Burmese dictatorship’s genocide of Rohingya people


This 1 September 2017 Times of India video says about itself:

Rohingya women, children die in desperate boat escape from Myanmar

A group Rohingyas from Myanmar were found washed up on the shores of Shah Porir Dwip island in Bangladesh.

By John Roberts:

Over the last week, the Burmese (Myanmar) government led by Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi has fully collaborated with the military’s “clearance operations” against the Rohingya Muslim population of northwestern Rakhine state.

According to UN officials, since the ethnic cleansing campaign began on August 25, supposedly in response to attacks on security forces, nearly 90,000 Rohingya refugees have fled, driven out by the military’s scorched earth policy and widespread killings.

On Monday, another 20,000 refugees were massed on the border with Bangladesh. The Bangladesh government has ordered all refugees be turned back. However, as one border guard told Agence France Presse, the sheer numbers made it impossible to stop the influx. “It’s bigger than the last time,” he said.

As of Monday, the UN estimated that 87,000 new refugees had fled, bringing the total to 150,000 since October. The previous “clearance” operations that began in October and lasted for five months were in response to earlier, smaller attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

A catastrophic situation is now developing in the refugee camps. The overall numbers in Bangladesh have risen to more than 400,000.

As in October, the military, in league with Burmese nationalist thugs, exploited the ARSA attacks as the pretext for unleashing pre-planned pogroms. The army has been building up its forces in the area since at least early August. Its aim is to completely drive the Rohingya out of Burma, where many families have lived for generations.

Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) have backed the military at every step. On Monday, the media revealed that President U Htin Yyaw, who was appointed by Suu Kyi and the NLD, granted military chief General Min Aung Hlaing’s “request” to declare the whole region “a military operational area.”

At the border police headquarters in Kyee Kan Pyin, Major Ko Soe said the operational area covered Buthidaung, Maungdaw and Rathedaung townships as well as Taungpoletwe and Myinlut sub-townships. U Htin even backdated the decree to August 25, thus legitimising the crimes already carried out.

Major Soe said the president’s decision ensured “decisive actions can be taken against terrorist organisations in clearance operations.” As of Saturday, 11,700 non-Muslim “ethnic residents” also have been driven out of the area, which has been sealed off to the media and non-government organisations.

The army only admitted the destruction of 2,700 homes after the US-based Human Rights Watch accessed satellite images that showed 10 villages and towns had been torched in Rohingya areas parallel to a 100-kilometre stretch of coastline. HRW said the area was five times larger than that torched by security forces last October to November, when 1,500 dwellings were destroyed.

At a military ceremony last Friday, General Hlaing said 11 police and two soldiers, as well as 16 civilians and officials, had been killed and eight bridges and 2,700 homes had been destroyed. An August 31 army statement said there were 90 clashes between the security forces and the ARSA in late August, in which 370 alleged militants had been killed.

Suu Kyi and the military blame the death and destruction on the primitively-armed militia of ARSA, which announced its existence last October. Burmese security officials claim the group began recruiting six months earlier. The group has been isolated by the Bangladesh government’s offer to assist the Burmese in cracking down on the insurgents.

The NLD and the military are both deeply imbued with anti-Rohingya chauvinism that brands the Rohingya as illegal “Bengali” immigrants. They are treated as non-citizens with no basic democratic rights.

At Friday’s ceremony, General Hlaing denounced the “Bengalis” for having fought with the British military in 1942. This must never happen again, he said, and the army would defend Burmese sovereignty.

Hlaing’s reference to the “Bengalis” in 1942 points to the reactionary roots of Burmese nationalism. Whereas some Muslim Rohingya were recruited by the British colonial authorities into its military forces, a layer of Burmese nationalists collaborated with Japan after it falsely promised to grant independence.

Japan’s colonial regime formed the Burma Independence Army (BIA), which fought the British alongside the Japanese military. Among its recruits were the “Thirty Comrades,” who included Suu Kyi’s father Aung San and Ne Win, who went on to found the Burmese army after the end of World War II. Ne Win led the military dictatorship from 1962 to 1988.

