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  1. Germany suspends development cooperation with Myanmar Star Online Report Germany's Development Minister Gerd Müller said they will suspend all development cooperation with Myanmar until the country ensures safe repatriation of Rohingya refugees. The minister also said Myanmar has an obligation to guarantee that one million refugees can return safely to their homeland, and that it will protect the Rohingyas still living within its borders, according to a press release issued by the ministry. He made the comments during his second day of visiting the largest Rohingya refugee camp in Kutupalong. "I have spoken to Rohingya women today, who have experienced immeasurable suffering. Here in Kutupalong, 800,000 Rohingya people are living in straw huts under the most basic conditions in one of the world's largest refugee camps," said Gerd Müller. Germany will provide 15 million euros in additional funding for education and sanitation measures to help the Rohingya refugees living in the camps in Bangladesh as well as the communities hosting them. The minister also said Europe should now "seriously consider" imposing further sanctions, such as visa restrictions or trade sanctions.
  2. Bangladesh allows education for Rohingya refugee children Independent Online/ AFP Rohingya children living in Bangladesh refugee camps will be allowed to receive a formal education after a change of heart by Dhaka in a move welcomed by right activists. Nearly one million Rohingya, including more than half a million children, live in the squalid and crowded camps near the southeastern border with Myanmar, where many had fled from in 2017 after a brutal military crackdown. The children were previously barred from studying the curriculums used in Bangladesh and Myanmar, and instead received primary education in temporary learning centres set up by the UN children''s agency UNICEF. "We don''t want a lost generation of Rohingya. We want them to have education. They will follow Myanmar curricula," Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen told AFP on Tuesday. The decision came after a meeting of a national taskforce set up by the government. Local media reported that a pilot programme involving more than 10,000 students would be launched soon, with UNICEF and Dhaka jointly designing the curriculum. The refugee children will be schooled in Myanmar history and culture up to age 14, and will also receive skills training so they can take up jobs back in Myanmar when they return home, the foreign ministry said. "I can''t express my joy with words ... generations of Rohingya hardly had any education in their homeland in Myanmar as they were discriminated there and were robbed of their citizenship," Rohingya youth leader and human rights activist Rafique bin Habib said. "The decision will minimise the chances for a Rohingya kid to get radicalised (in the camps)," he added. UN representative in Bangladesh Mia Seppo told AFP the move would "make it easier for them to go back home to Myanmar when the time is right for returns". Some Rohingya children have used fake Bangladeshi identity cards and hidden their ethnic identities to enrol in local schools. Authorities last year expelled scores of them from schools in a drive condemned by rights groups. Tens of thousands of other Rohingya Muslim children were also educated in madrassas set up by Islamic groups in the camps. The decision came almost a week after UN''s highest court ordered Myanmar to do everything in its power to prevent the genocide of Rohingya Muslims.
  3. Two Rohingya women killed as Myanmar army shells village: MP Published: 25 Jan 2020 02:31 PM BdST Updated: 25 Jan 2020 02:31 PM BdST Two women, one pregnant, were killed and seven other people injured after Myanmar troops shelled a Rohingya village on Saturday, according to a lawmaker and a villager, two days after the UN’s highest court ordered the country to protect the minority. Maung Kyaw Zan, a national member of parliament for Buthidaung township in northern Rakhine state, said shells fired from a nearby battalion hit Kin Taung village in the middle of the night. Government troops have been battling ethnic rebels in the state for more than a year. "There was no fighting, they just shot artillery to a village without a battle," he told Reuters by phone, adding it was the second time this year that civilians had been killed. More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee northern Rakhine state in 2017 after a military crackdown that the UN has said was executed with genocidal intent. More recently, the region was plunged into further chaos by fresh fighting between the military and the Arakan Army, a rebel group that recruits from the mostly Buddhist majority in the state. That conflict has displaced tens of thousands and killed dozens. Of the several hundred thousand Rohingya still in Rakhine, many are confined to apartheid-like conditions, unable to travel freely or access healthcare and education. They are caught in the middle of the fighting, and travel restrictions mean they are less able to flee than Buddhist neighbours. In early January, four Rohingya children died in a blast the military and rebels blamed on each other. Two military spokesmen did not answer phone calls from Reuters seeking comment on Saturday's deaths. Soe Tun Oo, a Rohingya villager living a mile from the village, told Reuters by phone two houses were destroyed in the explosion. "The military always shoots heavy weapons… They shoot heavy weapons around the area they suspect. It is impossible to flee to other places, even though we are scared." The Hague-based International Court of Justice ordered Myanmar on Thursday to protect the Rohingya against further atrocities and preserve evidence of alleged crimes, after west African nation the Gambia launched a lawsuit in November accusing the country of genocide. A spokesman for the ruling party told Reuters the country was already protecting Rohingya, but the civilian government had limited power over the military. Civilian authorities govern jointly with the military in an awkward constitutional arrangement that reserves great powers for the commander-in-chief.
