Showing posts from April, 2020

Around 100 Rohingya refugees died at sea, hundreds more left to starve, warns MSF

Around 100 Rohingya refugees died upon a voyage from refugee camps in Bangladesh to Malaysia earlier this month, with hundreds of others left to starve on the boat at sea, according to a release from Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontiéres – MSF). More than a million Rohingya – Muslims from majority-Buddhist Myanmar’s western Rakhine province – have been forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh since 2017 due to targeted violence at the hands of the Myanmar military which the UN described as having “genocidal intent.” But in March 2019, Bangladesh announced it was no longer taking in refugees, while conditions in the camps have deteriorated, forcing some Rohingya to try and flee to a new location. According to MSF, hundreds tried to travel to Malaysia this month – but were beaten and starved by people smugglers on the voyage, with the ship eventually returning to Bangladesh two months later after being denied permission to land in Malaysia. The exact number of people who died i…

ARNO Press Release

“Leaving no one behind” amidst genocide: the Myanmar government’s response to Covid-19 in Rakhine State 

On April 10, 2020, the Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release, “Myanmar leaves no one behind in its fight against COVID-19 in Rakhine State,” describing its intensified efforts to raise public awareness about the virus “in Rakhine and Muslim villages and IDP camps,” and to work with the UN and INGOs to address any possible outbreak in the IDP camps.

International donors are rallying behind these efforts. The World Bank has approved a USD 50 million loan to improve the government’s health care system. The multi-lateral Access to Health Fund has raised 6.2 million dollars. UNOCHA ’s weekly Myanmar Covid-19 situation updates describe ongoing awareness and prevention programs in the IDP camps, by both the Myanmar government and international aid agencies.

While all aid to the IDP camps in Rakhine State is, of course, welcome, and desperately needed, ARNO urges intern…

India should be placed on religious freedom blacklist, US panel says

A US government panel has called for India to be put on a religious freedom blacklist over a “drastic” downturn under the prime minister, Narendra Modi, triggering a sharp response from New Delhi. The US commission on international religious freedom recommends but does not set policy, and there is virtually no chance the state department will follow its lead on India, an increasingly close US ally. In an annual report, the bipartisan panel said that India should join the ranks of “countries of particular concern” that would be subject to sanctions if they do not improve their records. “In 2019, religious freedom conditions in India experienced a drastic turn downward, with religious minorities under increasing assault,” the report said. It called on the US to impose punitive measures, including visa bans, on Indian officials believed responsible and grant funding to civil society groups that monitor hate speech.
The commission said that Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, which won …

The face of Hindutvadi fascism and intolerance

'Do not buy from Muslims': BJP leader in India calls for boycott

"Keep one thing in mind. I am telling everyone openly. There is no need to buy vegetables from 'miyans' [Muslims]," legislator Suresh Tiwari from Deoria town in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh was heard saying in the mobile phone video that went viral on Tuesday.
Millions in India are facing unprecedented job losses and hunger because of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, with daily wagers, vendors and small shopkeepers being severely affected. As outrage grew, the BJP asked Tiwari why action should not be initiated against him over his call to boycott Muslim vendors. 'Precautionary measure' A report in the Hindustan Times quoted Tiwari as saying his call for a boycott was "a precautionary measure to protect people from getting infected". "On April 18, I was distributing masks among people in Deoria when people complained that Tablighi Jamaat was spreading the infec…

Who are the Uyghurs, China's Islamic minority?

The Uyghurs are an ethnic minority living in China’s autonomous northwestern Xinjiang province. Being predominantly Muslim, Uyghurs are closer ethnically and culturally to other Central Asian nations like Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan rather than China.