Myanmar - ReliefWeb News

Syndicate content
ReliefWeb - Updates
Updated: 1 hour 28 min ago

Myanmar: Myanmar Humanitarian Fund: 2016 Overview

15 February 2017 - 6:48am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Myanmar

The Myanmar Humanitarian Fund (MHF) mobilises resources for partners to respond to the critical humanitarian needs in Myanmar. It provides funding to both national and international humanitarian organizations for activities that are in line with the United Nations and Partners Humanitarian Response Plan. In 2016, a total of US$ 5.6 million has been allocated, to 22 projects targeting 185,300 people in need in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States.

Myanmar: UNFPA help reaches through lines of fire in Myanmar’s Kachin State

15 February 2017 - 3:40am
Source: UN Population Fund Country: Myanmar

Since the armed conflict in northern Myanmar’s Kachin State intensified in December, an estimated 6,500 people have fled the area amid shelling and airstrikes. Among the people on the run are 260 pregnant women. Many of them are sleeping on the roadside, unable to find shelter. Their needs are acute.

The area is highly militarized, and ongoing fighting and unsafe routes restrict access to the people in need. Only by working with local humanitarian partners Health Poverty Action has UNFPA been able to deliver reproductive health care, clean delivery kits, and dignity kits through the lines of fire to pregnant, breastfeeding and vulnerable women.

Women are under threat of violence, including sexual violence, both in daytime and at night. High-risk situations include having to manage sanitation and menstrual hygiene without shelter, privacy or protection.

Women and girls at risk of assault

While many people on the run remain unaccounted for, some have arrived at camps away from the fighting. There they are staying in hall-type rooms without partitions, and sleeping on concrete floors “Women and girls fear assault each time they have to go into the forest to relieve themselves, each time they go to sleep without a door to lock behind them”, says Kyaw Wai Aung, UNFPA field officer, who delivered female dignity kits to displaced women in Sadung Township.

With the help of Kachin Baptist Convention, UNFPA has also distributed solar lanterns to women and girls to improve their safety at night.

Many of the thousands of people who have fled were already living in camps, which they had to evacuate as the fighting approached. The multiple displacement is adding to the trauma of both women and men. The conditions of extreme stress, combined with lack of privacy, mean that women and girls are under threat of violence also within their own family. Together with Metta Development Foundation, UNFPA is providing psychosocial support to the displaced people in both government-controlled and non-government-controlled areas in the conflict zone.

“I feel drained and without a soul”

One of the women receiving psychosocial support is Hpauyam Kaw Mai, 44, who fled the embattled Maga Yang IDP camp to the Hpumlum Yang IDP camp. She was among the last to leave, because she was not able to move her three children aged four, six, and seven, and her disabled husband.

“We made children go to bed to the sound of gunfire, afraid of the bullets coming our way. We didn’t have enough to eat. I don’t remember how many days we got through without meals. I don’t know what happened to the children either. They would not eat, even when we were given some biscuits.”

When two-thirds of the camp population were gone, Kaw Mai was told to get ready to leave. She packed the family’s bags, and also the roofing and other parts of her shelter. They had to spend two nights sleeping out in the cold before they could be evacuated. In temporary shelter at the Maga Yang camp Kaw Mai is traumatized, ill, and struggling to care for her family.

“I feel very small and vulnerable. I don’t know where to go and what to do. I don’t even know where I can collect a piece of firewood. I cannot bear the struggle any longer. I feel drained and without a soul.”

World: Twelfth meeting of the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (2015) regarding the international spread of poliovirus

15 February 2017 - 2:14am
Source: World Health Organization Country: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Madagascar, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Ukraine, World

The twelfth meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the international spread of poliovirus was convened via teleconference by the Director General on 7 February 2017.

The Emergency Committee reviewed the data on wild poliovirus (WPV1) and circulating vaccine­derived polioviruses (cVDPV). The Secretariat presented a report of progress for affected IHR States Parties subject to Temporary Recommendations. The following IHR States Parties presented an update on the implementation of the WHO Temporary Recommendations since the Committee last met on 11 November 2016: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Central African Republic. The committee also invited the Russian Federation to provide information about a VDPV event in its territory.

Wild polio

Overall the Committee was encouraged by steady progress in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and was reassured and impressed by the rapid response of the polio eradication programme in Nigeria.

The committee welcomed the dedication in Pakistan to further strengthen surveillance, and in particular the expansion of environmental surveillance to improve detection. The intensity of environmental surveillance is now at unprecedented levels, so that it is likely detections may increase even as transmission in cases is falling. These data need careful interpretation, and the committee acknowledged that this also includes interpretation of data concerning cross-border transmission. The Committee also applauded the information that there were no fully inaccessible children in 2017. However, the recent exportation of WPV1 from Pakistan into Kandahar province of Afghanistan illustrated the difficulty of halting international spread between these two countries.

While the Committee applauded the efforts of Afghanistan to reach inaccessible children and noted the overall reduction in these numbers, the continuing insecurity in parts of Afghanistan means that substantial numbers of children remain inaccessible, heightening anxiety about completion of eradication.

The Committee welcomed the continued emphasis on cooperation along the long international border between the two countries noting that this sub region constitutes an epidemiological block. The committee continues to believe that the international border represents a significant opportunity to vaccinate children who may otherwise have been missed, and welcomed the increase in the number of border vaccination teams. Opportunities to install teams at more informal border crossings should be encouraged.

The Committee commended Nigeria for its rapid response to the WPV1 cases and welcomed that there had been no further cases detected since the last meeting. However, as there remain substantial populations in Northern Nigeria that are totally or partially inaccessible, the committee concluded that it is highly likely that polioviruses are still circulating in these areas. Reaching these populations is critically important for the polio eradication effort, but it is acknowledged that there are significant security risks that may pose danger to polio eradication workers and volunteers. The Committee noted that working under this threat is likely to negatively impact on the quality of the interventions. Nigeria has already adopted innovative and multi-pronged approaches to this problem, and the committee urged that this innovative spirit be continued.

