Sudan protests against Egyptian TV serial

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (R) escorting his Sudanese counterpart Omar Al-Bashir (C) upon the latter’s arrival at the international airport in Cairo. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 19 May 2018
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Sudan protests against Egyptian TV serial

KHARTOUM: Sudan said Saturday it has complained to Cairo about an Egyptian television serial that shows some Egyptians living in the African country being involved in “terrorism.”
The Sudanese foreign ministry said it had summoned the Egyptian ambassador to Khartoum to protest against the series, “Abuamr Al-Masry,” which is being broadcast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The ministry said it had also filed a formal complaint with the Egyptian foreign ministry through its embassy in Cairo against the serial, which is based on a novel of the same name.
“’Abuamr Al-Masry’ shows that some Egyptians living in Sudan are involved in terrorism,” the Sudanese foreign ministry said in a statement.
“This is not true because there is no evidence against any Egyptian living in Sudan of being involved in terrorism.”
The ministry said those Egyptians living in Sudan have come following a coordination between the authorities and security services of the two countries.
“This television serial is insulting Egyptians living in Sudan and destroying the confidence and relations between the people of the two countries,” the ministry said.
“The ministry urges the Egyptian authorities to take suitable steps to stop these attempts at disturbing the interests and achievements of the two countries.”
Diplomatic ties between Cairo and Khartoum have largely remained tense, particularly since last year after Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir accused Egyptian intelligence services of supporting opposition figures fighting his troops in the country’s conflict zones like Darfur.
Ties between the two were further strained after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Khartoum earlier this year.
Turkey and Egypt have had tense relations since the Egyptian military ousted Islamist president Muhammad Mursi in 2013, a close ally of Erdogan.
In recent months tension also rose between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over a controversial dam that Ethiopia is building along its share of the Nile.
Cairo fears that once commissioned the dam will reduce water supplies from the Nile to Egypt.
But on Wednesday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said that a “breakthrough” had been reached in talks with Sudan and Ethiopia over the dam.


UN gives Myanmar aid cut warning over Rohingya camp closures

Updated 18 June 2019
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UN gives Myanmar aid cut warning over Rohingya camp closures

  • Myanmar has closed several camps holding around 9,000 Rohingya
  • They have not been allowed to return to their former homes and remain dependent on handouts

YANGON: The UN has warned it will pare back aid to thousands of Rohingya Muslims left destitute as Myanmar’s government closes camps in Rakhine state, over fears its continued support “risks entrenching segregation.”
Aid agencies are facing an increasingly sharp dilemma in the region as they balance relief for desperate communities with leverage over the government.
The majority of Myanmar’s Rohingya were driven into Bangladesh by a 2017 army crackdown, but around 400,000 remain inside conflict-battered Rakhine.
Those include nearly 130,000 held since 2012 in squalid camps, currently supported by UN agencies and humanitarian groups.
As part of its strategy to address the crisis, Myanmar has closed several camps holding around 9,000 Rohingya.
But they have not been allowed to return to their former homes and remain dependent on handouts. Instead, they are being settled in new accommodation close to the former camps.
That has sparked fears aid agencies are effectively being used to prop-up a policy that fails to address the fundamental needs of the Rohingya, including housing, work, food and security.
The camp closure plan “risks entrenching segregation,” UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar Knut Ostby wrote to the government in a leaked letter, dated 6 June and seen by AFP.
The letter, also written on behalf of aid groups, warned support “beyond life-saving assistance” at the closed sites would in future be linked to “tangible” progress made on “the fundamental issue of freedom of movement.”
“Life-saving” support includes food, health and water, but site planning, shelter construction and education facilities could be phased out, aid agency sources told AFP.
The UN has faced criticism for a slow response to violence against the Rohingya, which escalated after 2012 riots between Muslim Rohingyas and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.
A UN report released Monday admitted “systemic failures” in its handling of the build-up to the Rohingya crisis.
Limited access to Rakhine’s camps makes independent reporting on conditions difficult.
But AFP has reviewed recent interviews conducted in five camps by an NGO requesting anonymity to protect its work.
“If I build a house, it can be seized arbitrarily,” one Rohingya man said.
“I have no right to the land and I can also be arrested at any time.”
An aid worker called the remaining 23 sites in Rakhine little more than “concentration camps.”
On condition of anonymity, she spoke of the “complicity” humanitarian staff feel for perpetuating the segregation.
Amnesty International has described Rakhine as an “apartheid state.”
All aid must be “heavily conditioned,” researcher Laura Haigh said, warning donors that building infrastructure could make them complicit in crimes against humanity.
The government defended the camp closures, telling AFP it would continue working with the UN and NGOs on the issue.
Any former camp resident holding a National Verification Card (NVC) will be able to “move freely within their township” and access “education, health facilities and livelihood activities,” the social welfare ministry said.
Most Rohingya refuse to apply for the card believing they should already be treated as full citizens.
Those interviewed said the few to have caved had no more rights than anyone else.
They were also forced to designate themselves as “Bengali,” a term implying they are from Bangladesh.
“They are just trying to dominate us and make us illegal through different ways,” one Rohingya man said.