January 16, 2017 at 11:48 pm

‘Pushback’ policy: Refugees in Serbia fear deportation

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Hundreds of refugees living in poor conditions in the Serbian capital are refusing to go into official camps, fearing it will lead to their deportation.

For Akbar, injured and threatened by the Afghan Taliban, who claims to have had his nose broken by the police in Croatia and his arm broken by the police in Bulgaria, deportation is a constant worry.

“They have deported many people from Bulgaria,” he said. “We are scared. If they deport us to there, Bulgaria will deport us back to Afghanistan.”

Thousands of Afghans and Pakistanis have been deported en masse from countries in Europe.

In Serbia, hundreds were rounded up and moved back to the border with Macedonia.

READ MORE: Concern over EU plans to send refugees back to Greece

At the same time, the Serbian government has told charities and other help groups that they cannot operate in the refugee camps.

The UN has condemned European countries for what it is calling a policy of “pushback”.

Hans Friedrich Soder of UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, said: “It is not in line with the international and European law.

“It should not happen, especially in this winter conditions, because it puts the refugees at hightened risk of being harmed by the cold weather.”

The Serbian government said it will deport the refugees.

However, other countries, including Germany, have done, so trust is in short supply.


Source: Al Jazeera News

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/policy-refugees-serbia-fear-deportation-170116203550288.html

at 11:48 pm

What’s behind growing economic gap?

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The gap between the poor and the super rich is growing. The world’s eight richest people have the same wealth as the poorest half of the entire world.

That’s according to a new report by Oxfam, which describes this trend as obscene, unfair and grotesque.

The eight men are mostly American, including Microsoft’s Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

Oxfam warns this economic inequality threatens to pull societies apart and undermine democracy.

Its report says people have lost trust in their governments and are no longer willing to accept the status quo.

The anti-poverty organisation suggests that may help explain Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election. And the UK’s vote to leave the EU. So what needs to be done to reduce wealth inequality?

Presenter: Laura Kyle


Deborah Hardoon – Deputy head of research at Oxfam

Aly Khan Satchu – CEO of Rich Markets and an emerging-markets economist

Ben Southwood – Head of Research at Adam Smith Institute

Source: Al Jazeera

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2017/01/growing-economic-gap-170116195127848.html

at 11:48 pm

Istanbul New Year nightclub attacker ‘caught’

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A man suspected of killing 39 people in a New Year’s Day attack on a popular Istanbul nightclub has been caught by police, according to Turkish news media.

The alleged shooter, identified as Abdulgadir Masharipov, was captured in an apartment in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district during a massive police operation late on Monday, security sources told state-run Anadolu Agency.

READ MORE: Istanbul nightclub attack aims to create chaos, says Erdogan

Four other people, including a man of Kyrgyz origin and three women, were reportedly detained along with Masharipov.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for the attack on the Reina nightclub, saying it was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.

A view of the Reina nightclub after the New Year’s Day attack [Tolga Bozoglu/EPA]

Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul, said dozens of people had previously been detained in connection to the attack.

“We know that [Masharipov] is an Uzbek citizen,” she said. “When his wife was [previously] arrested, she said she had no clue, no information, that her husband was an ISIL sympathiser.”

Early on January 1, the assailant stormed the popular venue on the Bosphorus and sprayed 120 bullets at partygoers celebrating the start of 2017.

Of the 39 dead, 27 were foreigners, including citizens from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia and Morocco.

At least 69 people were also wounded in the attack.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/istanbul-police-arrest-year-nightclub-shooter-170116213535554.html

at 11:41 am

Hot weather eases for eastern Australia

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Eastern Australia found itself in the grip of an intense heatwave last week, but there will be a brief respite within the next few days.

New South Wales and Queensland have already seen some relief with storms rolling through to break the heat.

Both states experienced some flooding over the weekend as heavy downpours broke out over southeast Queensland. Ipswich received 121mm of rain on Sunday. This is just over the average for the entire month of January which stands at 117mm.

Elsewhere, just 55km further east, Brisbane recorded 83mm of rain in 24 hours. However, 60mm of that fell in just one hour.

