Malaysia ready to provide temporary shelter for Rohingya fleeing violence

Rohingyas living in Malaysia protest against the treatment of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims near the Myanmar embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Friday. (REUTERS)
Updated 09 September 2017

Malaysia ready to provide temporary shelter for Rohingya fleeing violence

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s coast guard will not turn away Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar and is willing to provide them temporary shelter, the maritime agency’s chief said on Friday.
Rohingya insurgents attacked several police posts and an army base in Myanmar on Aug. 25. The ensuing clashes and a military counter-offensive have killed at least 400 people and triggered an exodus of more than 160,000 to neighboring Bangladesh.
Malaysia, hundreds of kilometers to the south on the Andaman Sea, is likely to see more boat people from Myanmar in coming weeks and months because of the renewed violence, said Zulkifli Abu Bakar, the director-general of the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency.
However any such voyage would be hazardous for the next few months, because of the annual monsoon.
“We are supposed to provide basic necessities for them to continue their journey and push them away. But at the end of the day, because of humanitarian reasons, we will not be able to do that,” Zulkifli told Reuters, adding that no fresh refugees had been seen yet.
Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation already home to more than 100,000 Rohingya refugees, will probably house the new arrivals in immigration detention centers, where foreigners without documents are typically held, he said.
Malaysia, which has not signed the UN Refugee Convention, treats refugees as illegal migrants.
Thailand has also said it is preparing to receive people fleeing the fighting in Myanmar.
Malaysia will send a humanitarian mission to help refugees seeking shelter at the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, Prime Minister Najib Razak said.
The mission, to be led by the Malaysian armed forces, is a “manifestation of Malaysia’s strong objection of the continued suppression of the Rohingya community by the Myanmar security forces,” Najib said in a statement.
The mission will leave on Saturday to review the situation in refugee camps. Malaysia Airlines and Malindo Air will help in the distribution of aid, the statement added.
Malaysia will hold talks with Bangladesh to set up a military hospital at the border, Najib added.
There are about 59,000 Rohingya refugees registered with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia although unofficial numbers are almost double.
In 2015, mass graves were exhumed at jungle camps on the border between Thailand and Malaysia that were thought to be mainly Rohingya victims of human traffickers.


Indian woman who alleged gang rape dies after burn attack

Updated 07 December 2019

Indian woman who alleged gang rape dies after burn attack

  • The woman was attacked in the state of Uttar Pradesh by a group of men that included two of the five she had accused of gang rape last year
  • The 23-year-old woman suffered extensive injuries and was airlifted Thursday from Uttar Pradesh to Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, where she died late Friday of cardiac arrest

NEW DELHI: An alleged rape victim in northern India who was set on fire while heading to a court hearing in the case has died in a New Delhi hospital, officials said Saturday.
The woman was attacked in the state of Uttar Pradesh by a group of men that included two of the five she had accused of gang rape last year, police said. The two were out of custody on bail.
Five men were arrested in connection with the burn attack, police said.
The 23-year-old woman suffered extensive injuries and was airlifted Thursday from Uttar Pradesh to Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, where she died late Friday of cardiac arrest, said Dr. Shalab Kumar, head of the hospital’s burn unit.
Yogi Adityanath, the state’s chief minister, said that the case would be heard in a fast track court and that the “strictest of punishment will be given to the culprits.”
Priyanka Gandhi, general secretary of the opposition Congress party, faulted the Uttar Pradesh government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, for failing to provide the woman with security, even after a similar case in the state in which a woman who accused a BJP lawmaker of rape was severely injured in a vehicle hit-and-run incident.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, is known for its poor record regarding crimes against women. According to the most recent available official crime records, police registered more than 4,200 cases of rape in the state in 2017 — the most in India.
Government figures for 2017 also show that police registered 33,658 cases of rape in the country. But the real figure is believed to be far higher as many women in India don’t report cases to police due to fear.
Indian courts also seem to be struggling to deal with these cases. Data shows that more than 90% of cases of crimes against women are pending in city courts.
The burn victim’s death came on the same day police in the southern state of Telangana fatally shot four men being held on suspicion of raping and killing a 27-year-old veterinarian after investigators took them to the crime scene. Their deaths drew both praise and condemnation in a case that has sparked protests across the country.
The woman’s burned corpse was found last week by a passer-by near the city of Hyderabad, India’s tech hub, after she went missing the previous night.
Police took the four suspects, who had not been charged with any crime, to the scene to help them locate the victim’s phone and other items, officials said. They said the men grabbed police firearms and began shooting, and were killed when police returned fire.
The Telangana High Court ordered authorities to preserve the bodies of the suspects and submit a video of the autopsies ahead of a court hearing set for Monday.
Separately, the National Commission on Human Rights, an autonomous body within India’s Parliament, sent a fact-finding mission to the crime scene and mortuary where the suspects’ bodies were held on Saturday amid questions from opposition lawmakers about the circumstances of the suspects’ deaths.