INFOGRAPHIC – France violates human rights through occupation

             By Tugcenur Yilmaz</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - France violated human rights through its colonial occupations, especially in the African continent.</p>  <p>France, with its colonial occupations launched in 1524, dominated more than 20 countries in the western and northern Africa. Thirty-five percent of the continent remained under French occupations for 300 years.</p>  <p>Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire and Benin were used as a hub for the slave trade during that time and all resources in the region were exploited by France.</p>  <p>Revolts in the countries struggling for independence were violently suppressed during France's five-century colonial period. More than 2 million Africans lost their lives.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>- The story of France's shame in Algeria</p>  <p>Thousands were killed by French soldiers during demonstrations launched by Algerians who fought in French fronts with the promise of independence shortly before the end of World War II.</p>  <p>During the course of the struggle for independence, 1 million people were killed and hundreds of thousands were injured, went missing or were forced from their homes.</p>  <p>Violence on Algerians continued systematically with the Setif and Guelma massacres in 1945 to July 5, 1962, when the country declared its independence from the colonial rule.</p>  <p>Since 1830, Algerian society has been exposed to cultural genocide. France transformed many cultural and religious sites in Algeria. </p>  <p>Since its independence, Algeria has repeatedly asked France to acknowledge its colonial-era crimes.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>- France's role on Rwandan genocide</p>  <p>France also carried out major human rights violations in countries where it has political influence.</p>  <p>It played a role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide where 800,000 people were killed.</p>  <p>Instead of preventing genocide, France was found to provide weapons and information to the Hutus regime. </p>  <p>&quot;In such countries, genocide is not too important,&quot; then-French President Francois Mitterrand told the daily Le Figaro in 1988.</p>  <p>Criticized internationally and publicly because of its supports to Hutus regime, France prohibits accessing reports on genocide.</p>  <p>Several international cases against France are ongoing.</p>  <p>An estimated 800,000 minority Tutsis and some Hutus were killed during 100 days of bloodshed orchestrated by extremist Hutus in 1994.</p>  <p>The assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu triggered the genocide on April 7, 1994.</p>  <p>Hutu extremists who allegedly harbored hatred for Tutsis accused the group of shooting Habyarimana’s plane as it approached Kigali International Airport, triggering mass slaughter.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>*Writing by Faruk Zorlu

OPINION – How 'never again!' world deals with modern genocides

             - The writer is the co-author of “The Slow-Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya” (Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, 2014) and coordinator of the Free Rohingya Coalition. </p>  <p>By Maung Zarni<br>

LONDON (AA) – If your people suffer genocide, here is the package deal you will get from our indifferent world.

The mass media will descend on the crime scene as long as there is blood to be filmed;

Western media corporations will send your spokesperson a chauffeured Mercedes for a three-minute TV interview;

The UN General Assembly will pass a resolution or annual resolutions — as long as the genocide has not stopped — in order to try to appear to be doing something for the victims;

The Security Council will debate and adopt a non-binding resolution;

The secretary-general, the glorified chief clerk of the world's most bloated bureaucracy whose purpose is long gone, will mention "Never again!" and lament his — never her — impotence;

He will probably appoint a special envoy, equally impotent, clueless, or simply indifferent;

The World Food Program will keep you alive (barely);

The UNHCR refugee agency will send Kate and Angelina;

The UN’s International Organization for Migration will give your fellow victims umbrellas decorated with the IOM logo; the UN Development Program will talk about the need for development and ask for a bigger budget;

All of the above will continue to collaborate with your killers;

Regional blocs such as the African Union, EU, ASEAN etc. will scream foul, issue statements of "grave concern," and give your fellow survivors humanitarian aid, but nothing more;

The Human Rights Council, including among its membership such shining lights of freedom and humanism as Saudi Arabia, China, and the Philippines, will hold interactive dialogues during which a few survivors will get two minutes to share their horrors;

The New York-based Human Rights Watch will scream “ethnic cleansing” — never a genocide;

London-based Amnesty International will say “all sides” and resort to sensational reports;

International lawyers (like car injury lawyers) will take your victims' testimonies "for future use";

Hordes of researchers, document filmmakers, theorists, and scholars will explain away the unfolding genocide in slow-motion — like the Rohingya genocide — before and until newer and sexier ones arise somewhere else;

New NGOs will be established;

Names will be made, careers built, and your fellow victims will stay screwed;

