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tv   Inside Story 2017 Ep 318  Al Jazeera  November 16, 2017 10:32am-10:59am +03

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he is elections at least eighteen people including four female suicide almost of been killed in a series of blasts in northeastern nigeria twenty nine others were injured in the attacks in one of gandhi which is on the outskirts of my dignity says he france's foreign minister is due to meet with lebanon's prime minister saad honey all of his it's to saudi arabia france's president in money old mccrone has invited howdy to visit paris on wednesday lebanon's president michel i wouldn't said that nothing justified the apparent detention of howdy by saudi arabia heavy announced his resignation in riyadh nearly two weeks ago the deposed catalan leader is planning to run in next month's spanish regional elections called his push to mold is choosing pro independence candidates to join him he plans to manage his campaign from belgium where he won four of his cabinet members and facing extradition to
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spain on charges of sedition and rebellion and a day of mourning has been declared a greece after at least fifteen people were killed in flash floods in the western outskirts of athens and there's the headline news continues i was here after inside story next. al-jazeera. and for you. just horrific in me and america's top diplomat hits out at the suffering of the row him but stopped short of calling it ethnic cleansing or demanding sanctions as me and more government leaders clear themselves of any crimes what now for the persecuted will hinge a minority this is inside story. hello
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and welcome to the program i'm homage. depending on who you ask the rabindra people in myanmar are facing ethnic cleansing genocide or simply a complicated situation man mars government has exonerated itself and says accusations against the military are completely false many worldwide disagree canada's prime minister justin trudeau calls the plight of the real him a tremendous concern the u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson has also visited me and more here's what he said. we waited years to get of this right. over six hundred thousand or in your book with the with both there were the children that it was the. love of all that
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were related to the early disability and it is it is difficult when you're sitting halfway around the world to see the images for the reading you gave me but it isn't enough or would you rather do something as i say every all these there or whether they should build or other the whole world is there all of the people who care about what's happening over here they care about it was read to you that they're here you know care about me or they're looking for some way till. the rabindra and myanmar have been persecuted for years many thought that would change when nobel peace prize winner on some suit she's party was elected but it hasn't the de facto leader responded to criticism about her alleged inaction after meeting america's top diplomat. i have been talking. to david in favor of sitting out of a statement in my office or for me to take notes of my own kind of be put to people
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is that what i see is not interesting enough but what i see is not meant to be exciting it's meant to be accurate and it's. creating more effective future for everybody not perfect and pretty good. let's bring in our panel joining us now from dhaka matthew smith he's the c.e.o. of fortify rights from bangkok phil robertson the deputy director of the asia division for human rights watch and from washington d.c. simon bill ines who is the executive director of the international campaign for the or hendra gentlemen thank you so much for joining us today we really appreciate it now matthew i want to start with you we know that the u.s. government has been weighing whether to declare the crackdown against rohinton muslims to be an ethnic cleansing but we did not hear rex tillerson use that phrase at all he did not say ethnic cleansing when he was in me and more what do you make
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of that and why didn't he use those words. well it's a good question it's it's it's not unusual unfortunately in situations like this for governments to fail to diagnose the problem properly from our perspective it's no question that it's a cleansing and right now it's very reasonable and urgent to be talking about the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity so the fact that secretary tillerson failed to make that sort of determination is unfortunate i think you know we can't speak to why specifically he did that but i think urgently not only the u.s. but the international community needs to get serious about action action right now is far more important than any particular words that might be used to to describe the situation. now phil i want to ask you secretary tillerson also advised against
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any broad based sanctions to be taken against the me and more government or military but he did seem to leave the door open to the possibility of targeted sanctions perhaps if it could be proven that certain individuals and me and more his military or government had had abused the range of muslims and had been complicit in those atrocities what do you make of that. well i would hope that he would recognize a broad based sanction like an arms and bargo on the bernese military is entirely appropriate and would be pushing for that at the u.n. security council in terms of targeted sanctions we understand that parts of the state department are actually working on targeted sanctions and trying to identify various different really military commanders were in the field in rakhine state as well as the chain of command they're trying to get more information from us and others about who these people are and to then figure out whether they can perhaps
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see the list them under as a specially designated national. sanctions act in the u.s. or possibly looking at global magnitsky sanctions i think both of these are entirely appropriate but the key thing right now i think is to show that the world community is unified against the atrocities that the burma army has committed and that starts with a global arms embargo that starts with you know really sending this military back into the pariah status that it had during the military governments and you know once again making sure that the top commanders of the army understand that nobody is accepting their version of events including this report that they issued yesterday saying that no human rights abuses were committed at all islam and i'd like you to pick up on what phil was saying you know in the past two days i mean mars military essentially exonerated themselves they issued the results of an
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internal investigation in which they said that they did not participate in the atrocities and they were not complicit at all in any of the accusations have been leveled against them how does your group respond to that. well this is simply not credible given the mountains of evidence that have been compiled by human rights watch amnesty international fortify rights and so. what we're looking for here right now is for the us government and international community to put enough pressure on the burmese government and on the burmese army to allow for a credible independent investigation of what occurred and recall and state and find out exactly who the perpetrators were in the me and in these military leadership in matthew the row hinge of people have been called the most persecuted people on the planet now on the one hand they aren't allowed citizenship in myanmar that's
