Burma’s hardline monks will dodge bans on Facebook and keep using the social media giant to “tell the truth,” they said on Friday, after it barred several Buddhist nationalists for hate messages targeting Rohingya Muslims.
UN Security Council envoys began a four-day visit to Bangladesh and Burma on Saturday to see firsthand the aftermath of a Burmese military crackdown that Britain, the United States and others have denounced as ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.
A Burmese government minister will visit Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh on Wednesday, officials said, a rare trip that Dhaka hopes will help speed the return home of hundreds of thousands of the neighbouring nation’s Muslim minority.
The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has asked it to rule on whether it has jurisdiction over the deportations of Rohingya people from Burma to Bangladesh, a possible crime against humanity, according to a filing published on Monday.
Burma is not ready for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, said the most senior United Nations official to visit the country this year, after Burma was accused of instigating ethnic cleansing and driving nearly 700,000 Muslims to Bangladesh.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, heavily criticised abroad for failing to stand up for largely stateless Rohingya Muslims, that she shouldn’t bother about rights activists as they are “just a noisy bunch.”
The United Nations on Wednesday called on Burma to give aid agencies unhindered access to camps it has built for tens of thousands of Muslim Rohingya refugees before they can return after fleeing Burmese military operations last year.
The UN refugee agency and other groups have urged a rethink of the plan to send Rohingya refugees back to Burma amid fears of forced repatriations and the inability of aid agencies to ensure the safety of hundreds of thousands who fled bloodshed at home.
Officials from Burma and Bangladesh meet on Monday to discuss how to implement a deal signed in November on the repatriation of more than 650,000 Rohingya who have fled Burma since late August. But many say fear returning.
Rohingya Muslim insurgents say they have no option but to fight what they call Burma state-sponsored terrorism to defend the Rohingya community, and they demand that the Rohingya be consulted on all decisions affecting their future.
In his Independence Day speech, Htin Kyaw called for reform of a military-drafted constitution and for justice for all recognised minorities under a federal system, but made no mention of the Rohingya.
Pope Francis described migrants and refugees as the world’s “weakest and most needy” on Monday, using his traditional New Year’s address to “give voice” to people he has urged leaders to do more to help.
India has mobilised around 60,000 police and paramilitary troops in a sensitive border state ahead of the publication of a list of citizens it says will be used to detect and deport illegal immigrants, mainly Muslims, from neighbouring Bangladesh.
The Union Election Commission rejects a proposal by Burmese nationalists seeking to establish a political party with an explicit goal of furthering their agenda, with the electoral gatekeeper saying its decision was made based on the country’s Political Parties Registration Law.
Pope Francis ended a diplomatically tricky trip to Asia on Saturday, seeking the forgiveness of Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh after his controversial decision to not directly refer to their plight when he visited their homeland, Burma.
Members of the US Congress said on Tuesday operations carried out against the Rohingya Muslims in Burma had “all the hallmarks” of ethnic cleansing, while the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi expressed doubts about allegations of rights abuses.
Bangladesh is in negotiations with Burma aimed at a deal to repatriate displaced Rohingya and Dhaka’s foreign minister will address the matter at talks in Burma this week, the Bangladeshi foreign ministry said on Sunday.
A United Nations General Assembly committee on Thursday called on Burma to end military operations that have “led to the systematic violation and abuse of human rights” of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.
Human rights groups pour scorn on a Burmese military investigation into alleged atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, branding it a “whitewash” and calling for UN and independent investigators to be allowed into the country.
Leaders of Asian nations meeting in Manila on Monday skirted around the mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims triggered by Burma’s military crackdown, disappointing human rights groups who were hoping for a tough stand on the humanitarian crisis.
Humanitarian organisations helping Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh said on Wednesday they need $434 million over the next six months to help up to 1.2 million people, most of them children, in dire need of life-saving assistance.
Bangladesh opens talks with neighbouring Burma on Monday with the aim of securing the return home of more than half a million Rohingya Muslim refugees from Burma, most of whom have arrived since late August.