"Prestigious awards" will be given to one or two or three campaigners (I got one myself! Thank you!);

Big-hearted philanthropists will be itching to throw their money at you — to assuage their guilt about ill-gotten gains:

Wealthy regimes around the world — so-called "donors" — will release their proxies and hired guns such as Britain’s DFID, Humanitarian Dialogue, International Crisis Group, US AID, ICRC, etc. to go and do their bidding with the victims (if the victims are Muslim like the Rohingya they will be quietly or openly sniffing around for "Islamicists" like the German Shepherds in SS canine units);

Victims will be further traumatized by in-fighting over crumbs of aid, access to microphones, and powerful ears, all riled up in personality conflicts;

The genocide will stop when the perpetrators run out of people to liquidate;

If you are lucky, the UN will establish some accountability mechanisms like the ICC or Tribunal to throw hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars to maintain the myth of global justice, rule-based order, and international law;

Hundreds of young, ambitious international lawyers will form yet another industry of "international criminal lawyers," like hungry hounds stumbling on a village feast;

We'll observe a moment of silence and say "Never Again!”

Hit "repeat."

* Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu Agency

Rwanda commemorates 25 years of genocide

By Hassan Isilow

PRETORIA, South Africa (AA) – President Paul Kagame said Sunday his country prays no person in the world should ever endure the same tribulations Rwanda faced 25 years ago, when more than 800,000 people were slaughtered in genocide.

“Never accept it. Confront the apostles of division and hatred who masquerade as saviours and democrats,” Kagame said in a speech at the Kigali Genocide Memorial where more than 250,000 victims are said to be buried.

An estimated 800,000 minority Tutsis and some Hutus were killed during 100 days of bloodshed orchestrated by extremist Hutus in 1994.

The assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu triggered the genocide on April 7, 1994.

Hutu extremists who had allegedly harbored hatred for Tutsis accused them of shooting Habyarimana’s plane as it came in to land at the Kigali International Airport, triggering their mass slaughter.

Kagame, who led the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which ended the genocide, thanked his fellow countrymen who joined hands to recreate their country after the genocide.

“In 1994, there was no hope, only darkness. Today, light radiates from this place,” he said, after lighting the memorial flame which will burn for 100 days as the country mourns.

Kagame said despite the hurtful past, Rwanda has become a family once again with citizens uniting.

Several foreign leaders joined Kagame at the genocide commemoration. They included, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Belgium Prime Minister Charles Michel and Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou.

Others are Congo President Brazzaville Denis Sassou N'gueso and Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh.

Rwanda’s genocide wounds yet to heal after 25 years

By Andrew Wasike

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – April 7, 1994 marks one of the darkest days in Africa, the day that tribalism bared its teeth, leading to one of the bloodiest massacres ever witnessed in Africa and across the world.

Members of the Hutu community, who made up the majority in Rwanda, turned on those from the Tutsi minority community, eventually killing 800,000 people.

On the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, lingering wounds still have yet to heal.

Mark Kigeli, now 35, was only 10 when the war broke out, but even though he was just a child, he remains haunted by images that he remembers from that day.

“I remember the struggle that my father and mother put up so that I could survive,” he told Anadolu Agency. “We tried everything but when the Hutus came, they were ruthless and merciless.”

He added: “I just remember crawling in blood, that might have been my mother’s or father’s or even my siblings because they were all slaughtered. Mind you my younger sister was 7 years then, showing what kind of beasts these men were.

“I was to going be slaughtered too but instead of hitting me with the sharp side of the machete, he kind of slapped me with it. I crawled and passed out.

“I was woken up by our burning house after they had left, and since then I have been living with my uncle who later found me.”

Kigeli says that many Tutsis right now around age 30 to 40 were orphaned by the genocide and many still have scars from their childhood reminding them of the atrocities against their tribe.

– Rape and HIV

Jacqueline, 33, a nursing student who asked Anadolu Agency to only use one of her names, said she got HIV from being raped by her captors.

“They had captured me as a very young prisoner, they didn’t even bother to tie my hands,” she remembered.

“The Hutus I was walking with raped so many different women and me included countless of times, I think … no, I’m sure that’s how I contracted the disease.”

Jacqueline added that the scars she has all over her body and the fact that she is HIV positive is proof that “my wounds will never heal, all the scars although long healed, they hurt just as if they were made yesterday.”

Jacqueline managed to flee from her captors one day while fetching water from a river. She then rushed to the house of her aunt, who took her in.

The aunt was married to a Hutu man so she was safe for a while, but a few weeks later the Hutus struck, branding her aunt and her husband “traitors.” Her aunt was killed but the husband was spared.

She managed to flee again and boarded a refugee vehicle which was on its way to a safe zone in southwest Rwanda.

– 'They killed everyone'

John Mutara, orphaned at an early age, is studying at a college in the capital Kigali and does casual jobs such as washing clothes, cutting grass, and fetching water for people among others to make ends meet.

“For me, they killed everyone from my family,” he recounted.

“There were six of us, and I’m the only one that lived. My uncles and aunts all disappeared. Either they were killed or are lost just like me, but I heard from a family friend that they died.”

Many who talked to Anadolu Agency said that the road to forgiveness and healing has been long and slow despite the fact that economically and socially Rwanda had redeemed itself under the rule of President Paul Kagame.

Kagame, who was a Tutsi military leader, launched a campaign known as the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which defeated civilian and military authorities responsible for the genocide.

Kagame's forces used guns to bring peace in Rwanda abolishing the three main tribes Hutu, Twa and Tusti thus uniting the people of Rwanda as one.

In a report released by the Human Rights Watch in 2010, Kagame's forces in bringing peace to the region carried out killings that also claimed the lives of innocent people.

Khojaly one of greatest crimes against humanity: Envoy

             By Jeyhun Aliyev</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) -  The 1992 massacre of hundreds of Azerbaijanis in the wake of the breakup of the Soviet Union is one of the greatest crimes and tragedies humanity has ever seen, one which will never be forgotten, according to Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Turkey.</p>  <p>&quot;We should not forget the tragedies, the pain, the genocides that were committed against our nation, but at the same time, we’re not the kind of people to seek revenge,&quot; Khazar Ibrahim told Anadolu Agency in an interview marking the 27th anniversary of the 1992 Khojaly Massacre, which led to over 1,000 casualties, including many women and children.</p>  <p>The Khojaly Massacre is seen as one of the bloodiest incidents of the battle between Armenia and Azerbaijan for control of the now-occupied Upper Karabakh region.</p>  <p>On the heels of the Soviet Union's dissolution, Armenian forces took over the town of Khojaly in Karabakh on Feb. 26, 1992, after battering it with heavy artillery and tanks, assisted by an infantry regiment.</p>  <p>Ibrahim stressed that it should not be forgotten that the victims of the massacre were all ethnic Azerbaijanis in the country’s Karabakh region, among them many children, women, and elderly.</p>  <p>The two-hour Armenian offensive killed 613 Azerbaijani citizens, including 106 women and 63 children, and critically injured 487 others, according to Azerbaijani figures. Also, 150 of the 1,275 Azerbaijanis that the Armenians captured during the massacre remain missing.</p>  <p>&quot;Despite the fact that apparently there was a humanitarian corridor for the civilians to flee, they [Armenian troops] ambushed them and indiscriminately massacred all these people,&quot; he said.</p>  <p>He also praised the Justice for Khojaly campaign, spearheaded years ago by Leyla Aliyeva, daughter of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, to raise awareness worldwide about what happened in the country some three decades ago.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>-An admitted crime</p>  <p>It is impossible for Azerbaijani people to forget and forgive those who committed the crime because it was deliberate, said Ibrahim.</p>  <p>&quot;We have seen that even in an interview [with British journalist Thomas De Vaal], the former president of the Republic of Armenia [Serzh Sargsyan], who was among the commanders of troops which massacred our civilians in Khojaly, admitted that Azerbaijanis thought that Armenians ‘weren’t strong enough’ to go against civilians, and they proved Azerbaijanis wrong and broke the stereotypes.&quot;</p>  <p>He said if the leadership of a country &quot;quite openly&quot; states that it committed a crime for certain purposes, it proves that these people &quot;cannot be forgiven if they haven’t even changed their mind and don’t even have regrets&quot; about what they did.</p>  <p>Azerbaijan will continue to demand justice for Khojaly in the international arena, Ibrahim said, adding that many countries, including many states of the U.S., have already recognized Khojaly as a genocide, massacre, and crime against civilians.</p>  <p>&quot;There were many eyewitness [accounts] as well by foreign journalists, by scholars, by politicians, and it is very heartbreaking to read their memories about these tragic events,&quot; he said.</p>  <p>Ibrahim said the Azerbaijani people always thought that the best way to solve problems is through peaceful means, adding: &quot;But peace always comes with strength, and we will never tolerate the continued occupation of our territories.&quot;</p>  <p>At the same time, Azerbaijan will stand strong in developing its nation and capabilities diplomatically, economically, and militarily in order to withstand to any attempt to repeat such a crime in the future, he said.</p>  <p>The diplomat also said that there will be week-long commemorations of the massacre across Turkey organized with support from the embassy, with special focus on historical highlights and legal and cultural aspects.</p>  <p>Ibrahim also praised the backing of &quot;sister nation&quot; Turkey and its consistent support for Azerbaijan.</p>  <p>&quot;Turkey has always everywhere both domestically and internationally voiced its support for Azerbaijan’s stand, and the Turkish leadership has always been very vocal also internationally, stating that there were huge and grave crimes against the Azerbaijani people,&quot; he said.</p>  <p> </p>  <p>- Upper Karabakh dispute </p>  <p>&quot;We always call on the Armenian leadership [to say] that there is no other way the region can develop, [no way] to have good neighborly relations with continued illegal occupations, with the continued denial of crimes against humanity,&quot; Ibrahim said.</p>  <p>Karabakh, a disputed territory between Azerbaijan and Armenia where Khojaly is located, broke away from Azerbaijan in 1991 with Armenian military support, and a peace process has yet to be implemented. </p>  <p>Three UN Security Council resolutions and two UN General Assembly resolutions refer to Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe refers to the region as being occupied by Armenian forces.</p>  <p>&quot;We do believe in the universality of norms and principles of international law which should be applied without any differentiation. Unfortunately, we see bias, we see double standards,&quot; Ibrahim added.</p>  <p>Azerbaijan continues diplomatic negotiations hoping that common sense and adherence to the principles of international law will prevail, he said.</p>  <p>&quot;When you try to prefer your own truth without any substantiation, it cannot be any truth at all,&quot; he added.