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the cause of a lot of their problems aside from all the atrocities that have been committed but also those that have fled to bangladesh they don't qualify for citizenship and beyond that they aren't even classified officially as refugees in bangladesh could you speak to that end of the problem and how much more of a problem that is for these very persecuted peoples. it's a great questions an important question statelessness is at the heart of many of the problems that range of community faces not only in me in more for decades but also in other countries where the red you have fled to and bangladesh right now there's an enormous influx of people i mean still to this day thousands of overheads are coming across the border weekly we were just with. hundreds of new arrivals coming across daily into bangladesh but their status as
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a stateless population makes it very difficult for the rich. to realize their rights and it's important to mention however though that this is a group that their citizenship was revoked so you know there was a time when the rigid did have citizenship status in me and more the law was passed in one thousand nine hundred two that effectively revoked it so until the mia more authorities change that law and restore just citizenship unfortunately there are there will be problems at all levels of myanmar society and internationally matthew let me ask you to follow up on how does the fact that the room refugees that are in bangladesh the fact that they are not classified as refugees how does that also complicate the delivery of aid. well right now the delivery of aid is complicated on so many different levels the needs are immense
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shelter health care. adequate food. there are tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors there are also tens of thousands of expectant mothers in the camps as well and so the authorities do need to recognize this population as a as a refugee population refugees have rights their own hinge in bangladesh have rights right now however i will say the vicious already is have that we've seen on the ground border guards are protecting the ranger and it's been it's been very good to see we've seen it on the banks of the naf river we've seen that are surrounding the refugee camps the needs are tremendous the challenges are huge they're enormous protection concerns particularly for the unaccompanied minors but right now we have seen so far a decent response from the authorities in terms of of efforts to protect the population. phil much has been reported about the kindness that the bangladeshi
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people are showing toward the river and your refugees when i was in bangladesh last month there was a plan that was being talked about being floated by bangladeshi officials whereby roy hindu refugees would be transferred possibly to an offshore island where an encampment would be built specifically for them but i must say that everybody i spoke with in bangladesh you know privately would say they didn't think this was realistic what is your reaction to this plan do you think this is something that could become a possibility. about the plan we think it would be a humanitarian disaster you know the island in question is one which is partly submerged during part of the year it's uninhabitable it would require a tremendous amount of construction it's very vulnerable to typhoons the list goes on and on. recently in the last day or two the ministry of finance of bangladesh
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has said that they're suspending the project in part because they want to continue to talk with the myanmar authorities about having these people go back and you know having the return to where they came from in northern rakhine state we'll see how this plays out i think that the actual idea is very wrong headed i think that by isolating these people in this remote area on an island which you know no one wants to live on the first place you're putting these people in harm's way and you know the idea of moving hundreds of thousands of people you know nine to ten hours by bus across bangladesh to this area i mean it's an immense undertaking that i don't think would be physically feasible for the government of bangladesh to carry off but they've been talking about it quite seriously they've been talking to donors in the past about it so we'll we'll have to keep a close eye on this and make sure it doesn't come about and you know when i just
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want you to stay with me for a moment we're going to take a pause so the we can bring to our viewers another angle of this story now i saw evidence of this firsthand when i was in bangladesh last month at rohinton refugee camps and cox's bazaar now some of the people we spoke with told me about horrific atrocities that they to scape from. and. my baby was in my lap when the so just hit me and he fell out of my arms didn't they pulled me closer to the wall and i could hear that he was crying you know after a few minutes i could hear that they were hazing him to. she tells us soldiers from me and mars army had set a fire outside the house they were in and then the unthinkable. my baby was thrown into the fire and then they raped me. despite the relief his family tries to provide eighteen year old or hindu
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a refugee mohammed is still haunted for a while his mother and siblings try to give him a brief respite from the extreme heat and humidity but no matter how much medicine is given or the number of bandages applied his scars both physical and psychological will remain. in that it is it took us out from a home and tied a hands behind our backs they pulled us along the roads and kicked as they pulled us through the village through the jungle and took us to join another group of people that they made as lie down on top of one another. with nothing else that her disposal a desperate mother blows air on her baby's severely burned head to try and cool her off. that there were doctors in the camp but when i took her to the doctor they said they don't have the right medicine for her she needs to be taken to see specialized doctors where will i get the money. tells us her
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baby was burned when me and mars military set her village and state ablaze. it took her family ten days to escape to bangladesh with no medical care the nine month old girl's wounds especially the one on top of her head have only worsened the plight of the or hendra is highlighted in the latest report by fortify rights and the united states holocaust memorial museum the report says the most recent violence in me and more started in october two thousand and sixteen when a row hinge on armed group attacked several police in outposts in iraq and state the man maher government say the army retaliated for the killing of dozens of people fortify rights says the army used the operation as an excuse to attack innocent row him just civilians me and more soldiers are accused of burning entire villages killing men women and children indiscriminately they're also accused of
