Tuesday, September 12, 2017
- The rights group said five airstrikes hitting four family homes and a grocery store was carried out either deliberately or recklessly, causing indiscriminate loss of civilian lives in violation of the laws of war.
- The coalition has repeatedly denied allegations of war crimes and says its attacks are directed against its foes in Yemen's armed Houthi movement and not civilians.
The rights group said five air strikes hitting four family homes and a grocery store was carried out either deliberately or recklessly, causing indiscriminate loss of civilian lives in violation of the laws of war.
The coalition has repeatedly denied allegations of war crimes and says its attacks are directed against its foes in Yemen's armed Houthi movement and not civilians.
Yemen has been torn by a civil war in which Yemen's internationally-recognized government, backed by a coalition supported by the United States and Britain, is trying to roll back the Iran-aligned Houthi group which controls most of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.
"The Saudi-led coalition's repeated promises to conduct its air strikes lawfully are not sparing Yemeni children from unlawful attacks," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.
"This underscores the need for the United Nations to immediately return the coalition to its annual "list of shame" for violations against children in armed conflict," she said.
On August 4, coalition aircraft struck a home in Saada, killing nine members of a family, including six children, ages 3 through 12.
On July 3, an air strike killed eight members of the same family in Taiz province, including the wife and 8-year-old daughter, the organization said.
HRW said it interviewed nine family members and witnesses to five air strikes that occurred between June 9 and August 4, and did not detect any potential military targets in the vicinity.
The war has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than three million and ruined much of the impoverished country's infrastructure. The Saudi-led coalition was formed in 2015 to fight the Houthis and army troops allied with them who have fired missiles into the kingdom. HRW called on United Nations Security Council to launch an international investigation into the abuses at its September session.
On Monday, the U.N. said it has verified 5,144 civilian deaths in the war in Yemen, mainly from air strikes by a Saudi-led coalition, and an international investigation is urgently needed.
As the world’s largest arms fair prepares to open its doors in London, campaign groups are highlighting that the UK has sold £3.6 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since the devastating conflict in Yemen began.
According to the latest report from campaign group Control Arms, the UK, France and the US have been three of the biggest suppliers of arms to the Saudi regime since the war in Yemen broke out in 2015, despite the fact that thousands of civilians, including children, have been injured in the conflict.
Oxfam is calling on the UK to immediately “stop the arms sales and push for a ceasefire” and has accused ministers of “double standards” because of the Government’s official endorsement of the Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair, taking place at the Excel Centre this week. Various campaign groups have accused the Government of “rolling out the red carpet” to invited delegates from some of the world’s most repressive governments, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Turkey, at DSEI.
In a new report, Control Arms concurs with other groups including Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) in finding the UK alone has agreed to £3.6 billion worth of arms sales since the Saudi backed coalition began its air strikes in Yemen, with an estimated 13,000 people having been killed in the confluct since March 2015 and creating a humanitarian disaster.
The Saudis involved themselves in the country's civil war to back President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi after Iran-allied Houthi fighters seized control of Yemen’s capital Sana'a Amnesty International has accused the UK of being in breach of the UN treaty to regulate the international arms trade, effectively ignoring its obligations by continuing to supply arms even where there is a real risk they will cause a serious violation of human rights. Oxfam is among the organisations calling on the Government to stop the lucrative sale of arms and push for international ceasefire.
The UK Government’s aid budget for Yemen is set at £139 million for 2017-18, with Amnesty International calling this a “shameful contradiction” in comparison to the billions generated by the sale of arms to oppressive regimes.
“The USA and UK are fuelling serious violations that have caused devastating civilian suffering though multibillion-dollar arms transfers to Saudi Arabia that vastly overshadow their humanitarian efforts,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut office.
“Weapons supplied in the past by states such as the UK and USA have helped to precipitate a humanitarian catastrophe. These governments have continued to authorise such arms transfers at the same time as providing aid to alleviate the very crisis they have helped to create. Yemeni civilians continue to pay the price of these brazenly hypocritical arms supplies.”
