India says Myanmar must take back Rohingya Muslims

A Rohingya refugee woman who crossed the border from Myanmar this week cries while waiting to get a shelter in Kotupalang refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on Saturday. (REUTERS)
Updated 23 October 2017
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India says Myanmar must take back Rohingya Muslims

DHAKA, Bangladesh: India’s foreign minister told Bangladesh’s government that Myanmar must take back Rohingya Muslims to resolve one of Asia’s largest refugee crises in decades, the government said.
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj conveyed her message Sunday during a meeting with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who ordered border guards and her administration to allow the Rohingya to cross the border and shelter in makeshift camps in the coastal district of Cox’s Bazar.
Nearly 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state since Aug. 25 to escape persecution that the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing.
The United News of Bangladesh agency reported that Swaraj said, “Myanmar must take back their nationals ... this is a big burden for Bangladesh. How long will Bangladesh bear it? There should be a permanent solution to this crisis.”
She met earlier with her Bangladeshi counterpart A.H.Mahmood Ali and said India was worried about the violence. Human rights groups have interviewed refugees who said Myanmar security forces killed indiscriminately, committed rapes and burned villages to force Rohingya to leave.
“We’ve urged the situation be handled with restraint, keeping in mind the welfare of the population,” Swaraj said in a statement.
Swaraj also said India supported the implementation of recommendations suggesting recognition of the Rohingya ethnic group within Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship and are effectively stateless.
In the statement, she also said creating economic opportunity in the troubled Rakhine state could help resolve the situation.
“In our view, the only long-term solution to the situation in Rakhine State is rapid socio-economic and infrastructure development that would have a positive impact on all the communities living in the state,” she was quoted as saying in the statement.
Bangladeshi Foreign Minister urged India to play a greater role by “exerting sustained pressure” on Myanmar to find a peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis.
India’s shift toward resolving the Rohinga crisis would mean a lot to China’s policy to support Myanmar.
An official with China’s ruling Communist Party said Saturday the country supports Myanmar in “safeguarding peace and stability” and won’t join other nations in condemning the government’s actions. Beijing condemns “violence and terror acts” and backs measures to restore order, said the vice minister of the party’s International Department, Guo Yezhou, apparently referring to attacks by Rohingya rebels on Myanmar security forces.


Clean water for all is still centuries away, aid group warns

Water, sanitation and hygiene is a global crisis. (AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Clean water for all is still centuries away, aid group warns

  • By the 2030 deadline, “a significant number of people” in 80 countries are unlikely to have access to clean water, while poor sanitation is expected to persist in more than 100 nations
  • Namibians would have to wait until 2246 for everyone to have clean water, while all Eritreans would not get it until 2507 and Nicaraguans not until 2180

TEPIC, Mexico: Supplying clean water and toilets for all could take hundreds of years in countries like Eritrea and Namibia unless governments step up funding to tackle the problem and its harmful effects on health, an international development agency warned on Monday.
WaterAid — which says nearly 850 million people lack clean water — predicted the world will miss a global goal to provide drinking water and adequate sanitation for everyone by 2030.
Meeting it will cost $28 billion per year, the non-profit said.
“Water, sanitation and hygiene is a global crisis,” said Savio Carvalho, WaterAid’s global advocacy director.
“We’re really calling for governments to pull up their socks,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from the United Nations in New York.
From July 9-18, governments are reviewing progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, which were agreed at the United Nations in 2015, with a focus on six of the 17.
Last week, UN officials said barriers to achieving the 2030 water and sanitation targets range from conflict and water pollution to climate change, urging more efficient water use.
By the 2030 deadline, “a significant number of people” in 80 countries are unlikely to have access to clean water, while poor sanitation is expected to persist in more than 100 nations, WaterAid said.
Drawing on UN data, the UK-based group calculated some countries will need hundreds of years to provide safe drinking water and toilets for all their people, meaning countries collectively are thousands of years off track.
At current rates, Namibians would have to wait until 2246 for everyone to have clean water, while all Eritreans would not get it until 2507 and Nicaraguans not until 2180, WaterAid said.
It could be 500 years before every Romanian has access to a toilet, and 450 years for Ghanaians, it added.
Governments should fund water and sanitation provision from their own budgets, and work with utilities and private companies to reach people in isolated areas, said Carvalho.
“There’s money around — it’s just not allocated in the right way,” he said, urging international donors to increase spending on water and sanitation.
Other global goals to ensure healthy lives, reduce inequality and end poverty will be jeopardized until access to water and sanitation is prioritized, noted Carvalho.
WaterAid quoted World Bank data showing the knock-on effects of inadequate sanitation — which causes child deaths from poor hygiene and preventable disease — cost $220 billion in 2015.
Some countries, including Rwanda and India, have made substantial headway toward the water and sanitation goal, but sustaining progress remains a challenge, said Carvalho.
“For the nations collectively to be thousands of years off track in meeting these human rights is shocking,” WaterAid Chief Executive Tim Wainwright said in a statement. (Reporting by Sophie Hares; editing by Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women’s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit