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.”


Unspeakable grief: A husband, wife and three children wiped out in Sri Lanka

Updated 23 April 2019
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Unspeakable grief: A husband, wife and three children wiped out in Sri Lanka

  • The Gomez family gather for funeral of a husband and wife and their three sons
  • They were brutally killed as they attended Easter Sunday Mass at Colombo’s St. Joseph’s Shrine

COLOMBO: The dark wooden coffins, sitting side by side, attested to one family’s unspeakable grief.
The Gomez family gathered Tuesday to say a final farewell to five loved ones — a son, a daughter-in-law and three young grandsons — brutally killed as they attended Easter Sunday Mass at Colombo’s St. Joseph’s Shrine.
“All family, all generation, is lost,” said Joseph Gomez, the family patriarch, as tears welled in his eyes. Dozens of family members and neighbors were gathered in his simple home, where the sound of hymns sung by mourners gently wafted in the background and candles flickered beside three coffins. The bodies of two grandsons have yet to be recovered.
Across Sri Lanka, Tuesday was a national day of mourning as families began to lay to rest the more than 320 victims of the bomb blasts that struck a half-dozen churches and hotels in the island nation.
For the Gomez family, the loss was unfathomable: A 33-year-old son, Berlington Joseph, the young man’s 31-year-old wife Chandrika Arumugam, and their three boys, 9-year-old Bevon, 6-year-old Clavon and baby Avon, who would have turned 1 next week. A funeral card with a photo of the family clutched in his hands, the elder Gomez wailed: “I can’t bear this on me, I can’t bear this.”
“My eldest son, my eldest son,” he sobbed as he laid bouquets of red roses and brightly colored daisies on the largest coffin. Next to it was a tiny coffin, a photo of little Avon tucked into a wooden frame nearby.
The coffins, draped with long white tassels, were then carried to a Colombo cemetery and lowered into side-by-side graves.
At St. Joseph’s Shrine, dozens of mourners gathered outside, lighting candles and praying in unison for the victims of Sunday’s blasts as heavily armed soldiers stood guard.
At St. Sebastian Church in Negombo, a funeral service was held Tuesday for victims killed there as they worshipped, led by Cardinal Malcom Ranjith. The church was heavily guarded by hundreds of army, air force and police troops, and soldiers were deployed every 15 feet along the streets of the city some 20 miles north of Colombo.
Throughout the country, people observed a three-minute silence for the victims of the near-simultaneous attacks at three churches and three luxury hotels, and three other related blasts, the deadliest violence to strike Sri Lanka in a decade.
The Sri Lankan government has blamed the attack on National Towheed Jamaar, a little-known local extremist group, and on Tuesday, the Daesh group also claimed responsibility, though it provided no proof it was involved and has made unsubstantiated claims in the past.