Further south, Bellingen in New South Wales notched up 188mm during the weekend. Flooding was widespread along the state’s northeastern coastline. Quieter and cooler weather has now settled in and should remain in place for much of this week.

That hot weather is currently getting pushed into Victoria. Bushfire alerts are in place across the state with total fire bans in place.

Meanwhile, all eyes are currently on Melbourne where the Australian Open tennis has just got underway.

Tuesday is likely to be one of the hottest days of the summer in Melbourne. December 28 is the hottest so far with a high of 38.2C. Tuesday is likely to come close to that figure.

That heat will be short-lived. A ‘southerly buster’ is expected to move through by Tuesday evening. There is the possibility of some showers or longer spells of rain from midweek onwards.

At least the temperatures will be rather more comfortable as they will be pegged back nearer the mid-20s Celsius until the beginning of next week.

Source: Al Jazeera

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/hot-weather-eases-eastern-australia-170116102934913.html

at 11:41 am

Bahrain city hall set on fire after executions

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Bahrain officials said a city hall was set ablaze during a night of clashes between police and protesters, following the execution of three men convicted of a deadly bombing targeting police.

Bahrain’s interior ministry said on Monday that the fire at the Northern City Hall appeared intentional.

It said firefighters were able to contain it.

READ MORE: Bahrain executes three over police killings

Hundreds protested on Sunday over the execution by firing squad of three Shia men accused of the 2014 bombing that killed two Bahraini policemen and an Emirati officer.

Abbas al-Samea, 27, Sami Mushaima, 42, and Ali al-Singace, 21 were executed a week after a court upheld their death sentences over the 2014 attack, the prosecution said in a statement carried by the official BNA state news agency on Sunday. 

Opponents of Bahrain’s Sunni-ruled kingdom saw the men’s charges as politically motivated and alleged the men were tortured.

Seven other defendants received life terms.

Some youth threw gasoline bombs and clashed with police into the night on Sunday. Police fired tear gas and birdshot.

Demonstrators blocked roads with burning tyres and threw firebombs, and police retaliated by firing tear gas, according to posts on social media.

The confrontations continued overnight, with dozens of men and women marching through the streets of the village of Sanabis chanting slogans against the Al-Khalifa dynasty, according to witnesses.

‘Dark day’ for Bahrain

Demonstrators tried to reach the main street of Sanabis, the hometown of the three executed men, but were blocked by security forces.

Sanabis was the closest Shia village to the former Pearl roundabout which was the epicentre of a month-long Shia-led uprising that the security forces crushed in mid-March 2011.

Protests turned violent overnight in several other Shia villages, according to other witnesses who said police opened fire with buckshot to disperse demonstrators, wounding several.

Bahrain’s authorities do not permit international news agencies, including Al Jazeera to cover events independently.

The executions were criticised by international rights groups, as well as Britain and the European Union.

In a post on social media, Human Rights Watch’s Nicholas McGeehan called the executions “unjust and inflammatory”.

“Public, unequivocal condemnation imperative to prevent Bahrain killing more young men,” he wrote.

Amnesty International said the executions were carried out “after an unfair trial and despite claims from the men that they were tortured in custody”, and condemned them as “a dark day for human rights”.

Bahrain denies practicing torture.

Bahrain’s majority Shia population has for decades accused their rulers of discrimination in matters of jobs, housing and political say.

Source: News agencies

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/bahrain-city-hall-set-fire-executions-170116065332823.html

at 11:41 am

Turkish cargo Boeing 747 crashes in Kyrgyzstan

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A Turkish cargo jet has crashed near Kyrgyzstan’s Manas airport, killing at least 32 people, most of them residents of a village struck by the Boeing 747 as it tried to land in dense fog, Kyrgyz officials said.

According to the airport administration, the plane was supposed to make a stopover at Manas, 25km north of capital Bishkek, on its way from Hong Kong to Istanbul on Monday.

It crashed when trying to land in poor visibility at 7:31 local time (01:31 GMT).

The plane crashed into the village of Dacha-Suu near Manas airport Vladimir Pirogov/Reuters]

The crash damaged 15 buildings in the village, said Mukhammed Svarov, head of the crisis management centre at the emergencies ministry, putting the toll at least 32 people after initially reporting 15 deaths.

