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Myanmar: Amnesty International accusa il gruppo armato Rohingya di stragi civili

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Una ricerca condotta da Amnesty International nello stato di Rakhine, in Myanmar, ha rilevato che “L’Esercito di salvezza dei Rohingya dell’Arakan” (Arsa) è responsabile di almeno un massacro che conta almeno 99 persone tra uomini, donne e bambini indù e di ulteriori uccisioni illegali e di rapimenti di civili verificatisi nell’agosto 2017. L’Arsa è un gruppo di insorti Rohinghya che il Comitato Centrale Anti-Terrorismo del Myanmar ha dichiarato essere un gruppo terroristico il 25 agosto 2017 in conformità con la legge antiterrorismo del Paese. Il governo birmano ha affermato che il gruppo è coinvolto e finanziato da islamisti stranieri, nonostante non ci siano prove certe che dimostrino tali accuse. L’Arsa ha rilasciato una dichiarazione il 28 agosto 2017 in cui ha definito le accuse del governo come “infondate” e sostenendo che il suo scopo principale è quello di difendere i diritti dei Rohingya. La ricerca, svolta sulla base di interviste e analisi condotte da antropologi forensi, risponde al bisogno di fare luce sulle violazioni dei diritti umani, sottovalutate, commesse dall’Arsa. La brutalità delle azioni ha avuto un impatto indelebile sui sopravvissuti e Tirana Hassan, direttrice di Amnesty International per le risposte alle crisi, ha sottolineato che occorre “chiamare a rispondere i responsabili di quelle atrocità, è fondamentale tanto quanto farlo per i crimini contro l’umanità commessi dalle forze di sicurezza di Myanmar contro i civili Rohinghya”.

Il massacro di Kha Maung Seik

Erano le 8 di mattina del 25 agosto 2017 quando l’Arsa ha attaccato la comunità indù che viveva in una parte di una serie di villaggi nella zona chiamata Kha Maung Seik. Qui gli indù vivevano in prossimità dei villaggi della comunità musulmana Rohinghya e della comunità prevalentemente buddista rakhine. Uomini armati vestiti di nero e Rohinghya in abiti civili hanno rastrellato decine di uomini, donne e bambini indù, li hanno depredati dei loro averi e li hanno condotti bendati fuori dal villaggio. Dopo aver separato le donne e i bambini dagli uomini, i militanti dell’Arsa hanno ucciso 53 persone, a iniziare dagli uomini. Otto donne e otto dei loro figli sono sopravvissuti dopo che l’Arsa ha obbligato le donne a convertirsi all’Islam. Le 16 persone sono state poi obbligate a seguire i combattenti in Bangladesh e sono state rimpatriate nell’ottobre 2017 con il coinvolgimento delle autorità di entrambi i paesi. I sopravvissuti hanno riferito di aver visto parenti uccisi o di aver sentito le loro urla, di aver visto gli uomini sgozzati mentre venivano intimati a non guardare, di aver visto i combattenti dell’Arsa tornare indietro col sangue sulle spade e sulle mani, di aver visto l’uccisione di donne e bambini. In molti hanno perso padri, zii e fratelli ma anche madri e sorelle che sono stati massacrati. Sono morti 20 uomini, 10 donne e 23 bambini, 14 dei quali non avevano neanche otto anni. Bina Bala, una ventiduenne sopravvissuta al massacro ha raccontato le violenze di quei momenti: “Avevano coltelli e lunghi cavi metallici. Ci hanno legato le mani dietro la schiena e bendati. Ho chiesto loro cosa avessero intenzione di fare e uno di loro ha risposto, nel dialetto Rohinghya: ‘Voi e i rakhine siete la stessa cosa, praticate una religione diversa dalla nostra, non potete vivere qui!’. Poi hanno chiesto di consegnare tutto ciò che avevamo e hanno iniziato a picchiarci. Io alla fine gli ho dato i soldi e i gioielli d’oro che avevo”. Nello stesso giorno i 46 abitanti del vicino villaggio di Ye Bauk Kyar sono scomparsi, la comunità indù locale ritiene che l’intero villaggio sia stato assassinato dall’Arsa. Sommando le vittime dei due massacri, il totale è di 99 morti. Inoltre, il giorno successivo, l’Arsa ha ucciso due donne, un uomo e tre bambini nei pressi del villaggio di Myo Thu Gyi, sempre nella zona. Durante l’ondata di violenza nello stato di Rakhine, decine di migliaia di appartenenti a comunità etniche e religiose sono state costrette a fuggire. Molti di loro sono rientrate nei loro villaggi, altre continuano a restare in rifugi temporanei poiché le loro case sono state distrutte o per il timore di ulteriori attacchi dell’Arsa.

