World Bulletin / News Desk
A researcher for a leading global human rights NGO has said humanitarian aid organizations should be allowed in Myanmar's western Arakan state where attacks targeting Rohingya Muslims have recently escalated.
"Sectarian violence (in Arakan) has continued, potentially with the complicity of the security forces, because they have not made sufficient or adequate efforts to stop it and they themselves have perpetrated human rights violations against the ethnic minority of Rohingya population," said Amnesty International's Myanmar Researcher Benjamin Zawacki, in an interview with Anadolu Agency.
Listing the urgent steps to solve the ongoing crisis in Arakan, Zawacki said, "The government should be compelled to allow aid and access to the region. At the same time, attacks being perpetrated by the authorities of the state of Myanmar need to stop".
SYSTEMATIC RACISM AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MUSLIMS
Zawacki said a large percentage of the security forces in Arakan were of Buddhist origin. Rohingya Muslims living in the state had been suffering a "systematic racism and systematic discrimination" for decades, he added.
The researcher said the situation in the region had been particularly intense for the past week and there were daily reports of attacks targeting Rohingyas.
"Rohingyas are a minority both ethnically and also religiously. So one assumes that some of the persecution they have suffered over the years and they are suffering now is on account of their religion and as well as their ethnicity," he said.
NUMBER OF DEAD, DISPLACED HARD TO VERIFY
Zawacki noted that Amnesty International would not endorse the term "ethnic cleansing" at this time to describe the situation in Arakan, however, it could certainly be said that the attacks were targeted, discriminatory in their nature and they were resulting in an increase in the number of political prisoners.
Commenting on the number of casualties and displacements, the researcher said it was difficult to verify such information as Myanmar authorities had been preventing the access of humanitarian actors into the region. "So, it's very difficult to assess the number of displaced and homeless," he said.
Pointing to the low nutrition rates and harsh living conditions for women and children, Zawacki said the real job was to re-impose some sort of law in security and allow humanitarian access.
"Whether aid is completely blocked or effectively blocked, the point is that tens of thousands of people are in need of humanitarian assistance," he underscored.
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY'S RESPONSE TO THE CRISIS
Regarding several Western states' lifting or easing sanctions on Myanmar in the recent term due to the progress in the country's democratization process, Zawacki said sanctions could be lifted, but authorities could be urged to cease violations at the same time.
He said "the international community clearly failed to step up and take concerted action in this crisis".
"Even [Burmese opposition politician] Aung San Suu Kyi has spoken out in favor of reforming the citizenship law, but has not spoken out in favor of making Rohingyas citizens," Zawacki said.
Jordanian government spokesman said the "aerial target was shot after being intercepted" when it violated Jordanian air space near the northern border city of Mafraq.
U.N. health agency said that four hospitals, including al Aqsa hospital in the coastal strip, had been damaged in the conflict that began on July 8 when Israel launched air strikes
Yatseniuk, Ukraine's point man for the West during much of the turmoil in the country since November, tendered his resignation on Thursday, saying parliament was betraying its people's demands
Brazil called the escalation of violence "unacceptable" and recalled its ambassador for consultations.
The problem has become so great that more than 10 military airfields have been forced to close or move.
More than 30 Palestinians were also injured with live ammunition fired by Israeli troops.
Poor weather was the most likely cause of the crash of an Air Algerie flight over the West African state of Mali with 116 people on board, French officials said on Friday.
Two of the detainees are Jason Rezaian, the Tehran correspondent for the Washington Post, and his wife Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper the Nation
Peter Greste was detained in December together with Al Jazeera English Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed.
The bombing comes only one day after 40 people were killed by twin blasts in neighboring Kaduna State.
Al-Thinni was due to attend a series of meetings in Libya's eastern region.
A security source said late on Thursday that civil defense personnel had managed to retrieve the bodies of eight people who died in the butane gas cylinder blast in the town of Malawi.
Around 40 of Gaza's 75 ambulances had stopped working because of the lack of fuel.
The decision came less than a week after the Justice Ministry filed a lawsuit against Bahrain's main opposition group, Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society
The lawsuit, if approved by the full House, would focus on Obama's implementation of his landmark healthcare law, known as "Obamacare"
Hundreds of Iraqi Christians staged a protest in the Kurdish city of Erbil on Thursday, demanding protection from a militant offensive.