When the BIA forces entered Burma with the Japanese army, they were particularly brutal in attacking ethnic minorities they defined as British collaborators. Many were killed. At one point, the Japanese had to rein in some BIA militias from attacking ethnic groups.

These are the traditions invoked by Genereal Hlaing. He said the Bengali “problem” was “a long-standing one which has become an unfinished job.” The obvious implication is that the time has come to finish the job through brutal ethnic cleansing.

That is exactly what Rohingya refugees describe.

Jalal Ahmed, 60, entered Bangladesh last Friday among a group of 3,000. He told Reuters the army arrived with 200 people and set fire to the whole village. Other specific reports of beheadings and shootings in the fields and villages have been made to the aid agency, Fortify Rights.

Reports to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last February, based on hundreds of interviews at different refugee centres, provided further evidence. Many Rohingya, particularly adult males aged 17-45, simply disappeared. Satellite images raised the probability of large-scale killings and abuses that constitute crimes against humanity.

UN officials called for an inquiry into the Burmese military’s activities, including in 2012 and 2014, but the Suu Kyi government refused to cooperate.

The scale of the latest “clearance operations” led to formal protests by Malaysia, Turkey and Pakistan. Indonesian President Joko Widodo sent Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi to Burma and Bangladesh. There have been demonstrations and protests outside Burmese embassies internationally.

Western nations, however, while critical of the military’s activities, have refused to condemn Suu Kyi and her government. British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, for instance, described her “as one of the most inspiring figures of our age” and urged her to use her “remarkable qualities” to end the violence.

These comments were made with full knowledge of Suu Kyi’s collaboration with the military pogroms, to obscure the responsibility of her imperialist backers for what is now taking place.

The Suu Kyi-led government is in large part the creation of the European Union and the United States. London, Brussels and Washington promoted her as a “democratic icon” and endorsed her alliance with the military junta in 2011.

The Western imperialist opposition to the Burmese military had nothing to do with its crimes and abuses of democratic rights but was bound up with its orientation to Beijing. Once the junta opened Burma to Western investment and reoriented its foreign policy, US and European concerns about “human rights” were quickly shelved.

During a visit to Burma (Myanmar) this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi explicitly endorsed the ongoing military repression of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s northwestern Rakhine state. His government and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are both moving to forcibly deport thousands of poverty-stricken Rohingya refugees: here.

British Conservative minister, ex-spin doctor for anti-human rights tobacco corporation


This video says about itself:

British American Tobacco targeting African children with cigarettes

3 May 2012

Duncan Bannatyne takes on the company behind Embassy, Pall Mall and Benson & Hedges and asks them why they’re targeting African children, in the face of falling smoker numbers in the west.

From weekly The Observer in Britain:

Minister worked as spin doctor for tobacco giant that paid workers £15 a month

Priti Patel worked for PR firm Shandwick on improving BAT’s image over Burma factory, and also lobbied MEPs against EU tobacco regulations

Jamie Doward

Sunday 31 May 2015 00.04 BST

The employment minister, Priti Patel, was part of a team of spin doctors paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to help a tobacco giant counter negative publicity, including that surrounding its joint venture with one of the world’s most brutal military regimes.

Documents unearthed by the Observer shine new light on Patel’s work for Shandwick, a lobbying and PR firm that worked for British American Tobacco (BAT) in the early years of this century.

The documents, released by BAT following a legal action, show that Patel was one of seven employees used by Shandwick on the account. One of her jobs was to lobby MEPs against the introduction of the EU tobacco control directive, which was introduced shortly after the new millennium. She was charged with ensuring that a letter from the BAT chairman at the time, Martin Broughton, outlining his objection to the directive, was faxed to every MEP.

But internal BAT documents show that in addition to her work lobbying MEPs, Patel’s team played a key role in fashioning the company’s public profile. In a memo dated 14 December 2000, a senior executive within the company, Andreas Vecchiet, conducted an annual appraisal of the Shandwick team’s performance. “We have mainly used Shandwick for project-based work relating to the WHO [World Health Organisation] campaign, NGO monitoring … reputation issues relating to Burma, and some limited advice relating to Nigeria and labour standards.”