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly said that it does all all it can to reduce civilian casualties and upholds international law. It has launched investigations into a number of incidents where civilians have been killed, but campaigners have flagged far more alleged incidents.
Protests began outside the Excel centre in east London last week and are expected to intensify when the DSEI fair begins on Tuesday.
A judge last year acquitted eight people who had taken part in peaceful protests in 2015 of “obstructing the public highway” after they successfully used the unusual defence that they had been trying to prevent greater crimes from taking place when they either locked onto or laid down in front of vehicles carrying weapon including tanks into the arms fair.
District Judge Angus Hamilton said last May that Stratford Magistrates’ Court had been presented with “clear, credible and largely unchallenged evidence that criminal wrongdoing had occurred at past DSEI exhibitions involving the sale of arms to countries which then use those arms against civilian populations, and the sale of arms that were inherently unlawful, such as cluster munitions and items designed for torture.”
To the dismay of humanitarian campaigners, the UK High Court ruled in July that the UK Government can continue selling arms to Saudi Arabia after Lord Justice Burnett found it had not been established that the Saudi forces were deliberately targeting civilians.
The biennial autumn arms fair first took place in London in 2001 and opened its doors for the first time on the day of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. The event now attracts more than 35,000 visitors and exhibitors, including representatives from the world’s ten biggest arms companies.
The number of minors fighting in the conflicts raging across the Middle East and North Africa has more than doubled in the last year, a new UN report has found.
The coping mechanisms of families particularly in Syria, Iraq and Yemen have disintegrated after years of violence, displacement and a lack of basic services such as hospitals and schools, the UN’s child protection agency Unicef said in a statement on Monday.
While in the past Unicef had documented children recruited as guards, paramedics and porters, by the end of 2015 more and more minors were carrying guns and stationed at checkpoints or taking part in active fighting. The verified number of documented child soldiers rose from 476 in 2014 to 1,168 in 2015, the agency found - warning that the true figure was likely to be much higher. In Yemen, there was a fivefold increase in the number of child soldiers in 2015 as the conflict between Houthi rebels in control of the capital, Sanaa and the internationally recognised exiled government intensified.
More instances of child recruitment were found in Sudan and Libya.
Around 16 million children across the region are out of school, and almost one in five - 28 million - are now reliant on emergency humanitarian assistance, mostly due to the effects of war. Unicef said. Desperate parents are being left with few options other than to get their children to help bring in income, Unicef said. “With no end in sight to these conflicts and with families’ dwindling financial resources, many have no choice but to send their children to work or marry their daughters early,” Unicef’s regional director Geert Cappelaere said. In Syria, more than six years of complex conflict has forced around half the population of 27 million to flee their homes. The emergence of Isis as a deadly force across the country and neighbouring Iraq has led to fighting which has endangered another in the last three years. Recent fighting which began with the battle to retake Mosul has left five million Iraqi children homeless and in need of food and education.
“Conflict continues to rob millions of girls and boys of their childhood,” Mr Cappelaere consequences – not only for the region but for the world as a whole – will be dire.”
7TH CENTURY WAHHABISM - Indonesian Woman Brutally Flogged Under Draconian Sharia Law Over Adultery Allegation
International divisions emerged today ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on a worsening refugee crisis in Myanmar, with China voicing support for a military crackdown that has been criticised by the US, slammed as “ethnic cleansing” and forced 370,000 Rohingya to flee the violence.
Beijing’s intervention appears aimed at heading off any attempt to censure Myanmar at the council when it convenes tomorrow.
China was one of the few foreign friends of Myanmar’s former junta.
Beijing has tightened its embrace under Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government as part of its giant trade, energy and infrastructure strategy for South-east Asia.
The exodus from Myanmar’s western Rakhine state began after Rohingya militants attacked police posts on August 25, prompting a military backlash that has sent a third of the Muslim minority population fleeing for their lives.
Exhausted Rohingya refugees have given accounts of atrocities at the hands of soldiers and Buddhist mobs who burned their villages to the ground.
