Thursday, June 20, 2019

Press Release from MERHROM

Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM) on behalf of all ethnic Rohingya welcomes the 34th ASEAN SUMMIT 2019 that would be held in Bangkok, Thailand from 20th – 23rd June 2019.
The ethnic Rohingya hope something will be done to resolve the plights of the Rohingya. We hope Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia who will leads the Malaysian Delegation to raise the plights of Rohingya during the ASEAN Summit. We believe Tun have the capacity to bring all the member states to end the Rohingya Genocide in the region. We are very thankful to the Malaysian government who host Rohingya refugees for many years. We hope the Malaysian government to help us by taking leadership to end Rohingya Genocide and bring peace in the region. Ending Rohingya Genocide also means ending the Trafficking of Rohingya.
The Rohingya were made Stateless by the Myanmar government but we are the legitimate ethnic of the ASEAN. The ethnic Rohingya must be recognized as legitimate ethnic of ASEAN in order to pave the solution to their Plights. Therefore, we hope the Malaysian government who play the important role to bring Myanmar into ASEAN will be able to pave the way to end the Rohingya Genocide.
In the last year Chairman’s Statement during 33rd ASEAN summit, the Head of the States reaffirm their commitment to the full and effective implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the ASEAN Leader’s Vision for a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN. The Head of the States also stressed the need to find a comprehensive and durable solution to address the root causes of the conflict and to create a condusive environment so that the affected communities can rebuild their lives. However, there is no positive changes on the situation in the Arakan States but the Rohingya continue to be victimized especially after the fight between the Myanmar military with the Arakan Army (AA)
With the Theme ‘Advancing Partnership for Sustainability’ for 2019 ASEAN Summit, we hope the member states will give the top priority to end the Rohingya Genocide. This is very important step forward to achieve the ASEAN Community Vision 2025. How do we ensure “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability” when Rohingya Genocide is ongoing in ASEAN? We must stop the Rohingya Genocide in order to foster ASEAN community, economy and politic. This is very important for future direction of ASEAN.  
We call on the Head of States of ASEAN, the Foreign Minister and the Women Minister to visit the largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazaar to meet with the Rohingya refugees to get the first hand information. We hope with that information, the ASEAN Leadership can draw a permanent solution for the Rohingya in Arakan State.  The repatriation is not the solution to the Rohingya Genocide. The ASEAN Leaders must not agree to the plan to repatriate the Rohingya to Myanmar as long as the Genocide is ongoing. We must learn from the past repatriation by Bangladesh and Myanmar government where thousands of Rohingya were prosecuted by the Myanmar government once they arrived in Arakan States. The plan to repatriate Rohingya to Myanmar only increases the human trafficking indexs in the region and benefits the traffickers.
Currently, there are lots of IDP Camps in the Arakan Sates established in 2012 which hosting primaly ethnic Rohingya. The Myanmar government still could not resolve the IDP issues since 2012. Now, 7 years was past but still the Rohingya cannot return to their homes. How we going to repatriate over 1 million Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazaar to Myanmar while the IDPs issues still were not resolve?
In Conjuntion with the World Refugee Day tomorrow, 20th June 2019, MERHROM call upon the United Nations Security Council, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, World Leaders and the International Community to come together to end the Rohingya Genocide. We must have the political will to end the Genocide otherwise our efforts and resources will be wasted. We cannot wait any further as the Rohingya Genocide already at the last stage of Genocide. We hope on this World Refugee Day 2019, there is new hope for the Rohingya and the rest of the refugees around the world. We hope together we can fight the Crimes Against Humanity and End the Genocide in this Century.
Thank you.
Prepared by,
Mr.Zafar Ahmad Bin Abdul Ghani
Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM) 

Morsi murdered by denying treatment for 20 minutes

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who died on Monday, was left without first aid for 20 minutes after collapsing in a courtroom during his trial, The Independent newspaper reported.
Morsi, who became Egypt’s first democratically elected president in 2012 but was overthrown in a military coup the following year, was left “slumped on the floor” of the defendants’ cage while other defendants called for help.
Morsi was being tried for charges including having contact with Hamas and Hizballah, which are widely seen as political. The Egyptian state has regular contact with Hamas and mediates between them and Israel.
The 67-year-old former president was suffering from diabetes, hypertension, and liver disease, and was held in solitary confinement in prison for 23 hours a day while being denied medical treatment.