Medical staff said that six children were among the victims.

At least four pilots on the flight were among the dead, the emergency services ministry said, with one pilot’s body yet to be found.

The country’s Manas airport has been closed and flights cancelled until evening at the earliest, airport authorities said.

ACT Airlines said in a statement that the plane involved in the crash belonged to its fleet.

Kyrgyz authorities earlier on Monday had stated that the aircraft belonged to Turkish Airlines, a claim the company denied.

ACT Airlines said it was “deeply saddened” by the accident and noted that “the cause of the accident is unknown.”

Around 43 houses were damaged by the crash, according to the emergency services ministry.

“The plane crashed into the houses, it killed entire families,” one eyewitness told AFP news agency, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There’s nothing left of the houses, people were killed with their whole family, their children. Many people were sleeping.”

Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov was heading a specially-appointed government commission to probe the crash and the country’s state prosecutor also opened an investigation.

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev cancelled his visit to China to return to Bishkek, according to Kyrgyz media.

Authorities said the country will observe a day of mourning on Tuesday.

Source: Reuters news agency

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/turkish-cargo-plane-crashes-kyrgyzstan-170116033328654.html

January 15, 2017 at 11:39 pm

Pro-reform group criticises arrests in Amman

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The lawyer for one of several anti-corruption activists detained recently by Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate has demanded the immediate release of his client, saying that he is “innocent” and has “committed no crime that warrants his detention”.

Husam al-Abdallat, a former high-ranking Jordan government official, was among the activists arrested in Amman, Jordan’s capital, by the General Intelligence Directorate, or GID, on the night of January 12.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Amman, Musa al-Abdallat, the lawyer, described Husam al-Abdallat’s detention as a “political witch-hunt by the intelligence department which is trying to silence Jordanian patriots who speak out against political and economic corruption”.

Abdallat said he tried to contact Fawaz al-Otoom, the State Security Court prosecutor, but was turned back by the guards at the gate while no one answered the phone at the prosecutor’s office.

The State Security Court prosecutor is legally responsible for issuing the arrest warrants used to hold the detainees, with his office is located at the GID headquarters.

‘Too busy to meet’

The State Security Court deals with serious crimes such as terrorism and drug cases and cases deemed against the government.

The lawyer for another detained pro-reform activist, Mohamad al-Otoom, a retired GID general, told Al Jazeera on Sunday that he was able to talk to the prosecutor, who said he was “too busy to meet [the lawyer] today”, but asked the lawyer to come back at 10:30am [local Jordan time] on Tuesday in order to meet his client and find out if any criminal charges would be filed against him.

Besides Otoom and Abdallat, the GID arrested Lieutenant-Colonel (retd) Wasfi Rawashdeh, a former member of parliament; Brigadier-General (retd) Omar Osoofi; and a member of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood.

It is unclear how many activists have been arrested so far, but the number, according to local news reports, ranges between 16 and 19 people.

READ MORE: Why did Jordanian police attack journalists?

Al Jazeera has learned that the arrests were made after a meeting at Husam al-Abdallat’s home on Thursday afternoon, convened to discuss – according to the organisers – ways to facilitate reform and combat corruption in the public arena.

Local news media said Otoom was present at the meeting, but Otoom’s wife Um Moath, speaking to Al Jazeera by phone from Amman, rejected the reports.

She said her husband had received a phone call at home from the GID on Thursday at 4:30pm local time telling him to come for a meeting with General Faisal al-Shoubaki, head of the GID, at 6:00pm for a discussion on public issues in Jordan.

She also denied insinuations by the local news media that Otoom harboured anti-government and anti-king leanings.

“My husband served this country and the king for 30 years and was always a loyal soldier,” she said.

Arrest warrants

Before his retirement in 2006, Otoom served as head of training at the GID, then as director of Officers Staff Affairs and finally, as the GID’s chief of station in Sudan.

It is not clear if Otoom ended up meeting Shobaki or not. His lawyer said he would have to wait until Tuesday to meet his client to find out what happened.

Otoom is a pro-reform activist within a politically active wing of Jordan’s Military Veterans’ Association informally called Tayyar, or Current.