They cannot be independently verified as access to Rakhine state is heavily controlled. Myanmar’s government denies any abuses and instead blames militants for burning down thousands of villages, including many belonging to Rohingya.
But international pressure on Myanmar heightened this week after United Nations rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the violence seemed to be a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. The US also raised alarm over the violence while the Security Council announced it would meet tomorrow to discuss the crisis.
Opprobrium has been heaped Suu Kyi, who was once a darling of the rights community but now faces accusations of turning a blind eye to — and even abetting — a humanitarian catastrophe by Western powers who once feted her as well as a slew of fellow Nobel Laureates.
But Beijing offered more encouraging words to her today, with foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang voicing support for her government’s efforts to “uphold peace and stability” in Rakhine.
“We hope order and the normal life there will be recovered as soon as possible,” he told a press briefing.
The Rohingya minority are denied citizenship and have suffered years of persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
“An estimated 370,000 Rohingya have entered Bangladesh,” since August 25 Joseph Tripura, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency, told AFP.
The real figure may be higher as many new arrivals are still on the move making it difficult to include them in the count, the UN said, adding 60 percent of refugees are children. Most are in dire need of food, medical care and shelter after trekking for days through hills and jungles or braving dangerous boat journeys.
In a statement late yesterday Suu Kyi’s foreign ministry defended the military for doing their “legitimate duty to restore stability”, saying troops were under orders “to exercise all due restraint, and to take full measures to avoid collateral damage.”
Britain and Sweden requested the urgent Security Council meeting amid growing international concern over the ongoing violence.
The council met behind closed doors in late August to discuss the violence, but could not agree a formal statement.
‘Stop the torture’ The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has said the latest violence may have left more than 1,000 dead, most of them Rohingya.
Myanmar says the number of dead is around 430, the majority of them “extremist terrorists” from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
It says a further 30,000 ethnic Rakhine and Hindus have been displaced inside northern Rakhine, where aid programmes have been severely curtailed due to the violence.
The exodus of Rohingya has saddled Bangladesh with its own humanitarian crisis, as aid workers scramble to provide food and shelter to a daily stream of bedraggled refugees.
The UN-run refugee camps in its Cox’s Bazar district were already packed with Rohingya who had fled from previous waves of persecution.
Dhaka is providing them temporary shelter.
But Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who visited a Rohingya camp on Tuesday, stressed it was up to Myanmar to “resolve” the issue.
“We will request the Myanmar government to stop oppressing innocent people,” she said during a tour of a camp in Cox’s Bazar, according to local outlet bdnews24.com.
Dhaka, which has refused to permanently absorb the Rohingya, said it plans to build a huge new camp that will house a quarter of a million refugees.
But it remains unclear if or when they will be able to return.
Plumes of smoke continued to rise on the Myanmar side of the border this week despite the militants’ announcement on Sunday of a unilateral ceasefire.
There was no direct response from Myanmar’s military, though government spokesman Zaw Htay tweeted: “We have no policy to negotiate with terrorists.”
Read more at http://www.themalaymailonline.com/world/article/global-split-over-rohingya-crisis-as-china-backs-myanmar-crackdown#vMCetYPWuGQ2Uo7B.99
Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has paid tributes to 11 martyrs of MRD Movement who were gunned down by dictator General Zia this day in 1983 in Khairpur Nathan Shah town of Dadu district.
In statement issued here, the PPP Chairman said that these brave Party workers fought valiantly against the dictatorship in 1983 MRD Movement led by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and they sacrificed even their lives for the democratic struggle.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that PPP workers along with other democratic workers waged a historic movement for restoration of in 1983 and 1986 offering unmatched and unforgettable sacrifices in the history.
PPP Chairman said that all those martyrs will remain in the hearts and minds of the Party leadership and workers forever.