There was ongoing concern about the Lake Chad region, and for all the countries that are affected by the insurgency, with the consequent lack of services, and presence of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees. The risk of international spread from Nigeria to Lake Chad basin countries or further afield in sub-Saharan Africa remains high. The committee was encouraged that the Lake Chad basin countries including Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and the Central African Republic (CAR), continued to be committed to sub-regional coordination. CAR needs to maintain the current momentum, including further improvement to AFP surveillance and if feasible introduce environmental surveillance as is currently planned.

Equatorial Guinea remains vulnerable, based on very sub-optimal polio eradication activities including poor surveillance, low routine immunisation coverage, and waning national efforts to address this vulnerability.

Vaccine derived poliovirus

The committee was very concerned that two new outbreaks of cVDPV have been identified, one in Sokoto in northern Nigeria, and the second in Quetta Pakistan. The virus found in Sokoto was unrelated to that found in Borno. Both of these outbreaks highlighted the presence of vulnerable under immunized populations in countries with endemic transmission. The committee noted the response to these outbreaks, acknowledging that in both cases it had complicated the ongoing efforts to eradicate WPV1.

The Committee welcomed the provision of information by the Russian Federation at the meeting about the recent detection of VDPV in two children from the Chechen Republic, and also welcomed the surveillance and immunization activities taken to date in response. The Committee noted that the investigation by the Russian Federation had shown that one of the children was immunosuppressed. The Committee requested that the WHO European Regional office and WHO HQ should continue to work with the Russian Federation to confirm the classification of the viruses. Therefore as the risk of international spread is still being assessed, no recommendations regarding this situation have been made by the committee.

In Guinea, the most recent case of cVDPV had onset in December 2015, and based on the most recent assessments and the criteria of the committee, the country is no longer considered as infected, but remains vulnerable.

The committee also noted the detection of non-circulating VDPV in several other countries.

Conclusion

The Committee unanimously agreed that the international spread of poliovirus remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), and recommended the extension of the Temporary Recommendations for a further three months. The Committee considered the following factors in reaching this conclusion:

  • The outbreak of WPV1 and cVDPV in Nigeria highlighting that there are high-risk areas where surveillance is compromised by inaccessibility, resulting in ongoing circulation of WPV for several years without detection. The risk of transmission in the Lake Chad sub-region appears high.
  • The continued international spread of WPV1 between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
  • The persistent, wide geographical distribution of positive WPV1 in environmental samples and AFP cases in Pakistan, while acknowledging the intensification of environmental surveillance inevitably increasing detection rates.
  • The current special and extraordinary context of being closer to polio eradication than ever before in history, with the lowest number of WPV1 cases ever recorded occurring in 2016.
  • The risk and consequent costs of failure to eradicate globally one of the world’s most serious vaccine preventable diseases. Even though global transmission has fallen dramatically and with it the likelihood of international spread, the consequences and impact of international spread should it occur would be grave.
  • The possibility of global complacency developing as the numbers of polio cases continues to fall and eradication becomes a possibility.
  • The serious consequences of further international spread for the increasing number of countries in which immunization systems have been weakened or disrupted by conflict and complex emergencies. Populations in these fragile states are vulnerable to outbreaks of polio. Outbreaks in fragile states are exceedingly difficult to control and threaten the completion of global polio eradication during its end stage.
  • The continued necessity for a coordinated international response to improve immunization and surveillance for WPV1, to stop international spread and reduce the risk of new spread.
  • The importance of a regional approach and strong cross­border cooperation, as much international spread of polio occurs over land borders, while also recognizing that the risk of distant international spread remains from zones with active poliovirus transmission.
  • Additionally with respect to cVDPV:
    • cVDPVs also pose a risk for international spread, which without an urgent response with appropriate measures threatens vulnerable populations as noted above;
    • The ongoing circulation of cVDPV2 in Nigeria and Pakistan, demonstrates significant gaps in population immunity at a critical time in the polio endgame;
    • The ongoing urgency to prevent type 2 cVDPVs following the globally synchronized withdrawal of the type 2 component of the oral poliovirus vaccine in April 2016;
    • The ongoing challenges of improving routine immunization in areas affected by insecurity and other emergencies, including the post Ebola context;
    • The global shortage of IPV which poses an additional threat from cVDPVs.

Myanmar: Myanmar investigation commission says it cannot verify U.N. report on Rakhine violence

14 February 2017 - 11:35pm
Source: Radio Free Asia Country: Myanmar

A national-level commission investigating accusations of abuse of Rohingya Muslims during a security crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state has received information contrary to accounts of the violence detailed in a report by the United Nations, a member of the commission said Tuesday.

The 13-member government-appointed commission began its current six-day fact-finding mission to the northern part of Rakhine state on Feb. 10 to look into a reports of security forces killing, raping, and committing other abuses against Rohingya who live in townships now under lockdown.

A 43-page report issued on Feb. 3 by the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that the abuses committed by soldiers and police after coordinated attacks on three border guard posts in early October indicated “the very likely commission of crimes against humanity.”

Saw Thalay Saw, a commission member and lawmaker from Shwegyin in Bago region, said the group has visited 17 villages in Maungdaw township over the past three days.

“We questioned villagers and investigated the differences between the U.N. report and the situation on the ground,” she told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

“Most villages that the U.N. report mentioned are Muslim villages,” she said. “Female commission members questioned Muslim women, and we questioned Muslim community leaders.”

The U.N. report said more than 10 women were stripped naked and raped in Laungto village in Maungdaw township, but villagers told the commission during the group’s investigation that no such cases  had occurred there and that police only performed body searches of women, Saw Thalay Saw said.

She pointed out that the U.N. report also said that a fisherman found the body of his younger sister, who was raped and killed, in Kyeinchaung village, but when the commission members visited the place and questioned Muslim residents about the incident, they said no such incident had occurred.

“We also met the doctor of a small local hospital and asked him about it, but he said no one was sent to the hospital in that condition,” she said.