Last March, a panel of British MPs warned that Morsi could die prematurely if treatment continued to be denied.
The Independent quoted Abdullah al-Haddad, whose father and brother were also on trial alongside Morsi, as saying that “no one bothered” to aid Morsi after he collapsed.
“He was left slumped for a while until the guards took him out. An ambulance arrived after 30 minutes. Other detainees were first to notice his collapse, they started shouting. Some of them, who are doctors, asked the guards to let them treat him or give him first aid,” Mr Haddad told The Independent.
“Neglecting him at the beginning was deliberate. The first thing the prison guards did after detainees started shouting was to get family members out of the courtroom.”
Another activist who wished to remain anonymous told The Independent, “about 10 minutes after [Morsi] had stopped speaking, the people inside the cage started banging on the walls of the cage saying he is unconscious and they need help”.
The testimony of Mr Haddad and the anonymous activist contradict the official Egyptian government version of events, which said that Morsi “was transported immediately to hospital” after collapsing.
The United Nations yesterday called for an independent inquiry into Morsi’s death.
"Any sudden death in custody must be followed by a prompt, impartial, thorough and transparent investigation carried out by an independent body to clarify the cause of death," said Rupert Colville, the spokesman for the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights.

Bret Stephens, the Warmonger

The teaser for a recent Bret Stephens column in The New York Times accurately summarizes its contents: “If Iran won’t change its behavior we should sink its navy.”
We’ve done it before and, by golly, we can do it again. Stephens offers his readers this sanitized version of history to make his case: “On April 14, 1988, the U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts, a frigate, hit an Iranian naval mine while sailing in the Persian Gulf. The explosion injured 10 of her crew and nearly sank the ship. Four days later, the U.S. Navy destroyed half the Iranian fleet in a matter of hours. Iran did not molest the Navy or international shipping for many years thereafter.”
Stripped bare of context, that paragraph is factually correct. But stripping it of context, as Stephens does, transforms it into a form of untruth, not a blatant lie perhaps, but an exercise in sleight of hand. Indeed, the very purpose of his column is not to enlighten, but to deceive and manipulate.
Americans are susceptible to this sort of argument. We like to think that the Pearl Harbor attack came out of the blue, ignoring the years of escalating antagonism between the United States and Japan that preceded it. Our version of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis portrays it as an unprovoked act of aggression, conveniently forgetting U.S. efforts over the previous two years to overthrow or assassinate Fidel Castro. And we prefer to divorce decades of muddled U.S. policies in the Middle East from the heinous crime of 9/11, pretending that the former played no role in inspiring the latter.
Yet bad history leads to bad policy. Stephens implicitly suggests that the incident involving the Samuel B. Roberts was itself an unprovoked attack. In fact, the story is a bit more complicated and those complications deserve reflection today.
Here is just some of the context that Stephens chooses to leave out.
Item: In 1988, Iran was in the eighth year of a war with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq; Saddam had initiated that conflict by invading Iran, an unprovoked and illegal act of aggression.
Item: Beginning in December 1983, the United States had thrown its support behind the Iraqi dictator, providing him with battlefield intelligence and various types of material support; starting in 1985, in what became known as the Iran-Contra affair, the Reagan administration also began secretly providing arms to Iran.
Item: In 1984, Iraq had begun attacking ships involved in exporting Iranian oil; Iran responded in kind, attacking tankers belonging to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, countries that were bankrolling Saddam’s war effort.
Item: On May 17, 1987, with the double-dealing of Iran-Contra having become public, an Iraqi fighter-bomber attacked the USS Stark, nearly sinking it and killing 37 American sailors; Secretary of State George Shultz blamed Iran for the incident, attributing it to a “basic Iranian threat to the free flow of oil and to the principle of freedom of navigation”; in fact, both Iran and Iraq were engaged in impeding the free flow of oil.
Item: That July, the U.S. Navy began escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers transiting the Persian Gulf; the Pentagon also began preparing for offensive operations, concentrating additional combat assets in the region.
Item: On September 21, 1987, U.S. forces initiated a campaign of escalating attacks directed at Iranian mine-laying vessels and oil platforms; the United States had now effectively become a full-fledged ally of Saddam Hussein.
Item: Months later, the Samuel Roberts inadvertently wandered into a field of floating mines; the resulting U.S. fatalities were 37 fewer than those killed on the USS Stark but the incident provided the needed pretext for the United States to respond four days later on April 18, 1988 with Operation Praying Mantis, which decimated Iran’s minuscule navy.
Item, a notable footnote that goes unmentioned in Stephens’ column: Not long thereafter, on July 3, 1988, the USS Vincennes, a cruiser intruding into Iranian territorial waters, shot down Iran Air Flight 655, killing all 290 civilians aboard; senior U.S. officials, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then lied about the circumstances leading to this incident; a U.S. Navy investigation charged Iran with “principal responsibility” for what it termed a “tragedy”; no apologies were forthcoming; Vice President George H.W. Bush said it best: “I will never apologize for the United States—I don’t care what the facts are.”
Within weeks, the Iran-Iraq War ended in a UN-brokered ceasefire. The United States had enabled Saddam to survive. Two years later, America’s erstwhile ally invaded and annexed Kuwait.
So, yes, in Operation Preying Mantis, U.S. forces did defeat the Iranian navy. Yet prevailing in this insignificant skirmish accomplished little apart from paving the way for further aggression by Saddam Hussein.
“Nobody wants a war with Iran,” writes Stephens. Actually some people do want war, almost surely including President Trump’s secretary of state and national security adviser. So, too, does Stephens himself. The deceptive history that he chooses to propagate can have no purpose except to promote armed conflict and to impede any understanding into America’s role in planting the seeds of forever war.
Andrew Bacevich is The American Conservative’s writer-at-large.

