7 - 13 August 2015
Compiled by Kate McFarland
- First human trafficking case in Rakhine to head to court
- Foreign Ministry Rejects Mandate of UN Envoy
- Ruling party of Myanmar ousts its leader amid a government reshuffle
- About 1,000 Rohingya gathered in front of UNHCR
1. First human trafficking case in Rakhine to head to court
Myanmar Times, August 12: “First human trafficking case in Rakhine to head to court”
- The government has accepted the first official case of human trafficking in Rakhine State, after maintaining for years that no such crime occurs in the poverty-stricken region.
- Twenty people accused of smuggling Bangladeshis and Rohingya asylum-seekers will be brought to court this month under the state’s first prosecution of trafficking, according to police.
- The 20 suspects were already convicted in June of violating immigration laws and were charged but not tried for “habitual dealing in slaves”, which is an offence under the criminal code rather than under anti-human trafficking legislation.
- On August 4, the Ministry of Home Affairs accepted a further lawsuit against the group explicitly for trafficking, according to U Min Naing, police major with the police force’s anti-human trafficking unit.
2. Foreign Ministry Rejects Mandate of UN Envoy
Irrawaddy, August 13: “Foreign ministry rejects mandate of UN envoy”
- Burma’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs lashed out on Thursday against “a wide range of allegations” made by UN rights rapporteur Yanghee Lee.
- In a press release published by state media, the ministry said that it “rejects country-specific mandates including that of the Special Rapporteur.”
- Lee, who was appointed last year, wrapped up her third visit to Burma last week with sharp criticism of the government’s reluctance to facilitate meetings and site visits, controversially denying her access to Arakan State where more than 100,000 Rohingya Muslims remain in squalid displacement camps.
- While the ministry’s statement said Lee “could not visit a state which was declared as one of the severely flooded States compounded by weather conditions,” the rapporteur stated last week that her request to travel was denied “well before” she arrived in the country.
- Despite restricted access, which Lee said “hampers” her mandate, the ministry encouraged her to “enrich her sources of information,” claiming that her mission statement “contained a wide range of allegations and speculations rather than truth and fact.”
3. Ruling party of Myanmar ousts its leader amid a government reshuffle
New York Times, August 3: “Ruling party of Myanmar ousts its leader amid a government reshuffle”
- The head of Myanmar’s governing party has been removed from his post in what one aide described as a “coup,” the most visible sign yet of splintering within the country’s military elite and the resurgence of conservative forces that dominated under decades of military rule.
- The removal of Thura Shwe Mann as chairman of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party came as campaigning was underway for elections in November. The United States and other foreign governments have characterized the elections as a litmus test for whether Myanmar’s military elites, who still control the government and bureaucracy despite recent moves toward democracy, are genuinely willing to give up power.
4. About 1,000 Rohingya gathered in front of UNHCR
The Sun Daily, August 11: “About 1,000 Rohingya gathered in front of UNHCR”
About 1,000 Rohingya gathered in front of the UNHCR office today after they were told that the would be given refugee status cards.
About 200 Rohingya started gathering at the UNHCR office along Jalan Bukit Petaling at about 1am. However, the situation got worse between 7am - 8am when the area was flooded by some 500 Rohingya who just arrived.
About 12pm, the crowd was growing and about 1,000 Rohingya were there. Most came by bus.
The incident was believed to be sparked by an unknown party who spread the false news.