Myanmar has failed to protect Rohingya from atrocities: UN

Senegalese Adama Dieng, UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, attends a press conference of MINUSCA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic ) in Bangui, in this October 11, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 19 October 2017
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Myanmar has failed to protect Rohingya from atrocities: UN

UNITED NATIONS: Myanmar’s government has failed to meet its international obligations and protect Rohingya Muslims from the atrocities taking place in Rakhine state, two UN special advisers said Wednesday.
The statement from the UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide, Adama Dieng, and the special adviser on the responsibility to protect, Ivan Simonovic, added the international response to the crisis was a failure.
“Despite warnings issued by us and by many other officials, the government of Myanmar has failed to meet its obligations under international law and primary responsibility to protect the Rohingya population from atrocity crimes,” said a joint statement.
“The international community has equally failed its responsibilities in this regard,” they added.
Since late August more than 500,000 Rohingya have fled an army campaign in Myanmar’s Rakhine state that the United Nations has denounced as ethnic cleansing.
The UN Security Council has called on Myanmar to end military operations in Rakhine, grant access to aid workers and allow the safe return of the Rohingya refugees.
The council however has not followed up its appeal with action such as imposing sanctions, a move diplomats said is opposed by China, a supporter of the Myanmar’s former junta, and Russia.
“Once again, our failure to stop atrocity crimes makes us complicit. When will we live up to our countless promises of ‘never again’?” the advisers asked.
Myanmar authorities argue the military operations in Rakhine are to root out militants following attacks on police posts in late August.
A recent report by the UN human rights office accused Myanmar of seeking to permanently expel the Rohingya, by planting land mines at the border with Bangladesh where the refugees are sheltering.
UN rights officials spoke to refugees who gave accounts of soldiers surrounding homes and firing indiscriminately as residents ran for their lives, and of uniformed men gang-raping women and girls, some as young as five.
“In some cases, before and during the attacks, megaphones were used to announce: ‘You do not belong here — go to Bangladesh. If you do not leave, we will torch your houses and kill you’,” the report said.
The UN’s top political affairs official, Jeffrey Feltman, returned on Tuesday from five days of talks in Myanmar that failed to yield a breakthrough.
Feltman is expected to report to the Security Council on his talks.


2 Koreas, US-led UN Command meet again at Koreas’ border

In this Oct. 16, 2018, file photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, the US-led United Nations Command, center, South Korean and North Korean, left, military officers attend a meeting at the southern side of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea. (AP)
Updated 18 min 10 sec ago
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2 Koreas, US-led UN Command meet again at Koreas’ border

  • Seoul’s liberal government is pushing for greater engagement with North Korea, but US officials say such moves should be in tandem with global efforts to denuclearize North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea: Military officers from the two Koreas and the US-led UN Command met again at the Koreas’ border village Monday to examine an ongoing effort to disarm the area.
Demetallizing the Panmunjom village inside the Koreas’ heavily fortified border was among many agreements the Koreas struck in September to lower military tensions between the rivals.
Under the deals, troops from the Koreas began clearing mines from Panmunjom earlier this month before withdrawing weapons and guard posts there. They eventually plan to have 35 unarmed personnel from each side guard the village.
Monday’s trilateral talks are the second in kind in about a week. Officially, the village is jointly overseen by North Korea and the UN Command, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
The talks are to review the demining work and discussing future steps in the area, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.
As part of the September agreements, the two Koreas are removing mines from another frontline area where they plan their first-ever joint searches for the remains of soldiers killed during the Korean War. The Koreas also plan to establish buffer zones along their land and sea boundaries, and a no-fly zone above the border.
General-level officers from the Koreas are to meet at Panmunjom on Friday to discuss more details about how to implement the tension-reduction deals, according to the South Korean Defense Ministry.
Also Monday, officials from the Koreas separately met at their recently launched liaison office at the North Korean border town of Kaesong for talks on how to cooperate in forestry sectors.
Seoul’s liberal government is pushing for greater engagement with North Korea, but US officials say such moves should be in tandem with global efforts to denuclearize North Korea.