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VIDEO: Momo Receives Best Child Artist Award for Rohingya Music Video

World  (tags: Rohingha killing fields, Myanmar, world, racism, Momo, music video Rohingy, crimes against humanity, human rights abuses, death, persecution, humanitarian crisis, justice, international law, ICC, impunity, U.N., ethnic cleansing, media, news, usa, religion, violence )

- 133 days ago -
Seventh grade student Atiqa Rahman Momo received the Best Child Artist award at an event at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on May 3 organised by Banglar Sangeet for her music video titled Rohingya


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fly bird (26)
Wednesday May 9, 2018, 9:57 pm

fly bird (26)
Wednesday May 9, 2018, 10:56 pm
'Untouchable' Myanmar army under fire over torture and murder claims.

A handful of recent convictions show troops are starting to be held to account, while the military are listed for the first time on a UN armed forces blacklist.

The three young men went out to get firewood and never returned. Their families spent days worrying, then heard gunshots crackling in the distance.

Hours later, they found the mutilated bodies, hastily buried five miles from their homes at the Maihkawng internal displacement camp in Myanmar’s conflict-torn Kachin state.

They suspected that soldiers from Myanmar’s army were responsible, but they didn’t expect anything to happen to the perpetrators.

On Monday, in the UN’s annual report detailing acts of violence carried out by armed forces in 2017, the Myanmar military was listed for the first time. The report, which was presented to the security council, found “widespread threat and use of sexual violence was integral to their strategy, humiliating, terrorising and collectively punishing the Rohingya community”.

It’s a pattern of violence that the military, known locally as the Tatmadaw, has repeated for decades – kidnapping, torturing and murdering civilians with total impunity.

However, this time was different. Shortly after the murders, a group of lawyers got in touch with the victims’ relatives and encouraged them to give statements to the coroner and demand a post-mortem report. The result was a hand-scrawled document that detailed shattered skulls and bullet wounds, helping to make it impossible for the Tatmadaw to plausibly deny its soldiers’ crimes.

In January, seven months after the killings, the six soldiers responsible were handed 10-year prison sentences by a court martial.

“Without that report the soldiers wouldn’t have been convicted,” says Khun Naung, chairman of the Kachin Legal Aid Network, also known as Shingnip.

In a country where the army is considered untouchable, the lawyers have helped in recent years to secure a handful of rare convictions against soldiers who violate human rights. The group’s 20 lawyers work pro bono and even pay rent out of their own pockets for the traditional wooden house that serves as their office.

They founded Shingnip in Kachin’s capital, Myitkyina, in 2011, shortly after the breakdown of a 17-year ceasefire between the military and Kachin rebels caused a spike in abuses by government troops against civilians, says Khun Naung.

“They’re working on all the cases no one else dares to,” says David Baulk, a Myanmar-based researcher for Fortify Rights, a group that monitored the Maihkawng case.

While these convictions are a “first step” in the fight against impunity, he adds, they are a long way from delivering real justice. For one thing, most of the trial was held in secret. “The Tatmadaw kept the victims’ families in the dark for about five months,” says Baulk.

There are even doubts as to whether the convicted soldiers in this and other cases are actually serving their prison sentences because the authorities refuse to say where they’re being held.

Even so, with the police under military control, the investigative work of Shingnip and others is the closest thing to accountability for people in Myanmar’s conflict zones.

Shingnip also helped secure a two-year manslaughter conviction last year against a soldier who had shot dead a student named Gum Seng Awng in front of several witnesses on the streets of Myitkyina. Most were too scared to talk, but Shingnip found two willing to give statements.


The sentence was much lighter than the family had hoped; Shingnip was pushing for the soldier to be tried for murder. But their work on the case led to the release of Gum Seng Awng’s friends, who had been part of the altercation that led to his death. The military claimed the friends had tried to steal soldiers’ guns and shoot them, but the witnesses disputed that.

Other claims were easier to debunk. “The soldier said in a press conference that he drove back to his base this way and was attacked by Gum Seng Awng on the way,” says Khun Naung, sketching a crude map of Mytikyina on a whiteboard at his office.

