Obama to discuss Rohingya massacre on Myanmar visit

Updated 15 November 2012
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Obama to discuss Rohingya massacre on Myanmar visit

PERTH, Australia,: President Barack Obama will discuss the deadly sectarian violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state during his historic visit to the country, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.
She will accompany Obama next week when he makes the first visit to Myanmar by a sitting US president, during which he will meet both President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Clinton said unrest between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists in the western state of Rakhine would “of course” feature in Obama’s talks.
The clashes in that region have so far claimed 180 lives and forced more than 110,000, mainly Rohingya, into makeshift camps.
“We’ve condemned that violence, we’ve called for calm and a meaningful dialogue to address the legitimate needs that are at the base of these underlying issues,” said Clinton.
“And certainly we expect the Burmese authorities to ensure the security and safety of all of the people in the area and to act expeditiously both to stop violence and investigate it, and bring those responsible to justice.”
During the visit Obama will deepen his support for the reform process launched by Myanmar’s president which has seen Suu Kyi, who had been under house arrest for years, become a member of parliament.
Clinton said Obama’s visit was a sign of how far long-isolated Myanmar, formerly know as Burma, had come and reflected an “action-for-action” approach to positive changes there.
“The reforms have a long way to go, the future is not certain, but we are making progress and we want to see that progress continue,” Clinton told reporters.
Washington restored diplomatic relations with Myanmar and ended sanctions on investment in July.
But the United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay last week warned that the conflict in Rakhine could stall the country’s reform-drive and called on Myanmar to allow the Rohingya to become citizens.
The group’s statelessness is at the heart of two deadly outbreaks of unrest between Buddhist and Muslim communities since June.
Rakhine’s 800,000 Rohingya are considered by the UN to be one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.
Obama is also expected to make a speech to civil society groups and may make a stop at a cultural site in Yangon during his visit.


Rights court dismisses Breivik’s complaint about jail conditions

Breivik is serving a 21-year sentence for the July 2011 massacre of 77 people. (Lise Aaserud via Reuters)
Updated 9 sec ago
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Rights court dismisses Breivik’s complaint about jail conditions

STRASBOURG: The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday dismissed a complaint by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik over his prison conditions, ending a long-running saga that kept him in the public eye, tormenting his victims.
Breivik is serving a 21-year sentence for the July 2011 massacre of 77 people, most of them teenagers gunned down while attending a Labour Party youth camp on the small island of Utoeya.
The far-right, anti-Islam extremist took his case to the ECHR after Norway’s Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal last year against a ruling that his near-isolation in a three-room cell respected his human rights.
His lawyer argued that the prison conditions breached articles 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights: the former prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment, the latter guarantees a right to privacy and family life.
“His state (of mind) is deteriorating,” his lawyer Oystein Storrvik told AFP. “He is no longer able to study for example.”
But the court based in Strasbourg said that “its examination of the case did not reveal any violations of the Convention, and rejected the application as inadmissible for being manifestly ill-founded.”
Norwegian officials have repeatedly rejected allegations that Breivik is isolated, arguing that he is treated as a “VIP prisoner” and has regular contact with prison staff, his lawyer and visitors.
He has the use of three cells, each measuring more than 10 square meters and equipped with a television, computer, DVD player and gym gear. He has no Internet connection, however.
Survivors of the Utoeya massacre expressed satisfaction at the ruling.
“It’s a relief. We’re hoping not to hear his name again for many years to come,” Lisbeth Kristine Royneland, the head of a victims’ support group whose 18-year-old daughter was killed by Breivik, told AFP.
Writing on Twitter, a survivor of the massacre, Tore Remi Christensen, wrote: “The Breivik case is rejected in Strasbourg. Delighted. May he and all those who share his shitty message rot in hell.”
Breivik’s killing spree began on July 22, 2011, when he set off a bomb outside a government building in Oslo, killing eight people.
Disguised as a police officer and armed with a semi-automatic rifle and pistol, he then went to Utoya where the Labour Party was holding a youth camp, killing 69.
During his trial the extremist, who has changed his name to Fjotolf Hansen, repeatedly addressed the courts with Nazi salutes and complained about the cold coffee and frozen meals served in prison, among other things.
His sentence can be extended indefinitely if judges determine he remains a threat to society.