'World Refugee Day’: Palestinians Keep Their Right of Return Alive Through Hope, Resistance


The United Nations’ World Refugee Day, observed annually on June 20, should not merely represent a reminder of "the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence."
It should also be an opportunity for the international community to truly understand and actively work towards finding a sustainable remedy to forced displacement, for no woman, man or child should be forced to endure such grueling, shattering and humiliating experience in the first place.
Palestinians who have withstood the degradation of exile for over 70 years embody the harshness of this collective experience more than any other group.
To be a refugee means living perpetually in limbo – unable to reclaim what has been lost, the beloved homeland, and unable to fashion an alternative future and a life of freedom, justice and dignity.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are currently 68.5 million people around the world who have been forced out from their homes, with 25.4 million of them classified as refugees.
Of the officially listed refugees, 5.4 million are Palestinians, registered with the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
For Palestinians, the grim reality of being a refugee is compounded through the absence of any political horizon, enough to convey a sense of hope that, 70 years after the genesis of the Palestinian refugee crisis, a remedy is at hand.
Abandoned in this seemingly eternal quest for a homeland, Palestinians hold tighter onto hope, because it is hope alone that feeds their own sense of determination, which neither time nor distance will stand between them and their Right of Return. This internationally-honored right is etched in the hearts and minds of millions of Palestinians everywhere.
The archetypal image of a refugee – a man, a woman, a child holding on to the pole of a tent, charting a path of exile to no specific place, imploring UN officials for help, and the world for mercy – is, by itself, not enough to deconstruct the complexity of that identity. To belong to a place that has ejected you, yet to seek an alternative home in places to which you do not belong, culturally and in every other way, confuses one’s sense of being. The psychological trauma alone is shattering.
While Palestinians continue to hold on to a sense of identity in their various spaces of exile – refugee camps across Palestine and the Middle East – their prolonged odyssey is seen as a "problem" to be haphazardly fixed, or entirely dismissed, in order for Israeli Jews to maintain their demographic majority.
The mere fact that the Palestinian people live and multiply is a “demographic threat” to Israel, a "demographic bomb," even. This unmistakably racist notion is wholly embraced by Israel’s allies in Washington and elsewhere.
When Israel and its friends argue that the Palestinians are an “invented people“, not only are they aiming to annihilate the Palestinian collective identity, but they are also justifying in their own minds the continued killing and maiming of Palestinians, unhindered by any moral or ethical consideration.
Israel and the US will do anything in their power to trivialize the centrality of the Palestinian refugee question and its relevance to any future just peace in Palestine.
Nearly a million Palestinian were made refugees following the establishment of Israel on the ruins of historic Palestine in 1948. Hundreds of thousands more acquired that dismal status in subsequent years, especially during the Israeli war and occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza in 1967.
The 5.4 million refugees registered with UNRWA are those original refugees and their descendants.
Israel has never agreed to take responsibility for the consequences of its violent inception – the ethnic cleansing, the untold destruction of towns and villages and the very erasure of historic Palestine.
Even during the Oslo Peace Process, Israel refused to discuss the core issue of refugees, relegating it to the "final status negotiations", which have never taken place and will, most likely, never actualize.
