UNITED NATIONS – The United States on Tuesday described Myanmar denials of ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims as “preposterous” as it called on the U.N. Security Council to hold the military accountable and pressure leader Aung San Suu Kyi “to acknowledge these horrific acts that are taking place in her country.”
“Powerful forces in the Burmese government have denied the ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council.
“To make sure no one contradicts their preposterous denials, they are preventing access to Rakhine to anyone or any organization that might bear witness to their atrocities, including the U.N. Security Council,” Haley said.
French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre also told the Security council that a massacre of Rohingya Muslims reported by Reuters could “constitute crimes against humanity.”
Related CoverageU.S. says Myanmar denial of ethnic cleansing is 'preposterous'France says Myanmar massacre could constitute crimes against humanityHowever, any push for U.N. Security Council action is likely to face resistance from council veto powers Russia and China, who both said on Tuesday the situation in Rakhine state was stable and under control.
“Using labels and attempts to use contradictory and subjective reports of the media … to find out who’s guilty and condemn them only move us farther away from a solution,” Russia’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy warned.
Nearly 690,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine state and crossed into southern Bangladesh since last August, when attacks on security posts by insurgents triggered a military crackdown that the United Nations has said may amount to genocide.
“Conditions are not yet conducive to the voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees,” U.N. refugee chief Filippo Grandi told the Security Council.
FILE PHOTO: Ten Rohingya Muslim men with their hands bound kneel as members of the Myanmar security forces stand guard in Inn Din village September 2, 2017. Handout via REUTERS
CALLS FOR JOURNALISTS RELEASE
Myanmar has denied that ethnic cleansing has taken place.
Myanmar told the U.N. Security Council not to visit during February because it was “not the right time,” Kuwait’s U.N. Ambassador Mansour Ayyad Al-Otaibi said this month. However, Myanmar U.N. Ambassador Hau Do Suan said that some other diplomats had been able to travel to Rakhine state.
The Reuters special report, published last week, lays out events leading up to the killing of 10 Rohingya men from Inn Din village in Rakhine state who were buried in a mass grave after being hacked to death or shot by Buddhist neighbors and soldiers.
Myanmar’s Hau Do Suan said that an inquiry by the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, had found that 10 Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army militants had been arrested in Inn Din and executed and buried a day later.
“Actions are being taken against 16 individuals, including army and police officers and some villagers who had acted in violation of standard operating procedures and the rules of engagement. This action of the Tatmadaw is positive step forward in taking responsibility and deserves encouragement,” he said.
With reference to Reuters journalists arrested for reporting on the Rohingya, Hau Do Suan said Myanmar recognizes freedom of the press and the journalists were not arrested in December for reporting a story, but were accused of “illegally possessing confidential government documents.”
“Every citizen is bound by the existing law of the land. It is important that the actions of the journalists must also within the bound of the law,” he said.
Britain, France, the United States, the Netherlands and Kazakhstan all called for the release of the Reuters journalists during the Security Council meeting on Tuesday.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols;
Mexican Oil Shake-up Likely If Frontrunner Wins Presidency Top Adviser
MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s presidential frontrunner is not opposed to foreign investment in the country’s oil, a top adviser said, but his government would make dramatic changes to energy strategy, including a new focus on refining rather than crude exports.
In perhaps the most significant change envisioned by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the favorite to win the July 1 election, Mexico would seek to end decades of exporting crude in three years, a lawmaker who Lopez Obrador has tapped to be his future energy minister said in an interview.
Instead, Mexico should turn its focus to producing value-added fuels, processing crude domestically to produce more gasoline and diesel at refineries owned by state oil company Pemex, Rocio Nahle told Reuters late on Wednesday.
Reporting by David Alire Garcia,
Haiti Suspends Oxfam Gbs Operating Right Amid Misconduct Probe
PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haiti has temporarily revoked Oxfam Great Britain’s right to operate in the Caribbean country after allegations of sexual misconduct by some of the charity’s staff there, Planning and External Cooperation Minister Aviol Fleurant said on Thursday.
The British aid organization has been rocked by allegations that staff, including a former Haiti country director, used prostitutes during a relief mission after a devastating earthquake hit the island nation in 2010.
Fleurant said the suspension was ordered due to “serious failings” by Oxfam Great Britain between 2010 and 2011, and that a definitive decision on its ability to operate in Haiti would be made in two months following a review of the evidence.
“If during the two month-long investigation I find out there is a link between the aid funds that Oxfam received on behalf of Haiti and the crime that has been committed, we will … declare Oxfam Great Britain persona non grata and they would have to leave the country without further delay,” Fleurant said.
Haiti’s Minister of Planning and External Cooperation Aviol Fleurant shows a document after a meeting with Oxfam International Regional Director for Latin America, Simon Ticehurst, and Oxfam Intermon Executive Affiliate Unit head, Margalida Massot, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Andres Martinez CasaresAlain Lemithe, a lawyer representing Oxfam Great Britain, called the decision to suspend the charity “hasty and political”, saying that it was not based on clear evidence of wrongdoing.
“For example, they accused the organization of sexual abuse and use of minors,” Lemithe said. “Those are very serious allegations which until now have never been proven.”
Slideshow (3 Images)In a separate statement, Fleurant accused Oxfam staff of committing acts of “sexual abuse” and exploitation.
The minister said Oxfam Great Britain had “deliberately omitted” to alert Haitian authorities about the alleged misconduct, thereby allowing perpetrators to escape justice.
Allegations of misconduct surfaced through media investigations and an internal Oxfam report. Fleurant said the revelations had besmirched the “honor and dignity” of Haiti’s people.
The suspension of the charity’s right to operate did not apply to Oxfam Canada, he said.
Brit Newlywed Jon Udall Dies 12 Days After Grand Canyon Helicopter Crash That Killed Three Other Brits And Left His Bride ‘critical’
A NEWLYWED has become the fourth Brit to die in a horrifying Grand Canyon helicopter crash.
Jon Udall has died 12 days after the shocking accident – his new wife, Ellie Milward, is still in a critical condition in hospital.
Jon Udall and his wife Ellie – the pair were on their honeymoon in America
The pair were on their honeymoon in Las Vegas when they took the helicopter tour.
Pictures of the happy couple celebrating their marriage just months before emerged in the days that followed.
Six passengers and a pilot were on board the Papillon Airways EC-130 when it crashed into the Arizona landmark.
A family friend wrote a heartbroken post confirming Jon’s death on a Just Giving page set up to help pay for their medical costs after the accident.
Jon had been in hospital for 12 days but died from his injuries
Jon and Ellie on their wedding day just months before the horrifying crash
AP:Associated Press A survivor was pitched miraculously walking away from the burning helicopter
He said: “It is with a very heavy heart that I must type this. Our Good friend Jon Udall has succumbed to his injuries.
“He was strong, brave and I will never forget him. I will update this page when possible.
“Ellie is critical and is continuing to fight.”
Stuart Hill, celebrating his 30th birthday, his girlfriend Becky Dobson, 27, and his brother Jason, 32, were killed.
Caters They were in America as part of their honeymoon after having got married months before
He had got married just months before the accident Three British tourists killed in a helicopter crash in the Grand Canyon have been named by US police
Pals Jennifer Barham, 39, and honeymooning couple Ellie, 29, and Jon, 32, were fighting for their lives in hospital last night – tragically Jon has since died.
Witnesses described scenes of chaos after spotting the sight-seeing aircraft engulfed in flames approximately 600ft inside the ravine.
Jon was trapped in the wreckage for eight hours before being rescued after Ellie staggered free.
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