ANALYSIS – Conference calls for action to end Rohingya genocide

            By Maung Zarni
  • Writer is co-author of the “The Slow-Burning Genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya” (Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, 2014) and coordinator of the Free Rohingya Coalition.

LONDON (AA) – On Feb. 8 and 9 at Barnard College in New York City, the Free Rohingya Coalition held an extremely productive conference, drawing an audience of 200 researchers, activists and renowned academics from around 12 countries.

Amongst the nearly 40 speakers – two were pre-recorded – were the iconic American Black consciousness activist and renowned academic Angela Davis, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, one of the founders of postcolonial studies and author of the classic “Can the Subaltern Speak?”, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, Radhika Coomaraswamy, a prominent member of the UN’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, and leading scholars on genocide Gregory Stanton and Alex Hinton.

They were joined by a group of Rohingya genocide survivors, Karen and Burmese activists and scholars.

The conference was the first of its kind internationally on the vitally important issues of accountability of Myanmar’s military and civilian leadership and protection of national minorities in Rakhine, Shan and Kachin states.

It was co-hosted by top research institutes at Barnard College and Columbia University such as the Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. It was also endorsed globally by a diverse network of institutions, including the Montreal Holocaust Museum (Canada), the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation, the Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit at the University of Dhaka (Bangladesh), the Documentation Center of Cambodia and Genocide Watch (US).

Angela Davis’s special message of solidarity for the coalition specifically and the oppressed national minorities in general set the tone and parameters of the discussion.

Apparently having drawn on slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr, Davis was emphatic about “the indivisibility of justice”, whoever the victims of systematic injustices are and wherever they may be.

She linked the dots among seemingly disparate issues as diverse as the brutality of Israel-trained U.S. police towards Latina and black youth in the United States to U.S.-trained state troopers and their murder with impunity across Central and Latin American countries while explaining and justifying her support for the Palestinians and opposition towards the settler-colonial, racist and militaristic state of Israel.

In her pre-recorded address to the conference, Professor Yanghee Lee categorically dismissed the claim that Myanmar is in a fragile democratic transition under Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected civilian leadership. She pointed out the inconceivability of any real democratization under the 2008 Constitution; the constitution drawn up and adopted by the Burmese generals elevates the Armed Forces of Myanmar above the entire society and exempts it from any notion of accountability or checks and balances.

