South Asia

Bangladesh: UN condemns deadly ‘drug war’

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein condemned the government of Bangladesh for the killing of suspected drug offenders by security forces. The High Commissioner responded to reports that 130 individuals had been killed in three weeks and thousands arrested after the government proclaimed a "zero-tolerance" policy on illegal drugs. He especially expressed concern over the government's public message claiming that the individuals killed were not innocent and that "mistakes can occur in an anti-narcotics drive." He also raised concerns that "already vulnerable communities living in slums were particularly being targeted," and that drug users may fear being arrested or killed for seeking treatment or just accessing health services. Zeid called on the government to review the incidents and hold human rights violators accountable. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Southeast Asia

Razed Rohingya villages turned into military bases

Burma's Rakhine state is being militarized at an alarming pace, as authorities build security force bases on lands where Rohingya villages were burned to the ground just months ago, Amnesty International charges in a new report. The chief UN official investigating human rights in Burma, Yanghee Lee, called for an immediate investigation into "clearance operations" in Rakhine state, stating she is increasingly convinced that actions by the Burmese security forces amount to genocide. (Photo: VOA via Wikimedia Commons)

Southeast Asia

UN official: ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya continues

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour said that the "ethnic cleansing of Rohingya from Myanmar continues," after a four-day visit to Bangladesh. During his visit, he focused on the situation of thousands of refugees who have fled from Burma (Myanmar). Recently-arrived Rohingya gave credible accounts of continued violence against their people, including killings, rape, and forced starvation, Gilmour reported. Burma has been saying that it is ready to receive returning Rohingya refugees, but Gilmour maintains that safe returns are impossible under current conditions. (Photo: EU/ECHO via Flickr)

Southeast Asia

Rohingya refugees face forced repatriation

Bangladesh and Burma agreed to complete the return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees within two years, establishing a system of camps and "reception centers" along the border zone to facilitate their transfer. But humanitarian and human rights organizations are warning that this time frame is insufficient to guarantee a safe and voluntary return. A representative of the Burma Campaign UK stated: "Bangladesh and Burma are effectively playing ping-pong with the Rohingya, while the rest of the international community stands by. They will be returned to giant prison camps, have no rights, and be at constant risk of further attacks by the Burmese military." (Photo: European Commission via Flickr)

Southeast Asia

Aung San Suu Kyi to face genocide charges?

UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein raised the possibility that Burma's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi could face international genocide charges over the military campaign targeting the Rohingya Muslim people. "For obvious reasons, if you're planning to commit genocide you don't commit it to paper and you don't provide instructions," he told BBC News. "The thresholds for proof are high. But it wouldn't surprise me in the future if a court were to make such a finding on the basis of what we see." (Photo: IRIN)

South Asia

South Asia: millions more ‘climate refugees’

With stateside media focused on the unprecedented flooding and cascading industrial disasters from Hurricane Harvey in Texas, the far great deluges that have struck three countries in South Asia are going largely unreported. Up to 40 million have been impacted after weeks of unusually strong monsoon rains affecting India, Bangladesh and Nepal—adding to the fast-growing ranks of "climate refugees," now a nearly invisible global crisis.

Southeast Asia

Thousands of Rohingya trapped on borderlands

Burma's army has responded to supposed Rohingya guerilla attacks with a massive new operation to encircle the rebels and block their escape into Bangladesh. Troops are accused of putting villages to the torch and carrying out extrajudicial killings. More than 8,700 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh, but at least 4,000 more are stranded in the no man's land between the two countries.

Southeast Asia

Rohingya refugees tarred with narco-stigma

The Rohingya Muslim people of Burma, facing genocide in their homeland, have fled by the thousands to Bangladesh—where they are not being welcomed. Long confined to refugee camps near the border, they now face forcible relocation to an uninhabited offshore island. Shunted from one region to another, they are targeted by the predictable propaganda—stigmatized as Muslim terrorists in Burma, they are now stigmatized by Bangladesh authorities as drug-traffickers.

Southeast Asia

Burma: Suu Kyi bars Rohingya investigation

De facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi rejected a decision by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate crimes by Burma's security forces against minority Rohingya Muslims.

Southeast Asia

UN: Burma in ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya

An official of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees accused Burma of widespread atrocities as part of an effort to "ethnically cleanse" Rohingya Muslims from the country.

Southeast Asia

Burma sanctions lifted amid ethnic cleansing

Villages are in flames and hundreds displaced in a new army crackdown on supposed Rohingya militants—days after President Obama lifted all sanctions on Burma.