Queen Rania demands justice for Rohingyas

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Queen Rania of Jordan shakes hands with Rohingya Muslim children, who have crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, during her visit to Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. 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. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
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Queen Rania of Jordan shakes hands with Rohingya Muslim children, who have crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, during her visit to Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. Hundreds of hard-line Buddhists have protested to urge Myanmar's government not to repatriate the nearly 600,000 minority Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh since late August to escape violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
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Queen Rania of Jordan shakes hands with Rohingya Muslim children, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, during her visit to Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. Hundreds of hard-line Buddhists protested Sunday to urge Myanmar's government not to repatriate the nearly 600,000 minority Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh since late August to escape violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
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Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, rest inside a school compound at Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh on Monday, October 23, 2017. (AP)
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Queen Rania of Jordan shakes hand with a Rohingya Muslim man, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, inside a school compound used as temporary shelter for refugees during her visit to Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. More than 580,000 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when Myanmar security forces began a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages. Myanmar's government has said it was responding to attacks by Muslim insurgents, but the United Nations and others have said the response was disproportionate. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
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Queen Rania of Jordan, center, talks to a Rohingya Muslim baby, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh at Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. Hundreds of hard-line Buddhists have protested to urge Myanmar's government not to repatriate the nearly 600,000 minority Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh since late August to escape violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
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Jordan's Queen Rania meets with Rohingya refugees during her visit to the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia on October 23, 2017. More than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh since violence erupted in northern Rakhine in August, a UN report said October 22. The grim new landmark comes as authorities in Bangladesh were bracing for another possible surge in Rohingya arrivals, with thousands from the Muslim minority believed to be stranded along the border waiting to cross. / AFP / TAUSEEF MUSTAFA
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Queen Rania of Jordan watches as a Rohingya Muslim girl, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, sings a song inside a school at Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. Hundreds of hard-line Buddhists have protested to urge Myanmar's government not to repatriate the nearly 600,000 minority Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh since late August to escape violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
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Queen Rania of Jordan looks at drawing made by Rohingya Muslim children, who have crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, inside a school during her visit at Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. Hundreds of hard-line Buddhists have protested to urge Myanmar's government not to repatriate the nearly 600,000 minority Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh since late August to escape violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
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Queen Rania of Jordan listens to a Bangladeshi official as she sits near a Rohingya Muslim family, who has crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, during her visit to Kutupalong refugee camp, in Bangladesh, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. 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. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
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Queen Rania of Jordan, speaks to media during her visit to Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. U.N. humanitarian officials, high-level government envoys and advocacy group leaders on Monday opened a one-day conference aimed at drumming up funds to help ethnic Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, as the influx from Myanmar has topped 600,000 since late August. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
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Queen Rania of Jordan talks to Rohingya Muslim women, who have crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, during her visit to Kutupalong refugee camp, Bangladesh, Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. U.N. humanitarian officials, high-level government envoys and advocacy group leaders on Monday opened a one-day conference aimed at drumming up funds to help ethnic Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, as the influx from Myanmar has topped 600,000 since late August. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)
Updated 24 October 2017
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Queen Rania demands justice for Rohingyas

COX’S BAZAR: Queen Rania of Jordan visited Rohingya refugee camps in Ukhia and Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh on Monday.
As a board member of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and an advocate of the work of UN humanitarian agencies, Queen Rania made the trip to highlight the urgent need for greater aid efforts in support of those displaced by violence and persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
“Jordan will always stand beside Rohingyas,” the queen said.
Her visit took place on the same day as the EU and Kuwait co-hosted a pledging conference for the Rohingya refugee crisis in Geneva, which aimed to raise $434 million, although a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Vanessa Huguenin, said on Monday it had only reached 26 percent of that target.
Taking to local media after her visit, Queen Rania described the refugees’ accounts as “heartbreaking and harrowing,” and urged the international community in Geneva to give generously.
“It is clear to everybody that there is an urgent need to scale up the humanitarian response,” she said. “So, I urge (those) gathering today in Geneva to respond effectively, quickly and generously. It is unforgivable that this crisis is unfolding on the world stage to a largely indifferent audience.”
The queen continued, “One has to ask: Why is the plight of this Muslim minority group being ignored? Why has this systematic persecution been allowed to play out for so long? The world seems to be silent on what many are now acknowledging as an ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims
“I urge the UN and the international community to do all they can to stop the suffering and the violence that is being committed against the Rohingya Muslims. Not because it is our job to do so, but because that is what justice demands.”


US says ‘committed’ to defeating Daesh; allies skeptical

Some of the 20 ministers, including those from the US, France, Britain, and Germany, pose for a photo prior to the 55th Munich Security Conference in southern Germany, on Friday. (AFP)
Updated 16 February 2019
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US says ‘committed’ to defeating Daesh; allies skeptical

  • Acting US Defense Secretary Shanahan envisions a ‘bigger and stronger’ coalition to fight Daesh globally

MUNICH: Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Friday that the US is committed to defeating Daesh in the Middle East and beyond, but officials said European allies are skeptical of Washington’s pledges.
US President Donald Trump’s announcement in December that he was withdrawing all 2,000 US troops from Syria surprised and rattled allies. US officials have crisscrossed the Middle East in recent weeks to reassure them that Washington remains committed to the region.
Trump’s Syria decision was opposed by top aides, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who quit, leaving his deputy Shanahan in charge of the Pentagon.
“While the time for US troops on the ground in northeast Syria winds down, the United States remains committed to our coalition’s cause, the permanent defeat of Daesh, both in the Middle East and beyond,” Shanahan said after a meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.
The meeting included about a dozen defense ministers from the coalition to defeat Daesh. Kurdish-led fighters are battling to capture Daesh’s last major stronghold in Syria, but even without territory, the militant group is widely seen as a continuing threat.
Shanahan said he envisioned a “bigger and stronger” coalition to fight Daesh globally. “We will continue to support our local partners’ ability to stand up to the remnants of Daesh,” he added.
However, European officials said they were given few details during the closed-door meeting in Munich and many questions remain. “We are still trying to understand how the Americans plan to withdraw. I don’t think there is any clarity still,” one European official, speaking on the condition of anonymity said.
Another official said Shanahan did not provide allies with a timeline of the American withdrawal from Syria and allies expressed skepticism during the meeting. A senior US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no commitments were made during the meeting and there was little discussion about timelines.
“These meetings don’t tend to have specific deliverables or decisions, it tends to be more focused on taking stock of where we are,” the US official said.
Trump has said he expects a formal announcement as early as this week that the coalition fighting Daesh has reclaimed all the territory held by the group.
Around 20 ministers including those from the US, France, Britain, and Germany will take part in the meeting, according to one source.
US forces are the largest contributors by far to the anti-Daesh coalition and their pullout will leave a vacuum in Syria where major powers are jostling for influence.

Withdrawal issue
“The withdrawal of the American troops from Syria will evidently be at the heart of discussions,” said French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly before the meeting.
“Once the so-called caliphate no longer has any territory, the international community will have to guarantee that there will be no resurgence of Daesh in Syria or elsewhere,” her ministry’s statement said.
The end of Daesh territory in Syria is heightening worries about experienced militants and foreign fighters escaping and forming new Daesh cells in Syria or beyond.
Once American forces leave, another complication emerges: The future of areas in northern Syria controlled by Kurdish YPG forces, a key US ally in the fight against militants but a militia branded terrorists by Turkey.