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raping dozens of women the report says the situation amounts to ethnic cleansing that's defined as rendering an area ethnically homogeneous by using force or intimidation fortify wright says the rohinton crisis may even be genocide which is the intentional targeting of a community for destruction by murdering people and imposing measures to prevent births within the group manned mars military leaders deny security forces are guilty of all that now simon i want to ask you want to you make of matthew's reports and do you consider what's going on in iraq and state to be genocide. i think it's very clear that the book is on the march to genocide and we have to stop this. what makes these reports so credible is that the burmese army has used the exact same tactics against other ethnic minorities the kitchin schon the
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qur'an in fact a mother in qur'an state successfully sued unocal. for the fact that the burmese army when clearing a village to make way for a pipeline built by unocal and hotel for her baby into the fire and and her baby died of those injuries so this is entirely credible given what the bushies army has done before not just in rakhine state but against other ethnic minorities in burma matthew i want to ask you more about the reporting that went into this obviously this was a year long investigation as you and your group has stated before could you try to illuminate for our viewers first of all what is the difference between ethnic cleansing which is a term that we're hearing from many many international groups about what's going on
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in iraq kind state and against there were hinges and the difference between that and genocide. yeah sure. ethnic cleansing is as mentioned it's it's foreseen or pressuring or coercing a group of people out of a certain area and. this is obviously something that is condemned ethnic cleansing is a horrific phenomenon wherever and whenever it occurs at mclean's it however is not a crime under international law genocide of course is genocide is a crime that's defined under international law genocide is essentially. committing certain prohibited acts such as murder against a specific group with the intent to destroy that group in whole or in part and right now from our perspective in rakhine state what the meum our authorities have
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been doing is undeniably ethnic cleansing it's clear at this point that populations of people have been forced from their areas the question now is is the way in which that took place and other crimes that have been perpetrated and the legal determination for that is important words do matter with respect to the crime of genocide we're concerned when we see situations like what unfolded into a totally two atoll is a village and township meum are authorities corralled a group of a hinge of an extremely large group of road told them they would be safe and then massacred them were also seen them in more army laid land mines so that revenge of who are fleeing the country will be maimed or killed i just the other day was speaking with a family of people who attempted to flee meum are getting on a boat to cross over into bangladesh in the authorities opened fire on them so what we're seeing does certainly resemble or would constitute the intent to
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destroy. and i think as we've mentioned before genocidal intent is alive and well and me and mine there needs to be an investigation to determine to identify the specific perpetrators of these crimes and ascertain their the intent with which they committed them phil who makes the ultimate determination as to if this will be deemed a genocide and do you believe that this will ultimately whether in a few months or a few years be deemed to genocide well the ultimate determinant error of this would be in our view in international criminal court such as international criminal court and you know that is where are we have called for the perpetrators of these acts against the writing and to be sent we have clearly said that crimes against humanity have been committed by the myanmar military you know that the various
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different perhaps it acts that are in the genocide convention have also been incorporated into the rome statute so you know we're talking about many of the same things that the big issue with the difference between crimes against humanity and genocide is talking about the intent to destroy in whole in part and in our view is that you know we're not even to the point where we're able to now get the myanmar military in into the international criminal court because action to do that is being blocked at the u.n. security council primarily by china but also by russia. you know myanmar has not ratified the rome statute they're not a member of the court and so the only way to get persons in myanmar referred to the international criminal court would be through the u.n. security council and so that's why we spent so much time trying to break that deadlock and and try to get more information about to the tolly about sexual and
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gender based violence we're going to have a major report released tomorrow you know looking at the systematic use of rape. against rohingya women and girls too you know you push them out of their area to basically terrify them and traumatize them in a way that they would not want to come back to the area again sort of fulfilling the ethnic cleansing aspects of this but also contributing to the crimes against humanity that we've talked about so you know we we think that these these these words do matter i think that matt is absolutely right in saying there has to be a really comprehensive investigation and the problem is the fact finding mission that was appointed by the human rights council of the u.n. to do that is being blocked by aung san suu kyi and by the burmese military well i'm glad you mentioned on some sushi because that takes me to my last question simon i would be remiss if i did not ask about this particular issue obviously there has been mounting criticism of aung san suu kyi many saying that she should be doing a lot more now there is also though
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a school of thought in some diplomatic circles that perhaps putting more pressure on her is not the best thing to do would not really be helpful in trying to solve this crisis what do you say to that well i think pressure definitely needs to be applied to the burmese army to military owned businesses particularly those in the trade of precious gems like jade and rubies and i think it needs to be understood that although i'm sensitive she has no or thorough control over the me and other security forces she is foreign minister so when representatives speak at the un when they call on china to block any action against the me as army that's her representatives who are making that call so that is on her. well gentlemen thank you so much for joining us today thanks to our
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guests matthew smith phil robertson and simon bill ines and thank you too for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter our handle is a.j. inside story for me mohammed and the whole team here bye for now. i. in the united states rights activists are still being targeted you have enough information that you felt you were being watched praising surveillance from both the police and the f.b.i. this is not law enforcement. fault lines investigates the scope of these agencies tactics and the impact on civil society. confidential surveilling black
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