The Military Veterans’ Association is a civil organisation that caters for the economic and social needs of retired soldiers.

READ MORE: Amman protest: Jordan-Israel natural gas deal in focus

In his first public statement since the arrests, Hani Mulqi, Jordan’s prime minister, was quoted by the State News Agency Petra on Sunday as saying: “The security agencies detained individuals based on arrest warrants issued by the prosecutor of the State Security Court for committing incitement that would arouse the public opinion.”

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Khaled al-Majali, a retired GID officer and an active member of Tayyar, said the group wants more accountability and transparency in response to allegations of corruption in government institutions.

“The security-intelligence establishment in the country is trying to undermine the credibility and the character of the pro-reform activists by spreading false allegations against them to mislead the public,” he said.

‘Public issues’

Wesam al-Abdallat, brother of Husam al-Abdallat, told Al Jazeera his brother was asked by the GID to attend a meeting with high-ranking officers at the intelligence department to discuss “public issues”.

“My brother was never against the regime or the king. My family had served in the military for over 50 years,” Wesam al-Abdallat to Al Jazeera.

When Al Jazeera contacted the GID headquarters in Amman for its comment on the detention of the activists, a spokesperson who declined to identify himself said “the GID did not arrest any of the individuals in question”.

He referred Al Jazeera to the State Security Court for additional information on the subject.

Authorities have prosecuted activists for “undermining the political regime” [M Hamed/Reuters]

Al Jazeera called the State Security Court’s office at the GID headquarters but no one answered the phone.

Adam Coogle, and Middle East researcher for Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera that the detainees could either be released after possibly signing a pledge to stop their public activism or face prosecution.

Since 2011 Jordanian authorities have prosecuted many political activists in the State Security Court under the vague charge of “undermining the political regime” – a terrorism provision.

If authorities prosecute them for online activities, they could also be charged with violating provisions of the Electronic Crimes Law.

Follow Ali Younes on Twitter: Ali_reports

Source: Al Jazeera News

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/jordan-pro-reform-group-decries-arrests-170115180440168.html

at 11:39 pm

Francois Hollande: Two-state solution is the only way

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Paris, France – A two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the only way to bring lasting peace and security to the Middle East, France President Francois Hollande said as officials and civil society groups from more than 70 countries gathered to discuss ways of bringing the conflict back to the negotiating table.

During Sunday’s conference in Paris, Hollande highlighted the wars in Syria and Iraq and said Middle East peace can only be achieved through a negotiated settlement directly between Palestinians and Israelis.

“How could we expect the Middle East to return to stability if we cannot find a solution for one of its oldest conflicts?” he asked.

The summit on the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process was the second called by France in the last eight months.

It was not attended by either Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, or Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, which led many observers to question its significance.

The one-day Paris conference focused on economic incentives, efforts by civil society groups, and “capacity building” for a future Palestinian state.

France has been a major backer of the Palestinians, providing $43m in aid in 2015 and Palestine remains the leading beneficiary of French budgetary assistance.

Hollande noted more than 150 organisations from Palestine and Israel have been brought together under the peace initiative with positive results.

But despite France’s efforts, analysts expressed scepticism at the relevance of the Paris summit.

READ MORE: Who speaks for Palestine?

Alain Gresh, a journalist from France’s Le Monde Diplomatique newspaper, said the initiative was launched in response to the French parliament vote in December 2014 to officially recognise the State of Palestine, which failed to come to fruition.

“The then-foreign minister Laurent Fabius said they wouldn’t recognise it, but that they’d try a diplomatic initiative. And if this initiative was to fail, they’d recognise Palestine. But little by little, this talk of recognition disappeared,” said Gresh.

Of the 193 UN member states, 137 officially acknowledge Palestine as an independent state.

Lost opportunity

Francois Burgat, a political scientist and author, said if the French government wanted to meaningfully bring about peace, it could have taken a harder line with Israel as the occupying power.

“In the  last crisis in Gaza , we saw Hollande affirm Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ and for the first 15 days into the war, France took no initiative to stop the bloodshed,” Burgat, a senior research fellow at the French National Center for Scientific Research, told Al Jazeera.

