USA holds Tatmadaw leaders responsible for Rakhine crisis, says Tillerson

Angelo Anderson
October 19, 2017

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of Congressional lawmakers urged Tillerson to re-impose travel restrictions on Myanmar's military leaders and prepare sanctions against those responsible for the violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

The body said it documented murder, deportation and forcible displacement, torture, rape and other sexual violence, persecution and other inhumane acts such as denying food and other life-saving provisions, which are all considered crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

Amnesty said eyewitnesses of the worst violence "consistently implicated specific units, including the Myanmar Army's Western Command, the 33rd Light Infantry Division, and the Border Guard Police" and that troops were sometimes joined by local vigilantes. "Not more than five people can pray together". "My elder brother's wife, [Zuleka, 70], and daughter, [Mazeda Begum, 25], were both hit by bullets".

"It was near sunset". Australia doesn't care if we live or we die, ' 32-year-old detainee Yahya Tabani told the Guardian. "I narrowly escaped with my sons", she said.

"How can we not empathise with them, when they are living within our neighbouring countries?", he asked. A crisis in May 2015 saw 130,000 leave the northern Rakhine State with at least 8000 Rohingya boarding rickety boats - only to float aimlessly in the Andaman Sea before an agreement brokered between Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia allowed them to land in the Indonesian province of Aceh.

The EU and the United States have been considering targeted sanctions against Myanmar's military leadership, although they are wary of action that could hurt the wider economy or destabilize already tense ties between the country's effective leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the army.

On Oct. 17, a report from UNHCR stated that gunshots could be heard every night near the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

In an October 18 address at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic explained the reason behind the upsurge in the number of those fleeing to Bangladesh.

Contrary to claims by Myanmar authorities insisting Rohingya set fire to their own homes before fleeing, Amnesty International cites evidence, including satellite imagery, of a planned, deliberate, and total burning of Rohingya homes. Of course, this is not even a quarter of what the government had cut from the Myanmar program after slashing $11 billion from overall aid spending in the 2015 budget, leading to admonishment from Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and eye-rolls from the development community across the region. The government has also called for private sector assistance in Rakhine State.

More than 580,000 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since August 25, when Myanmar security forces began a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages.

The authorities needed to allow access to northern Rakhine "so we can get a full accounting of the circumstances", the top United States diplomat said.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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