Le violenze contro i Rohingya

Gli episodi di Kha Maung Seik hanno coinciso con una serie di attacchi condotti dall’Arsa contro una trentina di posti di blocco delle forze di sicurezza di Myanmar. Le forze di sicurezza hanno reagito avviando una campagna illegale e sproporzionata contro la comunità Rohinghya, fatta di uccisioni, stupri, torture, incendi di villaggi, affamamento e altre violazioni dei diritti umani che costituiscono crimini contro l’umanità. I peggiori episodi di violenza chiamano in causa specifiche unità delle forze armate, come il Comando occidentale dell’esercito, la 33ma Divisione di fanteria leggera e la Polizia di frontiera. Le forze di sicurezza si sono vendicate brutalmente nei confronti dell’intera popolazione Rohinghya dello stato di Rakhine con l’intento di cacciarla dal paese. Uomini, donne e bambini furono vittime di un attacco sistematico e massiccio, costituendo un crimine contro l’umanità. Nell’ondata di violenza contro i Rohinghya sono state riscontrate almeno 6 degli 11 atti che secondo lo statuto di Roma del tribunale penale internazionale, quando sono commessi intenzionalmente durante un attacco, costituiscono crimini contro l’umanità: omicidio, deportazione, sfollamento forzato, tortura, stupro e altre forme di violenza sessuale, persecuzione oltre a ulteriori atti inumani come il diniego di cibo e di altre forniture necessarie per salvare vite umane. Le forze di sicurezza di Myanmar, a volte con la collaborazione di gruppi locali di vigilantes, hanno circondato i villaggi Rohinghya nella zona settentrionale dello stato di Rakhine, uccidendo o ferendo gravemente centinaia di abitanti in fuga. Inoltre, persone anziane e con disabilità, impossibilitate a fuggire, sono state arse vive nelle loro abitazioni date alle fiamme dai soldati. I testimoni hanno raccontato che l’esercito di Myanmar, appoggiato dalla polizia di frontiera e da vigilantes locali, ha circondato il villaggio aprendo il fuoco su chi cercava di fuggire e poi ha incendiato sistematicamente le abitazioni. I medici incontrati in Bangladesh hanno dichiarato di aver curato molte ferite causate da proiettili sparati da dietro il che coincide con le testimonianze di coloro che hanno visto i militari sparare contro le persone in fuga. La mattina del 30 agosto i soldati sono entrati a Min Gyi, hanno inseguito gli abitanti in fuga fino alla riva del fiume e poi hanno separato gli uomini e i ragazzi più grandi dalle donne e dai ragazzi più piccoli. Dopo aver aperto il fuoco uccidendo decine di persone i soldati hanno diviso le donne in gruppi portandole nelle case più vicine. Poi le hanno stuprate e infine hanno dato fuoco a quelle e ad altre abitazioni. Il 3 ottobre Unosat (l’operazione satellitare della Nazioni Unite) ha dichiarato di aver identificato un’area di 20,7 kmq di edifici distrutti da incendi nelle zone di Maungdaw e Buthidaung a partire dal 25 agosto: un dato persino probabilmente sottostimato a causa della densa copertura nuvolosa del periodo. Un ulteriore esame dei dati forniti dai sensori satellitari è giunto alla conclusione che dal 25 agosto sono stati appiccati almeno 156 vasti incendi ma anche questo numero potrebbe essere inferiore alla realtà. Le immagini satellitari riprese prima e dopo gli incendi confermano le testimonianze raccolte, ossia che le forze di sicurezza hanno dato alle fiamme solo abitazioni o zone abitate dai Rohinghya. A Inn Din e Min Gyi vi sono ampie parti di territorio con strutture incendiate fianco a fianco ad abitazioni rimaste intatte. L’esame delle caratteristiche delle zone risparmiate dalle fiamme, incrociato con i racconti dei testimoni sulla diversa composizione etnica di queste ultime, conferma che sono state incendiate solo le zone dei Rohinghya. Le violenze di quei giorni hanno costretto oltre 693.000 rohingya a fuggire in Bangladesh, dove si trovano tuttora. A proposito Tirana Hassan ha precisato che “I feroci attacchi dell’Arsa sono stati seguiti dalla campagna di pulizia etnica condotta dall’esercito di Myanmar contro l’intera popolazione rohingya. La condanna dev’essere totale: le violazioni commesse da una parte non possono giustificare quelle commesse dall’altra. Ogni sopravvissuto e ogni famiglia delle vittime hanno diritto alla giustizia, alla verità e alla riparazione per l’immensa sofferenza che hanno patito”.