On Rohingya, Lee was emphatic that the conditions in Myanmar’s “killing fields” are not conducive for the much-hyped up schemes of repatriation or return of 1 million Rohingya criminally deported by Myanmar across the borders onto Bangladesh soil in two different waves in 1991-92 and 2016-17.

On the subject of repatriation, the conference also heard from three scholars and activists with decades of professional experience dealing with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) and/or refugees.

Dr. Jeff Crisp, formerly head of policy development and program evaluation at the UNHCR, shared his insider view within the world’s main refugee agency mandated to strive for the protection of all refugees. His fact-based PowerPoint presentation exposed racism and lack of empathy among UNHCR senior management who described desperate and vulnerable Rohingya as “primitive people” who “will go anywhere they are ordered or told to go”.

Crisp, now at the Refugees Studies Center at Oxford University, accused the UNHCR as a UN agency of being complicit in the murderous crimes committed by refugee-producing states.

Tapan Kumar Bose, an Indian journalist and former secretary general of the South Asia Forum for Human Rights, who has worked in support of Rohingya, Nepalese and Bengali (now Bangladeshi) refugees since the start of the 1970s, echoed Dr. Crisp’s damning indictment of the UN agency and called attention specifically to the UNHCR and its recurring practice of “imposed repatriation”.

On her part, Natalie Brinham of Queen Mary University of London, an expert on documentation as a weapon of racist persecution, discussed why Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and India have long resisted numerous types of pressures to accept what Myanmar calls “National Verification Cards”. Rohingya rightly view these cards as “genocide cards”, the acceptance of which would effectively render them stateless while their ethnic group identity would be erased with their consent.

She challenged the prevalent but false characterization of Rohingya as “stateless”. Rohingyas have a state – of Myanmar – which has been committing a slow, burning genocide against them, starting with the erasure of their history, identity and documentation, beyond the obvious annihilation of Rohingya as a community on their own ancestral soil of Northern Arakan or Rakhine next to Bangladesh.

In fact, Brinham went one step further when she in effect pointed out that the complicity of the United Nations in the Rohingya genocide – still ongoing – is not confined to “technical agencies” such as the refugee agency; it goes right to the office of the UN Secretary General and his Special Envoy that are pushing Rohingya inside Myanmar to accept these “genocide cards”.

Shifting the discussion from the vulnerability and hence the need for protection of Rohingyas in refugee camps in Bangladesh and India and the diasporic limbo in Saudi Arabia, Radhika Coomaraswamy, a member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, talked about the extreme nature of Myanmar’s persecution of Rohingya as a group protected under international law.

“Is what happened to the Rohingya genocide? What else could it be?…In our report, we finally stated that there was sufficient information to warrant the investigation and prosecution of senior officials in the Tatmadaw chain of command so that a competent court can determine their liability for genocide,” she said.

She went on to offer her take as to why there has been a shocking absence of any meaningful and effective measures by the system of states – called the United Nations – to end what her fact-finding mission observes as the genocide that is ongoing.

“Though we have a very comfortable majority of the international community who want to condemn in the strongest terms the actions of the Myanmar government, only a much smaller group wants to go toward sanctions and accountability. The fear of accountability is linked in the minds of many developing countries with a fear of losing sovereignty. Accountability is resisted by countries like India on the face of it because of their theoretical stance on sovereignty.”

As the UN member states fail to discharge their responsibility to protect the most vulnerable – not just the Rohingya, but other oppressed minorities of Myanmar such as the Kachin, Shan, Rakhine, Muslims and Christians — the conference’s host professor, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak of Columbia University, pointedly observed that we the people, activists and scholars of conscience must step in and offer concrete acts of solidarity, not so much in the neo-colonialist sense of “empowering” the victims or offering them “education” as we know it in advanced industrial countries of the West, but to put at the center of global consciousness the ongoing tales of de-humanization, demonization of Rohingya genocide survivors as prospective “Muslim terrorists” and deprivation.

As a matter of fact, in Myanmar, beyond Facebook as an effective disseminator of genocidal racism and blind hatred towards Rohingya in the Burmese society at large, the Ministry of Education — which runs all universities and 99 percent of pre-collegiate schools (K-10) — is the main engine behind anti-Rohingya racism, Islamophobia and Bama or Myanmar ethno-central colonial history and knowledge about the country and its birth.

