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.


North Korea puts reunion of war separated families in doubt

A woman and a young child walk down a street together in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 7, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 37 min 57 sec ago
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North Korea puts reunion of war separated families in doubt

  • South Korea's current liberal President Moon Jae-in wants to expand ties with North Korea, but repatriating any of the women would be a delicate matter
  • There has been mounting speculation that some of the 12 North Korean women might have been truly duped into coming to South Korea

SEOUL, South Korea: North Korea said that an August reunion of Korean families separated by war may not happen if South Korea doesn’t immediately return some of its citizens who arrived in the South in recent years.
The 2016 arrival of a group of 12 female employees from a North Korean-run restaurant in China has been a source of contention between the rival Koreas. North Korea has accused South Korea of kidnapping them, while South Korea says they decided to resettle on their own will.
North Korea has often used the women as a reason to rebuff South Korea’s repeated request to allow elderly citizens split during the 1950-53 Korean War to reunite with each other briefly. But Friday’s statement is the North’s first attempt to link the fate of the women to the August reunion and comes amid worries that a global diplomacy to push the North to give up its nuclear weapons is making little headway after a detente of the past several months.
The North’s state-run Uriminzokkiri website said that the reunion and overall inter-Korean ties will face “obstacles” if Seoul doesn’t send back the women.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry said it has no comment on the Uriminzokkiri dispatch.
There has been mounting speculation that some of the 12 North Korean women might have been truly duped into coming to South Korea.
After meeting some of the women earlier this month, Tomas Ojea Quintana, the United Nations’ independent investigator on human rights in North Korea, told reporters in Seoul that they told him they did not know they were heading to South Korea when they departed China.
“Some of them, they were taken to the Republic of Korea without knowing that they were coming here,” Quintana said, referring to South Korea by its formal name. “If they were taken against their will, that may (be) considered a crime. It is the duty and responsibility of the government of the Republic of Korea to investigate.”
South Korean media had earlier carried a similar report, citing interviews with some of the women and their North Korean male manager who came to South Korea with them.
The women’s arrival happened when South Korea was governed by a conservative government, which took a tough stance on the North’s nuclear program. South Korea’s current liberal President Moon Jae-in wants to expand ties with North Korea, but repatriating any of the women would be a delicate matter, with many experts saying relatives of those who decide to stay in the South will certainly face reprisals by the North Korean government.