Le dichiarazioni da parte di Myanmar

La settimana scorsa, il rappresentante permanente di Myanmar presso il Consiglio di sicurezza delle Nazioni Unite ha criticato alcuni stati membri per aver ascoltato “solo una parte” della storia e non aver riconosciuto la violenza dell’Arsa. In riferimento a queste dichiarazioni Tirana Hassan ha dichiarato che “Il governo di Myanmar non può accusare la comunità internazionale di essere unilaterale se non permette l’ingresso nello stato di Rakhine. L’esatta dimensione delle violenze commesse dall’Arsa resterà sconosciuta se gli investigatori indipendenti sui diritti umani, compresa la Missione di accertamento dei fatti delle Nazioni Unite, non potranno avere libero e pieno accesso nello stato di Rakhine”. A questo proposito Amnesty International rinnova il proprio appello per fermare le violenze.

 

Aung San Suu Kyi, l’incongruenza di un simbolo

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Aung San Suu Kyi è il Consigliere di Stato e Ministra degli Esteri della Birmania. E’ famosa in tutto il mondo come “the Lady”, titolo anche di un film che la ritrae come paladina della democrazia e dei diritti umani. Allo stesso modo deve averla vista anche la commissione che le ha assegnato un premio Nobel nel 1991, e non a torto. Aung San Suu Kyi ha vissuto prigioniera in casa sua per venti anni, combattente non violenta per la democrazia. Battaglia che ha vinto con le elezioni del 2013, anno in cui il partito National League of Democracy viene eletto a guidare il passaggio del Paese alla democrazia. Il suo governo negli ultimi 18 mesi ha lavorato ad un progetto di pace e di sviluppo sostenibile che ha però incontrato molte critiche.

Tra le ultime voci che si sono levate contro la premio Nobel, ci sono i suoi colleghi premio Nobel, Malala e Desmond Tutu, nonché una partecipatissima petizione per revocarle il premio. Il motivo di queste critiche sta nel fatto che una regione del Myanmar, il Rakhine, è oggi occupata militarmente, chiuso ad ogni accesso sia da parte di missioni umanitarie che di media, e la popolazione che abita la regione, musulmani Rohingya, sta emigrando in massa verso il Bangladesh (mezzo milione di persone nelle ultime quattro settimane) 

Ora, la difficoltà di accesso alla regione rende di conseguenza difficile avere notizie certe su ciò che sta succedendo in Rakhine. Certe però, sono le testimonianze di chi è fuggito e di chi si sta rifugiando in Bangladesh. Sono notizie di persecuzioni, violenze, stupri e infanticidi commessi dall’esercito di Myanmar contro la popolazione musulmana Rohingya. L’ONU ha definito i recenti avvenimenti un esempio testuale di pulizia etnica. Di qui le accuse a Aung San Suu Kyi, leader di fatto di un paese sconvolto da una tragedia umanitaria, accuse mosse in relazione al suo status di premio Nobel per la Pace.  