In the meantime, Palestinian refugees have been sentenced to subsist in this unfair status – neither here nor there. If there was such a status as second, third and fourth time refugees, Palestinians would have acquired that, as well.
Indeed, millions of Palestinian refugees have been exiled more than once, from Palestine to Jordan or Lebanon; from there to Syria, and back and forth.
The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the current war in Syria have taught us that Palestinian refugees with relatively better living conditions are not safe, either.
The small Palestinian refugee community in Iraq was persecuted after the invasion, to the point that they were forced to leave, en masse, to any country willing to take them. Many of them ended up as refugees in South America.
The same sordid scenario was repeated in Syria and will, tragically, be replayed elsewhere in the future.
Instead of remedying the crisis with a degree of moral and legal accountability, successive US administrations have tried to marginalize the importance of the Right of Return.
Israel, on the other hand, has targeted refugee communities through wars and massacres, most notably during the 1982 war and invasion of Lebanon, and the subsequent Sabra and Shatila Massacre in September of that same year.
Now, with the help of the Donald Trump’s administration, Israel and the US are orchestrating even more sinister campaigns to make Palestinian refugees vanish through the very destruction of UNRWA and the redefining of the refugee status of millions of Palestinians.
By denying UNRWA urgently needed funds, Washington wants to enforce a new reality, one in which neither human rights, nor international law or morality are of any consequence.
What will become of Palestinian refugees seems to be of no importance to Trump, his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, and other US officials. The Americans are now watching, hoping that their callous strategy will finally bring Palestinians to their knees so that they will ultimately submit to the Israeli government’s dictates.
The Israelis want the Palestinians to give up their Right of Return in order to get “peace”. The joint Israeli-American “vision” for the Palestinians basically means the imposition of apartheid and keeping Palestinian exiles in a never-ending ordeal.
The Palestinian people will never accept this injustice.
The Right of Return remains a driving force behind Palestinian resistance, as the Great March of Return demonstrated in Gaza, starting March of last year.
All the money in Washington’s coffers will not reverse what is now a deeply embedded belief in the hearts and minds of millions of refugees throughout Palestine, the Middle East and the world.
Palestinian refugees may not top the political agenda of the Middle East at the moment, but it is their persistence, determination and undying hope that will keep their cause alive until international law is respected and human rights are truly honored.

Iran downs a US drone

A U.S. official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity as the information had yet to be cleared for release to the public.
The incident heightens tensions between Tehran and Washington after Donald Trump withdrew from a nuclear deal, which is still supported by allies including Britain and France.
The downing of the RQ-4 Global Hawk comes after the U.S. military previously alleged Iran fired a missile at another drone last week that responded to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. blames Iran for the attack on the ships, something Tehran denies.
A U.S. official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity as the information had yet to be cleared for release to the public.
The incident heightens tensions between Tehran and Washington after Donald Trump withdrew from a nuclear deal, which is still supported by allies including Britain and France.
The downing of the RQ-4 Global Hawk comes after the U.S. military previously alleged Iran fired a missile at another drone last week that responded to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. blames Iran for the attack on the ships, something Tehran denies.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Dozens of mosques, major shrines 'razed' in China's Xinjiang