BAT’s position in Burma at the turn of the millennium was hugely controversial. “BAT’s factory in Burma was jointly owned with the military dictatorship and so helped fund one of the most brutal military dictatorships in the world,” said Anna Roberts, executive director at Burma Campaign UK. “BAT refused to admit how much money it gave to the dictatorship, but Burma Campaign UK estimated that BAT paid the generals $16m (£10m) in taxes alone between 1999 and 2002. In contrast, BAT paid its factory workers in Burma just £15 a month. The dictatorship spent 40% of its budget on the military.”

Following widespread public outrage, BAT pulled out of Burma in 2003.

The tobacco giant also came under fire in Nigeria after children as young as seven were found to be working on farms supplying it with tobacco leaf. BAT insists it has always been opposed to the use of child labour. … However, some labour organisations have expressed concerns that the practice is continuing.

Despite Shandwick’s efforts, BAT was not impressed with the team’s performance, notably on its work regarding Burma. “The main issues we have are lack of timeliness and responsiveness,” Vecchiet notes. “We find the accuracy of information from basic raw material is often lacking.”

He adds: “On work we commission – such as on Burma … they have had to be sent back to be overhauled, made more comprehensive and sophisticated.”

It appears that many within the Shandwick team were opposed to working for “big tobacco”. “Virtually since day one we have felt a sense that Shandwick does not actually feel comfortable or happy working for BAT,” Vecchiet complains.

He mentions a request from one Shandwick employee for BAT not to refer to Shandwick as its PR agency in a magazine article. But he notes that “Priti [and another employee] seem quite relaxed working with us”.

Patel was 27 when she joined Shandwick and it is not clear whether she still defends her former employer’s work for BAT. She worked for Shandwick for three years and was a junior employee who had no control over the BAT account, which was a significant earner for her employer.

The documents show that in 2001, Shandwick drew up plans to invoice BAT for 279 hours of its work a month, of which Patel’s contribution amounted to 100 hours. BAT was charged £165 an hour for Patel’s services. The entire team was on a monthly retainer of nearly £40,000 – a total of almost £500,000 a year.

The Observer has repeatedly asked Patel for comment, but she has declined to do so and in the past has referred the matter to a law firm.

Patel is seen as on the right of the Conservative party, having backed calls for the return of capital punishment and voted against same-sex marriage. She is also seen as a serious force in the party.

A Smokescreen for Slavery: Human Rights Abuses in UK Supply Chains. Fact finding visit to the tobacco fields of North Carolina: here.

Britain: Ex-Cameron aide in tobacco firm lobbying row. Call for stricter ‘revolving door’ rules after former No 10 special adviser Kate Marley plugs cigarette firm at Tory conference: here.

Genocide of Rohingya in Myanmar


This video says about itself:

Attacks on Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (2013)

Government police attacks on Muslims in Myanmar instigated by extremist Buddhist monk U Wirathu. Graphic and violence content.

By Ramzy Baroud:

MYANMAR‘S SHAME

Tuesday 26th May 1915

The world’s most persecuted minority are being abandoned in their darkest hour, writes RAMZY BAROUD

“NOPE, nope, nope,” was Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s answer to the question whether his country will take in any of the nearly 8,000 Rohingya refugees stranded at sea.

Abbott’s logic is as pitiless as his decision to abandon the world’s most persecuted minority in their darkest hour. “Don’t think that getting on a leaky boat at the behest of a people smuggler is going to do you or your family any good,” he said.

But Abbott is hardly the main party in the ongoing suffering of Rohingyas, a Muslim ethnic group living in Myanmar, or Burma.

The whole south-east Asian region is culpable. It has ignored the plight of the Rohingya for years.

