Nearly 7,000 Rohingyas were killed in the first month of military action

The Geneva-based international aid organization, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), said at least 6,700 Rohingya Muslims were killed in the first month of the military's brutal crackdown on Rohingya rebels.

MSF Thursday stated, estimates were obtained after a survey of several Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. The group said the estimated death toll included at least 730 toddlers.

The Myanmar military has been accused of launching a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages in Rakhine state, in northwestern Myanmar in August, in response to attacks on -Position of Myanmar police. The campaign led to a mass exodus of 600,000 Rohingyas to neighboring Bangladesh, which informed human rights organizations of serious atrocities by government security forces, including blind shootings, rape and arson of houses and entire villages to the ground.

Director medical organization, Sidney Wong said the findings "are very surprising, both in terms of the number of those who reported members of his family were killed by the violence, and the horrible ways they said made the dead or seriously injured." [uh/ab]

Detention of Journalists Indicate the Erosion of Press Freedom in Myanmar

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday that the detention of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar was a sign that press freedom was shrinking in the country.

Guterres also expressed his concern about human rights abuses in Rakhine state, saying that the two journalists were likely to be arrested because they reported the humanitarian tragedy there

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested Tuesday night, in Yangon and accused of violating the State Secrecy Act. The two journalists were accused of planning to send important security documents concerning security forces in Rakhine to foreign agencies abroad, "said the Press Council of the Government of Myanmar.

Wa Lone's wife told VOA that her family did not receive any information regarding her husband's condition .

The Managing Director of the Commission for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) Joel Simon told VOA that his organization had asked the authorities to release both journalists unconditionally and immediately. He said their arrests took place in the midst of a widespread crackdown, restricting journalists' ability to cover important news for the world.

The northern part of the Rakhine state is the main focus of the Muslim minority operations Rohingya has taken refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. The operation, which began in August in retaliation for militant attacks on police stations, has been denounced by the United Nations as ethnic cleansing. [ab/uh]

President of South Korea, China, Begins Efforts to Recover Diplomatic Dispute

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping held live talks in Beijing on Thursday in a bid to restore a year-long dispute over Seoul's decision to place a US-made missile defense system.

The meeting between the two leaders at Balai Agung Rakyat is following up on an agreement reached last October to further discuss the placement of the High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Terminal System by South Korea last year. The deployment infuriated Beijing, which regarded the THAAD system as a threat to Chinese security.

China responded by banning Korean pop stars from visiting, removing some popular South Korean television shows from state television broadcasts and stopping Chinese tourists visiting Korea South.

South Korea declares placing THAAD system to fend off growing threats from North Korea over its ballistic and nuclear missile programs.

Moon will end his official visit to China on Saturday. [uh/ab]

Key Sanctions for North Denuclearization

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday that a concerted effort to fully impose sanctions on North Korea was key to resolving the nation's increasing nuclear and missile threat.

Guterres, who meets with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, also said that North Korea should be de-nuclearized for peace and stability in the region. Guterres was in Japan to attend an international conference on universal healthcare.

He said the Security Council resolution needs to be fully implemented not only by North Korea but also by other parties. Such measures are necessary to ensure that the sanctions are in place and achieve the goal of de-nucleating the Korean Peninsula, he said.

"The Security Council's cohesion is very important about this," he said, adding that it is also important to engage in diplomatic dialogue to achieve (19659002) "It is important for all parties to understand the urgency of the solution, to avoid a confrontation that might have tragic consequences for everyone," Guterres said in a speech to reporters in Tokyo.

that a possible dialogue with North Korea should be meaningful and aim to denucleate the country. [uh/ab]

Landmines are Rarely Used, But Continue to Gain Victims

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) states the new use of landmines is "unusually rare" but fighting in Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen has made this the second year in a row where mines cause large numbers of casualties. 19659002] The ICBL declared in its annual report on Thursday that there were 8,605 casualties, 2,089 of them dead, by mines in 2016. This includes homemade bombs and bomb-activated weapons such as mines.

Among the victims, 78 percent were civilians. The victims included the highest number of child victims so far. This mine attack took place in 52 countries.

Loren Persi, editor of victims and aid for the victims at Landmine Monitor points out, some intense conflicts, totally ignoring the safety of civilians, have caused an enormous number of mine casualties for years second in a row. This, he said, indicates the need for all states to join the Mine Ban Treaty and to increase aid for mine victims.

Under the 1999 international agreement, nations agreed not to use or manufacture antipersonnel landmines, destroyed mine reserves which were still there, providing aid to the victims, and clearing mines in their territory within 10 years after joining the treaty.

On Wednesday, the ICBL accepted Sri Lanka as the 163th country that adhered fully to the treaty and expressed hope other countries in the region will join the treaty.

The report Thursday mentions Myanmar and Syria are two countries whose troops actively planted mines during the past year. The two countries did not join the mine ban agreement.

The report also mentioned 61 countries and areas contaminated by mines until November last year. And although 33 of them join the mine ban agreement, only Chile, Mauritania, Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo are expected to meet the deadline for clearing mines in their area. [uh/ab]