Un aspetto da considerare è il fatto che Aung San Suu Kyi è una figura decisamente secondaria quando si parla di sicurezza e difesa dello stato. Il passaggio alla democrazia non è ancora ultimato, e per essere eletta, la leader è dovuta giungere ad un compromesso con l’esercito, lasciandolo a capo di tre ministeri fondamentali del Myanmar: Difesa, Frontiere e Interno. È perciò presumibile che quando si parli di una persecuzione interna, mossa dall’esercito, Aung San Suu Kyi non abbia i mezzi né i poteri per fermarli. Altro è esigere dalla leader quantomeno una dichiarazione, un riconoscimento della situazione. Ciò non è ancora avvenuto; nella sua ultima dichiarazione, la Lady ha parlato di attacchi terroristici contro la polizia, di una maggioranza di popolazione che non è emigrata e di una sostanziale ignoranza da parte del governo delle cause per cui quel mezzo di milione di persone sono oggi in Bangladesh come rifugiati. Nulla insomma, sui Rohingya, sulla persecuzione di questo gruppo etnico né sulla discriminazione sistemica che il governo ha portato avanti negli ultimi 50 anni nei confronti di questa minoranza musulmana. Non sembra perciò che le posizioni di Aung San Suu Kyi e dell’esercito siano discordi sull’argomento, o almeno fino ad ora la leader non si è pronunciata contro le azioni dell’esercito.  

Desmond Tutu, nella sua dichiarazione sull’operato della Lady, ha parlato di incongruenza di un simbolo, della discrepanza tra ciò che Aung San Suu Kyi dovrebbe rappresentare in quanto premio Nobel per la Pace e la realtà della Birmania oggi. Aung San Suu Kyi ha certamente rappresentato l’elemento fondamentale del passaggio alla democrazia per il suo paese, passaggio che come lei stessa afferma non è ancora perfezionato e richiede tempo. Detto ciò il problema che va oggi affrontato non si esaurisce con una dichiarazione di una leader che non ha potere sull’esercito, o con il ritiro del suo premio. Il problema rimane in quel campo profughi in Cox Bazar di mezzo milione di persone, che non diminuiranno nel prossimo futuro, e nei villaggi che continuano a bruciare in Rakhine ma sono inaccessibili ad aiuti umanitari.  

Richiamando le parole di Francesco Rocca, presidente della Croce Rossa Italiana, attualmente in missione in Cox Bazar, serve uno sforzo consistente da parte della comunità internazionale, aiuti concreti al campo profughi e una strategia di risoluzione della crisi in Rakhine, che affronti l’origine dell’emigrazione. Queste devono essere le direttrici dello sforzo internazionale, queste le priorità.

Kofi Annan seeks reconciliation among ethnic groups in western Myanmar

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Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, seeking reconciliation among ethnic groups in fractious western Myanmar, urged the army on Tuesday to respect civilians’ rights as concerns rise about treatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority. Annan spoke after meeting with top officials and making a three-day trip to Rakhine state, where the army has been conducting aggressive sweeps since October, when unidentified armed men killed nine policemen manning posts along the border with Bangladesh.

Hot Spot – The Crisis Areas

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There are several crisis areas in the world. The events shown below talk about many wars and clashes in Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia.

 

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Egypt

8 policemen were killed on Sunday May 8 during an attack on a checkpoint close to Helwan police station. Islamic State and “Popular Resistance” movement claimed responsibility.

Turkey

Two cross-borders operations for Turkish forces. The first one against PKK in Iraq, the second one against Daesh in Syria. This one was conducted by 20 special forces team which killed about 55 jihadists. While other 63 were killed at the beginning of May, after Turkish airstrikes in Northern Syria.

Syria

As in Iraq, U.S. and coalition military is continuing to fight ISIS in Syria. Particularly, U.S Department of Defense disclosed that “attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted eight strikes in Syria:

— Near Manbij, two strikes destroyed two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL fighting position.

— Near Mar’a, three strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.