“Because our commission was formed by the president, our responsibility is to submit what we found during this trip,” Saw Thalay Saw said.

After Vice President Myint Swe, chief of the commission, arrived in the region on Tuesday, the group inspect the jail in Buithidaung township, one of the areas that has been under lockdown, she said.

He said prisoners at the facility which holds nearly 1,300 inmates, should be allowed to meet with their families, be given regular medical care, and have faster access to the court system for judging their cases, the Myanmar News Agency reported.

No evidence to take action

The commission has been investigating reports of murder, torture, arson, and rape in northern Rakhine state since December and has made two other trips to the areas affected by violence.

In January, the commission issued an interim report, saying it had found no cases of genocide or religious persecution of Rohingya Muslims living in the region in the wake of deadly border guard attacks last October and a subsequent security lockdown.

It also said its interviews of local residents about rape allegations by Rohingya women and girls who fled to Bangladesh had yielded insufficient evidence to take legal action, and that its investigations into accusations of arson, torture, and illegal arrests were ongoing.

Myanmar security forces targeted the Rohingya after it was determined that Rohingya militants were responsible for the attacks on the border guard posts during which nine policemen were killed.

The U.N. has estimated that more than 1,000 Rohingya have been killed during the security operations, and more than 69,000 have fled to neighboring Bangladesh where they are living in refugee camps.

Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate, has come under international criticism from rights groups and other Nobel Peace Prize winners for perceived inaction on the plight of the Rohingya.

However, under a constitution written by the long-ruling military regime that ceded power to her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in 2016, Aung San Suu Kyi has no control over the military or security forces accused of the atrocities, and independent media access to the conflict zone in Rakhine has been strictly limited.

Reported by Wai Mar Tun for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Myanmar: UNHCR Bay Of Bengal Situation 2017 Funding Update as of 14 February 2017

14 February 2017 - 9:30pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand
  • 6.8 M required for 2017
  • 0 contributions received
  • 6.8 M funding gap for the Bay Of Bengal Situation

All figures are displayed in USD

World: Regional Gender Strategy and Action Plan 2017–2019 for Asia and the Pacific

14 February 2017 - 1:12pm
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Country: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, World

Introduction

Progress towards gender equality is key to meeting global goals of eradicating poverty and eliminating hunger and malnutrition. Women make important contributions to agriculture and rural livelihoods and play a vital role in the care and reproduction of households and communities. However, persistent gender inequalities, such as unequal access to productive resources – including land, services and inputs, finance, training – and information to markets and institutions hamper the realization of women’s human and productive potential. These inequalities must be addressed to realize the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the mandate of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to eliminate hunger and malnutrition and eradicate poverty through sustainable agriculture and management of natural resources.

In recent years, the United Nations (UN) and FAO have deepened their institutional commitment to gender equality. In 2006 the UN Chief Executive Board for Coordination endorsed the UN System-Wide Action Plan to speed inclusion of gender equality and women’s empowerment throughout the UN system. FAO formulated the FAO Gender Equality Policy (GEP) in 2012, establishing institutional targets and external objectives for gender equality in rural development, agriculture and resource management (FAO, 2013a). To support the implementation of the FAO GEP and ensure attention to gender equality and women’s empowerment in all its areas of work, FAO also strengthened its gender architecture consisting of a team of experts at headquarters, regional gender advisors and Gender Focal Points (GFP) in country offices.Gender is a cross-cutting theme in the FAO Strategic Framework and its five Strategic Objectives. This confirms the organization’s commitment to “pursue the integration of gender issues in all aspects of its work, ensuring that attention to gender equality becomes a regular feature of work on standard setting and of regional, subregional and country level programmes and projects” (FAO, 2013b, 20).

In the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, gender equality is mainstreamed as well as being included as a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) (SDG5), which aims at gender equality, including in representation and decision-making and in access to economic resources, inheritance, and natural resources. FAO further recognizes rural women as agents of change whose engagement is necessary to meet the other SDGs (FAO, 2015). This Regional Gender Strategy and Action Plan 2017–2019 for the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) builds on and supports these efforts.

World: Regional Gender Strategy and Action Plan 2017–2019 for Asia and the Pacific

14 February 2017 - 1:12pm
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Country: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, World

Introduction

Progress towards gender equality is key to meeting global goals of eradicating poverty and eliminating hunger and malnutrition. Women make important contributions to agriculture and rural livelihoods and play a vital role in the care and reproduction of households and communities. However, persistent gender inequalities, such as unequal access to productive resources – including land, services and inputs, finance, training – and information to markets and institutions hamper the realization of women’s human and productive potential. These inequalities must be addressed to realize the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the mandate of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to eliminate hunger and malnutrition and eradicate poverty through sustainable agriculture and management of natural resources.

In recent years, the United Nations (UN) and FAO have deepened their institutional commitment to gender equality. In 2006 the UN Chief Executive Board for Coordination endorsed the UN System-Wide Action Plan to speed inclusion of gender equality and women’s empowerment throughout the UN system. FAO formulated the FAO Gender Equality Policy (GEP) in 2012, establishing institutional targets and external objectives for gender equality in rural development, agriculture and resource management (FAO, 2013a). To support the implementation of the FAO GEP and ensure attention to gender equality and women’s empowerment in all its areas of work, FAO also strengthened its gender architecture consisting of a team of experts at headquarters, regional gender advisors and Gender Focal Points (GFP) in country offices.Gender is a cross-cutting theme in the FAO Strategic Framework and its five Strategic Objectives. This confirms the organization’s commitment to “pursue the integration of gender issues in all aspects of its work, ensuring that attention to gender equality becomes a regular feature of work on standard setting and of regional, subregional and country level programmes and projects” (FAO, 2013b, 20).

In the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, gender equality is mainstreamed as well as being included as a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) (SDG5), which aims at gender equality, including in representation and decision-making and in access to economic resources, inheritance, and natural resources. FAO further recognizes rural women as agents of change whose engagement is necessary to meet the other SDGs (FAO, 2015). This Regional Gender Strategy and Action Plan 2017–2019 for the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) builds on and supports these efforts.