For me as a Burmese who grew up nationalistic, racist and feudal, the most powerful moment of the two-day conference came when a Rohingya refugee, Ahmad Ullah, recalled a deeply traumatic moment of seeing a 5-year-old orphan girl being beaten up by Bangladesh police for having cut into a line of Rohingya refugees waiting for their food ration for hours.

With tears streaming down his cheeks, Ahmad asked the visibly moved audience at Barnard College: “What kind of a world do we live in when a 5-year-old girl is beaten up by authorities [in full view of the public] for simply wanting and asking for food?!”

Ahmad told the audience that that little girl reminded him of himself, as he grew up under similarly harsh and inhuman conditions. He was a young boy born in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar as the first boy to the parents of two Rohingya survivors of the 1991-92 waves of mass killings and violence by Myanmar.

Paraphrasing the late Hannah Arendt, the acclaimed Jewish scholar of totalitarianism, refugees are humans without the earth – which many of us take for granted – beneath their feet.

To belabour the obvious, the United Nations has failed categorically to discharge Chapter 7 of its charter, which requires the Security Council to intervene firmly in situations that threaten world peace.

While the world’s policy circles frame, typically and falsely, one million Rohingyas – with no jobs, no dignity, no schooling, no freedom of movement in the camps in Bangladesh and in their own perpetrating country of Myanmar — as “potential terrorists” prone to “radicalization”, no state and no regional bloc (EU or ASEAN or South Asia grouping) is lifting a finger to really end the genocide.

That is why, in the final minutes of the conference, virtually all Rohingya activists and many scholars and activist supporters publicly called for the boycott of Myanmar – intellectually, educationally, institutionally, commercially and culturally.

Just as Germany in the 1930s was not reformed through engagement – really acts and policies of “appeasement” by the Old Europe – Myanmar’s political society in 2019 has already sleep-walked into the zone of mass genocide and other grave crimes.

As painful as it is, as a Burmese who blew the whistle on his society’s gravest crimes – including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, I wholeheartedly support this call.

Thankfully, we were joined by Angela Davis, who expressed her support for the Rohingyas’ leadership and call for “Boycott Myanmar, End Rohingya Genocide and Other Crimes Against Minorities”. Davis gave the audience a powerful endorsement: “I will boycott Myanmar until it stops its persecution of national minorities such as Rohingya, Kachin, Shan, Karen and Rakhine.”

Impersonal states – man-made Frankensteinian institutions – may not feel the pain or hear the cries of Rohingyas and other wretched of Myanmar. But as humans of conscience and compassion, many of us hear and heed their cries. Together, we can make “Never again!” a reality for Myanmar’s oppressed.

*Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu Agency.

