Dec. 10 - Sunday

  • 2017 Dec. 11 - Monday

  • 2017 Dec. 12 - Tuesday

  • 2017 Dec. 13 - Wednesday

    • UN official urges accountability
      for Rohingya 'ethnic cleansing'

      UN Security Council meets to discuss ongoing crisis
          - Nikkei Asian Review

    • MSF estimates more than 6,700 Rohingya killed
      in Myanmar
      • At least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the month after violence broke out in Myanmar in August, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says.
      • Based on surveys of refugees in Bangladesh, the number is much higher than Myanmar's official figure of 400.
      • MSF said it was "the clearest indication yet of the widespread violence" by Myanmar authorities.
      • The survey found that at least 9,000 Rohingya died in Myanmar (also known as Burma) between 25 August and 24 September.
      • "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, according to MSF.
      • This well-researched figure by MSF suggests the operation conducted by the military was brutal enough to raise the possibility of taking a case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.
      • However, Myanmar has not ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC and is not bound to co-operate with it. Bringing a case would require the approval of all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, and China has until now given its full support to the Myanmar government's conduct.
      • "What we uncovered was staggering, both in terms of the numbers of people who reported a family member died as a result of violence, and the horrific ways in which they said they were killed or severely injured" ~ MSF Medical Director Sidney Wong.
      • According to MSF, the violence-related deaths were caused by...:
        • 69% were from gunshots
        • 9% were due to being burnt to death in their houses
        • 5% were beaten to death.
      • Among the dead children below the age of five, MSF says:
        • over 59% were reportedly shot,
        • 15% burnt to death,
        • 7% beaten to death
        • 2% killed by landmine blasts.
      • Previously, the armed forces stated that around 400 people had been killed, most of them described as Muslim terrorists.
      • The military conducted an "internal investigation" and cleared itself of all allegations of wrongdoing.
      • The government's assertions contradicted evidence seen by BBC correspondents. The United Nations human rights chief has said it seems like "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing".
    - BBC News

  • 2017 Dec. 14 - Thursday

      ---------------

  • 2017 Dec. 15 - Friday

      ---------------

  • 2017 Dec. 16 - Saturday

      -----------------

  • 2017 Dec. 17 - Sunday

  • 2017 Dec. 18 - Monday

    • Myanmar burned Rohingya villages after refugee deal, says rights group.
          - The Guardian (U.K.)
            (includes before-&-after satellite photos)
        Human Rights Watch says:
      • Satellite images show that dozens of Rohingya villages were burned the week Myanmar signed an agreement with Bangladesh to repatriate hundreds of thousands of refugees.
      • Evidence that villages were still being damaged as late as 2 December contradicts assurances by the Burmese government that violence had ceased and that the Rohingya could safely return to Myanmar.
      • HRW said its analysis showed that about 354 villages had been partially or completely destroyed since army “clearance operations” commenced in Rakhine state in August after a series of deadly attacks by Rohingya militants.
          It said at least 118 of those villages were damaged after 5 September, which Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, has claimed as the official end of army operations in the state.
        (same topic at:
            - Associated Press / Washington Post
            - Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) )

    • Could Aung San Suu Kyi
      face Rohingya genocide charges?

      Evidence that attacks on Rohingya were planned and prepared by Myanmar government before ARSA militants attacked.

          - BBC
      • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) is determined that the perpetrators of the horrors committed against the Rohingya face justice.
      • Doesn't rule out the possibility that Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and the head of the armed forces Gen Aung Min Hlaing, could find themselves in the dock on genocide charges some time in the future.
      • "Given the scale of the military operation, clearly these would have to be decisions taken at a high level," ~ UNHCHR
      • He has called for an international criminal investigation into the perpetrators of "shockingly brutal attacks" against the Rohingya.
      • "The thresholds for proof are high... but it wouldn't surprise me in the future if a court were to make such a finding on the basis of what we see." ~UNHCHR
      • What clearly rankles the UN human rights chief is that he had urged Ms Suu Kyi to take action to protect the Rohingya six months before the explosion of violence in August -- citing prior atrocities -- but she did not.
      • He thinks Myanmar's military was emboldened when the international community took no action against them after the violence in 2016.
      • The exteme violence against Rohingya that began August 2017 -- driving hundreds of thousands from Myanmar -- appears to UNHCHR to be "really well thought out and planned."
      • Myanmar government has said the military action was a response to terrorist attacks in August which killed 12 members of the security forces. But BBC has gathered evidence that shows that preparations for the continued assault on the Rohingya began well before that.
        • BBC reports that Myanmar had been training and arming local Buddhists. Within weeks of last year's violence the government made an offer: "Every Rakhine national wishing to protect their state will have the chance to become part of the local armed police."
        • "This was a decision made to effectively perpetrate atrocity crimes against the civilian population," ~Matthew Smith, chief executive of human rights organisation Fortify Rights, which has been investigating the build-up to this year's violence.
        • That view is borne out by refugees in the refugee camps in Myanmar, who saw those volunteers in action, attacking their Rohingya neighbours and burning down their homes.
        • By the summer food shortages were widespread in north Rakhine - and the government tightened the screws. From mid-August the authorities had cut off virtually all food and other aid to [Rohingya homeland of] north Rakhine.
        • Myanmar's army brought in reinforcements. On 10 August -- two weeks before the militant attacks -- it was reported that a battalion had been flown in.
        • The UN human rights representative for Myanmar was so concerned she issued a public warning , urging restraint from the Myanmar authorities
        • But when Rohingya militants launched attacks on 30 police posts and an army base, the military response was huge, systematic and devastating.
      • Almost four months on from those attacks the UNHCHR is concerned the repercussions of the violence are not yet over. He fears this "could just be the opening phases of something much worse".
      (same topic, plus video of bodies & burning huts, at:
          - Australian Broadcasting Corporation
      )