  4. Rohingya Genocide Case: ICJ ruling today Diplomatic Correspondent The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to deliver an order today in response to The Gambia’s seeking provisional measures to stop genocide against the Rohingyas in Myanmar’s Rakhine. The top UN court, situated in The Hague, Netherlands and comprised of 15 judges, is scheduled to start delivering the order at 3:00pm (Bangladesh time). The Gambia filed the case with the ICJ, also known as the World Court, in November last year. The West African nation, which is predominantly Muslim, took the legal step on behalf of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which has held a series of meetings to encourage its 57 members to support the case. Lawyers from The Gambia and Myanmar took part in the hearing held on December 10-12. During the hearing, Justice Minister and Attorney General Abubacarr Marie Tambadou led the Gambian side, while the Myanmar side was headed by the country’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has been widely criticised for her role in the Rohingya crisis. The Gambia argued that Myanmar has been committing genocide against the Rohingya Muslim population living in Rakhine state. To prove its case, it cited reports by the UN Fact-Finding Mission and different global rights bodies. About 750,000 Rohingyas fled a brutal military campaign since August 2017 and took shelter in Bangladesh. They joined some 300,000 others who had fled previous waves of violence from Rakhine, where they have been denied citizenship since the 1970s and are deprived of basic rights like health and education, and freedom of movement. More than 24,000 Rohingyas have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces since August 2017, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency, which involved researchers and organisations from Canada, Australia, Bangladesh, Norway and the Philippines. More than 34,000 people were thrown into fire and more than 114,000 others were beaten up, the report said. It also said 17,718 Rohingya women and girls were raped since the Myanmar army and police systematically targeted the world’s most persecuted group. The UN termed it a classic example of ethnic cleansing, while an independent UN Fact-Finding Mission described the violence as having genocidal intent and demanded probing the senior military officers. Though the UN repeatedly adopted resolutions condemning the atrocities by Myanmar, the UN Security Council could take no concrete actions against Myanmar to stop the genocide mainly due to opposition from the country’s close allies -- China and Russia. Bangladesh, influenced by China and India, signed a bilateral deal with Myanmar for the Rohingya repatriation, but the refugees refused to go back to Rakhine, saying the situation there were not conducive to their return and that there was no guarantee of safety and citizenship. The Gambian Justice Minister Tambadou, who worked for years as a lawyer at the UN tribunal that dealt with the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, assumed a position of leadership in the lawsuit because of his special expertise. Both The Gambia and Myanmar are signatories to the UN’s Genocide Convention. Gambia’s filing the case marks the first time a country without any direct connection to alleged crimes has used its membership in the Genocide Convention to bring a case before the ICJ. Earlier, the International Criminal Court began an investigation into the rights violation against the Rohingyas by Myanmar. The ICC holds accountable the individuals, while the ICJ holds accountable the state as a member of the UN Genocide Convention. During the hearing, The Gambia argued that Myanmar had a state policy of eliminating the Rohingyas. Denial of citizenship, Rohingya ethnicity, restrictions on freedom of movement, marriage, health, education, and livelihood since 1970s are all part of that genocidal policy. Further arguing that promoting the narratives of hatred, mass killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence, burning Rohingya villages in 2016 and 2017 bear the testimony of genocide, The Gambia requested the ICJ to ensure provisional measures to stop the ongoing genocide against the Rohingyas. Lawyers for The Gambia also requested that Myanmar shall not destroy or render inaccessible any evidence related to the events described in the application. Myanmar, on the other hand, outright denied the allegations of genocide and ethnic cleansing, though it said its army used disproportionate force and committed crimes against the civilians during clearance operations in Rakhine since August 2017. Talking to The Daily Star, Nay San Lwin, media coordinator at the Free Rohingya Coalition, a global platform of the Rohingyas, said they were expecting the ICJ to order provisional measures to stop the genocide. “We expect it because genocide has happened over the years against us. It still continues. It must stop and the evidences of genocide must be protected for holding Myanmar accountable,” he said over phone from Germany, where he lives. In its analysis, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Myanmar is legally bound to comply with the order, if given by the ICJ. Under article 41(2) of the ICJ Statute, the court’s provisional measures are automatically sent to the UN Security Council. Such an order would increase pressure on the council to take concrete actions in Myanmar, including through a binding resolution to address some of the indicators of genocidal intent. Asked what would happen if China and Russia used their veto at the UN Security Council, Nay San Lwin said he expects that not to happen. “If it happens, it means there will be no future for the Rohingyas as well as for the global justice and humanity. But we hope justice will be done.” https://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/news/rohingya-genocide-case-icj-ruling
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