While no Palestinian officials attended the Paris meeting, Husam Zomlot – ambassador at large for the Palestinian government – told Al Jazeera the French peace initiative was a “a crucial step to reaffirm the international consensus about the Palestinian cause – that is a cause of foreign military occupation that must end”.

The two-state solution, agreed on in the 1993 Oslo accords, has been largely lost with negotiations between the two sides broken off by ever-increasing Israeli settlement activity and violence carried out by both sides.

The settlements are considered illegal under international law and were denounced last month by  the passing of a UN Security Council resolution , which was vehemently castigated by Israeli officials.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, denounced the French summit.

“The conference convening today in Paris is a futile conference,” he said.

“It was coordinated between the French and the Palestinians. It aims to force conditions on Israel that conflict with our national interests.

READ MORE: The French peace initiative ’emptied of all substance’

“It further distances peace because it hardens the Palestinians’ positions and helps them avoid direct negotiations without preconditions.

“Tomorrow will look different – and tomorrow is very close.”

Another variable in any two-state solution is the role of the US, Israeli’s staunch ally.

President-elect Donald Trump has nominated a pro-settlement American as US ambassador to Israel, and suggested the US embassy could be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in what would be a highly contentious decision.

Embassy move

Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s foreign minister, said on Sunday that Trump’s embassy move would have “extremely serious consequences”.

While the Paris meeting was praised by participants, Gresh said he believes even French officials are sceptical it will help revive peace talks as Trump prepares to assume the US presidency on January 20.

“I don’t think French diplomats think this initiative will go anywhere, especially because of Trump,” he said.

“When the French thought about this initiative, they thought they’d be working with [presidential candidate Hillary] Clinton, but now they clearly see this going nowhere.”

Hollande said ultimately it is up the leaders of Israel and Palestine to secure a lasting peace.

“The idea is not to dictate to the parties in the conflict the way forward,” he said.

“I would like to reaffirm here that direct negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis are the only way forward. It is up to their leaders to find an agreement and to convince their people of the necessary compromises.” 


Source: Al Jazeera News

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/francois-hollande-state-solution-170115153830681.html

at 11:39 pm

Sinai residents accuse state of extrajudicial killings

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Egyptians in El Arish, a city in the north of the Sinai Peninsula, are accusing the government of the extra-judicial killing of 10 youths by security forces.

The Egyptian interior ministry, which heads the security forces, said on Friday that members of an armed group opened fire at the security personnel as they approached their hideout in an abandoned house.

It also described those killed as “terrorists”.

However, residents of El Arish said six of those named by the ministry had been detained months ago by Egyptian authorities.

On Saturday, the residents held a meeting and demanded judicial trial of anyone who took part in the alleged killings as well as the release of youths detained without charge.

The residents labelled Egypt’s interior minister “an enemy of the state” and demanded resignations of parliamentarians from their region.


“Listen ruler of Egypt [President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi], the sons of El Arish and the sons of Sinai are one hand,” an El Arish leader said at the meeting.

“They will select a committee to speak on their behalf. They don’t feel that their sons are safe in your jails. They want all of them released immediately, especially those who have no court rulings issued against them.

“They also want to bring to justice all those who killed our sons. Otherwise, we will bring them to justice our way.”

The residents threatened to begin a civil disobedience campaign unless their demands were met within seven days.

OPINION: Sinai insurgency – An enduring risk

El Arish and Sinai are inhibited by Bedouin tribes whose relationship with the central government has been uneasy for years.

The tribes complain of lack of development and of being “collateral damage” in the government war with armed groups and smugglers.

Police and security forces are often accused of torturing them to death.

Killings of suspects

There are growing accusations that the Egyptian government is killing suspects in detention before claiming they were killed in shootouts.

According to a Human Rights Watch report, the government said that its counterterrorism operations in north Sinai killed at least 3,091 “terrorists” between January and July 2015. 

The Arab Organization for Human Rights, a London-based organisation, reported that more than 361 people were killed in Sinai by the Egyptian army in 2014 for allegedly being wanted for terrorist activities.

Nearly 1481 people have been arrested for the same reasons without a shred of evidence or legal due process, the organisation said.