Myanmar: UNHCR South East Asia 2017 Funding Update as of 14 February 2017

14 February 2017 - 11:20am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand
  • 123.3 M required for 2017
  • 4.9 M contributions received, representing 4% of requirements
  • 127.4 M funding gap for South East Asia

All figures are displayed in USD

Myanmar: Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (7 - 14 February 2017)

14 February 2017 - 4:22am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Bangladesh, Fiji, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Solomon Islands

Myanmar

At least 93,000 people are estimated to remain displaced as a result of the 9 October border post attacks and subsequent security operations in northern Rakhine State. In Maungdaw north, at least 24,000 people are internally displaced while an additional 69,000 people are estimated by the UN in Bangladesh to have crossed over the border. On 9 February, a ship carrying aid from Malaysia arrived in Yangon bringing relief items, water, and food, including 6,000 bags of rice for distribution to the affected people in northern Rakhine. Aid from Indonesia, including food and clothes, have already been distributed by the Government to some 99,000 people in Maungdaw north.

In Kayin State, an estimated 5,500 people remain displaced in Myaing Gyi Ngu village and several other locations near the Thai border in Hlaingbwe Township following violence in September 2016. Only a few have reportedly returned to their place of origin. The displaced people cite concerns about newly laid landmines preventing them from returning to their places of origin. Additional food, water, sanitation and hygiene support are needed.

Indonesia

During the past several days, heavy rainfall across various parts of Indonesia triggered floods and landslides. On 9 and 10 February, landslides in Bangli District in Bali caused 12 deaths and four injuries.

Flooding in (Bitung City) North Sulawesi and (Sumbawa District) West Nusa Tenggara provinces on 10 and 12 February also affected 45,000 people. Local governments in the affected areas provided basic relief items, with support from provincial and national authorities.

45,000 people affected

Philippines

On 10 February (10:03 p.m. UTC+8), a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck 16 km northwest of Surigao City (Surigao del Norte province). National disaster management authorities reported at least four people were killed and over 200 people sustained injuries. As of 14 February, an estimated 1,800 families (9,300 people) remain displaced in Surigao del Norte. The earthquake damaged a total of 1,790 houses, of which 143 houses were destroyed. Local authorities are distributing relief items as they continue to conduct assessments. Temporary shelter, health services, water and food are priority needs.

9,300 people displaced

Fiji

Active weather systems and tropical depressions affected several countries in the Pacific during the past week. In Fiji, heavy rainfall caused flash floods in low lying areas of Western Division which led to the temporary closure of several areas and movement restrictions in Rakiraki and Nadi. The media reported that people affected by Tropical Cyclone Winston still living in tents were affected. National disaster management authorities continue to monitor the situation.

Solomon Islands

In the Solomon Islands, rainfall across the islands caused temporary river flooding in parts of the capital city of Honiara. The National Emergency Operation Centre also reported that the provinces of Guadalcanal, Malaita, Western, Makira and Choiseul experienced heavy rainfall and flooding. While no major humanitarian impact was reported, authorities issued warnings for people to remain indoors and move to higher ground if necessary. The South Pacific cyclone season began in November 2016 and is forecasted to continue until April 2017.

Indonesia: US accepts Rohingya refugees from Indonesia

14 February 2017 - 12:14am
Source: Jakarta Post Country: Indonesia, Myanmar, United States of America

By Haeril Halim, Apriadi Gunawan and Andi Hajramurni

Despite tough immigration policies introduced by United States President Donald Trump, American representatives in Medan and Makassar have begun to resettle Rohingya Muslim refugees, giving light to the country’s recently eclipsed image as the world’s beacon of democracy, freedom and tolerance.

The refugees from Myanmar whose boats washed ashore in Aceh two years ago, have passed interviews conducted by the US Consulate in Medan, North Sumatra, with the assistance of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Juha P. Salin, US Consul for Medan confirmed the transfer of Rohingya refugees to America, adding that the process would be conducted gradually.

“These cases are being processed continually and those who have the approved travel documents can travel to the US,” said Salin.

He refused, however, to confirm the number of Rohingya refugees who had been permitted to resettle in the US.

Trump had ordered a fourmonth hold on allowing refugees into the US and a temporary ban on travelers from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, which he said would protect Americans from violent Islamists.

The executive order has been blocked by the lower courts, but immigration authorities have continued to conduct raids across major cities in America.

The Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph R. Donovan has reassured Indonesia that the executive order will not affect the American value of religious tolerance.

“Both Americans and Indonesians are very tolerant people at their core and I believe that these values that we share, the importance of tolerance and respect for religious beliefs, particularly other people’s religious beliefs, are the kind of values that will prevail in both of our societies,” Donovan said earlier.

The resettlement process for Rohingya refugees in Indonesia began in November after the US Consulate in Medan started to interview the 184 Rohingya Muslims, stranded in Aceh.

The process, however, did not involve Rohingya refugees stranded in Medan for a longer period of time.

About 800 Rohingyas are currently staying in Indonesia, all of whom have been granted refugee status by the UNHCR.

According to a Rohingya refugee who was not included in the resettlement process, at least three had already flown to the US in the resettlement program.

Yudi Kurniadi, the head of North Sumatra Immigration Office, said Trump’s policy had not affected the asylum applications of Rohingya refugees because Myanmar was not on the list of Trump’s banned countries.

“Several Rohingya refugees were sent to the US this month. This was the first batch since the inauguration of Trump as US President,” Yudi told The Jakarta Post.

Yudi said the refugees from the province sent to the US over the past few months were only those from Myanmar. Some others had been sent to Australia and Canada.

Medan hosts 2,089 refugees, 390 of whom are from Afghanistan, 363 from Sri Lanka, 490 from Myanmar, 283 from Somalia, 279 from Palestine and 129 from Iran.

Their destination countries include the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

In Makassar, South Sulawesi, Zarida, another refugee from Myanmar currently living in the city, is also scheduled to be sent to the US on Feb. 14.

