Myanmar army’s admission of killings a ‘positive step:’ Suu Kyi

Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks during a news conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in Naypyidaw, Myanmar January 12, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 13 January 2018
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Myanmar army’s admission of killings a ‘positive step:’ Suu Kyi

YANGON: Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has welcomed an unprecedented army admission that security forces carried out extra-judicial killings of Rohingya Muslims as a “positive step,” state-backed media reported Saturday.
After months of staunch denials of abuse, the army on Wednesday said a probe found four members of the security forces helped kill 10 Rohingya militant suspects at Inn Din village on September 2, leaving their bodies in a hastily dug pit.
Some 655,000 Rohingya have fled western Rakhine state to Bangladesh since August, carrying with them consistent accounts of atrocities by Myanmar’s army.
Rights groups have accused Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi of failing to condemn the widespread abuses during the army crackdown, which followed raids by militants from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
After meeting the Japanese foreign minister on Friday Suu Kyi raised the army’s admission of involvement in the Inn Din killings as a “new step taken by our country.”
“In the end, rule of law in the country is the responsibility of that country. It is a positive indication that we are taking the steps to be responsible,” she added, according to a report carried by the Global New Light of Myanmar.
Myanmar’s army has a grim track record of rights abuses chiselled out across the country over 50 years of rule.
Observers hoped the emergence of Suu Kyi’s civilian government in 2016 would see the army ease up on its notorious “scorched earth” approach to rebellion and conflict.
The unrelenting Rohingya crackdown banished those hopes.
Amnesty International has called the summary killings at Inn Din “the tip of the iceberg” in terms of atrocities carried out since August and urged a wider, impartial probe.
But the conflict area of Rakhine remains locked down to media, aid agencies and UN investigators.
ARSA, the Rohingya militant group, “wholeheartedly” welcomed the army’s admission saying it validated the wider allegations of abuses including a campaign of rape and murder and the systematic torching of villages.
“These 10 Rohingya innocent civilians found in the mass grave... were neither ARSA members nor had any association with ARSA,” it said in a statement circulated on Twitter.
The UN and US have accused Myanmar’s army of ethnic cleansing, with the UN rights chief saying it may even be guilty of genocide.
Myanmar refutes the allegations, blaming militants for causing the violence and the international media and aid agencies for spreading false information due to a pro-Rohingya bias.
The Rohingya are reviled in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where most are denied citizenship and described as “Bengalis” — or Muslim interlopers from Bangladesh.
burs-apj/jah


Former UK minister calls for second vote on Brexit to end stalemate

Updated 3 min 38 sec ago
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Former UK minister calls for second vote on Brexit to end stalemate

LONDON: A former senior British minister called on Monday for a second referendum to solve a parliamentary stalemate on Brexit, saying Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposals for new ties with the European Union were a fudge that satisfied no one.
Justine Greening, an ex-Education Secretary who quit the government in January, said May’s negotiating strategy would neither please those who wanted a clean break with the EU nor those who opposed Brexit altogether.
“We’ll be dragging Remain voters out of the EU for a deal that means still complying with many EU rules, but now with no say on shaping them,” Greening wrote in the Times newspaper.
“It’s not what they want, and on top of that when they hear that Leave voters are unhappy, they ask, ‘What’s the point?’. For Leavers, this deal simply does not deliver the proper break from the European Union that they wanted.”
May has ruled out a rerun of the 2016 vote in which Britons voted 52-48 percent to leave the bloc.
Her Brexit negotiating strategy, which aims for a close relationship with the EU after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019, was only agreed with her cabinet earlier this month after two years of wrangling. Two senior ministers resigned in protest shortly afterwards.
May is now facing a possible rebellion from Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party who want her to ditch her plan when lawmakers vote on amendments to legislation on the government’s post-Brexit customs regime on Monday.
However, she has told unhappy lawmakers that they needed to back her or risk there being no Brexit at all.
Greening said that with divisions in the Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party over how to proceed with Brexit, there should be another vote, with the public able to choose between May’s plans, a “no-deal” break with the EU or remaining in the bloc.
“The only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians, away from the backroom deals, and give it back to the people,” she said.