  • 2017 Dec. 19 - Tuesday

    • Myanmar 'planned' Rohingya attacks,
      possibly 'genocide':
      ~ UN rights chief
      • The UN rights chief said that Myanmar clearly "planned" violent attacks on its Rohingya minority, causing a mass-exodus.
      • "For us, it was clear ... that these operations were organised and planned." -UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
      • He warned the crackdown could possibly amount to "genocide".
          - Agence France-Presse
              / Channel NewsAsia (Singapore) (Singapore)

    • As Signs of a Mass Grave Emerge,
      Myanmar Cracks Down.
      •   Two journalists arrested last week in Myanmar had obtained photographs from residents of a village in which, the country’s army chief has said, a mass grave was found. The area is in northern Rakhine State, where a military campaign against Rohingya Muslims has raged for more than three months.
      • Three days after the reporters were arrested, five ethnic Rakhine residents of the village of Inn Din, in northern Rakhine, were detained, including the principal of the local school and three teachers. A relative of one of the detained teachers said the five were arrested because they gave some photos and documents to the reporters from Reuters.
      • U Myint Kyaw, a member of the independent Myanmar Press Council, said he believed the arrests of the reporters and the Rakhine villagers were connected.
      • Reuters journalists Wa Lone, left, and Kyaw Soe  Oo, working at Reuters in Yangon. Mynamar, on Dec. 11, 2017.  Photo by  A.Slodkowski, Reuters.jpg Myanmar officials say that the office of the president, which is part of the country’s civilian leadership, has authorized the police to proceed with the case against the reporters.
      • “Now it will be hard to stop the case against the journalists,” Mr. Myint Kyaw said. “The government should have done an investigation first,” into the existence of the mass grave, he added.
      • Doctors Without Borders estimated last week that at least 6,700 Rohingya, including 730 children, had died in violence in Myanmar in the month after the crackdown began.
      • Among the many unanswered questions is what happened to the bodies of those believed to have been killed by the military and by aligned ethnic Rakhine mobs

          - New York Times

  • 2017 Dec. 20 - Wednesday

    • Rohingya Refugees:
      How to help the children

          - NBC News

    • Shattered skulls and blood:
      Rohingya report
      Myanmar massacre

      • The massacre in Maung Nu, where at least 82 Rohingya are believed to have been murdered on August 27, was part of a streak of violence that started before dawn two days earlier.
      • What had started out as a quiet Sunday in northwestern Burma had spiraled into an incomprehensible hell — one of the bloodiest massacres reported in the Southeast Asian nation since government forces launched a vicious campaign to drive out the country’s Rohingya minority in late August.
      • By the time it was over, there was so much blood on the ground, it had pooled into long rivulets across the uneven earth, among bits of human flesh and the fragments of shattered skulls.
      • The Associated Press has reconstructed the massacre at Maung Nu as told by 37 survivors now scattered across refugee camps in Bangladesh.
      • Their testimony, and exclusive video footage from the massacre site, obtained by AP, offer evidence -- also documented by the United Nations and others -- that Burma's armed forces have systematically killed civilians.
      • Burma’s military did not respond to repeated requests for comment on this story.
      • Burma's government — which prohibits journalists from independent travel to northern Rakhine State — did not reply to an AP request for a visit.
      • The army has insisted, in the past, that not a single innocent person has been killed.
          - Associated Press
      (also at:
          - Chicago Tribune
          - CBS News
          - Toronto Star (Canada) )

    • Turkish Prime Minister
      calls Rohingya killings in Myanmar
      'genocide'