Zarida has been staying in Makassar since 2013. The city hosts 1,900 refugees from the Middle East and 60 from Myanmar.

Ramli, the head of the South Sulawesi immigration office, said Zarida’s departure to the US was facilitated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“She passed the verification process and so she will be sent to the US on Feb. 14,” said Ramli.

Zarida was first discovered as an undocumented immigrant four years ago in the city.

She was later verified and granted refugee status under the supervision of the IOM.

Myanmar: Myanmar: Urgent action needed to address deteriorating human rights situation

13 February 2017 - 10:01pm
Source: Amnesty International Country: Myanmar

** Amnesty International’s written statement to the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council (27 February-24 March 2017)**

One year after the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government took office, the deterioration in the human rights situation in Myanmar requires immediate and urgent action from the UN Human Rights Council (the Council).

In Rakhine State, state security forces have responded to attacks by armed groups on police posts with a campaign of violence against the Rohingya civilian population, which may amount to crimes against humanity. In northern Myanmar fighting between the Army and armed ethnic groups has escalated leading to fresh violations of international humanitarian and human rights law against the ethnic civilian population. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) estimates over 100,000 people have been displaced in Rakhine State and northern Myanmar in the last five months. The limited space for freedom of expression nationwide has closed down even further following a surge of “online defamation” cases.

The international community cannot adopt a “wait and see” attitude in the face of increasing violations. The continuing power of the military to violate rights with impunity and the unwillingness or inability of the new administration to counter discrimination and impunity require immediate action. The Council should adopt a strengthened resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar under agenda item 4, extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and requesting her to provide more regular reporting to the Council on the resolution’s implementation, including on meeting the reform benchmarks requested by HRC Resolution 31/24. It should also mandate an independent international investigation into human rights violations and possible crimes against humanity committed in Rakhine State since October 2016, to avoid impunity, ensure justice to victims and survivors and identify causes of violence.

GRAVE VIOLATIONS IN RAKHINE STATE

The Myanmar security forces have engaged in a deliberate and indiscriminate campaign of violence against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine State after attacks by armed groups on border police posts killed nine police officers on 9 October. Amnesty International and the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human rights (OHCHR) have chronicled extensive human rights violations by the security forces, including unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, rape and other crimes of sexual violence, other forms of torture and ill-treatment, destruction of property and denial of humanitarian access. According to UNOCHA, the violence has displaced over 92,000 Rohingya, 69,000 of whom have fled to Bangladesh. Evidence collected by Amnesty International and OHCHR suggests these violations may be widespread and systematic and therefore may amount to crimes against humanity.

The authorities have largely responded to allegations of human rights violations with denials, while barring independent journalists and human rights monitors from freely accessing the area. On 1 December the President established a commission to probe the 9 October attacks and their aftermath. This commission is neither independent nor credible: it is comprised of former and current government and security forces officials and has allowed the broadcast of interviews with eyewitnesses and possible victims on state media thereby compromising their anonymity and confidentiality. In its interim report the commission claimed to have found insufficient evidence of abuse. Its final report, due initially to be published on 31 January, has been postponed indefinitely.

We note the establishment of the Rakhine State Advisory Commission led by Mr. Kofi Annan, but stress that it is not mandated to investigate human rights violations, and is limited to making recommendations to secure “peace and prosperity” in Rakhine State.

Amnesty International recalls that crimes against humanity are crimes of such serious magnitude that they affect humanity as a whole. We consider that the gravity of the violations in Rakhine State and the government’s ongoing failure to independently and effectively investigate them justify the ongoing involvement of the international community in investigating them.

It should be stressed that the recent violence takes place against decades of persecution of the Rohingya and discrimination against ethnic Rakhines and other minorities in Myanmar. Failure to investigate the violence adequately will send a message that security forces can commit such crimes with impunity; this will undermine efforts to tackle wider concerns in Rakhine State and beyond.

Myanmar: Myanmar: Urgent action needed to address deteriorating human rights situation Amnesty International’s written statement to the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council (27 February-24 March 2017)

13 February 2017 - 10:01pm
Source: Amnesty International Country: Myanmar

Myanmar: Urgent action needed to address deteriorating human rights situation Amnesty International’s written statement to the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council (27 February-24 March 2017)

One year after the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government took office, the deterioration in the human rights situation in Myanmar requires immediate and urgent action from the UN Human Rights Council (the Council).

In Rakhine State, state security forces have responded to attacks by armed groups on police posts with a campaign of violence against the Rohingya civilian population, which may amount to crimes against humanity. In northern Myanmar fighting between the Army and armed ethnic groups has escalated leading to fresh violations of international humanitarian and human rights law against the ethnic civilian population. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) estimates over 100,000 people have been displaced in Rakhine State and northern Myanmar in the last five months. The limited space for freedom of expression nationwide has closed down even further following a surge of “online defamation” cases.

The international community cannot adopt a “wait and see” attitude in the face of increasing violations. The continuing power of the military to violate rights with impunity and the unwillingness or inability of the new administration to counter discrimination and impunity require immediate action. The Council should adopt a strengthened resolution on the human rights situation in Myanmar under agenda item 4, extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and requesting her to provide more regular reporting to the Council on the resolution’s implementation, including on meeting the reform benchmarks requested by HRC Resolution 31/24. It should also mandate an independent international investigation into human rights violations and possible crimes against humanity committed in Rakhine State since October 2016, to avoid impunity, ensure justice to victims and survivors and identify causes of violence.

GRAVE VIOLATIONS IN RAKHINE STATE

The Myanmar security forces have engaged in a deliberate and indiscriminate campaign of violence against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine State after attacks by armed groups on border police posts killed nine police officers on 9 October. Amnesty International and the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human rights (OHCHR) have chronicled extensive human rights violations by the security forces, including unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, rape and other crimes of sexual violence, other forms of torture and ill-treatment, destruction of property and denial of humanitarian access. According to UNOCHA, the violence has displaced over 92,000 Rohingya, 69,000 of whom have fled to Bangladesh. Evidence collected by Amnesty International and OHCHR suggests these violations may be widespread and systematic and therefore may amount to crimes against humanity.