While tens of thousands of Rohingya are being ethnically cleansed, having their villages torched, forced into concentration camps and some into slavery, Myanmar is being celebrated by various Western and Asian powers as a success story of a military junta-turned democracy.

“After Myanmar moved from dictatorship toward democracy in 2011, newfound freedoms of expression gave voice to Buddhist extremists who spewed hatred against the religious minority and said Muslims were taking over the country,” reported the Associated Press from the former Myanmar capital Yangon.

That “newfound freedom of expression” has cost hundreds of people their lives, thousands their properties and “another 140,000 Rohingya were driven from their homes and are now living under apartheid-like conditions in crowded displacement camps.”

While one may accept that freedom of expression sometimes invites hate speech, the idea that Myanmar’s supposed democracy has resulted in the victimisation of the Rohingya is as far from the truth as it gets.

Their endless suffering goes back decades and is considered one of the darkest chapters in south-east Asia’s modern history.

When they were denied citizenship in 1982 — despite the fact that it is believed that they descended from Muslim traders who settled in Arakan and other Myanmar regions over 1,000 years ago — their persecution became almost an official policy.

Even those who take to the sea to escape hardship in Myanmar find the coveted salvation hard to achieve.

“In Myanmar, they are subjected to forced labour, have no land rights and are heavily restricted. In Bangladesh many are also desperately poor, with no documents or job prospects,” reported the BBC.

And since many parties are interested in the promotion of the illusion of the rising Myanmar democracy few governments care about the Rohingya.

Despite recent grandstanding by Malaysia and Indonesia about the willingness to conditionally host the surviving Rohingya who have been stranded at sea for many days, the region as a whole has been “extremely unwelcoming,” according to Chris Lewa of the Rohingya activist group Arakan Project.

The stories of those who survive are as harrowing as those who die while floating at sea, with no food or water.

In a documentary aired late last year, Al-Jazeera reported on some of these stories.

“Muhibullah spent 17 days on a smuggler’s boat where he saw a man thrown overboard. On reaching Thai shores, he was bundled into a truck and delivered to a jungle camp packed with hundreds of refugees and armed men, where his nightmare intensified. Bound to shafts of bamboo, he says he was tortured for two months to extract a $2,000 ransom from his family.

“Despite the regular beatings, he felt worse for women who were dragged into the bush and raped. Some were sold into debt bondage, prostitution and forced marriage.”

Human rights groups report on such horror daily, but much of it fails to make it to media coverage simply because the plight of the Rohingya doesn’t constitute a “pressing matter.”

Human rights only matter when they are tied into an issue of significant political or economic weight.

Yet somehow the Rohingyas seep into our news occasionally, as they did in June 2012 and later months, when Rakhine Buddists went on violent rampages, burning villages and setting people ablaze under the watchful eye of the Myanmar police.

Then Myanmar was being elevated to non-pariah state status, with the support and backing of the US and European countries.

It is not easy to sell Myanmar as a democracy while its people are hunted down like animals, forced into deplorable camps, trapped between the army and the sea where thousands have no other escape but “leaky boats” and the Andaman Sea. Abbott might want to do some research before blaming the Rohingyas for their own misery.

So far, the “democracy” gambit is working, and many companies are now setting up offices in Yangon and preparing for massive profits.

This is all while hundreds of thousands of innocent children, women and men are being caged like animals in their own country, stranded at sea or held for ransom in some neighbouring jungle.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries must understand that good neighbourly relations cannot fully rely on trade and that human rights violators must be held accountable and punished for their crimes.

No efforts should be spared to help fleeing Rohingyas, and real international pressure must be enforced so that Myanmar abandons its infuriating arrogance.

Even if we are to accept that Rohingyas are not a distinct minority, as the Myanmar government argues, that doesn’t justify the unbearable persecution they have been enduring for years and the periodic acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

A minority or not, they are human, deserving of full protection under national and international law.

While one is not asking the US and its allies for war or sanctions, the least one should expect is that Myanmar must not be rewarded for its fraudulent democracy as it brutalises its minorities.