— Near Palmyra, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

— Near Waleed, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL storage facility and an ISIL bed-down location, and damaged another storage facility and bed-down location. “

More than 70 killed after fighting between regular army and rebels in Aleppo on May 6. As reported by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 30 of them were soldiers, while over 40 Nusra Front militants.

On Thursday May 5, 12 people killed after a terrorist attack close to an army conscription office east of Homs. Here, the same day, ISIS positions were bombed Russian, and Syrian airplanes.

About 30 people were killed in an air assault on a refugee camp near Sarmada. This attack were not claimed, but it’s probably by Russian or Syrian airplanes.

Libya

On Thursday May 5, Islamic State militants attacked some village between Sirte and Misurata: 5 people were killed.

As already foretold by international press, General Khalifa Haftar began attacking on Daesh in Sirte on May 4. He’s determined to continue despite Fayez Serraj wants to suspend every attack.

Myanmar

Regular army offensive against Kachin independence army positions on Wednesday May 4. At least 5 people killed and several casualties, including women.

Iraq

U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Iraq yesterday, “ Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported on May 8.

Iraqi security forces and al Hashed al Sha’bi militia killed 25 ISIS jihadist on May 7. “The security forces conducted proactive operations that targeted the headquarters and gatherings of ISIS in the areas of al-Hur and Zebin al-Hanshl in the vicinity of al-Ameriyat (18 km south of Fallujah), resulting in the death of 25 ISIS elements.” the commander of the 1st brigade within al-Hashed al-Sha’bi militia in al-Ameriyat, Abbas al-Issawi, said in a statement obtained by IraqiNews.com.

An U.S soldier killed after ISIS attack on Peshmerga defense near Mosul at the beginning of May, as the international coalition spokesman Steve Warren announced said on Thursday. but “The Peshmerga forces managed to kill 60 members of ISIS and destructed three car bombs, as well as tightening their grip on the region,” he ended. While at least 100 civilians escaped from ISIS territory in Kirkuk.

On May 1, two Samawah explosions killed about 40 people and at least 86 casualties.

Ukraine

3 people killed following clashes between Ukrainian army and rebels, despite the ceasefire.

Afghanistan

Between April 30 and May 1, AAF bombed militants in eastern Nangarhar province killing about 60 of them, while ANSF killed at least 65 jihadists during raids in Khash Rod district of Nimroz, Badakhshan province, Qads district of Badghis and in Deh Yak and Gilan districts of Ghazni province, as reported by the Ministry of Defense.

Saudi Arabia

Daesh militants killed a Saudi soldier during a battle in the western Taif region on May 7. Two assailants opened fire on a police station before retreating to the mountain village of Thaqeef where the soldier was killed.

 

Hot Spot – The Crisis Areas

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Not only Libya, Syria or Iraq. There are several crisis areas in the world. The events shown below talk about many wars and clashes in Africa, Middle East and Asia.

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Democratic Republic of Congo
13 people were killed on March 19 due to clashes between DR Congo army and Mai Mai Simba troops in village of Central-Biakato.

 

Libya
Daesh militants retreated from Derna after a long time because of Tobruk army, leaded by Haftar, in Benghazi.

On April 19, the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, confirmed that “we are ready to support the government. “ This is the European answer after GNA request for help. Brussels will offer assistance with its security sector, managing migration, border management and police capacity building.

At the beginning of April, GNC voted its dissolution. So, former prime minister Ghwell left its office. Premier Serraj stregthened its position also because of support of Tripoli and Southern municipalities as well as Central Bank of Libya, Libyan Investment Authority and National Oil Corporation.

 

Somalia
Somalia asked Russia to support its army against Al Shabaab group, which is continuing to strike in all Horn of Africa nation.

 

Sudan
Two Arab factions, Arab Maaliya and Rizeiga, clashed in East Darfur State on April 18: over 20 people were killed. The fact was sparked by a livestock theft.

