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“Myanmar must be held accountable” – Fortify Rights Report

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“Myanmar must be held accountable” – Fortify Rights Report | The Thaiger

The Fortify Rights report is out. It names names and specifies responsibilities for the ongoing persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya. The Nation’s Wasamon Audjarint and Sandy Leegumjorn compile this report about the document and its implications for Myanmar’s military.

The international community must hold Myanmar accountable for the military-planned genocide of the Rohingya minority, a report unveiled yesterday said, describing the killings as “extensively and systematically planned”.

The Fortify Rights report specifically identifies 22 military and police officials who it says were responsible for overseeing the crackdown. The report claimed there were reasonable grounds for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue arrest warrants against the perpetrators for crimes against humanity. It also called on the UN Security Council to immediately refer the situation to the ICC. The report calls on ASEAN, of which Myanmar has been a member since 1997, to hold an emergency meeting and develop an action plan to address the Rohingya crisis as well as to ensure international justice and accountability.

“ASEAN has a particular role to play in ending these atrocities. Governments have the ability to persuade all members of the UNSC to support an ICC referral vote or at least abstain from blocking it,” said Matthe Smith, Fortify Rights’ CEO.

“In its capacity as an ASEAN member, Malaysia under the new administration appears to be positive in pursuing the issue and bringing a solution,” the NGO’s Malaysia-based legal director Eric Paulsen said.

“It’s going to be a huge step, but ASEAN must collectively do better and get Myanmar to take account of their crimes.”

The 160 page report identifies 22 military and police officials who, according to the NGO, had “command responsibility for the clearance operations in northern Rakhine state”.

Included in the list are Myanmar’s top brass: Commander-in-Chief Sr General Min Aung Hliang, Deputy Commander-in-Chief V Sr General Soe Win, and the Joint Chief of Staff of the Army, Navy, and Air Force General Mya Tun Oo.

The report entitled “They Gave them Long Swords”, describes how Myanmar authorities provided weapons and quasi-military training to non-Rohingya citizens in northern Rakhine state months before the attacks started. They also collected sharp or blunt objects from the Rohingya to “disarm” and weaken them, block access to humanitarian aid and restricted access to journalists and human rights monitors before the attack.

PHOTO: VOA

The report documents how Myanmar authorities committed mass killings, rape, and arson attacks against the Rohingya in Maungdaw township in October and November 2016. They also made preparations to commit another attack that extended throughout Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung, all townships in northern Rakhine.

The report says that the Myanmar government’s action could fit within the UN’s Framework for Analysis of Atrocity Crimes as “preparatory actions” for genocide and crimes against humanity.

According to United Nations reports, in the months up to January 2018 almost 690,000 Rohingya escaped or were driven out of Rakhine and sought refuge in Bangladesh as refugees to escape continuing attacks. The report says that at least 27 Myanmar Army battalions of up to 11,000 soldiers, along with at least three combat police battalions of some 900 police personnel, were involved in the uprooting operation.

During a press conference to launch the report yesterday at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand, a Rohingya man identifying himself as “Hajismal” affirmed that what had happened was “a 100 per cent genocide that they have done against us”.

“I didn’t know the meaning of the term ‘genocide’ at first. I asked its meaning from my Thai friend, who explained to me that it involves serious human-rights violations. I then became certain that what I had experienced was nothing else but genocide,” Hajismal said.

“My family members were also killed. Some of our people still remain in Rakhine state and are being killed day by day,” he added.

SOURCE: The Nation



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Bangkok

Bangkok-based Filipino visa service provider arrested over alleged fraud

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Bangkok-based Filipino visa service provider arrested over alleged fraud | The Thaiger

PHOTO: (left to right) Emily Fontanilla Fabe, Ronygene Esmeralda Atregenio & Ernest Rey Basilio Salarza 

The administrator of a Facebook group SWD Kapamilya Thailand (has more than 30,000 Filipino members), Ernest Rey Basilio Salarza (aka. Rhey Keen Ayala), was arrested yesterday (Tuesday) in Bangkok after the court issued an arrest warrant.