The authorities have largely responded to allegations of human rights violations with denials, while barring independent journalists and human rights monitors from freely accessing the area. On 1 December the President established a commission to probe the 9 October attacks and their aftermath. This commission is neither independent nor credible: it is comprised of former and current government and security forces officials and has allowed the broadcast of interviews with eyewitnesses and possible victims on state media thereby compromising their anonymity and confidentiality. In its interim report the commission claimed to have found insufficient evidence of abuse. Its final report, due initially to be published on 31 January, has been postponed indefinitely.

We note the establishment of the Rakhine State Advisory Commission led by Mr. Kofi Annan, but stress that it is not mandated to investigate human rights violations, and is limited to making recommendations to secure “peace and prosperity” in Rakhine State.

Amnesty International recalls that crimes against humanity are crimes of such serious magnitude that they affect humanity as a whole. We consider that the gravity of the violations in Rakhine State and the government’s ongoing failure to independently and effectively investigate them justify the ongoing involvement of the international community in investigating them.

It should be stressed that the recent violence takes place against decades of persecution of the Rohingya and discrimination against ethnic Rakhines and other minorities in Myanmar. Failure to investigate the violence adequately will send a message that security forces can commit such crimes with impunity; this will undermine efforts to tackle wider concerns in Rakhine State and beyond.

Bangladesh: Malaysian aid ship to help Rohingyas arrives in Bangladesh

13 February 2017 - 11:03am
Source: Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation Country: Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar

70,000 Rohingya have fled from Buddhist-majority Myanmar's Rakhine State to Bangladesh to escape a crackdown

By Ruma Paul

DHAKA, Feb 13 (Reuters) - A Malaysian aid ship arrived in Bangladesh on Monday carrying aid for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled from Myanmar, many citing abuses by the Myanmar security forces.

Read more on the Thomson Reuters Foundation

World: Mixed Migration Flows in the Mediterranean and Beyond: Compilation of available data and information - Reporting period 12 Jan - 8 Feb 2017

13 February 2017 - 8:40am
Source: International Organization for Migration Country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hungary, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Morocco, Myanmar, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, World

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Until 31 January 2017, there were 4,480 cumulative arrivals to Italy, compared to 5,273 arrivals recorded in the same month in 2016 (a 15% decrease). Greece has seen a 97% lower number of arrivals in January 2017 when compared to the same period in 2016, 1,387 and 67,954 respectively.

  • According to available data, there have been 11,233 new arrivals to Greece, Italy and Bulgaria, as countries of first arrival to Europe since the beginning of 2017 till 8 of February 2017.

  • The total number of migrants and refugees stranded in Greece and in the Western Balkans is 74,909. Since the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement on the 18th of March, the number of migrants and refugees stranded in Greece increased by 59%. For the rest of the coun-tries, please read page 5.

  • As of 8 February 2017, there have been 11,990 indi-viduals relocated to 24 European countries. Please see the new page on relocations for more information.

  • As of 31 January 2017, a total of 864 migrants and refugees were readmitted from Greece to Turkey as part of the EU-Turkey Agreement with last readmis-sion taking place on 31 January 2017. The majority of migrants and refugees were Pakistani, Syrian, Af-ghan, Algerian and Bangladeshi nationals. See Tur-key section.

  • Information about “contingency countries” in the Western Balkans (Albania, Kosovo (SCR 1244)*, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina) is on page 29.

  • For information on this report, including details on the sources of this report’s data and tallying method-ologies used, please see page 30.

  • For more updates on the Central Mediterranean route, please check IOM’s Mediterranean portal with most recent DTM report from Libya and Niger.

Myanmar: WFP Myanmar Country Brief, January 2017

13 February 2017 - 8:24am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

Highlights

  • After being granted sustained access to all operational areas to which access was cut off since 9 October as well as new areas in the northern part of Rakhine State, WFP delivered life-saving food to 40,000 of the most affected people.
  • Clashes between government forces and ethnic armed groups in the northern part of northern Shan State continued to restrict WFP assistance in the area.
  • In Kachin State, intensified fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and government military posed obstacles to WFP activities.

WFP Assistance

In 2015, WFP extended its Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO), which was launched in January 2013, until the end of 2017 to harmonise it with the work of the United Nations Country Team. The current PRRO contributes to more equitable development and supports national reconciliation by reducing poverty, food insecurity and undernutrition, responding to disasters and increasing resilience among the most vulnerable. Aligned with Sustainable Development Goals and the Zero Hunger Challenge, the specific objectives of the PRRO are to 1) prepare for and respond to natural disasters and other shocks in support of the Government; 2) assist post-disaster recovery by rehabilitating productive assets to improve household food security and create socioeconomic opportunities for the most vulnerable; 3) address undernutrition among children and pregnant women and nursing mothers (PNM), and support at-risk groups such as people living with HIV (PLHIV) and tuberculosis (TB) clients; 4) improve access, enrolment and attendance to primary schools; and 5) improve the sustainability of responses to food insecurity and undernutrition through knowledge-sharing and capacity development.

WFP aims to reach its objectives through five major activities:

Relief – WFP has been providing life-saving food assistance to 280,000 people displaced and/or affected by conflicts, violence and natural disasters. Both in 2015 and 2016, WFP assisted people affected by floods. As of September 2016, WFP has reached 179,520 flood victims with food and cash assistance, in Ayeyarwaddy, Bago, Magway and Mandalay Regions and in Rakhine State.

WFP and FAO co-lead the Food Security Sector (FSS) since 2014, which has been responding to food and/or cash needs of people affected by ethnic conflicts and natural disasters.

Nutrition – Linking with the national health system and in line with the national protection scheme, WFP provides nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive support for 140,000 pregnant women and nursing mothers and malnourished young children.