 

South Sudan
No respect for treaty of peace signed in 2015. A civil war which is continuing between Dinka and Nuer people from over 2 years. And at last the return to national capital Juba of Riek Machar. The recent news from South Sudan and the UN and Amnesty reports about crime against humanity illustrate a geopolitical disaster which is overlooked by international community.

 

Ethiopia
On April 13, South Sudanese armed group killed about 210 civilians and abducted 100 of them close to Ethiopia’s border with South Sudan.

 

Syria
Over 61 people were killed in Province of Idlib on April 19 by Syrian Arab Air Force. The same warplane also targeted a residential area in the nearby town of Kafr Nabl, leaving five people dead, as civil defense official Omar Alwan told Anadolu Agency.

 

Iraq
On April 20, security forces kill 40 ISIS fighters in Karma District and 70 in Bashir while 200 people escape from areas controlled by ISIS south of Mosul the day after. While Peshmerga’s source confirmed that ISIS should have used 12 rockets containing chemical substances in Kuwer axis.

Between April 17 and 19, international coalition, leaded by the US, airstriked ISIS in Kirkuk, killing at least 5 jihadists. The day before, Iraqi airforce destroyed 4 ISIS headquarters in Ramadi

Northern province of Anbar were liberated from ISIS after a few months. It was revealed by regular army and confirmed by local press.

 

Yemen
Houtii accepted to partecipate to peace talking after UN envoy assured that the ceasefire of April 11 would be esteemed.

Yemeni forces reconquered Houta thanks to support of Saudi-led coalition and its Apache. The fight happened on April 14, when they defeated Al Qaeda troops.

 

Afghanistan
A group of Talibans caused several explosions, especially targeting a building, in Kabul on April 19: about 65 people killed and at least 347 injured. Conversely, about 45 ISIS militants were killed in Nangarhar province on April 14 during an Afghan airstrike, as confirmed by Ministry of Defense.

While about 240 militants were killed or wounded after another airstrike the day before.

 

Pakistan
Some TTP’s talibans killed 7 policemen during vaccinations in Pakistan. The same group claimed responsibility after a few hours.

 

Myanmar
Clashes are continuing in the south of Myanmar. On April 8, Burmese army’s 63rd Light Infantry Battalion troops attacked KIA 18th Battalion’s Nbu Kawng. This only the last battle in the last weeks.
Giacomo Pratali

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Aung San Suu Kyi wants to release political prisoners

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After the oath of Htin Kyaw, the first democratically elected president of Myanmar after 56 years of military dictatorship, continues the path of change in the country of Southeast Asia.

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Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD), of which the new government is a direct expression, could not assume the role of prime minister because of a constitutional provision which was introduced by the junta military to avoid the risk of her coming to power. The “Steel Orchid”, however, since the election campaign ended with the last November elections, had promised the citizens of Myanmar that, if victorious, she would have ruled the country “above” the President.

To enable her to fulfill this commitment, the new Parliament has created an ad hoc position for San Suu Kyi, assigning her the role of the State Consultant. In this official position, the party leader can directly contact and summon ministers, departments, organizations, associations and individuals to discuss the main of government agenda. A role that, in fact, allows Suu Kyi to rule indirectly, through the “delegate” President Htin Kyaw.

One of the first issues on which Aung San Suu Kyi intends to assert its weight is that of political prisoners. Last Thursday the Nobel prize, with a post on Facebook, has stated his intention to push for a mass amnesty that allows the release of political prisoners, activists and students imprisoned by the military junta in recent years.

The arbitrary imprisonment of thousands of activists for democracy has been a dramatic constant during the decades of dictatorship, and the same Suu Kyi had been living for 15 years under house arrest. Many of the recently elected MPs, as well, have tried the hard repression of the regime and the hardships of prison life.

The semi-civilian transition government, which was in power from 2011 to 2015, had already granted the freedom to hundreds of political prisoners, but it is estimated that there are still 90 imprisoned activists and another 400 awaiting trial. About 70 of these are students arrested before last November’s elections, charged of having participated in illegal meetings or taking part, in March 2015, in the street protests against the educational reform, harshly repressed by the police. After more than a year, the trials in many cases have yet to come to sentence.