At least 31 mosques and two major Islamic shrines in China's Xinjiang have been partly or completely demolished since 2016, according to a new report, as Beijing steps up a clampdown targeting Muslims in the northwestern region.
An investigation by the Guardian and Bellingcat, published on Tuesday and based on analysis of satellite imagery, said 15 of the mosques and both shrines appear "to have been completely or almost completely razed".
The rest of the structures had guesthouses, domes and minarets removed, according to the United Kingdom-based newspaper and the investigative website. 
"The demolition of mosques is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to China's brutal crackdown on the 12 million Uighur Muslims who live in Xinjiang," said CJ Werleman, a journalist and author who has collected testimonies from dozens of Uighur refugees.
"Credible and corroborated reports and testimony point to evidence authorities are deploying the whole gamut of repressive measures to carry out what can only be described as cultural genocide including the establishment of a network of concentration camps; accounts of torture, forced marriage, and adoption and sterilisation programmes," he told Al Jazeera.
Among the sites completely destroyed was the Imam Asim shrine, which used to attract thousands of Uighur pilgrims each year.
Its mosque and other buildings have been torn down and only the tomb remained, the Guardian reported.

'Quite shocking'

Rian Thum, a historian of Islam at the University of Nottingham, called the images of Imam Asim in ruins as "quite shocking".
"Nothing could say more clearly to the Uighurs that the Chinese state wants to uproot their culture and break their connection to the land than the desecration of their ancestors' graves, the sacred shrines that are the landmarks of Uighur history," Thum told the Guardian.
The United Nations human rights panel said last year it has received credible reports that China is holding more than one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in "mass internment camps".
Beijing calls them vocational training centres aimed at stemming the threat of "Islamic extremism".
Activists say practising Islam is forbidden in some parts of China, with individuals caught praying, fasting, growing a beard or wearing a hijab, a headscarf worn by many Muslim women who feel it is part of their religion, facing the threat of arrest.
According to the Human Rights Watch, Beijing keeps a database of "DNA samples, fingerprints, iris scans and blood types of all residents between the age of 12 and 16" in Xinjiang.
Meanwhile, in January, Beijing passed a new law that seeks to "Sinicize" Islam.
The United States government has weighed sanctions against senior Chinese officials in Xinjiang, a vast region bordering central Asia that is home to millions of Uighurs and other Muslim minority people.
China has warned that it would retaliate "in proportion" against any US sanctions.
Michel Bachelet, the UN human rights chief, has asked for access to Xinjiang to investigate the claims of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions in the region.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera News

Morsi killed - Erdogan says

Turkey’s president has accused Egyptian authorities of murdering former president Mohamed Morsi, who died after collapsing in court on Monday, and vowed to see them prosecuted in an international court.
At an election rally in Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Morsi “did not die, he was murdered” and called on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to act on his death.
Morsi, who was suffering from diabetes, hypertension and liver disease, collapsed after speaking during a retrial hearing in Cairo over charges of collaborating with foreign powers and militant groups.
Mr Erdogan said: “Unfortunately, Mohamed Morsi was on the ground of the courtroom flailing for 20 minutes. No official there intervened. Morsi did not [die] naturally, he was killed.”
The office of Egypt’s attorney-general has denied claims that he was murdered and argued he “was transported immediately to the hospital”, where he was later pronounced dead.
Friends and colleagues of Morsi have accused security forces of murdering the former president and claim that police failed to administer first aid fast enough when he collapsed.
Prison guards allegedly left the 67-year-old “slumped on the floor” in the courtroom for more than 20 minutes, despite other defendants calling for help.
United Nations’ spokesperson Rupert Colville has called for a “prompt, impartial, thorough and transparent investigation” into Morsi’s death and his detention conditions.
In response, Egypt accused Mr Colville of making “politicised and immature” remarks.
Morsi, who was Egypt’s first democratically elected president, was buried quietly in Nasr City, an eastern suburb of the capital, on Tuesday.