China, Russia oppose UN criticism of Myanmar over Rohingya

In this Oct. 22, 2017, photo, Rohingya Muslim woman, Rukaya Begum, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, holds her son Mahbubur Rehman, left, and her daughter Rehana Bibi, after the government moved them to newly allocated refugee camp areas, near Kutupalong, Bangladesh. (AP)
Updated 25 December 2017
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China, Russia oppose UN criticism of Myanmar over Rohingya

UNITED NATIONS, United States: The UN General Assembly on Sunday urged Myanmar to end a military campaign against Muslim Rohingya and called for the appointment of a UN special envoy, despite opposition from China, Russia and some regional countries.
A resolution put forward by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was adopted by a vote of 122 to 10 with 24 abstentions.
China, Russia, Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam joined Myanmar in voting against the measure as did Belarus, Syria and Zimbabwe.
The resolution calls on the government to allow access for aid workers, ensure the return of all refugees and grant full citizenship rights to the Rohingya.
It requests that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appoint a special envoy to Myanmar.
The measure was adopted by the assembly after its budget committee gave the green light to funds for the new position of UN special envoy to Myanmar.
More than 650,000 Muslim Rohingya have fled the mainly Buddhist country since the military operation was launched in Rakhine state in late August.
Myanmar authorities insist the campaign is aimed at rooting out Rohingya militants who attacked police posts on August 25 but the United Nations has said the violence amounts to ethnic cleansing.
Last week, the UN special rapporteur for Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said she had been banned from the country and that the government had cut off all cooperation with her.


Somali leader urges calm after clashes in disputed north

Updated 31 min 40 sec ago
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Somali leader urges calm after clashes in disputed north

  • Tensions in the unrecognized breakaway northern state of Somaliland and the semi-autonomous Somali state of Puntland erupted into violence Thursday
  • The clashes erupted after a major storm brought strong winds and flash flooding to Puntland and Somaliland as well as other areas of the Horn of Africa nation

MOGADISHU: Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has urged troops from two rival provinces to halt their fire after heavy clashes in a disputed northern border region left several dead.
Tensions in the unrecognized breakaway northern state of Somaliland and the semi-autonomous Somali state of Puntland erupted into violence Thursday around the border town of Tukaraq in Sool, a disputed desert region claimed by both sides.
“I want to send a plea to the Somalis who are shedding blood in Tukaraq town: I call for an urgent cessation of fire and an end to the bloodshed,” said the president at a mosque on Friday.
Both sides blamed the other for starting the violence without confirming any casualties, although one local elder said troops from both camps had been killed.
“More than 20 soldiers from the two sides died in the clashes and many more were wounded,” Mohamed Hajji Jama told AFP on Friday.
“There is still military tension.”
“The situation is calm now and both forces from the two regions are in their original positions,” said Abdirahman Osman, an elder in another nearby village.
The clashes erupted after a major storm brought strong winds and flash flooding to Puntland and Somaliland as well as other areas of the Horn of Africa nation, killing at least 21 people, figures provided by the UN’s OCHA humanitarian arm show.
Fighting had also broken out just before the storm, on May 15, in what local elders said were the heaviest clashes in months, saying unconfirmed reports put the death toll at nearly 30 dead.
According to OCHA, the UN’s humanitarian arm, the bloodshed forced around 10,000 people out of their homes, most of them women and children, and “further (complicated) an already complex humanitarian picture.”