HIV/TB programme – As balanced nutrition is pivotal for people living with HIV or TB clients to keep their immune system strong in order to fight the diseases. WFP provides food-by-prescription to 23,000 PLHIV and TB clients aiming to enhance their adherence and treatment success.

Community Asset Creation – WFP strengthens community resilience by creating community infrastructures and providing 200,000 people with either cash or food in exchange for participating in asset creation activities.

School Feeding - In support of the country’s National Social Protection Strategic Plan and the 2016-2021 National Educational Strategic Plan, WFP and the Ministry of Education have started working towards nationalisation of the school feeding programme from the 2015/16 academic year onwards. WFP aims to feed half a million school children in the 2016/17 academic year.

Furthermore, WFP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Livestock, Fishery and Rural Development, has completed Food Security and Poverty Estimation surveys in 2015 and is developing the country’s first-ever Food Security Atlas, contributing to the advancement of national food security and poverty reduction policies and strategies.

WFP has also supported the Government in establishing nine resource centres across the country, enhancing national capacity of sustainable food security monitoring.

Bangladesh: WFP Bangladesh Country Brief, January 2017

13 February 2017 - 6:08am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Bangladesh, Myanmar

Highlights

  • The final round of distributions of cash assistance to people affected by flooding in northwest Bangladesh was successfully completed on 30 January.

  • A report commissioned by WFP, Impact Evaluation of the WFP Enhancing Resilience to Natural Disasters and the Effects of Climate Change Programme, was launched on 22 January, exploring the impact of WFP programme on the people assisted. The full evaluation report can be found here.

  • WFP continues its food and nutrition assistance to the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, including new arrivals.

Operational Updates

  • WFP commissioned the Impact Evaluation of the WFP Enhancing Resilience to Natural Disasters and the Effects of Climate Change Programme report, led by the external research team of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Development Research Initiative (DRI). The report was launched at an event in Dhaka on 22 January. The analysis is part of the Climate Adaptation Management and Innovation Initiative (C-ADAPT), which is funded by the Government of Sweden and aims to develop analysis to inform programming and decision-making related to climate-induced food insecurity.

A key takeaway from the report is that people assisted through WFP’s Enhancing Resilience programme – who received a package of work opportunities, training and cash grants – are less likely to sell assets, go into debt or resort to skipping meals when their lives are disrupted by the effects of climate change. The full evaluation report can be found here.

  • WFP’s current verified number of new arrivals in need of food assistance who live inside registered camps, makeshift sites and host community totals 47,400 people (9,500 households).

  • The malnutrition prevention programme for the makeshift sites has been able to absorb the additional needs of new arrivals from Myanmar, many of whom face a poor nutritional condition and are at risk of deterioration. Enrolment numbers are changing daily and there are frequent referrals for treatment. At the community level, nutrition screening and counselling are ongoing.

  • The third and final round of cash distributions for the UN Joint Programme’s assistance to flood-affected people in the northwest began on 22 January and was completed on 30 January, with 100% of the targeted 8,500 households reached.

Australia: Australia’s offshore processing of asylum seekers in Nauru and PNG: A Quick Guide to statistics and resources - research paper series, 2016–17 updated 19 December 2016

13 February 2017 - 2:06am
Source: Government of Australia Country: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka

RESEARCH PAPER SERIES, 2016-17, UPDATED 19 DECEMBER 2016

Elibritt Karlsen

Law and Bills Digest Section

This Quick Guide contains official statistics released by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) from the resumption of offshore processing in 2012 until October 2016. The statistics contained herein include:

  • Cost of operating the offshore processing centres in PNG and Nauru

  • Total number of asylum seekers at Offshore Processing Centres

  • Number of asylum seekers at each Processing Centre

  • Nationalities of asylum seekers at each Processing Centre

  • Number of children accommodated at the Processing Centres

  • Number of females accommodated at the Processing Centres

  • Number of arrivals and departures from Processing Centres

  • Refugee determinations per month at each Processing Centre

  • Percentage of asylum seekers found to be refugees in Nauru

  • Percentage of asylum seekers found to be refugees in PNG

This Quick Guide also contains:

Annex 1 – List of inquiries and reports into offshore processing

Annex 2 – List of court judgments and related commentary

Background

On 8 February 2008, seven months after Kevin Rudd was sworn in as Prime Minister, the former Labor Government announced that the last remaining asylum seekers on Nauru had been transferred to Australia ending the Howard Government’s controversial ‘Pacific Solution’, which had begun in 2001 in response to rising numbers of asylum seekers arriving by boat.

However, by July 2010, then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard announced in her first major policy speech that the Government had begun having discussions with regional neighbours about the possibility of establishing a regional processing centre for the purpose of receiving and processing irregular entrants to the region. Whilst only 25 asylum seekers had travelled by boat to Australia to seek asylum in the 2007–08 financial year by the time Prime Minister Gillard made her announcement in July 2010, more than 5,000 people had travelled by boat to Australia to seek asylum (that is, during the 2009–10 financial year).
Whilst Prime Minister Gillard acknowledged that the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat to Australia was ‘very, very minor’ and that at the current rate of arrival it would take about 20 years to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with asylum seekers, she identified a number of reasons why the processing of asylum seekers in other countries was, again, considered necessary:

  • to remove the financial incentive for the people smugglers to send boats to Australia

  • to ensure that those arriving by boat do not get an unfair advantage over others

  • to secure Australia’s borders and create a fair and orderly migration

  • to prevent people embarking on a voyage across dangerous seas with the ever present risk of death

  • to ensure that everyone is subject to a consistent, fair assessment process

  • to improve the protection outcomes for refugees by establishing a framework for orderly migration within the region

  • to prevent overcrowding in detention facilities in Australia

  • to respond to increased numbers of unauthorised people movements in the region and around the world and

  • to acknowledge that irregular migration is a global challenge that can only be tackled by nations working together.

Though it took another two years for her Government to secure the statutory and practical arrangements for asylum seekers to be sent to third countries, people began to be transferred to Nauru on 14 September 2012 and to Papua New Guinea (PNG) on 21 November 2012.