The decisive initiative of Suu Kyi, which portends a direct intervention, in short, by the prime minister Kyaw, could push the prosecutor to drop the charges against the students. But the difficulties are still many, considering the deep inefficiency of the judicial system in Myanmar.

The first problem, again, is represented by the army, to which the current constitution guarantees a quarter of parliamentary seats and the control of some of the most important ministries. The power of the military, in Myanmar, has been mutilated but is still strong and widespread. Every democratic reform will inevitably have to deal with its opposition.

 

Luca Marchesini

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Myanmar: finally the first elected president

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For Myanmar’s finally the turning point. After 56 years of military rule, in the country of Southeast Asia took office a democratically elected government, thanks to the victory of the National League of Democracy (NLD) in the last November consultations.

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The first civilian president of the new course is called Htin Kyaw. Initially indicated by the Western media as the simple driver of Aung San Suu Kyi, Kyaw has always been, in fact, the closest collaborator of the NLD leader and has accepted the role of prime minister only in consequence of the constitutional ban that prevents people married into a foreign national to hold the office of prime minister.

Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize and a symbol of the struggle for democracy against the military junta, was married until 1999 with the Briton Michael Aris, with whom she had two children with dual citizenship. The law therefore prevents her from formally assume the powers and responsibilities of the presidency, but the ” Iron Orchid “, as she was renamed during the years of militancy and imprisonment, has already made clear that she intends to govern through the figure of his loyal collaborator . It therefore constitutes a sort of indirect premiership.

Htin Kyak, 69, has vowed loyalty, with its ministers and two vice-presidents, to the people of Myanmar, in front of the Parliament, in a plenary meeting, in the capital Nay Pyi Taw. In the list of new members of the government stands the name of Aung San Suu Kyi, who will deal directly with foreign affairs, education, energy and the Bureau. Just to clarify that all important decisions will pass anyway from his desk.

Three other key ministries, such as defense, interior affairs and border affairs, will remain under the control of the military, which also nominates a quarter of members of parliament and keep the veto power on constitutional reforms. Those inevitable limitations, to ensure a peaceful change of power, was agreed in talks between Aung San Suu Kyi and former President Thein Sein, in power for five years and expression of the military junta.

About San Suu Kyi, symbol of the country, we know practically everything. But who is the new president Kyaw? He and the leader of the NLD have attended high school together and have been since then tied by a strong friendship. He studied computer science in the United Kingdom and Japan, and has always maintained a low profile, being appreciated, once back at home, for honesty and loyalty to the cause of democracy. During the fifteen long years of detention, he was among the few to have access to the prison house of Suu Kyi and, after the liberation, was often seen by his side, even in the guise of a driver. He’s married to the daughter of one of the founders of the National League of Democracy, also Member of the National Parliament, and in the past was involved in the management of the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation, a charity whose name is dedicated to the late mother of the Nobel Prize.

In his inaugural speech, the new President Kyaw has referred to the complex challenges facing the country, first of all the need for a cease-fire to end, as soon as possible, to armed conflicts that for decades opposed the central power to several ethnic minorities. Kyaw also stated that the new government plans to introduce constitutional changes, to make the fundamental law of the country in line with modern democratic principles.

This last commitment is certainly the most difficult to achieve because the army, to which the current constitution guarantees vast powers, does not appear willing to permit other democratic changes. But just five years ago, Myanmar was forced to face severe economic sanctions, because it was considered by the international community as an obscurantist military regime, with thousands of political prisoners and the total absence of freedom of expression.

Many things have improved since then, largely through the efforts of Aung San Suu Kyi and her movement. The future, today, appears full of promise to which it is permissible to believe.

 

Luca Marchesini

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Myanmar: Suu Kyi and peaceful transition

Asia @en di

For the new Myanmar of Aung San Suu Kyi is the time of “peace talks”. After the victory of the National League of Democracy (NLD) in the election three weeks ago, the leader of the movement, historical activist for human rights in the former Burma, met President Thein Sein, head of the government that, in 2011, marked the beginning of the democratic transition of the country, after 49 years of military dictatorship.