UPDATE – US not united on Syria withdrawal: Turkish president

             ADDS DETAILS THROUGHOUT</p>  <p>By Ahmet Salih Alacaci and Ali Murat Alhas </p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey’s president said Friday the Trump administration did not appear to portray a united stance on its withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria</p>  <p>In as televised interview, Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised a recent trilateral summit held in the Russian resort city of Sochi with the leaders of Russia and Iran, saying it was &quot;very productive and useful&quot;.</p>  <p>He said the next such summit on the Syrian conflict would be held in Turkey.</p>  <p>In addition, Erdogan reiterated the need for Washington to make good on its promise to evacuate the YPG/PYD/PKK terror group from northern Syria’s Manbij district west of the Euphrates River, stressing there has not yet been a step in this direction.</p>  <p>&quot;Manbij is actually not the place of these terror organizations,&quot; he said, adding the population there was 85-90 percent Arab.</p>  <p>&quot;We will do whatever it takes for our national security,&quot; he asserted, noting Ankara would continue to strive for finding mutual ground as long as Tehran and Moscow maintained their attitude.</p>  <p>In December, President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement that the U.S. would be withdrawing all of its troops from Syria and said Daesh had been defeated in the country </p>  <p>Since then, however, no troops have been withdrawn, and the Pentagon confirmed last month that additional troops were being sent to protect American forces and equipment as they prepare to leave.</p>  <p>Syrian refugees in Turkey </p>  <p>Underlining Turkey’s efforts to resettle the 3.6 million Syrian refugees residing within the country’s borders, Erdogan said 310,000 Syrians had returned home and pointed out that $35 billion had been spent on the needs of refugees.</p>  <p>He complained that the European Union didn't fully keep its promise to support refugees in Turkey, saying it had promised a total of $6 billion.</p>  <p> &quot;What we have received is $1.75 billion. All talk, no action,&quot; he said.</p>  <p> Khashoggi murder</p>  <p>On the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Erdogan emphasized that the CIA had not yet 'thrown its weight' behind the issue, adding that Washington should press for an investigation. </p>  <p>Erdogan emphasized that Turkey had not yet revealed all the documents it possessed on Khashoggi’s death and Ankara was 'determined' to bring the issue before international courts.</p>  <p>Khashoggi was brutally murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul shortly after he entered the diplomatic facility on Oct. 2 last year. Riyadh initially denied any role in the killing but has since sought to blame his death on a botched rendition operation being carried out by rogue agents.</p>  <p>Macron and so-called Armenian genocide</p>  <p>Erdogan said French President Emmanuel Macron should learn some history before lecturing others about genocides.</p>  <p>&quot;There is no such thing as genocide in our history,&quot; he said, adding Macron should be careful before uttering such strong words. </p>  <p>Erdogan said France had been involved in numerous bloody massacres committed over the course of history.</p>  <p>&quot;Between 1872-1954, Vietnam. More than 500,000 Vietnamese were slaughtered by the French,&quot; he said. </p>  <p>He went on to say that France massacred scores of people in the revolts against its colonial presence in Algeria.</p>  <p>Turkey and EU</p>  <p>On Turkey's ascension to the European Union, Erdogan accused European countries of not being sincere with all the requisites and said they had another agenda.</p>  <p>&quot;There is only one reason they don't take us [into the EU]: because we are Muslims,&quot; he said, noting that even some former EU foreign ministers had said that.</p>  <p>In addition, Erdogan said some European countries were actually supporting terrorism against Turkey.</p>  <p>Terrorism</p>  <p>Erdogan slammed Washington for arming the YPG/PKK terror group, saying it had sent 23,000 trucks loaded with weapons to terrorists.</p>  <p>Recalling the U.S. promise to collect weapons back from the terror groups, he said the same words were once said by former president George W. Bush.</p>  <p>&quot;When the U.S. entered Iraq, Bush said they would collect the weapons while withdrawing,&quot; he said. &quot;But while fighting the terror groups there, we realized that the U.S. weapons were there.”

Persecutors of Rohingya should face trial: Professor

            By Dildar Baykan<br>

NEW YORK (AA) – Perpetrators of the Rohingya genocide should stand trial at an international court for their crimes against humanity, the founding president of non-governmental organization Genocide Watch said Friday.

"We created international tribunals to try the perpetrators of the Cambodian genocide, the Rwandan genocide and of other genocides, the ones in Bosnia, in East Timor and elsewhere. Now we have the International Criminal Court," said Gregory Stanton, a research professor in genocide studies and prevention at George Mason University.

Stanton made the remarks during a two-day conference organized by the Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC) in New York aimed at gathering scholars and activists from around the world to explore ways to hold Myanmar accountable for crimes against humanity.

The FRC is working to build a grassroots movement to hold Myanmar to account for a campaign of genocide against the Rohingya.

"So the first thing that we must say here is that the generals who have run this genocidal campaign against the Rohingya, against the Kachin, the Shan and other groups in Myanmar must, first of all, become international pariahs. They must not be allowed to travel. They must have all of their assets seized," Stanton said.

He said most of Western Europe, the U.S., Canada and other countries including Argentina and Senegal make genocide a crime of universal jurisdiction, noting that those who have committed such crimes could be arrested and put on trial in those countries for genocide even though it was committed in Myanmar.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees — mostly women, and children — fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.

In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

Rohingya activists share stories of community's plight

            By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - Fear, intimidation, repression and genocide.</p>  <p>These are the words used by members of the Rohingya community to describe what is happening to them at the hands of Myanmar's military forces.</p>  <p>&quot;Some may think that by leaving a repressive, genocidal regime, Rohingya will be free,&quot; said Yasmin Ullah, a Rohingya activist. </p>  <p>&quot;Fear and intimidation are part of everyday life in Arakan, or what is called Rakhine state today. Fear and intimidation follow us everywhere.&quot;</p>  <p>On Friday, the Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC) brought together scholars and activists for a two-day conference in New York, where they aimed to showcase the plight of the Muslim minority and call on the world to listen and put pressure on Myanmar to stop the attacks against the Rohingya.</p>  <p>Razia Sultana, the FRC's Coordinator for Women and Children's Affairs, said she was &quot;deeply disappointed&quot; that the international community has yet to take any strong or purposeful action against the people responsible for the genocide.</p>  <p>In a fact-finding mission in October, the UN noted that the genocide against the Rohingya is still going on, but Sultana pointed out that there was still no action from the Security Council.</p>  <p>But other Rohingya such as Thun Khin, president of the Burmese Rohingya Organization, saw the UN declaration of genocide as an opportunity to call for international support on behalf of what the UN describes as the world's most persecuted people.</p>  <p>&quot;Finally the world has caught up to what we have been saying for many years. Our community, we've been saying, the only word to describe what is going on is genocide,&quot; Khin said. </p>  <p>More than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, according to Amnesty International.</p>  <p>Since then, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA). </p>  <p>The OIDA also reported that more than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police, and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down. </p>  <p>The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. 

