A bittersweet reunion in a Rohingya refugee camp

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Zobaer Ahmed Rana reunion with his family after 11 years
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Abu toyob and Anowara Begum's finally got a little chance to sit under a roof after 14 days of their life saving journey from Buchidong, Myanmar.
Updated 21 October 2017
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A bittersweet reunion in a Rohingya refugee camp

COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh: Zobaer Ahmed Rana left his parents at the age of 6 and came to Bangladesh with his uncle in search of a better life.

But the Rohingya family was reunited this week as the remaining members fled the ongoing atrocities in Myanmar.

“I haven’t seen my son for 11 years. He’s a grownup now,” Rana’s mother Anowara Begum, who entered Bangladesh as a refugee four days ago, told Arab News.

“This is the first time I see my daughter-in-law. It’s a very happy moment for our family, but we can’t celebrate at this time of crisis.”

The family and 20,000 other refugees had to wait for four days at the border to enter Bangladesh.

The family got clearance from Bangladeshi authorities on Thursday to enter the Balukhali refugee camp in Ukhia Thana.

Recent drone footage from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows thousands of Rohingya refugees lined up for kilometers near the border.

The UNHCR has expressed grave concern over the condition of the stranded refugees, who have little to no food, water or shelter, and are weakened by days of travelling on foot.

“We’re advocating with the Bangladesh authorities to urgently admit these refugees fleeing violence and increasingly difficult conditions back home. Every minute counts given the fragile condition they’re arriving in,” said UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic.

“They’re waiting for permission to move away from the border, where the sound of gunfire continues to be heard every night from the Myanmar side.”

Rana told Arab News: “My 25-member family started the journey toward Bangladesh on Oct. 9. It took them four days to reach the border, during which time I was in contact with them via a cellular phone.”

He visited his family the day they arrived at the camp, giving them dried food. He said no visitors were allowed on the second day, but on the third day he was able to give them rice.

Rana has been living with his uncle in Bangladesh’s port city of Chittagong since 2004. He completed his higher secondary education, and works as an assistant at a men’s hair salon.

Rana’s father Abu Toyob told Arab News: “We lived in Buthidaung town in Myanmar’s Rakhine state for many generations. I had a grocery shop in the local market and around 5 acres of land that I inherited from my father. But now I’m penniless and faced with uncertainty regarding my family of five sons and three daughters.”

Although the international community is urging Myanmar’s military to stop its abuses in Rakhine, there is no sign of improvement in the situation.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) recently reported that 582,000 Rohingya refugees have taken shelter in Bangladesh since the influx began on Aug. 25.

But unofficial sources put the figure at more than 600,000, and aid agencies are seeking more support from the international community to cope with increasing demand for humanitarian aid.


Withdrawal from nuclear arms deal ‘dangerous step’ for US: Moscow

Updated 20 min 15 sec ago
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Withdrawal from nuclear arms deal ‘dangerous step’ for US: Moscow

  • US National Security Adviser John Bolton is set to arrive in Moscow on Sunday
  • Trump announced US plans to leave the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF, signed in 1987

MOSCOW: Withdrawing from a Cold War-era nuclear weapons treaty with Russia as President Donald Trump has announced he plans to do is a dangerous step, Russia’s deputy foreign minister warned on Sunday.
“This would be a very dangerous step that, I’m sure, not only will not be comprehended by the international community but will provoke serious condemnation,” deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS state news agency.
The treaty is “significant for international security and security in the sphere of nuclear arms, for the maintenance of strategic stability,” he stressed.
Russia condemned what he called attempts by the US to gain concessions “through a method of blackmail,” he added.
If the US continues to act “clumsily and crudely” and unilaterally back out of international agreements “then we will have no choice but to undertake retaliatory measures including involving military technology,” Ryabkov told RIA Novosti news agency.
“But we would not want to get to this stage,” he added.
On Saturday, Trump announced US plans to leave the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, known as the INF, signed in 1987 by the then US president Ronald Reagan.
“We’re the ones who have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement, but Russia has not unfortunately honored the agreement, so we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” said Trump.
But Ryabkov on Sunday denied Trump’s accusations, throwing the accusation back at Washington.
“We don’t just not violate (the treaty), we observe it in the strictest way,” he insisted.
“And we have shown patience while pointing out over the course of many years the flagrant violations of this treaty by the US itself.”
US National Security Adviser John Bolton is set to arrive in Moscow on Sunday.
“We hope that we will hear from him during meetings, tomorrow and the day after, more substantively and clearly what the American side intends to undertake,” said Ryabkov.
Earlier a foreign ministry source told Russian news agencies that the US move was connected to its “dream of a unipolar world,” an argument that Ryabkov also advanced.
“Apparently the existence of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty creates problems for establishing a line of total US domination and supremacy in the military sphere,” he said.