But that doesn’t make sense because there was a much shorter route, he adds. “It’s obvious the soldier followed them and then the trouble started.”

It’s unclear exactly why the military chooses to prosecute certain cases, but the work of activists, lawyers and journalists who uncover the truth is a major factor.

Earlier this month a court martial sentenced seven soldiers and officers to 10 years in prison for taking part in a massacre of 10 Rohingya men during a military crackdown in Rakhine state that the UN says may amount to genocide.

The killings were uncovered by two Reuters journalists, who as a result are facing 14 years in prison under an official secrets law. One of the reporters, Wa Lone, had helped to expose another massacre in eastern Shan state in 2016, which led to five-year sentences for seven soldiers.

In both cases, the military did nothing to remedy the rules and policies that enable the abuse of civilians, says Sean Bain, legal consultant for Myanmar at the International Commission of Jurists, a group that promotes human rights and rule of law.

The Tatmadaw only admitted to the killings as a form of “damage control” in the face of irrefutable evidence, he adds. “It’s all window dressing.”

fly bird (26)
Wednesday May 9, 2018, 10:58 pm
UN security council overwhelmed by suffering at Rohingya camps .
29 Apr 2018

Delegation visiting refugee camps in Bangladesh hear pleas for action by the UN and involvement of the international criminal court.

Members of the UN security council have expressed dismay at the “overwhelming” suffering they encountered in the refugee camps in Bangladesh, home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing Myanmar.

The UN security council delegation arrived in Bangladesh on Friday as part of a trip to hear first-hand the experiences of 700,000 Rohingya refugees subjected to a campaign of violence, rape and arson at the hands of Myanmar’s military since August 2017.

Karen Pierce, the UK ambassador to the UN, who was among the 15 members on the trip, was confronted by dozens of Rohingya refugees making emotional pleas for the UN to hear their stories and make sure justice was done. Women wept in her arms as they recounted their experiences.

“It shows the scale of the challenge as we try as a security council to find some way through that enables these poor people to go home,” Pierce said. “The sad thing is there’s nothing we can do right today that will make their distress any less.”

While UN reports have already condemned the violence as both ethnic cleansing and having “all the hallmarks of genocide”, this is the first visit by the security council and holds great significance. The council has the power to refer matters to the international criminal court (ICC) and to deploy peacekeepers.

Myanmar has denied all allegations of genocide and said that the violence was a legitimate response to attacks on police and military by Rohingya insurgents.

The refugees also presented to the security council a list of demands, which included rehabilitation of their own land and homes; stopping the construction of the IDP camps in Rakhine state which they believe will function simply as prisons for any returning Rohingya; for the Rohingya to be recognised as citizens of Myanmar; and action to be taken by the ICC.

The deputy US ambassador to the UN, Kelley Eckels Currie, described the visit as “quite overwhelming”.

“Obviously the scale of this camp is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It is going to be a disaster when the rains come,” she said.

Lise Gregoire-van Haaren, deputy permanent representative of the Netherlands to the UN, added: “The number of heavily traumatised women, men and children is beyond comprehension. Myanmar must cooperate so Rohingya can return in a safe, dignified and sustainable way.”

The security council will meet with Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Monday in Dhaka before flying to Myanmar’s administrative capital Naypyidaw to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior members of the Myanmar government and military.

On Tuesday, the security council will visit the Rakhine state, where the violence against the Rohingya was carried out, with the main goal of inspecting whether the displaced Rohingya can return safely.

The UN has been denied access to Rakhine until now and the relationship between the organisation and Myanmar has been fraught because of the former’s description of the violence as ethnic cleansing and genocide.

However, in the buildup to the security council visit, aides to Aung San Suu Kyi have been keen to publicly emphasise that the Myanmar government wants a “new relationship” with the UN, which could see the organisation’s agencies being invited back in to oversee the repatriation process.
Reuters contributed to this report.

Animae C (506)
Thursday May 10, 2018, 6:52 am

TY Fly

Colleen L (3)
Thursday May 10, 2018, 2:24 pm
Congratulations Atiqa Rahman Momo. Thanks Fly

Darren Woolsey (218)
Friday May 11, 2018, 9:12 am
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