It may be recalled that a dozen of PPP workers were gunned down by dictator General Zia in Khairpur Nathan Shah town on September 12, 1983. They martyrs were: Abdul Ghani , Abdul Aziz Lakhair, Nizamuddin Naich, Abdul Nabi Khoso, Allah Warrayo Langah, Shahnawaz Khoso, Habibullah Leghari, Deedar Ali Khokhar, Zameer Hussain Jagirani, Aijaz Hussain Khonharo and Manzoor Ahmed Chandio.
By Muhammad Abbas Khaskheli
Someone has rightly said that if anyone wants to damage a society, firstly he should make its educational system ineffectual for all and then make the youth unemployed, all of which our society is facing right now.
Pakistan’s history begins from 1947, when this nameless region of South Asia appeared as a country over the map of the world and we were introduced as an independent nation. Since coming into occurrence, we have continuously faced an assortment of crisis till today – after completing 70 years of independence.
The age group, which has suffered a lot of difficulties, during this worthless journey, is the youth of the country. Improper education facilities, unemployment and disgraceful social behaviours are the mainstream causes, which have restricted the youth of our country prospering in any field of their lives.
Undoubtedly, in many countries of the world, youth is called the pillar of the nation, as they hold capabilities of performing the duties and responsibilities of a mentor in society. Those communities, where youth are encouraged, are among the most prosperous and developed communities of the world our society is exactly contrary to such types of well off societies. From birth to marriage, a young male or female endlessly faces troubles step by in all aspects of life. If they belong to a very deprived family then they might not even obtain proper primary education, which is one of the main reasons behind the increasing illiteracy rate in the country. If fortunately they get primary education, they are unable to afford secondary higher education as they are part of a family where earning is an essential facet for everyone and resources are limited for everyone.
In case, they strive hard to complete higher studies, they are caught in the whirlwind of finding a job and this is the very last step of their struggle for knowledge. There are innumerable educated youth in our country, who are unable to take any advantage from any of the government schemes that are assembled for providing the youth a comfortable life but sorry to say, all these efforts by the government will not be able to overturn the doom of our youth.
Basically, our government has never fashioned any appropriate and fair mechanism of facilitating the youth. All the schemes and programmes, which are initiated to promote the youth are established to give them an opportunity to engender livelihood resources, and are bleak because the purpose behind the making of these schemes is actually to offer benefits to government officials. No one can envision the impacts of unemployment in our societies, a large number of youngsters are committing suicides and sometimes killing all of their family members and then committing suicide. In many cases, jobless people in Pakistan have started selling their body parts and even their children to amass fundamental needs of their innocent families.
Negligence of concerned authorities has led to inept people using illicit means to acquire key posts in almost every government department, which causes difficulties for the deprived but more competent youth of our society to come forward and get the job on merit. Our leadership knows better about the deficiencies of our educational system but chooses to ignore the drowning state of this sector. Until they take the right decisions and kick off sincere efforts timely, no one can change the condition of our society. Moreover, we the youth need to accelerate ourselves by making progress in the field of science and technology and make national level forums for the entire youth of the country to promote and strengthen genius and capable youth of this land.
The BRICS declaration has put our cards on the table.
We have been told that our two religious organizations, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) though proscribed both by the United Nations and Pakistan, have been fomenting terrorism in the region. The declaration did not name Pakistan, but both organizations had been based in Pakistan, and their leaders, Hafiz Saeed and Azhar Mahmood are living here. The former was put on house arrest following Trump’s election while the latter has been underground in his native town Bahawalpur, running a fleet of Madrassas. LeT, and JeM may had been proscribed, but their organizational structures were never touched, giving them the leeway to resurface with new names. The LeT became Jamaat-ud-Dawa, and the JeM turned into Tehrik-al-Furqan. India has been trying since long to put Masood’s name on the UN list of terrorists, but China vetoed it always.
But now China has also told us that, “It’s time to put our house in order. ” The Foreign Minister (FM) of Pakistan Khawaja Asif while talking about the BRICS declaration that has accused Pakistan based militant organizations of pouring oil in the Afghan war, pleaded the architects of the foreign policy in Pakistan to heed the voices emanating from the international corridors. In a clear helplessness, the minister did not give a clear-cut policy of how to go about ‘putting our house in order. ’ He was looking somewhere else for the decision to rethink the existing foreign policy model and make it more reliant on diplomacy rather than on the application of covert forces.