Failure to do so should compel civil society organisations to stage boycott campaigns of companies that conduct business with the Myanmar government.

Ramzy Baroud is the author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. He is currently completing his PhD studies at the University of Exeter. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

As delegates from 19 countries gather today in Bangkok for a meeting on “irregular migration in the Indian Ocean,” more evidence has emerged of the horrors facing thousands of Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Burma fleeing persecution and poverty. All of the countries attending the meeting, in one way or another, bear responsibility for their plight: here.

Life inside a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh: here.

We investigated the violence and discrimination faced by the Rohingya in Myanmar: here.

Ferguson police militarisation, inspiration for Myanmar dictatorship


This video from the USA says about itself:

St Louis Police brutally assault Ferguson woman after her car breaks down

12 August 2014

St Louis County Police stop at the car of a woman whose car was broken down. They tell her she is under arrest and she asks to put her phone down, then they body slam her to the concrete, then the video starts.

By Patrick Winn in the USA:

Myanmar is using Ferguson to justify its latest crackdown on protesters

Apr 6, 2015 @ 6:54 AM

YANGON, Myanmar — There are plenty of reasons why cities and towns in America shouldn’t be using military-grade weapons or armored vehicles to scatter protests.

But here’s one that might not have occurred to you. Over-the-top police aggression — as witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri last summer — is a gift to authoritarian nations looking to justify crackdowns of their own.

One of them is Myanmar. The country formerly known as Burma was for decades notorious for its violent control over dissent. It has been the recipient of countless lectures from White House officials and others over the years for subjugating its citizens under military rule.

The country is now undergoing a messy transition from despotism to a freer society. But that metamorphosis is far from complete.

This was underscored when police assaulted unarmed student protesters — who rallied to fix a desperately broke education system — last month. The peaceful protests took place in the small town of Letpadan which, like Ferguson, has rocketed from obscurity to a household name. It all ended when rampaging cops started cracking heads and making dubious arrests. A dozen activists remain in prison almost a month later.

This 10 March 2015 video is about police cracking down in Letpadan, Myanmar.

The scenes made everyone who follows Myanmar nervous that the government had regressed. But there is no need to fear, according to Myanmar’s most visible official, Ye Htut, the minister of information. After all, he says, the United States sometimes uses brute force to break up protests too.

In a statement, Ye Htut cited the crackdowns on both Occupy Wall Street and Ferguson and noted that, unlike in Myanmar, “nobody spoke of US democracy having backtracked.”

GlobalPost caught up with Ye Htut in Yangon, Myanmar, and asked him to elaborate.

“Even in the US,” he said, “individual police will react under pressure differently. There’s reasonable force and excessive force. That’s the problem we were facing … the actions of some individuals didn’t meet the code of conduct, our rules for handling demonstrations.”

“Sometimes,” Ye Htut said, “there’s a very emotional response to a situation. That’s why we need more anger management.”

For decades, the US government slammed Myanmar’s treatment of anti-government protesters, some of whom are lionized and even funded by American agencies. Last month, during a speech in Selma, Alabama, US President Barack Obama exalted the many dissidents in Myanmar who “went to prison rather than submit to military rule.”

Officials in Myanmar, who are near giddy at the prospect of receiving American aid and investment, refrained from responding. And, anyway, they haven’t really earned the moral high ground to do so. The country remains a place where laws are weak and opposing the government is dangerous. But it’s hard not to detect the schadenfreude some officials in Myanmar felt after the Ferguson debacle.

USA: Police militarization has roots in the backlash to the 1960s civil rights movement: here.

According to the New York Times, Obama used his visit to “crack down on overly aggressive police tactics,” and “limit … military-style equipment for police forces.” These claims are based on Obama’s announcement that the White House will no longer transfer a small range of highly-specialized military assets to local police departments, including bayonets, .50 caliber rifles and tracked fighting vehicles. These types of ordnance are, from a military counterinsurgency standpoint, either obsolete or inappropriate. The US Army, for example, has dropped bayonet training for recruits, while .50 caliber rifles are generally not considered anti-personnel weapons. They are used instead to target communications systems, grounded aircraft and radar installations, meaning that no sensible anti-civilian death squad would carry them: here.