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The meeting lasted 45 minutes, during which they discussed the terms of a painless handover between the outgoing executive, with a civil profile but supported and appointed by the Junta, and the new government of the NLD, which won the elections of November 8 with an overwhelming majority.

Eight out of ten voters voted for the party of Suu Kyi, even if the know that the Nobel Prize for peace could not directly exercise power, because of constitutional restrictions prohibiting anyone with children of foreign nationality to become prime minister. But Aung San Suu Kyi immediately made clear its intention to play a leading role in the new government. The name of next Prime Minister has not yet been made public, but the most important decisions for the future of the country will be taken by her.

In the role of de facto leader, the Burma ”Iron Orchid ” met, on Dec. 2, the outgoing President Thien Sein and the Army Chief, Min Aung Hlaing. The meeting was held in Nay Pyi Taw, the city 320 kilometers from Yangon, which in 2005 was elevated to the role of capital. In the talk, which lasted less than an hour, Suu Kyi asked the representatives of the old power bloc to ensure a peaceful and painless handover. Sein and Hlaing offered their commitment, ensuring that there won’t be attempts of interference in the way of transition.

The concerns of the leaders of the NLD are dictated by the fact that the military retain a quarter of the seats in both houses of Parliament of Myanmar and, with them, the power of veto over constitutional reforms and key positions in the main ministries. Caution is required in consideration of the dramatic experiences of the past. The party of Aung San Suu Kyi won the election even in 1990, but the result was ignored by the military junta and, since then, Suu Kyi was under house arrest for a total period of 15 years. Confidence, since then, has become a rare commodity.

The victory of the NLD in the elections has generated excitement and new expectations on the path of democratization of the country, especially at international level. According to Miemie Byrd, professor of Burmese origin of the ‘Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, interviewed by Al Jazeera, however, optimism is excessive.

” My concern is that the international community’s reaction and interpretation (about elections) could exacerbate the conflicts and challenges inside Myanmar”,” she said, adding that the country still has a long way to go. “Whomever is at the leadership of the new government will be limited by the above challenges to quickly advance the reforms and progress. You just can’t get the bullock cart to go as fast as an automobile. ” The international community, she concluded, must “exercise patience and have realistic expectations” on the speed of the transition process.

 

Luca Marchesini

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Southern Asian countries will help Rohingya

Asia @en/BreakingNews @en di

Southern Asian countries will donate a fund for the several Rohingya arrived in Indonesia, Malesia and Thailand in the recent months. So they receive Un’s requests. More than 4600 boats have tried to reach these countries since May: at least double than 2014.

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ALast May, Indonesia and Malesia announced to give a temporary asylum to about 7000 migrants who arrived to their coasts. But the emergency has not stopped yet. And this is an humanitarian emergency which concerns thousand of women and children.

As reported by United Nations, the elements about this geopolitical context are awful, even if the International Press is focusing only about immigration in Mediterranean Sea: “Such perilous journeys, whether by land, sea, or air, have become a global phenomenon”, said António Guterres, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, Peter Sutherland and William Lacy Swing, Un Higher Commissioner for Refugee said.

Again: “88,000 migrants had tried to migrate by boat in Southeast Asia since 2014. “Nearly 1,000 are believed to have perished at sea due to the precarious conditions of the voyage, and an equal number because of mistreatment and privation at the hands of traffickers and abusive smugglers”, they underlined.

Rohingya are detached in two parts. Majority, the Muslim faction, who is persecuted by the Buddist Myanmar. The other part are Bangladeshi who run away from poverty. Now more of them live in refugee camps in Indonesia, Malesia and Thailand, after a long journey from Rakhine (North Myanmar) to the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.

Through a creation of a humanitarian fund, United Nations hope to decrease all crime against Rohingyas: “Women are raped. Children are separated from their families and abused. Men are beaten and thrown overboard, We are deeply concerned at reports that boats full of vulnerable women, men and children are unable to land and are stranded at sea without access to urgently needed food, water, and medical assistance”, Un statement reported.
Giacomo Pratali

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