It took a bit out of us when Russia and China became accusatory against Pakistan.
The government immediately went into a damage control mode, and the FM went to China to get the concession. However, the question is why our friends had been forced to act strangers. Why this shift, when only a few weeks back, on the occasion of Washington’s new policy on Afghanistan, China asked the international community to appreciate Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism. Russia too gave cover to Pakistan against Trump’s naked accusations that Pakistan was harbouring terrorists. What has changed in these two weeks that both China and Russia have joined Indian rant to designate Pakistani based religious organizations source of militancy in the region, especially in Afghanistan. Perhaps the change was in the making, and only we could not see it coming. Or maybe the architects have become immune to such allegations. But in the wake of China’s increasing economic involvement in Pakistan, this warning cannot be taken lightly, and perhaps, as we have been told the time has come to put our house in order. In reality, though, the foreign office had smelled the coffee much earlier.
The meeting of country’s high-ranking military, civil and intelligence officials last year, which will go down in the history of Pakistan, as ‘Dawn Leaks,’ gave out the same message. No logic can justify the ‘flawed’ decision to leak the talking points of such a sensitive meeting in the press. But one can hardly deny the similarity in the message both Dawn Leaks and the BRICS declaration carried; that the international community is running out of patience with our adventure of nurturing the Jihadi outfits disrupting situations in Afghanistan and Kashmir further. Unfortunately, the message got warped in the manner in which such an important policy issue was made public.
The trust deficit, in the civil-military relations, has only widened because of the policy of retribution, both sides have been adopting to get even with one another. It would have been pragmatic, if the time and effort spent on Panama case, that eventually removed the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, were invested in reassessing the foreign policy to make Pakistan a responsible country. Two wrongs never make a right. The government was wrong to put its military at the centre of the accusation ring – opening it up to India’s aggression that used the opportunity to expose Pakistan further. The military was wrong in denying the reality, and instead of hunting out the enemies it chose to sleep with them and pulled the guns at the government.
The story has revisited us, and however nonchalant we may try to pose the reality is that Pakistan is facing isolation. Our sacrifices in the line of terrorism, and our claim to have made headways in clamping the head of this monster are likely to wither unless we decide to get rid of the long held dependency on the covert forces to protect our false fear and insecurities from regional countries. Pakistan can be better saved if shielded by a healthy economy and an honest political leadership. There is scarcely any solace, as some people are finding, in the BRICS declaration also bracketing Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan as an equal spoiler of regional peace.
Remember, before becoming India’s underbelly the TPP has been part of ours. Their apologists for years had called them ‘the strayed youth. ’ Pervez Rashid, Nassir Janjua, and Munawer Saeed are on record saying so. But the problem is that except ourselves we find everyone else against us. Now that the Chief of Army Staff has asked the world to do more, rather than depending on us, we are left but with prayers to see sanity prevail.
By MEHREEN ZAHRA-MALIK
It was happening again, but worse than ever: Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya Muslims were fleeing Myanmar while under attack by the security forces, and the deaths kept mounting.
Everybody in the vast Arkanabad slum of Karachi has family members who were affected by the government raids that started last month. Outside Myanmar, and perhaps now Bangladesh, Pakistan is home to the highest concentration of Rohingya in the world, from a previous exodus of Rohingya in the 1970s and ’80s. A vast majority live in neighborhoods that are distressingly impoverished even by Karachi’s standards.
Now they are angry that Pakistan is not doing more to stop the killing in Myanmar, let alone improve the condition of the estimated 500,000 Rohingya who live in this country.
“The government needs to do more: Send them more aid, send them food, and break ties with Myanmar completely,” said Noor Hussain Arkani, who leads the Pakistan chapter of a charity in the Rohingya community, the Rohingya Solidarity Organization. “We need world pressure behind us to end this violence, this hell. Just issuing statements isn’t enough.”