There’s a loophole in Obama’s effort to keep military weapons from the police: here.

Rising intolerance in many western countries has created an “open field for murderous leaders” around the world, a leading human rights group has warned: here.

‘Extinct’ Jerdon’s babbler rediscovered in Myanmar


This 7 March 2015 video says about itself:

‘EXTINCT’ Myanmar Babbler SPOTTED AFTER 73 YEARS

The Myanmar Jerdon’s babbler (Chrysomma altirostre altirostre) had not been seen in Myanmar since July 1941, where it was last found in grasslands near the town of Myitkyo, Bago Region near the Sittaung River.

From Wildlife Extra:

Extinct’ Jerdon’s babbler found live and well in Myanmar

A bird thought to have been extinct has been spotted by scientists alive and well in Myanmar, 74 years after the last sighting.

Jerdon’s babbler was re-discovered near abandoned agricultural research station by a scientist from Wildlife Conservation Society [and] National University of Singapore.

Jerdon’s babbler (Chrysomma altirostre) had not been seen in Myanmar since July 1941, where it was last found in grasslands near the town of Myitkyo, Bago Region near the Sittaung River.

The team found the bird while surveying a site around an abandoned agricultural station that still contained some grassland habitat. After hearing the bird’s distinct call, the scientists played back a recording and were rewarded with the sighting of an adult Jerdon’s babbler. Over the next 48 hours, the team repeatedly found Jerdon’s babblers at several locations in the immediate vicinity and managed to obtain blood samples and high-quality photographs.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the species was common in the vast natural grassland that once covered the Ayeyarwady and Sittaung flood plains around Yangon. Since then, agriculture and communities have gradually replaced most of these grasslands as the area has developed.

The Jerdon’s Babbler in Myanmar is one of three subspecies found in the Indus, Bhramaputra, and Ayeyarwady River basins in South Asia. All show subtle differences and may yet prove to be distinctive species.

“The degradation of these vast grasslands had led many to consider this subspecies of Jerdon’s Babbler extinct,” said Colin Poole, Director of WCS’s Regional Conservation Hub in Singapore.

“This discovery not only proves that the species still exists in Myanmar but that the habitat can still be found as well. Future work is needed to identify remaining pockets of natural grassland and develop systems for local communities to conserve and benefit from them.”

Burmese Muslim political prisoner freed


This 30 November 2013 video, in English, with French subtitles, is called Dr Tun Aung, Myanmar.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Rights groups welcome the release of Rohingya doctor

Wednesday 21st January 2015

RIGHTS groups welcomed the release of a prominent Rohingya Muslim doctor Tun Aung, who was arrested while trying to calm rioters during sectarian violence.

The case against Dr Aung, sentenced to 17 years in prison following what was widely considered an unfair trial, received international attention.

He was accused of inciting violence between Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists in June 2012, though rights groups said the doctor and community leader had been asked by authorities to intervene.

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners founder Bo Kyi said Dr Aung had been released on Monday.

Myanmar has freed more than 1,000 political prisoners since its former military rulers relinquished power, but jails continue to be refilled with protesters.

“Everyone incarcerated for their beliefs should be freed immediately,” said Equality Myanmar director Aung Myo Min, adding that the government “releases a few political prisoners, and then arrests a few more.”

Saudi videomaker arrested for filming beheading of woman


This video is about the horrible beheading of Ms Laila Bint Abdul Muttalib Basim, proclaiming her innocence, in Saudi Arabia. Not fit to watch for children and sensitive people.

From the International Business Times:

Saudi Arabia: Man arrested for filming officers publicly beheading woman in street

By Jack Moore

January 19, 2015 12:02 GMT

Saudi authorities have arrested a man who filmed a viral video of authorities publicly beheading a woman in the street, according to local media reports.

Saudi news outlets revealed that the man had been arrested but did not state what he would be charged with.

