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.


Somali militant-turned-politician arrested before regional vote

Updated 13 December 2018
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Somali militant-turned-politician arrested before regional vote

MOGADISHU: A former senior Somali militant leader was arrested on Thursday, the government said, less than a week before he was scheduled to run for a regional presidency.
The government accused Muktar Robow, who defected from the extremist Al-Shabab movement last year, of “organizing a militia” in Baidoa, the capital of the southwestern Bay region, and seeking to “undermine stability.”
“These actions indicate that he never relinquished his extremist ideologies and is ready to harm the Somali people again,” the government said in a statement.
Authorities had been attempting to prevent Robow from standing in the December 19 election because he remains subject to US sanctions for his time as deputy leader of Shabab.
The Al-Qaeda affiliate Shabab has been fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government for more than a decade.
Police sources speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP that Robow had been arrested in Baidoa and taken to the capital Mogadishu.
Baidoa residents told AFP that hundreds of supporters took to the streets in protest of the detention of Robow, who enjoys the support of several clans and is regarded as a serious candidate for the region’s leader.
Sporadic gunfire was heard in the city, the residents said.
“This is a violation of democracy, Robow was standing in his region and his people wanted him. The government has no right to arrest him, this will lead to violence,” said Mohamed Sheik Ali, a Baidoa resident told AFP.
“The people are burning tires and the police are firing gunshots to disperse them. There is gunfire and there are casualties as well,” said Osman Adan, another witness.
“Armed militia and supporters of Robow have reportedly clashed with the police and the situation in town is tense as we speak,” he added.
Robow’s run for office has exposed the tensions between Somalia’s federal states, which want greater autonomy from a national administration keen to safeguard its central powers.
Robow defected from the Shabab in August last year. For a time the US government had offered a $5 million (4.4 million euro) bounty for his capture.
In 2013 Robow split from former Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and sought refuge in the nearby region of Bakool, without completely breaking off links to the group.
Forced out of Mogadishu in 2011, the Shabab have since lost the bulk of their strongholds though they still control vast swathes of mainly rural zones from where they launch guerilla operations on government, security and civilian targets.