OIC condemns abuses against Rohingya in Myanmar

Smoke billows above what is believed to be a burning village in Myanmar's Rakhine state as members of the Rohingya Muslim minority take shelter in a no-man's land between Bangladesh and Myanmar in Ukhia on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 05 September 2017
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OIC condemns abuses against Rohingya in Myanmar

JEDDAH: The Independent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has strongly condemned human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, Myanmar.
The IPHRC called on all OIC member states, especially neighboring countries, to urge Myanmar to uphold its obligation to promote and protect the human rights of its Rohingya minority, and to voice their concerns at all appropriate international forums, including the UN Human Rights Council and the Security Council.
The IPHRC said it will continue to closely follow the situation, and will explore opportunities with concerned stakeholders to mitigate the plight of the Rohingya.
The commission renewed its call for Myanmar to allow a fact-finding visit and the establishment of an OIC office to disburse humanitarian aid in Rakhine.
The UN estimates that 60,000 Rohingya have fled escalating violence and mass killings in Myanmar.
The recent security operations, including the apparent arson attacks against Rohingya villages, ill treatment of civilians including torture, rape and extrajudicial killings, are a matter of grave concern for the entire international community, in particular all Muslims around the world.
Around 27,000 have crossed into Bangladesh since Friday, and a further 20,000 remain stuck between the two countries.
The UN and international human rights organizations have warned that if human rights concerns are not properly addressed, and if people remain politically and economically marginalized, people will become increasingly vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment by extremists.
The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) has suspended aid work in Rakhine, citing safety concerns. The suspension will affect 250,000 people, it said.


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”