However, an Interior Ministry spokesman confirmed that filming the incident would be classed as a cybercrime under the country’s strict form of Sharia law, based on the Quran.

The Burmese woman, Laila Bint Abdul Muttalib Basim, was hacked to death by sword in the holy city of Mecca after being dragged through the street and held down by four police officers.

She was convicted of the sexual abuse and murder of her seven-year-old step-daughter.

In the video she can be heard saying in Arabic: “I did not kill. There is no God but God. I did not kill.”

Haram. Haram. Haram. Haram. I did not kill … I do not forgive you … This is an injustice,” she continues.

The arrest of the man who documented the execution comes after the kingdom suspended the public flogging of a Saudi activist, Raif Badawi, on medical grounds and sent his case for review at the Supreme Court.

Badawi’s sentence of 1,000 lashes has been condemned by the United States and United Nations.

Myanmar, stop anti-Muslim discrimination, United Nations say


This video says about itself:

Fanatical Buddhist Monk Saydaw Wirathu Calling for Boycott of Myanmar Muslims

2 April 2013

Buddhist Monk Saydaw Wirathu, the self-styled “Burmese bin Laden”, has called for a national boycott of Muslim businesses in Myanmar in a controversial video that emerged on YouTube.

Wirathu, who has led numerous vocal campaigns against Muslims in Burma and was arrested in 2003 for distributing anti-Muslim literature, urges Burmese people “to join the 969 Buddhist nationalist campaign” and “do business or interact with only our kind: same race and same faith”.

“Your purchases spent in ‘their’ (Muslim) shops will benefit the Enemy,” says Wirathu. “So, do business with only shops with 969 signs on their facets”.

The numerology of 969 is derived from the Buddhist tradition in which 9 stands for the special attributes of Buddha; 6 for the special attributes of his teaching or Dhamma and 9 for the special attributes of the Sangha or Buddhist order.

In the footage filmed from Mandalay’s Ma-soe-yein teaching monastery, Wirathu accuses Muslims of entertaining ties with the military junta that ruled Myanmar for five decades. The apartheid-like speech stirred shocked reaction on Twitter, with users calling the monk a “neo-Nazi” inciting anti-Muslim pogroms in Burma.

Wirathu played an active role in stirring tensions in a Rangoon suburb in February, by spreading unfounded rumours that a local school was being developed into a mosque, according to the Democratic voice of Burma. An angry mob of about 300 Buddhists assaulted the school and Muslim-owned businesses and shops in Rangoon. The monk said that his militancy “is vital to counter aggressive expansion by Muslims”. He has also been implicated in religious clashes in Mandalay, where a dozen people died, in several local reports.

Sectarian clashes erupted this week in the central Myanmar city of Meikhtila, where mobs of Buddhists, some led by monks, have attacked a Muslim neighbourhood leaving at least 20 people dead.

“Buddhist monasteries have been distributing leaflets that were critical of Muslims on various things, and that has been going on for months” said Burma Campaign UK’s director Mark Farmaner. He maintains there were individual reports, around 10, of monasteries around Rangoon and in the Rakhine state distributing anti-Muslim leaflets.

Muslims in Myanmar represent the 4 percent of a total population of 60 million, according to government census. However, according to the U.S. State Department’s 2006 international religious freedom report, the country’s non-Buddhist populations were underestimated in the census. Muslim leaders estimate that as much as 20 percent of the population may be Muslim.

Meet the extremist Buddhist monk who called a UN envoy a ‘whore’: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Wednesday 31st December 2014

UN chastises Myanmar over Rohingya

United Nations: The general assembly approved a resolution on Monday urging Myanmar to provide “full citizenship” to its Rohingya Muslim minority and to allow them to move freely throughout the country.

The 1.3 million Rohingyas are denied citizenship under national law and are effectively stateless.

Myanmar authorities officially categorise them as “Bengalis,” implying they are illegal migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.

The Rohingyas now live under apartheid-like conditions in camps or in restricted villages in Rakhine state.