Two months before the 2013 federal election, and in the wake of growing support for the Opposition’s tougher border protection policies, newly appointed Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd made a surprise announcement on 19 July 2013 that Australia had entered into a Regional Resettlement Arrangement with PNG. Under the Arrangement, all (not just some) asylum seekers who arrive by boat would be transferred to PNG for processing and settlement in PNG and in any other participating regional State. He subsequently made a similar Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Nauru.
Notwithstanding Prime Minister Rudd’s announcement, the Australian Labor Party was unable to secure another term in office and, on 7 September 2013, the Liberal and National parties were voted in to form a Coalition Government, led by Tony Abbott. The current Coalition Government, led by Malcolm Turnbull, continues to implement the former Government’s offshore processing arrangements. However, the offshore processing of asylum seekers in Nauru and PNG has proved contentious for a number of reasons, including:

  • the financial cost (see statistics below)

  • ongoing concerns about the safety and security of asylum seekers and refugees in the Processing Centres and in the broader community

  • ongoing concerns about the desirability and sustainability of involuntary settlement (currently in Nauru and PNG)

  • prolonged uncertainty and punitive living conditions which are said to be causing or exacerbating psychological harm and

  • inadequate transparency and independent oversight.

See Annex 1 for further information about these concerns.

Myanmar: Myanmar investigation commission begins fact-finding mission in Maungdaw

13 February 2017 - 1:49am
Source: Radio Free Asia Country: Myanmar

Members of a Myanmar investigation commission looking into recent violence in Rakhine state’s Maungdaw township set out on a six-day fact-finding mission on Friday to investigate United Nations allegations of human rights violations of Rohingya Muslims by security forces.

A 43-page report issued on Feb. 3 by the U.N.’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that killings, rapes, and other abuses committed against Rohingya Muslims allegedly by soldiers and police after coordinated attacks on three border guard posts in early October indicate “the very likely commission of crimes against humanity.”

“The U.N. issued this report on Maungdaw, and we decided to find out the truth regarding the allegations,” said commission member Saw Thalay Saw, a member of parliament from Shwegyin in Bago region. “We will be there until the 16th of the month.”

Vice president Myint Swe, who chairs the commission, will not accompany the body’s other members because he is preoccupied with preparations for the country’s Union Day celebrations on Feb. 12, which commemorates the day in 1947 that independence hero General Aung San, father of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, helped to unify the country after the end of British colonial rule.

On Wednesday, Myanmar’s foreign affairs ministry issued a statement in response to OHCHR’s report, saying the government commission will look into the U.N.’s accusations and determine whether there is clear evidence that security forces abused and committed human rights violations in northern Rakhine.

The ministry also said the government will take action against those found guilty of such abuses.

The national-level commission has been investigating reports of murder, torture, arson, and rape in northern Rakhine state since December and has made two other trips to the areas affected by violence.

In January, the commission issued an interim report, saying it had found no cases of genocide or religious persecution of Rohingya Muslims living in the region in the wake of deadly border guard attacks last October and a subsequent security lockdown.

It also said its interviews of local residents about rape allegations by Rohingya women and girls who fled to Bangladesh had yielded insufficient evidence to take legal action, and that its investigations into accusations of arson, torture, and illegal arrests were ongoing.

Protests against radio station

Meanwhile, demonstrators in seven townships in Rakhine on Friday staged protests against a new government-run community radio station that broadcasts in the Rohingya language for Muslims in northern Rakhine state.

May Yu FM radio began broadcasting on Feb. 1 in Maungdaw, Buthidaung, and Rathedaung townships in what ethnic Rakhine people refer to as the Bengali language. It also broadcasts in the Burmese and Arakanese languages.

Myanmar, which views the Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, has denied members of the minority group citizenship and access to basic services, though many have lived in the country for generations.

Ethnic Rakhine people believe the broadcasts will legitimize the Rohingya, who are not included among the country’s officially recognized ethnicities.

“Even we Rakhines are not fully getting our citizens’ rights, and now they are giving special rights to these Bengali people, Ko Maung Win Naing, a protest organizer from Buthidaung, told RFA’s Myanmar Service, using a derogatory term for the Rohingya.

“It is like a total disregard for local people,” he said, adding that the protesters will accept the broadcasts only if they are in Burmese. The radio program began on Feb 1.

Myanmar’s information ministry said the radio service will provide news and information “to keep up with the times” and to dispel rumors that emerge in the areas affected by violence.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Myanmar: Investigation Commission launches probe into UN allegations of human rights violations in Maungtaw

12 February 2017 - 10:16pm
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Myanmar

Members of the Investigation Commission on Maungtaw began their fact-finding mission yesterday looking into United Nations allegations of human rights violations in northern Rakhine.

The mission including U Zaw Myint Pe, Secretary of the Commission and members U Thar Nyan, U Saw Thalay Saw, U Nyunt Swe, Dr Daw Thet Thet Zin, Daw Kyein Ngaik Man and U Aung Naing, was divided into groups and carried out probes door to door in villages into human rights violations including alleged rapes cases mentioned in a February-3 Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The members of the independent mission visited Zinpaingnyar, Warbeik, Pharwutchaung, Kyeinchaung and Sedipyin villages in Laungdon Village-tract in Maungtaw Township yesterday.

—Myanmar News Agency

Myanmar: Workshop for Disaster Management Collaboration held

11 February 2017 - 5:52pm
Source: Government of Myanmar Country: Myanmar

February 08, 2017

The “Workshop for Disaster Management Collaboration Dialogue” was held jointly by Japan and Myanmar yesterday at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation.

Officials from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Tourism from Japan and officials from the Irrigation and Water Resources Utilization Administration Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation attended at the meeting, where they discussed matters relating to “Dam Operation, Management and Improvement”.

Present at the workshop were 29 officials led by Dr. Hitotada Matsuki, Director of International Affairs, MLIT from Japan and 50 officials led by U Kyaw Myint Hlaing, Director-General of Irrigation and Water Resources Utilization Administration Department.