– Long history in Myanmar

Khin, whose grandfather served as a secretary of the Burmese parliament, outlined the history of the Rohingya community in Myanmar.

"We've been living here for many centuries," he said.

Khin noted that the campaign against the Rohingya is not a new issue and has been going on for decades, and the Myanmar government's end goal is genocide.

When the military began operations against the Rohingya, the Rohingya thought they could turn to opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was then under house arrest, for support. Khin mentioned that he had even campaigned for her release across the Western world.

Suu Kyi had promised the Rohingya their basic rights once democracy was established. But once she came into power, she too became complicit in the state's crimes.

"If she wanted to, she could open up Rahkine state to aid access. Or she could release the writers, journalists who have highlighted military atrocities against the Rohingya. But she has chosen not to do anything," Khin said.

Khin's experience with the civilian government left him much more wary of relationships with the Myanmar government and cemented his understanding that it is the Rohingya community that needs to be given the authority to make their own decisions.

"If history has taught us anything, it is that Rohingya cannot be left at the mercy of Myanmar forces. Rohingya must also have a seat at the table to determine our own future," Khin added.

*Dildar Baykan contributed to this report from New York

Concrete plans demanded for Rohingya crisis resolution

                                   By Sorwar Alam </p>    <p>ANKARA (AA) - The international community should put forward concrete plans to resolve the Rohingya crisis, head of a Rome-based human rights group said.</p>    <p>“All evidence on what to be done are available. All obligations in front of the needs are clear,” said Gianni Tognoni, the secretary general of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT).</p>    <p>He welcomed the U.S. House of Representatives’ recent vote on Rohingya genocide.</p>    <p>The U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution by a vote of 394-1 on Dec. 14 affirming “the Burmese military’s actions were genocide against the Rohingya people.&quot;</p>    <p>Earlier this year, a UN fact-finding mission on Myanmar also found the military guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity including rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, forced nudity, mutilations, torture, persecution, and enslavement.</p>    <p>The U.S. lower house’s decision “is definitely an event which must be hailed as a potentially critical step forward in the political, even more than in juridical sense in the international scenario,” Tognoni said.</p>    <p>“All words have been said,” he said and called on the U.S. and other global actors should act for the resolution of the crisis.</p>    <p>He termed the role of the International Criminal Court as “very significant and mandatory” in this regard. </p>    <p>He said all political groups “who have recognized the gravity of the sufferings, and are therefore perfectly aware of what could and should be done now […] could find an agreement to act.”</p>    <p>International organizations such as European Union, ASEAN, OIC, as well as nations “must translate their awareness and obligations into concrete plans”, Tognoni added.</p>    <p>Any delay to take global action against the “brutality” in Myanmar, where “the process of genocide is ongoing,” must be considered as “expression of impunity” as well as “an aggravation of the intolerable sufferings, which all the field missions in the concerned areas have documented,” the head of the rights group said.</p>    <p><br>
  • 'Critical test'

“We are facing a critical test which has global implications. Do human and people’s rights have a place, beyond the declaration of principles?” Tognoni questioned, admitting that taking such a decision “is not easy for economic, and political interests and geopolitical equilibria.”

He mentioned that the PPT had gave a verdict during its Kuala Lumpur session in September 2017 that the attacks on Rohingya in Myanmar was a “massacre”, “tragic violations of fundamental rights”, and a “genocide.”

Some global actors, including the U.S., was reluctant to acknowledge the attacks on Rohingya as a “genocide” because of political reasons, he underlined.

Tognoni expressed hope that “most urgent” measured will be taken in order to assure the protection of the Rohingya.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August last year.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.

In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.