30,000 displaced by violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine: UN

Myanmar soldiers put out a fire in Wapeik village located in Maungdaw in Rakhine State near the Bangladesh border on Nov. 13, after attackers allegedly set fire to 80 houses. (AFP Photo / Myanmar Armed Forces)
Updated 18 November 2016

30,000 displaced by violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine: UN

YANGON, Myanmar: Up to 30,000 people have been displaced by violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, half of them over the course of last weekend when dozens of people died in clashes with the military, the UN said Friday.
Troops have poured into a strip of land along the Bangladesh border, an area which is largely home to the stateless Muslim Rohingya minority, since coordinated attacks on police posts last month.
The army this week said troops have killed nearly 70 people as they hunt the attackers, although activists say the number could be much higher.
Violence escalated over the weekend, with state media reporting troops had killed more than 30 people in two days of fighting after the army responded to ambushes by bringing in helicopter gunships.
The UN’s special rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, criticized the government led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for their handling of the crisis and called for “urgent action.”
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 15,000 people were believed to have fled their homes over the space of 48 hours.
“Up to 30,000 people are now estimated to be displaced and thousands more affected by the 9 October armed attacks and subsequent security operations across the north of Rakhine State,” said a spokesman for the UN OCHA.
“This includes as many as 15,000 people who, according to unverified information, may have been displaced after clashes between armed actors and the military on 12-13 November.”
Activists have accused troops of killing civilians, raping women and torching homes — allegations the government has vehemently denied.
Authorities have heavily restricted access to the area, making it difficult to independently verify government reports or accusations of army abuse.
A delegation of UN officials and foreign diplomats made a brief trip to the area in an effort to get aid deliveries reinstated, which state media has hailed as proof no abuses had been carried out.
The resurgence of violence in western Rakhine state has deepened a crisis that already posed a critical challenge to Suu Kyi’s administration seven months after it took power.
More than 100 people died in 2012 in clashes between the majority Buddhist population and the Muslim Rohingya, and tens of thousands of them were driven into displacement camps.
The UN’s Lee slammed the government’s handling of the crisis, and urged a transparent investigation into accusations of rape and murder by the security forces.
“State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has recently stated that the government is responding to the situation based on the rule of law. Yet I am unaware of any efforts on the part of the government to look into the allegations of human rights violations,” Lee said in a statement.
“The security forces must not be given carte blanche to step up their operations under the smokescreen of having allowed access to an international delegation. Urgent action is needed to bring resolution to the situation.”


Delta fined $50,000 for discriminating against Muslim passengers

Updated 25 January 2020

Delta fined $50,000 for discriminating against Muslim passengers

  • The flight attendant said she saw Mr.X texting on his cell phone using the word “Allah” several times
  • The captain refused to let the two passengers re-board the plane

WASHINGTON: Delta Air Lines was Friday fined $50,000 by the US Department of Transportation to settle allegations it discriminated against three Muslim passengers who were ordered off their planes.
In its consent order, the department said it found Delta “engaged in discriminatory conduct” and violated anti-discrimination laws when it removed the three passengers.
In one incident on July 26, 2016, a Muslim couple were removed from Delta Flight 229 at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris after a passenger told a flight attendant their behavior made her “very uncomfortable and nervous.”
“Mrs X” was wearing a head scarf and the passenger said “Mr X” had inserted something into his watch.
The flight attendant said she saw Mr.X texting on his cell phone using the word “Allah” several times.
The captain then spoke with Delta’s corporate security, who said Mr.and Mrs.X were US citizens returning home and there were “no red flags.”
However the captain refused to let them re-board the plane.
The Department of Transportation said the captain had failed to follow Delta’s security protocol and it appeared that “but for Mr.and Mrs.X’s perceived religion, Delta would not have removed or denied them reboarding” of their flight.
The second incident covered in the order involved another Muslim passenger who boarded Flight 49 at Amsterdam heading for New York on July 31, 2016.
Other passengers and flight attendants complained about him but the first officer saw nothing unusual about him and Delta security also said “Mr A“’s record had “no red flags.”
The captain prepared the plane for departure but then returned to the gate and had Mr.A removed and his seat searched.
The Transportation Department said the captain had not followed Delta’s security protocol and the removal of Mr.A “after being cleared was discriminatory.”
Delta disagreed that it engaged in discriminatory conduct but “does not dispute that each of these two incidents could have been handled differently,” the order said.
The government said the fine “establishes a strong deterrent against future similar unlawful practices by Delta and other carriers.”
Following the July 2016 incidents, Delta said it had reviewed and enhanced its procedure to investigate suspicious activity “to make it more collaborative and objective.”