          - Reuters News Service

  • 2017 Dec. 21 - Thursday

  • 2017 Dec. 22 - Friday

  • 2017 Dec. 23 - Saturday

  • 2017 Dec. 24 - Sunday - Christmas Eve

    • China and Russia oppose UN resolution on Rohingya.
      U.N. adopts resolution
      slamming Myanmar crackdown in Rohingya,
      defies opposition from China and Russia.
      Resolution calls on Myanmar to allow access for aid workers, ensure the return of all refugees and grant full citizenship rights to the Rohingya.
      • The UN General Assembly has urged Myanmar to end a military campaign against Muslim Rohingya and called for the appointment of a UN special envoy, despite opposition from China, Russia, and some regional countries.
      • A resolution put forward by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation was adopted by a vote of 122 to 10 with 24 abstentions.
          (China, Russia, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam joined Myanmar in voting against the measure as did Russian allies Belarus, Syria and Zimbabwe.)
      • The resolution calls on Myanmar's government to:
        • allow access for aid workers,
        • ensure the return of all refugees,
        • grant full citizenship rights to the Rohingya.
      • It requests that UN secretary general António Guterres appoint a special envoy to Myanmar.
      • Last week, the UN special rapporteur for Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said she had been banned from the country, and that the government had cut off all cooperation with her.
          - Agence France-Presse
            / The Guardian (U.K.)

    • Myanmar, accused of crackdown,
      invited to US-Thai military exercise.

      The Myanmar military, which has been accused of ethnic cleansing against the country's Muslim Rohingya minority, has been invited back as an observer in a major multinational military exercise next year led by the United States and Thailand.
          - The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

  • 2017 Dec. 25 - Monday - Christmas

  • 2017 Dec. 26 - Tuesday

  • 2017 Dec. 27 - Wednesday

  • 2017 Dec. 28 - Thursday

    • UN Gathers Horror Stories from Rohingya Women Fleeing Myanmar.
          - VOA News
          (U.S. propaganda radio)

    • U.N. rights investigator calls for pressure
      on China, Russia
      over Myanmar abuses.
      • U.N. special rapporteur Yanghee Lee -- who was last week barred by the Myanmar government from visiting the country -- singled out China and Russia, because they failed to back moves in the U.N. aimed at halting the Myanmar military’s crackdown on the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine province.
      • Neither China nor Russia have joined the US, the European Union, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in condemning the crackdown that has led to the exodus of an estimated 655,000 refugees into Bangladesh
      • The Russian and Chinese stance is particularly important because they have "veto" authority in the U.N. Security Council, so either of them can block the Security Council from referring allegations of "crimes against humanity" to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC cannot act against Myanmar without a Security Council referral, because Myanmar is not an ICC member.
      • The Myanmar armed forces are accused by members of the Rohingya community, and human rights advocates, of carrying out killings, rapes and village burnings -- in what top officials in the United Nations and United States have described as "ethnic cleansing."
            - Reuters News Service

    • British medics tackle Rohingya diphtheria outbreak.
        More than 40 British doctors, nurses and firefighters will lead an emergency response after reports of more than 2,000 cases.

          - Sky News (U.K.)

  • 2017 Dec. 29 - Friday

    • Bangladesh targets 100,000 for first Rohingya repatriation.
          - Agence France-Presse (AFP)
      • The Bangladeshi government relief commissioner for Rohingya refugees, said a decision was made Thursday by Bangladeshi members of the repatriation working group to send a list of 100,000 refugees to Myanmar.
      • He told AFP repatriations would begin after Myanmar verifies the list and the authorities in Bangladesh get consent from willing refugees.
      • Most Rohingya refugees approached by AFP in the camps insist they do not want to return, saying Rakhine is not safe enough.
      • Diplomats have expressed doubt about whether Myanmar will allow substantial numbers to return.

    • Rohingya Repatriation:
      450 to return in first batch.

      Myanmar plans to start it by taking back displaced Hindu families on January 22
          - The Daily Star (Bangladesh)
      • The senior diplomat at the Myanmar Embassy said the returnees will be initially kept at... two camps.
      • Later, the Rohingyas whose houses were not destroyed would be allowed to go back to their homes.
      • But those who lost their houses in the attacks have to stay temporarily in the barracks until new houses are built for them, said the diplomat.
      • During their stay at the temporary camps, the Myanmar Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement will arrange for their food and needs. They will also be able to earn by working at construction sites under the plan “Cash for Work”, the diplomat mentioned.
      • Foreign affairs and migration experts cast doubt about “safe and voluntary” return of the refugees, as the stringent verification conditions may obstruct smooth repatriation.

  • 2017 Dec. 30 - Saturday

    • Rohingya refugee horror stories
      'beyond comprehension.'

        Simon Murphy has documented human rights abuses in countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Colombia.
        But nothing prepared him for a trip to Bangladesh to photograph families who have fled Myanmar.

          - BBC News

  • 2017 Dec. 31 - Sunday - New Year's Eve


Also see:
  • Current Affairs Summary
  • Prior News 2013-2017
  • 2018 Crisis News
  • 2019 Crisis News
  • 2020 Crisis News





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