OPINION: Walking into a trap – How I ended up on trial in Egypt

Residents of the mountainous region often complain of heavy-handed tactics by security forces, including collective punishment following particularly deadly attacks against government forces.

The campaign grew more deadly and widespread after the military’s 2013 overthrow of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president.

Sisi, who led Morsi’s removal when he was his defence minister, said last week that 25,000 soldiers are deployed in northern Sinai to fight armed groups.

The previously undisclosed figure appeared to underline the magnitude of the challenge the military faces.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/sinai-residents-accuse-state-extrajudicial-killings-170115201441920.html

at 11:28 am

UN’s Yanghee Lee denied access to Rohingya villages

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UN special rapporteur on human rights Yanghee Lee has been denied access to some areas in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State, with the government citing “security concerns” for its decision. 

Al Jazeera also learned on Sunday that Lee was only allowed to speak to individuals who were pre-approved by the government while she visited Muslim Rohingya villages in the area.

“These are things that will certainly hamper her investigation,” Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi, reporting from Sittwe, said. “Lack of access will make her job more difficult.”

As part of her 12-day visit to Myanmar, Lee is spending three days in Rakhine – home to around 1.2 million stateless Rohingya, a Muslim minority that has suffered decades of poverty and repression, and been denied basic rights such as citizenship and freedom of movement.

READ MORE: Global leaders warn Aung San Suu Kyi over Rohingya

Lee also visited the border guard posts, attacked in October, as well as a prison.

Northern Rakhine has been under strict military lockdown since October 9, when a gang killed nine border police officials near the border with Bangladesh, leading to a clampdown that has left anywhere between 84 and 400 Rohingya dead.

According to the UN, at least 65,000 Rohingya have reportedly fled across the border to Bangladesh to escape violence allegedly committed by the military, including the burning of homes, rape and murder of civilians.

The Myanmar government and military have denied all the allegations.   

On Friday, Lee met Muslim community leaders during her visit to a Rohingya neighbourhood in Sittwe.

Lee also visited border guard posts, the attacks on which in early October triggered clearance operations by the military. 

But a powerful ethnic party rejected a request for a meeting with Lee on Friday evening. 

“We are not meeting her because we don’t believe she and her organisation [the UN] have a will to resolve the issues fairly,” Ba Swe, joint secretary of the Arakan National Party, told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.

UN special rapporteur on Myanmar Yanghee Lee (C) departs from Sittwe to visit areas of northern Rakhine State on Saturday [AFP]

“The issues will never be solved as long as they accept these Bengalis as members of this country’s ethnic groups,” Ba Swe said, using a term that suggests Rohingya are illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.

International pressure

The crisis in Myanmar has put Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration under international pressure, with rights watchdog Human Rights Watch criticising the government of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate for failing to hold the country’s military accountable for the crackdown on Rohingya.

Lee continues her travels through the conflict zone on Sunday before returning to Yangon later in the week.

Al Jazeera’s Looi also said the UN envoy will also look into reports that the flow of aid to Rohingya has been “severely curtailed” since the military operation began three months ago. 

“The UN said they are concerned about the rising rate of malnutrition among the Rohingya in this area, because this is an area, where food security is already in doubt,” Looi said, adding that as many as 150,000 people are dependent on aid.

Across the border in Bangladesh, Al Jazeera’s Maher Sattar, who is reporting from Cox’s Bazar, said Rohingya refugees have also corroborated reports of abuse.

“We’ve come across people, who have been shot. We’ve come across children. Every single person here, they are quite unanimous in their stories of villages being burned and relatives being killed.”

A law passed in Myanmar in 1982 denies Rohingya – many of whom have lived in Myanmar for generations – citizenship, making them stateless.

The law denies Rohingya rights to Myanmar nationality, removes their freedom of movement, access to education and services, and allows arbitrary confiscation of property.

Rohingya have fled Myanmar in droves for decades, with a new wave of migrations occurring since mid-2012 after communal violence broke out.

Because of their lack of citizenship, they are also considered as refugees in Bangladesh, and many of them are confined in refugee camps for decades.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

Article source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/yanghee-lee-denied-access-rohingya-villages-170115074431631.html

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