Myanmar declares ready to return Rohingya refugees

A Myanmar minister told the president of Bangladesh that Myanmar is ready to repatriate the Rohingya Muslims who have fled the violence, although Bangladesh says it wants hundreds of thousands of refugees to have a safe and dignified repatriation opportunity.

Myanmar Interior Minister Kyaw Swe, in a three-day visit to Bangladesh, told President Abdul Hamid that Myanmar is ready to pick up Rohingya refugees according to an agreement signed late last year. So says presidential spokesman Joynal Abedin on Friday.

UN: Myanmar fails to create safer conditions for return of Rohingya refugees

Abedin also quotes Kyaw Swe as saying that Myanmar will implement the recommendation with a commission headed by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The spokesman said Hamid expressed his concern for Rohingya and wanted their repatriation safely and with dignity as agreed.

Kyaw Swe is scheduled to meet with Bangladesh's Minister of Home Affairs to discuss the return of refugees further. [lt]

Rohingya Crisis, Myanmar Military Commander Receives Thailand Award

 The Myanmar Military Commander, Min Aung Hlaing, received an honorary award from Thailand amid the Rohingya crisis that blanketed his country. Military forces Min Aung Hlaing has also been accused by the UN for ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine.

Global criticism rains on Myanmar since a military operation was held in Rakhine on 25 August 2017. The military operation was reportedly violent and triggered an exodus of 700,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh.

Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi bore criticism, criticism and global outrage. Even the various awards and honors Suu Kyi received as a political prisoner, were revoked because of the Rohingya crisis.

However, as reported by AFP Friday (16/2/2018), Myanmar Military Commander, General Senior Min Aung Hlaing, who controls the military and oversees the 'cleaning operation' at Rakhine, receives an award from the Kingdom of Thailand.

Royal Gazette newspaper reported that Min Aung Hlaing was nominated for a royal award by Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn on 21 August 2017, just days before a military operation was held in Rakhine, Myanmar.

"For support and services for the Thai military," the Royal Gazette said in its report, referring to the reason for awarding Min Aung Hlaing.

Min Aung Hlaing attach a photo on his official Facebook account, which shows himself smiling after receiving an award from the Royal Thai in Bangkok. The award he received was named 'Knight Grand Cross First Class of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant'.

He also took pictures with the Royal Thai Armed Forces Commander, General Tarnchaiyan Srisuwan. The Royal Thai Armed Forces in a statement said the award was given to 'show close and long-standing relations' between the two countries.

But Fortify Rights human rights activity Matt Smith called Thailand should support calls for justice to be upheld in Myanmar rather than rewarding his top military officer.

"This is the man responsible for the military atrocities committed by the military with full impunity," Smith said. He referred to various violent practices, such as murder and rape, by the Myanmar military against Rohingya as reported by the United Nations.

Thailand defends its decision to reward Min Aung Hlaing. "This is a tradition of giving royal honors to the supreme commander of foreign countries," said a spokesman for the Thai Defense Ministry, Lieutenant General Kongcheep Tantravanich.

(nvc / imk)

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Thailand, US Minimize Myanmar Military Attendance in Joint Military Training

Thailand and America downplay the meaning of the presence of Myanmar military personnel in the grand opening of the largest annual joint military exercise in Southeast Asia on Tuesday (13/2).

The Myanmar military has been accused of massive human rights abuses by crackdown on minorities Muslim-Rohingya, which made hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to Bangladesh. Some members of the US Congress have demanded that Myanmar not be included in the exercise.

"The truth is Myanmar is not a participating country," US Ambassador to Thailand Glyn T. Davies told reporters during a "Gold Cobra" exercise in eastern Thailand.

"They are not participants of this exercise," he asserted. He did not explain why Myanmar military personnel were present in the drill.

Thai military commander General Thanchaiyan Srisuwan admitted inviting Myanmar in the opening ceremony of the exercises. But the Myanmar flag was not flown.

The Pentagon and the US State Department last week said Thailand had invited three Myanmar military personnel to observe a part of the exercise focused on responding to natural disasters. But Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan said on Tuesday that the only Myanmar military personnel present were deputy military attachés, who were also a major. The personnel attended the opening ceremony with another defense attaché corps in Bangkok. [em/jm]

Myanmar Failed to Create Safe Conditions for Return of Rohingya Refugees

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said on Monday that Myanmar had failed to create a safe condition for the return of 688,000 Muslims-Rohingyas who fled from military crackdown six months ago.

Refugees taking shelter in emergency camps in Bangladesh despite an agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh that allowed their return to the state of Rakhine.

"Typically, this condition for the voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees is still not conducive," said Grandi, speaking through videoconferences at the council meeting.

"The thing that caused them to evacuate has not been addressed, and we still have not seen any substantive progress in addressing the issue of exceptions and denial of the rights of the deceased Muslims-Rohingyas, rooted in their citizenship , "He added.

See also: Jo kowi Visit Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

Myanmar considers Muslim-Rohingyas as immigrants from Bangladesh and refuses to grant citizenship, even though this group has been in Myanmar for generations.

An advisory panel led by former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has called on Myanmar to grant citizenship to Muslim-Rohingyas and allow them back.

The United Nations has accused Myanmar forces of expelling the Rohingyas in an ethnic cleansing campaign.

China, former supporters "The Muslim-Spirit Crisis can not be completed in one night," said Chinese Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu.

He added that, steps should be adopted by Myanmar "to address the root causes of poverty through pemba ngunan "in Rakhine state. [em/jm]

Reuters Releases Journalist Investigative Reports Arrested in Myanmar

Reuters on Thursday released a report of ethnic killings in Myanmar detailing an investigation by two journalists who are currently imprisoned in the Southeast Asian country.

The news agency revealed the massacre of 10 Rohingyas at the village Inn Din, where Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo talked to neighbors of Buddhists who reportedly claimed to kill and bury their corpses in a mass grave.

The report included photos of 10 men kneeling with hands tied behind their backs they were reported the same day they were killed. One more shows the bodies of the men in a mass grave. Witnesses said the photos were authentic, Reuters said.

"The Reuters investigation of the Inn Din massacre sparked Myanmar police to arrest two reporters of the news agency," the report said.

In a rare confession, the military of Myanmar a month after the arrest of the journalist said that his security forces were responsible for the deaths of 10 Rohingyas found in the mass grave of Din Inn.

The military continues to deny the systematic killings of the Rohingya Muslim minority, which the UN considers to be an ethnic cleansing. [as]