Suu Kyi and Myanmar face chorus of anger over Rohingya crisis

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, left, discusses Rohingya plight with Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi Monday in Naypyidaw. (AFP)
Updated 04 September 2017
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Suu Kyi and Myanmar face chorus of anger over Rohingya crisis

YANGON: Muslim countries in Asia led a growing chorus of criticism on Monday aimed at Myanmar and its civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi over the plight of its Rohingya Muslim minority.
Nearly 90,000 Rohingya have flooded into Bangladesh in the past 10 days following an uptick in fighting between militants and Myanmar’s military in strife-torn western Rakhine state.
The impoverished region bordering Bangladesh has been a crucible of communal tensions between Muslims and Buddhists for years, with the Rohingya forced to live under apartheid-like restrictions on movement and citizenship.
The recent violence, which kicked off last October when a small Rohingya militant group ambushed border posts, is the worst Rakhine has witnessed in years with the UN saying Myanmar’s army may have committed ethnic cleansing in its response.
De facto leader Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner of Myanmar’s junta, has come under increasing fire over her perceived unwillingness to speak out against the treatment of the Rohingya or chastise the military.
The growing crisis threatens Myanmar’s diplomatic relations, particularly with Muslim-majority countries in Southeast Asia where there is profound public anger over the treatment of the Rohingya.
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi met Suu Kyi as well as Myanmar’s Army Chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyidaw on Monday in a bid to pressure the government to do more to alleviate the crisis.
“Once again, violence, this humanitarian crisis has to stop immediately,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters on Sunday as he announced Retno’s mission there.
Hours before Widodo spoke, a petrol bomb was thrown at Myanmar’s embassy in Jakarta.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif added in a recent tweet: “Global silence on continuing violence against #Rohingya Muslims. Int’l action crucial to prevent further ethnic cleansing — UN must rally.”
Muslim-majority Malaysia has also seen public protests since the latest round of Rakhine violence began.
“We urge for calm and restraint,” Prime Minister Najib Razak tweeted. “The dire situation facing our Rohingya brothers and sisters must be alleviated for good of Myanmar and region.”
Despite years of persecution, the Rohingya largely eschewed violence until October’s attacks by the little-known Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.
Analysts have long warned that Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya would lead to homegrown militancy.
Since the latest fighting broke out, Al-Qaeda’s offshoot in Yemen has called for retaliatory attacks against Myanmar while the Afghan Taliban posted a statement on Facebook calling on Muslims to “use their abilities to help Myanmar’s oppressed Muslims.”
Defenders of Suu Kyi say she is severely limited in her ability to control Myanmar’s notoriously abusive military.
The Rohingya are also widely loathed by a huge section of Myanmar’s population, dismissed as Bangladeshi interlopers despite many tracing their lineage back generations.
That makes supporting them hugely unpopular.
But detractors say Suu Kyi is one of the few people in Myanmar with the mass appeal and moral authority to swim against the tide on the issue.


New Quebec law stresses migrants’ skills, thousands must reapply

Updated 52 min 50 sec ago
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New Quebec law stresses migrants’ skills, thousands must reapply

  • The law is similar to a proposed plan from US President Donald Trump that would shift his country’s visa system from family-based immigration toward bringing in more skilled workers
  • The law will attempt to more closely match the skills offered by would-be immigrants with the needs of the labor market in Quebec

MONTREAL: The Quebec provincial legislature on Sunday approved a controversial immigration bill that will replace a first-come, first-served standard for accepting migrants with one tied to an applicants’ skills.
The law is similar to a proposed plan from US President Donald Trump that would shift his country’s visa system from family-based immigration toward bringing in more skilled workers.
The law will attempt to more closely match the skills offered by would-be immigrants with the needs of the labor market in Quebec, Canada’s second most-populous province.
Under the new law, some 18,000 applications now on file will be shredded, affecting as many as 50,000 people, many of whom already live in the province.
The 18,000 existing applicants will have to restart the immigration process.
The provincial government promised to expedite processing of their new applications, saying qualified workers would have answers within six months rather than the current 36 months.
The 62-to-42 vote on the bill took place around 4 am (0800 GMT) at the end of a marathon session convened by the governing center-right Coalition Avenir Quebec, immigration minister Simon Jolin-Barrette announced on Twitter.
“We are modifying the immigration system in the public interest because we have to ensure we have a system which meets the needs of the labor market,” Jolin-Barrette told the National Assembly.
All three opposition parties opposed the measure, calling it “inhuman” and saying the government did not justify dropping the 18,000 pending applications.
“Honestly, I don’t think this bill will be seen positively in history,” Liberal Party MP Dominique Anglade said, according to the Montreal Gazette. “It’s the image of Quebec which gets tarnished.”
Premier Francois Legault’s government resorted to a special parliamentary procedure to limit debate over the proposal.
His party won power in October with a promise to slash by more than 20 percent the number of immigrants and refugees arriving each year in Quebec.
The assembly reconvened on Sunday and after sometimes-acrimonious debate passed a bill banning the wearing of religious symbols by public servants including police officers, judges, lawyers, prison guards and teachers.
However the new law will only apply to new recruits, with existing employees unaffected.
The proposal, also backed by Legault, puts the premier at odds with the multiculturalism advocated by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.