Basilio, commonly known as Rhey Keen Ayala, another SWD Kapamilya Facebook admin Emily Fontanilla and Best Care Provider owner Ronygene Esmeralda Atregenio (aka Nokie and Caroline Maxim) have also been charged with fraud under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act.

At least nine Filipino have already been accused and arrested for posting allegedly fraudulent information to obtain funds by deception.

Many more victims are expected to file additional cases this week. The case started when Nokie of Best Care failed to provide visas and work permits to the Filipino victims. Each of them paid 33,000-38,000 baht to Best Care Provider.

16 Filipino victims have so far come out and sought help to get their money back. There were at least 30 victims who paid the same amount but never received the paperwork promised to them by Best Care.

Atregenio, aka. Nokie and Caroline Maxime are the owners of Best Care, while Salarza popularly known in social media as Rhey Keen Ayala is one of the company founders.

Meanwhile, Emily or ‘Em Fabe’ is the promoter of the company using her Facebook group SWD Kapamilya Thailand. Rhey Keen is also the administrator of Pinoy ADOBO Facebook group which is also being used to promote Best Care Provider.

A string of criminal cases under the Thai Computer Crime Act are also expected to be filed against Em Fabe and Rhey Keen for alleged libellous comments and personal attacks on Facebook against other Filipinos.

SOURCE: Pinoythaiyo.com

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Southeast Asia

Sri Lanka attacks ‘retaliation for Christchurch’ – Government minister

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Sri Lanka attacks ‘retaliation for Christchurch’ – Government minister | The Thaiger

The Islamist suicide bombings that killed 321 people, and injured many others in Sri Lanka at the weekend, are believed to have been carried out in revenge for last month’s attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Fifty people were shot dead on March 15 at two mosques in the South Island, New Zealand city by an avowed white nationalist.

This revelation from the state minister of defence Ruwan Wijewardene as he spoke to parliament yesterday.

The death toll from the Sunday bomb attacks on churches and up-scale hotels, mostly around the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, is now at 321 with hundreds more wounded and still in hospital.

Wijewardene says the group behind the Sri Lanka bombings was the little-known National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), an extremist Islamist group previously blamed for defacing Buddhist statues.

Police have detained at least 40 people as they investigate the worst act of violence in the country since a civil war ended in Sri Lanka a decade ago.

More than a thousand people gathered yesterday at St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, north of the capital, which was among those hit in the blasts, to pay tribute to the dead.

Sri Lanka attacks ‘retaliation for Christchurch’ - Government minister | News by The Thaiger

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Southeast Asia

LATEST: Sri Lanka bombings

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LATEST: Sri Lanka bombings | The Thaiger

A wave of explosions rocked Sri Lanka up-scale hotels and churches on Easter Sunday around the capital Colombo. This is what we know…

• At least 215 people have been confirmed dead with up to 450 more injured in a series of bombings targeting churches holding Easter services and hotels in Sri Lanka. The toll is likely to rise during today or at least become more precise as officials tally information from emergency responders.

• Most of the dead are said to be Sri Lankans, but officials say up to 40 foreigners have lost their lives.

• Three UK nationals and two US-UK dual nationals were among the dead. One Dutch, one Chinese, one Portuguese and two Turkish nationals have been killed, their respective foreign ministries have confirmed.

• There were six initial blasts, at three hotels and three churches, before two more explosions some time later, at a guest house and housing scheme, with two people reported to have been killed at the former. A government minister says the last two blasts appeared to have been carried out by the culprits as they fled from police.

• No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks but Sri Lanka’s defence minister Ruwan Wijewardene claims the culprits have been identified and were religious extremists. He said suicide bombers were responsible for the majority of the morning’s bombings and that the wave of attacks was the work of a single group.

• Eight people are reported to have been arrested so far.

• The Sri Lankan government has issued a curfew and shut down social media and messaging services to prevent the spread of disinformation.

• Sri Lanka’s PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe, has condemned the “cowardly” attacks and urged people to remain “united and strong”.

• The archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, called it “a very sad day” and is urging the government to identify the attackers and “punish them mercilessly because only animals can behave like that”.

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