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Ongoing genocide’ against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims: UN

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United Nations:A genocide against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims is still continuing, UN investigators said Wednesday as they presented a report to the Security Council, calling for the issue to be referred to an international tribunal.

Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, said that beyond mass killings, the conflict included the ostracization of the population, prevention of births, and widespread displacement in camps.

“It is an ongoing genocide,” he told a press conference.

 

“We consider the genocide intent can be reasonably inferred,” he said as he presented the team’s report to a United Nations Security Council meeting.

The 444-page report, first made public last month, called on the council to refer the issue to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, or to create an ad hoc tribunal, as was done with the former Yugoslavia.

The explosive report said that Myanmar’s top generals, including Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing, must be investigated and prosecuted for genocide in Rakhine state.

Myanmar has rejected accusations that its military committed atrocities in the crackdown last year that forced 720,000 Rohingya to flee over the border to Bangladesh.

The conflict has also seen about 390 villages destroyed and 10,000 Rohingya killed, Darusman said.

“The conditions are not in place for a safe, dignified and sustainable return of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh” to Myanmar, he warned, adding any attempt would just risk more deaths.

At the end of an October 10-20 visit to the country, the UN’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, said that accountability and “inclusive dialogue” were the two important pillars for national reconciliation.

“Credible fact-finding is the first step towards accountability,” she said.

The Myanmar government rejected the UN mission’s findings, questioning its independence and pointing out that it had itself established an independent investigative commission made up of Asian diplomats.

Darusman said however that Myanmar’s internal inquiries have “proven to be ineffective failures” so far.

The Security Council meeting was called by Western powers but opposed by China and Russia, allies who have friendly ties with Myanmar’s military and have regularly shielded the nation from criticism.

But the UN fact-finding mission said there were reasonable grounds to believe that the atrocities were committed with the intention of destroying the Rohingya.

It found that the military’s tactics had been “consistently and grossly disproportionate to actual security threats”, and that estimates that some 10,000 people were killed in the crackdown was likely a conservative figure.

Myanmar’s de facto leader Suu Kyi — once lionised by the international community as a democracy icon — has seen a sharp fall from grace following her refusal to speak out against the military.

The UN mission has pointed out that her government’s attempts to whitewash facts had worsened the situation for the embattled Rohingya.


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Pakistan puts major CPEC power project on hold, asks China to delete it from list

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Islamabad: In a setback to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Pakistan government has decided to put on hold a major power project, Rahim Yar Khan power project, and has reportedly informed the Chinese government about the same. According to a report in Pakistan-based Dawn News, the Pakistan government will shut down several other schemes under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).

The report further said that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government has asked Beijing to “formally delete the project from the CPEC list”. The same was communicated to China in a meeting of the CPEC Joint Coordination Committee by Pakistan on December 20, 2018. According to the report, the project was pushed by the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz government in the past.

The development comes months after China refuted charges that Pakistan’s current economic crisis crumbled because of projects under CPEC. China had said that blaming CPEC was uncalled for and that the corridor in fact was something that would bolster Pakistan economy in the years to come.

 

The defence of CPEC was necessiated after rising voices in Pakistan against it. Several people questioned the loans taken from China and asked the terms for their repayment. Even the United States has said that the current state of Pakistani economy is a result of loans it has taken from Beijing and has made it clear that it won’t allow any bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which would be used by Islamabad to repay Chinese debt.

The IMF also later observed that increasing Chinese involvement in Pakistan’s economy could be disastrous on the latter’s future.

Islamabad has already cut the size of the biggest Chinese “Silk Road” project in Pakistan, a reconstruction of the main rail line between the port city of Karachi and Peshawar in the northwest by $2 billion, citing government concerns about the country’s debt levels. The changes are part of Islamabad’s efforts to rethink key Belt and Road Initiative projects in Pakistan, to which China has pledged about $60bn in financing.

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Trump threatens to ‘devastate’ Turkey’s economy if it attacks Kurds

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Washington: US President Donald Trump said that America would “devastate Turkey economically” if the NATO-allied country attacks Kurds in the region. “Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining IS (Islamic State) territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms,” the President tweeted.

“Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds,” but followed up in a second tweet, “Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey.”

Turkey views some Kurdish groups in the region as terrorist organisations and Kurds make up the majority of US-allied fighters operating in Syria in the civil war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad`s regime, CNN reported.

 

It`s a stark threat toward an ally in the region that has partnered with the US in the fight against the IS. CNN reported on Thursday that the first US military ground equipment has been withdrawn from Syria, according to an administration official with direct knowledge of the operation.

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly lashed out at US National Security Adviser John Bolton for saying the US withdrawal was contingent upon Ankara`s pledge not to attack US-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria once troops leave.

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Bill for delisting Pakistan as major ally tabled in US Congress

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WASHINGTON: A bill seeking to remove Pakistan from a list of America’s major non-Nato allies has been introduced in the US Congress, even though the Trump administration enhances its contacts with Islamabad in its pursuit of a peaceful end to the Afghan war.

The resolution — introduced by Congressman Andy Biggs who, like the Trump administration, is a Republican — sets new conditions for future re-designation.

If a US president desires to put Pakistan back on the list, he or she will have to certify to Congress that Pakistan continues to conduct military operations that are contributing to significantly disrupting the “safe haven and freedom of movement” of the Haqqani Network in the country.

 

The president also has to certify that Pakistan has shown progress in arresting and prosecuting Haqqani Network’s senior leaders and mid-level operatives.
Take a look: Pakistan has given us nothing but lies and deceit, says US President Donald Trump

The re-designation will require another certification from Congress that Pakistan has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to preventing the Haqqani Network from using any Pakistani territory as a safe haven and that Pakistan actively cooperates with Afghanistan to restrict the movement of militants along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Known as Resolution H.R. 73, the bill has been sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee for necessary action.

Mr Biggs, a second-term legislator, has no cosponsor and his move will need a strong support from the Trump administration and the Democratic Party to pass a House dominated by the Democrats.

In recent statements, President Donald Trump has clearly expressed his desire to withdraw at least half of the 14,000 US troops still stationed in Afghanistan.

Senior Democrats — both in and outside Congress — have also said that the United States cannot remain involved in these apparently unending wars in Afghanistan and Syria.

But before an ultimate withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Trump administration wants to ensure that the pullout does not lead to the collapse of the US-backed Afghan government in Kabul.

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