Burma elections: Buddhist monks warm to military in face of perceived Muslim threat. President Thein Sein and his colleagues are playing the Buddhist card, gambling that it can tilt the balance their way: here.

Islamophobic violence in Myanmar


This video says about itself:

19 April 2013

Buddhist monk uses racism and rumours to spread hatred in Burma. Thousands watch YouTube videos of 45-year-old ‘Burmese Bin Laden‘ who preaches against the country’s Muslim minority. His name is Wirathu, he calls himself the “Burmese Bin Laden” and he is a Buddhist monk who is stoking religious hatred across Burma. Read more here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

100,000 Rohingya flee Myanmar violence and discrimination

Tuesday 18th November 2014

HUMAN rights group the Arakan Project warned yesterday that violence and discriminatory government policies had set an estimated 100,000 Rohingya fleeing Myanmar in the last two years.

Project director Chris Lewa said the group, which monitors the Rohingya, had seen the pace of the exodus accelerating, with more than 15,000 people leaving since October 15.

Ms Lewa said troops in northern Rakhine state were engaging in a “campaign to create fear and to get them to leave.”

She said that in the last six weeks, at least four Rohingya men had been tortured to death.

Security forces broke one victim’s leg and burned his penis during interrogation and the beaten body of another Rohingya was found in a river, she said.

Ms Lewa said that more than 140 people have been arrested on what appeared to be trumped-up charges, ranging from immigration violations to alleged links with Islamic militants.

Jerusalem (CNN) — An American man has been arrested in Israel for allegedly acquiring explosives stolen from Israel’s military that he planned to use to attack Muslim holy sites, Israeli authorities said Tuesday: here.

Will marine area in Myanmar be protected?


This video says about itself:

Reef Life of the Andaman (full marine biology documentary)

“Reef Life of the Andaman” is a documentary of the marine life of Thailand and Burma (Myanmar).

Scuba diving more than 1000 times from the coral reefs and underwater pinnacles of Thailand‘s Similan Islands, Phuket, Phi Phi Island and Hin Daeng, to Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago and Burma Banks, I encountered everything from manta rays to seahorses, whale sharks to shipwrecks. The 116-minute film features descriptions of 213 different marine species including more than 100 tropical fish, along with sharks, rays, moray eels, crabs, lobsters, shrimps, sea slugs, cuttlefish, squid, octopus, turtles, sea snakes, starfish, sea cucumbers, corals, worms etc..

From Wildlife Extra:

New Marine Protected Area for Myanmar

A new, possible Marine Protected Area in Myanmar’s Myeik archipelago is under consideration by the country’s government, Flora and Fauna International have reported.

Situated in the north-eastern Andaman Sea the archipelago comprises over 800 islands of white sandy beaches and coral reefs teeming with a diverse array of marine life.

Scientific surveys of the area have revealed around 287 species of coral and 365 reef fish species, as well as reefs rich in echinoderms, crustaceans, molluscs and sponges.

The MPA has been proposed in a bid to conserve this unique biodiversity from the serious threats it faces, such as overfishing, destructive fishing methods, and to support sustainable fisheries.

Frank Momberg, FFI Myanmar Programme Director said, “Myanmar’s fisheries resources have declined dramatically over the last decade. However, by establishing a marine protected area network Myanmar will protect important nursery grounds for fish, coral reef and mangrove areas critical to maintaining the livelihood of coastal fishing communities and the fishing industry.”

Marine protected areas reduce fish mortality by limiting harvesting and reducing habitat destruction. They are often designed and implemented to promote biodiversity conservation and sustainable fisheries. New research shows these conservation efforts lead not only to an increase in the total number of fishes (individuals) in general. Protected areas in the northern Mediterranean Sea also harbour a higher number of common fish species, and significant positive network effects accumulate between individual reserves. This was found by a team of researchers from multiple institutions including the German Centre of Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Tel Aviv University, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ). Their results have been published in the Journal of Applied Ecology and shed new light onto how fish communities respond to protection: here.