Pakistan was among the earliest and most strident in condemning the Myanmar government for its offensive, which started after Rohingya militants killed members of the security forces. The United Nations said Tuesday that since then, at least 370,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh.
But even as politicians and civil society in Pakistan are up in arms over how members of the Buddhist majority in Myanmar are abusing the Muslim Rohingyas there, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya migrants here continue to live in desperation.
Across the Arkanabad slum — named after the old designation for Myanmar’s present-day Rakhine State — decrepit shanties with temporary walls, often with no doors and windows and unsteady corrugated roofs, serve as homes to more than 100,000 Rohingya.
The men mostly work as fishermen, while a small number weave carpets or are employed in garment factories. Malnutrition and diarrhea are common among children who have little access to schools and spend their days playing in rivers of garbage.
Residents said that up to 30 families shared a single tap of water. But even where running water is available, it often flows for fewer than four hours a day. There are no hospitals in the slums, and at least six women spoke of having a relative die giving birth because she had been denied admission to government hospitals.
Still, what people complained of the most in interviews last week was routine harassment by the police. Many spoke grimly of a “Burma Cell,” a special police division responsible for cracking down on Rohingya migrants. (Burma is the former name of Myanmar.)
Many Rohingya have carried Pakistani national ID cards for years but since the authorities started cracking down on fake versions in 2014, many have found it hard to renew their cards. And the second generation is being denied cards altogether, they said. “Without cards, we are blocked out of jobs, our children can’t apply for admission in high schools and we can’t access government hospitals,” said Mr. Arkani, of the Rohingya Solidarity Organization.
In the slum of Burmi Colony, many residents spoke of being forbidden by the police to leave to fish. Mohammad Younis, a fisherman in his 30s, said he had not worked for half a year and his monthly salary of around $600 had shrunk to less than $60.
“When I try and take my nets and go out, I get stopped by the police, who ask for my ID,” said Mr. Younis, whose documents expired six months ago. “I show them documents to prove I am trying to renew my ID card, but they don’t even let me leave the colony.”
He added, “We will die, trapped here without access to our means of livelihood.” Residents described arrests of people without cards who were then held either on impossible bail or until they paid a bribe directly to officers. Malik Ishfaque, the station house master at the police station under whose jurisdiction many of the Rohingya-majority slums fall, said that officers were duty-bound to crack down on anyone who did not possess valid documents. And while he acknowledged that the Burma Cell used to exist, he said it had been dismantled.
Asked about instances of harassment and intimidation by the police that some Rohingya had described, Mr. Ishfaque said: “We act against these people because they are a group of thieves,” noting that crimes like pick-pocketing and robbery in the surrounding area were mostly committed by the Rohingya. Despite having little, the Rohingya have been trying to directly help their people back in Myanmar.
Mr. Arkani said the community had raised money to send meat from 30 cows for the new wave of refugees in Bangladesh, as no new refugees were being allowed into Pakistan. The Rohingya Solidarity Organization had also set up a glass donation box, but it was almost empty.
“We are so poor already, but even then we try to raise whatever little money we can among ourselves,” he said. “But we need more help from Pakistani people who are rich, who have resources.”
Many who live here cannot even officially identify themselves as Rohingya. To avoid persecution and be accepted as naturalized citizens, many pretended to be Bengalis who migrated from East Pakistan before the 1971 war of independence, after which it became Bangladesh. “You ask if we have enough to eat or drink, but I ask you: What is our condition when we cannot even say we are Burmese?” said Noor Jabbar, a community elder whose ID card expired three months ago but who has not succeeded in renewing it. For his part, Khalid Saifullah, 70, who migrated from Myanmar four decades ago, described persistent mistreatment. “They won’t let me be a citizen, because then they have to give me rights and they won’t call me a refugee because then they have to give me aid,” said Mr. Saifullah, showing the high school diploma he had received from a school in Karachi. “I am not a citizen or a refugee. I am an illegal alien. I am nothing.”